Monday, December 28, 2015

Week 19

Christmas was last week, which was awesome. I loved it so much!  I really love being on a mission during Christmas. I felt the spirit so strongly. Also, it now feels weird to NOT talk about Christmas while we're talking to people.

I got to talk to my family on Christmas day, which was really nice. I had the opportunity to teach them the first message we share with everyone: the restoration.

I hope your Christmas was just as amazing as mine was! I know that service is so important in missionary work AND especially during Christmas time.
This week we went to a wedding at the church building. The wedding was nice, but they had assigned seating. We were going to leave because we wouldn't have the opportunity to talk to many people, but we felt like we should stay and help out in the kitchen. Turns out: They needed us badly. We were running back and forth filling up pitchers and making food. It was so much fun, and we feel like we made such a good impression on the people there. Most of them were non-members, and the father of the bride thanked us for coming and serving. He said that we were such good examples and we made great impressions on the family members there. I know we were there for a reason, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to plant good seeds in the hearts of their families.

I don't really have much else to say... So bye! Talk to y'all next week!
Christmas Morning
Reading Christmas stories!
Our Mission Christmas Devotional

Skyping with my family :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 18 {Merry Christmas!}

This past week was wonderful!
Our Mission Christmas party on the beach was last Tuesday!

Finding me is a little like playing "Where's Waldo?"

Fun on the beach!

Sand castle building

I have a lot of stories. I'll tell one, because it was hilarious and weird.

So on Saturday, we had a baptism for a little 8-year-old! It was awesome. After the baptism, we went down to Oldsmar, which is a town in the south-end of our area. We went to go see this Headquarter Referral. Why is it always the Headquarter referrals? She wasn't home. We tracted a little bit and while we were tracting, sister Tawzer talked about how she really needed new shoes. We said a prayer to know if we should stay or go, and we felt we should stay a little longer. So we went to this last building. We knocked on it, and then some lady opened the door, let us in, said she would come to church, and then she said, "do you need shoes? I have a warehouse full of shoes. Come with me, I'll give you some shoes." We weren't sure what to say, but we decided that since it was a teaching opportunity, and her daughters were going to meet us there, we could at least establish a good relationship with them. I mean, what were we going to do, say no? She probably would have never let us back if we said no.

So we went to her storage unit. And she opened it up, and I about died. There were stacks of shoe boxes. Stacks of them that went all the way to the ceiling. I got really excited for a little bit, but when she pulled out the first pair, my heart dropped to my toes. They were the ugliest pair of shoes I'd ever seen. AND. They were 6+ inches off the floor.

I don't know how people walk in heels, wedges, the like. Honestly. She pulled out box after box, insisting we take them. We finally just took a few boxes just cuz we coudln't say no, then we got out of there and went on to our next finding opportunity. It was a good experience because we got to meet her daughters, teach them a lesson, and set up a return appointment. But those shoes.

When we got home that night we pulled them out and tried them on again. Here are the fruits of our labors:

Yeah... I fell over. But who can blame me? They were gigantic! Anyway.

Please don't think when you read this that we go to people's storage units and get shoes. That is not at all what we do. We used this experience as a contacting opportunity to meet her daughters and teach them, as well as to establish a good relationship so we can teach them and they will trust us. As crazy of an experience as this was, it was good. It was important for us.

That's about all. Love you all! Merry Christmas!

Merry Missionaries!
We were tracting and some lady gave us cookies as a Christmas present!
Aiden's Baptism :)

With love,
Sister Minson

Friday, December 18, 2015

Pictures from November and early December

Sorry for the delay, these took a while to send.

Me, standing on the Sponge docks

AT Mission  Leadership council, Sis T and my toes in the sand

Sis T and I at Leadership Council at the beach. It was such a good day!

Me and A, a young boy we are teaching

A with the missionaries

Thanksgiving Day at a member's house. This is a giant dollhouse in their backyard.

Sis T and I
Cotton sent to me by my brother :)  Just for fun

At Hellas Bakery, a Greek place, chowing down on a strawberry dessert

The Sponge Docks

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 17

This week was amazing! There were 3-4 Christmas parties this week, so we did A LOT of driving. We also went to MLC, which is a Missionary Leadership Council. It was awesome to counsel together with President Cusick and other missionary leaders about how to help the mission improve.

Mission Leadership Council on Friday:

We had a busy week, and a lot happened. I'll try to recount it as quickly as possible.  I don't understand how time can fly so quickly.

