Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

hot and wet and hard, but awesome

This week has been super hot, even for Florida apparently. Someone told us that it got up to 112, and I believe it. It's not fun. Everyone's AC is breaking too for some reason, like almost every person's house we've gone too. Ours is having trouble too. And it wouldn't be so bad if we were in the car all the time, but we still walk a lot, and bike sometimes. I thought we were done with biking, but Sister Rowland wants to start biking every other day. The other day we biked all day, all over our area, I nearly died. But I didn't, so that's what counts I guess :) We had to bike in the dark too, in a really sketchy neighborhood. We seriously couldn't see anything. So that was an adventure. But we made it home, and I know Sister Rowland is just trying to find people to teach, not trying to kill me so it's alright :)

We taught our new scripture study class for the first time, and it went really well! It was kind of scary because of all the ward members there, and one of them was the seminary teacher. I don't feel like I'm in any position to teach these people (or anyone for that matter), but oh well, whom the Lord calls, he qualifies :) And the class went really well, everyone loved it. We talked about the importance of having a soft heart, and how that allows God to make us into all He knows we can be.

There was another baptism in our ward this week and one of our recent converts got to baptize him! Him and his wife were baptized right before I got here and we're teaching his brother, so we see them like almost every day. He's our age, only 19, and he just got the priesthood last week. It was so neat to see him get to baptize someone. He was really nervous and he had to do it 3 times, but the final time he did it, it was super powerful. The spirit was stronger than I've felt it at any other baptism I've been too, it was just so cool. Him and his wife are working on getting sealed in the temple and they offered to wait until I get off my mission so I can go, even though I haven't even done anything, I wasn't even here when they were baptized. It was so nice, they're seriously so awesome.

We're also teaching this other couple and they're super excited to be baptized. We asked the girl if they wanted to come to church on Sunday and before we could even finish asking her boyfriend in the other room was like YES! Their friend "Pop" (that's what everyone calls him apparently) told us how awesome we were and how much he loved us right after we met him and we were like okay... It was a little weird, but people tell us all the time what a great thing we're doing and how happy they are to see us, and it really does feel good to know that we're appreciated, because sometimes it really doesn't feel like it :)

We met this really awesome lady in our apartment complex this week. We were outside of the gym using the wifi to sync or iPads and she asked us if we wanted lunch. We were like uh... sure. So we went to her apartment for lunch and now she wants to have lunch with us every week. She has 5 kids and most of them have Bible names, one of which was Boaz, which I thought was pretty funny :) She's a SUPER strong Christian, so she's not really interested, but she doesn't mind learning about our beliefs, and she doesn't mind sharing hers with us either, in kind of a rude way haha, she told us we were going to hell, but what can ya do :) When we told her that we only get to email our parents once a week and call them twice a year she started crying and asked for our moms' phone numbers and called them for us. We're excited to go back and see her but kind of scared that she's just going to Bible bash us. But she really is a super kind, awesome person, like who invites strangers into her house for lunch and calls their moms just to let them know their daughters are okay?

We met some other really awesome people this week too. This one guy we kept biking past and then we walked past him later and he was like how many times am I going to run into you?! So he ran across the street to talk to us and was like "so do you guys have a card or something?" That like never happens haha. So we gave him a card and he said he'd been to a Mormon church before with his friend and he really wanted to come on Sunday, but he didn't. Surprise. We met another great girl who we prayed with and she also said she'd come to church but she didn't either. We even sent someone to pick her up. We're not sure yet if she's an amazing person who's been through a lot of things, or a pathological liar, so we'll see :)

So on to some fun/funny/not so funny parts of the week :) We saw a peacock on someone's roof! Florida is so weird! I thought that it was fake but then I realized it was moving and I was like what in the world? Seriously though, how did it even get up there? Can peacocks even fly? It was pretty cool though, I've definitely never seen that before.

On Saturday, I think because of mosquito bites, my eyelid swelled up really bad, my eye was like half shut. It was so embarrassing haha. That's never happened to me before! I was like of course that would happen on my mission, when there's no way I can avoid seeing people :) One of my feet swelled up too, it was super weird. Who knows what's wrong with me :)

The days this week when it hasn't been super hot it's been really rainy. One day it rained super hard all day, a bunch of places were flooded. We had to wade through a parking lot that was more like a swimming pool, it was actually kind of fun :) Sister Rowland said that it's the closest we can get to swimming for 18 months, which is true. Driving in that was kind of scary though.

