I hope you are all doing well, it has been such a great week here!
Monday we had a combined zone activity for P-Day it was right next to Calle 8, so we decided to make a quick stop. We had tons of fun eating Cuban icecream (I got nutella and almond) and browsing the little tourist shops. After that we went to our zone activity where we played ultimate frisbee in a muddy field for a few hours. We all got covered in mud, but it was so fun! That night we were out knocking doors and we found Shantae and Patricia. Shantae was literally preparing to have a visit from some people that would determine the custody of her child about 10 minutes after we showed up. We shared a prayer with her, she cried the whole time, and felt so much peace after. She knew for sure that God had sent us. She doesn't speak Spanish, so we had to pass her to the English sisters, we aren't sure if that went anywhere, but it was still a great experience.
On Tuesday we had the weirdest MPL (Member Present Lesson) of all time. We have a recent convert named Paula who is a super sassy little lady from Cuba. We love her to pieces. She know s that the church is where God needs her to be, but she has been really struggling lately with her testimony of Joseph Smith. Her husband is not a member, but he came to a Father's Day Activity last week, and then came to church. We set up a lesson with him, but when we went over there it turned out to be a little disastrous. We taught him the Restoration, and at the end we invited him to pray about our message. However, Paula kept telling him that he really shouldn't bother praying because she still hadn't got her answer, and she has been praying for a long time. We really were not quite sure how to handle that situation, we testified as best we could, but in the end he did not want to learn more. We came out of there and just had to laugh, usually the point of having a member is to help you testify, but in this case it was a little counterproductive. We have been thinking a lot about how to help Paula regain her testimony, and so we will continue working on that. This is just one example that lessons sometimes do not go as well as you hoped, but you just have to do your best, and pray that the Spirit will really touch their hearts!
On Wednesday we had Zone Conference, and it was the last one with President and Sister Richardson. I am honestly so grateful for them, they have strengthened my testimony and helped me to grow in so many ways. They are so dedicated to the Lord, and we will miss them! President Richardson talked about some mind-blowing doctrine with resurrection, translation, and transfiguration. I love that kind of stuff. Then we all had a nice break when Sister Richardson talked about how much God loves us, and all that uplifting kind of stuff. They balance each other out really well. Like I said, it is sad to see them go, but I am also excited to meet President Garns soon!
Saturday was a pretty crazy busy day. We had a companionship study with our zone leaders. One of them, Elder Jones, was baptized just a few years ago. They decided to share his conversion story, and point out some principles behind it. He has such an amazing story, and it is easy to see the hand that God played in helping him find the gospel. One of those ways being that before he had even really heard about the church, he really felt like he needed to go to BYU. He had heard some high school friends talking about it years before, but that was the only time he had ever heard it mentioned. He miraculously made it in, and ended up living with 5 returned missionaries. The rest is practically history, but it was a cool story. That night the Elders in our ward had a baptism for a man named William. He speaks some of the most Cuban Spanish you will ever hear, and it is nearly impossible to understand him, but we just love their family. His wife has been a member forever, and he has an adorable 5 year old girl. It was so special. Right after that Sister Smith and I had to run and grab some dinner because we hadn't had time to eat. We were driving along, and we spotted this little place called Los Verdes, and we decided to try it because we didn't have much time for anything else. The food was disappointing, but we knew that God needed us there because our waiter ended up being a less-active member that had recently moved from Colombia! He recognized our badges, and told us that he was baptized a long time ago, but hadn't been to church since coming to the US. He was YSA age, so we gave his information to the YSA sisters, but it was so cool that we randomly met him at this little place. That night we had another baptism to go to for an 8 year old girl in our ward. Her mom is a less-active member that we have been working with, that has slowly been coming back to church. Her name is Giselle, and she is so sweet. We are hoping that this baptism will help her return to church full-heartedly!
On Sunday we saw a huge miracle when our Cuban investigator Alideisy showed up to church! We had taught her once this week, but had lost contact with her when she wasn't home for an appointment, and stopped answering our phone calls. We were so surprised, but so happy to see her. She had to leave after Sacrament meeting, and her little 2 year old boy had SO much energy that we weren't sure if she really got anything out of church. However, we went over after church and she agreed to be baptized on ! She is probably around 48? And she has a 2 year old boy. She also has a 24 year old daughter. Biological. We were a little confused, she had to explain it to us a few times, but we got it all straightened out. She is just great, and her little boy is adorable! We saw a huge miracle last night when we were knocking doors. We came across a house with a huge fence, and we managed to get inside. We knocked on the door, no one answered. Then we got distracted by the beautiful sunset, we ended up staying on the doorstep for a little while just talking and looking at the sunset. No one was home, so we left a card. On our way out we closed the gate behind us, and literally the second we close the gate 2 HUGE dogs come tearing around the side of the house barking and growling at us. It surprised us so we both jumped back, and they slammed into the fence because of how fast they were running. They continued to bark and growl at us as we walked away, they were probably some of the scariest ones I've seen on my mission. There are dogs that are all bark, no bite, but we both agreed that it was not the case with these ones. We were both shaking, and we just looked at each other and said a quick prayer of gratitude. We have no doubt that Heavenly Father protected us at that house, we aren't sure what kept those dogs away while we were standing at the doorstep (for even longer than usual), but we were so grateful!
That is all for this week!
Love, Hermana Monson