Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 67: Have You Seen Dompa?

Hey Everyone!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! It was pretty relaxed here--nothing too crazy, but, hey, we managed to eat lots of turkey in a Spanish ward so that's a pretty big accomplishment:) We didn't end up going to contact people on Black Friday just because Latinos don't do that stuff as much and plus we didn't want to get chased away by the cops or employees or whatever. Oh well!

Anyways, this last week has been a pretty interesting one. Wednesday I went on an exchange with the other Spanish elders in the district which was pretty fun but also pretty routine. Nothing too crazy unfortunately:/ And of course Thursday was Thanksgiving, but we had to do our weekly planning on Thanksgiving since Transfer meeting on Wednesday bumped our district training to Friday. But after weekly planning we went out and knocked doors for a couple hours; we didn't find too many Latinos though. Everyone was too busy giving thanks and stuffing their faces to pray with us haha! But we had a super good Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, rice, and mashed potatoes. Pretty good stuff:)

Friday was a pretty crazy day for us. We had district training in the morning. Cool random note is that Elder Allen who served in the other area of the Jupiter ward when I was there is now zone leader here in my zone so it's pretty cool to be around him again. He's hilarious! That being said we did a lot more finding on Friday. Not really many interested people, but a crazy miracle to end the night. So the other elders in the branch had a baptism Friday night. We were headed over to the baptism at about 6:30 and pulled into the church parking lot on our bikes. Well, all of the sudden, Elder Mears looks over and sees a cat and asks me, "Is that Dompa?" So back story to this--some guy lost his cat named Dompa in the neighborhood of the church and was offering a $1000 reward for whoever found his cat. We knew he was serious about it because he had actually handed us a lost cat flyer a week before at the church. Well, we ended up hanging the flyer up in our apartment and so we recognized the cat super easily. So anyways we ran over to the nearest sign, called the guy, and he came flying over, got out of his car and shook a thing of food. Well, it was definitely Dompa because the cat came right out! Juaquim (he's from Brazil) was SO happy! He wanted us to follow him home for the reward, but we turned it down and just asked for a return appointment instead. So that was a pretty cool experience.  He was super grateful, and we were able to be an answer to someone's prayers though not in the way we expected to say the least:) Anyways he's an artist and was going to Colorado on Saturday, but he's going to take us out to lunch Wednesday and we'll see what happens!

As well, we had a cool miracle Saturday night. Basically all of our plans fell through, and so we decided to knock a few doors at 8:30 at night. Well, after a long day of rejections, the last door we knocked on accepted us immediately! It was a couple from Nicaragua, Glennys and Eugenio. Basically Eugenios mother had just been buried in Nicaragua at 9:00 am that morning, and they had been praying for comfort and someone to pray with them, and then we showed up at their door! We taught a really basic restoration and they understood it! They didn't make it to church yesterday since Eugenio had to work, but it was such a spiritually powerful experience that we're going to ride this one out and see what happens!

So those were a few tender mercies of the Lord this week. Unfortunately, our teaching pool needs a bit of refreshing since Claudia, Amilcar, and Jaime have all basically been taught everything and understand it, just working out situations for living different commandments. None of them were feeling well and so they didn't make it to church, but some good news is that Jaime has been able to quit Cuban coffee! For those who aren't familiar, Cuban coffee is pretty much the strongest coffee out there. So that's a big deal! Now he just needs to ditch the cigars, so we're going to try and have the members give him some addiction recovery classes and see what happens.

Anyways that's pretty much it for this week though, just trying to stay strong and find more of those people that need to hear my voice. One cool thing is that Elder Mears and I decided that with the new holiday video, we're going to focus on using that and our testimonies of Jesus Christ. So hopefully some cool stories will result from that this coming week!

Well Love you all, have an awesome week!
Elder Butterfield

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Week 66: A Happy Holiday Transfer

Hey everyone!

Well for once I'll just get the transfer news out of the way. I'm staying, WOOOOOOHHOOOOOOOOO. Which is a good thing to, had I been transferred I would've biked over to President Richardson's and fought him about ;) But seriously he only lives like 5 or 6 miles away, so I could've ;D Also my whole district is staying as well, so the Richardson Riders will ride again! Should be a pretty fun holiday transfer:)

So let's see, highlights of this last week... Well first off the church service program called JustServe just kicked off in our mission ( Which means we now get to do service during the not so productive hours of 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm when the whole world is out working, it's actually super awesome. We actually don't actively proselyte during the service, just answer questions and stuff if people ask. Basically the idea is just to help eliminate all the false/incorrect perceptions of mormons out there by getting out and serving in the community, especially with those of other faiths who already have service infrastructures in place! So it's a pretty exciting thing! As missionaries here we will do anywhere between 4-10 hours of service each week. So pretty excited about that, it will definitely be better than knocking on empty doors! Plus if have teaching appointments we of course still get to go to those, so it should be pretty great all around!

So there's that, as well Elder Mears and I were able to find a lot of new investigators this last week. Unfortunately though when push came to shove at the end of the week we either lost contact with them or they dropped us which was a bummer. But hey it goes like that sometimes.

As for investigator news, some bad news about Claudia and Amilcar. So apparently the lady he's married to in Guatemala is a pastor for another church and doesn't want him to join the true church. So she refuses to sign the divorce. Apparently it got a little heated, and so now they've kind of asked for some time to figure things out and nicely asked us to back off about the divorce/marriage. So we're gonna counsel with our branch president, but it doesn't look like they'll be getting baptized anytime soon. We shall see.

