Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 54

This week has been amazing. We did so many different things! I think the most monumental of this week, though, has been the things I've learned the past few days. There is a quote from Adjusting to Missionary Life that says "Motivation follows action... Tell yourself "just do it for 10 minutes" when you need to start something you don't want to do. Once you get started, you will feel more motivated." It is so true! I have felt kind of slow to act this week, and because of that I have felt more unmotivated. So this week I am going to act more, even if sometimes I don't want to do it. I think that principle will apply for all aspects of my life, not just missionary work. What will you do to act this week?

I had some cool proselytizing experiences that I'd like to share:

On Monday we taught A, a youth that the Elders found, and we watched the 20 minute restoration video with him. He loved it! He related to Joseph Smith feeling confusion, and he said he will not give up searching for his answer. Brother K came with us and invited him to read all of Alma! That was a big commitment, but A accepted. We will stop by tonight, and hopefully we can talk with him for a little bit. I know that as he prays and reads the Book of Mormon, he will know that it is true!

On Thursday I met two General Authorities! Elder Foster and Elder Costa. They are so awesome. We had Zone Conference. It was very enlightening. We learned that the way we can make our mission the most successful is to help the mission develop to the point where missionary work is done mostly by the members, with the missionaries helping. I also learned that the way prayer works is that it is an act of faith which allows our Heavenly Father to bless us with answers and opportunities. My favorite quote Elder Foster said was "the greater the agency, the greater the growth." He was talking about leaders and their assignments, but I think it is so true! The more we have opportunities to choose, the more we grow.

Tampa Zone with general authorities

Meeting Elder and Sister Foster
Me and Sister Porter

At our Zone Conference lunch. Loved singing "Called to Serve" for our meal from the St Petersburg Stake Relief Society.

After the Zone Conference we went out with Abby, a youth in our ward, and we saw some cool miracles! We had planned to be in Lutz (pronounced loots), but while we were eating dinner, before Abby met up with us, we felt like we needed to change our plans. So we did, and as we followed our new plan we met some people that I had actually met earlier on in my mission! We followed up with them and invited them to act. I want to tell you about that.

WAY back in March Sister Hunt and I went on an exchange with Sister Morgan and Siser Judkins. Sister Judkins came up to Palm Harbor with me. We were street contacting in Holiday (one of our earlier convert's neighborhood) and we heard the ice cream man! Sister Judkins wanted ice cream, and she said we could try to teach the driver, so we went. We met W and S! They are a couple, and they drive the truck together. We talked to them for about 20 minutes, and gave them a Book of Mormon! They told us they'd read it. We also gave them our phone number on a bookmark so they could call us for more information. And we never heard from them again. (yes, we bought ice cream).

So on Thursday we were walking down the street and I saw them in their Ice Cream Truck again!! We went up and talked to them, and they told us they've been reading the Book of Mormon almost every night. How crazy is that? We gave them the restoration pamphlet and again invited them to call us. They said they go to that neighborhood frequently, though, so I'm excited to see them again!
Us with Abby
Making silly faces
On Saturday we taught our neighbor P. Well, she lives in our next-door building. She wanted a Bible, so we went and gave her both the Bible and the Book of Mormon and she said she would read them every day at noon. She wanted to strengthen her relationship with God, and we taught her that as she read His word, she would do that.

Things are going great out here in Odessa! The field really is white! It just took some time to find the field.

I hope you have a fantastic week this week! College is starting for a lot of you, and the rest of you are having new adventures every day. Let me know about them! I'd love to find out more about your lives!

With love,
Sister Minson

Me and Sister Gafa. She's the best!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 53

The work is good! We got the elder's area book on Tuesday, and there are SO many people in it. Wow. They had a few dates set, and a TON of potential investigators. Some of them don't even have any information except for a name and an address. During weekly planning this week we planned every single one into our plans, so we are going to contact them and start clearing out the area book. Hopefully in the next few weeks we can cut it down so it's back to a manageable size. We set a few really awesome dates that I will tell you about!

This Friday I hit my 1 year as a missionary mark! I love being a missionary so much, and I am so grateful for these experiences I'm having. My 1 year celebration was pretty fun:) We proselyted like normal, and went to the Ward Talent Show! That was fun. We also set a date with a potential investigator earlier that day, and he came to the talent show!
Celebrating my 1 Year anniversary!
1 year as a missionary: Aug 19, 2016

We met some pretty cool people this week. We helped 4 different member families create family mission plans, which was awesome. And we also taught three less actives, and one recent convert! (the recent convert was R. We taught her and her dad at the bishop's house. He had us over for a dinner appointment yesterday). 

We met a awesome family on Wednesday. Well, we met the dad last week, but we met the mother and son this week. They are an older family, but they are so cool. We taught them a little bit and set baptismal dates with M and M! It is going to be awesome. We are meeting with them again this Wednesday.

