Monday, October 29, 2012

Redding is very different

Redding is very different. I like it a lot up here. It reminds me of a mixture of downtown Salt Lake with a little bit of Park City in there and just a touch of Draper. Its nice. Some of the roads are like "wow this could totally be a street in Utah". The only main difference is pretty much all day we smell weed being smoked or harvested. It stinks way bad, oh well.

So my companion is Elder Leithead he has been out for almost one year (he hits it this Saturday). He is from Lovell, Wyoming. The zone has 14 missionaries in it. All elders -- so its been a while since I have been in just an all-elders zone. We live in a four elder apartment. We live in the ghetto of Redding. Its kind of funny. We drive a 2012 Corolla, which is sweet but I miss my truck! Oh well!

There is zero work in the ward which stinks but that is okay we will turn this area around real quick. I had to be on exchanges this week in my own area because there was a Halloween party in our ward and I wanted to meet all my members. It was funny because no one in the ward knew me or my companion from a different ward so they probably thought we were just bums stealing food. Which I guess we kinda were.

Oh there was a scorpion in one of the showers in our apartment. I had no idea they would be all the way up here in  Northern California. That was crazy.

The members are great. Its a pretty young ward so it reminds me a lot of Roseville 9th Ward.

But life is good and I'm having fun. I was asked to speak to our singles branch on Thursday. So I did that. I was nervous but the Lord sent the comforter and I was able to do it. I spoke on Enoch and how he was this amazing man that understood his weaknesses and knew what to do when he needed these things to become strengths. He is legit. But I better go! I love you all!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Photos from Antelope

I received a text and then an email from one of the families in Antelope. (Elder Simons just left the Antelope area to go up to Redding, the northernmost part of the mission). The family emailed these photos to us tonight... nice to see he's still having some fun!  I know its hard for him to leave Antelope, just like it was hard to leave each of the other areas. But I also know his personality and ability to adapt and warm up to people. He will be fine, and he will love his new area after no time at all!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Transfer to Redding!

So I got the package from the Rossettis. But I couldn't answer their call or text because we really aren't allowed to answer area code 801 numbers. So they just met me at the church and that was awesome! Thank you so much for the package!! I truly am going to get a belly. Luckily its almost time for my six month slim down!

Soo big news! I'm getting transferred. All the stinking way up to Redding!! Up there we cover a family ward and YSA branch. I'm really excited and also pretty nervous as well. I don't do too well with transfers and leaving areas. I just fall in love with wherever I serve and don't want to leave. I will miss the wonderful people down here. This place is amazing!

So hopefully I get that other package before i leave tomorrow!

So Redding is on the complete opposite side of the mission. It will be a long drive to get up there but that is where the Lord wants me so i will go!

Our investigator's baptism didn't happen. She hasn't yet been converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will happen with time and through keeping God's commandments. I hope I get to come down and go to her baptism. I can't wait. It will happen though i know it.

This week has been a week where we have had a lot of time to do some finding. We only found 1 new investigator but she is amazing. I can for sure see her getting baptized in a couple months. She is someone who truly feels the Holy Ghost and someone who will truly act on that. She is great!

I love this work! The Gospel is hopefully still true in Redding!! I will tell you next week!

P.S. I'm sorry to hear I'm still causing terror in the house mom! :) [editor's note: that "P.S." is in response to me telling him about being all alone in the house one night, and going downstairs to the basement to put something away. I turned the light on in the guest room, and just about jumped out of my skin when I saw the  full-size cardboard stand-up of Wilson. My heart is still not back to its normal rate yet]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Letter from Gridley member

[This is an email I received just a couple of days ago... it brought a smile to my face as she described the Wilson we know! Also, as a reminder, I try to remove names of recent converts or investigators from the emails...]

Hello Dayna!

It was great getting an email from you!  We did have a great time going to the temple.  I'm so glad that Elder Simons stiil asks for a ride to the temple!! It is such a fun thing to gather some Gridley friends and do that and see him from time to time.  Did he tell you about Sister [...]?  She was so happy to have him there; it really made her first time to the temple more special.  He spent so much time with that couple.  Did he tell you about our picnic dinner on the temple grounds?  We all sat around reminiscing about the fun times and laughing...Elder Simons especially can make us laugh!  After the dinner he took her wheelchair back up to the temple by riding in it.  Yep! That is him!  Fun, fun. 

I hope he will continue to be in areas where he can go to the temple, but chances are, he'll get sent up north somewhere.  The Lake Shasta area would be a new twist, or Paradise (up the road from Chico in the mountains).  I guess we'll see here in a few weeks. 

Elder Simons has a way with people that I don't see in very many missionaries.  You have a great son and we miss him here in Gridley!  I know he's doing great things wherever he goes!

Take care, and thank you for keeping in touch!  I'm sure we'll meet soon!

Seeing God's hand work in people's lives

Thank you for the email yet again mom. It means a lot to have the support of an awesome mother. I feel as the 2,000 strippling warriors felt about their mothers. They did not doubt that their mothers knew the gospel. I'm sure they had this knowledge because their moms lived and taught the gospel in the home. I am eternally grateful for the amazing example you and Dad have set for me in the home. Even when I wasn't always what I was supposed to be you stayed strong and did what the Lord always asks us to do: keep the commandments. So thank you for always doing that. I feel like I'm reaping the blessings from you being obedient. So thank you.

