My week has been wild. Seriously, every single day of this transfer has had something crazy happen. Sister Holyan said, "Sister Johnson and I never had such crazy things happen together!" In Mom's email, she wrote that she wasn't too worried to hear my stories from the ghetto and she said "I have to trust you following the Spirit and Heavenly Father protecting you with angels." I was glad to read that because after the last email, I thought shoot...hopefully I didn't scare her when I told her about me being in the ghetto! I totally know that we are protected as we go out. But I still might hold back on telling you some of the stories. Really crazy stuff happens down here. Luckily Sister Holyan is super fearless! She's not afraid to shake hands with a straight-up SCARY gangster and invite him to church. This week we also got offered weed and purple haze (I'm learning about all kinds of drugs I've never heard of before), biked 40 miles in a day (gah...so sore the next few days!), and experienced an angry Mormon-hating drunk guy who was riling up his neighbors and was about ready to start throwing punches at our district leader & his companion. He also told them if they ever came back he'd shoot them. Yup.
We had 2 baptisms lined up for yesterday and they both fell through...bummer. This upcoming weekend though we are planning on baptizing this amazing kid Nick. He's really incredible and both Sister H & I just have this feeling that the Lord really wants him in His church. We had a lesson set up with him last night and we both just could feel that it was a super important lesson. I kept offering up lots of prayers before went over. And it was super crazy, but on the drive over to his house we just really could tell that the adversary was trying to stop us from getting there. It was almost like a silly video game where random things keep popping up in front of your car and you have to swerve to avoid them. We seriously screamed three seperate times on the drive over. It probably would have been pretty comical for anyone watching....but we just really had the feeling that something was trying to stop us from getting to teach Nick. I know that might sound strange, but the opposition was just super real. We both separately came to the conclusion that Nick is destined for big things and that he really needs the gospel in his life now. Kind of cool to be a part of it.
We are both really working on listening more to the promptings of the Spirit...interestingly enough, before this transfer started and before we even knew each other we both had the inspiration that this was something we personally needed to work on. We were talking about it last night and we both realized that with all the crazy stuff that has happened in a week and a half (and surely there is more to come this transfer), the Lord really needs us to be in-tune with the Spirit for our own safety. Sure, we need it so that we can be better missionaries as well, but we both feel like it's vital for our protection too. The opposition to our work has been very real and very intense so far this transfer and Sis H says it's because we're doing things in Nova that haven't been done before. (like how we've been upping our fidning efforts & blessing numbers, our emphasis to have a lot of baptisms, really grow the branch, etc.) It's just been a real testimony-builder to me...this work is very real! It definitely is the Lord's work and that unfortunately means that Satan is really going to fight our efforts to further the work.
Anyways...I didn't mean to scare y'all, haha. Things are really good! The first few days with Sis H were a little rough but we are doing really well together now. The main difference between me and Sis H is that she can get off her bike after biking for miles, pull off her helmet, and still look great...whereas I pull off my helmet and look trashed. Haha. We are really working on stepping up our missionary game. We've been super inspired by our amazing district leader Elder Pond. Don't tell him, but we kind of idolize him. ;) He is such a powerhouse and an amazing missionary and our goal is to be more like him. So...that's probably one reason why we biked 40 miles on Thursday. We were just doing the work "Elder Pond style." It's been really humbling to realize just how awesome these 19- and 20-year-old boys are, and especially to see how well they truly are converted to and understand the gospel! Here I am at 22, with a college degree, and yet I talk to Elder Pond and am just totally blown away by how much more he knows about the gospel than I do. It's good for me. :)
Well...that's the news from Fort Lauderdale today. I still get excited every time I get a letter in the mail, so THANK YOU THANK YOU to those of you who have been writing me! Mail seriously makes my day. Also, thanks G'ma and G'pa Dougal for the chocolates! Super awesome surprise to get that in the mail. I was glad to see that G'pa got to make them this year.
love you all,