Monday, September 26, 2016

Florida....September 26, 2016

We had a special fast yesterday for Hermana Monson and her companion, that they will be able to find people to teach.  We are excited to see what miracles unfold - especially as her Mission embarks on their Hunt for 100.  I am continually amazed by Sadie's positive attitude and the courage she displays.  I learn so much from her!

From Hermana Monson:

 I joined you all in the fast on Sunday, and I am sure miracles will come of it. We are not longer working with Damian or Veronica because someone from their Catholic church came over and told them to stop taking our lessons....bummer. Maggie we aren't too sure about, she is really sick right now, but she also works a lot, so it is hard to find a time to meet with her. However, we are hoping that this week we will be able to determine if she is really an elect investigator or not. Our big goal for this week is to find a family to baptize! We are dying to contribute to the mission goal of 100, and we are running our of time to find someone to baptize because in order for them to be baptized they have to receive all the lessons and come to church at least two times. We are doing everything we can to follow the Spirit and work hard so that the Lord can bless us with miracles. 

In fact, one day this week we took a huge leap of faith. Each month we are allotted 1,400 miles to use with our car. Other than that we have to bike or walk. So, there was one day where we were really praying for guidance about where we should go in order to find our family and Sister Root thought of a family that we had shared a prayer with a few weeks ago. This family was not super receptive when we knocked on their door a few weeks ago, but we figured that maybe the thought was from the Spirit. The problem was that this family lived in Fort Meyers, and we had some other people to visit in Lehigh that afternoon. We knew it would take a lot of miles to drive to both cities, but we wanted to show the Lord that we were doing everything we could to find our family. So we went. We weren't really sure what to say, and it felt really awkward to knock on their door again when they'd already told us they weren't interested. Well, it turns out that there was only one member from the family of 7 that was home. He said we could share a message with him, so we taught him about the Restoration. At the end, we invited him to be baptized, and he Well, we tried really hard to testify and promise blessings and everything, but he just wouldn't have it. So, we decided that maybe there was another reason that the Lord had sent us to that area. 

We decided to knock some doors on a nearby street. We ended up sharing a prayer with Stephen. Stephen is a HUGE black man, super tall and buff. He was out mowing his lawn when we offered to share a prayer with him, he wiped the sweat off his face, and said "sure". He expressed his desire to find peace because his brother was murdered a few months ago, and he has a desire for revenge on the people who did it. He also wants happiness for his wife and kids. I said a prayer for him, and the Spirit was way strong. This huge black man started crying during the prayer, turns out he was really just a big teddy bear. He was so nice, and he said he would try to come to church this Sunday. We aren't sure if he was able to make it because he would go to the English ward, but it felt really good to be able to brighten his day. We also ran into this adorable little Haitian grandma that was wearing a turban and didn't have any teeth. She was so pleased that there were "such lovely young people going about and standing up for what they believe in". Her motto in life is "everyday is a holiday", and her name is Catherine Simmons. She was so CUTE! Even though our original plan didn't work out the way we wanted it to, we believe that maybe the Lord sent us to that area because he knew Stephen and Catherine needed a prayer. 

I loved listening to Women's conference as well, but unfortunately the only people that showed up at the church to watch it were ladies from our Spanish ward, so they didn't have it playing in English. I was actually surprised at how much I was able to understand, so I was excited about that. However, I didn't really get quite as much out of it in Spanish. I'm hoping I can go back and read it in English, but I'm so glad that it was great for you. From what I could understand of President Uchtdorf's talk, it was amazing! Our plans for conference will be to watch it in the chapel with the other missionaries and whoever else from the stake shows up. We should be able to watch the other sessions in English, so that will be nice. 

Another fun thing this week was that it was Hermana Root's birthday yesterday. On Saturday we made a huge pan of frozen lasagna and we tested our baking skills by attempting an angel food cake, it actually turned out pretty good! We had fun, even though it was just the two of us. Then yesterday I made her muffins for breakfast, and I totally burned myself on the oven and took off a couple layers of skin, for some reason it didn't really hurt, maybe blessings? Anyway, now I have a super cool burn mark scar thing on my arm. She also opened a birthday package from her family. Other than that it was a normal Sunday, and she had to speak on her birthday. Poor thing. After church we got together with the Elders from our ward to discuss how we can help our ward. Our ward is seriously struggling right now. Home teaching and visiting teaching practically don't exist. There are 300 less-active members, and most of them are less-active because they were offended that they never received a visit from anyone in the ward during a hard time. For instance, one lady left because she was offended that no one from the ward visited her when her mom died. How people in the ward were supposed to know that her mom died, we aren't really sure, but a lot of these people seem to use the smallest excuse to leave. They just aren't truly converted to the gospel. So then we are left with the problem of, how do we convert 300 less-active members while still trying to find new converts? Our poor bishop has a LOT on his plate, and a lot of the members don't like him because when he was called he laid down the laws regarding tithing and the humanitarian aid from the church. We have an FHE activity planned with the bishop tonight, so we are going to discuss some things that we hope will help the ward. We have been trying to visit lots of the less active members, and we have seen a little bit of success from that, so that's a good start :). 

Something cool that happened this week was that Hermana Root and I have decided to come up with a new "spiritual creation". We created a vision of the family we want to find to be baptized in October. This family has 7 people, and the youngest one is 8 yrs. old (kind of like our family). They are Catholic, the parents are married (which is a rare occurence in Latin culture), and they will recognize us as servants of the Lord. We know this vision seems a little too good to be true, but we had a district training this week about raising our expectations and having deeper faith, so that is what we are trying to do. Well, we were out knocking doors yesterday and we talked to this lady who was out getting her mail. She invited us into her garage to share a prayer with her because it was sprinkling rain. After the prayer we did our usual invitation to invite her to be baptized, and she explained that she wasn't interested because she's already been baptized in the Catholic church (which is pretty much true of all the Latins). We explained the Restoration, and why she would need to be baptized again, but she wasn't interested. However, just as we were about to leave it started DUMPING BUCKETS. It was raining super hard, so she said we could stay in her garage for a little while to wait for the storm to calm down. Well, while we were waiting we got her talking about life and her family. She told us that she has a husband (which may or may not mean that they are married, Latins usually use the terms husband and wife whether they are actually married or not), and 6 sons. Get this, the youngest son is 8!! We were like "wow, this might be our family!!" After talking with her a little bit more about what we believe, and about our missions she seemed more interested. I think she was probably interested because we explained a little bit of what mission life is like with all the rules and everything, she wants to know why anyone would want to do that. So, we got a return appointment :)! We aren't sure if Rosa and her 6 sons are the family we are searching for, but we have hope that things will go well on Wednesday when we go back to visit her. 

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