Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Something super crazy happened this week that made me think of "That's So Raven." Remember the episode where Raven thinks her parents are going to get divorced so she dresses like a country singer and performs "Stay Together"? Well, what happened this week was sort of like that. Two elders in my zone were biking on Saturday night and somehow got separated. We found out about this at 9:28, when the zone leaders asked us to go out and check his house, the church, etc. We left and drove around checking all these places for him, then got out of our car at his house to look around and knock on the windows, just like totally normal people do. Apparently the elders leave their back door open, so we went inside and checked the garage for his bike and stuff. (This all felt so disobedient, but the zone leaders told us to.) We didn't find him, but we were asked to stay at the house to watch for him and to start calling the local hospitals. WHAT? So we did. By the time it was 11:10 I was sick to my stomach with worry and trying so hard not to fall asleep. I decided to pray and turned over to get on my knees when I saw a blinking red light. I could tell it was a bike light, so I basically just threw open the door of the car, leaped out onto the rocks with bare feet, and yelled "Elder Keith?" and heard back a faint "yes." I almost cried.
Because of who I am as a person I commenced to mother him. I made him sit down in our car, eat my granola bar, and drink a bottle of water. He told us he'd been separated from Elder Briggs at 7:45 and had been biking since then trying to get home. Now, why he didn't ask somebody to use their phone and call his companion I can't say (especially when he used the GPS on someone's phone!!), but I'm so grateful that he is okay. I should not have watched the Saratov Approach because I was certain he was locked in someone's cement basement (which is completely unrealistic because basements aren't a thing in Florida).
Other than that, we've been working with Matthew. He's grown so much since we started teaching him! He talked about stealing or smoking and just kept saying, "That's the old Matt." That is exactly what repentance is about! He's doing really well, but our ward is not supportive. They've already decided that he is just like these 2 other recent converts who are causing a lot of problems for the ward and they can't move on. *sigh* My mission is teaching me so much about what kind of member I want to be when I get home! Matt is a really special guy. He's preparing to be baptized on December 10th and is keeping all the commitments we leave him, so he's doing really well! Now if we can just get the ward on board we'll have something going here.
We've really struggled to find people to teach in this area but recently starting teaching Maritza and her 10 yr old son, Juan. Maritza has an aunt who is Mormon and told her to check out mormon.org. She requested a Bible and a Book of Mormon, so that's how we found her. They're Catholic right now, but not for long :) They're reading the Book of Mormon together and loving it! They weren't able to come to church yesterday because they had to go to baptism classes at their church, but we're meeting with them tonight to teach them. I'm pumped!
Wait-I forgot about Thanksgiving! How embarrassing. Every day is the same as a missionary, you know? Well, we were fed breakfast lunch and dinner and I have now been fed a Thanksgiving dinner four times this week. Haha I'm so glad the members like us and want to take care of us! We had actual dinner with the Tylers, who feed us every Sunday. They're the best family! Brother Tyler told me I should be a stand-up comedian yesterday, so obviously he's in my good graces. I made Grandma's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie and it was a huge hit. They said they haven't even touched the pie they bought at Costco because the ones we made were just too good. Go Grandma!
Anyway, I feel like I'm just rambling on. I love you all so much! If you haven't seen the new Christmas video, Light the World, go watch it IMMEDIATELY!
Monday, November 21, 2016
Well, I cut my hair. I've been thinking about it for a couple months so last Monday I just did it! I'm loving it so far, but it's really weird to have something different. It saves me about 10 seconds brushing my hair in the morning, so that's something haha.
In other news, WE FOUND MATTHEW! We called his house phone on Tuesday and were shocked when he picked up instead of his roommate. He told us that a car ran a stop sign and hit him on his bike. He woke up 4 days later in the hospital. Crazy right? He's been hit by two cars in the 3ish weeks I've been here! Because he was in the hospital for 6 days, he wasn't able to smoke! He is know 11 days smoke free and going strong! I am so proud of him! We're going to work slowly with him and help him really gain a strong testimony of this beautiful restored gospel. President Richardson always says we "preach repentance and baptize converts" and that is what we're striving to do!
We taught an egyptian guy named Nagy this week. Sister Peel yawned and he stuck his finger in her mouth!! Apparently they do that in Egypt to remind you to cover your mouth or a fly might swoop in. What a place! I could not stop laughing about it! We took a girl preparing for her mission with us, so we went in and sat on his floor. He moves a lot, so he doesn't carry around furniture anymore. It was a very...interesting lesson. He's a sweet guy though, and he said he'll come check out our church so that's good! Planting seeds all over the place here!
