Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pavo...oh no.

Espero que todos ustedes tuvieran un buen dia de accion de gracias, y que lo pasaran bien con familia y mucha comida.
- I'm about all done with turkey. Thanksgiving is great, but I think it's the worst holiday to spend as a missionary haha. We had a thanksgiving activity last saturday so I ate turkey there. (All the missionaries also had to sing America the beautiful at the activity, that's what we get for being a bunch of gringos in a spanish ward). Then on sunday after church the relief society president was like here! Take all the left over turkey and food from the activity! Mas pavo. Then Thursday comes along and we ate at Maria and Jose's house at 3:00, then were dumb and didn't think it would be a problem to  go to another investigator named Betty's house that had invited us over at 6:00 to have thanksgiving with them too. My stomach about died as I tried to eat another thanksgiving dinner  of arroz , pavo , sopa, pasteles, papas, sanchicha, and clear my plate so that Betty wouldn't feel bad! Good times, good times. It was a good day though spent with all my puerto rican family here (Betty is from puerto rico too). The little bit of time we had to go tracting the day of and the day before thanksgiving we got to say a lot of prayers of gratitude with people. We thought it would be a good idea to knock on people's door, say we were saying prayers where all we said were thankyou with people, and then ask them a few things they were grateful for that they could include in the prayer. It was neat to do. Last year during thanksgiving I set a goal to say one prayer of gratitud every day, and I did it for about 6 months. Im starting it up again so I hope I can stick with it! On Thanksgiving the message that we shared with a lot of people was the story of the 10 lepers in the bible in Luke 17. It talks about how Christ heals 10 men of leprosy, but only one comes back, "fell down on his face at his feet giving him thanks". Christ then says "Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." I like this scripture better in spanish because directly translated it says "thy faith hath healed thee." I thought it was interesting how Christ had said that, when he had healed all ten of the lepers. What was different about this one's healing? The difference is that in addition to him being healed physically, his heart was healed as well. By giving thanks, we are purified and healed spiritually as we learn how to count our blessings and give thanks to God. It's only when we have gratitude when we can partake of the complete healing power of the atonement. A goal that I set for myself this transfer was that I was going to write one thing I was grateful for that Hermana Gibson did every day on a sticky note and put it on her desk every morning. I've really loved doing that this week because it has helped me to feel more charity and like my own heart is healing. I'm looking forward to continue doing that.
- I had said last week that I decided that my main focus this last transfer was going to be to strengthen and inspire the ward here.This week We started with the idea I had for the youth. We taught the combined ym and yw class this sunday and started a competition between the young men and young women of how many invitations  (invites to church, mutual, church activities, read the bom or bible...etc) they could make to their friends in one month. We explained how success in missionary work was in the invitation, and together came up with a list of different invitations they could make and how many points each invitation would count for. The winning organization would get a pizza party.  Hermana Gibson has always been able to make these origami paper shirts that look like missionary shirts so we made each youth one of those paper shirts, had them write their name on the tag and decorate it, then taped them up in their classrooms at church. Each sunday they are going to come to church and keep score of how many intivations they made in the week by putting tallys on the inside of the shirt. We also introduced another thing called the "missionary challenge" but since I've already written a lot I won't explain it here. They were so excited to do this after we explained it and got them pumped up about it, a few of them even started inviting their friends to things right there in the class to get points! Once I said that giving out a book of mormon would be worth ten points five of them took one to give it away. It was so cool to see them excited about it!
-Little miracle of the week: We were in the car saturday and received a call from a number we didn't know. I answered and the person on the other line sounded a lot like Elder Mendoza ( an elder from mexico who served in our ward and recently got transferred to an english ward near by)  so I was really confused. Turns out it actually was Elder Mendoza haha. They had walked by a bus stop and a lady from Honduras named Maria called out to them and recognized them as missionaries. The bus was coming right at that moment and so all they could do was call our number really quick so we could contact her. We ended up teaching her last night and she is golden!! She had met missionaries in colorado and had been going to church for a year and a half there. I asked her why she had never been baptized and she said, well.. they never invited me! What??! She felt the spirit so strong as we taught her the restoration and said she knew it was all true. After we taught her we invited her to be baptized and now she is preparing to be baptized on the 26th!! I hope she continues to be as solid as I feel like she is, it was really a miracle to meet her.

have a great week everyone!
love Hermana Baugh

Live Like you were Dying

Here it goes, last transfer in the mission field. I will be staying here in Tampa 5 with Hermana Gibson! At the end of this transfer, we will have spent 9 months together. Half of our missions! So crazy! Pretty sure that's the record in the mission...I'm expecting some sort of trophy haha. I'm glad to be able to finish with Hermana Gibson though because I know she will help me to achieve my goals and work harder than I have before. I realized yesterday that I'm going to make my main focus this last transfer on truly trying to make a lasting positive impact on this ward and on the members here. My testimony of the impact missionaries can make in the lives of members and especially the youth was increased yesterday. Last week our first counselor and  his 12 year old daughter Anika came to a lesson with us. At one point we invited Anika to share her favorite scripture and she did and bore testimony and it really brought the spirit. A few days letter Sister Gibson and I wrote her a thank you note and folded it to look like a missionary shirt and gave it to her at our ward thanksgiving party. We saw her reading it over and over again. On Sunday in ward counsel, hno carrillo the first counselor shared with everyone how the little note we had written his daughter Anica made her want to serve a mission and how touched he had been by that. He was almost in tears.  All Sunday I just kept thinking and thinking of more things that we could do as missionaries to strengthen the members here and we were able to come up with a few ideas that we are excited to bring up to the other missionaries and put into practice.
- Maria and Jose's baptism and confirmations went so well. So smoothly that it was weird. Seriously though, these last 3 baptisms that we have had have been the easiest thing ever! Usually the week before baptism something happens- you lose contact with the investigator for a few days, they have doubts, they suddenly get called in to work the day of their baptism-- I was very pleasantly surprised not to have any of that! Jose and Maria are the first personal contacts I have had that have gotten baptized. Personal Contacts meaning people that we meet on the street or knocking on their door. Every single other prepared person I have taught from meeting them on the street has always gotten so so close to baptism, and then basically fallen off the face of the earth. Hahah let me tell you that's been painful. But Jose and Maria are definitely the most prepared people I have ever met. They got up and bore their testimonies in front of everyone at church on Sunday, and even paid their tithing. Literally so perfect.  I have never felt before that I was sent to Florida to teach any specific person or do something that any other missionary couldn't do. But during their baptism and confirmations I felt for the first time that it really was Hermana Gibson and I who needed to teach them.
- I wanted to close with a small little experience I had last night. I have still been trying to stay faithful to the goal I made in Kuly to give out at least one book of mormon every day for the rest of my mission. Yesterday there were a few opportunities where I could have given it away during the afternoon, but for some reason I felt like I shouldn't. So I followed that prompting and decided not to talk about the Book of Mormon right then. Then later on in the evening we knocked on a lady's door named Kisha and offered her a prayer. She asked that we pray for comfort because she had recently lost her grandma who she was very close with. After the prayer, I felt prompted to introduce the Book of Mormon to be able to share with her Alma 40:11-12. After I read the scripture she had tears pouring down her cheeks and she said "Alma was my Grandma's name." She gladly accepted the copy of the bom and a return appointment, having strongly felt the spirit.  Being honest, I probably wouldn't have been so quick to try and give a Book of Mormom to kisha if I had already given one out that day and probably would have just started talking about the plan of salvation. But because I had listened to the spirit she was able to have that unique experience with the book of mormon. I know that as we listen to the spirit, we will always be able to follow God's will and will be led to do good. Talk to you all next week,

hermana Baugh

Monday, November 16, 2015

Guess what?...youre adopted!!

This week was a good one. Sorpresa. It was especially good because we had MLC (mission leadership conference) at the beach on Friday! I haven't been able to go to the beach since being in Tampa so that was fun being able to go.