We've had some interesting experiences with drunk people this week. Danielle's boyfriend is this big super macho Puerto Rican man, but when day when we went over he was super drunk, and he was giggling like a little girl. It was pretty entertaining actually. He was using a weed-wacker though, so hopefully he didn't injure himself. Then there was this other girl that was the drunkest person I've seen in my life. She kept repeating things over and over and forgetting what was going on and running all over the place. But she wanted us to "make a prayer with her" and after we did she gave me a high five and told me "good prayer." That was entertaining too, it was really hard not to laugh at her.

So yeah, things are going really well, hot and wet and hard, but awesome :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Aug 11, 2014

Cute Sisters!!  (Coleman and Rowland)

This week has been so good! Probably the best one yet. Not because things are going great, we honestly keep having less and less investigators, so I don't know what it is. But I'm just so happy. Well, I guess I do know what it is, being a missionary is just incredible. There's nothing like it. And I'm really, truly starting to love it. I love being here. I love the people here. And most of all, I love giving all I have to serve the Lord. How could that not make someone happy? :)

We have definitely seen some miracles this week. On Saturday, we were planning to teach the Law of Chastity to one of our investigators, Danielle. We were super nervous because she lived with her boyfriend and we didn't know how she would take it. They've lived together for like 2 1/2 years, and they have a daughter together. But the night before we taught her, they broke up and she kicked him out of the house. It was so awesome :) Like out of all of the days that could have happened. So the lesson went really well! She is so prepared, and she loves everything that we tell her. She just soaks it all in, and she's always so grateful to us. She was also able to finally come to church on Sunday. Something has gone wrong every other week, and she really wanted to come. But everything finally worked out, she made it, and she loved it. Everyone in our ward was so nice and welcoming to her, we were so grateful for that. I really do love our ward. Her kids loved primary and nursery too. They are the cutest, she has a 6-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. They already made a ton of friends, and I can totally picture all of them as being members, and the gospel will make them so happy. Danielle's baptism is set for next week, we're so excited! We're teaching the Word of Wisdom tonight though, and we're kind of worried again because we know that she drinks and smokes. But we also know that God will find away and if she'll let it (I really really hope she will), He'll make it happen.

Car inspection at Zone Conference.  

Another little miracle, they gave us more miles so we'll hardly ever have to bike anymore! They email out the list of everyone's miles every month, but I don't think anyone ever really checks it because it's always the same. But I always do because I was so hopefully that they would miraculously give us more, because I HATE biking. And they did! It went from 900 to 1200, which is what pretty much everyone else has. Sister Rowland thought it was a mistake and wanted to keep it at 900 just to be safe, but I was not willing to do that. Yeah, I'm terrible. I texted the elder in charge of miles and he said that they realized it didn't make sense for us to have such few miles because our area is pretty big. We were like uh, yeah! :) It's really not safe either, we almost get hit by a car like every day. Not to mention heat stroke and biking in the rain. So yeah, needless to say, I am pretty happy to say goodbye to biking :)

We had zone conference this week, it was really good. We learned a lot and I got to see my MTC companion and a lot of other missionaries that I know. And it's just great to be around lots of other missionaries, it's a good reminder that we're not in this alone. We also went on exchanges again this week, but for real this time. It was really fun, I got to be in a trio since the Sister Training Leaders are in a trio, and one of them is a sister I knew in the MTC. I went to their area, which is in Wesley Chapel. It's probably like 40ish minutes away from us. I just love all the missionaries here, they're seriously amazing. I don't feel like I can ever be like them but I know that all I can do is my best, and I'm okay with that :)

Zone Conference

Oh one more awesome thing that happened this week: Sister Rowland and I were playing a game where we would count all the shopping carts that we saw in weird places (this place is so ghetto, but I love it) and when we got to 20, we would get to go to Twisty Treat, which is this awesome ice cream place they have in Florida. We were at like 11, but the other day we saw all the rest of them, it was awesome. We got to Twisty Treat and we were one short, but I said we should just keep walking and we saw 2 more! I don't know if I can count this as a miracle, but it was a pretty big tender mercy to us, we had been walking a lot and it was HOT. Like always. But yeah, that was our shopping cart adventure :) Now we've moved on to counting couches outside.

