Buenos días everyone! Shout out to anyone who still actually reads these and cares that I'm alive!! Well beginning of the week we got a surprise phone call telling us that president had gotten it approved and we would be going to the Orlando temple on Thursday! I was soooo excited....I miss the temple so so much. I miss being able to go every week, I didn't realize how spoiled I was with that until now. So Thursday morning we got up dark and early, did our exercise then left at 715 to drive to Tampa to meet the van that was taking us. It was probably the most stressful drive of my life....I've decided that Satan has control over stop lights and traffic. Because we literally got stopped at every single light and there was so much traffic, I thought I was in California again. Then at one point we were at a railroad crossing and a train came and seriously waited on the tracks for 15 minutes. We were freaking out because we were already so late we were sure they were going to have to leave us. They actually had started to leave so we ended up meeting them at a Wendy's somewhere. When we finally met up I was so relieved and back to being all happy again because TEMPLE and opened the van door and started climbing in when I realized there was only one seat...the senior couple who was taking us looked at us and was like " wait...did you guys not know that only sister Newbill gets to go?" NO THEY MISSED THAT TINY LITTLE DETAIL !! So after getting my heart ripped out Hna gibson and I watched the van slowly drive off into the distance. It's ok though, we will get to go soon. The mission just wanted to make sure that everyone who was going home this transfer got the opportunity to go first. So yeah I got to spend the rest of the day being Senior companion. Muahaha so much power. I made Gibson give me massages and make me food all day. Just kidding. But I did make her walk all around Tampa finding people for the missionaries there to teach and looking for a place to eat lunch and she got like 5 blisters so I felt a little bad about that.
Hna gibson is great though haha so as part of her first week of training we gave her the responsibility of inviting any new investigator we taught to be baptized at the end of the lesson. So we contacted a member referral this week named Marta and were able to have a lesson with her and her husband Luis ( HUSBAND AS IN ACTUALLY MARRIED BY THE LAW= SCORE!!) Newbill and I started with "How to begin teaching" ( basically kind of just explaining to them what our purpose is as missionaries, what we expect them to do, and how much this message can bless their lives) and I paused and looked at Gibson to kind of give her an opportunity to say something and I think she took that as the " ok now it's time to ask them to be baptized look" and just straight up asked them to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority in like the first 2 minutes of the lesson hahah I was like oh great....it was a little awkwardly quiet for a minute but them Luis said ¡sí! It was awesome! We then went on to teach them about the restoration. But they really showed a lot of great potential and I just want to teach them so bad because I know how much this gospel can bless their life, and I know that through the priesthood authority they can be sealed and married for time and all eternity.
This week was really cool because we've already started to see the effects that the decision of those four little girls (Sheyla, Jocelyn, Itzel and Emely) to be baptized has had on their families. So Itzel and Emely are cousins. Kind of in some weird Mexican way. They are also kind of cousins with Jocelyn. But anyways, Itzel's mom isn't a member but she has been coming to church for over a year and a half. A lot of missionaries have tried to teach her ( her name is Mireya...throws me off since every other Hispanic woman and their mothers name is Maria) but she always avoided them. Ever since Itzel got baptized though I've been asking Mireya every time I see her..."So Mireya, when are you going to get baptized?" She always says oh no, I'm too rebellious I can't be baptized. But I told you guys last week that on Sunday we were able to pull her aside with our WML and help her realize that she really was ready to make this change in her life. We were able to have a lesson on Friday with her and her daughter Itzel and also Emely and her family were there too. It made me so happy because everytime we would ask a question Itzel amd Emely would excitedly raise their hands and tell Mireya the answer and I think it really touched Mireya how much her daughter had learned.
We went over to Sheylas house on Saturday to teach her. Her cousin, who wanted to be baptized but who's mom wouldn't let her, was there and we were able to teach her too. Even though Sheylas only 8 she knows a lot about prayer and why it's so important. Together we were able to teach her cousin Brandy about it. Hopefully her moms heart will soften and she will be able to come to church and be baptized soon.
So Jocelyns turn. Jocelyn is Magalis daughter. Magali got baptized like a month after I got here and then Jocelyn got baptized a month and a half after that. Her dad Juan has been wanting to get baptized too but has never been able to take the missionary lessons because he works so much. We have been praying and fasting a lot for him, that he would be able to find time to meet with us and we were FINALLY able to have a lesson with them on Sunday night. Their whole family was there: Magali, Juan, yayir and Joclyn ( their two kids), Juans brother Ivan ( who is wants to get baptized but is in YSA Ward) and Juans mom Isabelle who first introduced all of them to the gospel. After they fed us about a pound of flan ( which by the way I love now) we started the lesson. We were handing out restoration pamphlets and actually didn't have enough and Magali went back into her room and came back out with a stack of them and started handing them out since she's had the lessons a million times hahah it was awesome I love her. Then when we got to Jose Smiths first vision Joclyn pretty much told her dad the entire story. I felt the spirit so strong while she was talking. I know that Joseph Smith really did see our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and that they called him to be the prophet to restore the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My testimony of this grows every single time we teach about the restoration. The most important part about this lesson though is the power of prayer. That through prayer we can talk to God, that he listens to us, and that He answers us. That we can know the truth of all things if we ask, with faith and real intent, through prayer and through the power of the Holy Ghost. We invited Juan to offer the closing prayer and to pray about being baptized on the 13 of December. We also invited them to pray and read the scriptures every day as a family. Yayir was like " now I have two homeworks. One homework from school and one homework from Jesus!" Hahah I love that kid. I love that family. I know that one day very soon they will be able to be sealed in the temple as a family. That they will be able to be together forever. I always picture everyone we teach in white. Everyone. Even the people that I don't especially like....I imagine them in even more white. And when necessary a little angelic glow around them. It helps me love everyone more. It helps me see them how I know Heavenly Father sees us; He doesn't see us as who we are, but who we can become. He sees us as children with an infinite potential. All of you is kind, you is smart, you is important... and you is children of God!! Don't ever forget that! I love you all and hope everyone has a maravillosa week. I love you and miss you but there is really no place I'd rather be than right here in the Tampa Florida mission:)