Okay, first and foremost, I am so sorry for not being able to call home from the airport. I bought a calling card and was ready to use a payphone - that is until I got to the airport and realized that there are no payphones left in existence. So I'm sorry momma, and papa. I was so upset.
Let me give you a quick rundown of the last few days here in Florida. I landed in Florida and was instantly hit with the humidity. We moved through the airport like a well-oiled machine and a group of kids walking the other way actually laughed and asked us if we were coming from "West Point." Well, not quite, but I was about to meet my new sergeant.
President Cusick picked me out the second that I laid eyes on him. My hair, which was a little ratty from the attempted haircut my last night in the MTC that was provided by Brother Morris, mixed with the 4 hour plane ride, left me looking like a drowned rat. Well, he was not having that. He picked me out and told me to follow Elder Dance along with 5 other ratty-haired Elders (talk about bad first impressions). We drove to a barbershop in Tampa owned and operated by 4 Syrians,. I kid you not, it was the greatest haircut that I've ever received. If you were to see the speed that this Barber was capable of reaching with his scissors you would be terrified. He had been cutting hair for 36 years and was a professional.
I returned to the Mission home looking official with my new short top hair cut and we were fed lots of Queso and beef. The rest of the night was pretty much a blur because I was so exhausted. I do know that we ended up at a hotel in the middle of down town Tampa. The next morning I DO remember.
We woke up at 5:45 am and met in the lobby of the hotel at 5:55. For the next hour and a half we were the President Assistants' punching bags. Elder Dance and Elder Morris started us off with a nice jog around the parking lot for about twenty minutes. Then they proceeded to work us out until I literally threw up. It was awful. I have never thrown up so much in my life from working out! I was spent. I almost threw in the towel right then and said enough is enough.
The rest of the day went smoother. I met my companion Elder Heluo (pronounced HE - LOU) and we made our way out to the most beautiful place on EARTH. Haines City Florida! The land of lakes, the middle of the sunshine state, the happiest place on earth.
Here's a little background of Haines City. There are two types of people here--friendly people, and even friendlier people. The city is home to the Landmark Baptist College and all of the housing associated with that. So we will see how that goes in a few weeks when we start to make our presence a little more known; but for now we will continue to slip by as we are mistaken as Baptist Missionaries.
Elder Heluo and I did not spare a second getting to work. We met Erule Aldin; a Haitian who speaks half English, half Creole, on our first evening out. He basically walked up to us and told us that he had a dream that he needed to grow closer to Jesus and Heavenly father. He is the greatest person I have ever met. He moved here 5 years ago from Haiti, works at Disney World, is taking care of his nephew June; who speaks no English, and is honestly searching for something more. We have already taught him three lessons and have set a baptism date. The language barrier is hard. We gave him a Haitian Book of Mormon and we go back and forth reading from Creole to English. He has such a desire - its incredible.
So golden investigator?? nope Golden City. We speak to everyone we see every time we leave our front door and have taught lessons to almost everyone. We have said well over a hundred prayers with individuals on the side of the road, in door ways, at the park, on a bench, or standing at a stop light. Everyone loves JESUS!
We've given out about 15 Books of Mormon and spoken with countless people who are genuinely interested in learning more about The Church. But honestly my favorite part is just bringing people closer to Jesus Christ. We run into people every single day who thank us tremendously or say " I've never had someone give such a sincere prayer for me." The South is incredible. Everyone is ready to listen and they all generally agree with what we say.
Our Ward is the GREATEST WARD EVER! We started hearing honks the first day. Everyone is so supportive of our work. We are fed well, we have rides each night, and we work hard. We have a goal to baptize 30 people before we leave this area in a couple of months. We are working extremely hard to reach that goal so we are teaching like crazy! We meet about 10-15 people a day that we set return appointments with. But everyone we talk to agrees with what we have to say. And who wouldn't with the message that we share. here's alittle snippet of that: God loves YOU! He sent His son here for YOU! YOU can grow closer to HIM if you pray! Would you like to pray with us? then we proceed to teach about how and why God loves us. what He wants from us and how He would like us to show our love to him and to others.
Here is a scripture that has really stuck out to me this week as I've been seeing miracles in this work.
Mark 9: (38-41)
38 ¶And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us:and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.
39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speakevil of me.
41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I sayunto you, he shall not lose his reward.
I KNOW that this scripture is TRUE! People do incredible things with Jesus Christ's help everyday. My mission is to help them do more, and feel more.
We met this woman one of the first nights that we were here in Haines City Florida. We talked to her for about 5 Minutes then she grabbed our hands and said "lets pray together" it was so great to see how much we touched her life just by talking to her for 5 Minutes. She seriously felt the spirit so quickly as we were talking to her.
Everyone that I could not email this week I am sooo sorry. Pdays are hard when you move into a new area. We just moved into a new apartment and we need to clean the entire thing in 3 hours. Tell Josh Theron Maddy Sydney Ysabelle Makenzie Jake Jake Nic The Boys The kids The dogs The horses The neighbors that I love them and hope that they are doing wonderful!
I LOVE YOU ALL!!