Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Week 14: Ward Missionaries Rock!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Well Elder Lamb and I had an amazing week once again in our area of Doral North! We had three more rescues yesterday with different less actives we are working with as well as 4 investigators at Sacrament meeting! And our shining light Christopher, the nine year old boy from the Guatemalan family, is set for this Sunday without a doubt! First baptism, WOOOOHOOOOO! If all goes well his grandfather who received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday will baptize him as well! Christopher is such an amazing kid and super mature for his age. The other super cool thing is yesterday the other Doral Elders baptized two little girls and so the whole family was able to see their baptism after church, and of course this just got them even more excited! Christopher was pretty bummed out he couldn't do it yesterday, but that's ok because it's gonna happen next week! Other than Christopher we have a bunch of other people but no amazing progress to speak of, although I will come back to a new investigator that we have in a second.

So yesterday in the ward of Doral we had a record Sacrament attendance! The ward secretary Hermano Milan told us that we had a total of 104 people in Sacrament meeting yesterday, a three year high for the Doral ward (he told us the average has been around 40 or so, because Doral has only been a ward for 4 years)! Now keep in mind that the members of the ward deserve just as much credit, if not more, for that amazing feat, but we are definitely helping out with the reactivations and such and the ward here has a fire for the Lord's work that I have never seen before in members of the church! The ward missionaries are visiting less actives and are mobilizing the ward to create a ward mission plan, and all Elder Lamb and I have done is include them in our teaching visits. It truly is amazing to see the power of the members here in Doral every week They're amazing! What's even better is that they're always willing to come do visits with us. It's super cool to be in a ward that is just now realizing its potential!

Even better is that the church is launching a special initiative for Christmas this week just like they did for Easter this year. So what you all should do is go to christmas.mormon.org the day after Thanksgiving because that's when the website will update with the new stuff. There will be a really cool video that helps us all to remember the true meaning of Christmas. And one thing that everyone can to help the church out is to use #sharethegift to help make this visible to everyone; it's gonna be amazing! I don't want to spoil the surprise too much but the church is putting a lot of resources into this campaign, including special pass along cards, and it's gonna be amazing! So basically I'm asking you all to check out the site Friday, watch the video, and then share it or post something about on social media with #sharethegift. It will honestly help out a lot! Also keep an eye out for pass along cards in the Ensign :) But ya basically December is going to be even better than usual to be a missionary because we'll get to talk about the birth of the Savior so much with everyone! So please, do the Lord a favor and make #sharethegift blow up just like #becauseofhim did for Easter!

Well that's about it for this week..Oh ya! So Elder Lamb and I were biking back to the house because we forgot our lock keys (long story) one day, and on the way back I had a super strong spiritual prompting to contact a woman talking towards us. Well fortunately I did and we ended up going to her house 20 minutes later to leave a harvest blessing which turned into a complete lesson about the Restoration! When we shared the First Vision in Joseph Smith's words, the Spirit was so powerful that I could physically feel His presence in the room. It was unbelievable. Oh by the way this woman's name is Betty and she has already fasted once to help her to know if the Book of Mormon is true or not. She's incredible! Unfortunately she was sick yesterday so she couldn't come to church but she is still doing amazing and her kids love us, too. She should be able to come next week without a problem! Anyways so ya Betty is pretty cool and it was a pretty powerful experience in that first lesson with her!

Well I'm finally done for this week; it's been a killer week here in Doral North and I'm super excited for my first baptism next week! Happy Thanksgiving to all. I love all of you!

Elder Butterfield

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 13: #BikingForDays

Hola familia y amigos!

Well first off I have an announcement for everyone. Not actually in a trio but I really did think we were in one as of last P Day, wasn't a joke! So basically what happened is someone messed up somewere in the line of communication for transfer calls. But it turns out Elder Smith got a new companion and Elder Lamb and I are still together. Elder Smith's new companion is Elder Wilber, they are pretty much the same person so they should have alot of fun. Anyways woohooo Elder Lamb is the best, super glad to have him as my trainer! He's probably the only reason my Spanish is where it's at, plus he's an amazing missionary and I learn a lot just through his example. So now that that is over with, onward with other stuff :)

So we had to go to transfer meeting last tuesday to pick up Elder Smith's new companion and they created a whole new zone in the mission which almost never happens, so that was pretty crazy! Also we are now on car share with the other Elders in our house, so Elder Lamb and I are essentially on bikes 24/7 now because our area is bikable and not so much for the other Elders. But that's ok because I actually LOVE biking here. It's all flat without mountains, which makes it super easy and plus we are able to street contact a lot more people on bikes than in the car. So I'm actually pretty excited to be on bikes :) The nice thing is that we still have the car for groceries with the other Elders and to go to church and such. So I can't really complain as far as that is concerned.

