Id like to welcome everyone to todays weekly email coming from yours truly in Bradenton, Florida. I will be conducting today. Alright so first on the agenda is all the new changes that have been happening in the Florida Tampa Mission this week. We had a zone training meeting this week in Tampa all day with the entire mission. Well I actually didnt even realize it was the entire mission at first because there wasnt that many people there until a little into the meeting when President Cusick announced that the entire Fort Myers zone and all the missionaries with it had been taken from our mission and given to the Ft lauderdale mission!! This is pretty much like the entire southern half of my mission that is gone now!! I had some friends down there so that was pretty sad news. This was also kind of depressing to me because that zone was pretty much where all the spanish work was. There is like nothing north of me!! There are only 7 hermanas in the mission now, 3 of which are already in english ward. We are a dying breed people a dying breed. So I will most likely be staying in Bradenton for half my mission now by the looks of it. It was just weird though that whole day because already in my head I had imagined spending pretty much the rest of my mission down south but now I definitely wont be! I feel like the head of our mission just got cut off haha. But its all good, I know that God has a plan to hasten His work so this just must be part of it. And as long as Im doing missionary work somewhere, it doesnt matter to me where that is or who Im with. I just really hope I get to stay spanish speaking my whole mission though, I love it so much. Also a big change that was made was that we are now down to sharing one ipad per companionship sooo my ipad as I like to say it "se fued". Or left. Its been kind of a hard change learning how to completely share one and work a little differently but I dont know I kind of like it. Im definitely more focused and we are more unified as a companionship now. But now we have to use computers to do emails like all the other normal missionaries and I have to get used to only having 90 minutes to read and write emails and write president. Ive been spoiled for so long so its kind of a hard change but its worth it because it means we are all being more obedient and will have the spirit to be with us even more!!
This week I just though I would share what my favorite part of the mission so far is. It is hearing people describe the Holy Ghost for the first time. This week while teaching Leslie (the 8 yr old daughter of silvia) she told us about how she got her answer that joseph smith was a prophet. She said that a little bit after she prayed she was thinking about it and then all of a sudden she just got the feeling that If she said the words outloud- I know Joseph Smith was a prophet- she would know that he was. So thats why she ran out and told us all that she knew he was a true prophet! She said that after she said it she knew. This was a really touching thing she shared with us...this is coming from an 8 yr old that has never been to church, never learned about God. I have always learned in church that a way that we can find and strengthen our own testimonies is in the bearing of them. I now know how true this is from what I learned from Leslie this week.
Silvia came to a baptism in the english ward with her kids this week. She was really nervous to go but we encouraged her it would be worth it haha. I had to translate for her so I think she understood at least a little bit of it hahaha. But she and the kids loved it. The next day when we talked to her about it she told us that she just felt so peaceful when she saw how happy the girl was after she got baptized. she just kept saying I don't know what it is... Ive been to so many other churches but I have never felt or seen as many good changes in my life and in my kids life as I have since you have been teaching me. I feel like I have so much more confidence in myself and in god now.
We were only able to see Ricardo once this week but it was a really good lesson. We asked him how he knew the book of mormon was true and he said I don't know... theres just something that compels me to learn more about this church. I know that if it wasn't true that that desire wouldn't be there. He said he feels like he could just flip open to any part of the book of mormon and it would give him an answer to a question. Then he flipped open my book of mormon then randomly just to prove his point and what do you know...opened right to 3 Ne 11 to my highlighted verses on the ordinance of baptism. He was like woah. I was like woah--- thats exactly what Ive been trying to guide this conversation towards!! It was really cool. I was like well if thats not a sign that you should be baptized then I don't know what is.
I truly am so grateful to have the opportunity to witness the changes that this gospel can bring to individuals in their lives. 'Yeah the mission is hard. Its the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But its by far the most rewarding. Its moments like these that make up for all the setbacks, canceled appts, language failures, awkward conversations, exhaustion, and challenges. It reminds me that I am in the right place and I am doing the right thing. I hope everyone has a great week...and if you would excuse me Im planning on using the rest of my pday riding around the marshes around here trying to find an alligator. Ive been in florida for 5 months now I think I deserve to see one. I think Ive learned enough from Steve Erwin the Crocodile hunter too to be able to wrestle it when I find it. Stay tuned.