On Monday, we did our daily stuff, and the time flew. At the end, we had no time to write letters! It was crazy. We went to an apartment complex in Holiday. We had prayed about it and felt prompted to go there. We knocked on 2 doors in that complex, and at both of them we taught the Restoration. One of them was an amazing family! They invited us inside when we knocked, and we went in and shared a message. The woman's name was J, and her husband G is a paraplegic. He is paralyzed. He and J were both so interested! I felt so much love for both of them. It was honestly kind of strange to have so much love for people I'd just met, but it's true. I love them so much. They are such an amazing family and they have such strong faith. We then went and taught A, an 8 year old who's going to get baptized this saturday. His grandma is W, who was baptized last month! They are going through a really difficult time right now, and any prayers would be much appreciated.

Tuesday we had district meting, and then we followed the spirit and went to a new city in our area. It's called Oldsmar, and we contacted some headquarter referrals AND set a date with a teenager. His name is Q and he is super cool. We then went to a lesson with a less-active, who's name is N. She is 16 years old, and we found her while tracting a couple of weeks ago. How crazy is that?! She had moved here from Connecticut and she didn't know there was an LDS church here. She's such a cute girl.

On Wednesday we had a youth come out with us. Her name is C, and she is awesome!! She helped us teach so many lessons. A had his baptismal interview, and he was so concerned about it. But he did fine. We then went to go contact a referral. This was an amazing miracle. So we parked the car and were walking down the street to go to this headquarter referral's house. We saw a lady on the street with her daughter, and we stopped and talked with her. She was very interested in our message, so we set a return appointment, got her address and phone number, and continued down the street. We pulled out the referral again to see what the address was, and it was the same address as the one the lady gave us. The amazing thing was that she had a different name! But it was the same address. What an amazing miracle.

On Thursday we went to Tarpon Springs to find some part member families. We went to this one, and he wasn't interested in coming back to church. In fact, he told us that he had asked the church not to contact him. But we asked him if he knew of anyone that could use a prayer. He said no at first, but we asked him again a little later and he said "Yeah, my sister. She lives down the street from me." So we went to go see her, and she needed a prayer. We prayed with her and taught her the gospel. She was so prepared to receive us, and I know we helped her feel the spirit. We set a return appointment with her. I am so excited to go see her again! After we finished in Tarpon Springs, we drove back to our apartment complex for dinner. There was an apartment christmas party, so we stayed there for a little bit to find some investigators. It didn't work out, but we then went to the Relief Society Christmas Party, where they served us dinner and we got to spend time with the sisters! That was a productive time as well. 

Friday was a good day. We had MLC, then we went and did missionary work! Like every day:) 

Saturday We taught 7 lessons in one day. I feel like it was really productive and we worked hard. We also had the ward Christmas Party, in which we set up appointments with members and got referrals.

Sunday we were at the church for 9 1/2 hours. We got there at 10:30 for missionary correlation and we didn't leave until 8pm that night. There was a Christmas choir concert at the church at 6, and we taught lessons there, and it was a great day. The Christmas choir concert reminded me of ones I used to go to for school. It brought back so many memories! 

It was an amazing week. I love missionary work!
Sister Minson
My name-tag in the sand.
Decorating for Christmas
Leadership Council a few weeks ago at the beach. That was a fun day!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 16

D and Mgot baptized on Saturday! We had another baptism too, a guy named R, who got baptized into the Hudson Ward. But we taught him for about 2-3 weeks before it, so we went to the baptism. It was awesome! D and M were a headquarter referral from their daughter. She was a convert and she told her missionaries to send in a referral for our area. We got the referral, and we went and found them. I firmly believe that D and M were two people who I needed to meet and teach. They are amazing.

D and M: I LOVE LOVE LOVE them so much!!

This picture is of the baptism of R. He was being taught by Sister Brown (Who was matching me in the picture) but when she left the area a few weeks ago, we taught him until he was baptized. So we got to go to his baptism as well.

My new companion Sister Handley is so sweet! She is from a little town in Utah.  It is a little weird to be in a trio because its harder to teach lessons. I feel like we don't get to talk as much because we have to make sure everyone gets to speak and teach. Sister T and I are still Sister Training Leaders though.

