Monday, September 15, 2014
How is everyone, I am always hoping great of course! Well this week kind of went by fast, but they all seem to do that... Sister Petersen and I had a really amazing miracle this week. Well where to start. We had a lot of people cancel on us this week, which is always a bummer, but as a missionary that's just kind of the story of my life. So we ended up doing a whole lot of tracting and visiting our less active members. Which was nice I love visiting less actives. I don't know if I told you about the less active members that just moved into our ward, the Conkright family. Well anyways we have built a really good relationship with them and we have gotten them to come with us twice! It’s been so great and they are so awesome and really want to get involved in the church again. On Wednesday the 2 kids Nicky and Daniel preformed in the talent show the youth were having and they did a great job! They just seem so much happier now they there are getting more involved in church and I am so glad! So my word and Daniel the punk and I only say that because I love the kid, got a fake snake, and we went over for dinner and they really live out in the middle of the woods and there are a ton of creatures and after dinner it was dark and he had run outside and put the snake on top of the car right on the passenger side, so when I went to open the door it was right in my face and all I could do was scream and then I hear Daniel in the bushes laughing his head off I grabbed the snake and threw it at him. I still have to think of a way to get him back before I go! But they are a really great family and I am really excited to have gotten to know them for the time that I did.
So I don't know if you remember me talking about a woman that I met when I first got to Lecanto named Angela, but if you don't I will give you a recap. Angie is in her 30's and has MD and she also had a 13-year-old daughter. Angie has been taught by the missionaries for about a year, and she had a baptismal date at one point, but was feeling like she was being pressured into it so she backed out and then the missionaries stopped visiting her. Well when I got here she was an old former investigator and Sister Murphy and I decided to go and visit her and at the time she still wasn't ready to be baptized or anything and she had started smoking again and such. Well ever since that time we have been stopping by and trying to visit her and it's been pretty good, then we didn't see Angie basically all summer because she was having some major health issues and also had to have her gallbladder removed and the hospital that she was at even though it's up the road in Ocala, isn't in our mission. So we weren't able to see her. Well this last week she Facebook messaged us and asked us if we could come over. So we went and visited her and she said "Sister's I need to have you help me make a plan, I have already stopped smoking and I am on a patch program that weans you off nicotine over 7 weeks. I want to be baptized on November 8th when my program is done." Sister Petersen’s and my jaw dropped and she said as well " I have already been reading the scriptures ever day and I also like watching those cartoon scriptures you Mormons make." I was really shocked, so I pulled out my little notebook and made a game plan with Angie on how she is going to accomplish this and the things that she would need to do. It really was a miracle. She also came to church yesterday and stayed all 3 hours, which she normally didn't do in the past. She is really determined to make it to baptism, and we are excited to help her. I am really glad though that I was at least able to be here to hear her decision to be baptized. When I first got here she had a bit of negative feelings about some of the old missionaries that she had and some things about church. But for some reason Angie and I really hit it off when we met and I was able to help her feel better about things and help her to know that she can work at her own pace and that she doesn't have to feel pressured about being baptized. We became really good friends and I think that is why she has felt comfortable to tell me things about her life and how she feels about joining a church. I feel like it has also enabled me to be able to be "lovingly bold" with her, because she knows I'm not trying to be pushy, but because I really care about her, which I am glad. I think that is one thing that I love about being a missionary, people just trust you. They don't even have to know you for more than an hour and they trust you with their whole life. People all the time that I don't even know open up to me about their entire lives and know that I will listen. And I also know that it is not because of me, but because I have the Savior's name on my chest and that is a name that people trust. I hope that I will be able to still help people in the same way when I get home, but I fear that it just isn't the same when you are not a missionary. As many of you know I have been struggling these past couple of transfers with my companion. I have been at the brink of frustration more than I feel is my fair share, but I have tried hard to control my own selfish feelings and just work it out. It still is harder than anything I ever want to do again, but I feel that the Lord is helping me to see that only I can let myself get upset or mad or angry. I honestly can say that I am grateful because it helps me to realize exactly what I can handle and what I cannot. And especially what I am going to expect out of someone when I get married someday. I am in a situation where I cannot just run away, but I have to fix it and try and make it better. I feel that is to some extent what Heavenly Father requires of those that are married. That is the most important thing we do in this life, we are supposed to take care of it, and when it's broken running away shouldn't be the first thought, it should be to fix it. Well that's all I can wisdom up for the week. Today we are going over to Homosassa to look at Manatees. That should be fun. Talk to you all soon, love you
Monday, September 8, 2014
|Bishop Hoki, Brandon, Sister Jamison & Sister Petersen|
|Brandon's son, Brandon and his mom|
|Sister Jamison, Brandon & Sister Petersen|
How are you today! Wow the time is ticking down for sure isn't it? And thank you for reminding me.... haha anyways this week was a roller coaster! Lot's of good and lots of not so good.