On Friday, my 1 year mark, we met C. He made some bad decisions in his past and has been working hard for the past few years to fix everything. He told us he wants to be baptized and that he is excited to begin to progress towards that! He came to the ward talent show. I am excited to help him feel the atonement help him in his life.

That was basically my week! It was an awesome one.

I am so excited for this upcoming week. It's going to be so great!

With love,
Sister Minson

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 52

We had transfers this last week, and I am staying in Odessa! But, I received a new companion. You'll read about it below:

 So Monday we received the transfer email while we were grocery shopping. AHH!! That was probably an awful time to get the email, because it was SO hard for us to decide what to buy. Wow. We struggled. But we got it. Sister Hunt was transferring, and I was staying. We also learned that both of the elders were leaving, too! That meant I would be the only missionary in Odessa who was here from before. We started packing Sister Hunt's stuff. Yep.

 Tuesday we went to R's baptism! R is a 12 yr old that the elders taught, and she is so awesome. Her mom has a baptismal date set and her step-dad is learning about the gospel, too. Woohoo!

With R at her baptism with one of her friends.
 We found out right before the baptism that for transfers Sister Hunt was going to Tampa 2 with Sister Felt, and I was going to be receiving Sister Porter from Lithia. Yay! We went to Wendy's for Frosty's and a coordination meeting after the baptism so we could start learning about the people the elders were teaching.

Sis Hunt and I with the Bishop and his wife and the Elders in our area

Wednesday we finished the coordination with the elders of all of their investigators, since I would be taking over their teaching, and we went and taught one of them, D, that night. He is so awesome! He is praying to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet, and it is very important to him to know it. He is so sincere! It was a very spiritual lesson, and we talked a lot about the Holy Ghost and praying to know if what we teach him is true. It was a great lesson!

Thursday we had transfers. I met Sister Porter, and she is so awesome! We get along great. We unloaded Sister Porter's things at the apartment, had lunch, then weekly planned. That was crazy because we hadn't received the elder's teaching records for their investigators yet. (we still haven't. It should be coming through soon, though. Hopefully.) We had a GREAT gameday with some of the members at the church that night. (GAMEDAY is the mission's term for referral seeking time. Basically, we meet with members, pull them aside in church, and try to plant seeds, help them increase their missionary efforts, and build relationships with them so they are more likely to do missionary work.) So we talked with them and followed up with them. They are doing member missionary work! Woop Woop!

Saying goodbye to Sister Hunt on transfer day (I will miss her!)

My new companion, Sister Porter

Friday we taught 5 lessons, and learned a lot more about each other. I am having so much fun with Sister Porter. We met some cool people, but they are all still potentials. Saturday we taught O! Do you remember O? He is the greatest. (We called him on Tuesday to invite him to R's baptism. He couldn't go, but he said we could set up an appointment. So we set one up for Saturday.) We got to meet with him and his wife. They told us about the crazy summer they've had. His mom has had some severe health problems, and so they've been in and out of the hospital for her care. We prayed with them and talked about Christ's atonement. It was a very emotional lesson, but it was so cool! They said we could come back, which I'm so grateful for! It was such a miracle.

Sis Porter and I having ice cream for Friday Fun Night. It was fun:) (And it was Friday)

 We had a FANTASTIC gameday at the church on Sunday. We set up appointments with members, followed up with ward council members, and scheduled times we could have members come to lessons with us. I am so grateful for this ward's support and encouragement. Also, R was confirmed today, and there was an awesome member who just moved into the ward who gave a talk on the Holy Ghost, and he talked directly to her for a lot of the talk. It was so awesome! She is part of a good ward. We just had very positive experiences, which was nice. I am so pumped for this next week! It is going to be so great!

 With love,
Sister Minson

My favorite kind of flowers. Seriously, I love those.

A gorgeous sunset we saw last night while we were tracting!
pretty clouds! (Gosh, I love Florida skies)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Week 51

Here are the most important updates for the week:

 So I know you all are just begging to find out what happened in the appointment with D. Well I'll tell you: It was tough! D was asking many many questions but wasn't giving us the opportunity to answer them. And he targeted the member with the questions. He probably thought we brought the member for that reason, so the member felt obligated to answer all of the questions D asked him. We ended up needing to end the lesson so we could get home in time, so we had to interrupt everybody and end. It was just kind of stressful. I hope one day D is ready to learn more about the gospel and accept it in his heart.

We had Zone Training Meeting on Tuesday and were challenged to go through our area books and look for people who are ready to be baptized this month. Sister Hunt and I went through them and we found 9 people who we felt inspired to work with! It is great to have this direction. We'll let you know what happens as we work with them.

Pictures from Zone Training:

Role playing

A serious picture

A silly picture :) I love my zone.

Sister Hunt's 6 month mark was on Wednesday! you know what's crazy? We've celebrated MY 6 month mark, and then HER 6 month mark, nearly 6 months later. Crazy! I've never had a companion as long as Sister Hunt, and probably won't again.

