Friday, July 29, 2016

Week 79

So Thursday I hit the 18 month mark and it just so happened to be the day that Sister Blanchard and I fasted for our ward's 40 day fast (it's where someone from the ward signs up everyday to fast for their own missionary opportunities and for missionary work in the ward). We had a couple BIG lessons planned for that day, so we were really excited to see certain miracles come. Well, this week's theme was humility... and that's just what happened on Thursday. Here's all the miracles that we saw that we weren't planning on, but were pumped to have!

1- We called a recent convert that dropped off the face of the earth 5 months ago, and he met with us that night. He realized he needs the gospel in his life again and is willing to start meeting with us. 
2- We taught another recent convert, and she said, "Sisters, I want you to know, I've decided to serve a mission!" once again- we were shocked and thrilled. 
3- We did family history with Doug and John again and a MASSIVE storm came in... and Sister Sackley does not do well in massive storms. In fact... lightning hit the church building 8 times, and I stayed completely calm. I've officially been in a building that has been struck by lightning. I'm thanking the Lord for lightning rods. 
4- We got a family to commit to coming to church every single week as an entire family, and were finally able to teach them all the restoration. Although they are not ready for baptism, they are willing to attend church. 

As I am typing these out, I realize they don't seem that significant, but I wish I could explain more of the back story with each of them. They were truly miracles. It was a great way to celebrate 18 months of being a missionary. I literally wouldn't trade the last 18 months for anything, as cheesy and ridiculous as that sounds. We still have two full weeks and plenty of more miracles to come!

love you all!
Sister Mal

Sometimes you just want to curl up into a ball and eat a treat...

Taco Tuesdays! I'm doing my best to train her right.

Treats seem to be a common theme here

Exchanges in Odessa

Two of our WML's daughters. They were Sister Sackley for a bit.

One day... ONE DAY she'll be a missionary!

Florida skies. I'll never get tired of them.

Week 78

July 18, 2016

Couple of updates over here... it's been a crazy week between interviews, urgent care, exchanges and a million other things. All is well, now. We received a call from President Cooper on Friday telling us that he felt VERY strongly that Sister Sutton needed to go open one of the closed areas in our stake. We took her to the mission office and she is now there with one of her old companions. She will serve her last couple of weeks out there.... We have been with each other since day 1 and I really thought we would finish together! Saturday was sad to say the least.
Other news: Log and my theme this week was, "I fear no man!" I could tell a couple different stories from the week, but here's one about a sister I worked with this week - since that seems to be the theme of my mission... other missionaries.
We have REALLY been struggling with a set of our sisters. There is a lot involved in the situation, and not a ton we can do to help them, but it's causing stress with all parties involved. We did an exchange this last week, and all week I felt the need to be extremely bold with this sister. So while on the exchange we talked about some of the difficulties and things. At one point, I straight up told her that she was the problem and she needed to get over herself and set her personal pride aside. I've worked with this sister for awhile, and not much clicks with her unless you are very bold... so I was. I think she was a little taken aback, but she knew it was all out of love.
Throughout the whole thing, I kept feeling prompted to bring up the Book of Mormon... so I finally did. Turns out she has never read the Book of Mormon all the way through and she's not even sure if it's true... RED FLAGS!!! So I told her she needs to read the Book of Mormon every single day for an hour and pray and ask God if it's true. She agreed to do so. She called me the next day and said she had already received an answer, but she will continue to read the Book of Mormon for all of personal study everyday.
Also, I have never felt more bipolar in my life. Having to say goodbye to Sister Sutton this week felt like a preview of what is ahead, and I am not looking forward to it at all. So we're working hard and trying to ignore the inevitable!
Love you all
Sister Mal

Say hello to our 5 dollar pineapple nightgowns from Walmart. 

This is how I will always remember Sister Sutton hahahahaha

The storms are coming Harry! We must prepare!

Sister Sutton found this Hello Kitty first aid kit in all of her stuff and wanted to get rid of it... so i put it to good use first! 

Two of my favorite people in the whole world - John and Doug 

John helped Doug this week get his family history going

The story of the gloves will be told another day

Tan lines!

The morning we dropped off Sister Sutton :-((

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Week 77

Logan and I have started a bit of a challenge as to what our focus is these last couple of weeks. Like he mentioned, it was all about focusing on the one this week and I can think of multiple experiences I could share, but one has been MONTHS in the making. 

Doug was baptized almost a month ago and I could write a letter every single week about the Ward members lives he is touching. Literally every single person that comes to his lessons is so moved by his childlike innocence and desire to follow God. He's seriously uniting the ward, they can't get enough of him. We've really been working to get the youth involved, especially those that are thinking about missions. We've had the strangest groups of people join in the new member lessons, but they are so powerful and incredible every time. 

