Monday, December 7, 2009

St. Petersburg Week 10

Hola familia!!!

Wasn't the Christmas devotional amazing?! Definitely what we missionaries needed to hear! The opening prayer was one of the best I have ever heard at a conference. We watched it (in English) at the stake building in Seminole and hurried home so we weren't late.

We've had yet another amazing week. We have quite a few (brothers and sisters) on date right now, but it has been so hard to get them to church. Many of them don't have cars, and struggle with finances so much that they have to work on Sunday. They don't have a choice,. It's that or not having any food. So we try to help them the best we can. We've made food and taken it to a lot of them using our food storage and the food that we get from members. It's hard to see, and I wish we could do more to help them.

I want to tell you about Carlos and Helen. They are absolutely amazing. They are the kind of family you dream about finding on your mission. Helen is the sister of recent convert, Karen. Helen has been visiting her sister for the last couple months. We've been teaching her, and she wanted to get baptized but the only thing that was holding her back is that she wanted her husband to be taught too. We tried really hard to get missionaries to contact him in Peru. Lo and behold, who would have thought that the missionaries who would contact him would be the son of Hermano and Hermana Ross (members of our ward in St. Pete). Heavenly father has really provided a way for their family to hear the gospel. Well, Carlos has been here for a couple weeks now awaiting the birth of their new baby Angelina, but he is leaving today. That is the sad part. We taught him all that we could with the time that we have had with him. He knows it is true and wants to be baptized. He just has to leave to go back to work. He is a manager for a bank in Peru, so they are fairly decent shape financially. Every time we would stop by there home, he would grab two stools right away, and put them in front of the couch. He would be so eager to sit with his wife and listen to our lesson. The spirit was always very strong in every lesson that we taught them.

Carlos and I really connected. its interesting how that happens. He was very interested in my conversion story and how I came to know of the gospel. Every time we saw him he would have more questions for me until I finally wrote it all out for him. As we parted ways last night it was very sad. When Helen returns to Peru with her new baby in a month and a half they are going to be baptized there. They already have plans for a temple sealing. They live right down the street from the temple in Peru and have always had a "draw" to the House of the Lord. Helen and Carlos want us to be there at the sealing and we plan on keeping communication. He has turned into a father figure for us in a way. I am sooooo excited to go to Peru for their sealing when I get back! Hermana Murray and I are already planning on it!

We had our Cuban feast with Mercy and it was amazing! It was such a special evening. We arrived at her home and she had the table all set up formal, with a bunch of fruit in the middle. She asked us to sit, and said, "In Cuba, we always start a meal with fresh fruit." So she fed us fresh papaya and for the main dish we had Cuban style sweet papas, arroz negro, and a type of shredded beef that I can't even remember the name of and of course Pan de Cubano. the color of the sauce was like a fire engine red. The best part of the whole night was just sitting and listening to her talk about what life was like in Cuba for her. She had a hard life growing up, but it is interesting to see how Heavenly Father has always taken care of her and provided a way. She gave us Christmas gifts too. It is a tradition that if you invite someone over for a "formal cuban dinner" you give them a gift. So she gave us a box of chocolate. Then what was really amazing, she excitedly ran to the other room and said, with a lot of laughter, "close your eyes." Then when we opened our eyes there on the table in front of us was this adorable Santa Claus on a tricycle with a lollypop. We then had a lot of fun playing with him on the table.

I thought that I ate a lot of food at home for Thanksgiving. I have never eaten so much food in my life in one sitting then I did that night and it wasn't because I was putting any food on my plate. Mercy kept putting more and more! :-) I could have eaten four meals with what I ate. I really didn't want to offend her, so I just kept eating. Hermana Murray and I had A LOT of good laughs on our way home talking about how much our stomachs hurt and how that was the worst way to start a fast. We have some great video of it.

This is one of the reasons why I love Florida so much and the opportunity that I have to serve here. If I went anywhere else I would not be able to be engulfed in so many different cultures. We've met people from all over the world. it is amazing!

OK, this experience is very tender to me. I've shared a little bit about the situation with Li. In the last couple of weeks she has really opened up about how she is feeling. Through the experience I am about to share, it amazes me how the power that the Holy Ghost can comfort us and give us strength. We went over to Li's home. When we got there, we could tell that she was just absolutely stressed out and weathered, so we told her, we only want to make you feel better right now. So just forget about your worries, just even for 20 minutes. So we watched the Restoration DVD. I swear Satan's little helpers were poking her daughter because she was so restless, but the spirit was still there. After the movie, we asked her about the last time that we were there. Specifically, how we knelt in prayer with her, and she asked with all the sincerity of her heart if the gospel was true. We asked her how she felt about this experience. This was her response. "I felt a power. I felt confidence. I felt like everything was going to be OK." I asked her how her husband would feel if she was to be baptized and she said "Oh, he would be furious. I would be scared of him." I was so sad. she then said "I really want to be baptized, I want my daughter to be baptized, but I don't want the reason for us to separate to be because of region."

What I want to pay attention to, is that night when her husband came home. She was different. She was strong and courageous. Her situation didn't change, but she has the Holy Ghost with her. The Holy Ghost will be the greatest thing that she can have in her life right now. Having the Holy Ghost doesn't change the ability she has to pay her bills or stop her husband from his bad acts, but it does change how comforted she feels. The Holy Ghost can have the same affect in our lives. I know it has in mine, more so now than in any other time of my life. I remember the first time I recognized the Holy Ghost. I will never forget it.

I love you all! Have a good week! Sorry I can't write more!

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

No comments:

Post a Comment