Monday, May 29, 2017

Week Seventy-Three: Last Transfer

Area: Delano Ward
Companion: Hermana Galvez

This week was really good. We have been seeing a lot of miracles in our area and we have really been enjoying our time here in Delano. I can't believe our first transfer here in Delano has already come and gone! It has been a blast and things are going great. Big news of the week: Hermana Galvez and I are still going to be serving here. . . but we are also going to get a new companion. We don't know her name yet because I am going to be training again! It was super weird to get the call to train for my last six weeks, but I am super excited and I am grateful that I am going to be able to stay with Hermana Galvez, too!

This week was so hot! It has just been starting to get SUPER hot in the mission. I feel like I am sweating all of the time, but it it all okay! I am wearing sunscreen and trying to keep in the shade when I can.

This week, we have seen a lot of miracles with our investigators this week. For one, we had a missionary activity with the ward. We have been planning it within our district for the entire transfer, but we did a really bad job with the publicity because we had Stake Conference last week and we couldn't announce it over the pulpit. We have been working with word of mouth to try and get everyone to come. When the activity started, there wasn't anybody there and I thought that we were going to be sitting around all night long. We had decided to do a "Minute to Win It" type thing and all of the missionary companionships were in charge of a little game. We had all of our stuff set up and it wasn't until about 15 minutes later that people showed up. After that, it was a really fun activity. We were able to have a lot of people from the ward come and two of the families that we are teaching came as well. They had a lot of fun and it was really nice to see!

On Saturday, we learned that one of our investigators that we have been working with, Eliceo, just came back into town. He told us a couple of weeks ago that he was going to go to Los Angeles for a day or two to get some stuff taken care of with the court. We called him on the first day that he was down there and he said that he was staying with his sister and that he would probably be back in the next couple of days and that we should call him the next day to see when he was coming back. Thus began the phone chase that continued until Saturday. Every single day he told us that he was coming back in the next couple of days. We got so desperate to teach him again that we started teaching him over the phone some days. When we finally saw him on Saturday, I could hardly believe that he was actually there! We were able to teach him a little lesson and invite him to a baptism that was happening in the area.

The baptism on Saturday was really nice because there were a lot of people there. We invited one of the families that we have been working with and they came and enjoyed it. It was nice to see them there and to help them to learn about the importance of baptism. We have been seeing a lot of progress in the area and we are super excited about all of the people that we are working with.

I can't believe that I am getting ready to start my last transfer in the mission. It seems almost unreal that the time has gone by so fast! I am super excited that I am getting to stay here in Delano during my last couple of weeks in the mission and that I get to see the end of all of our work here! I am super hyped to be out here in California and to see everything that is going on. I love being a missionary and serving the Lord!

Hermana Blau

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week Seventy-Two: A Doozy of a Week

Area: Delano Ward
Companion: Hermana Galvez

Oh boy! This week was a doozy. We worked really hard and we were able to see some miracles as a result. It was really cool (even though it is starting to get really hot here!). Things are going well and we are having some success here in Delano.

Like I said, it has been getting really hot the past couple of days. We have been spoiled by an unseasonably wet and cool spring, but summer is now coming on with a vengeance and it has been really, really hot! For some reason, a lot of people here in Delano don't have air conditioning. It has been the struggle of life. Every time we step outside of the door, we start to sweat and we don't stop until we get back in our house at night. Even with all of the sweat, the heat is nice because everyone is outside their houses and we are able to talk to a lot of people!

