Hola mis amigos!
So, this week has been crazy, full of stress but also the Tender Mercies of the Lord. Just saying, God is good.
So, Monday! We had our Zone Activity! We started off playing Angry Birds and practiced our hand at destroying cardboard boxes with nothing but brute strength and some random balls from the church. After that we improvised with some other balls we found and played Four Square! Sister Anderson, my Sister Training Leader companion, and I prepared dinner and then joined in later but it was still a blast! We ended the games with something I hadn't played since being at school last year, signs! I had forgotten how much fun that game was, but it really brought us together as a Zone!
After the games we had dinner and then broke into a Zone Training Meeting. I think it went super well, as we had to discuss a lot of changes that the Mission is going through right now. We basically talked about the change in our focus with Obedience and moving back to the White Handbook and how we have to take ourselves out of our box of exact obedience and focus on consecrated obedience. It was a really good discussion and everyone was in tune with the Spirit.
Tuesday was pretty calm, we rode bikes everywhere in an effort to make up for lost miles.. I accidentally stole the keys when we went to Tampa and left Sister Greenberg stranded, so we had to make an extra trip that has been hard to make up... Wednesday also was not too stressful, until we got home and realized that we had no where to go on Thanksgiving. Everyone basically assumed we were taken care of and no one offered to have us over, which is crazy seeing as it is one of the ONLY days of the year when the members here get to feed us.. Well, the Elders that we share a building with found out and called the Stake President and just like that,
Thursday we found ourselves at the Stake Presidents table for lunch. WOW. It was absolutely crazy from this day forward. We went and ate and talked and invited the Hales to come to the baptism that we would be having that Saturday. They had heard the Elders were holding a service, but didn't know that two people would be getting baptized. The Hales put it on their calendar, we thanked the Baileys for having us, and we headed back home to finish weekly planning. We were enjoying Moms pumpkin chocolate chip cookies(heaven sent!!) when we got a call from our Branch Mission Leader about correlation. He said, "just come over to eat with us at 7! See you then!!" I hung up the phone in shock, because we went from 0 to 2 in the space of 3 hours, none of which we had planned for, but Hno Herrera happens to have a soon to be son in law that is taking the discussions from us, so we headed over at 7! It was absolutely amazing to feel the spirit in both of these members homes. English or Spanish, the spirit is the same. The food may be different, the circumstances could be no further apart, but they both were grateful for what they had, and there was a special spirit of being home that day. We invited Angel to come to Jose's baptism and he said that he had been wanting to and promised us he would be there. Our stomachs were full that day, but not as full as our hearts were of gratitude.
Friday morning I woke up and was going through Moms package again and saw the things to make turkeys. It was like a lightbulb turned on in my brain because I remembered that Hna Vazquez had told us no one would be making center pieces for the tables at the Activity we were supposed to have. So, while Sister Greenberg made our tinfoil and cardboard oven, I made turkeys. They were so cute and everyone was so happy! We went about our business that day, discussed last minute baptismal things with Jose, and went to the party! When we got there to set up, half the branch was already there helping! We added our turkeys to what Hna Vazquez had made and it all came together! There were a bunch of people that came too! Four members brought friends and the skits were awesome! Jose came and actually enjoyed everything, even though we had to translate from Spanish to ASL for him! It was a great night and I just felt like God was lifting the Branch up with love, everyone chipped in to help and it was awesome!
Saturday, the big day! We Road our bikes around and visited a couple referrals before heading over to the church to set up for Joses baptism. When we got there, we started helping the Elders, but realized the font wasn't being filled. We started filling it up, and we soon found out why Florida is the often thought to be a swamp...
the water was an interesting hue of yellowish green... we emptied it out and filled it again, to no avail. It looked even worse! We discussed options and were considering postponing it another week, or going to a member's pool. He lived a ways from the church, but they said it would be better than nothing, so we discussed it with the Ward Mission Leader. Well, as we were relaying the information, the Hales walked in. They said, "oh, we live just down the street from here, not even a mile, and we have a covered pool! We can do the baptism at our house!" So, we started with a prayer and song and then headed to the Hales family's house for the baptism!
Brother Weggeland was already in the pool with Gerry when we got there with out carpool, and soon enough Jose was in the water too. It was the most special moment, ever. Brother Weggeland had taken the time to learn the baptismal prayer in ASL and did it perfectly. Jose was baptized and afterwards he related that he felt free and light. Like he had truly been forgiven and started his life anew. It was amazing. After the baptism, I turned to Angel and felt promoted to share with him our idea to have a White Christmas this year. I invited him to be baptized on Christmas Day, and I tell you what, I have never seen a bigger grin on anyone's face before in my life! He felt the spirit witness to him that it was what God wanted, and we are setting out to help him accomplish it! The spirit was just so amazing. Please keep him in your prayers this December!
Sunday Jose was confirmed a member of the church and Amber translated his confirmation prayer. It was beautiful and the support of the Ward was amazing. The Lord just blessed us so much. After church, the Spanish Branch had another baptism for a young boy and the font worked fine. We still don't know what happened on Saturday, but I was so grateful that the Hales were at the Baileys and that we were invited to invite them to the baptism. I am so grateful that Angel got his answer at Joses baptism, and that we were invited to invite him to the baptism as well.
It was so amazing to see the Lord work through so many different people to bring about His work. I cannot express even the smallest part of the gratitude I feel. Having been able to learn how to communicate with the Spanish culture here is Florida and with Jose in ASL has truly been a blessing. I never would have imagined learning a new language, let alone two. It has been crazy. I love the Lord and His Tender Mercies!
If you haven't already, watch the new Christmas video this week!! It is absolutely amazing! I will be sending home pictures of what we do to share Christ's light this month and I hope to receive news from all of you as well! #LightTheWorld!