Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015 - LAST UPDATE

It's so weird that this is my last email! I'd like to say it'll be a really good one buuuut probs not. Sorry.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Ours was really good. We got to go to a couple different parties and we visited a lot of the single sisters in the ward who were alone on Christmas. There was lots of food. And I got to Skype my family of course! So that was great :) 

Family Phone Call
 We had a really neat Christmas devotional on Tuesday for the whole mission. They had everyone going home bear their testimony. I was really grateful for the opportunity. There are 8 sisters and 1 elder going home. That meeting made me realize how truly grateful I am to be a missionary and how much I'm going to miss this.
Sisters Coleman, Rhodes and Foderaro
at Mission Christmas Devotional

Our challenge this week was to give out 3 copies of The Book of Mormon every day. Once again, we didn't accomplish it every day :( But it definitely helped us stretch! And it helped us focus on The Book of Mormon more. Last night we gave out like 5 within a few hours, so that was really cool. I've definitely learned on my mission the importance of goals. Even if we don't reach them. Before I would get really depressed when I wouldn't reach my goals (I still do sometimes), but as long as we're trying our best they still help us grow and change. So the point isn't really even if we reach them or not, although it's great if we do. But what really matters is setting goals that will stretch us and then working hard to achieve them.

My ponderize scripture this week is Ecclesiastes 7:8: Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof:and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. I found this scripture this morning and it gave me a lot of comfort. And I know that going home is not an ending, it's a beginning. I'm excited to see what's in store for me :)

I am so so so infinitely grateful for this time I've had to serve the Lord full-time. I've met so many amazing people. I've had a lot of experiences- some of them incredible and some of them just downright weird :) I'm thankful for how my testimony has grown and how I've grown. I love this gospel. It is incredible. It is true. The Atonement is real. I know that Christ lives. I can feel His comfort and His love, and I know that He is there. I know that our Heavenly Father also loves us and that He hears and answers our prayers. I know He has a specific plan for each of us that is more amazing than we can ever imagine or come up with on our own. I know that with His help, we can accomplish anything. 

I love all of you! Thank you for your support and your letters and your emails and your prayers over the past 18 months. It's helped me to make it this far :) Have a Happy New Year! See you next week! :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015

Sisters Shirley, Coleman and Foderaro
at Mission Christmas Beach Party
This has been a crazy week! Really, every week is crazy, but awesome at the same time. The weather has been super warm, as you can see by our beach pictures. But then a cold front finally came, so we had a few days that were really cold (at least by Florida standards. It felt really cold, okay? (: ) But now it's back to warm again.

Florida Tamp Mission
Christmas Beach Party

Love the painted toes and sandal tans

Zone Sand Castle Competitions 

It has also been an emotionally crazy week. For Sister Foderaro and I because we're going home in 2 weeks and for Sister Shirley because we are leaving her and she has to take over the area. And missions are just hard. Going home is hard. Life is hard. But thankfully we have a Savior for that :) And I am very excited to see all of your faces again :)

And J and D got baptized! That was one of the more stressful days of my life. Everything that could go wrong did. Of course. Satan is a meanie pants. First of all, we almost flooded the church. In our defense, the baptismal font in our building fills up SO FAST! We had been watching it carefully, but then the W got there and we were talking to them. And... we went to check the font and it was overflowing. Yikes. Thankfully it just got on the tile around the font and not on the carpet. We were laughing hysterically for a few minutes at our own stupidity. The W were like "what's so funny?" Then H helped us dump many trashcans full of water into the toilet. He saved the day, we wouldn't have been able to do that in time on our own. I am never filling a baptismal font again.

J and D Baptism
And THEN the person who made the programs (I'm not naming any names, just know that this one was not our fault) put the wrong name on the baptismal program. Poor J. And they didn't have time to fix it before the baptism. They announced the error, but the person conducting still said the name wrong several times... awkward.

W Family

But hey, they got baptized! Overall, it was a very bittersweet day. We wish that the parents could've gotten baptized with them, but I know that they'll get there eventually. 


I chose for my ponderize scripture this week Luke 2:10-11 (Original, I know): 
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." 

I've been thinking today about how the angel told them to fear not and how we can apply that to all of us. Because Christ was born, we truly have no reason to fear. Anything. Ever. 

And I also love verse 19: 
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

I've been trying to ponder in my heart what this story really means to me. I wish I had the words to describe how I feel about it. We are just so, so blessed. And I am so grateful that I get to share these good tidings of great joy here in Florida.

