I'm sorry I did not have time to write a group email last week, but it has been a great couple of weeks!
First off, one piece of SUPER exciting news is that Chikira got baptized on Saturday! Chikira was an investigator that we were teaching about a month ago, but then she moved to North Miami and we lost contact with her. We were so sad because we love her! However, after receiving her new address we were able to send some missionaries from North Miami to meet her, and they helped her be baptized! We were SO SO SO happy to hear it! I wish we could have been there, but I am so happy for her.
This week has been pretty crazy. On Friday we literally went from in the afternoon until at night without even pausing for dinner! It was such a crazy day, but so worth it! We have spent most of our time focused on helping our Cuban family. We have had a lesson with them almost every single night this week, and we have had to make sure to bring lots of ward members with us, because it is so hard to understand their Spanish! In fact, one night Sister Carling and I were feeling so overwhelmed because we had taught them the Word of Wisdom, but when we tried to ask them how it was going the next day they gave us a huge long story, we could only understand part of it, so we really weren't sure if Renaldo (the dad) had quit smoking! At that moment our Zone Leaders (who share a ward with us) called to ask a question, and we were telling them what had happened, and so they offered to come to our next lesson with us. We gratefully accepted. One of them is Mexican, so he speaks fluent Spanish. That helped a ton! So we ended up having another great lesson with them, in which we learned that Renaldo had quit smoking! We went over the baptismal interview questions with them, and we believe that they are ready!
We were SO stressed yesterday when they were late to church, and they missed the Sacrament, because they have to see that sacrament at least once before they can be baptized, and they are getting baptized this upcoming Saturday! They missed the sacrament in our ward, but thankfully there is another ward that meets at a later time, so we were able to go to that ward so that they could take the sacrament. We LOVE this family, and I am so excited to help them get baptized this upcoming Saturday! The little 8 year old girl, Yailen, loves us. Every time we come over she is waiting for us at the doorstep, and she always runs up to give us a big hug. The 5 year old boy is also super cute, and I love his Spanish. He has so much energy, but as long as you show him where we are reading from the Book of Mormon, and help him follow along, he will hold still for the lesson.
This week I was also able to go on an exchange to Riverside with our STL Sister Leslie! It was a great time! I love the area of Riverside because there is a ton of Spanish. It was funny because they had a correlation meeting with their ward mission leader, and he was asking if any of the missionaries play the piano. They all said no, so he asked if I did, and when I said yes he told me that from now on he will be praying that I get transferred to their ward so I can play the piano for them. I will be praying too! Sister Leslie also taught me how to make flan!
One cool miracle we saw this week was that one day we were our knocking doors, and we talked to a man outside his garage. He did not want anything to do with us, but he told us that his neighbor might like a prayer. We go knock on this neighbors door, and it turns out that a less-active member lives there. His name is Jorge, he is confined to a wheelchair due to lots of health problems, and he has not been to church for a long time. We were able to visit him, and his son David a few times this week, and they ended up coming back to church yesterday! It was a total miracle that we ended up in their neighborhood because we had no idea that they even lived there.
We had a crazy experience on Saturday when we were stopped at a red light, and suddenly right in front of us there was a huge crash. Mostly the sound is what alerted me, so I looked up in time to see a white semi spinning onto the on-ramp of the nearby turnpike. A little black SUV was also spinning through the intersection, then it crashed into a stoplight, and then the stoplight fell over. We just looked at each other in shock, pulled over, and called 911. Lots of people ended up stopping to help. From what we could tell no one was hurt, we weren't able to stay for long because our car was blocking traffic. The paramedics showed up a few moments after we left, so we are hoping everyone was ok.
The funny story of the week is when we were out knocking one day we ran into a little old Indian lady. She grew up as a Hindu, but she converted to Christianity when she was 17. She told us about all of these visions that she has had, and didn't even pause for breath! We listened to her for about 20 minutes, when she declared that she would like to "bless us." Before we could say anything she puts one of her hands on each of our foreheads and declares a blessing upon us. The funniest part was when she wanted us to repeat after her and "accept Jesus" and "truly mean it." We weren't entirely sure what to do, we felt like we shouldn't repeat after her, so she just kind of told us that "when we were ready to accept Jesus" that we could give her a call. She was so cute! Her name was Goldy, and now we have her phone number "in case we ever need anything."
Just one quick thought, I have been studying a lot about peace this week. I don't have a lot of time to write all of the scripture references, but one thing that I learned is that in order to have peace we have to become more like Jesus Christ. He is truly the Prince of Peace, and it is as we are striving to do as He would do that we can find peace within ourselves and our families, even in the midst of a crazy world. I know that He is the Savior, and I know His gospel is here on the earth to bless us, and I am so grateful for that!