Monday, June 30, 2014

Solvang is SO DANG awesome!

Hello, cute family!

Sadly,I don't have a whole lot of time today...but, here's what's happening in the WONDERFUL city of Solvang!

So, we cover North Solvang, and the neighboring city, called Buellton.  It's really just this little tiny town, but it's got the friendly small town feel, and the friendly small town people.  EVERYONE talks to us.  Seriously, everyone.  It took us until our 3rd day here for someone to say "I'm not interested."  Everyone we talk to invites us in, gives us drinks and cookies, and lets us us them them about the Restoration.  I don't know what it is about this place, but everybody loves the missionaries.  It's amazing!

Right now, we have one investigator, named Yule, with a baptismal date...He's so much fun!  He originally had a baptismal date set for July, but the lessons are going a little slower than planned...So, we're helping him work toward August. :)  We're also teaching a woman named Lenore...and Albert, Arturo, Cami, Patty... There's a lot of people that we'll be seeing pretty regularly!  We love to drive past the Solvang Center, but honestly we try not to spend too much time there because everyone's a tourist, and it's not really very productive.

I spoke in church yesterday in our new ward, and it went really well! I actually wrote my talk while on the stand.  But, it was based on "Following Up," by Elder Ballard, and somewhere in there, I told a little bit of Pete's story.  And Pete's got a PRETTY good story.  So, of course, the talk went well. :)  I'm slowly getting over my fear of speaking in church.  Slowly, but surely!

We travel quite a bit here:  Our district meeting and sports are in Lompoc, so we make the drive every  Monday, and every Thursday.  Then this Saturday we'll be driving up to Goleta to see President Felix.  We're so excited!!  We'll miss the Castro family, for sure, but we'll keep writing them letters and updates. :)

This transfer has been bittersweet.  I'm going to miss the Chavez family SO much.  They really do mean so much to me.  You'll probably be seeing them sooner than I will, when they come to Utah to be sealed!  But, I love this work, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. ♥

I'll talk to you soon!  I love you all.
♥Sister Shaylie Raylie

Monday, June 23, 2014

Transfer Monday!!

As always, I have a fun and exciting week to tell you about:

Who's getting transferred to Solvang?!  Oh, just this sister.  I don't know much about the city, but I guess it's a little bit further north...and is a little Dutch town!  There's a HUGE Dutch festival there every summer as well, so I'm getting there just in time!  My new companion will be Sister Platt, who I don't know well, but I've met a few times.  She's super nice, and I'm sure it'll be great!

Also, I ran my first 5k this morning!!  I don't know if I've mentioned in the past, but Pete is an ULTRA runner.  Like, a few weeks ago he ran a 100k.  Crazy.  But he always talked about how when we were home from our missions, he'd come to visit us, and to run the neat marathons that they have in Utah.  Everyone planned to run the Provo Marathon together...then we realized I'd still be on a mission!  So instead, we decided to run a 5k together before we left.  So, this morning, Pete met us for exercise, and we ran a route that he had made for us around Camarillo.  As fun as it was, it was mostly just nice to get to spend our last day with Pete. :)  On that same note, he got to pass the sacrament for the first time on Sunday!  He was so nervous, but so excited, and of course...he did great.  He seriously amazes me, and I just love him.

We also got the chance to teach Ava this week, our cute 11 year-old investigator!  We got a little lost on the way (her house is way up in the hills and ranches of Somis), so when we called to get directions, her grandma said, "OH!  We're so excited to have you over!  Ava's sister wants to take the lessons too, so she'll be here!"  We were so excited!  And when we walked in the door, our jaws dropped...because we KNOW her older sister!!  She's a less active member named Athena, who came to help us the day we cleaned the crazy house (the one where we found the morphsuit.)  So Athena already loves us!  And she'll be taking the discussions with Ava, and helping her learn.  We were able to commit Ava to baptism for the 1st week of September, but I won't be here to see it.  So, I'll send pictures as soon as I get them!

We had our "goodbyes" with President and Sister Castro at Zone Conference on Thursday.  I love them and I will miss them so much.  But, I get to meet President Felix tomorrow!

We'll be spending today packing and saying our goodbyes to our favorites in the ward.  It's definitely bittersweet.  But I'm excited to see what this week has in store.  I love you, and I'll talk to you soon!! :)

Shay Shay

PS - The ward missionaries had us over for Sunday dinner last night, and we all made our own pizzas.  It was a fun night to spend with all the sisters I love, since we're getting split.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Happy Monday!

First of all, sorry I didn't update ya last week...I'm slacking.  I know.  But, THIS week was absolutely wonderful!  And as always, there are always miracles!