First off Brandon's baptism went so well! The bishop was able to baptize him and about 50 ward members came out to support! It was great, a less active member that we have been visiting we invited to the baptism and she came to so we were way happy about that. Man Brandon is so cool and has been so prepared by the Lord; he is so ready and willing to be dedicated to the gospel. At church he was participating in all the classes and going around on his own to meet everyone and introduce himself, it was great! He also paid tithing as well. I was pretty shocked because usually new members wait until their next paycheck to start doing that, but he did it anyways. So great. His mother and son also came to the baptism and were really happy for the decision he made. They are not of our faith, but they were very proud that he is choosing to follow Jesus Christ. Maybe once they see what a difference all of this has made in his life they will be interested in learning more themselves! We also were able to go and visit 2 less active ladies in the ward that have been so impossible for us to get a hold of, and a less active family that just moved into the ward. We ended up being able to get the family and 1 other of the less active sisters to come to church and the both really enjoyed their time, the less active family even offered to have us over for dinner this week. It was great! I am really excited to be able to help them come back to church! We also had dinner with a returning member to the church, but the dinner was at her non member friend house, Mike, and we were able to share a little bit with him and set up a return appointment this week to go back and see him, so that is good! Oh my word, so after the baptism Sister Petersen and I went to Walmart to print pictures for Brandon of his baptism to give to him before he left on the road again and we were standing in line to return a photo album we had bought that was the wrong size. While we were waiting for our pictures to be ready some woman walks up to us and was just staring in disgust at us, and finally Sister Petersen said, are you staring at my tag? And the woman said yes, and then I asked her if she has seen missionaries like us before and she said yes, you are Mormon and you don't believe in Jesus Christ. And I told her "Yes we do, see it's even on our name tag, we are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and we do worship Christ." And then she went off on how we don't believe in Christ and how we are a cult and blah blah, so we tried to address some of her concerns, but she obviously wouldn't tell us what they were, and was just sort of being impossible to talk to. And we eventually just told her if she would like to learn more that she can go to Mormon.org and then we turned around and continued to wait in line, and then I couldn't believe she started making a total scene in Walmart talking to everyone around her and telling them to stay away from us and that we were a part of a cult and worshiped the devil and this and that and I could not believe it. We just ignored her though but it really upset me that someone would do that. I really don't see the purpose. But anyways then as we walked to go get our pictures a man yelled out to us asking us what church we go to. We were able to talk to him a little bit and get his info so that we could go back and teach him. So that was a total tender mercy from the Lord. But I am running out of time now! Love you all and talk to you later!
Picture I drew when I was bored.... I know it’s uglyyy...
Monday, September 1, 2014
Hey there family,
So this week has been a good one. Sister Petersen and I have been working really hard to prepare things for Brandon's baptism, and so far so good! Yesterday we had a bit of a scare though, Brandon was in Arkansas going to church and he parked his truck in the grass/cement at an elementary school right next door to the church and after church when he came out to leave his truck got stuck and sunk down into the mud and broke part of the cement. So we were all worried that this was going to delay his trip and work schedule and that he wasn't going to be able to make it back on time for his baptism but he was able to get someone to tow him out thank goodness! He also had a really great time at church, a few days ago I called the Branch President there to let them know that Brandon was going to be at church and he said that they would look for him and also let the missionaries know. The missionaries really helped him to have a positive experience at church and in the gospel principles class they were talking about the Word of Wisdom and Brandon said that he was able to share a bit about his past and how much his life has changed since he has been living it. This helped the elders out because they had an investigator there that struggled with smoking and Brandon was able to talk to him and about how he was able to quit and some tips, it was really nice of him. Then after church that same investigator was saying how he always wanted to drive in a big truck and so Brandon gave him a ride in his and then of course when they got back is when he got stuck. But Brandon was really positive about it and the elders ended up staying out there with him for a few hours waiting for the tow man to come. Brandon really enjoyed them which is good. He told us that the elders said the were jealous that we got to use Facebook and iPads haha but maybe one day they will too. Mike was also supposed to come to church yesterday but he didn't end up coming, it was a bummer and he kind of keeps flaking on us so we might end up dropping him soon which is sad because he is so cool. But we will see how things go this week. we also got dumped as I would call it by two of our other investigators, Kelly and Daniel. That was a bummer but I guess they just weren't ready. But that's ok I know that the Lord has more prepared people ready for us! We are going to start teaching a family this week, the Nelsons. Joanna Nelson the mother is an excommunicated member of the church and the rest of her family are not members. But her father is an active member in the ward and he suggested that we go and visit her and so we have been trying to stop by this past 4 weeks or so with