Hello my loveliest family!!
So.... I have a lot I could say right now, as always. So I am going to
give you some quick updates... And then we are going to Oroville to
meet up with our Zone to go on another hike!!!! Last weeks hike to
"bald rock" was such a blast!!!! And this week we're hiking Table
Mountain which supposedly is covered in wildflowers right now! I
cannot wait!!!! But okay for some updates.......
1. We are SO BLESSED right now. We found more GOLDENS!!! Honestly.
Hermana Richards and I have noo idea why we are being so so blessed
right now. So, we decided we needed to finish tracting the apartment
complex where we found Any & Maria... So we did and the FIRST DOOR we
knocked on we found a very nice young man named José. He was
immediately so nice and warm to us and invited us in. He told us he
wanted to listen to our messages but also said, "Let me go grab my
wife!! She'll want to listen too!" Well, turns out his wife had gotten
2 root canals the day before and wasn't feeling her best so he asked
us to come back the next day at 4. So we did and we got to meet his
darling wife, Yolanda. They immediately gave us waters, asked if we
wanted some food, etc. and then we got to know them and started the
lesson!! Well, the lesson was going PERFECTLY and we soon found out
that he doesn't know much about religions in general but she is quite
educated yet said everything exactly how we wanted her too. Her
thoughts were SPOT on and we knew she was golden. Well, we then got to
Joseph Smith and she ended up telling us everything. She is sisters
with Rosalva, one of the Elder's investigators, whom we actually had
dinner with at the Hamblin's earlier this week!! And she used to
attend our church and take the discussions with the Elders about 7
months ago but then had work on Sundays and that's the only reason
things stopped. Then she got married to José only 6 months ago and
right now she is without a job. Which is sad, but GOOD because she can
come to church with us!! And anyways, she said we could not have come
at the more perfect time and she is ready to learn again and so is her
husband. She said it was no coincidence we knocked on her door when we
did and we ended up not being able to finish the lesson, due to time
and we had another appointment, but she said she would explain more to
her husband and even watch the Restoration DVD she has with him!!! SOO
AWESOME!! They are amazing. And they want us to come over for dinner
this week. Even though they have nothing, they still want to feed us.
It is soo nice!!! We are soo happy we found them. And so is Rosalva.
Then the only reason Rosalva and Luis, her husband, aren't married is
because they are waiting for their immigration papers and so if they
get married it will mess it all up. So anyways, they are prime and we
are so lucky to have found them and to start teaching them!! Also, it
was pretty crazy we found them at the first door we knocked at. NOT A
2. Any and Maria are amazing!! They went out of town for the weekend,
so we haven't seen them for a couple of days, but they will be on date
this week and they could not be more perfect!! We went over a few days
in a row last week and it was the best. We helped darling Maria with
her English homework and then would share our message/lesson
afterwards. It was the best!! Any LOVES having us over and even got
teary eyed when we were helping Maria. She appreciates our help soo
much and it is hard on her that she can't help her daughter due to a
language barrier. Also, Maria still isn't fluent in English so we have
to help her as well. Often one of us will be helping Maria and the
other will be teaching Any English though so it works out wonderful. I
love them both sooo much. Maria has completely warmed up to us too, at
first she was super quiet and shy, so I love it!! And Any asked us how
long we think we'll be here and when I said I probably will leave in a
few weeks she got all sad and said, "Ohh no!!! Why didn't you come to
me sooner!?!" And then when we explained that another awesome Hermana
will come she said, "But it won't be the same!!" Haha we JUST MET Any
and she is already so close to us. It's crazy. Relationships on the
mission are unlike anything else. It's amazing how close you can get
to someone SO quickly. Building a relationship through the gospel is
something very special. I cannot even fully describe it. Oh and how
cute is this... When we were having our closing prayer, Any asked
Maria to say it and when Maria asked for help to remember how.. Any
said, "Just like how we prayed together last night" and handed her one
of our pamphlets giving the steps on how we pray. It was sooo cute!!!!
