Monday, July 24, 2017

3 cakes, 2 baptisms, 1 heck of a birthday.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy. You guys. I'm FREAKING out, but am also slightly relieved that I only have to write 3 more of these stinkin emails. I'm pooped. 

I wanna give a mad shout out to everyone that contributed to making my birthday so special!! Only 363 days until the next one!! πŸ˜‰ 

Are you ready to hear about the events of this week? I hope so. Cause there were a lot of them. 

Pday was full of running errands and writing emails. AND GUESS WHAT. We found our keys!! Some loving soul turned them in to the lost and found at Wal-Mart. I had to say a prayer of gratitude. It was not fun not having our keys for a week. 

We were supposed to have a lesson with our super solid new investigator, Mike, but he was unavailable. He's a single dad and his son was teething.. it was just a really bad time. The poor guy is having a rough time and I just want to help him so bad! If only we could hold babies... πŸ˜’ 

We were also supposed to have a lesson with Sabrina, but that fell through as well, as she got her biopsy results back and they weren't good... everyone pray for Sabrina!! 

So the rest of Monday was filled with some finding. So fun.

We went to service at Heart and Home and had a grand ole time. 

Then we had gotten a call from our neighbors, whom we met when we first got to the area in May. Yolanda and Jose told us they were going on a trip and wanted us to take care of their plants while they were gone! So of course we agreed to help. They told us when they come back, they are going to cook us a Columbian breakfast. Oh, and Yolanda kept telling us how beautiful we were. I think I'll keep her around. 

We got a media referral for a Bible so we contacted her and will be going back to read with her. We were supposed to see Andy (the one whose friend in Utah called us last week), but he had to work. So that made me sad. 

BUT! Remember how I told y'all last week about Elder and Sister Hogman taking us to Taco Bell? Well, Elder Hogman is a boss and totally got our cashier's info, so we contacted him over Facebook this week. And I've just been completely blown away by this kid! His name is Michael. When we asked him is he'd had a chance to look at the website on our pass-along card, he said he didn't, but then he told us this: 

"I've been raised in the Christian faith most of my life but, my own denomination has not been what I thought it was. In time I've found that it is getting harder to connect to my faith and so I've been searching for the right path. Brian my coworker mentioned some of what Mormon church's believe and it seemed to be logical to me. But how does one take the steps to becoming a member of a Mormon church or even where is one near Deltona. Before I had my family to guide this path for me. They told me where to go and what to do. The same for the military.  Now I'm just having a hard time in figuring out what is the process for this so I can take the steps to this."

😳 πŸ˜³ πŸ˜³ Well sir, I do believe you've come to the right people. We can certainly help you with that. I'm SO excited to teach this guy!!! We sent him the Restoration pamphlet through Facebook Messenger, and the next day, he told us he'd read it and he'd looked into the additional study in the back. He then proceeded to ask "...I don't have a Book of Mormon. Do I get one Barnes and noble?" THIS GUY!!! So he's downloaded the Book of Mormon app and we get to teach him tomorrow!! YASSS!! 

We had a little dinner and FHE with the Montalvans and Danielle and her kids that night. It was so fun. Danielle was just totally making herself at home at the Montalvans' home. She kills me. I just love her. 

We had a return appointment with Lavender and her brother, Sam, but they weren't home. UGH. Lavender's boyfriend, DJ, was home though and we got to talk to him on the doorstep. "Take every opportunity to talk about the gospel!" He told us he'd been taught about the Book of Mormon before but never really understood it until now, when we explained it to him and read from it. That was a #payoffmoment. 

We saw Sister Davis and after reading with her in the Book of Mormon, as per usual, we made a calendar with her of when she will be smoke free! Sister Schwendinger told me just yesterday that she remembered when we were helping her smoke only 12 cigarettes a day, and now she's only smoking 4- and they're lite cigarettes at that! She said the closing prayer and holy moly. THE SPIRIT. She cried, I cried. It was just a big cry fest. She is SO close to making it to the temple. I can feel in it my bones!!!