We started talking to this guy in front of his house, prayed with him, and invited him to be baptized. Well, he accepted and we were all pumped but then he started saying that he's received the Melchezidek priesthood and stopped going to church when he was 17. God led us right to a less active member that he needs us to rescue, how cool is that? And Brian lives right next to a member family, so I see an FHE in his future :)
We had Zone Conference and Interviews with President this week, so that was crazy! Sister Briem drove us to Hialeah and chilled with us while we were trained on working with members. I honestly never understood my responsibility as a member before my mission. Basically the Lord needs you. He puts people in your life who need your light! And missionary work doesn't have to be inviting someone to baptism. Inviting someone to watch a video, giving someone a card, inviting your neighbor to a ward activity, just being a good friend! All wonderful ways to be a missionary! I'm just so grateful for the light the restored gospel brings into my life and I absolutely love seeing that light being brought into other people's lives as well. The gospel is so cool! God is so good!
I love you all! I'm thankful for each and every one of you :)
Monday, November 14, 2016
Remember that time I was teaching an investigator named Spicy? Well, that all came flooding back to me this week when my Zone Leader handed me a habenero pepper to eat at zone training. You know how sometimes you think you know what something will be like? Well, I was wrong. My mouth/throat/lips burned so badly! I felt quite good about myself because all the elders were crying and I was just chillin. You know how I do haha. However, I probs won't be doing that again. Boys are dumb and if they offer you a pepper and you take it you are also dumb. Or brave-it depends on who you ask.
Matthew is currently AWOL. He was cutting down from 20 cigarettes a day to 1 a day, then we stopped by, testified super hard, and made a plan with him for how he would smoke 0 the next day. That was the last time we've seen him. We received a very cryptic call night where he told us he'd just gotten out of the hospital and he didn't want to talk about what happened. Sister Peel and I are doing our best to see him, and since missionaries are basically stalkers with name tags Matthew's roommate is getting a little weirded out. But frankly, Michael is super bizarre so we're just returning the favor. We will not give up!
There's a 13 year old recent convert in the Spanish ward whose family speaks English and she's deaf (I know-I can't explain it). It's a really bizarre situation because the elders would teach and the mom would translate for Dominique, but I don't think she really knows sign language...So since Sister Schmidt and I both sign, we got permission from President to go teach her! We biked over night and had such a good lesson with her! She's super sassy and literally bursting with personality :) I don't know how she got baptized, because most of what we taught her seemed like new information, but I do know that the Lord put Sister Schmidt and I in the same house again so we could be here for Dominique. During this whole thing, Sister Schmidt and I accidentally biked like a mile through the grass past where we were supposed to turn and had to back track. Let's just say I have a new appreciation for sidewalks after that little adventure :) It was so worth it to be able to go teach this sweet girl!
Here's a little tender mercy I saw this week. I'm totally focused, but I have been hoping that I'll hear One Direction when we're out shopping on P-day. Well, when I was in the midst of shopping for pants and hating all of them last Monday, I heard "What Makes You Beautiful" and "What a Feeling." Basically God knows His children and He literally blesses us so much. Something I'm learning is that no matter what it is, if it's important to me it's important to God.
The work is pretty slow in Vanderbilt Beach. We're working really hard to find new investigators and not really seeing success right now, but I know that God has a plan for me and for all of His children. Despite the struggles I face out here, I've never been happier than I am doing the Lord's work here in Florida.
I love you all!
Monday, November 7, 2016
As you are all aware, I've been transferred over to Vanderbilt Beach in Naples. It was really hard saying goodbye to my West Palm family, but the Lord has so much in store for me here! I'll miss James, Albert, and Austin so much! It's really hard leaving your recent converts in the hands of other missionaries!
Here's the deets on Sister Peel:
She's from Las Vegas and is super cute. She is 20 and speaks Portuguese. This is her last transfer on her mission and we both like pampering items (we have tons of lotion, hair products, etc. It's pretty great). She's not super sassy, but she does pull it out once in a while. She's really sweet and loves to joke around.
Vanderbilt is not ghetto. We live in the most ghetto area and it's pretty nice! I'm not even concerned about possible being stabbed. It's so beautiful and green! The best way to describe it is lush. It's exactly what I pictured the south would be like. We did get to drive through Alligator Alley to get here, though! I was way pumped but I was too tired to watch vigilantly for alligators for the whole two hour drive across the state. You know what's between the east coast and the west coast? Grass. And swampiness. I was super excited to go through the everglades anyway!
We have an investigator named Matthew that we're working with right now. He's trying to quit smoking and he broke his cigarettes when we were there, so fingers crossed he can be baptized on the 26th! The blessings of the gospel are so real. I love that my job is to share that with everyone!
I love you all!