Thursday, October 3, 2013

Letter #47: lions and tigers and bears, OH MY!

Not a lot of time to write today...but things continue to go great! Life is so good! Today is my 23rd birthday and there is nowhere else I would rather be than serving the Lord in the Florida Ft. Lauderdale mission! I continue to love this area and especially the ward! I am meeting some of the most amazing LDS families I have ever known. Who knew that there were so many awesome families hidden away in Wellington? There are a lot of returned missionary couples, where both parents are RMs, and I love being able to see the difference it makes. Both of my parents are RMs and I feel so blessed to have grown up with that example. Because of that I knew it was always something that I wanted for my kids as well!
An example of how AWESOME this ward is:
This week on Thursday night, we got a call from the 1st counselor in our bishopric. He asked if we had any appointments we were headed to in the next 10 minutes or so. We said yes, we were about to go into one, and he asked if he could come. Of course we said yes! He said, "Okay, we're on our way." We weren't sure who "we" was referring to...we thought maybe his wife? Anyway, within the next 15 minutes THE ENTIRE BISHOPRIC showed up. We walked into the apartment complex feeling like we were walking with the sons of Mosiah. Basically, it felt AWESOME. We met one of our investigators on the street and he was able to meet all three of them, which was perfect. Then, we went in and taught an incredibly powerful lesson with our amazing investigator Luigi. The Spirit was so strong as Luigi prayed to God and asked to know if this is the church where God wants him to be baptized. One of the counselors in the bishopric bore an incredibly powerful testimony and told Luigi how much this baptism will change his life. Luigi was so touched. We left that lesson on cloud 9! It was one of the most amazing nights of my mission. But, the story gets even better. During fast and testimony meeting on Sunday, the same counselor who bore testimony in Luigi's lesson talked about the experience in his testimony in front of the whole congregation! He talked about feeling God's love so strongly in the lesson with Luigi and how his own testimony was strengthened that night. We looked over at Luigi, who was sitting next to us, and saw tears in his eyes as the love that this man had for him touched his heart. It was so incredible and I felt such overwhelming gratitude for these amazing men who are truly giving their whole hearts to the Lord in fulfilling their callings!

My year-mark birthday was Thursday and it was actually the same day the bishopric came out with us. OH, and just to make things even better, as they were leaving after our lesson with Luigi the bishop asked if we wanted some ice cream. I told him we would never turn down ice cream, and so he handed us $8 and told us to go buy a couple of cartons at the grocery store down the street! YEAHHHH! It was AWESOME. Plus, that same day we got another companion of sisters added to our stewardship and we LOVE them so much. They rock. We've been basically praying all transfer that they would be switched into our stewardship and our prayers were answered :) I got to go on exchange with them the very next day, on Friday, and I had a fabulous time. I biked way more than I have in months and couldn't really feel my bum the next day, but I was loving every minute of it. 

Also, today for MY BIRTHDAY we went to LION COUNTRY SAFARI!! Oh my, I had the TIME OF MY LIFE. It was SOO fun! The first half of it is a drive-through safari, where you enter the park and the animals just wander around and can come up right next to your car! (Unfortunately, the lions are separated by a fence. I was fairly bummed about that.) We got to drive next to zebras, rhinos, giraffes, water buffalo, ostriches, gemsbok, antelopes, you name it. I was loving it. The second half of the park is a walk-through zoo/amusement park. We got to feed giraffes, feed birds, watch an animal show, play mini-golf, pet goats, and even SEE SOME GATORS! (FINALLY I see gators in Florida!) It was super fun. Best p-day/birthday idea EVER. After that, we drove out to this swampy area where the other elders told us they'd seen some real wild gators.....but nothing today. We could hear them croaking to eachother (did you know that alligators make croaking noises?! I didn't!) but didn't see any. Bummer. It's still on my bucket list.

Okay, love you all! Happy September! This is a wonderfully wild week...not only was it my birthday, we also have interviews with President tomorrow as well as MLC on Friday and a mission conference with Pres Soares of the Seventy on Saturday!! Yay!!

sister dougal

Pics: Friendly's!! Yum! Haven't eaten there since 5th grade!

Pictures with the Elders

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