Monday, December 20, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Hola! solomente yo tengo algunos dias mas aqui... estoy triste por eso... pero, yo se que todo va estar bien... estoy contenta con mi mision... yo he estado aqui por casi 18 meses... holy cow!!!

It has been one roller coaster of a week for me, the highest of highest of highs, and, well, not really lows, but just sad to say good bye... I will have been here for 9 months in Fort Myers. It feels like home. We had dinner at the Roman’s house last night, (ward mission leader) and I have gotten so close with them. I literally feel like I am a part of their family. They are all younger than me, and I pick on them, they pick on me. It is fantastic.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! Caroling all over again like last year. I love it. We went as a ward last Sunday to a senior home. It was fantastic. I just feel sorry for every ones ears... :-) I have never been a good singer, but I do hope I have improved since I left. We sing every day multiple times. So we'll see.

I feel so blessed. The week before last we had the baptism of Arnaldo from Honduras. We found him during our morning exercises and this last weekend we had three, Adela from Honduras, she is a little old grandma of a member family in Bonita. Also Mambert from Cuba. He is the genius that we found while putting up English class fliers, and Pedro from the Dominican Republic. We found him at 7/11 while we were stopping to use the bathroom!!! Woo hoo! I love gas stations! ;-) We have one more baptism next week right before I come home and many more planned in the next month. It is going to be hard not being here.

Something about the baptism this last weekend is that Satan knew how important it was! They are very special people that will be stalwarts in the gospel, and through the night he was working on the pipes in the church. The font would normally take an hour and a half to fill, but that changed to a good 3 and a half and it was cold water. Even though the baptisms were 2 hours late it was still an amazing experience.

It is amazing to witness baptisms, especially for those people that you have found, but what brings much greater joy is seeing them grow in the Gospel. Heriberto from St. Pete is preparing to enter the temple soon and an inactive family that I have worked with a lot will be sealed in the next year and are coming to church nearly every week. No hay palabras! William just received the priesthood, Arnaldo and Mambert will receive it soon. That is what makes it hard to leave.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Feliz Navidad!

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

Monday, December 6, 2010

Less Than Three Weeks Remain

Well, it has been an amazing week! One of trials and Joys, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Trial, well, apparently I am VERY allergic to bees... I haven't been stung since I was maybe 8 years old. Well it took one little bee while we were teaching Cruz (my grandpa from Mexico that will be baptized on Christmas Eve) and next I was in the hospital. Now I get the joy of carrying an epi pen with me everywhere I go. Fun stuff!

Joy! We had 8 investigators at church on Sunday and they all have dates set before I come home! Isn’t that FANTASTIC! People we have been working with for a long time now as they have had to overcome some very hard and rough obstacles in their lives.

Joy! Well, I get to work on a car Thursday of one of our investigators and a recent convert.

I do not know where to even start as we have been so blessed in these last weeks. So many miracles happen with the people we are teaching that it is so hard to include it all. I would like to share a little bit more about Mambert. This man is very, very special to me. I have no doubt that before this life we promised each other that we would find each other. Who knew it would be in a little Spanish Tienda putting up English language class fliers. I can't remember how much I have told you about hum, but I will give a quick summary.

He is a black Cuban man, 59 years old, and just a bundle of joy. When I approached him in the store to "contact" him he said, "Yes, I will go to your church if you can find me a job." A little sarcastic needless to say, but I just felt so impressed that I needed to testify that if he did learn from us he would find more joy in his life than any work could ever bring him. I also felt impressed that we should have a prayer with him. As awkward as it was, we followed that prompting (he was sitting in a stool at the front counter). In the prayer I felt prompted that I could promise him that he would find work. Well, one week later, we had a tour set up for the church, but it ended up falling through, but as we approached the church, outside of the locked gate was standing Mambert and our fellowshipper, so we taught him. With a huge smile he just said, "I am here to give thanks. I didn't just get one job, I got TWO! You are my angels!"

As we were sitting in the chapel and started to teach him the restoration, he got a phone call... he answered it, and he got a third job right there! He started to weep and put his head in his hands. He quickly walked outside (he left to catch his breath). We were so full of love and joy and the spirit. We quickly got on our knees and offered a prayer of thanks. I can't describe the joy I felt, and to know that the promise that I felt inspired to give was fulfilled.

Well, it has been a battle ever since, but we are winning. He has been strongly addicted to cigarettes for 40 years. On the spot we asked him for his cigarettes and he gave them to us as he committed to be baptized. Oh it was so amazing! He has faulted a few times since and has smoked. When that happened he would try to avoid us, but we are stubborn sister missionaries that refuse to let Satan win, so we would chase after him. We have seen an amazing change in him.

The other evening I had the most spiritual experience I have ever had in my life. The spirit was so strong that I felt weak after and couldn't talk, not even to my companions to explain to them what happened. I will not share a lot of it, but I do want to share a few things just to let you know how amazing Mambert is. It was while he began to tell his life story. Mambert is hands down the smartest man I have ever met in my life. In 2 days he read the Book of Mormon. He is sooo brilliant. Since he has read it 4 more times and knows more of the chronological history than I do. He was before a professor of history and philosophy in Cuba, until he was forced to quit teaching because of the influence of Castro. Well, it began with a hard and long journey until he came to America. I cannot share a lot of what he shared, but this is the most special man that I have ever met in my life. I’m sorry, there are not words to express the love I feel for this man... he WILL change the world.

Sorry I do not have much more to write, but I would like to say thank you for the support I received from so many as I have spent this short time in Florida. It really does feel like such a short time. Like a dream or a blink of the eye, but I love you all so much.

Now, all I wonder is if I have really changed since I first put my tag on. I really hope I have started to become the person the Savior would have me be.

‘til we meet,

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz