Tuesday, June 2, 2015

6-2-15 Visit to the Newport Beach Temple

Surprise! You get an email from me on a Tuesday!! Haha! Today, my zone got to go to the Newport Beach temple, so our entire Preparation day switched over to Tuesday! It's honestly been kind of strange having pday today and all. Actually working all day yesterday was really weird. Oh well! It's pday now!
Newport Beach California Temple 6-2-15
Newport Beach California Temple 6-2-15
Sisters at Newport Beach California Temple 6-2-15
Sisters at Newport Beach California Temple 6-2-15
We've found a couple new people to teach this week. They're some who show a little bit of potential, so we're pretty stoked to start trying to meet with them more. We're mostly stoked just because the work in this area is SUPER hard to do, and finding people to teach is the hardest part, but we've just been praying and working on that. We're really hoping to see a change in this area soon, and that we'll be able to turn it around. 

Yesterday marked the second day in two weeks that we got locked out of our apartment on accident. Luckily, we have a pretty good relationship with our next door neighbors, and they'll let us climb over their balcony in order to get to ours. It's a good thing that we keep the screen door open, because we cannot afford a locksmith! Haha!

On Monday night, I was trying to remove my sliding closet doors in the hallway of our apartment and accidentally shattered the  ceiling light in our apartment, which caused damage mostly to me. I got a cut on my head and my arm, but nothing serious, so we're all good here! Between me and Sister Saintonge, out first-aid job was kind of shabby. We have a huge box just full of bandaids, but not really any other first aid anything, so we ended up putting like, four bandaids on my arm and tying it with a shopping bag to keep pressure on it, and a Spiderman bandaid on my head. Haha. On Tuesday, I spent all morning with those Spiderman bandaids on my arm and head. It's a good thing I'm a pretty fast healer, because I looked pretty ridiculous.
Spidey Bandaid
Shopping Bag Tourniquet

This has been a pretty awesome week for me and my companion. We've been working pretty hard with our investigator, V****, to prepare her for baptism. We've moved her date up, so her baptism is in less than two weeks! We started freaking out this week because it's the first baptism for both of us, and we don't know how to organize any of it! Haha. We've been checking out what our training manuals have had to say about it and all, but there's not enough info!! Luckily, we have some pretty good members and leaders who are willing to help us organize it, so I feel like everything is going to fall into place pretty soon. Keep V**** in your prayers so that she'll be able to prepare herself for her baptism! 

Well I hope everyone has a good week! I love you all and wish you the best in whatever comes your way!! :) 

5-25-15 Hey y'all!

My brain is kind of fried right now, so I'm not sure how this email is going to turn out... 

This week has been pretty interesting for me. I'm beginning to learn what it's like to do what the Lord wants you to do. This week, the LA Brazil consulate has changed its requirements for a visa, and a little more paperwork was required before they can process my visa application, so needless to say, Brazil has been on my mind a WHOLE LOT. I've been reading out of my Portuguese scriptures and singing "Ide por Todo Mundo" all week long, trying to keep my spirits up about the whole situation. I think all the time about my Training Center friends and how they're doing in Brazil, and I pray for them a whole lot. I'm the only visa waiter in the CA Long Beach mission, so it's pretty tough to keep the spirits up with that all week. 

I've been keeping busy though. There's lots to do as a missionary, so thankfully I'm able to keep my mind off the entire visa thing. This week, we were able to meet with V**** more often.  Let me tell you, V**** is a missionary's DREAM. She is faithful, prayerful, and keeps her commitments (most of the time) she always wants to meet with us and she's super sweet! I am so glad to be here and teaching her and helping her come to Christ. She's had a pretty tough week this week, so it would be good to keep her in your prayers if you'd like. She lost her job on Friday night and has been facing that struggle a bit, but Miracle of miracles, she's still remaining faithful! On Sunday she came to Church and she was able to feel the Spirit there SO STRONG. I felt it there too. I know that everything that was said was said just for her and it was just what she needed to hear and know. She's just amazing. 