After Tuesday it was a pretty regular Wednesday, but Thursday and Friday Elder Lamb was sick and lost his voice. So that was no fun. But fortunately we were able to coordinate with members to have Elder Lamb stay in someones house with a Priesthood holder and I went with someone else to go work the area. That was pretty intimidating to say the least but some cool things happened and I think a family will reactivate because of it. Though I still can't believe how many phone calls I had to make in Spanish to coordinate all of that, it was a crazy couple of days. The good news is that Saturday he got his voice back and things are going super well now!

Saturday brings me to the coolest thing that happened this week! So Elder Lamb and I have been working with Brizlyn and her father to reactivate them and they are doing wonderfully! Yesterday they counted as what we call a rescue here, meaning that a less active member comes to Church two sundays in a row. The crazy thing is that Brizylyn's sister and her family also want to reactivate and they both live in our area, as well as another sister! So Brizlyn's sister is named Mirian. Well we visited her and her family Saturday night and found out that their nine year old son hasn't been baptized yet, but he wants to be baptized and the whole family is super excited to come back and for Christopher to be baptized! So we will be working with him every day this week to help him be prepared to be baptized! It's amazing to see such a large extended family reactivating together and that through this we will be able to baptize the son/grandson Christopher! Super happy to be with such an awesome family and that we'll be able to baptize Christopher, it's so cool! He loved the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and tomorrow we will probably teach him about the Restoration and some of the Commandments, pretty cool right?

Anyways that's pretty much it for this week, we have met some really cool people on the street but we weren't able to get them to church this week so now we have to go follow up and find out what happened. But we found a super cool family last night that I should have more to report on next week:)

Well I hope that you all have an amazing week and I look forward to hearing from you all next week!

Elder Butterfield

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 12: The Power of Three Lives On!

Hola mi familia y amigos!

Hahahahahahaha so you're never gonna guess what happened with transfer calls last night. Actually it should be pretty easy to guess considering my mission has so far been anything but normal. So you guessed it by now right? Hope so, because I'm going to tell you now. :) So it's transfers this week (my first time!), and normally they're on Wednesday but they had to move them to Tuesday because there's some meeting with the area authorities? Not sure but anyways transfers are tomorrow. So transfer calls from the Zone Leaders are the night before P Day so that you can know if you need to pack up your things or not. Well we were all sure that Elder Smith was going to get a new companion right? Wrong. In the call the Zone Leaders were like "And Elder Smith, you are transferring...across the hall." Meaning we are now in a trio. Wait what? My two out of three transfers in a trio already? What are the odds of that? I have no idea but pretty crazy right? We're still not entirely sure what's going on because the actual transfer meeting is tomorrow, so we just know that we are assigned as a trio. Should be interesting to find out. Especially because he's staying in Doral South (Elder Lamb and I are Doral North) and keeping the area's respective phone. Which is super weird for them to give two phones to a companionship, almost never happens. So anyways that was a pretty crazy first transfer call haha! I'm not that worried about being in a trio with Elder Lamb and Elder Smith though, we all get along pretty well so there shouldn't be any problems that way. I was definitely shell shocked to find out I was already in a trio again though. Guess Heavenly Father thinks that I need two trainers instead of one, I'm special ;) So anyways that's pretty much the craziest news that I have for you, trio power to the rescue. Should be a crazy good transfer with the three of us:)

On to more spiritual and uplifting things at this point, like our investigators!! Well the bad news is that we had to drop a few investigators this past week because it just isn't their time and they won't keep commitments. Orlando was the most heartbreaking because we put so much effort into him. But he had some serious commandment issues and wouldn't commit himself to live the commandments even though he knows they're of God. So there wasn't a whole lot we could do for him; the ball is in his court at this point. But that means we did our job as missionaries so that's good news I guess.

We witnessed a super crazy miracle this past week though! So we have been working like crazy to involve members in all aspects of missionary work as much as possible, which has paid off considering all of our progressing investigators except Ayesha are member referrals. Those referrals are the best! So we received one from a member for her friend and she set up the appointment. Well the first visit went so badly we didn't even bother trying to set up another one. Well,three the member friend still brought her to church and then to the activity night at the church Tuesday. Well after this Mercedes had a huge change of heart and decided that she wants to have us visit her now. So we set up a member present lesson with her and she had completely changed! She was super excited to see us and accepted everything that we taught her! It was amazing to see the light and excitement in her face that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring. So ya basically it was amazing to see how the members can do missionary work in ways that we as missionaries cannot. Had the member not brought her to church and the activity we would never have visited her again. Go member missionaries!!

So this brings me to our next awesome investigator Liliana. Remember her? She fell off of the radar for a little bit because she was difficult to contact but we finally visited her again yesterday and she said that she wants to be baptized and accepted to live the Law of Chastity plus the Plan of Salvation! Wooohooo! So will be working very closely with her to get her baptized asap because she's already been to church so much! So that's pretty great news right? :D And guess what? She was a MEMBER referral. Once again we learned that President Hinckley meant it when he said the better way to do missionary work is through the members. Well Elder Lamb and I (and now Elder Smith) definitely have a testimony of that prophetic statement!

