Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Letter #12 (December 9, 2013)

Hey everyone! I am emailing you from Pasadena, my new area! I am now in a trio (so I have two new companions instead of one), but one of my companions- Sister Richards -works at the office most of the time, so it will usually just be Sister Scott and I. When Sister Richards is with us we will use a car because she has some leg problems. We live in a condo with four other sisters. So there are seven of us altogether. And one smaller-than-average-but-not-mini fridge. So it should be fun.

Oh, something fun for my Maryland friends! Sister Scott was in the Annapolis stake her senior year! She was in the Broadneck ward and knows Kaitlin Harper, the McConkie's the ... I'll just sound it out: New-Ma-ta-lo-lo's, and she knows who April Evans is! CRAZY. 

But let me tell you about my last week!

I was struggling a little bit, knowing that I was going to be transferred, because I didn't feel like I had really been helpful in my area. You're sent to each area because that's where God needs you, but I didn't feel like I had made a difference at all yet. Until Monday.

So you know how I had a baptism my very first weekend? Well here's the situation:
The Estradas have ten kids. Six live at home. The father was deported to Mexico. He's not coming back. Sister Estrada and the kids at home were baptized a few years ago but quickly went inactive. Then, all of a sudden, Sister Estrada pops up and asks the sister missionaries to teach her youngest son Seth so that he can be baptized. I came in at the very end of that. So we have been doing FHE with them for Seth's follow-up lessons and I have become really close to two of his older sisters and the family in general. Well I've been able to see that family change so much since I first got here! I met Seth once before his baptism. He was not very excited to see us, to go over the baptismal interview questions, or to be baptized. Only a couple came in for FHE when we would go over. More recently, Seth is always really excited to see that we're there, all of the kids have been in FHE, even if they aren't paying attention, and Sister Estrada told us that she loves when we go over because she always feels so good when we're there. We participated in what was probably their first ever family scripture study a couple of weeks ago.

On Monday, Sister Estrada was having a really tough time. They had gone to Mexico to see her husband and she came back kind of depressed and really frustrated. We had FHE with them scheduled for that night. I felt like we should do it differently this time. Instead of teaching a follow-up lesson, I felt like we should watch the Mormon Message Mountains to Climb and then talk about how through following Christ's teachings (reading the scriptures, praying, coming to church, etc) we can find peace and comfort in our lives and we can become closer to our families. So we were going to do that instead. But when we called to remind Sister Estrada that we were coming over, she said that she was going out of town to pick up her daughter who was visiting someone. So we asked if we could come earlier. But she said that Bishop and her home teacher were coming over to give her a blessing (which is a good thing of course), so we rescheduled for the next day. But both Sister Chambers and I felt that we should still go over, so Sister Chambers told me to call her back and ask if we could go over right then. So I did, and we did. She cried when we watched the video, I just put my arm around her and hugged her until it ended. I bore my testimony about overcoming trials and talked about how Heavenly Father must love her and her family so much because I know that I love them an awful lot and he loves them more. Then she received a blessing. 

As we were leaving, Seth said that he hoped that I would never leave (which broke my heart a little since I knew already that I was being transferred). But what really got to me was when we were already outside and across the street. We were unlocking out bikes when I hear "Sister Kretchman!" So I turn around, and the oldest sister (Emily) runs over to us and gives me a huge hug and tells me "It's people like you that inspire me to inspire other people" and then ran off again. You have to understand, she never shows interest in us or the church. She was playing on her phone the entire time that we were there. In that moment, I just knew that they are the reason that I was there. I knew that it was okay for me to be transferred.

I'm going to miss them a lot, but they have grown SO much since I first got to Walnut. It's truly incredible how Heavenly Father helps people change for the better. I am so grateful have had the privilege of being a part of that process.

Wow, sorry that was so long, I'm sure none of you really wanted to know that much about the Estradas.

Moving on. 

On Tuesday we picked up a few potential investigators. Two of them right in a row. The first one is Amanda. She is awesome. We taught her about the Restoration on Friday. She not only committed to be baptized, but she committed to be baptized on December 28th! I am SO excited! I'm going to try really hard to get back for her baptism if everything works out. She came to church on Sunday and loved it and is still set on being baptized at the end of the month. I'm sad that I won't get to finish teaching her, but I am so glad that I got to meet her and start teaching her!

(We also have two other baptismal dates, one on the 11th of January, and one one the 25th. I'm hoping to be able to make it back for both of those is possible as well because I've been teaching both for a while now. They are both eternal investigators, so we're really excited about that. :) )

The second one is Matthew. We're pretty sure that he just wants to talk to us because we're girls. We texted to remind him of the appt we set when we met him, and he texted back that he had been thinking about us ever since we met and could we talk right then. Well we got that text during Amanda's lesson, so didn't look at it. One the way home from the lesson, he called us. He just really wanted to talk to us. We politely asked what we could help him with and reminded him of our appt the next day. He said that he just really wanted to talk and could we go over right then. Um. No.

So when we went to our appointment with him, we brought an older couple with us with the plan to make our purpose as missionaries very clear and if he actually wants to come closer to Christ, than we'll pass him off to the YSA elders. He wasn't at home though. Sister Chambers and her new comp get to figure that situation out now. It should be a fun story. Hopefully he actually will feel the need to come closer to Christ and the elders will be able to teach him. Probably not though. We just laughed really hard about the whole ridiculous situation. I'll be interested to hear how the story develops with that.

Anyway, this email ended up being really long, sorry! I hope that you are all having a fantastic week!

I love you all!

~Sister Kretchman

Estrada family

Amanda and Anna and Comp

Gingerbread from ward Christmas Brunch
More MTC pics that she just sent:
Anna and a Zone Teacher, Sister D.

Anna and MTC comp at the map
Anna and District
Anna and Zone

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