Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 23: Knocking On Doors!

Hola a mi familia y mis amigos!

Espero que ustedes estan teniendo una semana excelente!

Things are going good down here in Hialeah Florida! I'd be lying if I said they couldn't be better but I can't complain about anything so that's good:)

This week was a bit of a rough week to be honest. Because of the way things worked out, we spent a lot of time finding people through our own efforts (ie knocking doors). That's normal but is was a little rougher because we weren't able to pray with very many people (Sharing prayers is still part of our proselyting;we just dont count or measure them in any way and we don't name them. But we do still share prayers! :D ) and the people that we did share the Restoration with didn't accept it, which is never fun even though it happens. But that's okay. I definitely learned and grew from this week so I'm sure it happened for some reason! Besides we're gonna have a much better week this week! Elder Swensen and I are determined to finish this transfer out strong! (Btw, this transfer is 7 weeks, so transfers aren't til next week. I'll keep you posted. With the Fort Myers zone, anything could happen this transfer. But I'm good to stay here, too, whatever the Lord wants:)

So ya despite our challenges we definitely still saw miracles! Our biggest miracle of the week was definitely our investigator Juan Carlos, who we actually haven't seen too much but we've stayed in good contact and he is reading. He is a theatre director down here in Miami Lakes and a former Catholic but has shown a lot of interest in the message of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon! Well one of our members came up to us and asked if it had been us that visited her friend Juan Carlos. We hadn't even mentioned him to her because this member and her husband are assigned to the ward from Miramar, so we barely even know them because we can't visit them. But apparently she and Juan Carlos are good friends and had talked a bunch and she wants to help us baptize him! She took down our number and said she would try to set up an appointment where the three of us could go see him! Crazy right?? God works in mysterious ways that's for sure. It was just a reminder to me of how much easier it is to work through the members as the investigators have a friend they turn to for questions instead of the internet. Members=miracles. Always remember that; you members are where the real miracles in missionary work happen!

Anyways other than Juan Carlos that's about it as far as current investigators. But we did find a man named Cesar last night where the Spirit manifested very strongly so we think we are in for a super cool lesson with him tonight! Anyways other than that, that's about it I suppose. Definitely not fun to go a transfer without baptizing or reactivating anyone but so it goes sometimes. I just need to keep on giving my best and rely on the Lord for everything else. Miracles always happen that way!

Well that's pretty much all I have for this week. Transfers should be interesting so we'll see what happens next week!

Les quiero mucho!
Elder Butterfield

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Week 22: New Area Added to Mission! Whaaat?

Hola mis amigos y familia, Les quiero mucho!

Well I hope that all of you have had a good week! We have had some CRAZY things happen down here in the Fort Lauderdale Mission...Let's just say next transfer meeting is gonna be pretty interesting:D

So ya last Wednesday we had a mission wide conference call which was pretty unusual; that almost never happens so nobody quite knew what to expect. Well after a few minutes of 200 missionaries trying to talk to each other on one line, President Richardson finally got on and made the announcement that the First Presidency made the decision to cut the Fort Myers Stake out of the Tampa mission and add them to our mission!! WHAAATTTTTT???? Pretty crazy stuff. So basically we just had a zone of 30 more missionaries added to our mission and pulled out of Tampa. That means that our mission now covers both the west and east coast of the southern tip of Florida. Basically we only covered the East coast of the southern tip of Florida but now we cover the West Coast as well. If you want to look at a map basically anything below Stuart on the East Coast and anything below Fort Myers on the West Coast is now our mission; it's enormous!

