Monday, September 16, 2013

Hello My Wonderful Family!!!
I am here in California!!! I have never seen a more beautiful place. It is perfect, sunny weather every day and there are more flowers than I have ever seen in my life growing everywhere. Every day is a good day in the California Ventura Mission. Before I tell you anything else, here is my mailing information. If you feel so inclined, please mail everything to the mission home address here and then they will forward it on to our apartment address in San Luis Obispo the same day. Also for packages, please send them in by US mail (first class or priority) not through UPS or any other carrier or we have to wait until transfers to pick them up. Also they have asked that anything you send is addressed with our full names (Sister Eliza Marchant).
California Ventura Mission
3301 West Gonzales Road
Oxnard, CA 93036
Ok, thanks for getting all of that down. Now for the good stuff: I am serving in the San Luis Obispo 2nd Ward with none other than Sister Cusick! (She knows one of the Sisters in my district in the MTC (Sister Vanhoven) and also lived in Frankford, Kentucky for a few years. Does that name ring a bell Andersons? We figured out that we apparently played games in the basement of the Andersons together at Ben's Farewell. Who knew our lives would cross so much again? The Lord works in mysterious ways and has a sense of humor) Sister Cusick is from St. Augustine, Florida and actually worked in the San Luis Obispo 1st ward for the last two transfers, so she knows many of the people there. She has been out for three months and is an excellent tranier. I love working with her so much! She is a great example at being extremely obedient to all of the mission rules and schedule. She is very hard-working and patient with me with any questions or concerns that I have. We have been doing a lot of EDPEPing (Explain, Demonstrate, Practice, Evaluate, and rePractice (aka roleplaying)) lately, especially as part of the 12-week training program. It has been very helpful and I feel like I am learning a ton from Sister Cusick everyday.
We only have half an hour to email here so I can't write much but I will attach my letter to our Mission President, President Castro. He is softspoken but very kind and I know he will lead us in righteousness. I also will try to send pictures next week if I can. There is no news on the visa but apparently as soon as I get it I will be leaving to Brazil the same week. I'll definitely keep you updated. Sorry I really want to write more but really have to go! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have, and if you want me to answer anything in the same week please bold or highlight them in your weekly emails (I usually just print off your emails and read them later). I love you all and love being a missionary!
Sister Marchant
Hello President Castro! 
It has been a great week in the San Luis Obispo 2nd Ward! I feel so blessed to be assigned to this mission and this area. Sis. Cusick is an amazing trainer. She is so kind and patient. Our 12-week training program is going really well, and I know I am learning new things every day. We have been doing a lot of EDPEPs and praciticing with our investigators in mind. Our personal and companionship studies have been very investigator focused as well. This is something I was not very good at at the MTC but that I am really learning to apply. My studies have been increasingly more meaningful throughout the week. We also have been doing Portuguese language studies. I have been reviewing a lot of what we studied at the beginning of the MTC and it is encouraging to know that I still remember almost everything. Overall we have been working hard each day. Sister Cusick is a great example of following all of the mission schedule and rules with exactness. I feel very safe and obedient when I work with her. I love learning and talking with people with Sister Cusick.
We have found a few new investigators this week! We have been doing a lot of knocking and done multiple doorstep Restoration lessons. Something I have really been working on is moving straight into the Restoration and teaching the entire lesson when we first meet people. The doctrine in the Restoration of the gospel is so powerful! I feel the Spirit with us every time we teach that lesson and I know that when we teach with our whole souls, the Spirit will carry the message into the hearts of those we teach.
We had a short lesson with Paul Berry this week. He has been investigating the church for a long time and has been taught by multiple missionaries. We taught him about the law of tithing and invited him to read 2 Nephi 32. He is concerned that he cannot afford to pay tithing and I do not think he understands the blessings he can receive from it. He seems to be at a standstill right now in his testimony, but we are praying for him and continuing to visit him often to see how things are going. We have another lesson with him on Thursday and will hopefully try to stop in one more time earlier in the week.
We are also teaching Lu. He has a baptismal date for the 28th of September and is doing well! He came to church yesterday and was looking great (according to our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Abbott, he was looking better than ever before). He just quit smoking cold turkey last week and we are going to visit him tomorrow to see how that is going and if he is still on the mark for his baptism. We have high hopes for Lu and believe he can do it. We have a few of the commandments left to teach him, but I think he will be able to accept them because he believes that this gospel is true.
We also had our first lesson with Lori this week. She is a friend and coworker of the Krafts, who are strong members in our ward. She had been taught the Restoration a few weeks ago by the previous Sisters, so we were planning on teaching the Plan of Salvation, but when we got there she said she did not remember most of any of it so we retaught the Restoration. She does not seem to understand well the need to pray for an answer about the Book of Mormon, but we explained the power of prayer the best we could and invited her to try to pray again this week with all of her heart. We also invited her to read Moroni 10. She wasn't available to meet with us for another two weeks but we set up another appointment and we are praying that she will feel the Spirit as she reads the Book of Mormon between now and then.
Overall the work is going well. We are working hard and coming home exhausted every night. We worked out with the other Sisters in San Luis Obispo 1st Ward to switch off with the car every other day. That is going well and we are able to accomplish everything we need to. We sent around a calandar this week in Relief Society to ask for rides from the members and they were very willing to help us in this aspect. I know it will work out and we will be stronger because of it. The members in this ward are great. The Ward Mission Plan is amazing. They have called about 15 ward missionaries and then have also called a third of the Ward for four months to be "Ward Mission Families." These families are striving to be more aware of missionary opportunities in their day to day lives and have set a specific date for missionary work. They are praying and searching to find someone to refer to us to teach by that date. This is a relatively new system for their ward but I am excited about it and really think that we will find great success through the help of the members. They are so supportive and have accepted both Sister Cusick and I right into their ward. We will be relying on the members a lot in our teaching and finding goals.
My goals for this next week is to have more effective personal study, and to be braver in street contacting. I could definitely talk to more people as we travel between appointments. Our companionship goals are to invite more people to be baptized and to discuss in more detail how we did after all lessons and declarations. I know that through the help of the Lord we will be able to come closer in our companship and to work better in unity. I know we can teach with more power and authority and we can find more people to teach. I am excited to keep working so that I can teach more effectively and that I can help our lessons flow better. There is so much to learn on a mission! I am so grateful that I was assigned to work with Sister Cusick because she can teach me everything that is important for me to know and do in this work. More than ever before, I know that this is the work of God and that I am exactly where I am meant to be at this exact time of my life. The Lord is in complete control and will lead us to those who are prepared to hear His word!
Thanks for all that you do,
Sister Marchant

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