We are teaching the 5th Sunday lesson in 3rd hour next week, so we met up with the Elders to plan what we wanted to discuss and how we could get the members excited about missionary work! It was very productive. I made Sister Clark's famous Oatmeal Fudge bars that morning and the Elders ate them all.. πŸ˜‘ But it's fine. We also took some fun pictures before we left:

I love my district.

Except for Elder Vastbinder. 
Literally this describes us all so well. He and I are always arguing like brother and sister, and the other two just sit back and watch πŸ™„ 

But really though, we all homies πŸ€ž 

Then we went to our appointment with Marcine! And our sweet friend Sister Kuhne came with us. She is FIRE πŸ”₯ Except Marcine wasn't home... but it's fine because her daughter, Tracey, was and we got to go in and teach her!! She is super prepared for the gospel. And Sister Kuhne straight up offered to give her a ride to church without us even having to ask her to. πŸ™πŸΌ Bless her. 

We visited with a less-active and she told me that whenever the time comes for me to go home (I told her I still had a few months left...), that I could take home one of her avocado trees πŸ₯‘ Hahaha that's super sweet and all, but I don't think that will fit in my suitcase ma'am. πŸ˜¬ 

We had a super fun lesson with Danielle and Mason at the park! It was on Enduring to the End, and we had a bunch of index cards with all the different principles of the gospel on them. We taped them up all over the play ground, and they had to run and find them all. 
Then we sat down and whatever cards they had, they had to explain the principle. And they did SUCH a good job! It was amazing to see how much their gospel knowledge had grown in the last 2 months. I love them so stinkin much. 

We had dinner with Sister Scott and Brother Kessler. They're getting married in April and they are just the cutest. So so so cute. We talked with them about missionary work, and they are both on FIRE!!! Love them.

Then we had a super productive ward coordination meeting and I was a happy sister missionary. I love productivity. 

AH. MY LAST ZONE CONFERENCE. It was a bittersweet day. We sang "Called to Serve" as the opening Hymn and I just cried. UGH. WHY DO I CRY SO MUCH??? 
It was a super good meeting and just me more pumped to do the work. Zone Conference always does that though. 
When Sister Kearl took this picture, she said she was looking at a division of the Army of God ❤ I love missionaries. 

Speaking of which...
I really REALLY love THESE missionaries!!! First day at the MTC to last Zone Conference.. Dear Time, Where have you gone??

That day, Sister Schwendinger finally got her driving privileges, which means I DON'T HAVE TO DRIVE THE REST OF THE TRANSFER πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ™ŒπŸΌ The poor thing though, it stormed really bad that day and she hadn't driven in over 2 months.. πŸ˜¬ she did a good job though. I had to take a picture of our feelings on the reversed roles:
Don't worry, we were at a stop light. And yes, that's gum in my mouth. We had just finished studies and I forgot to spit it out. Until we took this picture. Talk to the hand πŸ€š 

So we were on our way to a return appointment, but the roads were seriously flooding. The Spirit kept telling me to just go straight to the church. So I vocalized the impressions I was receiving and we both agreed that it would be better to pull over at the church and wait out the storm inside. It was lightning and thundering super hard. It was like a light show outside, no joke  

That night was actually the Relief Society activity anyway, so we got to spend some time getting to know some of the Sisters in the Ward. I sat with a table of Spanish sisters and they taught me to habla espanol. 

We had a lesson with Austin where we read about the Title of Liberty. I stinkin love that story. AH. Austin is doing pretty well. He says he still wants to be baptized, but he actually doesn't plan on wandering anywhere else, like he had told us before. The Spirit has that effect on people πŸ˜Š 

We had a lesson with Audra over Facebook in the morning. She's doing good. She's progressing, but its slow. She wants to be baptized, but she's still attached to her church.. she's between a rock and a hard place right now. 

After some weekly planning, we had a yummy dinner with the Castros. Their kids had me rollin. I miss hanging out with kids, man. 

Then we saw Danielle, Mason, Tristan, and Abigail! We talked about temples and got them excited to go someday! We made a plan with Danielle to take her within the next two weeks to do baptisms!! She and Mason are so on fire about the gospel, it just makes my heart so stinkin happy. 

