Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 3, 2017!!! One of my favorite letters so far!

Hi everyone! I hope that it has been a great week for you all, and that you enjoyed your New Year's festivities :)!

To start off the week, last Monday Sister Whitney and I decided to do a special fast because we have not been able to find any investigators for a while. Missionary work is hard when you don't have people to work with. Well, last night we counted, we currently have 8 investigators! The Lord answers prayers, and fasting works!!

On Thursday we had a District Training about how to help our investigators come to church. They can't progress if they don't come to church! So that was really good, plus a Brazilian sister in our district made these delicious Brazilian chocolate/carmel treat things, and I can't remember what they are called, but they were so good! That night we had a lesson with a man named Omar. We had met Omar a few days earlier, he seemed pretty set in his ways, but he just seemed so close to the truth that I felt we needed to set up a return appointment. Anyways, we went back on Thursday, and he was ready for us. He had some chairs set up, and his huge bible on the table. We were worried that all he would do was bible-bash, but he allowed us to teach him the message of the Restoration. The Spirit was definitely there. At the end, he started asking some questions, which we did our best to answer, but it quickly turned into a bad situation. He just wanted to bible-bash and deny our testimonies, and it was rough. Sister Whitney does not like those kinds of situations, she gets really anxious. However, I prayed that the Lord would help us know what to say, and I just felt peace. Even though this man was denying our testimonies, and mocking everything that we believe, I felt perfectly calm, and just listened contently. After a while he paused for breath, I snuck in a quick testimony, said that we needed to leave, and asked he would say the closing prayer. He agreed to say the closing prayer, we thanked him for his time, and left. It was a super frustrating lesson, but I know that the peace I felt was the Lord confirming to me the truthfulness of what we had just taught, even if he did not want believe it. He has now heard the message of the Restoration, and we know that a seed has been planted. He has desires to follow the Jesus Christ, and I truly hope that one day his heart will be softened so that one day he can understand the best way to do that.

On Friday we had exchanges with the STLs! It was so fun! Sister Livengood came to our area, so I got to stay in Fountainbleau and work with her. Her Spanish is great, and she is a really good missionary. The highlight of the day was definitely our lesson with our investigator Raul. It was our first time being able to teach him, so we taught the Restoration. We also brought a couple from our ward, Brother and Sister Laguna. Their testimonies were just perfect because they were converted to the church in Honduras about 30 years ago, and they were able to share their experience of coming to know the truthfulness of the gospel. Raul was definitely touched. When we asked him if he had been reading from the Book of Mormon we'd left him he said "a little," but then he went on to relate the entire story of 3 Nephi 11 and 12, and he even said he'd started from the beginning as well! We were so shocked, usually it is a miracle if the investigator makes it all the way through one chapter in between lessons. He said he felt like he just couldn't put it down. Raul definitely has desires to know the truth, and it was an amazing lesson. The Spirit was so strong that afterwards Hermano Laguna said "if he didn't feel that, he must be dead!" 

That night we also went to visit our recent convert Mari. She has so much crazy stuff going on in her life right now, but she was so happy to see us. She was in a car crash this week, and luckily no one was hurt, but her car was totaled. She was so excited to tell us about a missionary experience that she'd had. One day she was in the courthouse, and there was a young girl there who looked really sad. Mari said she decided to go talk to her, and this girl opened right up. Her name is Jessica and she is really struggling with a lot of things right now. Mari got the chance to bear her testimony, and she invited Jessica to church. Turns out, Jessica doesn't live near here, so she can't come to this church, but we will get her the address of the church by her house. It was so fun to hear Mari tell us her story because she was so excited! I love her!

On Saturday we exchanged back, so Sister Whitney and I were back together. We had a district "blitz" (all the district meets together and knocks doors on one street). It was super fun because I got to go on a short exchange with Hermana Louissant. She is from Haiti, and we were in the CCM together! We had a great time knocking doors, and it was super cool because we got to teach the lesson to Ilda, one of our new investigators! Ilda is Pentecostal, and she had heard some things about "the Mormon church" before, but after we cleared up a few misconceptions she agreed to learn more. Her husband is Catholic, and she really wants religious unity in her home. Let us help you with that! 

Saturday night we had dinner at the Relief Society President's house, with the Elders, so that was super fun. Then we had to be in our house by 6:00 because of the all the New Year's Even partying! It was definitely super loud! We did face masks and pedicures, so that was super fun!

On Sunday morning we were shocked when a man that we had visited about 3 months ago randomly showed up to church! His name is Petronio, he is super old, and he really does not want to be pressured into baptism, but he loved church! He kept telling us that the atmosphere was sacred, and that it was unlike any other church he had ever visited before. We will be going back to teach him again!

Sunday night we had another lesson with Raul. It was super short, but we talked about the importance of coming to church, because he hadn't come. We shared John 7:17 "if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." We shared our testimonies about the importance of keeping God's commandments, in order to gain a testimony of their truthfulness. He expressed his desires to change his life, to stop smoking, and he even said "I know coffee isn't a drug, but I feel like I should probably stop drinking it before I get baptized". We haven't even taught him the Word of Wisdom yet!! That is what reading from the Book of Mormon will do to people! He is still reading from the BOM, and after we promised that the Savior would help him with all of his challenges, he agreed to come to church next Sunday.

That night we were able to visit some other recent converts named Mari Elena and Ana. They are so sweet, and we just love them!! They are having lots of health challenges right now, and that makes it hard for them to come to church. We reminded them about daily scripture study, and they promised to do it this week. It made our day because they told us that they had been worried that we'd been transferred, and that they hadn't gotten to say goodbye. We explained that transfers won't be for another two week, but it made us so happy that they would have noticed if we'd been transferred! Sometimes the members don't even notice because they are just so used to the missionaries transferring, but Ana and Mari Elena said they would miss us. They are the best!

Yesterday was "Pros Monday" because of the holiday. After studies we got in the car, and prepared to go to our first appointment when we suddenly got a bunch of phone calls and text messages within the space of about 10 minutes informing us that every single one of our appointments fell through. We were looking at a long day, we weren't really sure where to go or what the Lord wanted us to do. Well, we ended up going to visit some former investigators and in the course of looking for a former investigator named Jose, we met another Jose, that has never heard the missionaries before, but he agreed to listen to our lesson. Now he's a new investigator! After that we went to visit another former investigator, and she and her husband agreed to listen as well! We aren't sure if they really understood the message of the Restoration, but they agreed to come to church, and be baptized! Investigators 6 and 7! We didn't have much time left before we had to be in our house, but we decided to visit one more former investigator. We managed to catch him right on his way home from his Sunday night walk. His name is Angel, he lives alone, and he was so happy to have visitors. He showered gifts of coco-cola and bananas upon us, and was so happy to share a prayer with us. We committed him to pray about baptism, and he agreed, he really believes that he will get an answer! Investigator number 8!

It was so cool to see how all of our plans fell through, and that led to us finding 4 new investigators yesterday. With a total of 8 investigators we are super busy, super stressed, but super happy!! We are hoping that we will be able to help all of them progress this week, and that we will be able to get them to church!! 

I love being a missionary! It is so wonderful to be able to share such a happy message with the people here in Florida! I know that this is God's church, I know that Book of Mormon is His word, and that we can find more happiness in living the gospel than in any other way! 

I hope it is a wonderful week for you all!

Con mucho amor, 
Hermana Monson

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