Monday, December 29, 2014

HAPPY (Almost) 2015!

Making gingerbread cookies. 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! :) Ours was really great! I was kind of sick, but thankfully I'm feeling better now. We went to some members' homes to eat and open presents. The members here are so kind, they gave us so many presents! And FOOD! We were wayy stuffed, we ended up having 2 dinners. It was like Thanksgiving all over again. And I got to Skype my family!! That was definitely the best part :) 

I love this season of giving and remembering the ultimate Gift. I'm sad that it's almost over, but excited for the new year to begin! It's weird to think that this time next year, I'll be home. But I try not to think about that too much :)

The rest of our week hasn't been super eventful, everyone is out of town for Christmas. But we found out that our mission is doing a trial run of letting us do member dinners again. They picked like 6 wards out of the whole mission to try it with, and ours is one of them! So hopefully that's a good thing, we're excited :) There's going to be a lot of changes in our mission for the New Year, hopefully it'll be really good!

One of the new things is they've been having us study entirely out of Preach My Gospel, and nothing else. I was honestly not too excited about that at first, I love reading the scriptures and General Conference talks and everything. But I actually like it a lot. It's truly such an inspired book, and we still get to read out of the scriptures plenty because of all of the references in it. I've learned so much more from it than I ever thought I would. So of course, I have to end with a quote from Preach My Gospel :)

“There is neither man or woman in this Church who is not on a mission. That mission will last as long as they live, and it is to do good, to promote righteousness, to teach the principles of truth, and to prevail upon themselves and everybody around them to live those principles that they may obtain eternal life.” -Brigham Young.

I'm so grateful for the knowledge of this gospel, and for the wonderful opportunity to share it; to have my purpose be His purpose. And I'm grateful for the 15,082,028 members of the church out there that are all on the same team, to bring Heavenly Father's children back to Him :)

Have a Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014


I can't believe it's almost Christmas, I'm way excited!! :) I'll officially be a third of the way through my mission on Christmas, crazy stuff! 

We've had a good week, although it started off a little strange. We went to this Bible study with a potential investigator. It was all these people in their twenties that just spend their time hanging out and studying the Bible. They were all really nice and interested in what we do as missionaries. They fed us dinner and cheesecake (my weakness!). But before they started the Bible study, they all started doing the whole speaking in tongues thing, and it was kind of freaky. Sister Vanderhoff and I both really did not feel good about being there and we were like uhh should we just get up and leave? But thankfully they stopped and the rest was fine. Overall it was a really good and they were nicest people ever. 

We haven't been able to see L. at all this week and he didn't come to church on Sunday, so we're kind of worried about that. But we're having a lesson with him tonight, so hopefully that will go well. Everyone is out of town or busy for obvious reasons, so that makes it kind of hard to see people.

Best part of this week: the stake here does this really amazing live nativity called Night in Bethlehem. It's basically a pageant, complete with live animals and everything. Before you go in they have it set up like you're in Bethlehem and have all these fun shops where you can eat and dress up and make jewelry and pottery. It was really neat. Everyone had been talking about it since I got here, so we were really glad that we got to go. They had us directing people through it and handing out cookies and hot chocolate at the end. The first night J., K., and her family all came and we got to go through it with them. A lot of members also brought friends that we got to meet. Sunday night they were anticipating about 1400 people coming through, but it rained and they had to cancel it! It was such a bummer. But it was still good, everyone just visited, sang Christmas carols, and had cookies and hot chocolate.

The first night of Night in Bethlehem was kind slightly embarrassing. We put our purses in a closet so no one would take them and I was like haha, hopefully they don't lock it. And shocker, they did! Yeahhh, we should've known better. Well I did, but I was like nahh, it'll be fine. It was time for us to go home and we were frantically trying to find someone with a key, but nobody had one that opened it! We finally found the stake president and had to explain everything to him, but he unlocked it for us. Yeah, embarrassing :)

Well, I do believe that's all I have to share :) I'm just really grateful for the gift of our Savior and for this amazing opportunity I have to share that incredible gift.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!!! :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

December 15, 2014 - STAYING IN TAMPA!

Sisters Coleman and Vanderhoff
Both staying in the are.
L. is getting baptized!!! And I'm going to be here to see it! I found out I'm not getting transferred, and I am quite happy about that :) I really thought I was done for, I've been here for almost 6 months. But alas, I live to see another transfer here in the Tampa 4th Ward. And Sister Vanderhoff is staying too! And we set a baptismal date with L. He's super solid too. We gave him a book of Mormon and the next day he told us he was already done with 1 Nephi. Um, what? He's so awesome. Needless to say, it's been a pretty great week.

K. and J. are doing really well too. K. is so adorable, when we found out at the Christmas party that neither of us are getting transferred she was running around saying "They're staying!!!!" And they were like what are you talking about? She's such a smart little kid, she's never been taught anything about God in her life before, and now she knows so much. She remembers and understands almost everything we tell her. And even more, all the time we're like how do you know that?? This kid is 7! She told us she's been feeling really good lately, especially when she prays, it's so cute. Another funny thing she said this week: she was talking about her grandma coming over and she said "Yeah, she's still alive! And my mom is like 30!!!"

Oh yeah, and I cut off all my hair this week. It was just too long, it was like getting past my waist. It's so much easier to deal with now. Hallelujah.