- Everything's set for Maria and Jose's baptism tomorrow. Since I have a little bit more time today, I figured that I would just share with you their story today instead of next week. I love conversion stories, that's probably one of my favorite parts of being a missionary- is being able to listen to the stories of both investigators and members of how they got to be who and where they are. I've been keeping track of a few of them and have a list of the conversions stories I've heard on my ipad. Maria and Jose is a couple from Puerto Rico, they are in their early 50s. They have both been divorced but found each other and got married a few years ago here in Tampa. Maria grew up Catholic but never felt "filled" when she went to church there so she stopped going many many years ago. Since then, she has always prayed to find the church that God wanted her to be in and wanted her to serve. She has tried several and went to the church that Jose attended a few times but didn't feel good though so just stopped going in general and kept praying. That was about 7 years ago. Jose was brought up in a very Catholic family as well, but he left the Catholic church and went to several others throughout his life as well. He has always felt good in those churches, but not one of them ever gave him the desire to keep attending. He was always the type of person who would make up excuses not to go to church. He went through a really hard time in his life and didn't want to go back to church again after he didn't get even a call from anyone in his church because he had felt really alone and didn't receive  a hand of help when he needed one.  Then near the end of August,  Hermana Gibson and I rode our bikes to their neighborhood, locked them up, and said a specific prayer to be able to find someone in this area that we could set a baptismal date with. Haha the funny part is that there are a ton of security guards in this neighborhood that don't like it when we knock doors. Hermana Gibson was worried they were going to kick us out but I said "don't worry, if they ask us what we are doing we will just tell him we are going to visit our friend Maria and I guarantee that one of the first couple doors we knock someone will be named Maria" (its a really hispanic neighborhood). We go up to the first door, knock, and a lady named Maria opened up and let us in! She had been watching us through her window lock our bikes up and felt bad for us riding in the heat in skirts so had been planning on giving us some water. She was happy to let us pray with her  and because she liked us so much and the brief testimony we shared about the restoration she said we could visit them again and that she would make us dinner next time. So we came and ate with her and her husband Jose and taught them the restoration. They were really interested in what we had to share and wanted to learn more. Once we finally got on a fixed schedule to come by and teach them and they were finally able to get a car to come to church is when they really started progressing. Last night we had a lesson with them and they said that the first time they went to church, they went to please us because they liked us a lot. But now, they go to please God. They haven't missed a Sunday since their first attendance 5 weeks ago and said they can't imagine missing it now. We had a testimony meeting with them last night and with their fellowshippers. Jose talked about how he has never in his life had the desire to go to church on Sunday, but when he has gone to this one he feels something different. He feels a peace and described it like he felt his heart was being cleansed. He feels like he's part of a family when he goes there. He said one of the big converting factors for him is actually just the way we pray. He has learned by going to church that prayer is a simple, quiet, reverent thing. Not something loud and rushed. He now prays every day, something he had never done before. It has been neat to see "the evolution of Jose" in church. The first sunday he came in jeans and a shirt, the next with a button up shirt, the next with jeans and a white shirt, the next with jeans with a white shirt and tie, and then finally yesterday with the whole get up. We had  a member come up to us and whisper "el tiene la cara de un opisbo" He has the face, or look, of a bishop.  When Maria shared her testimony, she talked about how from our lessons, she really gained a desire to read the scriptures. She learned about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and bible together. She was given a bible years ago that she has never opened. One day after one of our lessons, she decided to start reading the Book of Mormon, and was reminded of that bible. She went and got it and started reading in Revelations and was lead to that scripture I shared with you in Revelations 3:20 that talks about the savior knocking on the door, and how he will be with those that open the door and he will dine with them. She felt the spirit really strongly and knew in that instant that that scripture was talking about us- how we knocked on the door, came and ate with them, and brought Christ into their lives. It's a good thing I like to eat right? Who knew that would come in handy haha. So after she got that confirmation she had no doubt that this church is Christ's true church . She said last night that recently she has felt so happy. She said she has the same husband, the same problems, the same house-- and yet she is so happy and can't explain why. We testified to them that it is because they are living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yesterday Sister Gibson and I had to teach the gospel principle class in church because the teacher wasn't there. The lesson was on the gathering of the house of Israel. It talks about how first, Israel will be gathered spiritually. The way the gathering is brought about is through missionary work. Whenever someone is baptized and makes that special covenant with God, they become one of the children of the covenant and are adopted into the House of Israel. While I was teaching, the thought came to me of how to be baptized, there is a process to it and some paperwork to fill out. I said " those baptismal papers that you have had to fill out, those are really just your adoption papers. Your adoption papers into the house of Israel." It was really neat to think about. I feel so blessed to be able to play apart in the gathering of Israel, of God's children, and with the adoption process. God is hastening his work and He wants all of His children to have the chance to learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, whether it's in this life or the next. He makes that opportunity possible for everyone, God wouldn't make salvation only possible for a few of his children. The atonement and mercy of Jesus Christ are available to all, it's just up to us to accept it and apply it in our lives daily. I know that the cleansing and purifying power of the atonement is real, and that it enables us to change. I know that because I've seen it in my life, and in the lives of the people around me. Keep praying for missionaries around the world, and for the missionaries in your home (YOU) to continue to find people who are waiting to hear that message.
Con mucho carino
Hermana Baugh

Que hace un pez? Nada

Buenas tardes

This week was a busy one. We had the opportunity to teach even more people than we did the last week despite having an exchange, interviews and a meeting with President, and a baptism. It is so neat to see the progression we have seen in this area since we got here. I think one of the reasons that we are seeing such great results is because we ourselves as missionaries have progressed, and as a result our ward, area and investigators are progressing  more as well.

-Joel's baptism went really well. As a tradition, I will give you his full story again. Joel is 32 and moved to the United states a year ago with his wife and his wife's family from Honduras. He and his wife have been having problems though and two months before we met him, he left to go to Colorado. But as soon as he got to Colorado, he felt like that was not where he was supposed to be and took the bus all the way back to Florida again. We started teaching his wife Dinora first after she had met the english sister missionaries. We had seen Joel briefly a few times but he didn't accept our invitations to learn. Then one day when we were teaching Dinora's cousin, we invited him to learn, he politely declined then walked out the door. A few minutes later though, he came back in and said that he actually did want to learn. We later asked him why he came back that day and he said that it was because God had told him to, he had felt in his heart that he needed to.  Since that day he has progressed so much. He has come to church every sunday since then, has completely overcome his coffee addiction,  tries to read in the book of mormon every day and is now in Mosiah, feels like his connection with God is stronger than it ever has been before, and that we were sent by God to meet him and introduce him to the church right when he needed it most. This past month as we have been teaching him he has been going through a divorce with his wife (not because of the church or anything, but past problems) and he really feels like God led him to us right as that door was closing so that another one could open that would allow him to strengthen his relationship with God during this hard time in his life. It was neat to see how happy he was at his baptism and after his confirmation on Sunday. He is going to be able to help a lot of people. What's neat is that Joel found out when he was learning about the church through talking to his parents in Honduras that his parents actually were baptized into the church when Joel was 1 yrs old. Since then they haven't been active. Joel has intvited them to start reading the book of mormon again and to look into going back to church. Hopefully he can help his family find the gospel again.

- Man I really need to get a picture of Maria and Jose. We are going to make some flan with Maria today though so I wil make sure to get one. They are all interviewed and set for their baptisms. They can't be baptized until next tuesday though because of some scheduling conflicts but they are so solid Im not worried about it. They haven't missed a day at church these last five weeks. haha they even bought Joel a white shirt and tie for his baptism it was so adorable. Next week I will tell you their whole story. Basically they are the most prepared people I have ever taught. I have been praying so hard for Jose this week to feel ready for his baptism because he was still expressing some doubts about feeling like he wasn't ready to make this promise with God because he still felt unworthy. I felt inspired to read Alma 7 with them from the Book of Mormon this weed and we had a really spiritually led  lesson on repentance. After the closing prayer, Jose had tears rollig down his cheeks and said he felt something in his heart he had never felt before. He said it felt like he was being cleansed from the inside out. We explained that it was the spirit, purifying him and helping him to know that God was proud of him. He feels prepared to be baptized ow because of that spiritual confirmation. Im so grateful for the guidance of the spirit and His converting power.

--Other important events this week? hmm.. Had my last interview with President Cusick this week before my exit one. I've learned to love him and admire him so much. I know he is called of God and that a major reason that I was called to this mission was because of him. God knew I needed to learn from his strengths and wisedom. My interview mostly consisted of him telling me how proud of me he was, and how much he loved me. Haha knowing president, this is unusual since he is  a man who is quick to offer correction and tell us what we can do to improve. Somehow we ended up talking about how I can do 60 pushups straight now and he almost made me do them in his office. That would have been interesting. Im so grateful for him. I also had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Sister Briggs, a newer misisonary in our zone. She is so great and doing so well. I loved being able to spend time with her. She was a cross country and track runner in high school too so it was fun going on a run together in the morning. It has been a year since I have had someone to run with me!! Things are continuing to go really well though, hope everyone has a great week
love hermana baugh

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

We're not tracting...we're practicing for Halloween

Happy Monday

Hope everyone had a good Halloween on Saturday! I'm thinking back and I just realized that I didn't eat one piece of candy...Im buying a bunch of discount Halloween candy today though to make up the difference. That's the way to go anyways. Halloween night we actually had quite a few teaching appointments set up (a lot of our investigators don't celebrate it because apparently its like celebrating Satan, they are pretty righteous investigators) but we did have a little bit of time to go trick or treating. Actually, I had  the idea to go reverse trick or treating. We taped some smarties to the back of pass along cards with a picture of Christ and info about the Book of Mormon and rang some doors and literally said "Hi! We are reverse trick or treating, here's a picture of Christ and some candy" haha it actually worked pretty well we taught a few lessons because of it. We had dressed up like Mormon missionaries so our costumes must have been pretty convincing because people actually listened to us. I did tape a little piece of paper to hermana gibson's tag though that said "viene" So we were hermana baugh and hermana viene.  Va (pronounced the same as Baugh) means going and Viene means coming so I thought that clever and at least I got a kick out of it haha.

