Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 10: CRASH!!!

Hola familia y amigos!

So the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the past week was the car crash I was in on Friday...it was pretty bad but it could've been a lot worse. God definitely protected us! So of course it happened on exchanges while I was leading out our area with Elder Bacon from our district. We were driving straight along a road and a lady didn't see us while she was turning left from a stop sign and rammed into the passenger side of the car. She was probably going 10 mph, we were going about 35 mph? Needless to say, it hurt a lot at impact and knocked the wind out of me for about 30 seconds. I was super scared. Oh did I mention that I was in the passenger seat and both of the side airbags went off? Not fun at all, I was pretty shaken up for awhile there. I'm pretty surprised they didn't tell you about it to be honest...what's up with that? Anyways don't freak out or anything I'm perfectly fine, we both went to the doctor the same day to get checked out and the x rays came up negative. Thank goodness for that. The car is totaled though, meaning $27,000 that the lady's insurance will have to pay, ouch. It was definitely her fault though. So that made for a pretty crazy day Friday and I'm now super paranoid in the car for the time being. Every time there is a car turning left the accident flashes before me and all that stuff. So hopefully that goes away soon lol. Seriously though, don't stress. I really am okay. I just can't believe that I was in that crazy of an accident 4 weeks in. It better be the last! Seriously though, I'm fine, don't stress alright?! Ok, good:)

Well onward to more spiritual things:) So with the car accident and ward party Elder Lamb and I definitely didn't get as much proselyting time as we would have liked to this week, which is unfortunate:( But we did our best and God has blessed us for our efforts to be our best and to be obedient let me tell you! Let's see...ok so first update on Orlando. We taught him the Word of Wisdom last Tuesday, and he needs to stop smoking. He was doing super good the first couple of days but then he ran into some other issues. If he doesn't smoke he has to eat a lot, but he's diabetic so he can't. It's quite the catch 22. So we're working with him on that as well as a few other commandments but he knows that we're teaching him the truth and he wants to change without a doubt. We just need to help him get there. He can absolutely quit this week and overcome his problems if he wants to this week, not a doubt in my mind.

Next up is Ayesha! She is still doing great and actually brought some family (her mom, sister and  a man who is a family friend) to the ward party on Friday night! They all loved it and came up to us asking for more information. Woohoo!!! Unfortunately, we still haven't been able to meet her fiance and work with him, but we will make that happen somehow this week! We're just super happy that her family is enjoying it with her (they came to church with her yesterday!) so she will have support even if her fiance chooses not to get involved. But he will one way or another :) So basically she is doing great and has a desire to live and do everything we teach her. It's incredible! Not to mention she is integrating super well into the ward and has already been to tuesday night stuff with the ward twice! She's amazing!

Next up would be a member referral we received awhile ago to give a harvest blessing/prayer. Her name is Margarita and we actually taught her once already at a member's home as a dinner appointment. Well she is loving the Book of Mormon and loved the ward party so we have a teaching appointment with her today. She is becoming super close friends with the neighboring member family that told us about her and it's basically a perfect missionary opportunity because the members are so involved in working with her! So she has the potential to be baptized very soon if she continues to progress as she is!

After that would be someone who is nothing short of a miracle whom we met yesterday at church! So this family in our ward decided to reactivate out of the blue and the member mother brought her boyfriend, her children, and her father. Well the boyfriend isn't a member, and after seeing a baptism yesterday, has a desire off the charts to be baptized. The best part is that they live separately, not together, which is very rare down here to say the least haha! So he set up an appointment on his own at the house of a good member friend of his for tonight. So that was pretty amazing to witness I have to say. So he should be getting baptized very soon:)

Well I think that about rounds up my experiences for this week, car crash and everything! I'm pretty sad I didn't have my camera to take pictures of the car after the wreck. It was in pretty bad shape, but it did it's job by protecting us that's for sure! Basically you could look up any youtube video of test crashes where they ram the car directly into the passenger side of the vehicle and that's what our car looked like. Crazy huh? Definitely wasn't expecting that out here in my mission!

Welll that's all for this week folks! The Gospel is amazing! Now go live it and share it and make the missionaries around you super happy:) Until next week, I love all of you!
Elder Butterfield
E'rytime

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 9: Hastening the Work

Hola familia y amigos!

Well this week has been great as always! I owe a huge thank you to my family for shipping me all of the other things I needed this week such as a rain coat, more dark pants, blanket etc. Turns out I still needed a lot more than I thought. Tis the life of a missionary I suppose, we're always chasing after something. Pretty sure I've always had something to do since I have arrived here and half of the time the list of things to do gets bigger instead of smaller! Not quite sure how that works. But I'm slowly learning to adjust and focus on what I am able to do and to love the people that I'm serving. That has helped me to relax a little bit and get more into the swing of things!