New Haircut
Dressed for ugly sweater contest

We had a mission Christmas party at the beach all day on Wednesday, that was super fun. Some days it's still hot here and others it's freezing cold, it's pretty annoying. But thankfully the beach day was one of the warmer ones, at least until the sun went down. We had our ward Christmas party this week too, and that was also really fun. The food was really good,and there were so many non-members there, it was awesome! Like all of our investigators and potentials and less-actives were all there, it was kind of overwhelming trying to talk to everyone. And they gave us enough leftover pork to last for the rest of our lives. 

Mission Christmas Dinner
Ahh Christmas is next week, I'm so excited! I don't really know what we'll be doing, but it's Christmas, I'm sure it'll be great :) I'm glad I get to spend it here too, I don't think I would've been too happy being in a brand new area with a new companion for Christmas. I love everyone here so much, I don't know what I'm going to do when I get transferred.

I just love this season that we get to remember the birth of our Savior, the greatest gift we've ever been given. It's been really nice to be able to just focus on that this year. If anything, my mission has definitely taught me what's actually important, and I'm so grateful for that.

PS.  Sister Vanderhoff, Jordan's companion, sent us a very sweet Christmas card, thanking us for raising an amazing daughter.  She included two photos.

Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014

Ornaments made with ward members.
I love seeing her handwriting.

This week has been great! It's been like in the 80's which is kind of weird. This lady told us she went to DC and it snowed and I was like it's snowing up there already? And Sister Vanderhoff was like well, it's December. I totally forgot. It does not feel like December!

We went to this really fun winter blast party at a hospital a few days ago, and somehow they like imported snow (or made it? I don't know) for people to go sledding. And they had all these Frozen ice sculptures that were like totally melted, it was great. 

Before we could only listen to MoTab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir), but we got approved to listen to Christmas music, we're excited! And we're having a mission Christmas party this week at the beach, complete with an ugly sweater contest, so that'll be fun :)

Things have been going really well, we've been working really closely with the members of our ward, which has been awesome. I love them so much, I don't know how I'm ever going to leave. And I might be leaving soon, transfers are on the 18th and by then I'll have been here for almost 6 months :( I'm really nervous about getting transferred, I don't want to leave here. But I do know the Lord will take me wherever I need to be. I just hope that's here for a little while longer :)

L. and J. and K. all came to church this week! We had a really good lesson with L. last week, he's the referral from a really awesome family in our ward. And he even brought his girlfriend with him to church. He has really been prepared to receive the gospel, he keeps saying how he feels like something is missing and he wants to come closer to God and know why he's here. We're excited to teach him more :)

J. is the less-active that we've been working with, yesterday was her first time at church in like 20 years! It was awesome, she seemed right at home. And her goddaughter K. seemed to really like primary. She's been the first person we've taught who doesn't really know anything about God, so that's been kind of different, but she's so sweet and ready to learn.  M. has been "not feeling well" (we don't know if that's true or not), and we're not sure how interested she is, we might have to drop her.

We were at our church building for 11 1/2 hours straight yesterday. Yeah, too long. We had meetings and the young man leaving on his mission had his farewell and we just ended up staying all day. Thankfully, we watched the Christmas devotional at someone's home though. Wasn't it great? :) We didn't get to watch the whole thing since we have to be home by 9, but the part we saw was good :) I still can't believe it's getting close to Christmas, so weird.

Did anyone see He's the Gift on the YouTube banner yesterday? I thought it was pretty cool that they did that :) 

That's all folks! Have a fantastic week! We've been asking all the ward members this and I think it's awesome for everyone to think about :)

How will you #ShareTheGift of Jesus Christ? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1, 2014

I don't have a lot of time today because our p-day was Thanksgiving, so we only have a few hours to get everything done that we need to today. 

But Thanksgiving was great! We ended up having 3 Thanksgiving dinners, one the day after, sooo much food :) Everyone gave us leftovers too. We've actually had dinner with members like every night lately, which has been cool. We're not allowed to have dinner unless there's a non-member there, so it doesn't happen very often.

I spoke at church on Sunday about - surprise - missionary work! A young man from our ward gave his farewell talk, so they had me speak too. I think it went well but I don't know, people always say that :)

We have had SO many miracles this week, it's been really incredible. JJJJ, the less-active who we went and prayed with last week, told us that she wants to come back to church and wants us to teach her goddaughter! It's so amazing, she hasn't been active in like 20 years and just from us praying with her and her feeling the Spirit again, she wants to come back.And now we're teaching her goddaughter KKKK, who is adorable :)  I'm so grateful to be a part of things like this. I just think it's so amazing that God allows us to be a part of His work, it's not like he needs us, He can do it much better on His own. We're so lucky :) 

We also had some members call us and say that they had a friend they wanted us to teach. That NEVER happens. They said that they felt impressed that we should be the ones to teach him, and he actually lives in our apartment complex in the building next to us, so that was pretty crazy. So yeah, I'd say we're pretty excited about that!

Also, MMMM came to church on Sunday! Hopefully she liked it haha :) And so did 2 other people, so we had 3 investigators at church, which is what our goal was, so that was pretty sweet :)

If you haven't seen HE'S THE GIFT, you definitely should, it's really good! And the church has provided lots of ways to share it with people, whether on Facebook or giving out those cool pass-along cards in the Ensign :) It's cool how technology can be used to hasten the work :)

And that's all I have time for! Count your blessings and make your blessings count :) Love you guys, have a great week!