I'll give you a brief overview of last week:

I was sick last week, and I was just getting over it on Tuesday. Basically, I just had a head cold. I'm all better now. Sister T has been sick too, so we let her sleep during studies, and Sister H and I did companionship studies and weekly planning by ourselves. It was pretty good! I liked having the opportunity to be the senior companion, so to speak.

On Wednesday, we trained at Zone Conference! It was so cool. We got to stand up in front of two zones and teach about first impressions. I was really nervous for it, but apparently we did a good job. I am also training at District Meeting tomorrow!

We taught 5 lessons on Friday and also set 2 new baptismal dates. Then we went home and let Sister T sleep all night. Miraculously, almost all of our appointments that evening cancelled on us, so we were able to let her rest. I believe God had a hand in that. I got my Christmas package from Mom on Friday! We also met D and M's daughter.

On Saturday,  D, M, and R got baptized. On Sunday, they got confirmed at church. That was amazing! Then we went and taught lessons, tracted, and then watched the Christmas Devotional.
 It was a pretty good week. I feel like it was really crazy, especially because poor Sister T couldn't really work or function too well.   I did not take any pictures of me opening the package. BUT I loved it!!! I have all the presents under the tree, and all of the decorations are up. Thank you so much for my little box of Christmas.

With love,
Sister Minson

Taken at St. Petersburg District meeting about 2 weeks ago:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 15

Transfers were Wednesday!
New trio: Sister Minson, Sister Handley, Sister Tawzer

Hello! I am doing really well. This week was super fun. We picked up Sister Handley on Wednesday and then went to Wendy's house for a Thanksgiving Dinner. That was super fun. Then on Thursday we had 2 thanksgiving dinners... Then on Saturday we had another Thanksgiving dinner, at an investigator's house who is getting baptized into the Hudson Ward. It was A LOT of food!

D and M haven't been baptized yet. They pushed their date back a week because of thanksgiving, so they are getting baptized this Saturday. They quit coffee on Friday! I am proud of them. They are
doing so great!

I love the new church video A Savior is Born. We are definitely using it! Isn't it so great? I've seen
it like 20 times and I still get the chills when I watch it. My favorite part is when the African kid says "Emmanuel." You can tell it means a lot to him. 

With love,
Sister Minson

The dock at Lake Tarpon. Complete with swings.

Me on one of those swings, scary over the water!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 14

The transfers email came out yesterday!  Sister Tawzer and I are staying in Palm Harbor, Sister Brown is transferring, and Sister Tawzer is going to be training a new missionary! That means we are going to be in a trio. It will be an exciting new adventure, that's for sure! So you'll see pictures of me
on Facebook on Wednesday.
There's this store called Publix that is AMAZING. It is like a Walmart, but its so much better. The workers are friendlier, and the food is great. We bought pumpkin pie there. I am never buying a
store-bought pie from anywhere else other than Publix ever again. Every time I take a bite, it's like Thanksgiving in my mouth. Mmmmm. It is amazing.

This week was AMAZING! We taught 49 lessons. That's right, 49. Do you want to know why? Because The Metro Training Center is phenomenal. We went to metro Tuesday after District Meeting. When we got there, we had a 4-5 hour long training where we practiced teaching situations,
we discussed companionship unity, and we did role-plays. I loved it! I really learned the value of teaching when you find, which is a principle that should be applied in missionary work. We ate dinner, had some more training, then we went to the sister's apartment where they went over the dress and grooming standards and health. We got ready for bed, and went to sleep.

Want to know the best part? I stayed in Sister Dalley's apartment! So when she got there I got to see her. It was awesome. I didn't realize how much I missed her. We talked for a little bit and I told her about Wendy's baptism, and also about Debbie and Matt. Sister Dalley is doing great.

The next morning we exercised, got ready, and went back to the church to continue training. We talked for about an hour, then we went on the USF (University of South Florida) and we taught lessons! We taught 15 lessons in one hour. I really learned from that experience. I learned that  it is so easy to contact people and teach them. So we applied that in our area when we got back! After that, we ate lunch at Panda Express, then we drove back to our area. And look what happened.
This past week we taught 49 lessons. The most I've ever taught before in one week is 24. It just shows that applying principles in Preach My Gospel really works!

Have a great week!

With love,
Sister Minson

In the van on the way to Metro!
At Metro two day training.

Storm blowing in, uh-oh, no umbrella!
Sister Brown and I in the rain!  Umbrella's this time!

Seeing Debbie at Steak and Shake.

Decorating the Christmas tree!