This week we brought one of the priests to his lesson. He had come once before and when we introduced him to Doug we explained that he was thinking about going on a mission. We decided to simply read the Book of Mormon with Doug this week. He was at Enos, so we read it all together, which was perfect. As I was testifying of the experience Enos had of praying in faith and acting in faith which led to miracles, I was really trying to focus it towards Doug, but the spirit kept prompting me to direct it to the priest more... So I went with it. I focused on the one the spirit wanted me to focus on! Near the end of the lesson Doug turned to the priest, quite randomly, and this is the conversation that followed:

Doug: So are you going to serve a mission??
Priest: ..... Yes. You know I once wanted to go really bad, but I had completely lost that desire and I had decided I wasn't going to serve, but I feel like the fire is back and I'm ready to go now.
(Picture three sisters mouths dropping to the ground)
Doug: You know who's been getting to you?! Satan!! You just need to kick him in the face!! Get him away from you.
Yvonne (Dougs daughter): yeah! Heavenly Father will help you!

The priest texted us later that night and said, "Thanks for letting me come. I really like Doug, he's an inspiring guy!" The next day, by divine intervention, we ran into his mom and she was THRILLED and praising the ground we walked on. He met with the Bishop yesterday, and the papers should be going in soon. All those months of teaching the priests and we got one. That's really what it's all about. Finding the one. Christ left the 99 to find the 1 and so should we. 

Sister Mal

 Fourth of July! This is our friend Miles. He's in pictures with Sister Huber and I from Easter too!

This has been a goal since I came to Florida...

Finally did it!

We left shortly after they started blowing everything up.

Metro eyebrow plucking.... Hahaha

Sister Durrant was my companion for the morning on campus.

Our sign for Doug... It's his favorite scripture.

a Jesus loving car

The metro group this time around (President and Sister Cooper joined us for the whole day)

Albino frogs

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 76

The Cusicks have left and the Coopers are here, and just like everyone had guessed - they are exact opposites. I'm excited for the next couple of weeks. They will definitely be interesting. We are doing our training on Wednesday with the assistants and it sounds like President Cooper will sit in for the day to see what the culture is like. We also have MLC on Friday. It'll be a good week. 

A miracle for the week:
We got a call on Tuesday from a woman, Rosanna, who is from Utah, but was down here visiting. She went to the beach with some friends and ended up meeting a friend of a friend of a friend... How that worked out I don't know. But within a short minute or two Rosanna had discovered that this other woman was a less active member. They struck up a friendship that day and you would think they have been friends forever. Tuesday was Rosanna's last night into town and she wanted us to come with her over to Jackie's house, the less active member, so we could help the family come back. She was very adamant, and after a couple phone calls and moving a few things around we were able to make it work. This is the families story- Jackie was baptized when three missionaries found her family when she was a young girl. She fell away from the church when she moved to the states when she was 16. Years later, she was married with three kids when three missionaries came knocking on her door. She let them in, and the whole family accepted the gospel. They were sealed as a family back in 2010 and in her words, "it was the happiest day ever, all my dreams came true!" About a year ago they were having a hard time and didn't feel much support from the ward and in time they slowly stopped attending church. 

Well they moved up here about a month ago and have really been feeling like they need to come back to church. They have looked up where the congregation meets and at what time, but they have been nervous. Once Jackie met Rosanna, she new they needed to come back. So we walk in the door on Tuesday and Jackie just about dies when she sees that there are, once again, THREE missionaries. She knew it was a sign from the Lord, since he always sends her three. Also, when we walked in, we saw pictures of the temple, and of their sealing day all over the house, Mormon Tabernacle Choir was blasting and everyone was in the kitchen making bread together... It was hysterical. We are excited to help this family become fully active again. I am continually astounded by the example of Rosanna in inviting her to come back. This lady was on vacation, but she did not stop listening to the spirit and helping the Lords work move forward. I just thought it was so cool!

Happy Fourth of July!! σΎ“¦

Sister Mal

I think I have begun to conquer my fear of bugs... I killed it with my hand.

This guy was cruising down the street on a rainy day ready to go camping.

The Tampa zone with President and Sister Cooper

Sister Sutton at her finest

This is the second Oregon plate I have seen in Florida. The first
was the very start of my mission.

My goal was to get Doug to smile... He swore at me and thus

resulted him laughing like a child in the second picture.

The storm on Saturday almost killed me. My fear of thunder and

lightning hasn't gone anywhere.

Meet Ed. It was his birthday when we knocked on his door. He was
super sweet and we taught him a bit. It made his whole day that we
came by.

Florida sunsets are probably the best ones I have ever seen.

Sister Felt sent these beach photos.