This week, not much happened because we were back and forth between our area and the mission offices a whole bunch. We finally smoothed out the car/bike/walking situation and we were able to get our car back after it was in the shop for a while to get a paint job so it's all shiny and brand new. Another day, we found more stuff saying that we need too move out (even though we really don't) of our apartment, so we had to go back and figure that out. Then we left our gate pass for our apartment complex in the other car, so we had to go back and get that! So needless to say, I'm very familiar with the office missionaries, and they're awesome. 

This week we contacted a man who the Elders referred to us. We started talking to him to try to see if we could share a message with him about the Church, but we very soon figured out that he speaks about 5 words of English and that he speaks Italian. So that's frustrating. anyways, we picked up an Italian Book of Mormon at the office and dropped it at his house with our phone number. I don't know what's going to happen next, but God moves in mysterious ways. And I guess that's all I need to know. I don't need to know about my visa or if that man will read the Book of Mormon and call us, but I know that God is preparing him to receive the Gospel one day from someone. 

Well, that's about all I have for this week! Hope all of you are doing well, wherever you are! Have a blessed week!

5-18-15 Hello all!

How has everyone been this week? Mine has been a pretty good one! I made it through my first transfer in the field, so I'm pretty excited about that! This week, I met a lady who lives in our apartment complex who's from Brazil, so I was able to converse with her em Portugues a little bit. That was fun! We've certainly kept busy this week!

So on Tuesday, we had to go to the offices to do a vehicle swap due to the fact that my companion did a little bit of damage to our car concerning the back door and the side of a garage. So we went to swap cars with a couple of Elders who had bikes so we'd be able to get around when our car was in the shop. We felt kind of bad about it, but at the same time, Elders don't have to wear skirts, so we got over it. 

On Tuesday night, we wanted to surprise our ward mission leader and his wife before they got back from a trip to Utah, so we "heart attacked" their front door for his wife and "crashed" his garage door. Pictures will follow, because that's pretty hard to explain. Anyways, we did that at about 8:30 at night, so we felt kind of vandalous and we were praying that nobody would come along and call the cops on us (even though we weren't doing anything wrong, we just looked kind of suspicious.)
Heart Attack on Front Door

Heart Attack on Garage Door
On Wednesday, we had our last zone meeting of the transfer, where we made up a vision for the next transfer and what we wanted to work on for the next six weeks. We came up with "HB (Huntington Beach) Quality Culture. Our new motto is "In HB we do hard things." Which is true. Missionary work is hard, but it's totally worth it. I love the things we get to do as missionaries. When else can you just talk to random people on the streets about Jesus and religion. People look at us like we're crazy, but it's just part of the job! 
Zone Meeting 5-13-15
Friday, we had a specialized meeting for just the sister missionaries. That was pretty nice I guess. We talked about how we should be doing our hair and makeup and dressing, so that was pretty boring. After that there were different trainings about how to control stress and how to be a great missionary pretty much. One sister told us about her conversion story and how Heavenly Father has helped her out of her bad family life and other situations. I was also able to see Sister Magleby, Sister Taylor, and Sister Reisewitz (the other visa waiters)for the last time that day. All three of them received their visas and were able to fly out to Brazil sometime yesterday and today. It was pretty bittersweet, but I can deal with that. I get to stay in California for another transfer and work with the amazing people I've met here, which I'm totally pumped about!
Visa waiters 5-15-15
Saturday was pretty frustrating. On Friday, we had anticipated having our car back, so we switched back with the Elders, but when we got to the office, our car wasn't there, so we were without a car. We borrowed some bikes from a couple of sisters in the zone, so we thought we were okay. Fast forward to Saturday morning. We finish studies and get ready to leave, helmets on, skirts tied, we're ready to go! One little problem: Sister Saintonge cannot ride a bike. We weren't able to get anywhere, so we just went back inside the complex to let her practice a bit. Going back out, we were on our way to an appointment with the ward mission leader, and we were doing pretty well. We made it a couple of blocks down the street and suddenly, Sister Saintonge hits a light pole on the street. After ensuring that she was okay, we continued on to our appointment. However, now Sister Saintonge no longer wants to ride, so she just decided to walk with the bike on her side. I stayed a little in front the whole time riding along. It was a hot day, so it wasn't the best bike ride in the world, but it was more enjoyable than a walk (and much more enjoyable than walking with a bike!) The whole time, I just thought of how nice the wind felt and how fun it is to ride a bike instead of sit in a car, and it worked pretty well to change my attitude. We finally made it to the mission leader's home, covered in sweat and with helmet hair, but we made it!