-Things are still going really well here. We had a full week to just focus on our area without any extra meetings or exchanges and we were able to teach the most people I ever have in my whole mission! I feel so blessed in this area. We were also able to make some good progress with our correlation with the ward and our gospel principles class which are things we have been trying to improve for a while now so it was good to see some progress. Joel is all set for baptism on Saturday, he' s interviewed and everything. He would already be baptized but he knows he wants to be baptized on the 7th because it's a holy number. He does have a point. Pray that this week goes well and that he stays strong! the pre baptismal week is always the worst. Maria and Jose are doing extremely well and even brought their 25 year old daughter to church and sunday and Jose wore a white shirt. You know things are getting pretty serious when investigators start wearing white shirts. Maria downloaded the gosepl library app this week and I swear she is going to finish reading everything on that app in a few weeks. We got to our lesson one day and she was telling us about all these things she had been reading about in Preach my gospel ( the book that we use as missionaries that teaches us how to be missionaries and how to teach) and then another day we taught them about tithing and fast offerings and she said oh yeah yesterday I read about fasting on the app and how you have to start and end with a prayer so I did one. Who does that?? They are pretty cool. This week I had a few neat experiences where I felt like I was really able to teach with the spirit and explain things in a way that I hadn't before. Joel and Jose both had doubts about tithing. In thier individual lessons this week about tithing, I was able to say two things that really helped them to clear up their doubts. With Jose we talked about how it's not God who needs the money from tithing, it's us that needs the sacrifice and blessings of tithing. He really was able to gain a better understanding of it after gaining that persepective. With Joel, he has always paid his tithing but has never done it through a church. He always takes out his 10 percent, and then has that money ready to use whenever he sees someone in need or feels inspired to give it to someone. I was really trying to think of how we could help him gain a better understanding of tithing and to gain a testimony that God wants us to pay it to the church to be able to build his kingdom. I was reminded of Malachi 3:10, which wasn't weird because we use that scripture every time we talk about tithing, but it stuck out to me how it says to "bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house..." It says right there in the bible that we need to bring our tithing to the "storehouse" or to the church of jesus christ, so that He will be able to use those sacrifices we give him in the best possible way. He had never thought about that scripture that way before and completely understood it after. It was just neat to see how the spirit prompted me to say two things that compeltely helped them to resolve their doubts.

- Francheliz (the 25 yr old from puerto Rico who isn't married) is still doing really well. We sitll haven't been able to meet with her and her husband together though since he only has one day off a week and things have come up the last two weeks but he does still want to learn. We were able to have a really good lesson with Francheliz this week though that was just about the atonement. I really loved that. Just having a lesson completely focused on the atonement, what it is, why it is so necessary, and how she can apply it in her life more. I asked Francheliz what her favorite thing she has learned is since she started meeting with us and she told us that it is how she has learned that she has the responsibility as a mom to teach her son how to believe in God and pray and live the gospel. She learned that when we read the family proclamation with her and she realized for the first time how big of a responsibliity she has as a parent. It's so cute to hear her five year old say the closing prayers for the lessons now because she taught him how. I've really learned that not every person is going to go all the way, get baptized, the whole shabang. In fact that very rarely happens. But If I can help someone learn how to do something so simple as knkowing how to study the scriptures or say a prayer, then it is all worth it. Que les vaya bien
con mucho carino
Hermana Baugh

We Are Different

This week has been a good one!

I have spoken more spanish these last two weeks than I have my whole mission. Speaking spanish to each other all the time has pretty much been a companionship goal I have had my whole mission. It's so hard though since we live in America and in case you didn't know, everything in America is in english which makes it hard to always speak spanish. But a few weeks ago I thought I'd make speaking spanish within our companionship something competitive since Im just naturally a competitive person. So every time one of us has started to speak in english these past few weeks, we have to give ourself a point. And then on the following pday, you tally up all your points, and the number of points you have is how many minutes of a massage you have to give your companion. It has been working really well, we've only spoken english to each other a few times these past two weeks.

- Maria and Jose, the couple from Puerto Rico that I talked about last week are doing so so well. This week Maria got a spiritual confirmation that this church is true and what she has been searching for. She said that she had some time during the day so felt like she should sit down and start reading the Book of Mormon. and so she did, and a little bit into it, she was reminded of the bible that a friend had given her years ago that she had never opened. She felt like she needed to so she went and got it and was led to revelations, and read the entire book of revelations. While she was reading, she felt the spirit really strongly when she read Revelations 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." She said she felt so good when she read that and thought about how she had opened the door to us, felt something different and wanted to learn more, we ate dinner to us, and how she feels like she has felt more closer to Christ every since she did that. She said that because of that, she feels that us and this church are the answers to her prayers to be able to find the church where God needs her to serve. She is so set on getting baptized on Nov 7, but her husband wants to get baptized on Nov 14th.  hahah in the lesson it was so funny she was like "Im not waiting for you! I feel like Im going to be ready the 7th!" hhaha so we will see what happens with that. I want them to get baptized together though. On Sunday we had a miracle. We woke up Sunday morning with some texts from Maria saying she was so sorry that they actually wouldn't be able to come to church because she didn't have any more skirts and didn't want to wear pants. I quickly went to my closet, grabbed a few skirts I thought might work and we dropped them off on her porch hoping they would work and that they would come. Nothing could describe my happiness seeing them walk into sacrament meeting beaming! She was so happy and grateful. They are doing so good

- Joel is doing really well too. One of the members came to a lesson with him and shared her conversion story and how she stopped drinking coffee to be able to be baptized. She said it was really hard, but that she was able to do it and she talked about all the blessings she has seen since being a member of the church. Since then, Joel hasn't drank coffee once and he's done it all on his own. It is a real testimony to me to see how much faith others have and that God blesses us for that faith. He came to church again too on Sunday and is continuing to progress well and he says he's set to get baptized on Nov 7th:)

-This week we heard from several people that they don't know what it is, or why they let us into their homes but something tells them to. Something makes them want to listen to what we have to say. One of those ladies is Betty who is another progressing investigator we met recently. We walked past her, then turned around and gave her a bom and prayed with her. We have met with her a few other times since then and she keeps telling us, I don't know why I keep inviting you back...the only thing I know is that I have never felt this good and this peaceful before. There's something different about you. The other day we tracted into an old lady named Anna who kept telling us "I just see the Lord in your faces, you have the lord in your eyes". She wasn't really interested in learning more...but she gave us fudge haha. Another lady this week named Yancy from El Salvador said " ya know, a lot of people have come knocking on my door and I have never once let them in. I don't know why you were different." I've thought about that a lot recently, why do people even invite us in? Or listen to us? I think about myself and if I were in their situation..two nun looking girls come knocking on my door offering to pray for me, would I even give them a chance? I realize more and more, that it's not me personally or hermana gibson that gets us into people's home or allows us to teach people, it is the holy ghost. Nothing else could soften people's hearts and inspire them to accept our invitations. I've learned from the example of the nephite people in 3 nefi 19:9, when they are prayign to have that which they desired most, which was to be given the holy ghost, that that truly is the most important thing to have with us. If I don't desire to have the holy ghost with me more than anything else, then Im doing this all wrong. Que Dios les bendiga

Hermana Baugh

Asi es la vida cuando soy misionera

Anyone remember the song the rescuers sing from the movie the rescuers down under that goes "R-e-s-c-u-e,- rescuing society!" Well I've come to make singing that song with the words "asi es la vida, cuando soy misionera!" my theme song on my mission. It basically means "that's the way life is when Im a missionary". I start singing it whenever something ridiculous happens that would only happen to a missionary-- when a man you gave a Book of Mormon to in your complex a few weeks ago stops you in your car, asks you to roll the window down and pray with him, when you're riding your bike and the wind starts up and you're holding your skirt down for dear life, when you have a day packed full of appointments and plans and they all fall through on you--- cosas asi. Things like that. It's a wonderful life:)

Guess what! I got  a letter the other day from Magali, she and her daughter got baptized when I was in Cortez and then later her husband Juan a few months later and I got to go back to the baptism. She said they are doing so well, her husband Juan is now in the young mens presidency and he just baptized their 8 yr old  son Yayir. They are taking classes to prepare to go to the temple together and read the bom and bible as a family every day. Getting that letter made me more happy than anything. It's such a blessing to have made so many close friends here on my mission and to get to see thier continual progress.

