This little town is so strange haha. It reminds me a lot of Los Banos in the sense of the ward and the work. It is technically a ward, but actually it is more like a branch. Less than 10 active priesthood holders and maybe 40ish people attend sacrament. Our whole ward list is just three pages long. We are the first sisters to serve here in over 20 years... that is crazy! (And my mini-missionary from Hanford actually lives in this wards boundaries! Huzzah for awesomeness!) I also really appreciate NOT having to run up a mountain every morning now, sweet flat surfaces haha. It is very isolated though. No Wendy's or Walmart or Target still. 45 minutes to Lemoore where our district meetings will be. The whole town really evolves around the State Penitentiary and the State Mental Hospital (that is the whole work force and economy here). The letter the Elders left us said that there is no tried and true sure way to success in this area other than overwhelming creativity and enthusiastic positivity.
But we are loving it here in Coalinga and off to a terrific start! Our 1st day here Sister Johnson and I found four new investigators, the 2nd day we had seven quality lessons, and yesterday we had five investigators at sacrament! I'd say those are some pretty good starting averages! We are working with some truly amazing people. Amber and Vince who are ready to get baptized, they just need to be married which is waiting on Dad's approval (he wants them to wait till June). Damien and Kirsten and Haley are all part member children and super excited to get baptized (we are just waiting to see when Dad's and Grandpa's can fly in to baptize them). Then there is also Julius a recent convert who has been struggling with activity and he agreed to start passing the sacrament!! Ahh it is so wonderful.
A really special experience for me came during relief society on Sunday at church. We were sitting next to Sister Ciseneros and Sister Johnson was translating for her. In the middle of the lesson Sister Ciseneros says that she would like to say something and to have us please translate, and she immediately starts bearing her testimony. It was a powerhouse! She has been inactive for quite a long time but decided to come back that day (who knows why, other than it was inspired by God). Even though I still struggle with Spanish there are moments where the gift of tongues really kicks in, and I understood ever word of her testimony perfectly before Sister Johnson translated. I wish that through translation the power of that testimony could be conveyed but it couldn't. Yet, there were many of that small group with tear-filled eyes before it was over. Retelling this story really doesn't do it justice, but I know that there was a reason that this Spanish sister came back on the 1st Sunday that there were Spanish speaking sister missionaries in Relief Society.
Another miracle was the RAIN!! After our fast for precipitation it began raining yesterday! The Lord really is so aware of each of us and all of our prayers.
I was also able to go on an exchange with Hna. Gneiting this week in Lemoore! It was fun to get to work with her again. It was also interesting to run into members who recognized me from a talk I'd given at a baptism while serving in Hanford months ago. Just goes to show us that we don't really know when people are watching or what they will remember us for.
Have a great week! I love you!!
PS Picture is of part of the Webb family and my companion and I in front of some other church with another Pastor man the night before I left haha