First off I have to tell all of you about the man we met last week, Orlando. He is one of the most amazing people that I have ever met. He has lots of questions and just wants to learn more about the church all of the time. He actually already knows a lot and then we just have to clarify different things. The other day he told us that after he gets baptized that we will have to let him know what he can do to help us with the work. My jaw about hit the ground. It was unbelievable! The only thing that even has the potential to be a problem is smoking but he knows that it is bad and he wants to stop. We just have to help him get there. Either way he will definitely be baptized soon because he has the desire to get there. I can't wait til Elder Lamb and I get to teach him about the temple. He loved church yesterday and really felt the Spirit there. Plus he got to see the baptism of Eber, who was the last person in a recent convert family in the ward to get baptized. He loved all of it! Woohoo! What has really struck me about our experiences with Orlando is that God really did send us to him as an answer to his prayer and there is doubt in the mind of Orlando of this fact. It made me realize that people really are searching for the truth out there and the missionaries just have to find them. It makes me so excited to find the other people out there like him!

Our other investigator that is doing super well is Ayesha! She continues to accept everything we teach her and had no problems at all with the Word of Wisdom when we taught her! She loved church yesterday and she is integrating super well into the ward! She and her boyfriend are currently living together but they are already engaged for next year and so we talked to her about the Law of Chastity and asked her to talk to him about getting married sooner and she did it that night! Unfortunately her fiance wants to do a few other things before they get married so Elder Lamb and I are going to try to get to know him better this next week and work with him so that we can start teaching him to and bring the whole family to church! We aren't super worried about her though, yes there is work to do but Ayesha is so prepared we know that the Lord will provide a way somehow :)

Other than that our other investigators are progressing a little more slowly but hopefully there will be more news to come soon! One other thing about Orlando I just remembered is that one morning we saw an extra car in his driveway and figured it was his daughter so we decided to go over and get to meet her! Well she was a little shy at first (she is 22 and married with a baby) but she opened up to us very quickly. Turns out she has been fighting depression the past few weeks and trying to find relief through repentance and Jesus Christ. She told us that she normally isn't a people person but that as soon as we entered the room she felt more relaxed, better and that she could trust us. So we quickly proceeded to teach her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about repentance and promised her that we have what she needs to be able to feel relief. It was such a miracle to witness the comforting power of the Holy Ghost as her countenance changed during our visit. Not to mention we had actually already scheduled an appointment for later that day but Orlando was praying that we would come over early while his daughter was there so we could teach her. Talk about miracles. Anyways she didn't make it to church yesterday but we will make sure she is there next week!

What else happened this week... Oh well I forgot to mention before that Elder Lamb is the District Leader so I have already done exchanges twice here. Once to another area and once leading out our area. Exchange days are pretty fun, especially when you go to a different apartment! Elder Ortiz and Elder Smith were awesome to work with! We have the best district ever. I love my mission!

Oh! Another thing was that we had interviews last Friday with President Richardson. That was a pretty crazy experience. Elder Lamb and I were talking afterwards and for both of us President Richardson peered into our souls and told us things that were pretty much straight out of our patriarchal blessings. President Richardson is such a wise man :) Basically interviews were super good and I got some really good advice from him about how to help my Spanish and what I need to do to have success! Woohoo!

Oh one other cool thing that happened was that we received an assignment to work with someone from the ward who has recently reactivated but somehow never got the Aaronic Priesthood. Well we dropped by his house and talked to him and he is going to receive it next Sunday!

One other thing (no really this is the last one) is that our ward is doing a noche de hispanidad this Friday and we get to go do missionary work with everyone who comes that night. It's going to be so much fun!! So we will be very busy with that this week but things are going super well, the ward is getting stronger every week!

Well that's all I can remember for this week but it was super great and we're going to have an even better week this week! I wish all of you a wonderful week wherever you may find yourselves. Love all of you!
Until next week,
Elder Butterfield
e'rytime

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Week 8: Loving Hialeah

Hola familia y amigos!

This is Elder Butterfield reporting from Hialeah, Florida. Just a little piece of urban paradise down here in Southern Florida :D So first off I just have to say that Elder Lamb and I have the best area ever! We already have two solid investigators who should be baptized by the end of the month. Yes I'm being serious. Not to mention we meet amazing people where ever we go. It will definitely never be a problem finding people to teach here, its rather amazing and I love it so much. Elder Lamb is an absolutely amazing missionary and I'm learning so much from him about how to do things effectively and how to work with the Ward. Ive honestly never been happier in my life before this and its only been two weeks out here. I already see why everyone calls it the best two years. Sure there are hard times or days but overall I really am loving it. The culture of obedience is so strong here that we truly are able to work miracles here in the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission. I've seen so many already, it blows my mind everytime we meet someone how God has prepared them in some way to receive the Gospel. Not all accept but lots do and its amazing to see.