I think that's about it! I'm getting better at talking more (which is so hard for me, I seriously hate talking). I'm really starting to feel myself grow and change, and it's so incredible. I love this gospel and I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father more than ever before. I can't explain it, but everything that I've been taught all my life just makes sense now. I always believed it and I thought I understood most of it, but I think only now am I truly beginning to understand. Something I've been thinking a lot about lately is change. It's another one of those things that I've heard all my life, but I finally get it now. The gospel, life, a mission, everything, is all about change. The ability for us to change every day and become better, to become, little by little, more like Christ. Seriously, how amazing is that, that we can become like him. That it's okay when we mess up, that we can always we come back and try again and keep progressing and keep getting better. That it doesn't matter how inadequate or imperfect we are. We can always be better, we can always change. I'm so grateful for the chance to change. Okay, I'm done now, but I just love that and had to share it :) Have a great week!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Aug 4, 2014: Alligator

Sisters Rowland and Coleman

I don't even know where to begin, this week has been kinda crazy. We did exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, and we were really nervous, but it wasn't bad at all, it was fun. And it was just a mini exchange, one of the sisters came with us instead of us splitting up. We were on bikes all day, and at one point this man yelled at us from his car to get out of the road and shared some other colorful words with us. We were crossing a really busy street, which is already scary enough because cars don't watch for us, and we were in the crosswalk while the walk signal was on. But, as Sister Rowland said afterwards, Jesus loves him too :)

We went to see Sister Wyman, the really old Catholic lady, and she gave us juice, even though she could barely walk to the fridge. Sister Burton, the STL, mouthed to us not to drink it, so as we were leaving Sister Wyman was like "do you not like it?" and we were like "oh no, we love it, we're going to take it with us!" and she said "oh good, I was afraid you didn't like it." Then we dumped it outside, I felt so bad, but Sister Burton told us she saw ants crawling it.

We've also had some great little miracles this week. We dropped one of our investigators, Gio, because he got really depressed and said he didn't know his purpose in life and wasn't ready to be baptized. The other day we went back over there and he was super happy and in his prayer at the end he asked God to help him prepare to be baptized, because that's what he wanted. Then he asked us if he could be baptized in 3 weeks, we didn't even have to say anything, it was so incredible :) Then, later that day, I went up to a lady on the street and all I asked was if she went to a church and she said "hey, do you guys do baptisms?" We were so surprised, were like uh... yeah! That's only the reason we're here! It was pretty awesome :)

Even though we're not allowed to eat dinner with members, people feed us SO MUCH. They are allowed to take us out for dinner, and this one family did, and later that evening they brought us a whole ice cream cake. Like what in the world? I'm not complaining :)

On Sunday we were supposed to have all 4 of our investigators with baptismal dates at church and we were so excited, but none of them showed up! We were so upset. That's how missionary work goes though I guess. And we did get another date set that night, so that was good.

First alligator spotting - her dream come true.

 saw an alligator today! Like 4 actually, and 3 dolphins! I think I've seen more cool animals today than the rest of my mission combined. This morning we studied on the dock behind our apartment complex and there were all these dolphins that kept swimming by and jumping out of the water and all that dolphin stuff, it was so cool! Sister Rowland had a manatee swim right under her feet, it scared her so badly haha. But I didn't see it, I was so upset!  Then, after that, this older couple who are serving as missionaries in our ward took us out to this place called Lettuce Lake. It has this boardwalk that you can walk around on all over the lake, for like miles. And that's where we saw the alligators, they were awesome! There were several baby ones really close to us, and we saw a really big one farther away, Elder Severinsen thought it was about 10 feet long. My dream came true! :)

Can you spot the alligator?

I'm out of time now, but I love you guys! :) Sorry if that was really random and crazy :)

***Jordan has not sent home any photos yet.  But I stole these off her companion's blog.