This has been another great week in Flordia! It has definitely been slower than some weeks, but we have still seen miracles.
On Monday we had a fun P-Day. Sister Smith and I went to breakfast with the other sisters we live with, and after that we went to a flea market! It looks exactly like Mexico, and there were tons of little shops selling homemade night gowns, beauty supplies, hats, jewelry, exotic birds, etc. It was cool to look around, and at the end we tried some delicious Guatemalan corn on the cob.
On Tuesday we had a lunch appointment with the Elder's investigator. His name is William, and his wife (Sara) is a member. They LOVE having the missionaries over, so we have been to their house a few times. Right after that we went to help a less-active member in our ward. She is preparing to move, but she lives alone and needs help packing her things. We went and boxed up tons of rusty old dishes. She does not have very much work right now, so she is not able to pay her rent. Yet, when we were finished helping her pack she set the table with a ton of food that she made special for us. We couldn't say no to that! It was so sweet, she is so amazing. Even though she does not have much she is always inviting people over to her house to give them a nice meal. She is actually friends with our investigator, Terry, and he does not have much work either. He told us that whenever he is hungry, he knows he can count on Maria Belen to give him a little something. She is a great example.
That night we met with our investigator Terry. He randomly showed up to church last Sunday, so we started teaching him. He has been taught by missionaries in the past. He is from Colombia, and is struggling right now because he can't find much work. His wife is still in Colombia, and he hasn't been able to see her for 7 years. It is such a sad situation, but we were glad that he also came to a Father's Day activity in the church. He was able to meet more members, and he came to church again yesterday!
On Wednesday we met with our sweet little investigator Celia. She LOVED church when she came last Sunday, so we thought that it would be easy for her to keep progressing. However, no matter how much we tried to explain the need for Priesthood authority, she did not understand why she needed to get baptized again. We reviewed it all with her again, and some scriptures from the Book of Mormon. When she started to read those scriptures, she began to cry. The Spirit filled the room, and the lights flickered (which she took as a sign that God was trying to tell her something, not sure if that was true, but we will take it ;). We thought she would commit to baptism after all of that, so we waited silently while she cried. Finally, she told us that she would pray that night, and if God told her she needed to do it, she would get baptized again. We thought for sure she would get her answer, so we were surprised when we received a call from her the next day. She thanked us a million times for coming to her house, inviting her to church, and praying for her and her family-but she said that she would not be getting baptized again, and that she already has her own church. We were disappointed, we just love her! However, we have faith that one day she will be ready!
On Thursday we went to eat dinner with the Chavez family in our ward, they are so sweet! They are from Ecuador, and Brother Chavez came to the US to work ab out 15 years ago. He left his wife and kids in Ecuador, they ended up getting baptized while he was gone. Eventually they joined him here, and he was baptized too. They do so much to help the ward, and I love them! It was so cute because one of the Elders in our ward had his birthday that day, and Sister Chavez made him a little homemade birthday mug. She had written Happy Birthday Elder Starley in sharpie, and drew some balloons. She was so embarrassed about it, but we thought it was the cutest thing ever! She also made the best pupusas I have ever tasted in my life! So it was a good time.
That night we met with 4 sisters from our ward at the chapel, and we went on splits. I went with two sisters to visit our investigator Karenia, the lesson went well, but she doesn't really have desires to learn right now. Sister Smith went with two other sisters to visit a less-active member in the ward. She didn't even know until she arrived at the house that this less-active member is the grandmother of one of the sisters who went with her! She said it was awesome that the granddaughter was placed in that kind of setting where she could easily share her testimony with her grandmother. It was so weird being away from Sister Smith, we haven't done splits like that for a long time. It made us really appreciate one another when we were reunited!
On Friday there was a Father's Day activity for our ward. It was supposed to start at , but according to usual Latin standard time it actually started at , which meant we had to leave 30 minutes into it. It was good because a lot of non members came with their friends and we were able to meet them, and 2 of them ended up coming to church on Sunday as well! So that was an awesome miracle! We will be teaching them this week :)!
On Saturday we went to visit a less-active member named Rita. She let us right in, and was so excited that we came to visit her. Her and her husband have been stuck at home for a long time because there is a woman living in their efficiency that has not been paying her rent. They are trying to have her evicted, but she has not been very cooperative, and so they are afraid to leave their house because they don't know what she would do while they are gone. Needless to say, she was happy for some visitors. She talked without pausing for breath for 50 minutes straight! We finally managed to cut it, share a quick message, but before we could leave she insisted on feeding us grapes and icecream. She is a sweetheart.
On Sunday we had a great sacrament meeting for Father's Day. Some of the Relief Society Sisters in our ward wrote lyrics to the song "Be Still My Soul" for Father's Day. It is not actually a song in the Spanish hymn book, so it worked out well. I ended up playing the piano. It is really just a fact that Latins have a hard time with singing, and so we had to transpose the song into a lower key for these sweet little sisters. It was definitely an interesting musical number, but I loved it!
That night we had dinner with our bishop and his family. To describe the food we ate in English terms it was sea food rice with mayo on top and corn juice. The juice was made from a purple corn that you can only find in Peru, and the rice ended up being really good, especially if you added sufficient amounts of Mayonesa on top.
Later on we were visiting some former investigators and we felt to knock around one of them. We found Alicia, who let us right in. She is from Cuba, and her husband passed away about 9 months ago. It was heartbreaking to hear that she lived in this giant house all by herself. She told us that she wants friends, and when we invited her to church she was so excited to come! We will be going back to see her later tonight.
I hope it's a great week! Love you all!
Love, Hermana Monson
These are all at the flea market we visited on P-Day.