Monday, October 12, 2009

Hola de St. Pete!

So we were tracting the day before, down a really impoverished street and a man caught my attention, i started to contact him but he clearly didn't want anything to do with us. We were in the area yesterday for 4 return apts. Just after the apts, I looked over and a man was working on his Camaro. I said, "Hermana Murray, I really want to go to talk cars with this man." So, she said "ok" with a smile. I asked the usual... "What’s under the hood? What have you done to it?" Then the man who first denied us walked up. I talked to this man about cars. He was pretty surprised that I even knew anything. A blonde in a skirt. Well, we started talking about church... to make a long story short, we placed a Book of Mormon. He was so excited to read it. He was prepared and had an open mind. He is taking the discussions and it is looking really well. We find so many great people here. He was so shut off to us at first, but we just had to find that common ground and his wall was broken down and it was amazing! I really feel like he will be baptized!!! Isn't that amazing? It would have been so easy to say he doesn't want to hear and not try again.

Right before this, we experienced another miracle. The day before we tracted into Anna Cortez we taught her quite a bit on the door step and made another appointment. She opened up to us a little bit. We could really tell she was hurting. She told us that she and her husband were having a lot of problems. We felt like we should say a prayer with her. So we did right there, and I could tell she felt better. We promised her that our message could help her family, that faith in Jesus Christ could help her. SO, yesterday, for those appointments I wrote about above, we were running late from church, but as we were walking I saw a man carrying chairs, A LOT of chairs into the back of a trailer and I felt like we should help him carry them, so we did. We carried about 250 chairs for him. Now we were REALLY late for the appointments. but two of them ended up rescheduling. Anyhoo, as we were walking away, we stopped to talk to the man again. It turns out, that he is the husband of Anna. Just from that act of service he opened up to us too. Amazing! It is so important to follow the Spirit in the little things!!! yay! we are so excited to teach their family. I know we were there in the right moment. Heavenly Father is helping us so much!

The success in the area is incredible. We have 8 people that will be baptized in the next month and we started a week and a half ago with no one. We see the Lord's hand in everything we do. We go a lot of time without eating because we are so busy. We had an end of the year goal to have enough people for the Spanish branch to be established but we will have it before the end of the month! Oh how amazing!!!!

I laughed out loud really hard when Dad sent the letter about the gangs in St. Petersburg. OH THEY ARE HERE! That is for sure. We are around it all of the time. I have shook hands with people that have the tear drop tattoos on their eyes but I have felt protected. We've heard gun shots, in fact, there was a shooting outside of the Elder's apartment. They are trying to relocate them now. We don't live in a scary neighborhood, so that’s good. About the scariest place we go is Waterside apartments on the south side of St. Pete. One day, we were tracting there, and as we walked, and I could definitely smell drugs. As we knocked on the door, they opened it and everyone inside was running around because they thought we were the police. Oh funny! The "thugz" actually have a lot of respect for us. They keep us safe. They tell us where not to go and they are always looking out for us. Not sure if you like hearing this, but it is what it is :-). I think these are the reasons why they didn't have sisters here before. I have only felt unsafe once, and we left very quick!

So GEMNINA! what an amzing girl. That is the girl that ran away! She has taken a complete 180 in her life. I can't remember the last I told you about her, but her family loves us, and they are so excited to learn. I think it is because they saw the light in us. We took her on a church tour the other day and she loved it!!! We committed her to baptism for the 24th. However, she didn't make it to church this Sunday so we'll have to push it back a week. She had way too much homework from missing school, so her mom said it would be better for her to do that. Oh I am soooo excited.

I love the people here so much! I get excited to talk to everyone! The ward is amazing! This work would not be possible here without the ward's help. The missionaries need help! Our mission focuses on the members and using them. It has doubled our success. We always make sure in our lessons we have a member present, and I think that is why we are having so much success. So if you are not helping the missionaries, please do so. Also, DON'T let them stay at your house more than a few minutes UNLESS they have an investigator! They need to be out knocking doors! Quick spiritual message, and then kick them out! It will be good for them. We never stay long. I think it builds a lot of trust in the members as well! YAY for missionary work!

So last night we had a church tour with a man named Antonio. We had a lesson on his door step last week and it was my first time saying the first vision. He is from Brazil, so he only really speaks a little bit of Spanish. At the church last night, I felt the spirit so strong, and the Spanish was just coming. I was amazed. I was like, how can I speak like this? Well, only through the help of the Holy Ghost. At the end of the lesson, he said that my Portuguese was really good. Figure that one out! The gift of tongues is sooooo true!

Another ultra amazing investigator is Frida Perez from Peru. Her family is very poor in Peru, but she has organized a non-profit organization. She saw the commercial for our church, and thought it could help the people there... so here we are to share it with her. She loves the doctrine and soaks up everything that we say. She reads and reads. She is a very smart woman. In Sunday School yesterday, she spoke just as much as the members (Spanish Sunday School). I'm really excited. She has a soft commitment for baptism, meaning, when she prays and knows this is true, that she will be baptized. Oh, it is soooo exciting!!!!

I was called a potato yesterday by Hector. I was sharing my story a little bit with their family and talked to them about the temple and the meaning of temple sealing and work for the dead and he stopped me and said, "You are a potato. There are two types of people in this world, potatoes and eggs. If you put them in the boiling water of life or hard things, they either harden up, or they become soft and beautiful. You my friend are a potato." I thought this was amazing and I loved it. Not that he called me a potato, but that it is sooo true of an analogy and I am going to use it!!!

Well, I might get a chance to write more later. The zone is going bowling today! :-) so sorry if everyone doesn't get as many letters today.

So much to write. I can't wait to come home and tell you these stories in person. There is sooo much more to them.

Love you all soooo much!!!
Thank you for the support!

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

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