Sunday, December 15, 2013

Letter #55: I LIVE IN MIAMI. :)

Yes, I think those 4 words pretty much sum up how I felt about this week:

Oh my, what an incredible transfer meeting that was! Especially when I found out I was headed down to Snapper Creek in Miami! It truly was an answer to prayers. Of course, I prayed to be able to accept God's will and go wherever He needed me, but He knew that Snapper was where I was hoping to get sent. My heart really is in YSA and I am so excited for the opportunity to work with this incredible age group again!
I truly am so excited to be here. I LOVE it. I do miss my Haitians, but I love the business and the craziness of the big city. I love all the billboards that are in Spanish. I love feeling like I'm in another country because you hear everyone talking in Spanish as you walk down the road. I love all the crazy driving and how I can just make a hand motion at the other cars and they let me flip a u-turn in the middle of the road (not that I would EVER do that, Dad....). I love that we have 3 college campuses in our area that are crawling with YSA in need of the gospel. 

We work right in the heart of downtown Miami. My 2nd day here we had lunch on Calle Ocho at this little taco shop and we were the only Americans there. (best horchata I've ever tasted!) Oh my, it's a dream come true for sure.

I have set a vision for this next transfer, and the 2 things I really want to accomplish are to become closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior than I have ever been before and to truly leave it ALL out on the field and do my best missionary work yet. I feel like I have already been able to make huge strides at accomplishing this vision even though it's only been a week! Sister Clayton and I are completely fearless together and have had some great opportunities to show God our diligence. These antics include (but are not limited to) seeing YSA on the streets in downtown Miami, pulling over our car and running over to contact them; risking the possibility of being eat by giant dogs in order to contact the YSA walking said dog; and contacting at night on the UM campus! I love Sister Clayton. She is so full of love and brings such a special spirit to everyone she meets. I am excited to learn and grown from her during her last transfer here (she goes home in December). 

I have really been searching my whole mission for the best way to give my whole heart to the Lord and be able to have always have the Spirit teach rather than me. A couple of months ago when I went on exchange with the West Palm sisters, they mentioned that they were doing a 40-day fast and fasting from certain temptations/worldly things. I loved the idea. Well, this week Sister Clayton told me about the purification fast that she has been doing and showed me a talk from Elder Gene R. Cook that talked about it. It is so awesome! You start off by fasting and write down any thoughts/behaviors that come to mind about things that are distracting you...then for 40 days you fast from these things! Not only am I going to do this fast for myself, but we also are going to bring a comp study to all of our sisters and have our sisterhood do this fast together. I think this will truly be able to help us purify our hearts and grant us the companionship of the Holy Ghost in a way that we have not had before. I am so excited!

To prepare for that fast, I've been doing a lot of studying about being pure in heart, especially after Sister Anderson's training at MLC. There are some incredible blessings that come to those who are pure in heart. Some of these include:
 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (3 Ne 12:8). 
"And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done" (D&C 50:29).
"...they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him" (D&C 76:116).
As we cultivate a "pure heart and clean hands," we have "the image of God engraven upon your countenances" (Alma 5:19). 

I have also been studying about how to help our investigators develop a pure heart as well, since this is truly what is going to help them repent and prepare to be baptized.
I know this purification fast is truly going to change me and will allow us to see many miracles in our area! We have already seen the Lord's hand in our missionary work leading us to YSA who are awesome and elect, and I am excited to see what else is in store for us!

Other exciting things:
I am serving in the same ward as Sister Gordon, whom I trained
Sister Stegelmeier got called to TRAIN a new sister for these last 2 transfers, so she is training instead of being an STL and she is so happy because it's exactly what she prayed for

Okay, so that last one is a VERY BIG DEAL. The sister training leaders got the opportunity to help out at the temple by hanging the crystals on the chandeliers. Oh my, so incredible. I never knew how much work went into one chandelier! Each crystal is put up individually by hand. It made me reflect about how involved Heavenly Father is in the little details of our lives as I looked at the little details of this beautiful chandelier. There was such a powerful spirit there in the temple, even though it hasn't been dedicated yet. And the truly amazing thing was that I got to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity TWICE! Because of transfers, I ended up being the only sister who got to go to the temple twice. (I went with Sister Johnson the day before transfers and Sister Clayton was going on the day of transfers) I felt so blessed to be able to be there and to be a part of completing the temple. 
Also exciting news was that they announced when the temple will be completed....but the sad news is that I won't be here!! Boo. :( It will be finished about a month after I leave. Hopefully I will get to come back for the open house and dedication. :)

I love you all!! 

Sister Dougal

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