Wednesday, September 21, 2016

More from Florida (September 20, 2016)

Hello everyone! 

I hope all is going well :). This week was great! Last P-Day we went bowling with some of the other Elders and Sisters, and it was super fun! I don't know how, but I managed to beat all 5 of the other sisters on my lane, so that was cool. 

That night we went to visit our investigator Veronica, we were super disappointed when she wasn't home, but her brother Damian turned out to be super cool. We asked if we could share a short message with him instead, and he agreed. He lives with his sister, works pretty much 24/7, and has a wife and a son left in Mexico that he hasn't seen for a really long time. He really wants to find happiness in his life, so it was awesome to be able to tell him that we can help him find happiness. He doesn't have time to meet with us during the week, so we decided to visit him at his work instead. He works at a mechanic shop, and when we got there we couldn't find him anywhere. A couple of his co-workers told us that he was working in the building "around back", but when we went in search of it we couldn't find another building. We were about to leave, but one of the workers noticed us leaving, and stopped us to see if we had found him. When we told him no, he kindly walked over to the building that had been hiding behind some trees and a huge padlocked fence. Well, we knocked as loud as we could for about 5 minutes on this huge padlocked fence, and thankfully Damian heard us and we were able to share another message with him. It was cool to see how everything fell into place so that we were able to meet with him again, and he has promised to come to church this next Sunday, so we will see how that goes!

His sister Veronica that we were supposed to see that night rescheduled with us, and we were able to visit her last night. She is a really pretty Latin mom, with two adorable little boys and a 10 yr. old girl. Her 10 yr. old daughter is preparing for communion in the Catholic church, and Veronica doesn't want to influence her decision by investigating another church, but she was super receptive to our message! She asked all the right questions, said the closing prayer (which most people refuse to do), and she even picked her own baptismal date of Oct. 16th! We are so excited, she is really sweet, and we are excited to be able to help her family. 

Our other investigator is named Maggui. Maggui is from Cuba, and she also works a lot. We have had to reschedule with her for the last 3 weeks, but we were finally able to teach her yesterday. She was also very receptive to the message, she always cries when we talk. She kept telling us that we speak "con poder" (with power). She has agreed to pray about Joseph Smith, and we are hoping to set her with a solid baptismal date this week. She also likes to write music, so she sang us one of her little hymns. She has a beautiful voice! Super cool! She has a friend who is a member of the church, and when Maggui mentioned that she was meeting with the missionaries this friend told her that missionaries really love food. So, Maggui made us a TON of cupcakes. Instead of frosting they had powdered sugar and cinnamon on top? Maybe it's a Cuban thing? Anyways, she is really sweet and we are excited to teach her again this week. 

One cool experience that happened this week was that on Saturday the Elders that work in the same ward as us were supposed to have a baptism. It had been 8 months since anyone had been baptized in that area, so they were SUPER excited. They got everything all set up with chairs, programs, speakers, music, and we even made cookies to take. However, about 15 minutes before the baptism was supposed to start David (the one getting baptized) still wasn't there. At that point the Elders got a call from him saying that he would not be able to be baptized that day. The Elders were devastated, they told everyone to wait and they would go to his house to see what was going on. Well, they came back about 45 minutes later, thanked everyone for coming, and said that there would not be a baptism that day. David is living with a younger woman, who is kind of like a nurse for him. She takes care of him because he has really bad knees. Well, for some reason, this lady found out that he was planning to be baptized and she told him that if he was baptized she would kick him out of the house. The Elders were so sad! Even though David had said he would get baptized the next day (Sunday), they didn't really want to get their hopes up. Well, around 8:00 on Sunday morning my companion and I get a call from the Elders. David was at the church, ready to be baptized! It was so unexpected that only a couple of missionaries and random members were able to make it to the baptism, but it was perfect. David had decided to sneak out of the house, and be secretly baptized, without telling the nurse. The Elders baptized him, and then he quickly returned home so that she would never know! He is a super cool old man, and he didn't even seem to mind that he had to be baptized 3 times because his pinky toe kept sticking out of the water :). This experience illustrates that missions are hard (when your investigators decide not to be baptized), but they are also amazing (when your investigators decide to sneak out the house and do an early morning secret baptism). Super cool!

We also had a "specialized training" this week. It was kind of secretive, and we all wondered if we would be getting ipads. Nope. However, it was awesome. Our mission has a goal of baptizing 100 people every single month. The last time that goal was achieved was during the historic "miracle March" back in 2015. I have heard the story of miracle March at least 4 times and I haven't even been here for very long! Since that time we have come close, but we have never reached 100 baptisms as a mission. Well, President said that is about to change!! We had an awesome training about "the hunt for 100". The hunt for 100 is what we are going to be doing in October so that we can reach our mission goal of 100 baptisms! Everyone was really pumped up, and we had a really awesome training about doing everything we can and then a little bit more. We also had a mission wide fast this last Sunday that we would achieve our goal, and we are so excited to see the miracles! Now we all wear little stickers on the back of our nametags that say "The Hunt for 100". 

That's all for this week! I just want to end with an awesome quote from Elder Bednar "the work you perform is a whole lot more about WHO you are and WHAT you are than what you say." 

This does not just apply to missionary work! Everything about the gospel is geared towards helping us to become more like Jesus Christ and like our Heavenly Father. As we become more like Jesus Christ we will find greater happiness in this life, and eternal life in the next, pretty awesome!

Love you all!
Love, Hermana Monson

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