Oh, how I love St. Pete, but OH HOW I LOVE FORT MYERS!!! oh my goodness I'm in love!!!!!!! At times it feel like we are literally in a different country. I'm serving with Sister Baum. She is absolutely amazing and I am learning so much from her! She is from the huge town of Le Grand Oregon, you know that little speck of a town that we drive through on the way to Utah. :-) But hey, shout out to the Northwest! She is such an amazingly hard worker and I love it! We literally talk to EVERYONE! Just the way it is supposed to be. We teach everywhere and in every circumstance. I don't know how many times we have been driving, and we see a Spanish person walking on the side of the road. We'll turn the car around and pull over right next to them and talk to them. We have had full lessons in the middle of streets, alleys, door steps, gas stations, every where! There's so many potential and progressing investigators. I'M IN HEAVEN! Sister Baum and I have so much fun! To be in a functional ward with leadership and callings! It makes missionary work so much easier. We really can't be successful without the help of the members, it's not possible and it's not the way the Lord wants it done. So I am excited!
We had a member referral come to English class last Friday. Her name is Ana. She is from Mexico city and she is here on a "nanny" program. She is staying with a host family for a year. She is 19 yrs old and we have just really hit it off with her. She is the sweetest girl. Well, she noticed a calm feeling when she was at the church that Friday. We taught her an English lesson, got to know her, and shared a spiritual thought. We invited her to the baptism we had this Saturday (Illianna: that's a whole story in its self). Well, after the baptism we took her on a tour and used the holy ghost dialogue and the first vision, and when we knew the spirit was there, we committed her to baptism. It was so amazing! What was really funny is that after Anna left the church building, Sister Baum and I were so full of excitement, in the foyer of the church building we ran up and did a chest bump in front of the members. Oh did they ever laugh at us!!! It was so funny, but it is so great to feel the excitement this ward has for missionary work. It makes all the difference!
I don't think that I could begin to write about the miracles that I have seen since my short stay in Fort Myers. Sister Baum is teaching me how to be a good missionary and I love it. She is the best example anyone could ask for. I really am learning a lot from her. I have never seen so many Spanish people in my life! It is sooooo different than St. Pete. There, we would have to knock 20 doors sometimes to find one Spanish person. Here its hard to find someone that is white! It's so awesome! I love people here so much! It was hard to leave St. Pete, but that void was quickly filled by the love I already feel for the people here! I would be content staying here for the rest of my mission! :-)
I would like to share a somewhat personal story. It has to do with lemonade. Thursday during our planning meeting I made a big thing of ice cold lemonade for us, did I mention that it is HOT down here! Oh my! You should see my tan lines! So needless to say, we drank so much lemonade we had to make a few pit stops at the bathroom throughout the day. It was a little annoying, but it got us into some doors to teach. That's how we found Amalia and Jesus. In a complete inopportune time, we needed to make a pit stop at a gas station. We had a member in the car with us and it was... ya... but, we went in and Sister Baum had to use the bathroom, so while she went in, I was waiting looking at all the food and what not. This is one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had on the mission, so I share this hesitantly but I think its OK. So as I stood there, I felt a tap on my shoulder, when I turned around, no one was there, but my eyes immediately went to a Spanish mother and son that were on the other side of the gas station. I wasn't startled by the touch. It was a very calm and comforting feeling. I immediately went over and started to talk to them. It was very special and powerful. Sister Baum came out and we set up an appointment for the next day with them. Amalia was a little hesitant at first, but she accepted the invitation.
The appointment the next day was amazing. We shared the first lesson up to Christ's earthly ministry. She expressed her feelings about infant baptism and how she didn't agree with the Catholic beliefs on this topic. So, we invited her to read Moroni 8. She loved what we had to say as we explained about how infants are perfect and they have no need to be baptized. I didn't know what it was, but my words were fumbling in Spanish. I couldn't speak at all, but all I could think about was, bear testimony, bear testimony, so I did. I just opened my mouth and started bearing testimony, and it just came. It was amazing. I told her the experience I had with someone tapping my shoulder and that's why I went over and talked to them. She started to cry and so was I. She said she felt like she was talking to angels, and that she could feel something. When she came to church yesterday she said she felt the same warm feeling in the church building. We invited her and her son to be baptized on the 22nd of this month. They accepted and we are super excited!!! I love the Lord. I love this work. and I love lemonade!
It is my testimony that this is the Lord's work, and how great a privilege it is to be an instrument in his hands, is my testimony, in the His name, Amen.
Hermana Vaughan Schultz