Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Week 41

Memorial Day = No emailing... Because the libraries are all closed. So we got permission to email today! :)

This past week was pretty great.  We worked really hard and saw much success. 
As far as getting to know the people in our ward, I have learned the value of actually asking people questions to get to know them. When they feel like we have interest in their lives and want to help them with their missionary work, the members open up and are more willing to keep commitments. We got to know 2 members really well on Sunday and we found out that both of them actually have children who are less active, and we are helping one of them work on inviting their son's non-member fiance to meet with us! It was a pretty cool experience. I'm hoping that as we work more on that, we will be able to gain more solid referrals and help "Golden" Investigators come into the church.
I had a few highlights, but the best day was Saturday because we went on exchanges! I went with Sister Sutton, who's actually from Queen Creek, too! That was pretty cool. We spent some time talking about all of our mutual friends. There were a lot of them! I learned a lot from Sister Sutton about how to better do member-missionary work. I am really excited to apply what I'm learning and work more diligently with the members to generate teaching opportunities!

Yesterday (P-Day) we went through our emergency packs and made a list of the foods and items we'd need in case of a hurricane. Hurricane season is June 1 to Nov 30. We got a huge long document explaining what to do in case of a hurricane, and all that. So even if a hurricane comes, at least we'll be prepared! It was fun. We made cookies. Also, because we couldn't email yesterday, we went to the church and played music, sang songs, etc. It was really fun! I enjoyed it.

That's about all we did this week, besides the normal teaching repentance and baptizing converts!

I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and I am so grateful that he had the faith to ask God what church was true. Without that, we wouldn't have the blessings of temples and eternal families.

Have a good week everyone!

Happy Memorial Day!

With love,
Sister Minson

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 40

It was a week of MIRACLES!  I absolutely love serving a mission. I love it. With all of my heart. I love being here, and I love serving God.

So many miracles happened this week, but I'll try to summarize them. First off, last Thursday was my Hump Day! I hit my 9 month mark. I am halfway through my mission!  We weekly planned, and then went out and worked as hard as we could! The most significant thing that happened that day was that we helped a woman we were teaching to receive a priesthood blessing for some health challenges she's been facing. She felt the spirit and the blessing told her some things she needs to do to be healthy, so we are going to help her with those things.
 Here are pictures of me that day! We went to Chili's for dinner, and then ate hot pudding and pumpkin cookies when we got in that night. Also, Sister Hunt did my hair so it was curly again. :D

We are teaching S, who we met while we were street contacting on Wednesday. He really enjoyed having a discussion and comparing beliefs, and asking us lots of questions about things like what we believe about the rapture, the tribulation, etc. We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to read it. We stopped by his house on Saturday, and this time, he was a lot more receptive and willing to listen. We were able to teach him the Restoration, read some scriptures from the Book of Mormon, and invite him again to read and pray about it. It was pretty unlike any other restoration I've ever taught though. He had a pretty high understanding of Christianity and the gospel, so we were able to explain more in detail about dispensations, apostasy, the Priesthood, and how Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet. He said he is more interested in reading the Book of Mormon now, and he would definitely pray about it. It was so awesome!! We were able to help him overcome misconceptions and build a solid understanding of the restoration.

We also met some more men, A, L, and C, who all said that we could come back and teach them and their families, so hopefully that will develop into progressing families. L seems really solid; he and his family just moved here recently, and he seemed really receptive to the restoration. A is reading the Book of Mormon right now, and said he would like for us to come and teach his family. And C is of the Hindu religion! That was a super cool experience because we got to explain the basis of Christianity. It was a new lesson to me because I had to teach someone who the Holy Ghost was. That doesn't happen very often in Florida. We also got to teach him about baptism. I'm not sure how much he understood, but he accepted a return appointment! When we go back this week, we are going to focus on the similarities of our religions and then help him progress further than that, very slowly. I'm excited to help these families learn about the gospel!

Alrighty, now for the week. We found in some new areas this week, places that are further south in our area, and we found some really cool and receptive neighborhoods! We taught some really interesting people, but the best ones I explained above. On Friday we taught a less active family, and they said they would like to go to the Gladys Knight performance, which happened on Saturday. They then came to church the next day! That was really cool.

The Gladys Knight performance was awesome. It was unlike anything I've ever seen happen in a chapel before. There was clapping and cheering and "hallelujah"s and "amen"s, and I loved it. You could feel the spirit so strongly, and I know its because this choir and the audience was praising Jesus with all their hearts. The choir sang some pretty multi-cultural songs, and they were so beautiful. There was one that sang a Hawaiian song, another that did a Latino/Hispanic song (not sure which. it was that general style of music, though.) There also was a lot of baptist-style music, and I loved it! The spirit was there, and I knew that the people there could feel it too.
We had lots of other adventures this past week:
We discovered a jungle in the middle of our area!

It was SUPER cloudy one day, but we didn't get rained on once, which was a miracle.

Us in a field close to our apartment complex!
It was such a good week! Hope you all have a great week, too! :)

With love,
Sister Minson

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 39!! (Halfway mark!)

We had the BIGGEST Miracle this week! D.

