Friday, November 30, 2012

Letter #10

Well, it's the holiday season again! You probably wouldn't guess that from looking at the weather, though. It definitely has been cooling off but some days are still pretty warm. The nights have gotten a lot cooler...kind of the equivalent of Utah in September/early October.

Anyways, I had a FABULOUS Thanksgiving! It was so much fun.
First off, watch this Mormon message...

You know the "jerk boyfriend" that she talks about? So this week I ate Thanksgiving dinner at his house. Niiice, right?! Haha. He said that's not quite how the breakup went....but eh. Whatever makes a good story, right? ;)

Seriously, though, we had so much fun with him and his wife, Brother & Sister Grant. They're in their 30s and they have the cutest little daughter on the planet. Sis. Spjut & I went early to help do some cooking and it was just so much fun to relax and chat and just spend time with them. The 2 elders in our ward also came over for dinner and we all just had a grand time. We ended up being there almost all day....whoops....but it was seriously the greatest day ever! Plus, Sister Grant is basically the epitome of who I want to be when I grow up. She even lived in New York City! (I may or may not still entertain the dream of living in an apartment in New York City with a cat) So it was a great day with good food & good company. They sent us home with a whole lot of leftovers, too. Don't worry Mom, people are taking good care of me out here. :)

Another cool thing this week was that I had the opportunity to leave two blessings on people's homes in Spanish. We knocked into a couple families that didn't speak English and so I was able to bless them in Spanish! And I guess I'm not totally incompetent because afterwards, both times they said, "Oh, you speak Spanish!" Well, I wouldn't say I can actually speak Spanish, but I am trying. It was cool, even though I was super nervous and I'm pretty sure I butchered some sentences here and there. One of the women I blessed was Guatemalan and she was such a sweetheart. All of the Guatemalans I've met here have been really awesome. Austin is getting sent to a land full of wonderful people!

Okay, but the REAL miracle this week.....
.....was Bryce and Belle and their baptism yesterday!
Yes yes, I haven't written about Bryce and Belle yet...and that's because we only met them 8 days ago.
So the short version of the story is that we had a baptism in 7 days. Awesome!!

So last Sunday, this older couple just showed up at church. They weren't members but they said they'd had lots of LDS friends before and felt inspired to come to church that week. They actually ended up having a little miracle that Sunday...The focus of sacrament meeting & Sunday school was on family history, and during Sunday school we actually went to the family history library. Both Bryce and Belle are adopted, and during the class Bryce was actually able to find out who is birth father was! It was quite the little miracle, and it was really clear that they definitely were led to our church on that particular day. We talked with Belle a little bit after church and found out that she had read the Book of Mormon and even downloaded the audio version so that she could listen to it every night before she goes to bed. We set up an appointment to meet with them the next day...and holy cow, they are the most amazing people ever! They had definitely been prepared by the Lord. They are the reason we go out knocking doors every day...because we hope to find people like them!!! We talked to them and found out that they really feel like God has been leading them to the LDS church for a long time now. They already had a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, they have food storage, they told us they were looking for a church where they could pay tithing (who ARE these people?!?!?!), they understood the principle and importance of continuing revelation, and they felt like they had "found their church family" when they came to church on Sunday. They'd even started to cut back on cigarettes & coffee over the past few months because they just "felt like they should." They were definitely the prime example of "the elect", of those whom the Lord wants in His church. So, we asked them if they wanted to get baptized and they immediately accepted. We set the date for yesterday because we knew there was no reason to make them wait...they were totally ready and they really wanted to be baptized. We came out of that lesson on cloud 9! It seriously was the most amazing lesson of my mission. The spirit was so strong during the lesson and we came out of there just wanting to tell the whole world about how happy we were!
Luckily, the ward was really supportive and we had a great turnout for their baptism. We were a little bit nervous about how the ward would respond to a 7-day baptism...the truth is, most members of the Church hold onto the belief that missionary work needs to be long and drawn-out and that people need to be taught forever before their baptisms. But luckily the ward was totally on-board! Everyone who met Bryce & Belle couldn't deny that they were totally prepared. The truth is, when people are so ready...there's no reason to drag it out. We really didn't have to teach them anything besides the commandments. And ideally, I think that's how missionary work should be! We are just tools to bring the elect into the Lord's church.
And that's my miracle for the week! It was seriously amazing. Bryce & Belle are amazing. Satan worked so hard on them this week to try and stop them from getting baptized...there was all kinds of stuff that came up this week to distract them and keep the baptism from happening. But it did! And they were both so excited and so happy. Ah! It was incredible. Sister Spjut & I felt so blessed to know that the Lord trusted us enough to entrust Bryce & Belle to our care. We must be doing something right to be lucky enough to have them literally just fall into our laps.

Well, that's the news from Port St. Lucie this week! It was a great week. I can't believe this is the last week of the transfer...! In a week and a half I'll have a new companion & Sis. Spjut will be on her way back to Ohio...! And Austin will be headed out on his mission....ahhhhh! Crazy.

Love you all,
Sister Dougal

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