I hope that you get to take time this week to ponder what the birth of the Savior means to you personally. And I hope every one of you have a most wonderful Christmas! :)

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14, 2015

Whew, I don't even know where to begin. This week has been wonderful. First of all, our zone leaders challenged us to set a baptismal date every day this week. It seemed kind of crazy. It is crazy actually. But we worked really hard and I feel like we accomplished a lot. We set a lot of dates. We're teaching more lessons than I ever have before on my mission. It's great, gotta go out with a bang ;)

"Our District"
We followed promptings to do some things that didn't make any sense to us. We went to visit P's cousin, M, and said a prayer with her. She is not interested at all and was a little weirded out. It was super awkward, but we're all really glad that we did it because we felt like we should do it, and we did. I still have no idea why, but thankfully God does :)

Photo from Thanksgiving.
The burnt fried turkey.

J and D W are getting baptized on Saturday!! We're super excited. It's a little bittersweet because we want the whole family to get baptized together, but as I've said, their situation is very complicated. Maybe I'll tell you all about it someday :) But the mom, P, was telling the boys what a big responsibility this is how they better never EVER turn back. She was teaching them all this stuff that we didn't even know she understood, it was awesome :)  She was getting pretty intense about it, to the point where D said "It should be a commandment to honor your children." I love that family :)

"We were going to go on a run with the young women
but we got rained out.  Because, Florida.
The girl in the middle is our investigator, H."

We had our ward Christmas party, so that was fun and yummy. It was Polar Express themed and very beautifully decorated. I am so excited for Christmas next week! We're having a mission Christmas party at the beach tomorrow, so that should be fun. Ahh Christmas is almost here!! It doesn't feel super Christmasy because it's still in the 70s and 80s. Warmest December of my life, I love it :) Although I hear NC has been pretty warm lately too!

"A lot of missionaries here go running, not just for fun,
but like at a 5K or something.  They give out pass-along cards.
I've only done one, it was just a small one for a member's school." 

We also saw an alligator! It's the first one I've really seen in the wild. All the other ones I've seen have been at nature preserves where you go specifically to see stuff like that. But this one we just saw when we were out tracting, just chilling by a pond. It was awesome. Sister Foderaro was pretty happy because she's never seen one before, she thought they were a myth :) She couldn't stop smiling the rest of the day :)

"This one is really old.
It's from when I first got to Riverview."

Weirdest moment of this week: We knocked on a door and dogs answered. Yup. Two HUGE Great Danes. Apparently they're smart enough to open the door on their own. They just stared at us. Then one of them ran away and the owner had to go get him. Super awkward. Only animals want to talk to us.

Have an amazingly Christmasy week everybody!

"It snowed!  In our fridge. . . "

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men,and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. -D&C 121:45

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015

Sisters Foderaro, Shirley and Coleman

We're getting really pumped for Christmas down here in good ol' 80 degree Florida. We found out that we can listen to Christmas music again this year! Normally we can only listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so it's pretty exciting.

This week our stake had something called Festival of the Nativity. They gather nativities that different members have from all over the world and have lots of music, crafts, and cookies. I'm not sure how many people ended up coming, but I think it was over a thousand. We got to help out with it, it was really stressful but also really good. The first one they had was during the afternoon on Friday, and a bus full of elderly ladies from a retirement center for people who are losing their memory came. They were all so sweet and it was really fun to talk to them. One of them told us "I'll never forget you!" And we were like wow... that's really sad.... They sang "You Are My Sunshine" for us and it was really cute to see them get all excited about it.They didn't remember much, but they sure remembered "You are My Sunshine" :)

I found out that someone I found in Lake Wales got baptized on Saturday! Her name is S and she's amazing. We had to stop teaching her because her husband didn't want her to get baptized, but apparently the Lord provided a way! Funny how He always does that :)

This is from Lake Wales in the summer, back when I was tan.
This is the woman who got baptized.

Last Sunday Sister Foderaro and I sang "Lead Kindly Light" in sacrament meeting. Some members played the flute and the cello, it was a really pretty arrangement. I don't know if I can say the same for our singing...

We tracted into a lady this week who really loves our church. She wasn't interested at all but told us "Congratulations on being Mormon!" We also met a man who was really offended that we wanted to pray with him. But he told us that women are the superior sex and not to ever let anyone tell us otherwise. Ah, I love tracting, you never know who you're gonna find :)


We had a really good zone conference this week. I got answers to a lot of questions that I had, especially how I can make the most out of this last transfer. I realized it was my last zone conference and that kind of freaked me out. But I'm so grateful for the time I have left to serve here. I LOVE being a missionary. It's the hardest thing I've ever done, but also the most rewarding. It's such a wonderful privilege to be able to represent the Savior and to teach people about Him. Especially at this time of year :)

This is from last week, before we got Sister Shirley.

Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men -1 Corinthians 7:23. 
I found that scripture this morning and I love it, it's very straightforward and to the point :) It was a good reminder to me of what a heavy price was paid for us. So why would we ever serve men instead of God? That's just stupid :) Of course it's more complicated than that, but remembering the price that Christ paid for us can help give us the courage we need to serve Him more fully.