πŸŽ‰ SATURDAY, JULY 22, 2017 πŸŽ‰ 

First thing I heard when I woke up was "HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER YANCE!!!" My companion is so cute. She decorated the apartment for my birthday! I love her so much. I spent the morning opening a few cards and gifts 
I am so blessed!

After going through some pictures, I realized that the end of opening my presents ended much like it did last year:
☝🏼 Happy Birthday Girl ☝🏼 

Also that morning, MY SNEAKY MOM (who was in Orlando for a couple of weeks for a teacher workshop) baked me a cake and had a member bring it to me!! I LOVE YOU MOMMY!!! That was in the top 3 of my favorite things that happened on my birthday. 

The Elders brought me a chocolate cherry coke and jalapeΓ±o cheddar poppers from Sonic. Bless them.

The most important thing was that Danielle and Mason got baptized!!! 
They look good in white, don't they?? 

This was such a special day. So very special. Danielle and Mason had literally been waiting years to get baptized, and they were finally able to do it this weekend. I feel so blessed to have been able to teach them. Oh, how I love them. When Mason came up out of the water, he just looked so peaceful. And Danielle was crying. Surprise, so was I. Then she was baptized and I cried even more. What a beautiful day.

Sister Schwendinger and I taught the Restoration to those in attendance during the time Danielle and Mason were changing. There were quite a few non-members there and it was just so special to be able to let them have that spiritual experience of hearing about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then Elder Anderson and I sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" to the tune of "Come Thou Fount", with Sister Schwendinger at the piano. Ah. The spirit, I tell you!

After the baptism service, Danielle brought out cake #2... which had my first name on it hahahahahahahahahaha πŸ˜‚ 
Well, it is my name πŸ’πŸΌ

Danielle was so funny; she said "I thought this would be a healthier cake because it's filled with berries" πŸ˜‚ Yes, Danielle, it's much more nutritious this way πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ 

After some clean up, we zoomed over to our dinner appointment with Sister Banos and her roommate. They were so sweet!! They got me a tres leches cake πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ (cake #3). Her roommate, Dianne, is not a member, but she was asking all kinds of questions, so naturally, we taught her the Restoration. When we got to the part of the Book of Mormon, I felt prompted to share an experience I had had in reading from the Book of Mormon. I told her of the time I was in the MTC and I was just feeling super inadequate and didn't feel like I could be a missionary. I told her about how Brother Ditto pulled me aside and talked to me about my fears. (Side note: I'm so grateful for my MTC teachers. What a blessing they are in my life.) He had me read Mosiah 24:14-15. I told Dianne of how I sobbed when I read those verses, because I felt that God was speaking directly to me. I testified of how that's how the Book of Mormon works and how it was written specifically for our day. The Spirit filled the room and now Dianne is reading the Book of Mormon. There is power in that book, y'all. And if you haven't read it, I exhort you to do so.

We visited my sweet friend, Sister Moseley and talked about the gospel in a round about way.. she had recently watched a religious movie on Netflix that had some false doctrine so we had to clear some things up, haha. 

Then we stopped by DJ/Sam/Lavender again but SURPRISE no one was home. 

Then my birthday was over. But it's fine, because next year is just around the corner.

Danielle and Mason were confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost!! Their blessings were so very special, and I am so excited for them to receive all of the wonderful things Heavenly Father has in store for them. 

The Sacrament Hymn was "I Stand All Amazed", and as I opened my mouth to sing the words to that beautiful song, I just began to cry. I was overcome by the Spirit. I was just thinking of how truly wonderful it is that our Savior loves us ALL so much that He was willing to die for each of us. Me, you, the homeless, the robbers, the addicts... everyone. And how wonderful it is that I get to share that message with everyone-that this gospel is for every single one of them. I cried the whole song. I love this gospel more than life. 

We visited a less-active family that afternoon then had AREPAS with the Vidals and talked about some good ole' missionary work. Someone please tell the Sister Missionaries in my home ward that they'd better be prepared to hit the pavement harder than they ever have here in 3 weeks. Gosh I just love being a missionary.

Well, this email is officially longer than your morning paper, so that's my cue. 

Love y'all so much and thanks for the bday love!!!
❤ Sister Yance

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