^^Nicknames Baby Schwendinger and I have given each other. You shoulda been there.
I feel like I've been staring blankly at the screen of my iPad for hours, dreading writing my weekly email.. it always takes so stinking long. But it's all worth it. Something that makes it more bearable is that this is the part where I announce that MY BIRTHDAY IS IN 12 DAYS. I REPEAT: MY BIRTHDAY IS IN TWELVE STINKIN DAYS. You may mail all your cards and affectionate gifts to:
Sister Lauren Yance
10502 Satellite Blvd Suite E
Orlando, FL 32837
I'll be waiting.
In other news, I am still absolutely in love with my calling. Have I ever mentioned how much I adore being a missionary? It's the literal greatest thing I've ever done in my life, hands down. Man, I love it. And this was a really good week too. It went by a lot quicker than the last two.. I have a feeling that these last 5 weeks are going to be a rollercoaster...
It was a wild pday. Sister Schwendinger and I made a meal plan so that we can eat better, and we actually stuck to it this week! I'm so proud of ourselves. We ran around with the Hermanas for a little bit because they had some errands to run. The mission had to close down their area so they could spread out our supply of missionaries. So we inherited one of their investigators, Austin, who actually doesn't speak a lick of Spanish. He did have a baptism date of July 8, this past Saturday, so with all of the craziness, we spent our evening trying to coordinate everything for the baptism and finding time to meet with him, because our schedule was JAM PACKED. Sister Hernandez also fed us dinner and it made me happy. She made arepas 🏼 Them suckers are yummy.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!!
Danielle had asked us to come help her clean her house for a couple of hours. Remember our investigator Suleidy? Well she's been needing a babysitter and so we put her and Danielle in contact and things have worked out pretty well so far! Suleidy was going to come see Danielle's home so Danielle wanted to make sure it was perfect. I picked up a lot of barbies and cleaned a lot of toys from underneath beds... it took me back to when I was a kid... we won't talk about that though. After we cleaned, we taught them about tithing at it was a super fun time. I don't get to use my play money very often so this was prime. Plus I got rid of some of the candy that's making me the size of Texas.
We had our first lesson with Austin since we had inherited him. We just did a lot of asking questions and gauging his gospel knowledge since he was about to get baptized. Austin expressed to us that he's a "nomad" and he likes to explore different things. He doesn't stay in one place for too long. He said that he wants to get baptized to feel cleansed and just feel better... so we had a lengthy discussion on baptism and how big of a deal it is. Long story short, we decided it would be best if we took him off of his date for baptism and just help him understand the gospel better. It was sad, but it was the best decision to be made.
We went home and finished our studies and training and you know what we did while we waited?? We made BOILED PEANUTS, because you simply can't celebrate the USA without them. I've taught SIster Schwendinger the proper way to eat a boiled peanut, like a true southerner. She's also learned the proper way to pronounce it: "bulled peanuts". I'm so proud of her
That night, Brother and Sister Danforth threw a party for the ward and told us to invite everyone. So we invited all of our investigators, and three of them came! Danielle (and her two youngest kids), Rod, and Austin were all there! It was a fun time. Danielle was cracking us up every 7 seconds. She's a hoot. We took some pictures together, but they're on her phone and she hasn't sent them to us yet, so those will have to wait. But we did get this beauty:
Sister Schwendinger's mom and also my dear friend Leilani Holloway both sent us some 4th of July gear, so we were set. We had a bunch of glow sticks that we broke out when it got dark and we basically made friends with every child there.
Brother Roseborough does professional pyrotechnics, so he and his family put on a really sick firework show. I LOVE AMERICA.
We had District Meeting, which was way fun. We got a couple of new members of our district. One of them is brand new and he's from Thailand. He's a spunky one. He told me dancing isn't a sport. He doesn't know who he's messing with..
The rest of that day was really busy because Sister Schwendinger had a doctor's appointment in Orlando and I had a chiropractor appointment up here. So there was a lot of driving.. I can't wait for Sister Schwendinger's mom to send in her driving record so she can be the driver. Missionaries usually don't drive their last transfer, and I am totally okay with that. It takes a toll on my back.
We had a super effective coordination meeting and then our night was over. Exciting.
We put in some service at Heart and Home. This time we hung a lot of clothes and reorganized them. In that process, I stumbled upon a super cute dress and a gave in and bought it.
And it only cost me $3.60. I told y'all I have a testimony of thrift stores 🏼
We had to fill up our gas tank, so I took Sister Schwendinger to Wawa for the first time. It was glorious. I love that place. Still not as good as Bucee's, but they sell Fruit Punch Snapple, and that's all I need in life.