-Francheliz is doing well and still progressing. unfortunately her husband didn't want to get married (he wants a big wedding on the beach in puerto rico...too bad that is like ya know.. across the ocean..) But we did a fast that his heart would be softened and this week he actually accepted to start taking the lessons. so we are hoping for some progress there.

- Another neat family that I met a few weeks ago while I was here on exchanges with a sister named sister coleman is the williams family. They are an english family- and it is a single mom with three children and two have parkinsons disease. Her two boys with this disease are only in their 20s and they are already having some pretty serious effects from this disease. It was actually her 11 year old daughter that we met first outside and introduced us to her family. It was such a blessing to find them. They are all progressing towards baptism now and have a date for november 7th to be baptized and are really excited for it:) We decided it would be best to hand them over to the english elders though since we can't even go to church with them so we are introducing them to the english elders tonight. I hope everything goes well with the hand off and the elders can continue to help this family progress and im glad for the chance Iva had to teach them these past couple weeks. Hopefully everything goes well with their baptism and I can go and send ya'll pictures:)

- Joel is doing so well. He is Dinora's husband. We still haven't been able to have much contact with dinora because she works so dang much but Joel is progressing so well. He came to church again and is already half way through 2nd nefi. And guess what? He found out his parents  (in honduras) are actually members of the church! how cool is that? He has been getting great fellowhhsip from the ward, the first counselor in the bishopric is convinced joel will be the next elders quorum president haha. Please if everyone could pray for him though for his efforts to live the word of wisdom, that is what we are working with right now.

- This week we had a special mission leadership conference where we got the opportunity to listen to Elder Soares (presidency of the quorum of the 70) speak to us. He talked about the importance of our missionary purpose and to always make sure that we are "helping" EVERYONE to come unto christ, that we are motivating, uplifting and inspiring instead of convincing or dragging anyone to Christ! It was really amazing to be able to listen to such an inspiring leader.  Something that he said really stuck out to me was that on our missionary plaques... or I guess tags.. sorry spanish translation problem.. We have three names. The name of the church, the name of Jesus Christ, and the name of our Family. Our name is no where to be found on it. This work is not about us, it is about hastening the work of the Lord
s kingdom, serving our Savior, and honoring our families and helping others to be with theirs for eternity.
-So i usually don't talk about investigators in my letters until they come to church and now I can finally tell you about Maria and Jose! ( I know, all they need is a baby named Jesus right?) The way we met them was kind of funny. We were in this classy trailer park (I lvoe this place its seriously the best) called village of tampa and there are secureity guards all over it who dont like us to knock doors. So we went there one day a few weeks ago to go knock doors of course and a security guard was coming up to us and Sister Gibson got worried he was going to kick us out and I just said "It's okay, we will just tell him we are going to go see our friend maria, then we will go find a maria to teach" I say that because nearly every other hispanic is named Maria. And what do you know? They very first door we knock, it opens, We introduce ourselve and the lady who opens it said "nice to meet you! Im Maria." Im so glad I kept myself together and didn't start laughing then! We have been able to teach them a few times since then, and they call us their daughters now. WE've had dinner with them a few times and they always give us cake pops. They really made some great progress this week and came to church and absolutely loved it. They were pretty nervous but they got along so well with all the members and they fit right in it was perfect. Im really excited to see the progress that they keep making!!

Que tengan una buena semana
hermana vaugh

Monday, October 12, 2015

Always been a die hard

Hey everyone!!
Another week has come and gone. And also another transfer (6 weeks). Sister Gibson and I will be staying together here in Tampa 5 for another transfer, our third one. I had the sudden realization after transfer emails came in that I ONLY HAVE TWO TRANSFERS LEFT. DOS.  I'm thinking that Sister Gibson and I will stay together for my last transfer as well. If that does happen, then we will have spent 9 months as companions. Crazy! I don't think there is anything we don't know about each other! I'm excited to keep working hard here, it's a great area, we are teaching and meeting great people, and we are happy.

This week was full of great things. One day I will tell you about them, but today is not that day haha. There is never enough time. This week though, I'm not really sure what happened but we were just really determined and committed to finding people who are committed to progressing towards baptism. Like more than usual committed. And guess what happened?? 11 people we are teaching committed to working towards a specific date to be baptized!  God was touching the heart of people one after the next! Some really neat experiences and examoles of this were with our investigators Luz and Ferdinand. They are a young couple from Puerto Rico and we met Luz a few weeks ago when we prayed to find a spanish speaking family who we could teach 2 times that same week (which btw happened, luz was the answer to that prayer). She said that her husband Ferdinand wasn't interested in learning though, she had asked him. We were a little bummed but just let him be. We went by this week to teach luz, after not being able to see her for a while and her husband was there. Hermana Gibson asked him if he wanted to join the lesson and he actually said yes! We talked about baptism and why it is important. He talked about how he doesn't feel prepared and feels like he doesn't have a very strong relationship with god. We told him that that is exactly what we do as missionaries, we help people to grow their relationship with God by helping them prepare to be baptized. He was really touched by the spirit and accepted our invitation, along with luz, to preapre to be baptized in November. He said that we could come back how ever many times we wanted during the week to teach them because he really loves how he feels like we are bringing god's presence and spirit into their home.

Another was Joel- he is dinora's husband, the lady we took a picture with who made us food in the restarant she works in. they are from hondyras. Joel wasn't interested in learning with us the first time we asked him 2 weeks ago, but last week we were teaching dinora's cousin and joel walked down the stairs, said hi, then walked out the door. A few minutes later he came back in and said actually...can I sit in on the lesson? The spirit had told him to come back and he listened to it! He is now set and working towards being baptized on Nov 7, came to church by himself on Sunday, is up to 1 ne 13 in the bom and is reading 4 chapters a day and sent us a message this morning saying how happy he has been since we started teaching him this week.  so neat

-So we as missionaries and our ward council had been planning a missionary activity for a while and we were finally able to do it on saturday. It was about the plan of salvation, and we had set up all the rooms in the church as if they were the steps in the plan. Everyone boarded a "plane" when they got there, experienced a plane crash and then had to go through the steps of the plan of salvation. We were the flight attendants and guides for the groups of people! It turned out really neat. The other elders randomly had received an online referral from a member in Utah, and it was for their family members who were living here and just arrived from Venezuela. The elders were able to contact them right before the activity and those two families were able to come to the activity and learn, and also receive great fellowship from all the members. It was so great to see how fast the ward welcomed that family in and they loved it so much that they all came to church the next day. All that work we put into that activity was completely worth it to see that family receive fellowship and be able to feel the spirit.

- Well Im looking forward to the miracles this next transfer brings and am determined to work harder than I ever have before. If Im going out soon, Im going to go out with a bang. Have the best week everyone, live long and prosper.
love hermana vaugh

Thursday, October 8, 2015



This week was a week of meetings. Literally, every single day we had a meeting to go to and the day we didn't, we had an exchange! So it was really busy. We were still able to get a lot of work done though and meet a lot of new people. One of the meetings we had this week was MLC (mission leadership conference) and we were able to spend time learning from president and from one another. I learned a lot and left with a desire and ideas of how to improve our area and the zone. Sister Gibson and I were talking about how it's kind of weird how neither of us feel bad or discouraged or anything for not having had anyone be baptized since being here yet but it's because I feel like these past 3 months I have worked harder than I have ever before in my mission. I feel completely diligent and because of that I feel completely successful and happy. We are constantly going non stop and always finding great and new people to teach which is such a blessing.   Francheliz is continuing to progress really well, we are almost done teaching her all the lessons and she came to conference on Sunday and loved it. We are just waiting still  for her husband to agree to get married so keep praying for them! Conference weekend was so great. I started with questions and left with answers and action items from the spirit of ways to improve. I really loved President Uchtdorf's, Sister Mariott's and Elder Lawrences messages because they helped answer my questions of how I can deepen my relationship with the Savior and continue to progress. I loved Elder Durrant's idea to "ponderize" a scripture every week and really treasure up the words of Christ. I was thinking of how they would translate that word into Spanish since I was watching that session in english and I thought of Meditizar ( meditar and memorizar) so I'm going to work on meditizando. I was also able to finish the Book of Mormon in Spanish again right before the Sunday morning session. This is the fastest I've ever read it, less than 3 months. This time reading through the Book of Mormon, I did something different. I kept a running note on my ipad of all the different principles and lessons that I learned from specific scriptures and stories from people in the Book of Mormon. It is so long! By doing this, my love for the Book of Mormon and the reality of the people in it has grown so much these past three months. I am so grateful for the words of prophets, both ancient and modern, to guide us and shape us and help us to know of God's will, goodness and gospel. I was reading in my patriarchal blessing this morning and realized that it says that I will be blessed with a love for the holy scriptures and for God's prophets. I felt the spirit then and realized that I feel like I have really developed that more these past few months. Hope everyone has a great week, keep on Buenassss

