Monday, February 22, 2010

St. Petersburg Week 20

Oh what a blessed week!
So much to write about... I'm going to try my hardest to get it down on...
Our numbers were a little sparse this week in the branch. Peoplewere sick, got called into work, etc. It really makes a HUGE impact when even just a few people don't show up. We had enough priesthood holders to perform the ordinance of the sacrament only after Bro. Ross had asked if worthy male priesthood holders could come forward to help with the administration of the sacrament. It made me a little sad to notice the men that didn't fall into that category. Some that have been baptized for years now, but still don't have the priesthood. We have a lot of work to do in trying to strengthen the membership. Just like our own spiritual foundation, it is the same for our little group. We need to build a strong fortified foundation within our membership so that we can sustain those new members and continue to grow with a sure foundation that Satan cant impede.
Goals – In the mission we operate on goals. Of course, we pray and seek inspiration when setting them and then we do everything in our power to meet them. Setting goals is a powerful tool. My fear, is that when we set goals, we lose the purpose behind it and look at people as numbers instead of as children of God. I have a firm testimony of this power. There are many blessings to be had by using this pattern in missionary work and in our lives. Heavenly father wants us to set goals, and do everything that we can to achieve them. he wants us to be successful. When we set goals and do what we can, we are more likely to gain His trust and to be blessed to be an instrument in His hands. I fear that in life we set our goals far shorter than what Heavenly Father would like us to. The reality is that, “I (we) can do all things through Christ which strengthenth me (us).”
Power in our heritage – The Sunday before last, one of the group members brought two of her lady friends to church. They seemed really enthusiastic and loved church. Her friend had mentioned to them that we, the church, have a center where she could do family history work. When she came up to talk to us, she expressed this desire. Very excitedly we set up an appointment with them for the following Saturday. We anxiously awaited the appointment, and on the following Saturday, met them at the church. We huddled around the computers and I asked her what information she had. She had a possible birth date and year. She also knew that this ancestor was born in Spain and moved to Cuba. There really wasn't that much information to go on. We suggested that we start with a prayer, to which they happily agreed. After the prayer, the spirit radiated in that room. You couldn't help but be touched by it. The veil was very thin. It felt like her ancestors were there guiding the very strokes of the keyboard. We spent an hour searching through the archives on the computer. We didn't find the ancestor's name, but we did find his brother! We were hot on his trail. We split up on two computers to double our efforts. As this woman and I sat at the computer, I stopped and asked, "How did you feel at church last week?" She said (in Spanish of course) "I felt really calm and peaceful." I asked her how she felt now, she said, "I feel happy and love." I bore testimony that it is because this building is sacred. It is a house of worship and prayer. I bore testimony that what she is doing for her ancestors will bring them and her eternal happiness. She knows its true! I could see it in her eyes! They are both very excited to be taught and excited to come to church next week and they really want us to come over to their home!
I cannot wait to go home and work on my family history. Doing the work for the living now makes me think so much of how the dead yearn for their work to be done and it is up to us.
The stake presidency issued four goals for our stake to participate in this next year. A daily goal, a weekly goal, a monthly goal and a yearly goal. The daily goal is to read from the Book of Mormon, pray and ponder about it. Weekly is to share your testimony at least once a week. Monthly, to go to the temple, and when that isn't possible, to do a service in preparing your family names for the temple. Yearly, to visit every person on the ward roster. Not only do you do a service to your ancestors when you do the work for them, but you are allowing so many blessings to be yours. The veil is thin and you feel so much love for your ancestors. It is amazing! Here, two amazing women that aren't even members yet, felt of that joy.
I'm running out of time! Ahhh, I really want to write about Heriberto. He is on date to be baptized this next Sunday. Also, Santiago will be baptized on the 14th. I don't even feel worthy to teach Heriberto he is so amazing!
Oh really cool too... I never noticed how much of an impact we've had in the English communities as well. We got a very amazing call last night. A white family that we tracted into a few weeks ago will be baptized in a week! Because they were English speaking, we turned them over to the Elders. It is soooo amazing!
Have an amazing week! Love you!
Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

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