Last week, we had exchanges and one of the things that they suggested that we could do in our area was to look for more opportunities to do service. We have been wondering for a while what we can do to help out the community, so we set aside a morning to go on a service hunt. We went to the city hall and the Chamber of Commerce to get some ideas for places that we could help out at. They gave us a long list of phone numbers to call and we made every attempt possible and we were still not having any success. In the end, we decided to go to funeral homes and hospitals in the area and put our names down as clergy that people could call on if they needed help. Hopefully, all of our hard work will pay off and someone will call us back to let us come and help them! :)

We have been working with a family that the elders were teaching for a while. The husband has been taught everything and the only thing that he needs to be able to get baptized is to be married. We have been working on that for the entire transfer and we have finally been having some success with getting the wife on board. This Wednesday, we went with them to talk to the Bishop about what they needed to do to get a marriage license and how the marriage ceremony is going to be. Hopefully, they will be able to get the license this week and they can get married soon after. It has been really cool to see them working towards their goal!

Something a little creepy has been happening to us recently here. A lot of the people that we have been talking to on the street have been saying that they have talked to missionaries in the past couple of weeks. They are tall and have white shirts, ties, our name tags. They also say that they speak Spanish and they ride on bikes. All of the people that we have talked to have been super specific about all of the details and they all match up. The only problem is that there haven't been any missionaries that match that description for the past couple of months. We have talked to the other missionaries in the area, and they also say that they have heard people talking about the same missionaries in their areas. We don't know what has been going on, but we are conducting a low key investigation. Mission drama!

This week at church was really nice. A couple of the families that we have been working with were able to come to church and afterwards, we were able to do a small church tour. It was really spiritual and I feel like it helped our investigators have a renewed desire to come to church and feel the spirit there!

That is just about it for the week! It has been a really good one! I love being a missionary and seeing all of the miracles that the Lord gives in the work out here in California. I know that the church is true and that this truly is the gospel of Jesus Christ! I love teaching and learning all the time! I hope that you all have a good week and that all goes well for you!

Hermana Blau

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week Seventy-One: Blast from the Past

Area: Delano Ward
Companion: Hermana Galvez

This week was really good! We were able to see lots of miracles and we had a lot of fun! To top it all off, we got to call home, which always such a joy! I love my family and I love that I can be with them forever!

We started out the week with a surprise. . . facials with a less-active member of the ward. We have been going over to see her for a while and she loves that there are sister missionaries here in Delano. She always calls us the "Mormon Girls" and she told us that she wanted us to feel at home here. She owns a spa in town and she told us to come by last p-day. When we did, she told us that she was going to give us free facials. I guess she saw that our skin was terrible (at least on my part haha). She gave us super intense, hour-long facials and now my skin feels super soft!

On Monday night, we had a nice experience where we were in an area and a couple of our appointments fell through in a row. We were wondering what we should do and we decided to say a prayer and to follow the spirit. When we did, we felt like we needed to go and visit the house of a family that we have been teaching for a while. When we got to the house, it was already 8:45, but we felt like we needed to be there and so we went in. The father of the family started talking to us really openly about all of his doubts and how he wanted to be baptized, but that he wanted to be sure before he took the step. We were able to talk to him and share some scriptures that helped him to work through his feelings an we felt the spirit testify. It was a really nice experience and it helped me to learn that if I follow the promptings of the spirit, I will be led to where I really need to be!

On Tuesday to Wednesday, we had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders. It was super fun! They are now in Buena Vista in my old area, so it was also fun to take a trip down memory lane and visit some my old stomping grounds. :) I was with Hermana Dye. She is super cute and a wonderful missionary. It was a little strange going on an exchange and not being the one leading it, but I really liked it! I was able to get a lot of feedback on my missionary work and some tips about how I can improve. The most exciting part of the exchange happened on Tuesday night. Hermana Dye had planned to visit an family of formers that I had taught when I was there last year. I wasn't sure if they would remember me, but when the mother opened the door, she was super surprised that I was there and gave me a big hug. She invited us in and gave us dinner and dessert! It was really nice to see them again and to get to help them to start learning from the missionaries one more time!

