Monday, June 6, 2016

I LOVE OAKLAND

Happy Monday!!
     I am the happiest/most exhausted I have ever been!!! I am absolutely in l o v e with everything about the new area, people, ward, apartment, and my companion! We had an awesome week and there are many more beautiful, miracle-filled weeks ahead of us! I can't wait to tell you all the details! AH!
     So the San Lorenzo ward threw me a little going-away barbecue on Memorial Day, which was SO fun. I love them! Sister Benosa and I finished the Book of Mormon on Tuesday morning right before transfers. Transfers are pretty stressful because there is a whole lot of packing and unpacking, BUT there is no time to do it haha. My luggage was in our car for two days, until I finally had time to bring it up stairs, and I STILL havent fully unpacked haha but it's all good! We are busy, busy, busy! 
      The first morning in Oakland, we played a huge game of ultimate frisbee with the whole zone. I am working really really hard to learn the area: the streets, the people, the ward! It's exhausting but the Lord and my companion are helping me. She is leaving in 5 weeks, so I will probably stay here and get a new companion so it is really important that I learn the area. It is very different from San Lorenzo or San Leandro: smaller streets, crazier drivers, lots of people everywhere, trash, ect. But it is WONDERFUL. We went to a authentic Mexican taco truck in the ghetto and it was DELISH! 
     Every morning Sister Taylor and I run down to this BEAUTIFUL lake called Lake Merritt. It is adorable with lights around it and geese and cute people running and homeless people sleeping. I love it. I love being outside. We have a HUGE to-do list of places to go and restaurants to eat at before Sister Taylor goes home :) There is SO much to do in Oakland!! 
     Church was wonderful. There are about 90 active-ish members! So diverse. The ward was so welcoming. The 1st counselors name is Brother Brinton so we are trying to find a connection! SARADA is in my ward and it was SO good to see her. She is beautiful and active. Wow. 
     Our investigators right now are all kind of flaky. There is Kevin, Earnest, and Davion. Kevin is a golden investigator, about 50, who is struggling with tithing. Earnest is also 50 and doesnt like to be pushed. Funny story about Earnest: Every time he prays, he says, "God, I know you are as sharp as a tack." hahaha Davion is 10 and his mom is getting in the way. We are going to find some new investigators!! So much potential here. We are already seeing miracles like getting a hold of people they havent heard from in MONTHS. 
     We are almost half way with out 400 goal!! We are at 150! Our Visitors' Center goal is 1300 referrals, and we are thinking about doubling the goal because we are already at 900! Beautiful work. 
     One night we were at the Visitors' Center waiting for our less active to show up so we could have a lesson and this guy walked in. He walked around, looked at the Christus, and just kept looking around. All of the sisters who were on shift were busy, so I went over to him and started talking. Luckily our less active texted and said he would be late. If he would have been on time, we wouldnt have met him, George. We gave him a 45 minute tour and just ended by sitting in front of the Christus for like 15 minutes! He was just STARING at the Savior and kept saying, "wow." We got his information and he is so golden, so willing to have the missionaries come. Unfortunately they are just outside our area. But I know we were supposed to be there for George. God works in mysterious ways. He loves all of His children. 
    One interesting thing Sister Taylor and I discussed was how the Lord commands us to repent & to not procrastinate the day of our repentance. I always viewed this as like, "You better repent or else I am going to come and you wont be ready so hurry up and repent!" Which I guess is true, but I like thinking of it this way: Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to repent because they want us to be happy HERE and NOW! They dont want us to wait to repent because we are sad when we sit in our sins! Yes He is coming and yes we need to prepare, but they are telling us to repent so they dont have to watch us be sad. Repent to be happy.
     I came across this scripture in my studies and LOVED it:

"And it came to pass that I was three days and three nights in the most bitter pain and anguish of soul; and NEVER, until I did cry out unto the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy, did I receive a remission of my sins. But behold, I did cry unto him and I did find peace to my soul."
3 Nephi 38:8

  This is Alma the Younger talking to his son about his conversion story. He was SO sad and harrowed up by his sins and lost and confused and depressed. He never found relief or peace or joy or light until he turned to the Savior. There is no other way. Only through Jesus Christ. We have to turn to Him if we want forgiveness or peace. We cant do it on our own. We need Him to heal us. Through Him, we can find true peace. 
     I am so happy. I LOVE Oakland. I LOVE being a missionary.
XO
Sister Brinton!  
Earnest

Sister Taylor

Bye Sister Tam

Bye Sister Benosa :((

Taco Truck

Waiting in this Creepy hotel

Angel, a recent convert, who comes to lessons with us. I love her


Random puppy at the lake

Goodbye BBQ

Sister Thornton

Stuck behind a walker and my luggage in the backseat
Sarada and Abinkshana
Sister Costa and I matching :)

Marina

Our cute apartment




Our pet giraffe, Kevin (They found him on the side of the road)



Lake Merritt





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