Received November 30, 2015
I GET TO DIE IN MIAMI!
For those of you unfamiliar with Miami jargon, I would like to inform you that I am not actually dying. One simply refers to the end of her mission as death. Morbid but symbolic. Or something.
I am currently serving in the Miami YSA (Young Single Adult) branch with Sis. Almeida from Brasil – a HUGE change from the fields of Lehigh Acres and the ghetto of Fort Myers, but an exciting and wonderful one as well! One fun detail is that we cover Flagler, the area in which I spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas – I have already run into a few old familiar faces and it’s great to see them! Basically, we cover from North Miami down to about Sweetwater, so we work in all of Miami’s beautiful downtown near the beach: Liberty City, Little Haiti, Little Havana, etc. And I love it!
Leaving Rio Vista was hard, but I have been so richly blessed since arriving here – it truly has been a miraculous transfer week!
The adventure begins on Wednesday night: while knocking doors searching for YSA, a broken fence got the better of Sis. Almeida. She got caught on it and fell. She got back up quickly and we hurried on to our awesome lesson with Jose and LA member, Jonathan – Jose has been so prepared to receive the Gospel! By the end of our lesson, however, Sis. Almeida couldn’t move her arm at all. Fortunately the Urgent Cares in Miami are open until 8:30pm, and we were able to make it there just ten minutes before it closed! They took an x-ray and confirmed our worrries – radial fracture! The tricky thing was that she needed to see an orthopaedic surgeon…and the next day was Thanksgiving….. turns out that every single one was out of town until Monday. So the waiting began. I have so much respect for my companion! We did not rest and she worked through the pain all day Thursday and Friday.
We had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner with the Perez family, and were able to have more great lessons with Witlene, our fabulous Bahamanian investigator who is now preparing for baptism this Saturday, and Jose and Jonathan again. Witlene is absolutely wonderful and knows this Gospel is true. She is like a Gospel dictionary: every question we ask her, she responds with an eloquent and spiritually uplifting answer! She is a joy to teach.
And then we arrive to Friday. After working all day, we get to have a bit of a break at a meal appointment with a member from a our branch and her sweet Honduran family. A couple hours later though, while teaching a lesson, we realized that we had gotten a little bit more than a break and free food – we also got food poisoning!
Yup, Satan was working hard this week, but he could not stop us! Jonathan invited his girlfriend, Dayamar, to a lesson! I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone more prepared to receive the Restored Gospel. We have been able to be in contact with her every day since we met her and she is progressing beautifully. On Saturday night she asked us for another great chapter to read in the Book of Mormon – we opened to 3 Nephi 11, her previous night’s homework, and saw that she had marked and highlighted her favorite verses. It was a beautiful sight to behold. What a wonderful thing it is to see others feel the spirit and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know that it and the Bible are the word of God. I read them daily. I love them.
Sis. Almeida and I spoke in our branch on Sunday – we are small in numbers but it was a very, very spiritual meeting. The members that come are strong and loving. I saw about four people that I had met while serving in Killian and Flagler and it was so good to see some familiar faces!
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ’s church here on the face of the earth again. I love my Savior. I love helping others change their lives for the better. I know that light has been, is, and always will be stronger than darkness, and I know that all light is divine and from our Father in Heaven. I love this work – nothing is more fulfilling than helping people that I once knew before this life relearn the reason why we are here and what we need to do to live together after this life.
I got some good studying in on some talks from the most recent General Conference (thanks for the Ensign and goodies, Mama!) and was touched by Elder Anderson’s talk “Faith is Not by Chance, but by Choice” from the Priesthood session. I loved his words on faith: “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. It is, as the scriptures say, “substance … , the evidence of things not seen.” Faith emits a spiritual light, and that light is discernible. Faith in Jesus Christ is a gift from heaven that comes as we choose to believe and as we seek it and hold on to it. Your faith is either growing stronger or becoming weaker. Faith is a principle of power, important not only in this life but also in our progression beyond the veil. By the grace of Christ, we will one day be saved through faith on His name. The future of your faith is not by chance, but by choice”. Those words struck my heart powerfully. I have seen over and over again the product of losing faith and choosing to doubt rather than believe in people I have met. But, I have also seen the product of choosing to believe, to trust in God, and to wait on His arm in patience and faith and, brothers and sisters, that product is much, much brighter and better.
As my good friends once said, “Don’t get swept away by the winds of Satan! Whoa!”. But in all seriousness, the power is in your hands. Choose to believe. Choose to follow the light. Live intentionally and miracles will follow.
I love you!