next to no luck. We had met them once before like 3 weeks ago but wasn't able to set anything up with them because they were sick and then after that we just could never get a hold of them. Then about 2 weeks after that we went over and Joanna was home and sick with something else and so we couldn't go inside, but she was telling us about how stressed she was and that things are really hard right now but that she really wants to get back into church. We were able to share Mosiah 2:41 with her and talk about how King Benjamin asks his people to consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandants of God and how they are blessed both temporally and spiritually, we then promised her that as she makes the efforts to keep the commandants and come closer to God that she will see the blessings in her life. She asked if she could keep the Book of Mormon we were reading out of and if we could mark that scripture for her so that she could share it with her husband. We then had no luck for about another week contacting them until last night we went over and they were home and really not in a good state of things, they hadn't eaten in days and were just really struggling with all sorts of problems. but Joanna was excited to show us that she has a ecig now and that it has been helping bot her and her husband lower their raving for smoking. They also were telling us that they are not going to give excuses anymore but that they really want to change their life and come closer to God and strengthen their faith which is really wavering right now. So we set an appointment for Tuesday, so hopefully that goes through. We were also able to contact this awesome less active family that moved into the ward, the Conkrights. They really liked us and said we could come over anytime. The children seem like they could become active again no problem, but Sister Conkright is the one who is struggling with it right now, its because she smokes though and she doesn't want to be judged at church. She does have the desire to come back though. I think it will be fairly easy to help them back into activity which is good. We will also go and visit Genette this week. I can't remember if I told you about her, but she is a sweet lady, we have only taught her the restoration so far and she really felt the spirit as we were there. So I think things could work out good with her. She also struggles in every way possible as most people out here do. She really is just looking for peace and the hand of the Lord in her life. She will find that as she keeps the commandments and comes closer to the Savior. That is pretty much all the news for this week. I was reading through the email I sent you last week and I realized that I make tons of grammar errors and that half of my sentences don't make sense. Sorry about that, I am typing so fast to get it all down for you that I don't have time to fix it haha oh well. Talk to you next week! Love you!
Monday, August 25, 2014
How are you today! I hope really good, wow time is flying by, I feel like I just emailed you yesterday! This morning Sister Petersen and Sister Thomson and Sister Conger and I got to go over to one of our members houses (Sister Davis) and help her to paint some lawn furniture and her potting shed shutters it was fun, but I am all tired out now and way dirty! Sister Davis is really great though, her poor husband is literally dying and she needs a lot of help with things, and so it was nice to be able to go over and help her and help her get her mind off of things. This week has also just been full of miracles. The work here is progressing and Heavenly Father is blessing us so much! We started out the week with that amazing zone conference that I told you about on Tuesday which really gave everyone a second wind to go out there and do his or her best. Me especially, haha every time I go to things like that I feel like I need to repent and work so much harder, and then when I do I see so many miracles. Gosh why can't I just be super all the time, well still working on that of course! haha On Wednesday Sister Petersen and I were out in good old Beverly Hills trying to visit some of our potentials investigators and nothing was really going that well. And as we were walking down the street we saw this older man and lady sitting outside smoking so we decided to go and talk to them. Well we ended up staying for about 30 minutes and talked about what we do as missionaries a.k.a HTBT ( how to begin teaching) for those of you who understand what that means! And the man Kelly's grandson Daniel ended up coming out to listen and then Daniels Cousin who is married to the lady Kim who was sitting there also ended up coming home and sat in and listened, it was so great! But any who, Daniel is 20 and is a youth minister at the Church of the Nazarene, his cousin Jim was also a Pentecostal pastor for 9 years locally, and Kelly was a pastor of some sorts in his days as well, so as they were telling us all this you can only imagine that I got a little nervous but it all worked out ok! Haha we just did an overview of the restoration and they were all interested in having us come back and talk to them more. The old man Kelly really liked us because he thought that we were young, cute and really knowledgeable about what we were preaching and he appreciates when people actually know what they are talking about haha in his words. Kim wasn't as interested but she sat and listened for a little bit. But we were able to give them a Book of Mormon and we invited them to read certain things before we were to come back and also the pamphlets that we hand out and they said they would! Well when we went back the only one who had read was Daniel, and he wasn't home at the time so we decided to talk more to Kelly and he was telling us all about his preaching days and all the other weird stuff he used to do (exorcisms and stuff) kinda weird, but he started to talk about all these different things and he kept saying oh don't worry Daniel will be back and you can teach him, I'm too old to convert anyways. But I do appreciate talking to you ladies. Well so in my mind I am all worried and thinking to myself, Heavenly Father what on earth am I supposed to say? He's got me so confused and