D was out working in her yard this past Saturday. She was out pulling weeds when we saw her, and we went up and started talking to her. Long story short, we taught her the restoration and she said she wanted to come to church! The next day, we called her to remind her, and she came! She came to Sacrament and Sunday School, and she loved it. She said she wanted to come next week and she wanted to meet with us once this week too. I love her so much, and I know that this gospel can help her. I am so excited to help her learn and live the gospel. 

This week was really good! We had a Zone Conference this Wednesday, and we were able to learn more about our purpose as missionaries, which is to Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts. It was a great training, and I felt so inspired after we left! Afterward we worked super hard and taught 9 lessons that day! That was pretty cool. We followed the spirit and did our best to apply what we learned, and we saw the miracles of it!

I love being a missionary. I am so grateful for the time I have to serve God, even though I can't believe I'm already halfway through my mission. I love Florida and I love the people here. I know that this gospel is true and it changes lives. I have seen it change mine, and I have seen it change others. I know that we can one day live with God and our families in Heaven again, forever, and I am looking forward to that day! 

Have a good week everyone!

With love,
Sister Minson
Tampa Zone Conference!

Car inspections!

The sun shined on me and I got a burn (Forgot sunscreen!)
Gorgeous sunset
Moon in the corner

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 38

Hi everyone! I hope you had a happy mothers day. I know mine was great! I got to talk to my family, and share with them some of the experiences I am having on my mission!

This week was pretty good. The first few days were basically normal. We had an awesome district meeting on Tuesday, and I felt the spirit a lot. We talked about how to keep your eye single to the glory of God. I studied a lot about that this week and focused on what I could do to better be focused on my mission. I don't want to look back and see wasted opportunities. I have found that the more I throw myself in the work, the happier I am (and the faster the time flies. Funny how that works). It was a really good district meeting.

I'd like to share a little of what I learned as I studied with you all, if that's alright:  Keeping your eye single to the glory of God means remaining focused even when things get tough, hard, or distracting.
A perfect example of this is Peter when he walked on water to Christ. In Matthew 14:25-31, it tells the story. Peter, as you can read, jumps out of the boat and walks on water to come to Christ. As soon as he looks away and sees the waves, however, he becomes afraid and begins to sink. He cries out to Christ, and immediately Christ saves him. He asks "wherefore didst thou doubt?" or in other words "Why did you look away from me, Peter? I will not fail you." When we focus on Christ and keep our eyes fixed on Him, He will not fail us. I know that to be true, and I've strengthened my testimony of that as I've served my mission.

We also went and made chocolate covered strawberries with the young women. One of the young women invited a friend who's a nonmember, and she came! We also got to strengthen our relationships with the young women, which was awesome. They are awesome girls. 

I love you all! Hope you have a good week!

With love,
Sister Minson

Our bikes that we won't get to ride much in Odessa because there are no sidewalks here.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 37

I am not a Star Wars fan. I am a missionary. But May the Fourth is just a fun little geek day... it will be in 2 days, and guess what I'll be doing? Missionary work! It's the best kind of work there is.

I have some fun comments. First, Sister Hunt decided that my spirit animal is a cat. Then, a little while later, I made a few comments that apparently helped her decide that I'm not just any cat, I'm a Tim Burton cat. I'm not quite sure if it's right or not, but I enjoy cats, and Tim Burton movies are fun. I'll take it.

Also, Since I've been here for 8 months, I've noticed that there are quite a lot of "NO FISHING" signs basically all over the place. And since I've been here, I've learned why. I saw 10 people fishing in random bodies of water yesterday. YESTERDAY. There were 2 kids riding their bikes, holding fishing poles. A man was fishing in a little lake by his neighborhood, and I saw some people fishing in the big drainage gutters/canals by the side of the road. People in Florida? They love them some fishin'.

Update on Zone Development Day last Monday: We played Volleyball (I think I like playing volleyball. I wish I did it in High School. If only I knew then that I like athletic things.) I now have mostly gotten the hang of serving and things. Of course, I'm not ready to go professional, but hey. I'm a missionary.  We also played Book of Mormon Charades (I got to be Alma in the story of Alma and Amulek. It was pretty fun!), and then we played missionary tag. And we were actually missionaries! That is a rare opportunity. We ate pizza, got to play the piano and sing too. We had a little jam session before District meeting. It was fun!
At Zone Development Day. I'm in the back!
Oh Tuesday. Tuesday we ate Venezuelan food! Oh my gosh it was delicious. They made us something really yummy called Arepas, which are kind of like the Venezuelan version of paninis. They also fed us a really delicious custard, like flan, but better! It was called Quesillo. Oh my goodness. It was pretty yummy. We taught the people who fed us Venezuelan food about the Book of Mormon. We also met some cool Part-Member families. 

Wednesday we had interviews with President Cusick, and we had a pretty awesome rain-storm! I like Florida. Thursday we got to teach N, one of the youth's friends. She is so cool! We read the Book of Mormon with her. We had missionary correlation of Friday, where we talked about our ward mission plan, and we also tracted in a neighborhood called ''Boulevard of the Roses". Almost every street is titled something that is related to Roses. I think it's funny.

This weekend was great, too! We met some really cool people and were able to invite lots of people to come closer to Christ.

It was hot this week, but that is alright. I still love being a missionary, even if I am a sweaty one. Florida is gorgeous! I said that last time but every week I take more pictures and every week I think it's so pretty again!

Hope you all have a great week!

With love,
Sister Minson