Sista in VistaGreetings from Vista, CA, Where I am currently wearing short sleeves and loving my life. :)
Yet again, I find myself in a trio! How does this happen? I don't know. We are the only trio in the mission right now! My companions are Sister Halling (who trained my trainer... weird, right?) and Sister Lemon, who is in her second transfer of training. They are the greatest! I'm the misplaced middle child in the relationship, but we're having a grand ol' time anyway, living it up in Vista.
We cover two wards, a family ward and a YSA ward. It's a little bit overwhelming, but also the awesomest of awesomes. I love both wards so much already!
So, we've already had so many adventures, I can't begin to explain them. But I have to tell you about two experiences I've had this week that have made it unforgettable.
1. It all started when our family ward had Temple Night. Someone wrote it on our dinner calendar, and then nobody signed up for dinner. We were bummed, but kept hope alive by deciding to eat at Souplantation (a first time for me). We went in and ate our salads, then a round of soup. Sister Lemon was in desperate need of some macaroni and cheese, so we all went up to get her some (staying within sight and sound of each other) and were stopped by a huge man in a Stetson and a pair of Wranglers.
"Hey sisters, how are ya?" he said while I stared at the selection of breads.
"Oh, we're great!" I said, looking to my companions. Was this a member of our ward that I hadn't met? Blank stares met mine.
Well, before I could get sufficiently creeped out, he explained who he was. His name is Mick and he's a member of the church who lives down in San Diego. He hosts a tent sale of cars all over, and was currently hosting one in a Walmart parking lot in our area. We talked and he gave us two gift cards to Souplantation.
And he said, "hey, I've got a couple of people who work from me that want to hear about the gospel. I'll give you my number and you sisters call me tomorrow and I'll give you their information."
A referral? At Souplantation? Heck yeah! We finished our desserts and then he came over to our table and gave us a summary of his life: his time in the Navy, his conversion to the church, how he met his wife and how many kids he has (6). Then he gave us two names, a mother and son, and his phone number, along with a list of recent callings he's held in case we needed to do a background check. ;)
And then he left (after doing a great John Wayne impersonation) and then a waitress came up and gave us three free meal passes for Souplantation! So now we have five free meals and a random referral.
Needless to say, that was fantastic.
2. We had a really really really great zone training meeting yesterday. My companion is a sister training leader, so she and the zone leaders worked together to plan it on the best theme ever: find, teach, baptize. That is (or should be) every missionary's motto. They asked me to give a talk on the Atonement, so I scribbled something out that morning before the meeting started. It was so fun! The first two trainings were great, then we all filed into the Relief Society room for a mock baptism. I gave my talk and felt the Spirit burning in my chest as I had the opportunity to testify of the cleansing power of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It might not have been a perfect talk or a real baptism, but we all felt so good basking in the presence of the Spirit. We talked about bringing that same spirit into every baptism, and the power that it has to change the hearts of everyone in the room. If everyone brought a friend to a baptisimal service where the Spirit was so present, so many people would enter the waters of baptism. I know it! Baptisms are a wonderful opportunity to support someone who is making that decision to covenant with God and to be influenced by His spirit for good.
We've done so much this week, from eating fresh persimmons and figs from the mini-orchard in our own backyard (graciously allowed by the members we live with) to attending a rowdy game of scatterball at our YSA ward's Family Home Evening (imagine dodgeball, but crazier). We've met so many people this week and had such a fantastic time doing it.
Somehow, I'm even adjusting to running up hills every morning!
Vista is amazing. Saying my goodbyes to French Valley was hard, and I will miss the people there so so very much, but I know that being a missionary is about doing the best you can where you are planted, and being willing to adapt when you are moved again.
If I could challenge you to do one thing, that would be to take time to feel the Spirit this week. The Spirit of God is a blessing that we can all access, some in more fullness than others. Baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are entitled to the presence of the Spirit in every moment of their lives, if they are living worthy of that presence.
There is no feeling more compelling, more sweet, or more encompassing than the Spirit. It reminds us that God loves us; it gives us confidence to do difficult things; it testifies of truth and softens the heart. No servant of God can go without it.
If you take time to seek out the Spirit this week, I promise that the Lord will bless you. Maybe you will receive the answer to a question you've been seeking. Maybe you'll receive that boost of confidence you need to complete your daily tasks. Maybe you'll be filled with His love for you and find solace you didn't know you'd been searching for.
I love you all so much. I would love to hear about experiences you have where you took time to feel the Spirit. I know that I'll be doing my best to do the same. Who knows, maybe I'll have more miracles to share with you next week because of it!
P. S. Here is a pig on a leash. In case you were wondering what goes on in Vista.