Any also said that she felt soo good and peaceful when they prayed
together. SO AMAZING. They read the pamphlets together too and also,
Maria told us, "I don't have any homework on Friday's so is can do
more bible study with you!!!!" ... We were both like, is this real
life??? They are TOO DARLING & PERFECT. I couldn't be happier or more
excited about them. We should be seeing them at least 5 days this week
too. I love it!!! But I will keep you updated on them!!!! More to
3. Elvira is on date!!!!! She will be getting baptized!!!!
We can't do the 5th because of the Priesthood Session and also she has
something, so we put her on date for the 6th and it is going to be the
BEST DAY!!!! First off, we are going to have GENERAL CONFERENCE all
day, so we will already be extremely spiritually uplifted... Getting
sooo excited and pumped for the baptism.. And then on top of that, it
is the Anniversary or Birthday of the CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!! APRIL
6th!!!!!! Amazing. It couldn't be a more perfect date. SOOO... keep
praying for her so that everything goes as planned. She is honestly
the most precious lady ever and has been progressing soo rapidly.
Crazy too because when we first met with her she told us how much she
loves tea and showed us all her cute tea holders... But when we taught
her the Word of Wisdom she had NO PROBLEM saying she would stop
drinking it all. Including coffee. She said she would stop WITHOUT
HESITATION. It was a miracle. She is just learning, growing and
progressing so much and I know that Heavenly Father along with the
Holy Ghost are helping her so much!!!! More updates on her later.....
And as for Dalia, she is still progressing a ton but we can't get her
on date. She never feels ready enough to have an actual date but we're
working with her!!! She could not be more precious either. Those two
together are two peas in a pod... SO CUTE.
4. The entire Castañeda family came to church yesterday!!! All 6 of
them!!! Including the dad, Mauricio!!! It was the best!!! We have a
bit more to do to work with them but they're progressing and coming
along!!!! It's a little bit slower but I have faith that they will be
baptized soon enough!!! I love that family sooo much.
5. Lorenza has a testimony of everything and even will teach Antonio
lots about what we teach but we still can't get a solid date with her.
They are still having many marriage issues and so it's hard for her to
make any plans right now when her mind is so occupied by their
personal problems. It's hard. But we are praying and working with her.
It's also hard because she works all day, every day, except for
Sunday's and ever night except Saturdays and Sundays, she goes to
English class. She has to for community service hours for the house
they live in because it's government housing. Anyways, I am not going
to go into too much detail but she knows the church is true and knows
she needs to be baptized but she keeps holding back from making things
happen. I'll update you more later... But keep her in your
6. We have many many other investigators right now and honestly are
soo busy each day rushing from lesson to lesson. We are sooo blessed
right now and don't even feel like we deserve it!!!!! Heavenly Father
is truly pouring out blessings to us right now and we cannot express
our gratitude to Him enough. The other day after we met José and
Yolanda, we both were just BEAMING and giddy with excitement and said
we felt almost guilty for how much success we're having and for how
happy we are. Especially when the other missionaries in our district
are kinda in a drought right now. But we are sooo blessed and I
couldn't love what I am doing more. I couldn't love where I am
serving, who I am serving, who I am serving with, and everything more.
I AM SO BLESSED. Also, I know that it may seem like we aren't having
TONS of success because we aren't baptizing every week... But I
promise it's a LOT more than that and in my eyes, we are having more
success and witnessing more miracles than I could even ask for. It's
hard to explain but things are truly WONDERFUL.
7. We had a big branch fiesta the other night and it was sooo much
fun!!! Tons of people came and it overall was a great success. We also
had it outside, by the church, next to an orchard so it was gorgeous
and there was volleyball, a barbecue, etc. it was the best!!! I love
my little branch!!! I wish you could have all been there!!!!!
8. We also went out to dinner with Marcella and Estrella this week!!!
We walked to the restaurant and it was a blast. Love those two more
than words. Estrella is the sweetest, most adorable little girl and we
even made up a dance together on our way back while walking. Haha I
9. We are still LOVING our little Orchard house. Which reminds me...
Abs, I got your letter!!!! First letter I have gotten at my new little
home and I thought the EXACT thing when we started calling our place
the orchard house. "LITTLE WOMEN" has been on my mind a ton!!!!!