Thursday- We taught a guy because of the new game Pokemon Go! Crazy! He was by the church, and we had just learned that missionary coordination was cancelled-- after we were at the church, so we went outside, and R was there! We taught him and invited him to learn more. Also, weekly planning was stressful. As always.  

Friday- Crazy things happened today. We taught a lady in Trinity on her porch while it was POURING outside. That was pretty fun. She isn't really interested at the moment, but it was a good lesson. We had dinner at Steak'n'Shake today. That was fun. Then we taught the Q's! They are so awesome. We went to an apartment complex and taught some REALLY awesome lessons. We met J, who told us he was looking for a church to go to, and that he would be there this Sunday! (He wasn't). We also met a couple who were sitting outside on their second-story balcony, eating dinner. I called out to them and asked if they wanted to pray with us. They said they did, and for us to come over in 15 minutes. We did, and taught them the restoration. They listened really intently and were genuine in their intent. We had to run home to get in on time.

 Saturday- The couple is are no longer interested in learning more because they feel like our religion doesn't coincide with the bible. That makes me sad. They wouldn't allow us to help them understand, either. Today we stopped by our family who said they would come to church and invited them to church again. They said they would definitely be there! (They weren't). The day was pretty good, though. There was a cloud blanket in the sky all day, but it didn't rain!

 Sunday- The Less Active family we've been working with came to church! But the investigators I told you about didn't. Maybe they will this week. Also,we found a new investigator. I hope he will keep his return appointment and want to learn more. And now for the best story of all: This morning we went to the gym to exercise. Afterwards, we came back outside to go to our apartment and it was POURING! We had no where to go but through it, though. So we did. We walked in the pouring rain back to our apartment. Sister Hunt called it a pre-shower rinse. Well, it was definitely a COLD pre-shower rinse. Yikes. That's Florida for you. Transfers are happening this week. I'm excited to find out what is happening! I hope you have a fantabulous week!

Drenched from the rain!
With love,
Sister Minson

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 50

 This week was such a whirlwind, but SO awesome.
Before I start with this week, the week before last we had the biggest storm I've been in. We took shelter at the safe haven, which is the church building. While we were there, in a 10 minute span lightening hit the building at least 8 times. We were safe, but the power was out.  If it gets REALLY severe, they will evacuate missionaries to the mission office, and if it's like a Category 5 hurricane or something, they'll evacuate the mission. Probably to Orlando or something. So we're safe:)

Monday we met D. I don't know if I told you about him last week. He has SO many questions and is so eager to learn. BUT he told us he's not looking to be converted. We'll see how our appointment with him tonight goes. I hope he will see the value of this message and the impact it can have on his life.

Tuesday was Temple day! We got up at 4 in the morning and made it to the temple by around 7 or so. The temple was AWESOME. Oh my gosh. I miss it so badly. I want to go back! It was just so awesome. Afterwards we ate lunch at Panera's, and then drove back to the mission office. 

Temple selfies! With Sister Briggs (my MTC companion) and Sister Hunt

We drove past DisneyWorld!

We taught an awkward lesson that evening, where the couple was nice and listened but they weren't really interested, so it was weird to try to commit them to attend church and pray for themselves. They didn't really have the real intent.

Thursday was my birthday! We weekly planned and opened some gifts from family and friends. We opened presents and ate a slice of cake of a recipe that my mom sent me. That cake was so yummy!! After that, we went and painted a woman's wall for her, because she was moving. That was really fun. We came back to the apartment to change, then went out for the rest of the day. We saw D again and reminded him to read the pamphlets before we came back, and he said he definitely would. When we came in that night, I opened some more birthday packages. And that was the day I turned 20!
My birthday breakfast, birthday balloons, new watches, and birthday cake!

In the car ON my birthday 7/28. The clock time is showing 7:28!

The watches Sister Hunt's mom picked out for me!

Friday was a little stressful... We taught CJ and E, which was a REALLY stressful lesson because E was open, but CJ wasn't at all. He was very closed off but he wanted answers to his questions. It was cool, though, because even though there were times I didn't feel the spirit in that lesson, I definitely felt it when I testified of the Book of Mormon and the gospel. We invited them to read Alma 32 to understand what faith actually is and how to grow it, and then to call us when they were ready to learn more. We also set a baptismal date with the mom in that family that has met all of the missionaries in Odessa, but we haven't been able to meet with her again. it's slow going!

Saturday we went to Oldsmar and bought and ate boiled peanuts.

BOILED PEANUTS!! They were really weird. But I like them.
Sunday we met a family who are actually looking for a church and committed, with no hesitation, to come to church next week. We asked if there was anything that would keep them from coming, and they said "No!" I'm excited to see them there. We also found a new investigator! It was an awesome day! Oh, we also got caught in a HUGE rain and thunderstorm, BUT we were safe inside that family's house. Blessings!

That was my week! It was a great one. Hope you all have a great one, too!

With love,
Sister Minson