This week was a week of meetings. Literally, every single day we had a meeting to go to and the day we didnt, we had an exchange! So it was really busy. We were still able to get a lot of work done though and meet a lot of new people. One of the meetings we had this week was MLC (mission leadership conference) and we were able to spend time learning from president and from one another. I learned a lot and left with a desire and ideas of how to improve our area and the zone. Sister Gibson and I were talking about how it's kind of weird how neither of us feel bad or discouraged or anything for not having had anyone be baptized since being here yet but it's because I feel like these past 3 months I have worked harder than I have ever before in my mission. I feel completely diligent and because of that I feel completely successful and happy. We are constantly going non stop and always finding great and new people to teach which is such a blessing.   Francheliz is continuing to progress really well, we are almost done teaching her all the lessons and she came to conference on Sunday and loved it. We are just waiting still  for her husband to agree to get married so keep praying for them! Conference weekend was so great. I started with questions and left with answers and action items from the spirit of ways to improve. I really loved Elder Uchtdorf's, Sister Mariott's and Elder Lawrences messages because they helped answer my questions of how I can deepen my relationship with the Savior and continue to progress. I loved Elder Durran's idea to "ponderize" a scripture every week and really treasure up the words of Christ. I was thinking of how they would translate that word into spanish since I was watching that session in english and I thought of Meditizar ( meditar and memorizar) so Im going to work on meditizando. I was also able to finish the Book of Mormon in spanish again right before the Sunday morning session. This is the fastest I've ever read it, less than 3 months. This time reading through the Book of Mormon, I did something different. I kept a running note on my ipad of all the different principles and lessons that I learned from specific scriptures and stories from people in the Book of Mormon. It is so long! By doing this, my love for the Book of Mormon and the reality of the people in it has grown so much these past three months. I am so grateful for the words of prophets, both ancient and modern, to guide us and shape us and help us to know of God's will, goodness and gospel. I was reading in my patriarchal blessing this morning and realized that it says that I will be blessed with a love for the holy scriptures and for God's prophets. I felt the spirit then and realized that I feel like I have really developed that more these past few months. Hope everyone has a great week, keep on meditizando those scriptures and words of the prophets.

love hermana va

50 First Discussions

So I wanted to give you and update on Carmen! She is the older sister of a member here that we have been teaching off and on that we set a baptismal date with a few weeks ago. She's the one who can hardly hear us when we teach haha. Well turns out that Carmen has more than just problems with hearing...we've been learning that she has problems with remembering things as well. We haven't been able to see her very much for the last few weeks because of health problems, but every time we go visit her she has forgotten everything we have taught her the lesson before. She has had some neat experiences that have testified to her that this church is true...but everytime we go to visit her she starts out the lesson by saying "I didn't read the Book of Mormon. This religion isn't true and I don't want anything to do with it. Who even is that Joseph Smith person? None of that's true." Then we have to go over with her again what the Book of Mormon is and the restoration, she feels the spirit and says "wow I have chills all over and feel so happy, this must be true!" We have to convert her and help her to have a converting experience every time we see her. But the horrible thing is that by the next time we come back, she's already forgotten it all:( So we don't really know much else we can do. But this whole experience with Carmen has reminded me of that  movie 50 First Dates. Haha kind of babylonian but it's about a lady who gets in an accident and has short term memory loss and the man she was originally in love with has to get her to fall in love with him every single day because she always wakes up the next day completely forgetting who he is. I feel like this has been our experience with Carmen, but it has been the 50 first discussions. Each lesson, we have to bring the spirit and help Carmen to recognize it so she can be converted over and over again. I was thinking about how I could try to do this more---really thing about how I can become more personally converted to the Lord every day.

- We went on another exchange this week but it was with the YSA sisters. It was so different than any other day I've had in my mission. We spent the entire day contacting and talking to people on the USF campus.  We taught so many lessons to so many different people- there were a lot that were from different countries in europe and the middle east which was neat. It was neat to see a different aspect of missionary work. But I was pretty happy to get back to my spanish investigators haha.

-Some neat miracles from the week-- We taught Francheliz the law of chastity (the 25 year old investigator from puerto rico I talked about last week) and she said that she wants to get married so that she can obey god's commandments and be able to be baptized. We were ecstatic. Something I realized during that lesson is that one of my favorite parts about being a missionary is teaching people about the commandments. Because when someone learns a new commandment that they previously were not living, they are learning about blessings that heavenly father is willing to give them that they have been living without but will now be able to have.
- Another neat thing was that we helped an Hermana set up for her baby shower this week. While we were in the church setting up, a lady named Alejandra came with her two kids Edith and Sebastion (15 and 14) and she was looking for the information for the spanish church service. They are from colombia and were baptized in 2012 in new jersey but have been inactive for the past two years while living here in Florida. She had a dream the week before though that told her she needed to come back to church and she had driven to the church building (30 minutes from her home) 3 times that week hoping someone would be there. It was a miracle we were there when she got there! They stayed and helped set up the baby shower and we got to know them better and to teach them this week as well. They are such an amazing family and their kids are awesome. They came to church on sunday too and she wants us to help her get to the temple. God doesn't give up on his children!
- Sad thing... remeber how I met my first Uruguayan here in the Tampa 5 ward? Well she was pretty old and passed away this week:( The ward hosted a funeral and it was a great service. I'm going to miss my Uruguayan.

-Last thought. I was reading Mosiah 3:19 this week which reads
     For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forevver and ever unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. 

I was thinking about the first law of motion. Or maybe thats not what it's called, I feel like I have forgotten everything related to science haha. But in my head the first law of motion is something like this : an object in motion will continue in motion unless acted upon by and eqaul(or greater than) and opposite force. I was thinking about how that law applies to this scripture. How we will continue on our course of being natural men, until we choose to act upon the  greater and opposite force (or promptings) of the Holy Ghost. It is only then that we can change our course into one of digression into one of progression of becoming a Saint. All those childlike attributes it says that we will obtain through that process are all christlike attributes. It makes sense that if we follow the holy ghost, which reveals the will of god, that we will become like Christ. Because it is because Jesus Christ had that one attribute of being able to PERFECTLY follow the will of the Father, that he was able to have all of those other attributes mentioned.

Hope you all have a great week
love hermana baugh

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Coincidence--I think NOT!!

First things first...
Congrats to my brother Bryce for receiving his call to serve in the "*name of city I can't pronounce and already forgot* Russia" mission! This whole week I felt like I was getting ready to open up my own mission call again I was so excited haha I practically ran to the computer this morning. I don't think you could be going to a mission more completely opposite than the one I am Bryce! I'm so proud of you for making the decision to serve. There's no doubt that you are called to that specific mission for a reason - being that it's the biggest mission in the world and there are only 20-50 missionaries there at a time. Hate to break it to you though...but I don't think you should plan on the family vacationing there post mission haha.

-Let's see, what can I tell you about that was interesting this week...I have some followup book of mormon stories for you! By the way the give at least one book of mormon away every day for the rest of my mission goal is going really well. It's been a month and I haven't missed a day! God's made it possible every day. We have given out more this past month than I have in my entire mission. We almost ran out...that was a close one. One of the very first ladies I gave a book of mormon to out in the street after making this goal was named Francheliz. She is from Puerto Rico and is 25 and has a cute little 5 year old. She said she would want to learn more about the book so we got all her information but since giving her the book of mormon we haven't really been able to have contact with her. So we "dropped her" (meaning we stop trying to contact her, drop her information from our area book) and literally minutes after doing that, she responded to the voicemail we had left her right before dropping her, saying she wanted to learn! So we met with her last week and she is really prepared! I have such a big testimony of dropping people...I know Heavenly Father won't let anyone who is actually ready get away. She wants to be  baptized and now has a date for october. She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and came to church on sunday! So that was pretty exciting. The only discouraging thing about Francheliz is that she's not married to her husband. That's always the hardest thing to find out. She calls her boyfriend "esposo" which is actually normal, everyone calls the person they live with their husband, but she was wearing a ring so I thought that maybe there was hope. hahha nope. But they do want to get married so there is hope!

