Monday, March 29, 2010

St. Petersburg Week 24

Where to even start!?

We had an amazing Zone Conference in Tampa! I got to see Hermana Murray! Boy do I love her! It is amazing how close you become with your companions. When you work hard with one purpose in heart you can't help but grow closer together. It doesn't matter what your background or interests are, it just happens. Especially in the Lord's work. Hermana Murray and I couldn't be more opposite, but yet we're best friends! I look forward to the opportunity to serve with the other sisters here.

I was asked to speak at zone conference. Of course I had but 2 minutes to prepare, but I was humbled by the offer and grateful for the opportunity. The topic was, "The Importance of Obedience as it Applies to the Atonement." Oh boy, thats' a pretty important subject. I did my best, and these were some of the thoughts:

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.

At times we feel that the commandments of God hinder us from feeling true happiness, they might hinder us from partaking of what the world might think would make us happy, I testify that the commandments of God give us more happiness then we could imagine. They protect us and more than this. They purify us and with the power of the atonement, with obedience and sacrifice we can be sanctified and purified which will lead to us being endowed with power from on high. When there are more commandments given, there are more blessings to be had.

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye in all manner of conversation;

As missionaries we are held to a higher standard. If we truly wish to be instruments in the hands of the Lord, we must live it with exactness. The thoughts that I have had since I was in the Mission Training Center came to mind as I stood at the pulpit. We are as pottery clay in the hands of the Lord. If we truly wish, we can be molded into the "missionary" that the Lord wants us to be. Then comes the trial of our faith that is more precious then anything else, that Christ may fire us in His furnace. We only need to have the Faith in Him that he will not let the temperature reach that which we cannot overcome. I have a testimony of the purifying power of the atonement. It is real and it can heal us through the blood of the only begotten son. He who was the only perfect person to walk the Earth. Our perfect example in all things.

19 But with the precious of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

We need to be Holy. Representatives of Him. Following the commandments that are set before us as missionaries is only setting the foundation for the rest of our lives. Our choices now will effect everything. I love the Lord with all my heart. I love Him for the person I am being molded into. I testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen

I look forward to Zone Conference every transfer. it is ALWAYS an edifying experience.

I don't think I have ever been quite so exhausted in my life as I have in the last week and I LOVE it! The work is EXPLODING and I feel so humbled and blessed to be a part of this exciting time here! We wake up extra early and get home extra late. our agendas are full and bursting at the seams with people to teach. We don't even have the time in the day to teach all of them! We haven't had studies in a week and a half because we haven't had the time to. I feel so blessed! I just hope that we can live worthy enough to be lead to help these people to continue in the gospel. Amazing families!

One of which is Humberto. He is an amazing father of four kids. He also has an amazing wife. We met him tracting in a mobile home park off of Gulf to Bay in Clear Water. it was nearly dark and we were walking out of the park (not a real safe place to be after dark). As we were passing him we started a conversation with him. Oh, how amazing he is! I would just like to share a few things that he expressed to us that have had a sincere impact on me.

We have talked to him many times, usually ending up in a 30 min conversation standing outside his home. He really enjoys talking to us and we really feel blessed to talk to him. Something kind of made me sad the last time that we talked to him. He is one of the most humble Christ-like people I have ever met in my life. He loves the Lord with all of his heart. but he said, he is "stuck" where he is in his life. He came to this country for his children to have a better start in their lives than he did in his. But he can't go anywhere. Everyday he wakes up, goes to work ALL day, every day, and that is his life. He always makes sure that he gives his time to the Lord and attends mass Sunday evenings. He ALWAYS makes time for his family. He says, "I don't drink, our family doesn't go around to the parties like other families. If we have time, we go to the beach together, or maybe a restaurant."

Humberto is LDS and he doesn't even know it. I was sad when he expressed how he felt "stuck." It has had a large impact on me as I look at where I have been in my life and where I want to go. The family that I want to have, the ability I have had to go to school and get an education. I am fighting back tears now as I think about how much I love the people here, for the example they are to me. I've never met more wonderful people in my entire life. I feel honored to be instrument in the Lord's hands to bring them the Gospel. I just hope I don't mess it up! :-)

They call Florida the sunshine state for a reason! If you looked at the very bright red sun burnt skin that I have you would know too! :-) A two and half hour walk during the hottest part of the day will do it to you! Long story, but, I love Florida! You can snap your fingers and the weather has changed! The next day it poured all day! Today its cold, I don't understand! :-)

Eddy has the priesthood! Oh my goodness! I am so proud of him! He is so amazing. As I look at how much he has changed, I know that much more that the atonement is real. Only the atonement can really change us. The Relief Society room was almost full this week! We'll be in the chapel in no time! :-) Rebecca and Jessica will be baptized this next Friday! Oh I am so excited for them! I'll write more about them next week!

Love you all!

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

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