Monday, January 11, 2010

Semana Magnifico! St. Petersburg Week 14

I love love love being a missionary! Love it! It is really hitting me this week. The other day I woke up from a dream crying. In the dream I had flown home, and was sitting in President Southworth's office. I remember feeling so sad to be sitting there. All I had running through my head is all of the people that I had taught. Those that accepted the Gospel and those that didn't. I also saw many people that I have never seen before. In the dream I was removing my name tag, then I woke up. I thought it was so real, and I woke up devastated like it was all over and that I wasn't a missionary anymore. I was pretty shook up, but I soon realized as I opened my eyes. I AM STILL A MISSIONARY! Whew! I have definitely worked with a little more energy since this dream. Both Hermana Murray and I have been working very hard this week, and boy have the blessings poured out upon us!

We had an amazing conference this week in Sarasota. It was for the Spanish speaking sisters. There are only 12 of us. We won't get any more sisters for 6 more months. President kind of threw this together last minute. It was absolutely the funnest day ever. We were picked up early by the AP's and the Tampa sisters and we had the long drive south. My stomach hurt all day from laughing!!! The conference gave us all the opportunity to share things that have worked and not worked as far as language, companionship unity, finding, teaching and baptizing. We have an amazing group of sisters! Just rock stars! I am so excited to serve with them. Sister Petit and I will be the youngest sisters for the next 6 months. I came away from this conference absolutely excited for the work and completely re-energized. I especially got a new fire for study techniques and ideas. It is sometimes hard to sit for three hours and stay completely focused, so I am REALLY excited for studies next week!

The work is exploding! Since Hermana Murray and I have sacrificed a little "fiesta" time to go that little extra mile, blessings have been poured out upon us like we never expected!!! Right now we have 6 amazingly solid people on date for baptism. We will work ever so hard and diligent to make sure that Satan does nothing to stop those from happening. A new excitement and enthusiasm has started in the Spanish members as we prepare for the new branch. Many of them are eager to help us with lessons and visiting less active members. I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW MANY INACTIVE PEOPLE ARE HERE!!! It is just amazing. Many of them are coming to activity again because of the new branch. it was just so difficult for them to attend church and feel edified because they didn't understand the language (English). Families are now excited to attend the branch. We have gotten so many referrals from visiting these inactive members that we literally don't have enough time to get them all visited! It is amazing! Just yesterday we had to do a lesson ON THE PHONE while driving in between appointments, and it was amazing!

The most amazing thing by far on the mission is to see people change. My eyes have been opened to a new understanding of the atonement as I watch others apply it in their lives. I don't understand how it works but it does. Eddy is the most amazing example of this. We have been teaching him since the first part of the first transfer. At the time, his family was chaotic and not very happy. He liked it when we came over, but he wasn't very patient with my struggles with the language and he kind of ignored me. We had him committed to baptism for the 17th of December, but he said he wasn't ready. He said for him to be a Mormon he would have to read ALL of the Book of Mormon. Slowly and slowly and little by little we have seen a change in their family as a whole, and a HUGE change in him. We visited them before Christmas and it was the happiest I have seen their family. In the following lesson with Eddy, we had planned on teaching him about family and the blessings from the gospel. He has been having struggles with his family from Cuba and with his health, so he was really not in the mood to talk about family. So instead, as I held the Liahona in my hand, I searched in the topics for something that might help him as Sister Murray was talking to him. I found a discourse about covenants and the strength we gain from them. Perfect!!! As we read he just kept nodding his head up and down, agreeing with everything. It was amazing. He started to have a little bit of a smile on his face. By the end of the talk he seemed so much calmer and relaxed. He said "this guy (the author of the discourse) knows what he is talking about". In my head I was thinking, "It is amazing the power the Lord's servants, the apostles, have in bearing witness and teaching with the Holy Ghost." Eddy said the closing prayer, and he thanked Heavenly Father for us, the lesson we taught and that he feels a lot better now. We parted ways and Hermana Murray and I were jumping up and down as we ran to our car for our next appointment.

We met with eddy again this week, and we couldn't believe the change! He was an entirely different person as we talked to him. He sat eagerly on the couch waiting for us to start the lesson while we said hello to his family. He sat at the edge of the couch intently listening to everything we had to say. He expressed some concerns in the last visit that has been keeping him from baptism. We never got to teach him about tithing. He has been having trouble with his immigration papers and needs money for it. Money he doesn't have. He knew he had to pay tithing, but he thought tithing meant that he would have to pay 1/10 of everything he had ever gotten. and he was afraid he wouldn't be able to do his immigration papers AND pay tithing. Oh he has so much faith. Needless to say, after we cleared up this little misunderstanding, he was pretty much telling us what day he is going to be baptized. :-) He is soooooooooooo happy!!!! Sooooo happy! What gave him the strong testimony was that he was reading that conference address in the Liahona from one of our beloved apostles. He has a very strong testimony of priesthood and authority. I know that only through the atonement could Eddy have this change. He is a new person. I truly have come to know that the atonement of Jesus Christ really can heal without a scar.

The more I understand the atonement and learn and apply it, the more I want to share, just like Lehi. On my planner this transfer I have wrote "Be as Lehi.” At every door I testify more boldly and take every opportunity I can to teach and testify. I would challenge any person that if they have but the slightest desire to share the gospel and are afraid, study the atonement of Jesus Christ. As you apply it and feel it work in your life, you can't help but want to share. I have never repented more in my life as I have as a missionary and it is amazing.

Have a wonderful week everyone! Te querro!

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

We just had our last week of English services. Yay!!!!

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