- Another neat thing was one day it was about 8pm and I realized we still hadn't been able to give away a book of mormon. I was a little worried that we wouldn't be able to do it that day when before our last appointment for the night we ran into a man named Ino we had briefly met and taught about the restoration a few days before. We had given him a pamphlet and he agreed to meet back with us in a week so we could teach him the restoration for real. Well anyways we ran into him and he said "hey! I finished that pamphlet you gave me...it was too small! Do you have a bigger book I can read?" Did you just ask me that? Well of course I do! We were able to give him the book of mormon and explain it a little bit and challenge him to read and pray about it. He is now in 2 Nephi! He came to church sunday too, but is going to north carolina for a few weeks so we won't be able to teach him:( but he said he brought the book of mormon with him so he will probably be finished with it by the time he gets back haha.

- Hahaha funny thing that happened this week. So we left to go on an exchange with some other sisters in Tampa on Thursday. We were both going to be working in their area that day. Hermana Gibson was driving and on the way to the exchange a car swerved into our lane so we had to swerve into the other (while Im honking the horn- Hermana Gibson won't honk a horn for her life!) and hit another car. The lady who caused the crash though stoppoed and took all the blame. I felt really bad for her. But can you guess who was in the other car we had crashed into? The nonmember daughters of one of the members in our ward. Pretty funny how God works sometimes-- of all the people in Tampa we could have hit it was them! Coincidence, I think not! (insert edna mode voice here.) Luckily the crash wasn't our fault so we were on good terms with them and got to know them pretty well. And now we have ALL their information- phone number, insurance, address, you name it haha. Hopefully we can visit them soon and hit them with the spirit and the restored gospel this time around. hahah other funny thing that happened that day? So we finally get to the exchange and I was with a sister named sister rivers and we were biking through this neighborhood and i was following her, obviously not knowing where we were going and she made a turn and I completely crashed into her and we ended up in a ball with our bikes in the middle of this intersection in this neighborhood. Two cars were waiting at the stop signs and saw it all hahah it was pretty embarrassing. Two crashes in one day...pretty exciting.

- We also had the opportunity to teach the family members of a few members of the ward this week. One hermano, hermano Marin invited us over to eat colombian food and to teach his wife and his suegros ( parents in law) while they were visiting from colombia. I love colombians. They are some of my favorite people. And they have the best spanish in my opinion-- Sorry other countries! We were able to teach them about the book of mormon and they were excited about it. I was also able to teach hno Marin and his family how to use a dishwasher...hhahahah none of them had ever used a dishwasher in their life before it was pretty cute, they were so clueless.

- We were also able to teach hna ulloa's husband. She is a sweet older lady from the dominican republic that has been helping us a lot and coming to lessons. Her husband was actually the first one to be interested in the church and invitied the missionaries over but she was the one who actually got a testimony and was baptized and he hasn't wanted to since! It is really sad, being on my mission has made me see how incredibly hard it would be to marry someone who does not have a testimony of the same things you do. You spend your whole life just waiting to see if one day they will have and interest in learning and will do what it takes to gain a testimony of the gospel. We were able to share a message about prayer and hna ulloa wants us to start coming back more and more to see if now is his time to accept the gospel but he didn't seem too interested to me:( She just has so much hope, faith, and patience though I really admire her.

-ahh there was another cool miracle I wanted to tell you about but now there's no time..guess I will just write about it next week and pretend it happened then haha. love you!!! have a great week!!
Hermana Va

Monday, September 14, 2015

Omar's Baptism

Okay that's enough I will start with my email now.  Basically I'm just going to talk about the very best thing that happened this week. OMAR GOT BAPTIZED!!! Omar is 26 and from Mexico. He was an investigator that Hermana Phillips and I taught all the lessons to in Sarasota, one of the ones I mentioned that I knew would be baptized soon when I left. His story is a miracle. Ill tell it again so I can tell it all together. So maybe in June, we received an online referral from a member that was living in Ohio that we should go teach this guy named Omar who lived in our area. There wasn't much information though, just his address. and no contact information for the member who referred him. So we went by several times, trying different times of day to see if we could catch him at home. No luck. We left a few notes and pamphlets different times but didn't hear anything back and so deciding we had done all we could, we dropped the referral and stopped trying to contact him. Days after, our phone rang during studies and I picked it up and it was this Mexican lady from Ohio saying that she knew someone in Sarasota named Omar that we needed to go teach! This lady's name was Betty, and Omar was her sister's boyfriend. But her sister lived in Mexico so she put Betty up to finding the missionaries so Omar could be taught. So she gave us his phone number and more info about his schedule and when we could go by. It was so crazy to us that right after we had dropped him, Betty happened to find our number and give us more information. Heavenly Father always finds a way to get those who are prepared to the missionaries. So we met with Omar for the first time and he knew absolutely nothing about Jesus Christ. He had never even seen a bible before. He had never prayed before. That first lesson with him, we taught him about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And we taught him how to pray. It was from that first lesson on that I have seen his faith grow so much.  First, he started praying every night on his own.That first lesson with him, we taught him about the gospel of jesus christ. And we taught him how to pray. It was from that first lesson on that I have seen his faith grow so much.  First, he started praying every night on his own. Then he and his girlfriend started praying together over the phone. Then he finally got comfortable enough to pray in front of us. He works two jobs as a cook and works crazy hours, so didn't read the book of mormon the first week after we taught it to him. but after we showed him how to download it on his phone he read the book of mormon every day!! Every spare second on work breaks he would read it. He said his coworkers would look at what he was doing and say What is that? The scriptures? Omar, reading the scriputres? What has happened to you!  I've seen him change so much, he has so much faith now. He had a hard time being able to come to church because of work, and when we suggested doing a fast with him to get work off he did a full 24 hour fast with us and refused to stop even one minute early. When we taught him about the word of wisdom, he stopped smoking and drinking coffee IN A WEEK.  After leaving sarasota, the elders have been continuing teaching him and trying to help him get to church. He was baptized on Saturday and asked that I come to speak at his baptism. I got permission to go and it was such a great experience. He came in a white shirt and tie, the full get up. And know what else? He said he had broken up with his girl friend, the member, a few weeks ago. So his decision to be baptized was completely his own and between him and God. I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part in helping omar gain faith in Jesus Christ. It's people like him that make everything worth it.

Book of Mormon Stories

I can't believe school and college is all started up again. We live right across from the USF campus and I forgot what a pain college students are sometimes haha. When we are on bikes we have to ride through them and every single one of them has head phones in with music all the way up so no one hears us! This means we awkwardly have to wait behind them until they realize they are being stalked by strange people biking in skirts and actually wearing helmets. Its a wonderful thing.
- Sister Gibson had her birthday this week! I used all the cooking skill I have and made her a good breakfast and birthday cake. I swore I had gotten some brownies or something to make her but the morning of I realize I hadn't and had gotten blueberry muffin mix instead. I put the muffin mix in a cake pan though and played it off like I'd created this fancy new blueberry cake masterpiece- turned out pretty well. Sister Gibson's a great missionary and friend though, we got transfer emails this weekend and we are staying together here for at least another transfer so I'm excited to keep working with her.

