Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Arturo was baptized yesterday!

Family and Friends,
It has been a revelatory week. We had interviews with President as well as a comp study with the AP's on Saturday. I learned a lot. President never ceases to amaze me.

Arturo was baptized yesterday!  We love Arturo. He is Cuban; thus, we teach him in Spanglesh. He can't speak English very well but he understands it. Sister Montoya teaches him in Spanish and then when we switch I teach in English. It amazes me how things just flow. The language of the spirit takes over. I can't speak much Spanish but I can understand it pretty well. Sister Montoya's English is greatly improving. She is getting more bold with it everyday and this makes me happy. I can pray in Spanish now and our Spanish investigators get so excited every time I do. haha I love it.

Our little YSA branch is progressing so well. We are gaining a lot of trust with them...really trying to mend any broken bridges from the past. We are visiting members, serving them, and as a result they are coming out with us and starting to feed us which in YSA is a miracle. I love all the members so much. They are at such a fragile stage in their life with there testimony. I can see many just wavering. We are trying to do all we can to help them. I have learned this week that each and everyone of us can make a great impact and have lasting influence on all those around them. We may think what we are doing doesn't matter but I know it does. Small things really do bring about great things. Never shy away from doing something right. Always stand for principle. Don't settle for the good or the better but truly always seek to be the best. It makes an eternal difference.
I love you. Have a wonderful week.
O one more thing... Sister Montoya knows the Redford family (Jim and Anita) small world eh? I guess Taylor served his mission in Costa Rica in her families ward!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The last door we knocked on held the miracle.

I am getting settled here in Miami. The traffic here is crazy. It tests my patience. I have become quite the freeway driver...5 lane highways are nothing now...haha The GPS will say it is only 15 minutes away but in the end it can easily turn into 45 minutes. We cover YSA for 2 zones so thus our area is HUGE! We can only teach YSA...We try to harvest and contact around universities and places where there will be a large concentration of YSA. We depend a lot on referrals from other missionaries. With our area being huge, and exchanges we spend a lot of time in the car. We try to make the most of it though. It gives us a lot of time to talk which is good. I got to meet the rest of the branch on sunday and it was good. YSA is so different then family wards. We have to be there friend first before they will trust us and help us. This area has had a hard past with missionaries and thus they do not trust missionaries easily. President is trusting us to build up the branch and strengthen the relationship between members and missionaries here. 

In President Richardson's email last week he included the mormon message "The Will of God". It is amazing and I encourage all of you to watch it. It talks about how God knows what we need to grow and become who he wants us to be. Sister Montoya and I watched it and in all honesty we were in tears afterwards. I swear President put it in his email just for us. We both know that God is giving us this experience to acquire greater humility and grow in ways we didn't know we needed to. We had an amazing comp study with our district leader on comp unity which really helped as well. We are communicating a lot more effectively. We are getting along so well. SO well! Together we are powerful. Sister Montoya is such a strong individual. She has been through so much in her life. SO MUCH!!! The more I learn about her the more I can see why she is the way she is. I respect her so much. I love her so much. President came down to interview one of our investigators and before he left he asked us if we wanted to talk about it or if we had gotten things figured out. We laughed and smiled and said we had gotten things figured out. He smiled and said, "I hope you know you are my power companionship. You two are the strongest." We replied, "President if that it is the case does that mean we get to be AP's next transfer?!" haha he laughed. I love President. 

In PMG it teaches us that the Gospel improves the quality of our lives. This is a truth that we share with investigators in the first lesson. As I have pondered that this week I have realized that this means so much more then what we have, or the style of life we live. Rather like Elder Ballard put it, it refers to substance. A quality life is based on eternal potential It is filled with love loyalty, compassion, etc. So many times we knock on people's doors only to hear them say that God has been good to them and they simply have everything they need. Boy are they blinded by the precepts of man. A quality life is so much more then what we have. I love testifying to people at the door about what a true quality life is and seeing there eyes opened and the spirit enter there hearts and they realize something is missing. I just love being a missionary. Please read D&C 33: 2-10, 17. We are all among the last labours in the Lord's vinyard. Each of us. Missionary or not. Do not be content with what you have or who you are. This is a Gospel of change. 

 I love going on exchanges with our Sisters. I had the opportunity of going with a brand new missionary only 1 week in the field. I was so blessed to be able to go on her first fire exchange. She was so excited. Her district leader wanted us to focus on being faith filled in all that we do. I began by spiritually creating with her saying, "Sister we are going to see amazing miracles on this fire exchange. We are going to find families. Are you ready?" She smiled with excitement and off we went. At every door and every OYM we both possessed excitement that radiated faith. The last door we knocked on held the miracle. We knocked and a lady opened the door just a crack. At first she turned down the prayer but we continued to testify and invite. Finally, she agreed. She stepped outside to join us to pray. Rather then being content with praying outside. We began to testify that it was a blessing for her home. She didn't want to let us inside but again we kept being lovingly persistent. Finally, she agreed. We were led inside to find her husband and 2 kids. We all knelt and prayed. Afterwards the spirit was evidently strong. The family accepted all our invitations-church, baptism, and a return appointment. We testified and taught doctrine and left them with a Book of Mormon to begin reading. Afterwards we talked about what a great miracle that was. We could have easily left the lady with a card when she initially rejected us. However, we were full of faith. We knew that God had sent us to her and we weren't going to stop. Because we were bold and persistent we were able to pray with the entire family and bless the home and create a spiritual experience for the family. I explained that all this happened because of our faith filled words and actions. I am so grateful to have had this experience with her. She is committed to doing all things filled with faith.

All in all, the work moves forward and I love every mintute of it. Have the best week ever.


Ssiter Hartley