I am struggling to figure out how to bring the spirit into all this madness. Well then perfectly at that moment Kim asked a question about the "after life" and what was going to happen to her because her back ground is catholic and I guess they teach a lot of things about who is going to Heaven and Hell and she's all worried because people always tell her that she is going to Hell and all kinds of crap and she had also wondered what happens to the people that never get the opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ and do they go to Hell? And we told her of course not, God would not be a just God if he did not give them the opportunity, and she was like that's what I would think, but that's not what they tell me. Well then Daniel walked up and unfortunately Kim went inside, but Sister Petersen and I felt so strong that we should teach the Plan of Salvation. So we ended up doing just that and was able to show them both in the Bible about how the gospel is preached to those that are dead, and she and Kelly were just going off about how that made so much more sense than anything they had ever heard before and yadda yadda and as we were teaching and using the Book of Mormon and Bible together they kept saying how it made so much sense to them and how that is the closest thing they had heard to the truth than from anyone else. It was so great. We then left them with some additional things to read, and Kelly said that we had really peeked his interest with the knowledge that we had and that he was going to have to read the book of ours. It was so cool to go from you're not going to convert me to I wanna read your book. And then Daniel was just awesome because he read what we had asked him to last time and prayed as well. I am really excited to go and see them this next week and teach them more. They seem really promising! Haha I don't know what it is about me and preachers but I always seem to find them! Anyways Brandon is doing so well this week too it’s amazing! So we had a lesson with him on the Word of Wisdom and it went perfectly, he didn't have a problem with a single thing on there and he was telling us how he used to have problems with smoking and drinking and tea, but that he decided a long time ago that he needed to kick those habits and so he really had no problem accepting them. It was a miracle. We also taught him about the importance of a prophet and being obedient and how it will bless our lives and he really did well with that one too. I am so happy for him! My only concern with him was that we were going to have to really remind him and sort of beat into him haha that he HAD to go church these next two weeks or that he couldn't be baptized and I was really worried about how I was going to help him understand how important it was. Well it was totally another answer to prayers, because when we met with him he is the one who brought it up and said "Man sisters I really need to find a church this week so that I can be baptized." Ha he is so good! And so he was able to find a church this week and he went in Flagstaff, AZ and he loved it! After church he told us all about the things he learned and the questions that he had, and what a good experience he had. We were so happy that he was able to find one. Haha poor guy though, the ward he found was a YSA ward and after church he messaged us and said, "That ward was so different, I'm pretty sure I could have been most of their dads, I felt really old." Haha and so we explained to him that it was a Young Single Adult ward and that not all wards are like that. But he enjoyed it anyways and was asking us if we did as many activities as that ward does. We said not exactly, but we do have activities haha I was so glad that he was able to go to church though, I have been praying all week for that! So he just has to go one time and I hope that he will have the same luck being able to local a church so easy like he did this time. I am really so shocked all the time that this is even happening, I never in my life thought I would be teaching the gospel over the internet like this, and not only that but find someone who is ready to be baptized and receive the gospel. The Lord really is hastening the work right now and I am so glad that I get to be apart of it. With the Internet we have the capability of flooding the earth with the gospel as Elder Bednar says and now is the time! We are so lucky that Heavenly Father is providing us with the tools, now we just have to use them for good. It is amazing what a simple message will do to spark someone’s interest, and not only that it is so easy to be a missionary online! No more worrying about awkward moments with people, or feeling like you don't know what to say. The Internet solves so many of those
issues that members have when sharing the gospel. Haha I mean I still am awkward everyday of my life and I have to go knock on peoples doors, but that's just part of being a missionary, but you all have it so easy! Take FULL advantage! When Brandon get's baptized on September 6th, that will be the first in history Florida Orlando Mission online investigator who lives within our mission boundaries to get baptized, and all because of the internet. I can't even believe that it is happening with Sister Petersen and I either, I see so many great missionaries in this mission and I think they so could have done better than me at this, but I guess the Lord saw otherwise. I am just as grateful as can be haha I feel like I just need to extend my mission another year or so, so that I can catch up on all the Internet MIRACLES I missed in the beginning!
Everything else here is going well right now too. Mike our other investigator is doing pretty well, he doesn’t really understand some basic things and so we are working on that with him. Hopefully we can help him understand. But then again he isn't so super on keeping his commitments and so that has a lot to do with it as well. But we are just working with him. But we are already going into week three of this transfer and I cannot believe it, time is going by so fast, ahhhhhhh... I don't even know what to think haha I feel like I am going to be such a weirdo when I get home haha
Well I love you all and I hope that you have a good week!