I hope you have all had a wonderful week! It has been another great week here. I found out last night that I will be transferring to a new area, Miami Lakes North. I am excited to be staying in Miami, and I am excited to be back in an all Spanish area. My new companion's name is Sister Smith (Monson and Smith, haha, that should be fun to explain). She has been out for the same amount of time as Sister Carling, so this will be her third transfer. That's about all I know at this point, but I have heard good things about my new area, so I'm excited!
This week started off with a super fun P-Day. We went with the other sisters in our house to get Sister Tueller's ears pierced at the mall. She had never done it before, and decided now was as good a time as any! We had fun with that, and then we spent about an hour in bed, bath, and body works. We are pretty easily entertained.
On Tuesday we had DT, and I always learn so much about how to be a better missionary. This transfer Sister Carling and I have been working on planner covers for our zone leaders (we share a ward with them). They were replete with inside jokes, and they laughed for 20 minutes straight after we gave them to them after DT. All of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into these planners were so worth it! That night we had dinner with one of our ward members, and she ended up opening up to us a lot. She told us a lot of things she has been through in her life, and it made me feel so much love for her. This is such a fantastic ward. That night we had another lesson with Ellen and Kiana, it went really well! They told us that they love it when we come over because they feel better afterwards. Talk about the Spirit working in people!
On Wednesday and Thursday all of our appointments fell through. We were exactly sure what Heavenly Father wanted us to do instead, but obviously He had another plan for us. We decided to visit a bunch of less-active members, and we ended up finding a really cool less active part member family. Juan has not been to church for a long time, but he still knows that it is true. His wife Rachel is not a member, but she listened to our lesson. She did not seem too interested, but Juan ended up coming back to church on Sunday, so that was awesome! That night I got a text from Sister Richardson telling me to call her when I got a chance. I was freaking out a little, but I didn't have the chance to call her until it was too late, so she said to call her the next morning. When I called on Friday morning she told me that my Grandpa Monson had passed away. Of course I was sad to hear the news, he was an amazing man, and I will never forget his example of faith and devotion to the Lord.
One miracle we saw that same day that I received the news about my Grandpa Monson we went to go visit a member of our ward named Sister Gibson. She is an older lady that lives alone, and she was supposed to go to the dentist's office to get 3 teeth pulled last week. She has been feeling so nervous, and she asked us if we could come visit her beforehand. She ended up rescheduling the appointment to this week, so we went to go visit her on Friday around . She ended up just wanting a quick prayer before her appointment, so we said a prayer with her and shared a scripture which she really appreciated. Then she left for her appointment. We were debating about what to do next, when we decided we should go visit a former investigator in the next neighborhood over. However, just as we were leaving, we felt like we should stay and knock some doors in her apartment complex. So, we stopped and started knocking the building right next to her. Of course there were not very many people home at on a Friday afternoon, and about 20 minutes in we thought about leaving, but for whatever reason we decided to knock just a few more doors. At one particular door we knocked twice, waited for a while, and when no one answered we turned away. However, just as we almost rounded the corner of the building we heard the door open, so we turned back and ended up meeting Robert. I tell all of this background information because there were so many miracles that led up to us meeting him (Sister Gibson's appointment rescheduling, we would not have been in that neighborhood except that we had a visit with her, we don't normally knock doors at , etc.).
We asked Robert if we could share a prayer with him, and he agreed. As we started talking to him, he opened up and told us that he wasn't sure if he believed in God. He doesn't understand how a loving God could allow so much suffering to take place in the world. He told us he considers himself a Pagan, but that lately he has been searching for something more. He said his wife is visiting her family right now, and he has noticed that her family is always so happy. That even though they still have trials, they are just always happy, he told us he is pretty sure it is because they are "church people." He has been thinking about that a lot lately, and wondering if maybe there really is a God, and what he needs to do to have the same happiness as the "church people." He decided to try saying a prayer, which he had not done for many many years. He wasn't even sure if he would get an answer, and he felt really awkward talking to someone that he wasn't sure was even there. However, as soon as he finished his prayer he heard a knock at the door. He normally wouldn't answer the door to strangers, but when he peeped out the window and saw missionaries he decided that God must be trying to tell him something.
As we were listening we both felt the overwhelming impression to teach the Plan of Salvation. Normally we teach about the Restoration of the gospel when we knock doors, but without even needing to communicate Sister Carling and I started to teach him the Plan of Salvation. He was so intrigued. He asked lots of good questions, and the Spirit was unbelievable. One tender mercy was that in the midst of that lesson, I ended up teaching about the spirit world and life after death. With the news of my grandpa fresh on my mind I testified to him that we will see our family after they die, I could hardly get the words out, the spirit was amazing. It really brought me a lot of peace. At the end of the lesson, Robert opened up to us a little more and without giving us any specific details made a lot of comments that led us to believe that he has recently lost a loved one. We came away from that lesson and just said "wow." We could not get over it. That was one of the most powerful Plan of Salvation lessons I have ever had. There was not denying that Heavenly Father placed us right there, in that moment, on that particular day to help Robert resolve some of his concerns. Robert did not end up coming to church, and we have not been able to see him since, but I know that he will not forget that lesson, and maybe one day he will decide to come and see for himself why the "church people" are always so happy.
Another cool miracle that we saw this week was that when we went to teach Kiana and Ellen the law of chastity we were feeling a little nervous because Ellen is currently living with her boyfriend Rick, so it was bound to be a sensitive subject. We were surprised when they kept agreeing with everything we were saying, no matter how straightforward we explained everything. Finally, Ellen admitted to us that she knew that what she was doing was wrong, and that she had literally talked to Rick that morning about getting married. They set a date for . They have been together 5 years, and they choose that morning to talk about getting married?! Sister Carling and I were so amazed. Especially because we had tried to meet with them 2 times earlier in the week, and they kept having to cancel last minute. Well obviously they needed to have that discussion first, we know that it made a big difference. It was a huge miracle, the lesson went really smoothly, and now they are excited to get baptized right after the wedding! I am sad I won't be here to see it, but I am excited for them! They still weren't able to come to church because of Kiana's ankle, but she is going back to the doctor this week and we are praying for good news.
This week we also had a funny lesson when we ended up teaching a lady named Nicole that lives in a one bedroom efficiency with her 20 pet cats, her dog, and her bird. No joke. Literally 20. I still have cat hair on me, and that was 4 days ago! But she is super sweet :).
Something that was a little strange that happened this week was that we went to go and contact a media referral that we had received, but when we called to talk to her it turns out that she had passed away, on the same day that she had requested a bible. We spoke with her son on the phone, and he said that he would still appreciate the bible, and that we could bring it to him. When we pulled up to their house, I recognized it as one that I had knocked before, and I realized that I had met Angela (the lady that requested the bible) before! She was a sweet old Haitian grandma with 10 kids, and over 50 grandkids. I had shared a prayer with her and her family, so when we went to give them their bible a lot of them recognized me. We were able to share another prayer with them, and it really meant a lot to them. We are hoping we will see some fruits of that seed!
It has been a great week, we have truly seen so many miracles. I am so grateful for the gospel, I am so grateful for a knowledge of God's plan for His children. I love the Savior, and know that He lives. I will be excited to write you next week about my new area!
Love, Hermana Monson