Monday, August 3, 2015

"Not Much has changed but We Live Underwater"

Jonas brothers anyone? Please tell me you know that song. Haha because I feel like thats how my life has been this past week, the rain is crazy here! We've already gotten 3 flood warnings just this morning! But despite getting soaked a few times, we were on fire this week! But before I get on with the weekly update I can't believe I forgot to tell you the single most important thing that happened to me last first sunday in Tampa 5 when we were greeting all the members coming in, I MET MY VERY FIRST PERSON FROM URUGUAY. She is an older lady in the ward and when she told me where she was from I probably scared the poor thing so bad. Why is this such a big deal? I have met a person from every single spanish speaking country in my mission so far, except for Uruguay. I have been seaching for this Uruguayan for so long... Ive even got desperate enough to start asking random people on the street for referrals of people from uruguay. So that was a life event that happened.

Alright so last week we were finding basically 100% of the time since we are a 3rd set of missionaries they added us into this ward and so there wasn't any investigators or information or anything to go off of because we didn't exist before. It has been fun getting to know the area and trying to figure out where the best places to find spanish speakers are... we have gotten really good at using google maps on our ipads and zooming in all over our area and skoping out places like trailer parks or is pretty cool.  We had a TON of success this week. I can't tell you how much my testimony of saying specific prayers has grown. Every time before we would go out finding, we would pray and tell heavenly father exactly how much time we would spend in the area, and what we wanted to accomplish. Whether it was "find 2 new investigators, and get 3 peoples information" or " teach 2 lessons and receive a referral" I'm not lying we achieved every single thing we set out to do every day. We ended up finding 13 new investigators and teaching 29 lessons, I haven't taught that many lessons since I was in Bradenton! And we started this week with 3 people in our area book!  Ambar is doing really well, we were able to set a baptismal date with her this week. 2 other of the new investigators we found came to church on sunday named john and brian. Ill keep you updated on them!

 Our first training we gave in district meeting went well this week, we have zone meeting tomorrow and will be training and president cusick will be there hahah so pray it goes well! Real quick I just want to share a thought about something I was studying this week. I was reading in the book of mormon and about the Liahona. So the liahona has two needles, not one. It says that one points the way they should go, so what does the other do? I was thinking about that, how one needle must represent the will of god and the direction he wanted them to go, and the other must be the will of man. The only possible way that they would be able to know which needle is the will of god would be if both needles were lined up, or rather that both the will of god and the will of nephi and his family were the same.  It is only when we sacrifice our will to that of god that we will be able to progress and find our way through life. We will never know which direction he needs us to go if our will is not aligned with his. Giving god back our time, our talents, our strength and energy is just giving him back what is already his. We can only truly give to him when we give or our heart and our mind---our will. Its the only thing that is not His. Think about what you can do and change in your own life to make sure that your will is aligned with gods:) love you all, have a great week!!
love hermana va

"Im in the Lightning Capitol of the World...Hey!"

Basically this week has been a roller coaster. Hna Gibson and I went up to transfer meeting on wednesday, and after anxiously waiting for so long I finally got called up and President at the pulpit looked at me and asked "Hermana Baugh, where do want to go?" "....Whereever the Lord needs me to." "no really, where would you like to go?" ...."Tampa cinco" "Does that mean 5? Because thats where your going with Hermana Gibson to serve as Sister training leaders in the tampa zone." ahh I can't tell you how happy we both were. WE ARE IN A SPANISH WARD PEOPLE. WARD, DID YOU HEAR THAT? And we are in Tampa!! sister training leaders are like zone leaders but you know, girls so we are in charge of training in district meetings every week and helping the sisters in the zone. It is also really weird because Elder Andrew Knowlton is one of the zone leaders so we are working with him!  ayayay I have like zero time today, so I will just give some highlights of these past two crazy days

- Beneva now has two sets of missionaries, elders and sister phillips actually got to stay! And is with an english sister but im sure they will continue to do great work:)

- There are 3 sets of missionaries in my ward. One is a new elder named elder Walton...Sister walton his sister was in my district at the CCM and is the tall one with brown hair I was always with!

- The rest of the mission went to a rays baseball game this week in tampa but hna gibson and I went to a baptism they had in cortez that night instead with the other hermanas, it was cool going back again and seeing the branch.