For one, Pete received the Priesthood on Sunday.  Oh jeez, I can't even tell you:  He's just the greatest!  He takes his new responsibility as a Priesthood holder so seriously, and realizes how important it is to his family. He's going to the temple this week, too, with Brooke and Doenice.  Woohoo!

Another miracle:  So we were tracting in Somis this week, a little Spanish town that we're not in very often.  We had been told by a member that there were lots of little houses down a back alley, so we though we'd check it out.  When we got there, there really were no houses, it was just a back alley to some liquor stores and a few little shops.  I'll admit, we were a little discouraged.  But as we were leaving and finding our way back to the car, we heard a shout, "Hey! Are you the Mormons?!"  Well, we sure are!  We walked up to find a grandma and her granddaughter sitting in a car, outside of the stores.  The grandma said, "I'm from the church of Religious Science, but the Mormon church is something I admire, and something I want for my granddaughter.  Is this your lesson teaching day?"  Luckily, EVERY DAY is out lesson teaching day,so we got to teach her the Restoration, and are going back next week.  Ava, the cutest 11 year old EVER, is our new investigator.  It's amazing to see that Heavenly Father's always preparing the people around us to hear the gospel.  It's a good reminder that this is his work, not ours!

Along with that, we've been named "The Singing Sisters" of the Camarillo 6th Ward.  After singing at Pete's baptism, we were asked to sing in sacrament meeting.  After that, we are just know to sing.  If one of our Sunday School classes runs short, they ask us to sing.  If they think of a song in Gospel Essentials, they have us stand up and sing it.  At every dinner appointment, people ask us to sing!  So we've gotten into the habit to find a short hymn that goes along with our lesson.  We're always prepared for a song. :)

This week is Zone Conference, for President Castro to come and say his goodbyes.  We'll miss him...:(
 But we're excited to meet President Felix.  I wish I could write more, but I'm about out of time.  I love you. The church is true.  Have a good week. :)

Love, Shay

P.S. - Picture of the week!

There's this potential that we call Tom the Turkey Man. From his bio, he sounds SO GOOD, and we want to meet him!  But, he lives in Somis...and he has a pet turkey, that is usually blocking his front door.  (Turkey's are mean, right?)  This week, though, we got past the turkey, and got to knocking!  Sadly he wasn't there...But we'll be back. :)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Birthday and Baptism!!

Of course, this week was absolutely FANTASTIC!!
For one, I TURNED 20!!  Woohoo!  Mom, you're all out of teenagers now!  It was definitely a little strange to be so far away, but everyone made it a home away from home. :)  I was lucky, because Wednesdays are my nights with a dinner and lesson at Pete and Doenice's house.  They made us breakfast for dinner, and they got me the cutest "California Love" shirt!  It was so nice of them!  Thank YOU much for your sweet birthday packages.  You set us all up to have a party in the apartment after!  And oh, we partied!  We had so much fun with our Twinkie cakes, and we lit the candles after lights out (actually, we turned the lights our early so we could still be in bed by 10:30. :)  It was a wonderful day, and even though I missed you, the sisters made it a lot of fun!  Also, your homemade muffins made me the happiest girl in the world--no exaggeration there.  I was SO happy. Thank you so much!

As far as missionary work goes, this was the big week:  Pete got baptized on Saturday!  I had mentioned to you that Pete had been interviewed by President Castro, and he had said he wanted to come to the baptism.  But, as we know, he's a pretty busy guy, and we didn't know if he'd actually be able to.  But, sure enough, the entire Castro family was there!  We couldn't believe it!  There were so many people there to love and support Pete, and he was just GLOWING!  After the baptism, he stood up and bore his testimony, and made the whole room cry.  It was such a simple, but powerful testimony, and we were able to see how much the gospel really has changed his life.  Then, the 4-sister missionaries (me, Sister Cox, Sister Reneer, and Sister Proctor) sang Joseph Smith's First Prayer, to the tune of Come Thou Fount.  By the end, Pete and Doenice were crying, so we all started to cry.  We hadn't really though it through that we'd be a little emotional right after hearing Pete speak.  But, Pete was excited that we sang, so that's all the matters, right?  We'll be singing it again in Sacrament Meeting this Sunday, and I'll be playing the piano.  Sister Cox gave an amazing talk on the Holy Ghost, and I think we all cried some more.  Honestly, the spirit that was at that baptism was so strong, I can't even begin to describe it.  We love Pete, Doenice, and Brooke SO much, and have seen how much Heavenly Father loves them, as well.  They're already planning their trip to Utah next June to be sealed as a family. :)

I wish I had more time to tell you about this week, but there are all kinds of things to do today.  Just know that I love you, I think of each of you every day, and I'll see you soon!