- So this week I really got to witness the power of the Book of Mormon. A week ago at our zone conference, I decided to set the goal for myself to always carry the Book of Mormon in my hand no matter where we are or what we are doing and to give out at least one Book of Mormon every day for the rest of my mission. Every since I made that goal, I have been able to keep it and see a lot of miracles. There were several occasions when we would meet with a potential investigator, they would see the Book of Mormon out and say hey! I have that book! some missionaries I met in my country gave it to me years ago! It's so amazing when you meet someone who has already had contact with it. It makes me want to do even more to get the Book of Mormon into every ones hands because it just means they are one step closer to being able to receive the fullness of the gospel-- even if it just sits there in their book shelf.   One 17 year old we met though said that he still had the Book of Mormon some missionaries gave him once and he still tries to read it every day because it helps him learn about god. so cool. Throughout my mission I have really seen how the Book of Mormon helps us build our faith in Jesus Christ, and is a tool by which we can receive revelation. There was a lady named julissa that we met with in the hospital this week who is going through so much with her husband and kids, the court, drugs...you name it and she is going through it. She was absolutely defeated when we saw her. We weren't able to have too much time to talk to her, just enough to mark some chapters in the Book of Mormon and promise her that if she read them she would be able to start feeling the love and light of Christ in her life again. She texted us the next day saying how she had read and it had helped her a lot. Another woman that is from honduras named alba we are teaching we briefly introduced her to the bom in like 10 minutes, saying we would come back the next day to explain more. We came back and she had read all the way to 1 Nephi 4-- including all the introduction and the witnesses in front. She was so amazed how everything she was reading was in exact accordance with what the bible taught her. We teach her purely by using scriptures from the Book of Mormon and bible and she is so cool because we share with her one scripture, and then she won't stop reading to listen to what we were going to say about the scripture because she loved the scripture so much that she just wants to read the whole chapter right there.  She said she couldn't wait to get to Ether to see what happens with the Jaredites! hahah its so rare that you meet someone who truly comprehends the Book of Mormon and the divine role it has. I started the Book of Mormon again in spanish a few weeks ago with the goal to finish it in 3 months. I'm already half way through and I can say this time through it there are things that are clicking that have never clicked before. This book is truly amazing. The stories and experiences that the prophets and families and missionaries went through can strengthen and inspire us. I have never felt that so much before as I have felt it going through the Book of Mormon this time. Its amazing how much we can read it but still learn new things every time. Do everything you can to strengthen your testimony of this inspired book, I know it was translated from plates of gold to paper--but its still gold. Love you all, have a great week
hermana Va

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Im Walking on Water

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday, apparently everyone was too busy not laboring on labor day that we couldn't get to a computer yesterday. So instead we went out and labored in the vineyard and get to email today instead. We just got back from district meeting where we did a training on obedience. We read Matthew 14:26-30 where it talks about peter walking on the water to Christ. We focused on the points of how first, Peter created for himself his own opportunity to be obedient and to show faith. The Lord didn't command him to come first, Peter first asked the Lord to tell him to come unto him and then when the Lord said come, he obeyed and showed his faith by jumping. I love this. How our level of obedience and faith are completely within our control. If there is something that I have learned on my mission it is that. That I can create my own opportunities for my faith to grow. I don't have to wait. I create my own opportunities daily to grow my faith by finding different ways to put it to the test. Sister Gibson will tell you, that's one of my favorite things. Finding different ways to test my faith. I love thinking, waiting for the first inspired number or goal to come to mind and then saying ok. We have 40 minutes. I feel like we need to give out 3 Book of Mormons. Lets pray for help and get out and do it. And you know what? Me and Sister Gibson have NEVER had a time when we have prayed and done that, and it hasn't happened. And because we "decided" to put our faith on the line, we are able to see these things happen, our faith grows and we see miracles. We could use that 40 minutes of time, and just happen to give out 3 Book of Mormons, get back to the car and say hey we did some good work and just happened to give out 3 Book of Mormons. Or we can pray before, say we want to give out 3 Book of Mormons and ask God, will you help us? Go out, do it, and see it as a miracle. We miss those miracles in our every day life if we are not constantly searching for ways to test our faith. hope that all made sense.

- We also talked about how it was when Peter started to get distracted that he started to slip-- but that his immediate reaction was to cry out to the Lord for help. The lord stretched forth his hand, then gave him the opportunity to point out his own faults, the things he could do better next time, by asking Where did you doubt? We talked about what distracts us, what things we start to slip in in our obedience. About if our first instinct is to cry out for help and do something to correct ourselves when we notice a problem and on how to act on the promptings the spirit gives us of things we need to do better. We asked everyone the question-- If God came to you and told you to walk on water, what is the first reponse to come to your mind? If it is yes, good for you. If its more of a no, what can we do to change that?

- Bet you're all glad I don't normally write my letters after district meeting haha or I would just always be telling you what was learned and taught. I liked this one though.

-This week we got to go to transfer meeting--even though we weren't being transferred. I have to say it was kind of nice going just to watch the show and find out where everyone was going and not have to worry about getting moved ourselves. I was really tempted to bring some popcorn to eat while watching it all but...Sister gibson said no haha. probably for the best. We got some good training after the transfer meeting though. This week we also had Mission Leadership Council, which is when all of the xzone leaders and sister training leaders come together with the mission presidency and assistants and we talk about ways that we can improve the mission, and president speaks about different ideas and plans he has.  (Sister Phillips is now an stl with her companion, and also Sister Paulsen is in her area so that was neat being able to all see each other again. Elder Knowlton got transferred to a different area and is now a zone leader for a different zone. the new zone leaders are elder mendoza and madsen who are the both elders in my ward in Tampa 5. So all of our zone leadership is in the same ward haha its pretty funny) I learned a lot from this meeting though.

- Neat miracle for you all. A few months ago in Sarasota, Sister Phillips and I taught a man in jail named Zeferino who is from mexico. He had been taught by sister paulsen and mathis a few months before, but had been dropped because he still had a long time of being in jail. We heard that he was getting out soon though so phillips and I went to visit him. He was so sweet, and had been reading the Book of Mormon and all the lesson pamphlets in jail that whole time since the missionaries stopped visiting him. Oh yeah by the way, teaching in jail is sweet. We did it a few times in Sarasota. Basically you go to the jail, then you go back to these rooms where there are chairs and computers screens and a telephone next to each computer. Then you and the inmate basically skype over the computer but have to talk over the phone. Its fun. Anyways so we go visit him and he was going to get out a few days after. He said he still wanted to learn with the missionaries but would be staying in Tampa. So I sent his record to the tampa 5 missionaries. I guess the elders here had gotten it and not had too much luck being able to contact and teach him. So they sent the record to me when I got here. We were able to contact him and teach zeferino this week and he was so happy to be able to keep learning. We were even able to set a baptismal date with him. It was really special to be able to see a little bit of Gods plan and how all the pieces get put together. Hopefully we can help him keep progressing. (hahah mom I know what you are probably thinking, dont teach a man alone who just got out jail. ITs all good don't worry, he's a good person and we teach his family too:) ) There is always so  so much more that happens and is so significant in a week and I never get to say it. One day I will be able to tell you all all about serving my mission. Love you all and hope you have a great week.
con amor
Hermana Va

El Templo

I feel so off having pday on a Thursday today...but it's because I got to go to the temple in Orlando this morning! Each missionary gets the opportunity to go once in their mission...in the past they have done it right before the missionary goes home but now they are trying to get it so that everyone goes at their half way mark. So we went today with a few other companionships of sisters that have been out for about a year or so. It was a nice redemption moment today. No one besides maybe my family and then Hermana Newbill will remember this story...but back when Hermana Gibson, Hermana Newbill and I were in a trio last November we received a call saying that we would be able to go to the temple (because Hermana Newbill was going to end her mission). So we get all dressed up and excited, make the trip up to Tampa to meet the group heading up together and I open the door to the van and there is only one seat--- the senior couple taking us turns around and looks at me and said "oh I'm so sorry....did I not tell you that only  sister Newbill would be going?" Haha so instead of going to the temple we hung around Tampa for a few hours just two lil newbees thrown out into the streets of Tampa until they got back. Well fast forward like 8 months and here we are again together, in Tampa, and we actually got to go together! So that was cool. Not going to lie, in the back of my mind I was still waiting to open the van door and have her look at us and say "oh I'm so sorry, I meant to invite the other sisters!" But luckily that didn't happen. The temple is such a sacred and beautiful place. It always amazes me the things that we can learn when we got there, no matter how many times we've been. I look forward to going many many times in the future and learning something new every time.

- This week was a busy one. We had zone conference on thursday. Sister Gibson and I gave a short training on how important it is that we "master the fundamentals" such as the book of mormon, preach my gospel, and other tools we have been given to do missionary work. We related it to 1 nefi 17 how the lord called nefi to build a ship, something that he had never done before. He didn't question his calling though but instead asked where he could find ore to make the tools to fulfill his calling and god provided it. God has called each and every one of us to a specific mission, and its something that we have never done before. He has also given us the materials, or "ore", that we need to do this work but its up to us to actually apply them and make them into tools. If we don't apply what we study, then its just words on a page. If nefi hadn't done his part, that ore would have just been rock on the ground instead of a tool to build a ship.

- We also went on two exchanges this week, back to back! Sister gibson went to one area on wednesday, then we switched back, talked for a few minutes and I went to a different area with some other sisters in Tampa. It was a really good experience, I learned things from both of the sisters I got to work with.