Yesterday, I was so excited to go to church because we were visited by Bishop Causse of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's French, so Sister Saintonge was pretty excited about it too. When he walked up to shake our hands, she just started spouting off French to him and he just went along with it. At the end of their conversation, he turns to me and says, "She speaks very good French!" and went on his way. So that was pretty fun. He gave a very nice talk in sacrament meeting about his call to one of the Quorums of the 70 and how he and his family reacted to it. He explained the difference between sacrifice and consecration and how we should try to consecrate our lives to Christ and His cause. I really enjoyed his talk. 

Last night I saw a huge duck. Pictures will follow. 

Huge Duck
I hope you all have a great week! If anyone needs a little Lift for the week, check out this video about how service can help us become better people!

Love you all! Have a great week this week!

5-11-15 Happy Late Mother's Day!

So first of all... Happy Late Mother's Day! I had a great day yesterday! I got to talk with my family for a little bit and see how they're doing! It was really fun to get to see them face to face and talk with them for the time that I had for that. 

Screenshot from Mother's Day Skype call
This week was a pretty abnormal one... We were at service with the assisted living home three times this week. On Tuesday, we helped decorate and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some thrilling rounds of Bingo and with some delicious enchiladas. Thursday was strictly Bingo and strictly business with it as usual. One of the residents is very particular about her boards and where they are kept, and she usually likes to collect the boards of whoever won the most games that one day. On Friday, we helped celebrate Mother's Day with a Mother's Day tea. There was pineapple upside down cake, cookies, and about 20 different types of tea. I chose a non-caffeinated herbal Peach Tea that was absolutely disgusting. I never want to taste that ever again. Haha!

One of our investigators set a baptismal date this week! Her name is V**** and she is AWESOME. Our first lesson, she agreed to be baptized and we had a baptismal date for her next month. Also, we taught her about the Word of Wisdom on Monday, and she's been trying her hardest to keep it so that she can get baptized as soon as possible. On Friday, we took her on a tour of the local meeting house to show her around and all of the things inside. We showed her the baptismal font where she'll be baptized and also the rooms where we have sacrament meeting, Sunday School, and other church meetings. She's the sweetest, and I love her to death.

So I've finished 12 weeks, or 3 months. How crazy is that? I feel like it's been way shorter and way longer than that at the same time. Who know's what will happen in the next 15 months? I don't! Except for a whole lot of WORK. Haha! 

Well, that's all for today. Hope that you all have a great week and that everything you need to do happens. I know sometimes as a missionary, plans can change in a matter of minutes and our entire day can be flipped around. Sometimes, things just don't work out, but you never know what good you can do if you're able to postpone or delay things you want to help others. I hope that your week is great this week and that you always remember Christ and the things he's done for us!

Have a great week!

So I got this message today: 

Glad to know that they're working diligently to get me my visa. Meanwhile the tally is:
-Elder Roundy
-Elder Shipp
-Elder Raitani
-Elder Brand
-Sister Pilcher
-Sister Magleby
-Sister Taylor
All have their visas.

5-4-15 Investigators, Priuses and Visas

Hello Everybody!

Not sure what to say about this week! It was kind of a huge blur from Monday to Sunday! Haha! Maybe I can think of something before my email time is over! 

So We've still been meeting with our investigator, D***. he's still interested and wanting to take the lessons, but he wasn't able to make it to church this week. Keep him in your prayers! He'll need them!

We got a new investigator this week! Her name is V**** and she's as ready as you could be to receive the gospel! She is friends with a recent convert for our church and she has been talking with him a lot about it. After we left her house, she sent her son to come give us cupcakes! We're going to be teaching her tonight and we're probably going to set a date for a baptism! I'm really excited about it and I can't wait to see where this goes!

