I hope you all have had a great week. Congratulations to Brad and Kelsey  for their big day! And happy birthday to Grandma La Follette.
We have had a good week in Mission Viejo. I'll write about things as I remember them, and aren't in any particular order.
Yesterday we had a great lesson (finally) with Thomas  at his friend Mason's house in Ladera Ranch. He made it to their friend Keegan's farewell before he left for his mission in Africa last week, but wasn't able to make it to stake conference this Sunday (I'll talk about stake conference in a minute). He has read the first 6 chapters of 1st Nephi and had some questions about Nephi killing Laban, so we talked about that for a while. He's good on that now. I've been reading in Judges lately in the Old Testament, which has some pretty gruesome stories about people killing others, so Nephi's story wasn't bad at all! He is liking what he is seeing of the Church so far, and he had some questions about works vs. faith salvation. After explaining how that all works, he said "wow, that makes a lot of sense. You guys have a really bad reputation, you know that? I feel bad for you guys!" He doesn't see a big need to get baptized because he feels he's already made the covenant with God when he was baptized into his church. He wanted a lesson about the significance of the Priesthood, so we'll do that on Wednesday. He is planning on finishing the rest of 1st Nephi with Mason before the lesson. Hopefully it goes well! He is planning on coming to church this week.
On Sunday night we had an appointment with Melissa , a girl that Bishop Beckstead sent us to visit. None of us knew her, and assumed she was less-active. After talking with her for a while, we found she was in fact active and was wondering why we were there teaching her! My tummy kept grumbling really loud (after our huge potato dinner) so that didn't help the awkwardness of the lesson much! But we laughed about it and talked about missionary work. She is a convert to the church and actually had a cool story. Her family growing up was very Catholic, especially her mother. They knew Latter-day Saints and admired them and fed missionaries but never investigated. One night her mom had a dream that Jesus Christ was in the neighborhood visiting all the homes and families in the neighborhood. She was very excited for His visit and cleaned up the house and eagerly awaited the visit. When He was done with the house next door, He passed up their house and went to the next. Confused, she called to Him and asked why He didn't come to their house. He replied "because you are not a part of my Church." She woke up and was troubled. The missionaries knocked on the house the next day, and they were baptized into the Church 4 weeks later.
Stake Conference was this week. There were no General Authorities visiting this time. There were fantastic talks by several people that I wish I had time to tell you about. The speakers were the Stake President, the 2nd Counselor, the Newport Beach Temple President Draney and his wife, a youth speaker, the stake patriarch, and one other lady from the Relief Society presidency. The Spirit was very strong throughout and everyone that I talked to about it had a very powerful experience. The choir did a great job as well. I've learned that California stake choirs are fabulous everywhere. We didn't get to go to the adult session on Saturday because Shari  backed out last minute due to wardrobe issues.... We were pretty frustrated. It had already been a very long day with several appointments falling through. Apparently President and Sister Cook spoke there. From the sounds of it, they gave a talk (they speak together) nearly identical to the one they gave last year in the Vista stake conference. I don't blame them, having to work with 180 missionaries and 10 stakes. There's not a lot of time to prepare everything to make it all original.
This morning we went to Fountain Valley, in the north end of Orange County, out of the mission. Elder Mason had an appointment with Dr. Mortensen, a dentist from our ward who offered to treat him for free. I don't know if we're related to him. I haven't talked with Bro Mortensen long enough to find out! It was pretty fun to take a "long" road trip up there for that. It's been a while since I've driven anywhere of significant distance, other than Carlsbad or Vista. President Cook had to get permission from Salt Lake for us to go, but we were authorized. No where else would treat him for cheap, much less free, so that was a big blessing. While I was in the waiting room, the Mission Viejo Institute director, Bro Greiner, came in for an appointment, along with our ward mission leader's wife, Sister Allan. It was like we didn't go anywhere!
As for others in our teaching pool, we finally got to meet with Bella yesterday. She was way too busy cooking to sit down, so we just got to talk to Nani  for a little bit before we left. Bella said she's too busy to take lessons from us, and that Jackie , Priscilla's visiting teacher, will teach her about the Church instead. So we talked to Sister Anderson later and we're going to go with her to teach Bella!
We haven't heard much from Anthony  recently, which is getting us worried. The only time we've heard from him in the last 15 days, he texted yesterday and said he'd come to FHE, but didn't. Hopefully we'll get to see him soon.
Don't know if I mentioned or not, but Floree moved out of the zone, and we dropped Noah from the teaching pool, since we can't ever get a hold of him anymore.
Uhh...what else.. Elders Neil and Eames (the Assistants) came to our comp study yesterday and talked about how things are going here. They've been visiting all the zone leaders' comp studies.
We've been meeting with all the companionships in our zone and trying to help them get things going in working with their ward councils. Not done yet, but it will have to take a lot of time. It will be worth it though, I think.
I went on a companion exchange last week with Elder Gardner, a fairly new Spanish missionary. He has a lot of fire and is having a lot of fun with his mission. He has a really good companion, Elder Josse, and they are working very hard together. Elder Gardner grey-shirted for BYU football his freshman year and is looking to play as a long-snapper when he gets back, and after a red-shirt. Luckily, he wasn't anti-Utah so we got along pretty well. He's from Idaho Falls as well, and was on Elder Mason's football team at IFHS. They didn't know each other super well though, being two years apart.
Uhh, that's all I can think of for now. We're super busy and doing a lot of stuff. We're certainly never bored and we're having a great time.
I'll try to tell you more about the less-actives and recent converts we're teaching next week.