Monday, November 23, 2015

28 - Unexpected exchanges and Christmas lights

Email address (preferred): 

Mission address:
 Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
 California Long Beach Mission
 6500 E Atherton St.
 Long Beach, CA 90815

Things are going pretty well this week, we had some interesting exchanges with my previous companions Paw and Culala. They stayed in our area and their other companions went with one of my companions. We even had to temporarily exit the mission to get to where one of the Sisters lived because there isn't any other way of getting there without spending an hour or so more and getting lost in our mission. it was interesting, but we got full approval to do it.

We helped move Sister Brown some more into her new home next door and did lots of craft projects with the elderly for service this week. It was fun! As usual with the crafts I went away from the intended project and got creative. Next week I will put pictures of what I did. My camera was dead this week and I grabbed the wrong batteries.

We got to teach Mary Lou, a wife of a less active who came from the Philippines to be with her husband while he is on dialysis. She is in the Elders' area, but we were asked to see her. She loved our lesson last week and asked for us to come back again, I am so excited to teach her more and if Brother Dortheo is up to it, we will be doing less active lessons at the same time.

Brother Dortheo (who lives near us and is brothers with brother Dortheo, very confusing) couldn't come to this last lesson, but we got to have a dinner with his wife and teach about the book of Mormon and she shared some very wonderful spiritual experiences. I can't wait to share about the tree of life with her, I'm sure it will make her happy!

Debbie is still chugging along with faith despite less support than we had hoped from her family. At least her mother in law with dementia loves coming to church with her and her two year old daughter still. Sadly she was sick most of this week so we didn't have many lessons. We keep her in our prayers along with everyone else we teach. They are so strong!

We visited with Jessica, one of the elders' recent converts from a year ago had us over for dinner, and I got to hear her very inspiring conversion story. She said she was given a Book of Mormon long ago, and she always saw the elders on bikes and wondered what we were all about and why they wouldn't talk to her. Latter she was contacted again, and she was going through a hard time in her life and was seeking earnestly for answers from God. She took the lessons and now is a member. It gives us courage that not everyone we meet on the street isn't going to turn us down. Often there are those who wish we would talk to them, we just have to stop and do it!

Tiffany is progressing very well and hearing her testimony has been so neat. She is growing more and more with each visit, and often she asks us questions that we even ask ourselves. One recently is why there isn't just one church on earth to make things easier. Our simplified answer is that people make it complicated, and they find the truth hard to believe, so they stray from it and choose another path that is more pleasing to hear about and allows them to continue in their ways. I have seen it in the book of Mormon while reading these past months many times, and it continue on today. Its the same thing that is happening with the new changes in our own church on policy to help maintain the rights of parents. Daters are going to be haters and leave no matter what. It's just one way the lord is shifting and refining the hearts of the people. There will be no couch potatos in this church, as brother Rex puts it. If they are, they will inevitably fall away. One must keep holding on and strengthening their testimony to continue on. We are like a musical instrument, if one has a violin, one must keep applying rosin on the bow, tightening and loosening the strings and bow hairs to keep it in tune and working properly in addition to regular maintenance. If one becomes complacent and treats baptism as the means of an end of personal growth and commitment, they will fall short and fall away. If they forget to apply daily prayer and scripture reading to their day, their day isn't as good as it could be, and with enough time, they will lose that important daily communication with God and answers to prayers. For the violin, it means you won't be able to play beautiful music with it, instead it will be difficult to play and sounds disharmonious to what others sound like. It also becomes worthless to play with until it is put into correct tuning. Same, too, with people in many different ways.

Anna passed away sadly, but she went peacefully and with family surrounding her like she wanted. We sang for Mario her husband and her family who where their afterwards. I am sad I never got to meet her, but I know as we sang, she was there in spirit. The family said that our singing made her so happy and lifted her spirits when she was in bed and in pain from the cancer that spread through her whole body. He said it was one of the greatest gifts we could have given her and the family. I know she will continue on on the other side with missionaries there. I just hope after a while passes, Mario will continue with the lessons like she wanted him to do, it was her last wish. Anna had some much faith and courage! I hope to meet her some day.

Not much else going on here other than some very dedicated people with computer systems and millions of Christmas lights putting on a show with music. One man talked with us for a while and said he spends 3 thousand dollars a year on fake snow, rental lift for the sleigh display, and electricity! Its his only hobby and he works for a computer systems company so he loves doing it and especially loves doing it for the kids and occasional elderly lady who sits in front of it in her wheelchair for hours a couple days a week during December and end of November when he has it running. I never saw so many cords in my life and electrical boxes too!

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