Ayesha is still doing super good, it's just her stubborn fiancé who won't move the wedding up or let us talk to him. But she's practically already a part of the ward. So we just keep on working, and trusting that the Lord will provide a way as we seek His guidance and help.

Anyways other than all that, I'm doing great! Elder Lamb, Elder Smith and I are a little shell shocked about the trio news but are excited for the opportunity to continue working together! It's pretty crazy that this will be my second trio transfer already (my first was in the CCM)! But hey no worries, if that's what the Lord wants of us then I'm sure there is a purpose for it. We will go work our hardest so that we can realize the purpose that he has for us!

So ya that wraps it up for the week. We are also working with a bunch of Less Actives to try and reactivate them as well as find potential baptisms through them as well. Should be a pretty fun week:)

I wish all of you the best and love all of you so much! Also a big thank you to all those who have sent mail and packages, they're very much appreciated! Have a great week!
Elder Butterfield

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 11: The Magical Number 3?

Hola mi familia!

Como estan? Espero que todo esta bien. Mi espanol esta creciendo. Pero yo se solamente un pequito de espanol.  Fortunadamente, yo puedo entender mucha de las personas que estan aqui en Florida. La verdad es ayer en el consejo de barrio hable sobre de todos de nuestros investigadores! Fue fantastico :) So ya there's my Spanish for you, hopefully someone can understand it. I'm more or less functional I would honestly say, though I do still freeze up sometimes because I don't know any words to express what I'm trying to say. And of course I would love to be able to express myself more fully in Spanish but I've just learned to be patient with myself. Already the members have told Elder Lamb that they can tell how much better my Spanish has gotten since I arrived (hopefully they're telling the truth and not just being nice... :) Once again I'm super grateful to have Elder Lamb as my trainer, he knows basically all of the rules for Spanish and helps me all the time. He's probably the reason that I'm doing so well with learning Spanish. He is awesome!!!

So you're probably thinking that this week was less crazy than last week with the car accident right? Well I'm not entirely sure that that is accurate. Don't worry no more car accidents. But there was an Emergency/Early Transfer in our apartment because Elder Rivas needs to go home to have his back fixed. So I'm now in a trio with Elder Lamb and Elder Smith. Trio power ahahahaha! Funny thing is that Elder Lamb only has one more transfer left and he's never been in a trio before. This is my second transfer (including the CCM) and second trio XD But it's only for the next week and a half until transfers, they'll bring in a replacement then. But I'm not worried or anything like that, we all get along super well and Elder Smith is gonna work with the members a bunch this week and do splits so that he can keep his area open! Pic of the trio is coming with this email don't worry:) So ya, I'm convinced that my mission is going to be anything but normal at this point. Fortunately I think that is a good thing. You have to do crazy things to obtain crazy good results right??? Anyways other than that crazy transfer with Elder Rivas things are going great here:) Investigator time!

So first up is Ayesha because she is so awesome! She is still doing great and accepting everything that we teach! The only thing that is standing between her and baptism is her fiance. So we are still trying to work with him, unfortunately only mild success there and no lessons. But something is bound to happen soon! The coolest thing was that she was having a hard time Saturday night and Sunday morning with some family stuff and she wanted to go to church because she knew that it would help her. Talk about a golden investigator right? So she is doing awesome!

Next up would be Orlando! He is doing ok, he loves us and loves to talk with us but he still hasn't been able to commit himself to live a few of the commandments. So we are working with him closely but essentially the ball is in his field of play at this point. So we are praying for miracles with him because he needs a good miracle right about now!

I could give you a report of all of our other investigators but nothing super crazy or notable has happened with them yet. That's ok though, that just means that the crazy things are gonna happen this week! I do want to share one miracle with you that I witnessed as Elder Lamb and I have been striving to work closely with the members. This is an excerpt from my letter to President Richardson:

 "Actually working with the members is what has brought us the most miracles here in Doral North. This last week we had a new ward missionary called and so we had a meeting with our ward mission leader and all of the ward missionaries. Well it turns out all of the ward missionaries are super excited to get going in their callings and made plans that night to go out Saturday and knock doors and such to help us find people! We also had Sister Diaz that we have been working with for a few different investigators set up a teaching appointment with her and her friend! It's absolutely incredible to see how working with the members can light a fire of excitement in them for missionary work! In fact this Tuesday we are training them on how to teach the missionary lessons that they can help us out with different things! The Doral Ward is on fire! That was probably my favorite miracle of the week, the excitement of our ward missionaries!"

How awesome is that that our ward missionaries here are so pumped up about missionary work?? Elder Lamb and I are creating an amazing foundation here in the Doral ward that I think is going to really help us in the coming weeks to find people through the members! Because as President Hinckley said, finding through members is the best way!

Well I think that's about it for this week, hopefully some awesome spiritual experiences will happen in the coming week :) I love all of you and hope you have a fantastic week!!
Elder Butterfield