I cannot believe it is that time already! I have enjoyed every minute (well, almost every minute) of my mission ;)!
Just to recap a bit, this week has been absolutely crazy!
Last Monday we had a zone activity which was a water balloon flight, we had tons of fun.
Tuesday was District Training, and a bike day.
Wednesday I had my final interview with President Garns. He is absolutely amazing and has had such a positive influence on my life, I am so grateful for him. The interview was great, and it helped a lot. There are so many emotions that go into returning from a mission, but he had some great counsel. That night we saw Freddy and Darlyne with a couple from our ward. We read from the Book of Mormon together. Freddy told us about how last Sunday he had decided to stay home from church because they had mold in their trailer. However, when he woke up on Sunday he had a pinched nerve, and he couldn't even move his head from side to side. He had to lay down all day Sunday, and he had to take work off on Monday. Needless to say, he said he learned his lesson about skipping church.
Friday we had a combined companion study with our zone leaders, and the other sisters we live with. I love learning from other missionaries. That night we went to visit a less active, she is 19 years old. She was so excited to see us, and she introduced us to her boyfriend Jimmy. She invited him to stay for the lesson, and so we ended up teaching both of them. Jimmy's dad used to be a pasteur, but he passed away a few years ago. It was a sensitive subject to talk about the priesthood, and what constitutes a true prophet, but Jimmy understood very well and is excited to come to church. The Spirit does amazing things. That night we went to help Freddy rake up leaves and cigarette butts around their trailer in an effort to get rid of the "appearance of evil."
On Friday we were on a full day exchange so I got to go to West Palm Beach with Sister Brewer. It is a Spanish area, so that was lots of fun. My favorite part was that night we went to visit a family of investigators they are teaching, and one of them had a cool story for us. She said that she had been on her way to McDonalds with a little bit of cash in her had for food, but for some reason she felt like she should not go to the McDonalds close by her house that she always goes to, but rather that she should go to a different one far away. She remembered the sisters teaching her about the "still small voice" and so she decided to do that. On her way to the other McDonalds she passed a homeless man on the street, without hesitation she rolled down her window and gave the man the cash she had in her hand. She was so excited to tell us that story, it is amazing what the gospel of Jesus Christ does to people!
On Saturday we biked again, and went to visit a potential that we had found from Christmas caroling. At first it was a little awkward, and we could not figure out which direction to take the lesson in. However, then she asked us about some records that had been buried in the ground (turns out she had heard of Mormons). That was the perfect segway to teach the Book of Mormon, she was excited about it. As the lesson was drawing to a close Sister Carling (I am sure she followed the spirit on this one) asked if she had any last questions. She hesitated, but opened up about her brother who passed away not long ago. She has had many question that have been plaguing her since that time, and she loved learning about the Plan of Salvation briefly as well. After that we had our ward Christmas party which was really nice. The decoration were SO cute, dinner was great, and our primary (which consists of about 10 kids) did a little pageant. There were a few less active members there that we got to meet, so that was awesome.
Sunday morning was a little heartbreaking because none of our investigators came to church, but the day definitely went up from there. A family in our ward named the Whitakers have a tradition to have the Sister Missionaries over to their house for dinner the last Sunday before one goes home so they made us a steak dinner, and homemade cheesecake. It was awesome, I love the people in this ward!! That night we had a long drive to the mission home for MLC. We got to hear from President Garns, and also Elder Foster (a member of the 70 and the director of Family History for the church). They both had amazing things to say.
Monday we had our Christmas zone conference. We got to hear from Elder Foster again, and also from President and Sister Garns. It was an amazing meeting, and we learned so many good things. I got to give my "departing testimony," which was a little nerve racking, but I loved that meeting. The Spirit was so strong, and really confirmed to me that God has a plan for us. That was something that we really needed to hear because later that night we went to visit Freddy and Darlyne. Freddy was asleep, but we talked to Darlyne for a little while. They have been stuck in a rut for a long time, and we are not sure what else to do to help them. However, the longer we were talking to Darlyne, the more it became apparent that it is not their time yet. It came as a bit of a shocker, just because they have been meeting with us for so long. The last few weeks they have been digressing, and the spirit confirmed to us that they are not ready right now. As heartbreaking as it is to seem them struggle, I know that the Lord has a bigger plan for them. We can't see it, but Sister Carling and I know that we have done everything we can for them, and know things are in their hands. I don't know what will happen, I surely hope they get baptized one day (could be in a few weeks, could be in a few years), but for now I know that they "are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest."
I feel so very grateful for my mission, and for the things that the Lord has taught me during my time in Florida. I truly know that God loves each one of us, that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that they stand with open arms to receive all who are willing to come unto them.
See you soon :)!
Love, Sister Monson