Monday, April 12, 2010

St. Petersburg Week 26

Oh my! has it been another week already?!?!?!

Next P-day is the 19th! That is my half way mark, or "hump" day! I think that calls for some celebration! Any suggestions? :-) Certainly the day before will be one to never forget! The Spanish branch will be officially organized this next Sunday, along with the Baptism of Virginia. We found Virginia about 3 weeks ago. She is 45 years old, lives with her whole family, from Mexico, in a mobile home. I don't think I have ever seen her without a smile. You can't beat that, having a baptism on the day that the branch will be formed! I feel so blessed to have seen this area grow so much in the short time that I have been here. Starting from having to translate to a little Spanish group meeting in St. Petersburg, to a group meeting in the stake center, to growing so quick to be able to be a branch. I LOVE St. Petersburg. It has taken a piece of my heart that will stay here forever. I am going to be very sad to leave.

I just wanted to write a quick little funny story. Sister Alva and I were tracting in "Mexico City" a.k.a. downtown Clearwater. We were walking back down a road that we had just tracted. In front of one of the homes where we got a potential contact for the elders was a car. From the drivers seat a women about our age waved us over. She said she wanted to learn more, so we started to teach her and her male passenger in the passenger seat. Hey, we'll take any opportunity we can to teach. Well, after about 5 minutes our potential contact for the elders came running out, and I kid you not, as we were standing there, teaching principles of the Gospel, they did a drug deal right there. We saw it and everything. My mouth hung wide open and I thought, "That did not just happen!!" Well, just a funny thing that we get to see on a regular basis.

I would like to share something that I shared with the district this morning. We woke up early and went to a park and had personal study and district study. As we were going around the circle sharing what we had learned, something else came to mind that Sister Alva and I experienced this last Saturday that has been seared into my mind. It has had a sincere impact on me and has strengthened my testimony of the blessings from the gospel. We had just visited a inactive member that lives by our apartment. We still had dirt in our finger nails from helping her get rocks out of her flower bed. As we were pulling up to a four way stop, a car was awkwardly pulled off the side of the road, and there was a women running around. Then an old women came to our window with the most terrified and frantic look. Then the younger women that was running around came to the door pleading for us to give her a ride to the hospital. Well, my EMT mind kicked into gear. Sister Alva looked at me and I said, "We're not taking her to the hospital." Well, I told the younger woman to sit on the ground. She had blood coming from her mouth. Through her crying I was finally able to figure out what had happened. She was on a motorcycle with her husband. She said they had been driving about 5 miles until she jumped off of the motorcycle. The husband had been beating her on the motor cycle and telling her that he was going to kill her. Well, this sweet old women that was driving way under the speed limit saved this woman's life because she was driving so slow that the younger woman was able to jump off the bike as they followed the old woman's car.

I called 911 and they promptly came to the scene. My heart ached for this women. As I examined her injuries I was heart broken. There were open lacerations on her ring finger where her husband tried to bite off her wedding ring... I was absolutely... I don't even know how to describe. I felt the pure evil, yet felt the tender spirit of this woman. I constantly prayed in my heart while I knelt by her, telling her that she is safe now, that everything was going to be okay. There are lots of other details of this that I don't think would be right to share, but as I shared these little things with elders, their eyes saddened, for good reason. My heart is sad from witnessing this act. What happened to the woman was the very work of Satan and his followers. Then I shared with our district a tender story about one of the women that we had taught for 3 months. She too was in a dangerous situation with a husband that was addicted to drugs and was abusive to her. When we first started teaching her, she hardly had the strength to do anything on her own. ALL of her self confidence seemed to be ripped from her. I described the change that I witnessed in this woman as she started to grow in faith. This women that we taught eventually found the inner strength that God saw in her to get away from that terrible situation. AND SHE DID IT! TOTALLY ON HER OWN! She made the decision. She realized that she is a DAUGHTER OF GOD and the she deserved to be treated as such.
The woman that pleaded for our help this last Saturday is lost in a way. She needs to find that inner strength. I testify, because of personal experiences and observing others, that it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the restored gospel on the earth today, knowledge of God and his plan for us, love, families, temples and service that can lift us from the grasp of Satan and his followers. We can't take away the agency of others, but we sure can fortify our spiritual fortress just as Captain Moroni did to protect those values and virtues that are most precious including the knowledge that we are sons and daughters of our Heavenly father, and that he loves us.

I learned a life long lesson from my Uncle Jerry that I have been reminded of in the last two weeks. I must have been 10 yrs old. I was riding my go cart through our apple orchard. I slowed down while going through a wet patch of grass and then came to stop. There I sat impatiently stepping on the gas harder and harder trying to get it to go, but to no avail. It just wasn't working. I even got out and tried to push it. My uncle Jerry said, "Get on the go cart and watch." So I did what he said. I looked back, and saw my uncle Jerry standing on the back bar of the go cart to put extra weight on the driving tire. Then he told me, "HIT THE GAS!" So I did, and slowly the go cart's tire got the traction it needed to get out of that slippery spot. At ten yrs old, I didn't know that I would learn a life-long principle. Sometimes we find ourselves in "slippery" spots. I thought the logical thing would be to step on the gas harder, or maybe do the thing that might be the hardest but would get the job done (pushing it!) but Heavenly father knows all. He is standing back watching us make our choices. I believe, that those things that may seem to weigh us down, are actually the things that give us the traction to get us through those slippery spots. I have had to step back and look at a few situations we have had to deal with in the last few weeks. It's tried and true! :-)

Rebecca and Jessica were baptized!!! Yay!!! Oh what a blessed day! I have never seen such beautiful beaming girls in my life!!! I will try to write more about it later. Their mother took them shopping for white baptismal dresses the day before, kind of like with my mom did. :-) Oh, I can't wait to write about it next week! Rebecca bore her testimony, it was so powerful. she is a FUTURE SISTER MISSIONARY!!! They brought a friend to the baptism, and another to church yesterday! All of their friends are dying to be taught by us! We're having a family home evening with a bunch of them tonight! “Girl's night,” plus the elders I guess. :-)

Oh I love the mission. Every part of it. I am not the same person that left home.

With all the love that have!

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

Thank you all for the letters!

1 comment:

  1. This morning I had another opportunity to share this blog with others! I am sending it to Derrick this week, too. What a treat for you to share your mission like this!
    Gma L.