Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lauren's February 2, 2015 E-MAIL - NEW COMPANION



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 Jami!! And Sister Orantes' last night in Berkeley!

 Sister Orantes packing ....?



​My new companion, Sister Smith and me at Victoria's house! Food soooo Good!

Hello Mother and all!

Funny- I didn't even know it was the Superbowl this weekend until someone at church mentioned it. Haha. It's crazy the things the world knows about that you have no idea about as a missionary! But, we get to see tons of miracles happen and lives change that no one else gets to see....and I'd rather have that any day! So nanny nanny boo boo! Just kidding :-)

Well, my new companion is Sister Smith, and she is amazing!!!! I've known her my whole mission because we have both been in the Visitor's Center our whole missions so far, but it's cool to actually be her companion. She is from Wichita, Kansas. And she reminds me a lot of Brittany! She has a very calm yet strong presence but is also really sweet and goofy. Hehe. She's also super competitive and athletic which also reminds me a lot of Brittany! She is like the dodge ball master when we play in the mornings for our exercise as a zone. So we are having tons of fun together!!! And she is going to be an amazing sister trainer!

Well we had some cool experiences this past week! First, we had the most delicious dinner of my life yesterday!!! A member from our ward had her birthday celebration and invited us and her family made the most delicious traditional Mexican food on the planet! It was basically just beans, rice, tacos with chicken, carne asada, chorizo and homemade salsa and such, but it was SO GOOD. And, they made hot dogs wrapped in BACON. It was amazing. Probably because I haven't had a family dinner in a while, but either way it was just so good. Her family is so sweet! They go to the Spanish ward that Sister Smith last served in and the mom is the chef at the mission home. Amazing people and so loving!!! 

We were also able to talk to a lot of neat people and there was one lady we talked to that I'll never forget. We were on Berkeley campus and she and her friend were sitting outside talking and we walked up to them (they were older, like middle-aged). They were super friendly and started asking us a lot of questions about us and our beliefs and what we do as missionaries. So as we were talking we got on the subject of faith, and talked about exercising our faith. And she asked, "Well how in the world do you exercise your faith?" And Sister Smith told her ways we do that - such as praying, reading scriptures, doing to church, and simply trying to follow and be like Christ. And then I added that it all starts with a desire. And for some reason, she thought that that was the most amazing thing she's ever heard. And she said wow....I didn't know that faith was all about having a desire first. And then she was a little sad that she had never learned that before (because she's religious). Then, we read her Alma 32:28, which talks all about this and after talking more about it, it just continued to hit her and she was very emotional! It was such a sweet experience. Near the end of the conversation she told us how grateful she was that we talked to her and that we made her whole day. She accepted a Book of Mormon, and although she didn't accept missionaries to visit, I'm so grateful Heavenly Father lead us to her. It funny because I didn't say much - but I guess that's what she needed to hear at that time. 

Last week we also had a sweet experience in the Visitor's Center with an elderly man who came in who's wife recently passed. He was so torn and emotional and just needed someone to talk to. So Sister Smith and I spend a good amount of time talking with him and listening to his stories and memories of her. Then we showed him Meet the Mormons and it made him feel a lot better. I love the visitor's center! There are too many sweet experiences there that happen that I don't have time to write.

OH YEAH, Elder Andersen visited our mission on Saturday!!! We had a big missionary conference and it was so great to spend time with him and also Elder Maynes. I tell you, we have been so spoiled with all the visits from general authorities recently. And we are getting Elder Oaks in a few weeks for stake conference! Elder Andersen talked to us about how to learn about the Savior through the Book of Mormon, and that it's important that we know the Book of Mormon really well - but especially the parts that talk about His atonement. It was a huge motivator for all of us. I just seriously love when the general authorities come. Every time they do, and we get to see who they are and how they act, I feel like I get to know the Savior more each time. They are all just so loving, funny and down to earth! And they all love their wives and families so much. Elder Andersen's grand kids were up there with him when we was talking with us and it was so fun to see him interact with them. 

Some other updates - T**** (recently got baptized) is doing wonderful and is going to the temple to do baptisms this week!!! And our investigator J*** is also doing wonderful!! We are just seeing so many miracles. We really need to find more people to teach but at the very least we have one awesome investigator and like 10 recent converts who are also wonderful (most of the moved in the ward last year).

Anyways, that's it for this week - sorry that I'm not the best storyteller so forgive me. I just really wish I could convey the awesomeness of all the experiences I've had recently. It's amazing the miracles that happen. I just continue to learn about the reality of Heavenly Father and our Savior. I guess that's the best way to put everything.

Love you all. Have a beautiful week!!!


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