Hello from California!
This week has been full of amazing spiritual experiences and knowledge that many more are in the near future!
First off, WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEKEND! It was for Ciomara Stolp who is nine years old. She is the daughter of a single mom of eight children that is returning to activity in our ward. The service was a little bit smaller but a lot of her nonmember family, members that help teach Ciomara and all the missionaries in the district attended! For refreshments we had Cheetos and cake because it is Ciomara’s favorite thing to eat. Keep in mind all this was at 10 in the morning! But it was her special day and we are so blessed to be able to have witnessed the Lord’s loving hand make it a reality.
This is the last day of the transfer in Westlake Village and I have been transferred to the Thousands Oaks 3rd Ward in the Thousand Oaks Stake! In addition to a new area, I have been called to be a District Leader! This assignment makes me nervous and excited. Elder Kelly will be my new companion and we are white washing into this ward (meaning that both the previous Elders left and two new ones are coming in). Elder Kelly was my MTC companion back in July and I am so excited to be working with him again but out in the real world! This next transfer will push me to rely on the Lord even more than usual. This is only my fourth transfer in the mission field and the new situation has a lot of responsibility, but I know that who the Lord calls, He qualifies. I trust Him completely!
I feel so blessed to be able to be a missionary in the midst of this Christmas season! Our district had the chance to volunteer for several hours at St. Jude’s Catholic Church this week. We spent the time putting up trees, lights and stuffing our face with the pumpkin pie they had out. The tree in the picture attached was first decorated on the floor and then we had to left it on top of the table… good thing we had a lot of Elders there because the old ladies weren’t of much help lifting. It was a great experience to be able to work with other Christians and focus on the things that bring us together! I challenge all of you to focus on the commonalities as we share the #LightTheWorld message each day of December.
The Westlake Village family ward had their ward Christmas party this Saturday and it was a great chance to be able to say bye to all the members that I have come to love over the previous 4 months. Elder Allen and I took the chance to sit on Santa’s lap! We asked for a lot of baptisms this next month… I guess we will see if he can deliver.
I would just like to close this email with my testimony of the truthfulness of this restored gospel. I have been able to witness the true change in individuals and families over the past few months. The gospel of Jesus Christ brings an unique sense of joy and happiness that cannot be found anywhere else! We are blessed to have a prophet of God, Thomas S. Monson, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to guide us through these turbulent times. We are lead by Jesus Christ, who died and lived so that we can return back to our Heavenly Father! When we share the news of this gospel, all involved in that process are blessed beyond measure.
Till next week! I will have new stories of a new area, a new companion and a mission wide conference that is happening on December 10th! Our speakers will be Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy!
Elder Austin Morgan