- So one of the older ladies that I mentioned we started teaching the other week, her name is Carmen. She is the sister of one of the members here. She is actually progressing really well (hahaha despite the fact that she still can't hear hermana Gibson's voice!) When we started teaching her, she said I was born a Pentacostal, and I'm going to die as one! But this week, we had a really spiritual lesson where her brother was there and he bore his testimony to her of the power of the priesthood and how he has the power and authority to baptize her. As he was saying this, Carmen couldn't stop smiling and had tears in her eyes and said "I just feel so happy, I don't know why!" We explained to her how the spirit speaks to us, and she was able to recognize that. We felt inspiried to invite her to be baptized again, on the 26 of september, by her brother, and she said yes and that she would prepare for that day. That lesson strengthened my testimony of the importance of members baring testimony to their friends and family, because that is what is going to touch their loved ones most. Also it taught me that the spirit can still be felt, even when we have to yell during a lesson so that our investigator can hear us haha:)

- alright well Im going to get going so I can send some pictures, talk to you again soon on monday, que les vaya bien,
con amor
-Hermana Va

La voluntad de Dios

So zone pday last week turned out pretty well. We played ultimate frizbee, some other games, had the most amazing dinner ever (hahah we didn't quite coordinate actually getting the spaghetti people had brought into the croc pots other people had brought well enough so dinner might have been a little colder than anticipated but hey it all tastes the same right? haha im learning) and then we watched the saratov approach. By the way, Saratov Russia is exactly 100% opposite from my mission. I liked the movie though because It reminded me of how special and important it is to be serving a mission. So special that people will kidnap us. Just kidding mom, that only happens in movies about real life stories.

This week 3 people, yes on THREE different occasions by new investigators, told us that they thought that I was "la mama' and hermana gibson "la hija". People are thinking that I am hermana Gibson's mom! Im not sure who this has been more insulting to haha But if I hear it from one more person this week Im taking my daughter and walking out.

We taught two really cute old hispanic ladies this week. One was a member referral and the other her neighbor. We discovered though that old people literally cannot hear hermana gibson when she speaks because of the frequency of her voice. It was slightly sad/hilarious because she would say something, they would look at me and say....what did she say? Then I would say the exact same thing hermana gibson did and they'd be like oooohhhh ok. Haha we might have to stay away from that teaching pool for a while.

Funny experience of the week- we were going with a member named hermana horn to visit  our ward mission leaders wife who is a recent convert. We missed the turn to their house so we had to do a uturn on the side of the road. We cleared it but hermana Horn's car got completely stuck in the mud on the side of the road. We took off our shoes and got down to about shin deep mud (this is at like 830 at night mind you) and were trying so hard to push it out...I mean we are pretty buff but two hermanas in skirts vs. car doesn't turn out too well. We called our WML who looks like a dominican hercules, and he came to the rescue and 45 minutes later and completely covered in nasty mud we finally got it out. Did I mention that this happened on the lawn of a lonely old 95 year old man? I know because he came out with his cane and said "You destroyed my lawn!! I am a 95 year old man!" That made us feel great.  Definitely one for the journal.

So. I'm getting a little...farther along in the life of a missionary...And I've been distracted a little bit about knowing when I should go home. My release date is January 5th and school at BYU starts up a few days before that and my brother will probably leave for his mission days after I get home. So i had this conflict...it would work out so beautifully for me to go home a few weeks early, spend some time with family, get everything organized for school and start on time...but I don't want to end early if Heavenly Father needed me here more. I fasted on Tuesday to know what I should do. And that day I had a really powerful, spiritually led study. I learned so much that helped me receive my answer. One thing was that I came to the very clear realization that Heavenly Father would not have called me when he did, if he did not expect me to cross the finish line when I'm planned to. He wouldn't call me on a mission that He didn't have the intention for me to finish all the way. That would show that He didn't have faith in me! And me finishing even one minute earlier than what He has already planned would show that I don't have faith in Him. As I was studying the atonement that day, I was really touched by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Before Christ performs the atonement, he asks Heavenly Father if there would be an easier way. If he could take the bitter cup away. But he said not my will, but yours, and then performed the single most important act in the history of the world. Christ lived a perfect life. He did a lot of good things. If he would have just lived, then not done the atonement because it was hard and uncomfortable, then died, he still would have accomplished a lot of great things. But He would have missed the point of His entire purpose of coming to earth. I have been able to do a lot of good things on my mission and have learned a lot. But if I went home early just because it's more convenient for me, I will have missed the point. i wouldn't have learned faith and the ability to completely submit my will to God's.I cant make decisions in my life, just based off of what seems best according to my own understanding. If I want to fulfill the potential and mission heavenly father has for me, I need to follow his will. I finished my fast telling Heavenly Father that I am completely, 100% His. I have faith that if I completely love the Lord and get rid of all distractions, that Heavenly Father will make sure that everything works out with the things that are important to me when I return. So January 5th it is.

another miracle I couldn't help but include- last night we had an hour to find. I prayed that we would be led to two people who would accept the baptismal invitation. The very first door we knocked, the woman let us in into her home where her family and friends were sitting on the couch and she said these missionaries were just telling me they believe that Christ restored his church through a prophet (this is in spanish). For the next 30 min or so, we stood in this room and testified of the restoration of the priesthood. It was probably one of the most heated discussions I've had...They were completely opposed to it and were throwing everything they had at us to tear us and our beliefs down. It was pretty brutal. We invited them to pray, then politely excused ourselves. We walked out of that first door knocked pretty roughed up. But we kept going and received rejection at the next few doors. The hour was up and we still hadn't found the two people. We looked at each other though and said it didn't matter because we weren't going to stop until we did. and what do you know? The next door, a cute hispanic couple opened up and immediately invited us in when I said we shared a message about how we teach families how they can become eternal. We taught them the restoration and I've never taught anyone so genuinely interested in what I had to say. They accepted the baptismal invitation with ease. My testimony of the reality of my savior and father in heaven grew yesterday. I know He answers prayers.

Love you all. Que Dios les bendiga.
Hermana Baugh

Hermana "Vaugh": B's and V's sound the same in spanish

Well I have approximately 6 minutes to write this...we are having a zone pday today that is starting pretty soon and we have to get there to set things up. Hermana Gibson and I had to get the dinner together hahaha I feel like a relief society president.... I'm too young for this!! I'm excited though,  I get to play ultimate frisbee again! Promise I wont give myself heat exhaustion again mom, don't worry. Weekly highlights weekly highlights....ahh I dont even know what happened now that I'm writing this!

- I biked up a HILL! I had to change my gears on my bike for the first time in my entire mission. It was glorious.
- Ive realized that there is actually a very large population of people from the middle east here in Tampa. Over the past year, I have attained the instinct of just naturally starting to speak in spanish the minute I meet someone who is a little darker, and has an accent.  Usually Im right and they are hispanic. I have had to change that since being here hahah too many times have I started to speak to some innocent person in spanish here that just stares at me, waits for me to stop then says- Im from Iraq. Oh. Im so sorry.

- So the area that we had spent the majority of our time finding in last week is turning out to be too far to travel to... so basically we started our whole teaching pool over again this week. We discovered 15th street, this street that is right by us that is LLENO  of people who speak spanish!! There are a ton of apartments, in one of them we have yet to knock on a door and speak english. There have been so many nights where I don't want to stop talking to people because I just love how many people we are finding that are so willing to learn! We found 19 new investigators this week, I was able to share my testimony about the restoration with every single one of them. I have been praying to be able to strengthen my testimony of the restoration, and I know being moved here was an answer to that prayer because I have been able to share the message of the restoration I feel like at least 40 times since being here. How better way to grow your testimony than by sharing it? Im so grateful for the knowledge that I have of the gospel truths that have been restored and feel so blessed for the opportunity I have had this week to share that message with so many.

- Update on Ambar, John and Bryan. Not good----- all of them are moving this week!! Ambar is going back to the dominican republic a month earlier than she had been planning, and john and bryan are moving out of tampa. Haha hopefully these other people we have found will actually stay in Tampa!

- Cool story of the week. There is a high councilman that came to our ward this week. He is from cuba, is a doctor and I was talking to him and said I liked his tie. It had a scripture on it. He said he had a ton of them and he wears his scriputre ties to work every day, just as a simple way to do misisonary work. I turned around during sacrament meeting and behind me there was a lady who had never been to church before. I went and sat next to her and turns out she was one of these high concilman's patients, and because of one of his ties they had started talking about church and she came today to visit! She ended up loving church, and said we could come teach her this week. So cool how doing simple things like wearing a scripture tie is missionary work! Challenge of the week: Everyone get a tie with a scriputre on it and that is where the true hastening of the work will come from. Welp ended up taking more than 6 minutes to write this. oops. better go now, love you all have a great week!!!!
hermana vaugh
*funny side note, this is actually how the ward spells my name in the sacrament meeting programs. I find it pretty funny and love it. Vs and Bs sound the same in spanish.