The other day, Sister Saintonge and I noticed a LOT of Toyota Priuses around Huntington Beach, so we decided to start counting how many of them we could find in one evening. Between 6:00 and 9:00, we found 40 different Priuses in Huntington Beach. That's so many. I don't know why there are so many, or why people in Huntington Beach even like Priuses, but that's not my business I guess. Haha. ( I don't know why I thought that would be a funny story. Goes to show how dull the week was.)

So the latest VISA news is that I don't have one, but four of the people from my MTC district now have theirs, I suppose mine will be along any time now! 

So I hope everybody has a great week! I'll just be livin it up here in Huntington Beach this week! Haha! 

Love you all! 

4-27-15 Exchanges, Packages, and Bed Rest!

Hey Y'all!
This week was not the most exciting week in the mission as far as fun stories... As far as anything that happened last week, we figured out that our apartment was foreclosed, so we'll probably be moving out of there soon, so that's kind of exciting and sad at the same time. We've got about two months left there.

So as of last night, I've had two dreams that I've gotten my visa, and needless to say, I don't have very prophetic dreams.... Haha, BUT since I've gotten here, Sister Jones (one of the Sister Training Leaders from my MTC zone who came to the Long Beach mission with us) has gotten her visa and she's going to leave for Curitiba Brazil on May 11!

Here in [Huntington Beach], Sister Saintonge and I have our first progressing investigator! It's so exciting to us because the work here is SO HARD! But our investigator, D***, is 13 years old and is kind of studying all types of religion. Some Elders found him and taught him The Restoration lesson and got him reading the Book of Mormon and got a return appointment, but he's in our area so we started teaching him! He is almost as Golden (ready for the Gospel) as an investigator could be! With the exception of a baptismal date, he has kept like, all of the commitments, came to ALL 3 HOURS of church PLUS a youth picnic at the Newport Beach temple! It was so cool, when we checked up on him afterwards, he said that it was great, he loved it, and that he was coming to mutual on Wednesday! (Did I mention he's pretty golden?) so we're going to keep working with him to try to get him baptized.

It's been a pretty good week considering that it's probably been the one with the least amount of work I've done. Sister Saintonge has been sick all week long, and so we've spent a considerable amount of time inside and not out as much as we could be. We've spent some time inside so she could try to nap and heal while I look through our area book and watch Bible Videos and the District and clean the apartment. However, we've been able to continue teaching and with my excellent knowledge of cold medicines (can you tell I'm joking? because I kind of am, even if it did a whole lot better than if she did that alone), we've been able to have her feeling better.

I felt like the most special missionary in the world when I got 3 whole packages this week! Nothing makes a missionary feel better and happier than getting a package! I always feel so loved when that happens!

We had my first mission exchange this week! That was pretty exciting! Sister Saintonge and I got to go and spend a day with the Sister Training Leaders and work in their area. That is pretty fun whenever you get to see how other missionaries work and how you can adapt their methods to your needs of your individual area. It's really a great experience to participate in!

If you're feeling down this week, put a little bit of Jesus in your heart! I know that he uplifts me whenever I feel like life is hard to handle. If you want a little bit of uplifting, go read a little bit about Jesus and strengthen your faith in Him! He can always make you feel better and happier!

I hope everyone is doing well and having a great week! I love all of you! Have a wonderful Monday and stay safe!

Sister Holly Denton

"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." D&C 64:33
Made a new friend while we were out last week. This cat just came up and started meowing at us until we pet it and played with it, and then it just followed us around

Today I concluded that Albertsons makes really creepy truck ads.

Another beautiful Cali sunset

I left the apartment without my regular name tag, but luckily I have this pocket protector tag that I keep on my scriptures! Sister Saintonge didn't want to be seen with me with a tag like that, so she promptly took me back to the apartment to get my regular tag.

So I had a little fun with my marshmallow shooter and Sister Saintonge's hair

Sister Saintonge (my Canadian Companion) made me poutine this week! It's fries with gravy and cheese curds! It was pretty good!