But anyways, apparently it was pretty traumatic for all of the Tampa missionaries that got reassigned because they had Ipads and now they don't. Which, I have to be honest, is pretty hilarious from my point of view but I suppose that I would be traumatized as well. Anyways basically transfers will be crazy now because they'll have to mix up all those Tampa missionaries with our mission to get everyone on the same page, so who knows what will happen. So ya that was quite the surprise, but pretty cool as well. Now that I've explained this I can get on with the mission part of my mission:)

So let's see. Elder Swensen and I definitely had a better week last week even if it ended up with the same results:/ We picked up several new investigators--several of which were very promising! The coolest of all was probably a younger couple with a 2 month old baby! Eddy and Yamy. They let us right in when we knocked the door.  We were able to pray with them and then taught the Restoration to them and Yamy read in the Book of Mormon. So things were going pretty well; we were able to go back and teach the plan of salvation with a member and they committed to come to church on Sunday! Elder Swensen and I were pumped and couldn't wait to see them at church because they had given us such a solid commitment. Well come Sunday they didn't come or answer the phone when we called to remind them about Church, which was weird, so we went over to their house to follow up and see what happened.

Well, we got to the house and knocked the door. Nobody answered, but we saw them look through the peephole several times so we knew they were home. Definitely not the first time something like this has happened, but it was entertaining because we called them (note: we had called them at this number not two days before and they talked to us over the phone) and they told us that we had the wrong number. We think they got a dose of anti from a family member of another church, but we don't know for sure. Anyways basically it's sad to see people stop investigating the church because they listen to other people instead of us.....but that's ok because Elder Swensen and I just laugh it all off:) That's definitely one thing Elder Swensen has taught me is to just laugh stress away when you've done everything you can to help people. He has definitely helped me to learn to cope with the stress of salvation a little bit better:)

Anyways those are the craziest things that happened this week. Florida is quite the environment to be a missionary in. Sometimes I think it's a lot like Palmyra back in the day. There's churches everywhere fighting for attention and definitely more than your average dose of anti down here to be honest. But at the end of the day none of that matters because I have a testimony from God that I'm on the Lord's errand and that those honest seekers of truth are out there waiting to be baptized! So we continue onward despite all of the craziness :)

Anyways that's about it for this week, Elder Swensen and I fortunately have a bunch of return appointments set up in the next couple of days with different people, so hopefully we will be able to get them to church!

I love all of you and hope that you have a great week!!
Elder Butterfield

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 21: Mission Tour by Elder Zwick of the Seventy

Hey Everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful week and are starting the new year off right!! Things were pretty crazy down here in the Fort Lauderdale Mission this past week as we had a mission tour by a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Zwick. It was an amazing experience and our mission received some much needed guidance on how to better move forward the work down here!!

Perhaps one of the biggest things that happened was that the idea of a Priesthood "Harvest" blessing was rebuked. Which to be honest I suspected all along but I followed it because that's what our mission President said to do. Basically all that means is that we will still pray with people as a finding tool, but it is just a prayer and not a special kind of blessing as it was considered before. Honestly nothing too shocking, but for all of the missionaries who had prayed the other way for so long it shook things up for them a bit. So that was pretty exciting, but in the end the approach is more or less the same so it's all good. Mostly, I just loved the training because I received so much revelation on how I can be a better missionary so that was wonderful!

Other than that it was more or less a normal week down here in Hialeah:) We unfortunately weren't able to get anyone to church so that was a little frustrating, but it's okay because we'll get lots there next week! Anyways, as a little follow up to Otto, we went back the next day and he was home but wouldn't answer the door and then his wife pulled in. So we talked to her and she said that he wasn't home. Kind of lame but sometimes that happens, but hey, Elder Swensen and I just laugh it all off:)

On the other hand, we did find a really cool investigator named Adriano this week! He is a 36 year old Cuban who was a former bartender but now he imports and exports Iphones. Anyways we found him contacting and he just invited us into his house. We prayed with him and then taught him a lesson on the spot! It was super cool and he is very interested in learning more. What's even cooler is that we introduced the Book of Mormon the next visit and he was in awe when we gave it to him. He began to scan through it and said to himself, "Maybe this is what I have been missing..." And then the next time we found out he has already read to when Nephi and his brothers were sent back to Jerusalem. He loves it and really wants to change his life; its pretty amazing! Also funny side note-- we asked him how he remembered his reading so well and he said after being a bartender for so long his memory is amazing because he had to remember what everyone was drinking. We thought that was pretty funny! Anyways we've already taught him a few commandments and he's working on those. It's just hard with him because he is constantly buying and selling to clients and so his schedule isn't set, but hopefully with some work and faith we'll be able to continue to work him and help him be baptized!
Other than that it was unfortunately an uneventful week but our District Leader is going to exchange with us this week to help us out so things should get better!