Sorry about the scare yesterday, I'm perfectly alright! Yesterday was a national holiday (ya so apparently someone else besides the Postal Service gets Columbus Day off hahahahaha) and all of the libraries were closed so they moved P Day to Tuesday. This will happen whenever there are Monday holidays because of the proselyting opportunities. It will also happen every transfer week. So don't freak out if some weeks you don't hear from me Monday, because it will happen at some point...I wish I could tell you all ahead of time but we simply don't find out until the night before. So there's that. Now that that's out of the way I can tell you some about some amazing stories and people!

First off I want to tell you about our investigator Ayesha. She is so prepared to receive the Gospel its ridiculous. We actually contacted her on the street one day during what we call The Harvest, a special contacting approach that was developed here in the mission and is successful only because of exact obedience. It works. It's where we bless the homes of people with the Priesthood as representatives of Jesus Christ. It isn't dedicating the home though, only a blessing. However in the street we say prayers with people also and this was the case with Ayesha. Anyways so we came up and talked to her and prayed with her and she agreed to let us come over another time to teach, so we scheduled an appointment. Well when we went back to teach, she told us that she really wanted to go to church again and that she had a dream where God told her she needs to go back to church and that he is calling her. And then we contacted her on the street and invited her to be baptized. Crazy huh? I love sharing the Gospel! Anyways our lessons have gone super well and she was all ready to go to church Sunday but the member who was giving her a ride couldn't find her house so she missed it. But she is going to a Relief Society activity tonight and coming to church next Sunday. She is so amazing!

We are also working with a member referral named Liliana who is progressing a little slower because she works during the week but is doing great also and has already been to church twice. These people down here are amazing. She was super quiet at first but it is getting more comfortable with us and has a super awesome member friend who is fixing up an old car so that he can help bring investigators to church. His name is Alex. He actually just reactivated a while ago but he is getting all of his friends for us to teach. It's so cool! So those are our two best investigators right now, baptism pics will be coming within the month I think :D

One other super amazing experience we had was during the Harvest yesterday. We decided to harvest the street where we lived. As we prayed about it, we felt really good about it. Well we met a man named Orlando who had seen family commercials from the church on tv and had visited mormon.org and read about the Book of Mormon and wanted to learn more. So we told him about Meet the Mormons and he said he would love to go see it and would love to have us back over to learn more about the Church. He lives like right across the street from us. It's so crazy how much we have been blessed to find people who are ready and we both know it's because we are striving to be obedient.

So ya basically I'm loving it out here and couldn't have asked to go to a better mission! Sure there have been hard times because I'm still adjusting and Spanish is rough (especially because Hialeah is almost entirely Spanish) but almost all of the time it is amazing to see how God really is hastening the work. I definitely am where I need to be right now!

Now I want to tell you about the ward. I'll be honest this ward definitely needs our help. In terms of attendance it really is more of a branch. Which is sad. But between us and the other Elders of the ward we already got 4 less actives back to church last Sunday and there was a record 22 men in Priesthood as compared to the usual 3-5 men. We are on fire here! Also we pretty much have food everyday of the week from the members which is fantastic. It's rare to have a day where we won't have member food. The members that are active are super strong and dedicated. We just need to mobilize them to missionary work and working with the less actives and this ward will be functioning like a Utah one in no time. One thing we are trying to do is motivated some of the men to get the Priesthood who haven't yet. We have lots of active sisters but not many active Priesthood holders. That will change very soon though:) That's what Presidente Richardson wants, for us to strengthen the ward so that we can involve the members in the work. Without them things are a lot harder. Not to mention that Presidente Richardson promised in Zone training last week that the Hialeah zone will be the best in the mission soon where as before it tended to struggle. Last month it was the best in the mission!

Anyways it was super good to be able to go to regular church Sunday and meet with the ward members more. There are some really amazing members we have already worked with and we want to meet more!

