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