Well, wouldn't you know that the night before my half way mark, I would have a dream that I returned home, and I hated every moment of it! :-)
I think p-days are my least favorite day of the week. If we stay in the apartment too long I go crazy. I just want to be out doing something. I have no idea how I'm going to handle being home. I DONT EVEN WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT!!! :-) Today has to be my favorite p-day on the mission thus far. We had an exciting day planned. We were going to get up at 4 a.m. and go fishing with the Calhoun family (I spent Christmas with them. I love them!!!), but one of their sons got very sick and was in the hospital. We got the call last night and the first thought that came to mind, was, “Lets go do some service for them!” They have four boys with genetic disorders that cause them to be sick quite often and every little cold could be fatal. So needless to say, a little help makes a big difference. So we decided to go clean their house and bring them some meals. So Sister Alva and I got up at 5 a.m., headed to WalMart to get food, and with cleaning buckets in our hands tackled their house! We cleaned it head to toe! It was soooo much fun! We brought our speakers and rocked out to MoTab (Mormon Tabernacle Choir) and had a blast! I know we can't really take away the burden the Calhoun's must feel when caring for their children, but we can sure help them in other ways!
I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE ST. PETE! And I told President that too! :-) We were formed into a branch Sunday! I have never felt the spirit so strongly in a sacrament meeting as I did sitting there listening to President Emery read the letter from president Monson approving the organization of the branch. I had tears running down my cheeks. Oh so many tears and drops of sweat have been shed from many people and missionaries that have given it their all to make this happen. I feel so blessed to have seen our "little" but "mighty" group grow into a organized branch.
They called President Lopez to be the branch president. He was a former stake president and bishop in Venezuela. He is AMAZING!!! The first thing he said to us after church (after all the chaos) was, "The first thing we are going to do is get a ward mission leader called. We know you need the help and it is the only way we will gather those inactive members and fellowship your investigators." Oh, how I have longed to have those words said to us. Since I have been here we haven't had any priesthood stewardship to guide and prepare a plan to help those that have been "lost" in the Spanish "group." It has been a lot of pressure but oh man, did that ever get me excited or what!!!!!!!!! I know with the priesthood direction, this place is just going to explode.
I talked to President during interviews and showed him our planners so he could see that we don't have enough time in the day to teach all of the investigators that we have. We talked about getting another set of Spanish missionaries assigned to St. Petersburg. We talked about how it could be set up and the best way to split the area. Very exciting stuff!!! About every day this week we have solid lessons from 9 in the morning to 9:30 at night! Oh it is amazing. Now that we have the capacity with the branch to help so many more people that we are now being blessed with the opportunity to help them. They are coming out of the woodwork! Many, many prepared souls!
So amidst the chaos yesterday, AMAZINGLY GOOD CHAOS I MIGHT ADD!!! :-) Virginia Cirilo Garcia was baptized! Oh how beautiful it was! But I just want to add a funny little comment. Sister Alva and I have had two really funny experiences while filling the baptismal font. Not sure if I shared the first (this was for Santiago), but we started the font while Sunday school was going (in the Relief Society room) and we were on the male side of the dressing rooms. Well, so was the levers for the faucet. Needless to say we got stuck on the boys side of the font. It filled too quick. So I said, "Hermana, get on my back!" :-) I took, my stockings off, and we waded across to the other side! Whew! LOL! Oh so funny! It was sooo hard not to laugh hysterically! AND yesterday we had a lot of investigators at church and sacrament ran over a little bit (baptism was after services) and with getting them all to preistghood and relief society, we were walking down the hall and I stopped, my stomach hit the ground, I turned around and said, "Hermana! THE FONT!" WE FORGOT TO START THE FONT!!! AND ITS BIG!!! We ran! I started the font, and grabbed pitchers from the kitchen and went to work! Oh my goodness! What a crazy wonderful day! we took lots of pictures to document! Just little tender wonderful memories
from the mission! :-)
Virginia was beaming with light and I never saw a smile leave her face! She loves church! She loves the gospel! Sister Alva and I have a lot of fun teaching her. Sister Alva and I pick on each other a lot and she loves it! It is so much fun! Every time we go over to her house she greets us with the biggest smile in the world! Oh I love her to pieces! I just don't even know how to express in words the love I have for every one here. The thought of leaving puts a ball in the back of my throat... I hope I get to stay here another transfer, but I don't know. :-(
Last night when we came home, I was FILLED with the spirit! I sat at my desk just in awe about the day. I thought about our amazing lessons with in-active members, the many in-actives were back at church today, all the people we have on date for baptism, looking at our investigator board and seeing all the people, the AMAZING people that we have the opportunity to share the gospel with. I was just overwhelmed. I rested my elbows on the desk and gave the most heart felt prayer of thanks to my Heavenly Father. I hope President doesn't mind the tear drops that landed on the letter I wrote him, but I was just so filled with LOVE. That's the only way I could describe it. Then I realized that I hadn't read a chapter out of the Book of Mormon for the day! We were just so busy. So I said another prayer, and asked if I could read something that could help the members as we prepare to build the foundation for this branch. I felt like I should use my old English scriptures that have a lot of markings from my first years of being a member of the church. (I haven't read out of my English scriptures in a LONG time) and by no coincidence my eyes met this verse:
Mosiah 8:18 "Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty
miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings."
I feel like this is what we should share with the members as we do our visits with them this week. That we are only men, and with that we have many imperfections, but WITH FAITH we can work mighty miracles. I know that this is true, and it is for the benefit of our fellow men. It is so exciting!!! We have the ability to help so many other people now that we have the branch! Oh boy I'm excited!!!
I love you all!!! Soooo much!!!!
Sorry so short today! Gotta get going! We have a lot of appointments today in Clearwater and St. Pete!!!
Con todo amor que yo tengo en mi corazon!