Anyway,[our investigator] is doing good. She is struggling just a little bit. She doesn't know if Joesph Smith was a Prophet. Actually she feels like he was for half of his life. So we are working with that. We are going to be meeting with her everyday till Saturday in hopes of helping her receive her answer for herself. I know that she could receive her answer at any moment. I really hope and pray that she will be baptized this week. I will let you know how it goes and I will send you pictures next week. 

What else happened this week...our truck was acting up so we had to go get it fixed, and when the mechanic guy sat in the car with me while I was driving of course it didn't make the sound. I hate it when that happens. But eventually is made the thumping noise. He then got in the car to take it for a spin and he I was really scared. I casually grabbed onto the handle and slowly slipped
my seat belt on, hopefully he didn't notice. I guess I should have been wearing my seat belt in the first place. 

We are teaching this part-member family and they are coming along slowly but surely. The guy is a less-active member and his girlfriend is the non-member. She has such a great desire to do the things she has to, to get aligned with God's will. It has been a huge testimony strengthener (maybe not a word?) to see herand her progress. I love teaching them and watching them grow. I love seeing God's hand work in peoples' lives. It really is such a blessing to be able to just sit and watch him work. I love it! I love seeing miracles. It strengthens my testimony so much!! 

Thank you for all you do!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conference was amazing!

Its always good to get home after a long time being home Mom.  I feel like I have turned into someone who really enjoys to just be home just hanging out. We will see if that changes when I go home. 
Anyway conference was amazing! I have learned sooo much. The main message that I feel that I got was to prayer harder, listen better, and act quicker. I'm excited to be able to utilize these truths more in my personal life and teaching God's children. I also realized that I need to stop being so judgmental!!  I need to give everyone a chance to have this glorious message of the Gospel. Sometimes I pick and choose who I think will accept the message, but I wasn't called to do that. I was called to preach the gospel to all. That was a big kick in my side on something that I need to improve. 

I loved Jeffrey R Hollands talk on Peter and the other apostles. It was life changing. I always feel like I need to repent after his talks but still I'm drawn to him and how he speaks. I think you hit it on the head Mom, when you said  "He is a powerful, spiritual speaker, and his talks find their way right into my heart and soul. I always go away from it knowing I need to be, and can be a better person".  I feel the same way. The whole time during conference I was just pondering about how anyone who watched conference with a sincere humble heart had to know of a surety that Thomas S Monson was and is a prophet of God. And that everyone else who spoke has been called of God and are His appointed servants. I loved conference so much. Its sad that the next one will be in six months. I don't know if i can wait that long!! I cant wait till we get the Ensign so we can read and read again the plain and simple truths that were spoken of. Elder Bednar's talk really made me think about my personal testimony and conversion. Also the people I'm teaching. It made me think about what is my next step to furthering my personal conversion? What am I doing to get myself closer to God. Ah, I just feel so uplifted. 

Life is good though. I'm having a ton of fun and life is just going by so fast. I don't know how I feel about the changed age for missionaries. I can't decide. It obviously is right though. I do'nt know if I will even notice a difference since I'm out here already. Who knows. 

I love you all though

Here are some pictures for you!

Life-changing feeling

[Editor's note: this is Elder Simons' email from last week... we were out of town, so I wasn't able to post it]

This week was amazing. The highlight was definitely going to the temple with [a re-activated sister from my Gridley days]. I wish I could express the feeling I had while in the temple seeing her go through for her own endowment. Let's just say if the only feeling I had on my mission was that feeling for the whole 2 years it would be all worth it. Seriously that was a life changing feeling and experience. I remember when I first met her, she was kind of like [her husband]. Not really wanting to commit to anything right away. But the Lord worked with her. It was so interesting seeing the spirit work in her and soften her heart, where eventually she had a desire in her heart to come to church and re-find that testimony that was deep within her soul. She is amazing. She had so much joy. On the way to the temple she was getting car sick and she was thinking she couldn't make it, but when she was going through the session she felt great and energetic. It was one of the coolest things I have seen in my life. I truly feel the spirit sustained her and helped her have the energy required to going through the temple session. Now I just have to wait for [her husband] to be ready to go and do his work. Hopefully I stay down south for transfers so I can go to it. 

We had 3 investigators come to church yesterday. That was a miracle. One of our YSA investigators actually bore his testimony. It was so legit. He talked about the scripture where Christ says if they hate you for my sake they hated me first. I don't remember the full thing but he bore the sweetest simplest testimony on that. It was good. 

I'm so excited for General Conference. It will be a revelatory experience for all who listen and watch. If we think about it, the same thing that will be happening this weekend is like Moses being at the Energy Solutions Arena and teaching the Gospel. I'm excited to be able to talk to people this week about that and say something to the effect of if Moses was talking wouldn't you want to listen to him? It is such a blessing we have a prophet, seer and revelator in our day. How blessed are we! I think I often overlook the magnitude of that blessing. He holds the keys of the priesthood of God. He speaks with God and then in turn teaches us God's words. I can't wait. 

I love you all. I love the temple. I love our Prophet. I love God.
I love you!!!