-It has rained almost non stop since I got here, it really is the lightning captial of the world and is living up to its name!

-hna gibson and I are opening up a new area in this ward so we started out with absolutely no investigators or anything, we prayed and asked heavenly father to help us set some goals when we got here of lessons we were going to teach, investigators we were going to find and those who would come to church--- we hit every single one of them!! We had an investigator at church on sunday named Ambar, she is from the dominican republic and absolutlely lvoed church. We had found her and two of her friends she lives with the day before.

- The ward is so great. We were able to meet with both the bishop (BISHOP)  and WARD mission leader personally and show them we are here to work and help support the missionary work of the ward. The bishop is from Ecuador and WML from Dominican Republic, all the leaders here are so young!

- the two biggest groups of hispanics we have been finding here are puerto rican and dominican republican

-I am going to write more next week but I really just feel like ammon right now, boasting of my God this week and how great He is. We started on Thursday with absolutely no one to teach but saw so many miracles these past few days and now things have already picked up! I love the ward here and love that I get to work with hna gibson again. We have both grown so much these past 6 months since I was training her, barely more than a trainee myself. We have been able to get right to work here and put everything we have learned into practice and I feel like we work with such unity its amazing.  God really does lead His work. love you
love hermana baugh

Nos vemos...nos vamos

 So we got the transfer email on saturday night and we were totally shocked to see that both hermana phillips and I are being transferred. I couldn't believe that when I saw it, especially because our area is doing so well. For example in the past month we have found 24 investigators, and even had 7 at church on Sunday! We have been working really well with the members and have built really strong relationships and trust with them. My automatic feeling when we found out we were going was one of dread, because I just love these people and this area so much that the last thing I want to happen is for the work here to slow down. But after praying a lot, Heavenly Father reminded me that this isn't my work nor my mission, it is His. Things might not go according to my plan, but they also do according to His. And His is just a little bit more perfect than mine. Okay maybe a lot more perfect than mine. We came to the realization as well that we are teaching a lot of men right now, and they will probably be able to progress a lot better with the elders that will be coming in. I think that was the main factor in the revelation that president received about our area. A little miracle that happened this week was that we met every single one of our proselyting goals this week (goals for lessons taught, people at church, progressing investigators, new investigators found, etc.) . I can't even remember the last time that has happened to me. We always pray to know what goal to set and then try our best to achieve it during the week but a lot of times it doesn't happen. But this week, I think Heavenly Father knew we would be a little down knowing this would be our last week here and wanted to let us know He was proud of the work we had done so he helped us to reach every single one.Sunday was rough saying goodbye to all the members.  Everyone was devastated that they were taking us away. Our branch president, his wife, branch mission leader and his family and a few others even started tearing up when they were talking to us. I might have shed a few too hahah. Ima bebe. Branch council was also slightly panicking during our meeting because they realized that they won't have anyone to play the piano now that I am leaving! Ahh man I love the beneva branch so much. It's definitely hard to go. The assistants already called and told us that hermana phillips will be going to cortez (IM SO PUMPED ABOUT THIS SHE IS GOING TO MY OLD AREA) to be with hermana jahnel and hermana bryan (who hermana gibson was training). I am so grateful for these past 3 transfers I've had with hermana phillips and for having the priviledge to be her trainer. I have learned so many things from her, a lot more than Im sure she has learned from me. We have a lot of great memories together here in Beneva, and I have to say it is kind of nice that we are going out together. Im excited to hear about her progress and success in Bradenton.  Me and hermana gibson will be going up to transfer meeting together on wednesday to find out where we will be going. We are the only two hermanas being transferred so I am really anxious to know if we will both be going english, or will be opening a new area together. Two elders were just taken out of the tampa 5th ward which is the only spanish ward in the mission and Im hoping I go there! but ive been praying to have the mindset that it doesn't matter to me where I go or what language, because wherever I do it is where Im needed.