On Monday night, we got a call from a member of the ward saying that her daughter and her daughter's friend had just gotten back from BYU and that they wanted to go out with us. We planned to go out with them on Wednesday night and we had a couple of adventures. We had a lot of appointments, so we planned to go out in splits. I went with Elise, the daughter of the member. It was super fun to go out and work with her. Our appointment for the night wasn't home, so we tried to visit another investigator that we hadn't seen in a little while. We were able to talk to her family. When we were heading back to the car, there was a man watering his lawn while his son was playing with a go-kart in the yard. We talked to the man for a while when we heard a giant crash, a car alarm, and a little kid crying. The dad ran off and we saw him walking back with his son, who had crashed his go-kart into a car. They went off to the hospital. Don't worry, we saw the little kid the next day and he had a little bandage on his eye, but he seemed happy and healthy!

We are still working with our investigators and we have been making breakthroughs with a couple of them. We have been working with a couple who is only needs to get married so that they can be baptized. We have been having good lessons with them and they are just about to get the marriage license. We don't know if they will be married right now because they only have a week or two before they temporarily move up north to work in the strawberries, but they are working on it!

I love being a missionary and being here on my mission! I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week Seventy: Mission Chismosa

Area: Delano Ward
Companion: Hermana Galvez

This week was really fast and we were able to work hard and teach a lot of people. It was a pretty normal week, but we were able to see some miracles.

This week, the weather was super crazy. At the beginning of the week, it was SUPER hot. Hermana Galvez has been trying to teach my how to read the temperature in Celsius, so this week I learned that 44 degrees is really hot. Later in the week, it was super cold. I don't know why the weather has been going through such strange changes, but it is always a exciting surprise to see what the next day has in store!

The other week, I was spending some time snooping through the area book and I found a name that was recurring through a lot of the records, a man named Eliseo. On a lot of the progress reports, it said that he was preparing for baptism, so I thought that he had been baptized and I hadn't seen him in the ward. However, I was looking through the ward directory and I couldn't find his name. To my further surprise, when we went to the baptism last Saturday, I found a baptismal program that had his name on it, but nobody knew who he was. Over the course of my mission, I have become a chismosa on the mission and so I decided to do some more investigating and I found his phone number. When we went over to his house, he was a cute little old man who talked and talked to us about the corruption in the fields and how he loves to learn about psychology and read people's body language. We came back, and he had studied the pamphlet that we left him and took extensive notes about it. He is so funny. He says that he didn't get baptized the last time because he didn't like his fellowshipper and thought that he was running the Delano mafia. We told him that the member moved away from Delano and that he didn't come to church with us anymore. Then, he said that we are his only friends in the entire town and that he trusted us. He even took us out to eat at McDonalds the other day. He is a super strange, but super cute, old man!

It was Cinco de Mayo this weekend and the people here in Delano go all out! There was a giant parade and everyone was having parties. There was also a huge fair that came to town. We went outside of the gate one day to hand out cards to people as they were going to and from the fair grounds. That was pretty cool. As we were leaving, I felt something go into my ear. It sounded like a giant fly had gone inside and I could feel the little wings flying around, but we were already late to the dinner with our member, so I couldn't do anything about it. Hermana Galvez tried to see if she could see the fly, but she couldn't and there was no way to get it out. The entire way to the dinner, I am pretty sure that I looked like a crazy person because anytime that the fly started buzzing, I started twitching. It was one of the most uncomfortable car rides of my life! When we got to the member's house, Hermana Galvez and I flushed the fly out with some water. It sounded giant, but it was actually super tiny. I am pretty sure that the member was a little freaked out.

On Sunday, we were walking around trying to talk to people and everyone was pretty uninterested. Hermana Galvez asked me where all of the prepared people in the city were and how we could find them and I jokingly replied that we were going to find a prepared family of three that afternoon. After that, the first person we talked to let us into her house. She told us that she had been to our church that morning. We thought that she was a member and felt super bad for not knowing who she was. She told us that she and her three children (two baptismal age) had never been baptized but had been attending church off and on for the last three years. We were able to talk to her for a little bit and she gave us some lemonade and let us sit inside her cool house. It was really nice. We aren't sure if she is being taught by the English elders or not, but it was a really nice surprise to be able to see that there really are prepared people waiting in all places and at all times.

