Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25/14 - New Adventures in Sylmar

   It’s funny how the Lord will give you situations that highlight your weaknesses... in neon orange!  Note to self- your future kids WILL know Spanish!  Seriously, this has been a fun week! Crazy, but that's mission life.  So, this week we had 7 lessons w/ investigators, plus 3 w/ inactives. so 10 lessons, that's a crazy high record!! It was almost 2 a day, so much fun.
   3 investigators we have are Luis, Peter, and Ricky: 
-          Luis- taught Gospel of Christ. He really connected with the member couple we brought. Set up a baptismal date next month! Yay. Went back Saturday to teach Plan of Salvation... found out he picked up and moved.... no contact info, no phone, nothing. "Find one, drop one" - well, that's the Valley for ya!
-          Ricky, we taught Word of Wisdom and Gospel of Christ, and set up a baptism for Sep. 27th! Not quite sure he's really got it engraved yet, but we'll keep working with him, and now we have a goal to work towards!
-          Peter is sweet, he got hurt form playing in his wheelchair b-ball league, but he should be coming to church next week! He's so great, but man, we gotta fight tooth and nail to set up the date. Challenge accepted. He knows it’s true, just can't quite choose God over his family yet.... better that than drugs, though, right? But the spirit's working on him!
    Church, I’ve come to find out here, is ALWAYS an adventure!  We had 5 adults at church, that have never come before!! Soooo super awesome! Total miracle.
    - Charles-old guy the sisters did service for. He came and because our ward is super duper old, he had a TON of perfect fellow shippers.
    - 2 black ladies the elders are teaching, along with 4 kids, such a cute family, and young blood too.
    - A cokehead named Katie- she is sweet, not quite all the way there, but is trying to get Jesus in her life, so that's a start right?
    - Beatrice- she's on probation right now, and seriously I just feel so connected with her. She seems so nice, but she seems to have gone through... too much. But I get this crazy feeling that maybe I came here for her... we'll see more this week and I’ll write you a letter about her.
    Crazy thing for the week. So I went down to NoHo this week for exchanges. Super fun! But man, these areas are hard! We will knock for 4 hrs, and get 19 conversations. ahhh I’m soooo proud of my girls, they're so tough!  But, last night we're at our mission ward leaders house, and walking in we notice 2 helicopters circling the area a couple streets down. They have red flashing lights, the spotlight like in movies, the whole shebang. The ENTIRE meeting, we hear these cop copters circling, and they are still out there when the meeting is over. Always exciting business in the valley.
   Well, love you all! Gonna copy my spiritual note I sent uncle Ed for his birthday. Have a great week!
-Sis McNeill

I noticed your favorite scripture- Alma 26:12- mine is too! That is on my missionary plaque back home and I have a little picture of it hanging off my bed. Back in my last apt. me and my comp had our little "miracle board" that was wrapped around that scripture. I will boast of my God. And it’s through our work that we boast of His glory. 
Sometimes as a missionary, it feels like no matter how much hard work I'm putting in, there's not much to show for it. Other missionaries will bring in 4 people to church and we can't even drag 1 in. It’s easy to feel like you can't add as much glory to the Lord's kingdom as someone else. But last night I was thinking a lot about the widow's mite, and it hit me. Ammon says "I" will boast of "MY" God. Ultimately it’s between you and Him. It doesn't matter how much the world, your ward, or even other missionaries think of your work. It’s His work, and so long as you give your heart and your hands to Him, He will accept your work, no matter how little it is."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

8/18/14 - New Calling and Transfer to Sylmar

Jess has been transferred to Sylmar and her new address is:  15520 Foothill Blvd #58, Sylmar, CA, 91342.   Thanks for your continued love and support – Michelle

   I’m sure you pieced it together after my frantic emails last Monday, I am out of West Hills.  It is really a special place in my heart, and I cannot wait to come back and visit them after my mission.  You put so much love, so much hard work, sweat and prayers for these people and you can’t help but give them a piece of you when you leave.  I have been called to be a Sister Training Leader in Sylmar.  But, wow, I must tell you I know I’m supposed to be here.  I miss the deaf work, and I thought I would be “stepping down” going into “normal” missionary work… not true.  I had one of the most powerful witnesses from the spirit then I have had my entire life telling me I was to serve in North Hollywood.  President told us today that he put each of our names/prayed about us by name in the temple as Sister Training Leaders.  The spirit was so overwhelming in Transfer meeting on Tuesday – it was so powerful.  God gave me a witness that I did my duty with the deaf, but my mission call, my assignment, my responsibility and my role is far from being over.
   So, my area is Sylmar and my companion’s name is Sister French.  She entered the MTC the same day I did.  She is from Canada and is 25 years old, and we get along great.  Holy cow, did I mention it is hot here?  It’s rained one day in 6 months of serving here.  It’s been a blazing 100 degrees every day, but it’s nice to know that just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, there’s one more person in the fire with us, so that’s a comforting thought.
   So, funny experiences happening in Sylmar-
We invited 3 people to baptism. The sisters have three investigators that they've been teaching.
Peter- late 20's-in a wheelchair because he was shot at 18 and paralyzed from the waist down. We taught him tithing- he said that 10% didn’t seem like enough to pay back God. He is soooo awesome! Only dilemma holding him back, his family. His family means the world to him, and by going to the "Mormon" church, he feels he is choosing this church over his family.  His main concern is that his family won't go to the celestial kingdom. Ahh! So he knows it’s true, but how do you address a concern like that? hmm....
Ricky- 20-Mexican, came to church this Sunday with his mom. We taught law of chastity/temples. He was almost too straight up about how he's a virgin and how he doesn’t even have the opportunity to break the Law of Chastity... awkward, okay, many times people are way to open... Funny side note, he asked if my CTR ring was a chastity ring. Kinda, I guess... he wants to be baptized, but wants to wait til the end of the year cuz he doesn’t want to add more stress to his life just yet.
Luis- Living currently with our RC Juan- he is hearing though, and wants super bad to be baptized. We are a little hesitant, not quite sure if he is mentally all the way there. But we will continue to teach him and have the Bishop decide for us.
   Church was a funny experience, turns out there is a Sober Community House down the road from the church, and we had 2 people wander into church and sit with us! Some of these people, their brains are just fried from drugs, but the man will be taught by the elders - I think he seemed solid. It’s a crazy (but now normal) background- brother in jail, lost his job, doesn’t have money for rent, lives of food stamps.... man, Cali is crazy, but you find the best people here.
   Seth you'd be so proud- total Nacho Libre Moment:
Knocking, we've hit a ton of spanish people, and two older women invited us to sit outside and have a snack, so we did! We ate corn on the cob, with mexican mayo (it has lime in it), salsa, and coke!! hahaha.
   Coolest experience, working at the Bishop's storehouse. Wow. Dad, if you have any people that won’t pay their tithing, have them serve there for a day.
Love you tons! Hopefully you get the letter soon! I’m excited, I know this is where I’m supposed to be, so I’ll do my best until I find out why.

Sister McNeill