Hahaha the other day I even had us listen to the Little Women cd you
sent me as we were driving our of the orchard. AMAZING. Honestly,
there is nothing better and I felt pure bliss!!! Also, the trees and
orchards around us and all over Gridley are blossoming soooo much and
so quickly!!! Everything is blooming and it is GORGEOUS every where
you look!!!!! Also, the trees that are past blooming all have the
brightest green leaves and yeah, it's breathtaking. I have missed
taking pictures of some orchards (due to lack of camera) but I will
try to catch some this week and send them to you!!!!!!! Even if you
just google search almond orchard (such a pretty one) or any type of
fruit/nut really... You can get a taste of the surroundings in my
quaint little town, Gridley. Also, the stars here at night are SOOOO
AMAZING!!!! Sooo so bright and they completely cover the sky. Pretty
much every night when we've been coming home we'll stay outside for a
few minutes and just stare at the sky. I think one night after daily
planning we may take blankets outside and just lay there too. It is
sooo peaceful and gorgeous where we now are. I cannot even describe
it!!!! Also, our neighbors could not be better!!!! Haha we joke that
they stalk us because I am NOT JOKING, every single night when we pull
into our house we get a call from them. Haha every night we get home
they call us about something and usually ask us if we want to come say
hi, have ice cream and just tell them how our day went. It is the
nicest!!!! The couple I used to live with were a little different
(YANDY y YEFF - Hermana Piggott hahahaha) I'll tell you stories in the
future, but so it is soo nice to come home and see the Smith's for a
minute. Also, the fact that Brother Smith is Santa. Kills me. I told
him he needs to come to Utah to be Santa and I'm the future for my
kids and he said he will!!!! He even told his wife about it haha. But
who KNOWS when I will have little darlings soooo we'll see about that.
Also, they want to come to Salt Lake when I am home and do a live
session in the Salt Lake temple. It's on their bucket list. Honestly,
they're our instant best friends. I love them so much. Oh yeah, and
the first day we spent in our home they had us over for biscuits in
the morning (classic) and then took us out to dinner and then had us
over for ice cream and a quick chat once we got home. Then we've
breakfast with them again, they always see if we need a dinner and ice
cream is constantly offered!!!! They really are the sweetest!!!!
Brother Smith also got "MAN OF THE YEAR" so they really are the best.
Haha I can't wait to send pictures!!!! He has a legit Santa beard in
real life. It's classic!!!! You'll meet them in the future too. Cannot
Okay, well I haven't read any of your emails yet but I will on our
drive to the hike!!!!! I cannot wait to hear how you are all doing.
OH!!!! And last thing....
SCOTTY!!!! Joelle is GORGEOUS!!!!! OHHH my goodness. Me and my
companion were just awing over the pictures you sent me. She is
absolutely stunning and from everything I have heard, she seems to be
just as beautiful in the inside!! Excuse my cheesiness haha. But she
seems to just be the cutest, sweetest, most darling girl. I wish I
were able to meet her!!! Send me more pictures will you and tell me
more!? I am so glad she was able to handle the Barth invasion as well.
Hahaha wish I could have witnessed that all firsthand. But really, she
seems SOO awesome and so classy as well. Will you please tell her
hello from me and that I am sad I didn't get to meet her?? I want to
write you a personal letter as well, besides this email, so can you
please send me your address??? I am so happy for you Scooter!!! You
two look sooo good together and just seem to both be completely
smitten. Haha I LOVE IT!!!!!!! I love you and I know I will love
Joelle as well!!!
Okay, I have to really go!!!! I will tell you more later.
I love you all soo very much. ¡ADIOS!
Con mucho mucho amor,
Also, QUICK FUNNY STORY.
So it is super not here right now and I am starting to get tons of
freckles on my face and anyways.... The other day we came home for
lunch and my face was sooo freckly. So anyways, Hermana Richards and I
were talking about it for awhile and she was saying they weren't SUPER
noticeable but then on the way to our next lesson, we ran into this
little 7 year old named CJ. CJ came outside from another apartment
complex and screeeamed, "AHHHH TWINS!!!!" Hahaha and then he said I
was scarier. I asked him WHY and he said, "because you have
FRECKLES!!!" We both bursted out laughing and asked him why freckles
are scary and he said,"I am scared of freckles because they look like
lots of tiny ants." SOOOO I apparently now look like I have tons of
tiny ANTS on my face!!!! So hilarious. I told him they are "kisses
from the sun" .... Hahaha classic.