- A few updates on the most golden investigators we have been teaching here before I leave, so that you guys will know who Im talking about when I share the news when they get baptized. There is Omar- whos girlfriend is a member in mexico and was an online referral from her. When we started teaching him, he had no faith, had never prayed, and had never even seen a bible. Since then, he has been praying and reading in the book of mormon every day- little bits and pieces between his two jobs he has as a cook. He stopped drinking coffee and smoking within a week after learning the word of wisdom and said he has never felt better in his life. He did a full 24 hour fast with us last week to be able to get work off for sundays, and wouldn't break it until it had been exactly 24 hours, and that was while he was at his job all day working with food! And guess what? He got work off for Sunday yesterday!! But ofcourse, right when we are about to take a big step satan is always right there. His alarm didnt go off and he slept in until 130 and was even late to his second job!! ahh that was frusterating. But he is determined to be there next week. He even picked his own baptismal date of August 22 and he's working on earning enough money to go back to mexico to marry his girlfriend, so they can get married in the temple one day. Im excited to hear how he continues to progress

-there is also Waldo. He is a man who just moved here from Cuba two months ago that I stopped and talked to while we were on bikes about a week and a half ago. He loves to study history and already knew quite a bit about the history of the church. He came to church the day after we street contacted him without teaching him anything, which like hardly ever happens. And of course it was the sunday that we had a big meeting and talked about all the same  sex marriage legislation and it got kind of heated haha. So we were worried but we taught him quite a bit last week and he came to church again! He has a lot of potential. It was really cool, the day we taught him about the book of mormon I had just finished it again in spanish that morning and prayed about it so I was able to share my newly strengthened testimony with him of it. He calls me Vietnam for some reason because apparently when I first introduced myself as hermana baugh on the street, he thinks my name sounds like Vietnam. hahah Ill miss him and all my cubans here.

-ah man there are so many more that i've never even told you about. one more is marta, a friend of celfia (one of my recent converts) that she brought to church on sunday. She just moved here from mexico and she absolutely loved church, we taught her later that day with celfia about the book of mormon and she loved it and us and was so sad that we wouldnt be able to keep teaching her!

--man theres so much more I wanted to write about. I love this work so much I could talk about all the miracles I see every day for ages. I hope everyone has a good week, please pray that the work and the people here in sarasota can continue to progress.
love hermana va

525.600 Minutes

So this past week on July 9th I turned a whole one years old. 525,600 minutes if i remember correctly from that rent song. didnt want to do the actual math haha. To celebrate we went to souplantation and then I had frozen yogurt for the first time in a whole year. Oh and also I TAUGHT AN AMISH COUPLE. Ok so we knocked on their door and I told them a little bit about our church and they accpeted me saying a prayer for them so Im counting it. And they weren't just any amish couple, they were mr. and mrs. yoder. Yoder's is the big amish restaurant out here. Mission success? I think yes.

- This week we worked hard like usually and we taught the most lessons that I have taught in like 7 months! If I get transferred this next transfer, I would feel pretty proud of the work that has been done here in Beneva. We have really built up the area here. This week I wanted to focus on trying to help get the members even more involved with missionary work and I thought of this idea called "prayer-grams" to help them you know, "get with the prayer-gram" more. Its like deliviring a candygram but instead of delivering candy we asked the members to think of someone we could go to and say a prayer with that was going through a hard time or something. I thought it was pretty clever until I realized that I am in a spanish branch so that name wouldn't even make sense to them haha. It's all good, made up a spanish one. We are calling them una "secreta oracion" and since I play piano in sacrament meeting, I've got some power when it comes to choosing the sacrament hymns so we sang "secreta oracion." It turned out pretty well and we got a few referrals from it and will hopefully get some more this week!

- Something cool that happened this week was one day we prayed to find two new investigators, and we ended up finding 2 new long lost members that day. One was a 92 year old lady from Honduras named Marie. We knocked on a door and a nurse opened it and it was an old persons home for old hispanic ladies. Jackpot. She welcomed us right in and led us straight to Marie because she likes to listen to la palabra de dios. I invited her to be baptized our second lesson and turns out that she was baptized into the mormon church when she was like 40, one of the four baptisms she has had in her life. Tiny detail she forgot to mention when she met us haha. I told her, well I mean one of those baptisms has to count right?

-the other was a man we talked to outside and offered a prayer to and he was from Chile and was like wait are you mormons? I am too! he and his wife had stopped going to church here because there hadnt been a spanish branch in sarasota a few years ago. but now there is! His name is juan and when I told him my name he swears that it was an elder baugh that baptized him in chicago in 1992 so dad a little homework for you, do we have any relatives that went there??

-Sorry going to have to cut it a little short this week. Basically alls well and the work is great. Que les vaya bien!
Hermana Va