Well I think that about sums it up for this week. It was a wonderful week, we have found amazing people and continue to do so everyday. The work of God is truly marvelous to behold and I truly love it down here. I just need to learn how to grocery shop and locate addresses:)

Ope one last thing, Elder Lamb and I are getting along wonderfully! We are alike in so many ways. He is an intellectual like me and wants to be an electrical engineer and is studying at BYU when he gets back (I forgave him already). Super grateful to have him, and his Spanish is practically fluent so he teaches me stuff all of the time! That's probably the hardest part is the Spanish and not being able to say what I want to say. Especially because every other day is a Spanish only day, but it definitely is helping me to pick up things a lot faster. Well that's pretty much it for this week. Its been a great week and I'm having a wonderful time down here in Hialeah! I love all of you so much and wish you a wonderful week! Go share the Gospel with your friends and make the missionaries super happy by referring those friends:D
Love,
Elder Butterfield
e'rytime

Elder Butterfield's apartment

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 7: First Stop: Hialeah

Hola familia y amigos!

Well it has been an absolutely crazy week! Don't worry though I got here safe and without a problem from Mexico and received a warm welcome from the APs and President and Sister Richardson! Funny thing, I got wiped down for drugs in the Mexico City Airport. I thought that was pretty funny! Once we got here they gave us all orientation and sent us out to place Books of Mormon. I wish I could've seen my face because I am positive it was priceless even though I knew it was coming. It was fun though, a lot of people here have some kind of religion and are willing to listen to anything about Jesus Christ. Which impresses me and makes me happy I have to say! Other than that, Tuesday was uneventful, just a long boring travel day... No me gusta.

So Wednesday we woke up, they picked us up from the hotel, and we went to the transfer meeting! Those are pretty rowdy haha. There I found out that my new companion is Elder Lamb. We are being sent to a whitewashed ward (meaning they didn't keep any of the old missionaries there; its not the ideal decision to make so something must've been up). So Elder Lamb and I and the other companionship are all new to the area we are serving in which makes things even more adventurous haha. So youre probably wondering what this area is by now right??????? Welllll........................................it's the area of Doral North! It is the smallest area in the mission and apparently is also the most Spanish area. It's located in the city of Hialeah since I know you will all look it up. The missionaries are pretty much the only white people here hahaha. Gringos. Funny thing though, it's kind of plush down here, (which is fine, I'm not complaining!) so the area I am in has both a phone and a car. Pretty crazy right?

Honestly, though, I'm loving it out here. It's definitely stressful right now because I can't keep up with the Spanish conversations (especially the Cubans...it's a whole different language when they speak. I'm also having a hard time with time management because there is so much that needs to be done and just seemingly not enough time to do it. I'm trying my best though. But the actual proselyting I am loving. I just need to gain more confidence in talking to people about the Gospel!

So a miracle that I witnessed this week was in between the sessions of General Conference Sunday. Elder Lamb and I had a less active member call us to come teach his girlfriend at 3:15. Meanwhile, after the Sunday morning session there was a dinner at the church for the members, so we took the chance to get to know the members. Well, we met Hermano E. and asked him to go with us to the appointment. He ended up having a very similar situation to the couple and was a great asset to our visit. We also found out the member we visited needs the Aaronic Priesthood, and though he had problems before with commandments, he is ready now and agreed to set up an interview with Bishop P. this week! Not to mention that his girlfriend agreed to baptism October 19! So it was a miracle to me because so many wonderful things happened in a very small amount of time. This confirmed to Elder Lamb and I that we need to strengthen the Doral Ward by involving the members at every step possible. It was very cool :D

Also another thing we do here is called Harvesting. Its like a more spiritual form of tracting on steroids. We pick an area, pray about it, and then go knocking doors and if the people allow us we go in and bless the family and home with the power of the Priesthood. It might sound crazy at first but you would be amazed how many people let us in and after the prayer they feel the Spirit so strong that they agree to prepare to be baptized. While follow up appointments are a little more difficult it's amazing to see people when they feel the Spirit so strong for the first time. I'm very grateful to be in this mission!

Next, I'll describe Elder Lamb. He is amazing and we are so similar its ridiculous. Funny thing he trained Elder Park a year ago. Crazy right? He has also been zone leader for the last 7 transfers. He knows what he is doing for sure. This is also his last two transfers so I will be his last companion. Basically I am super grateful to have him because his Spanish is awesome and he's a veteran at all of this and is doing his best to help me all that he can. I couldn't have asked for a better companion! I can't wait to get started with a regular schedule this week!

Finally, I just want to thank everyone for their letters! They have been great to get! I will do my best to respond, but until I figure out how to be more effective down here I may not get to everyone. So for now if I don't respond, just check my blog. Thanks and sorry about this. I need more time!!! Thanks again everyone for everything, I love all of you!

Hasta luego,
Elder Butterfield
E'rytime

P.S. one other funny thing, Elders are required to wear a part in their hair down here. Which makes me look like a doofus but I have to be obedient so I rock it lol