Well that's about all I have for this week! I also wanted to give a shout out to my Foothills home ward back in Herriman for sending me a big banner that everyone in the ward signed as well as the package of goodies I received from the Activity Days girls. My ward is awesome!! And of course thanks to everyone else who sends me mail and packages as well :D

Well have a wonderful week!
Elder Butterfield

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Week 20: Happy New Year!

Hey everyone!

Happy New Year!!! 2015 is gonna be a great one! Hope everyone will be able to get back into school and work easily enough!

Anyways things are going well enough down here even though it was a little crazy for New Years...but fortunately it was pretty quiet in Hialeah, especially compared to the experiences I've heard from missionaries in other areas! But ya New Years was pretty relaxed, we worked New Year's Eve until 7:00 at night and then we worked all day New Years as well. Muchos fueron borrachos despues del ano nuevo. Hopefully someone will help you translate that (looking at you Brother Hinckley ;) Nothing too crazy happened New Years although we did have someone offer us a hit on their weed New Year's Day. That was interesting to say the least but so it goes in Miami I suppose haha...XD Basically I'm just super happy that the holidays are over so that people will actually be available!

I'll be honest though it was a bit of a discouraging week for me to have put in so much work and see so few fruits. I was a little down for awhile but then I read Alma 26 that talks about how Ammon and his brethren endured all sorts of hardships in the hopes of "saving some soul". But then as they look back on their efforts they find that the fruits of their labors are much larger than just one soul. And I know that the same is true for us as missionaries today! We labor in the hopes of saving some soul and then look back and realize how much more we accomplished. So even though it was a rough week, I know I'm doing the right thing and that if Elder Swensen and I seek him then he will lead us to the people that he has prepared!

Despite the difficult week, we definitely still saw miracles. The coolest was that Saturday we prayed about our harvest spot and felt we needed to return to an area we had been in the day before. So we went there to harvest and found Otto! Otto had had contact with the missionaries before and apparently loves to read, so they left him with a bunch of materials. Well, Otto knew a lot about the church and even knew about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! He was super excited to see us and we are going to go back to see him today! So that is pretty exciting to say the least! We also have another family that was busy during the holidays that we are going to teach again tonight, so that should be cool! Things are already getting better!

Anyways--enough seriousness, time for some stories! Let's just say we knocked A LOT of doors this week and as a result we have some pretty funny stories. For example, we knocked on this one lady's door and then she opened the door and screamed out of terror when she saw us. Elder Swensen and I had to try super hard not to bust up laughing. Turns out she hadn't heard the door and was just taking out trash and then opened up the door and saw us and she was legimately scared out of surprise. I felt bad but it was honestly super funny...:) What else..Oh ya, we met this older lady who asked who we were, then when she recognized which church we were from, asked us for a card and traded us a card for some Jehovah's Witness literature. But hey at least she took the card and that literature won't end up with someone else right? That's what I figured anyways! And she didn't even try to Bible Bash us. That was a surprise! Anyways it's always an adventure down here in Latin Florida but at the end of the day I really do love it. It's hard sometimes as expected but I can't imagine myself anywhere else than here. People need the happiness that only the Gospel brings and that's why I'm here--to help them be happy and help them to enter into the Celestial Kingdom with their families. So that's what I'm here to do!

Anyways I love all of you and wish all of you a happy new year!!
Elder Butterfield