Life is good in Fremont!! Kristen asked what exactly we do here so here goes. Elder McDonald is doing amazingly well with his sign language! Me, not so much. I just can't find the motivation to study or learn it. I can recognize more and more words however, so maybe as we get more steady in the mission, that motivation will come. Once a week, the ASL Elders come for an hour and give him a lesson. Right now, we study (probably not as much as we should but we're working on it). I'm reading Jesus the Christ and studying our Preach My Gospel Handbook. We visit YSA, attend some of their activities and visit members of the ward as directed by the ward council.
At our last zone training meeting (we're learning all kinds of acronyms: ZTM, ZC, STEPP, DL, ZL, ABC'S, ETC.) we brainstormed things we could do to find more investigators. Our goal is to hit Fabulous 40 (baptisms by June); so far we have 6. It's going to take a lot of finding and help from the ward members to get close. It was suggested that each time we find an investigator, that we send a group text #fireinfremont to light the fire under each one of us to be bold and open our mouths. We're learning quickly the importance of member involvement both in finding and retaining our new members.
Last week, we went to the Family History Center to get some information on how to use this as a tool in Missionary Work. President Perry (our Stake President) suggested having "Ancestor" parties and inviting member and non-members over to your house, supply pizza and have them bring their laptops and the name of one of their ancestors with all the information they have on that ancestor (birthdate, place, marriage date,place, death date, place, etc.) If people are already members of the church, they can use Family Search, Ancestry for free. They just need to have their member number (on their temple recommend or you can ask the ward clerk). If they are non-members, it might be worth it to find a family history center that has computers set up (and people who can help) so they can get on the websites for free.
While we were there, we met a consultant that asked where we were serving and when we told her Central Park Ward, she said her daughter lived there, was less active but had a daughter attending activity days and wanted to go to church on Easter so she could sing "Gethsemane" with her friends. She didn't know where the church was or what time so we took some cookies over with a little card filled with the information. We gave her name to the full-time missionaries (oh wait, that's what we are!) to see what they could do.
Tuesday night, I did not want to cook and we were running some errands so we stopped for dinner at P. F. Changs. We met a cute server named Jasmine that did not attend church but was raised Catholic. We invited her to come to Institute and sadly she had a date the next night but has agreed to come and bring her sister this Wednesday. (#FireinFremont) I don't know if anything will come but it was pretty exciting. Elder Clark asked if she realized she was going to find "a whole new world". He'd been dying to say that for a few days. It took me a little while to figure out his joke.
We had our first Zone Conference on Thursday. We drove up with the Elders to Pleasanton for the meetings and to get their cars inspected. We're in kind of a mess because Elder Watson has lost his driving privileges for the rest of his mission and Elder Clark has hurt his foot quite badly playing basketball so he is now wearing a boot and cannot drive. However, the meetings were incredible, Elder McDonald and I had to do role playing (luckily President Mella had us act like investigators) and we got to see a sneak preview of the #PrinceofPeace video that is the Church's new Easter Campaign, similar to the #lightuptheworld at Christmas. The video is only 2 minutes long but as usual beautifully done and quite breathtaking. I can''t wait to see it again and it is designed to be shared on social media. There will be additional videos each day the week before Easter. It will be magnificent!
Friday we went for our first service project helping at the Tri-Cities Foodbank/Thrift Store. Fridays we'll be helping to sort and price the new donations, the proceeds from which go to the Foodbank. Kaiser Permanente Hospital donates their leftover food and I believe a few other organizations do also. Every day they have volunteers go around the warehouse and fill grocery carts with certain items and then the "clients" come and pick them up. They prepare about 150 sack lunches and snacks for the homeless everyday. We'll be working there on Friday mornings and Tuesday afternoons.
Today was ward conference and we had some great meetings. Right after Sacrament meeting, one of the Stake YW leaders caught Dad and I and asked if we could go into YW for the last 15 minutes of class and bear our testimonies about the Joseph Smith story. I suspect we'll need to study hard and keep a repertoire of short talks we can give on a minute's notice. I'm going to have so much knowledge my head might explode!
The General Women's conference last night was wonderful. We had the broadcast at the church and then the Stake RS Presidency prepared dinner and the Stake Presidency served. Elder McDonald was there to help and looked pretty cute in my new red apron!
We've been trying to help an investigator find a new place to live. Elder McDonald and another member went with her yesterday to look at a place closer to her work. It is one bedroom, a private bath, has only a microwave, a refrigerator and a private entrance for $900. Pretty unreal. I feel really sorry for her--she's isolated herself from her family by becoming Christian, she's 50 years old, alone, broke and she's afraid of joining the Church because she feels it will isolate her even more because she would like to get married again and have some companionship. The odds of finding a single, Indian Mormon guy are kind of slim.
We went up to the Oakland Temple a couple of Sundays ago and had a wonderful time. We took some new converts and went to a fireside called, "Why I Believe". Several new members from the Oakland Mission had been asked to bear their testimonies and tell their conversion stories. It was a very powerful evening. I suspect we'll be attending those often!!
Well, that's pretty much been our week. Tomorrow is P-Day and I've gotten over my objections to using Sister Flores's washer and dryer so we'll be doing laundry and doing a little cleaning. Grocery shopping is calling my name and then we'll attend FHE with the young single adults. Hopefully, Jacob, a server we met at Red Lobster a few weeks ago will come. (We seem to have really great success when we eat out.) Tuesday night, the elders are coming to dinner and Elder McDonald and I will be addressing and sending invites to Institute to the young single adults we haven't been able to contact yet. I also want to make up some cards promoting the #princeofpeace campaign to give to the kids. Wednesday will be Institute, Thursday District Meeting, Friday ThriftStore and the rest of the time will be spent studying and helping where we can. AND taking Jack (the dog) for a walk!
We love you guys!!
Have a great week!!
Elder and Sister McDonald