Also, all week long, we have been thinking about going to a little place in our area named Richgrove. We didn't know anything about it, but we have heard that there were a lot of Spanish speaking people there. In the past, I have been disappointed by the little places that I have gone to on the outskirts of my areas, but I was determined to go and see this one. We went last night, and it was the cutest place that I have ever been to! It was just a little place in the middle of the grape fields. Everyone that we talked to there was so cute and we were able to teach some people! I love little towns!

That is pretty much it for the week. We have been able to teach some cool people and I know that I am serving the Lord in his way. I am so happy to be a missionary and I love the gospel! I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week Sixty-Nine: The Work Goes On!

Area: Delano Ward
Companion: Hermana Galvez

This week was super cool! We were able to see so many miracles and to have so many adventures! I love being a missionary here and being able to share the gospel to the people of this area. It feels like such a blessing.

We had one of our adventures on Tuesday afternoon. We were going to go check on one of our investigators when we noticed that someone had cut down a giant palm tree and was trying to get it out of the road. We decided to ask if they needed any help. When we got near, the man who was cleaning up the tree told us that he was okay and didn't need any help. Then, he warned us to watch out for the baby owl that was under a nearby car. We went to look and there really was  a poor, helpless owl that had fallen out from it's nest in the palm tree when they cut it down. We were worried for the owl and asked the man if we could use his phone to find the number for animal control. We tried to call them, but they were closed for the night. We didn't know what to do, so we tried to ask the man for help. He didn't really know what to do either. We had an appointment, so we had to go, but as we were walking away the man asked us if we were from the area. We said that we weren't. Then, he asked us if we had seen McFarland USA. We said that we had. He told us that he was one of the real life runners from the movie. I should have known that I would been meeting film stars when I got my mission call to southern California! :)

McFarland USA!!!
We came back later that night to see another investigator who lived on the street and we checked to see if the baby owl was still there. It was, so we decided to attempt to move it to the bushes so it would have a better chance of not being eaten by cats. After a couple of minutes, we were able to trap it under my jacket and safely move it to the bushes on the side of the street. What an adventure!

We had Zone Conference on Wednesday with all of the zones in all of Bakersfield. It was really fun to be able to go and see everyone! I saw Hermana Luquette and she told me about all that was going on in Arvin. Also, we were able to learn a lot about the Book of Mormon and how to be more effective missionaries. I love learning from President Layton. He is truly an inspired man! When I go to conferences like that, it makes me realize how much I have left to learn even as I near the end of my mission.
Our district
When we came back from Zone Conference, we went to a lesson with a part-member family. The only member in the family is the less-active mother and they have been visited by missionaries off and on for the past sixteen years. We have had a couple of lessons with the husband since we have been here, but we weren't really expecting for anything exciting to happen. When we went over the lesson, we talked to the husband. Really, he talked to us for about an hour of all the things that have happened in his life. His son recently died and the family has been through a lot of trials in the past couple of years. By the end of the lesson, he was telling us that he wanted all of his family to get baptized and to go to the temple to get baptized for his son. The spirit was super strong! On Sunday, him and his entire family came to church! It was amazing to see. We are super excited to keep teaching them in the future.
The halo factory. Everyone in Delano works here.
This weekend, there was a baptism in the ward and all of the missionaries did a special musical number. I always love seeing baptisms and there was a sweet spirit there. I know that this church is true and that it does bless individuals and families. There is such a special spirit in missionary work and I love seeing how we can bless people's lives.

That is pretty much it for the week. We have been keeping busy and trying to keep cool. The summer is coming and it is starting to heat up a lot. I love talking to the people and getting to know their needs. The work goes on! I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Driving to Zone Conference