Malo e lelei, talofa, and hello family and friends!
I'm hoping that this email doesn't decide to suddenly delete itself because I want to actually write a good email for once! So if you're reading this than you know that it worked! Yay! I'm sorry my email sucked last week! Such is life.
On Monday we had transfers! It was a park and clean day which means that we had to stay inside for most of the day and clean the apartment. Ours was pretty clean so we spent most of our day shopping for food, and getting ready for our new companion to come into our area. We also got together with our zone and signed transfers journals (basically a yearbook but for missionaries) it was pretty fun! We headed to transfer after that where we met Sister Sasa! Not going to lie I was/am slightly nervous about being in a trio but Sister Sasa is great and brings a lot of fun and life into our companionship! She is also a beast when it come to sharing the gospel when we tract or street contact which is good because I hate it right now! Later that night we were going to correlation with one of our Ward mission leaders and Sister Sasa went to go kick her water bottle in the street but then she all the sudden her skirt just ripped basically all the way up. It was the greatest thing to witness ever. She then wore a blanket around her during our meeting. Oh my it was the greatest. We now have four hours of studies in the morning! That's crazy! They are all each worth it though! Most days I'm surprised at how focus I can stay when I study but then there are other days where I can't sit still. Who knows but it is so worth it! We went to Kiana's volleyball game on Tuesday night at her high school! That was a lot of fun! It reminded me of being in high school just that short time ago and let me just say I don't miss it at all! Hahaha after her game we went tracting. I am not good at the whole knocking on doors thing. I currently just don't like it one bit and I'm pretty sure that my companions get annoyed with me because I'm so stubborn about it. However humility is key and I have to keep humbling myself to the will of Lord and if he wants me to tract then he wants me to tract! On Wednesday we had another lesson with Cherry. Oh man that was a long lesson. She can talk! We talked to her about the importance of scripture study so that we can receive answers to her prayers and about having purposeful and specific prayers. She didn't realize that she could have specific prayers so we talked to her about that and she was pretty happy about that. Oh my I just love her! That lesson really taught me how to make reading my scriptures better. It's amazing the things that come out of your mouth that ends up probably teaching me more than the investigator. It happens all the day. I guess that just goes to show us that when we serve others we are really serving our selves. I love prayer. I'm not the best at it but I love that I can communicate with my literal father in Heaven about anything and everything that I need to or want to. I love being able to ask for specific things because that shows my faith in him and well as my clear desires of my heart. I love that Heavenly Father answers my prayers when he knows it is best. I'm grateful that I have someone watching over me and has planned my life so that when I ask I can be guided. We have to ask for the things that we need. We have to ask with a sincere desire. Heavenly Father will not just all the sudden help you and give you a miracle because he gave us agency and with that agency we need to use it turn to our father in heaven in prayer and pray with a purpose and specifically for the righteous desires of our hearts. Just try it out and see what happens. Thursday was another pretty slow day but there were a lot of little miracles that happened throughout the day! The first one was that we woke up to a text from one of bishops with a list of names that we should visit because we asked him. That was really good. We texted them all and set up some appointments. After that we were in the lounge where we get internet and we updated our area book app and we got 14 new referrals!!!!! They were from church headquarters but it was crazy! I immediately was like oh my goodness that is an answer to our prayers! We texted them as well and set up some appointments. I was amazed. The church is true. Later that night after dinner we visited some of them. When we knocked at one of there houses a woman answered and said that she didn't know anybody by that name. We got talking to her and she said she was a Christian. We kept talking about church and although she declined us coming and talking to her she did seem interested in coming to church. Who knows what will happen with that but it was cool! We finally got to meet another woman who we have been trying to see for weeks. We set an appt with her. After we had those experiences we had like 15 mins before we had to go home we went and saw one of the referrals. He was a super nice guy. He was a born-again Christian who belongs to a church in San Antonio, Texas. He was so devout about his faith that I'm pretty sure he thought he was preaching to us and telling us things that he believed that he probably thought we didn't know or believe in. The sad part for me was that everything he said was at the basics the same as everything that we believe in. There is just more to it and that other stuff brings forth so much clarity and hope. We left that house by giving them a Book of Mormon and testifying that it goes hand in hand with the bible and with me saying a prayer with them. That was nerve racking but I felt the spirit very strongly as I was talking to him about the Book of Mormon and during my prayer. My only hope is that one day he will see the book and read it for himself. I love the bible. I love the Book of Mormon. I believe they go hand in hand with