We stopped by one of our newer investigators, Jessica. She hasn't been responding to our messages, so we wanted to pop in on her and find out if she was actually interested in learning. Well her brother answered the door and told us that she wasn't home. So we taught him instead. Come to find out, Chris has experienced a LOT of sorrow in his life. He is really prepared for the gospel. I shared a scripture with him from Alma 36 and he was diggin it. We got his info and set up a return appointment. He was the coolest.
We visited our sweet friend, Sister Schuster (the 96 year old blind lady) and she informed us that her daughter was about to take her out to the club for karaoke. So she practiced on us! She sang "Because of You" and "Pennies from Heaven" and my heart was soaring. She is just precious. I love visiting her.
That night, we had back-to-back lessons over Facebook video chat. It was the coolest!
First, we taught Austin the Restoration. It went pretty well. He really does understand the apostasy and Joseph Smith's story. He's just working on the spiritual confirmation.
Then we taught Solomon. We've been having a really tough time with him... I'm honestly frustrated. He's clearly getting answers to his prayers, but he's too chicken to fess up to it. Darn kids. We taught him about faith and I shared a really personal experience that I think helped him understand what it truly means to take a leap of faith. I just hope it sinks in.
After that lesson, I had a little moment to myself and realized that everything that has happened in my life has really prepared me for my mission. I've experienced a lot of hard things and I haven't particularly been a fan of them. But they've helped me to be a much more effective missionary than I would have ever been without them. Heavenly Father really does know best, doesn't He?
We taught Audra over Facebook Chat again! She is SO much more receptive over messenger than she is in person. I'm so stinkin grateful for technology! This was her response after we explained the great apostasy:
MANNA FROM HEAVEN I TELL YOU
Ahh! Audra is currently praying about being baptized on
Then we had weekly planning.
And those are about the most noteworthy things that happened on Friday.
Saturday we did some finding. I was getting discouraged at one point because people weren't answering their doors, or weren't interested (I've told y'all that "knocking" isn't the most successful way to find, right?) So I was done with that area. We started walking to our car and the spirit was all "go try that house" and I was like "no, I just watched a guy leave that house like 2 minutes ago" and the spirit said "JUST DO IT SISTER YANCE". And that's when we met Kourtney. She and her husband have 12 kids! But 9 of them are foster children, and she's about to adopt 3 of them. What a saint! So that was a miracle. Always act on the first prompting, folks. And don't ever tell the Spirit that He's wrong...
We met with Chris and it went SO well. We taught him the Restoration, but mainly focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Chris told us that he decided to meet with us because he wants to change, and when we knocked on his door, he took that as a sign that he could. We taught him to pray and now he is preparing for baptism on as well! It will be a close call because he currently works every Sunday, but we are full of faith that God can make anything happen! And if it isn't , it will be another day.
We had dinner with Sister Thompson at this cute little diner in Osteen, appropriately named "The Osteen Diner". They have chickens and sheep around the back of the diner and that made my heart happy. This rooster also made me happy:
He was a little shy
We visited our friend Patty and prayed with her. She's had some dental work done recently that's been causing her lots of pain. The poor thing.
Then we taught Sister Moseley-always a good time.
Our last stop of the night was the Sanchez Family-they are members, but haven't been to church in a while. Remember Kris? It's his family. AND I LOVE THEM. Sammy, the 11 year old son, comes up to me and says "has my mom said anything about your makeup yet?" Uuhhh... no? "Well she's going to. She loves makeup." The kid knows his stuff. It's true though, Sister Sanchez and I talked bout makeup for a hot minute and she informed me that Urban Decay is coming out with a new eyeshadow palette called "Heat". I about passed out. Moving on. We built a really good relationship with them. We talked about the importance of families and staying in close bonds by having family prayer. So we all knelt right there and had a family prayer together
This was the best. Two of our investigators showed up to church without us having to remind them! One of them hasn't come the entire time we've been here! Her name is Darha, and she's what we refer to as an "eternigator"-someone that investigates the church for eternity. So when she walked in to the chapel in the middle of the opening hymn, my mouth DROPPED, and I punched Sister Schwendinger. Sorry bout that..
We visited another member that hadn't been to church in a while and we got to talk about motorcycles I love being able to relate to so many people on so many different levels!!
We had dinner with the Leedoms and guess what we had for dinner? AREPAS!! 🏼 God loves me. Sister Leedom is a saint and actually taught me how to make them!
I hope you're ready to try Arepas , family!
It's been a pretty darn good week as you can probably tell. I just love this work. I just want everyone to be happy and I know that true happiness is found in the gospel.
I love you all and am grateful for all you do for me!!