each other because Heavenly Father loves all his children and because he loves his children he gave all of them another opportunity to hear the words and teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. There is no greater feeling then digging yourself into reading the scriptures and finding answers to your prayers or when we have an aha moment and everything just clicks. I love the strength that it gives me while I am on my mission and the hope it brings to the children of God. Friday was a pretty slow day because of weekly planning. We had a lesson with Steph though and we talked to her about temples. She has the desire to be with her family for eternity. At the end of the lesson Steph committed to getting baptized after she graduates from college in December. It may seem a little far out there but I was a step in the right direction for us and for Steph. We had dinner that night with a family who has a son that is about to get baptized. They wanted us to teach their son the lessons. He was such a little dude but he really understood the gospel. Saturday was a day full of miracles. We started out the day by going to a stake presidency missionary breakfast and that was delicious (mom they had egg casserole like you make for Christmas, it was so good! Not as good of yours of course) then we had another meeting with some of the sisters in our surrounding areas and our sister training leaders. It was pretty nice to not be around elders for our meeting but to hangout with the sisters for a little bit. After that meeting we had a lesson with one of the referrals that we had contacted. Victoria is such a sweet girl. She is a member who went inactive after her parents got a divorce and she had been praying for some guidance in what she should do. She began telling us her story of why she wanted to meet with us and she said that she had been praying for some direction and then miraculously we had texted her afterwards and she felt like that was an answer to her prayers. We started talking to her about the power of prayer and specific prayers and she started to breakdown because she really wanted to go back to church but she knew that her mom wasn't going to be an easy hurdle to get over to get her there. We then told that she had been an answer to our prayer and that we wanted to help her in any way that we could. The power of specific prayers is real. I resonated so much with her and I wanted her to know that sometimes we have to go through the hard stuff to get the easy stuff. With great trial come great reward. We left that lesson with a strengthening of her spirit and duty to God and with a strengthening in my testimony of the blessings of God. After our lesson with Victoria we were supposed to take Cherry to a baptism of some of the elders in our zone but she bailed on us saying that it had been a hard day for her. As we were going back to our apartment to get our dinner from a member we decided to ask her if she wanted a priesthood blessings. She said yes. My heart literally skipped a beat and I was nervous. Especially since we had never talked to her about priesthood blessings before. We explained it over the phone slightly and then called the elders closest to us for their help. We went over there immediately to give her the blessing. It was a powerful experience. Cherry has been going through some hard stuff and she needed the comfort of the Lord. During the blessing she started bawling and then after she said she felt better and at peace. The power of the priesthood doesn't just work on the faithful members of the gospel, it works for any faith in God person that is willingly to act of their faith. It couldn't have been a better experience. I'm so thankful for those elders and their willingness to respond to their call as priesthood holders. After the blessing we had an amazing lesson with Mike. We had the lesson at a members house and it was so spiritual. I can't remember what I have said about Mike but he is a faithful follower of Jesus Christ who is trying to fully come back into the fold again. This time for himself not anyone else. We talked to him about keeping the sabbath day holy, studying the scriptures, and prayer to our Father In Heaven. Mike expressed to us that he had a strong desire to continue to better himself in the things of the gospel. As we testified of the necessity of each of these things in our lives it became clearer and clearer to Mike that he could do it. He could fully come back. After the lesson he told us that it was exactly what he needed and that he was so thankful for us. People like Mike and Victoria make this work worth it. Honestly this week has been really hard. We haven't been the busiest and the work is hard work. It can be super defeating. People don't know how to communicate with others and believe it or not there is still girl drama in the mission field. It never ends. However this week has been full of miracles and testimony strengthening experiences. There is no way that this work would be possible without our savior and our Heavenly Father. Relying on the lord is not a weakness. Saturday night we found out that Sister Sasa was being emergency transferred to another area because a sister was going home because the food here is fake and she is from the Philippines. I was super sad because we were with her for like a day and she was the best. His will be done though. Yesterday we spoke in our other Ward about temples and had another lesson with Cherry. Cherry is so solid I hope everything works out soon so she can get baptized! Our talks went really well, I love the temple. Man I wish I could go there everyday. This week was rough but Heavenly Father is real and I'm grateful for the miracles I have seen in my life this week and the growth. Believe or not I'm changing but for the good this time! 😉
'Ofa Atu, I love you!
Sister Lauren Camilleri