As well Jaime is still struggling with his cuban cigars, as well as a mountain of other personal problems he's having. But hey he's still reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church so that's good! We reset him with a date for the 5th of December and created a plan for him to completely get off cigars. Basically he went from 40 a day to 5 a day, but now he's stuck at 5. So we prayed about it and decided to try having him go down each day, so we're really praying that it works this week. Because if not then it will probably be a long drawn out process with the ward giving addiction recovery classes. Which isn't a bad thing, just not ideal if he can quit himself. But other than that, he accepts everything and knows it's true. So we're working really hard this week to make sure it happens!

That's pretty much it though, Elder Mears and I just really need to add some more investigators to our teaching pool and bring them to church! So ya that's about it for this week, just super happy I'm staying in Riverside Park! Hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving!!! As well Happy Birthday to my lovely mother this coming Sunday, love ya!!

Elder Butterfield

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 65: Tracting the Trailer Park

Hey Everyone!

Well, this week was a super exhausting one, but I would say lots of good things are happening for sure! All this biking is killing me though; I don't think I've ever biked so much in my life! Basically the Spanish speakers are scattered all throughout Fort Lauderdale, so between teaching recent converts, investigators, and contacting new people, we are all over the place! Probably an average of 10 miles a day or so. Which I know isn't a lot compared to some missions, but it's been an adjustment for me and I've pretty much been on bike my whole mission!

Anyways, let me see if I can give some of the highlights here...So first off our Cuban investigator Jaime is getting better each and everyday! He's still recovering from his surgery and has had some pretty rough gos this past week, but just like any Cuban he's tough and still fighting at 72 years old. (By the way, random fact I found out this week. Cuba is now open to proselyting, but only Cuban missionaries can proselyte there. Crazy huh? Apparently President Richardson fought super hard to have it be part of our mission according to Sister Richardson XD Just thought that was pretty cool!) So basically he came to church for the full three hours this week! It was hard for him, but he toughed it out! Also we taught him the Word of Wisdom this last week and he's working hard trying to get off those Cuban cigars and Cuban coffee, which are both ridiculously strong for those not familiar with Cuban culture. But hey, he's gone down from smoking 40 mini cuban cigars a day to like 5. I think that's pretty good! The biggest thing he needs right now is a member friend; it's been hard getting members out this last week. If we can get a member friend to take him under their wing, then he'll be getting baptized the 28th of November! He smoked Sunday, so we talked to him about it and he believes that the 28th is possible and agreed to prepare for it. So that's what we're going for! He's a really great guy, already knows the church is true and wants to put God first. So please pray that he'll be able to live the Word of Wisdom!

Also, Claudia and Amilcar are doing pretty well. They basically accept everything we teach, it's just their whole marriage situation. The good news is that our branch president here is a homie who gets work done! So he's personally helping them get everything figured out! The bad news is he's been out of town this last week and doesn't get back til Sunday. Plus Amilcar's ex wife is potentially holding things up...we shall see. I just really hope I get to see them baptized. I'll be really sad if I don't!

Another cool miracle we saw this week was Monica! So we found Monica braving the trailer parks of Fort Lauderdale.(Side note: we were trailer park warriors this past week. We were having a difficult time finding Spanish speaking people, and we knew we could find them in trailer parks so we went there. Also while in one, somebody went to pull a shotgun on us at the door, but then put it down when they saw it was us. Gotta love Florida:) Monica was actually pretty cool. She literally just told us about how she wanted to change her life and become a new person. Needless to say, we jumped all over that! She currently attends the Catholic church, but we invited her to come visit us this Sunday and she happily agreed! Unfortunately, when we went back for the return appointment, her husband didn't really want to talk to us and so we left her with a Book of Mormon and said we would call to remind her about church. This was all Friday. Fortunately, Elder Mears remembered to call her and she actually came! She showed up about halfway through Sacrament Meeting and then had to leave during Gospel Principles, but she came and she said she liked it! Funnily enough, Claudia and Amilcar knew her from when they went to the Catholic church. We went to follow up with her yesterday, and she didn't accept the challenge to be baptized just yet because she wants to learn a bit more. But hey that's cool. We're going to see her Tuesday to better explain the Restoration and everything else!

So ya, basically been a really good week! This really is the first area where God has allowed me to bring people to church through my own finding efforts and it's been really cool. I'm planning on keeping that up:)

That's pretty much it for this week though, just super excited and working really hard to help these people get on the road to the temple! Hoping to see even more cool miracles and more people in the coming week:)

Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Butterfield

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 64: A Priesthood Blessing

Hey Everyone!

Well, this last week was a super awesome busy one! Elder Mears and I picked up a couple of new investigators and even got one of them to church! Really great stuff, all except for Friday anyways. I'll get to that though:)

So let's see, Tuesday I had district training and then ended up going on exchanges with the Riverside Park North Elders. I went to the area just North of us with Elder Willhite which was pretty fun. Nothing too crazy happened, just knocked some doors and then some return appointments fell through, but we did find a cool referral for some other missionaries! Wednesday was kind of an ehh day, basically just knocked doors, did what we call fire exchanges (where my comp and I both go into another companionship's area and exchange for an hour to knock doors-- kind a blitz approach.) So I went with Elder Reed, and Elder Mears went with Elder Wardle. Unfortunately, not to much happened, but hey it was worth a shot! After that we knocked some more doors and found some really awesome potentials. Then after we went to go visit Claudia and Amilcar who are still doing great!

Thursday we went to go follow up with our Cuban friend Jaime, and he's awesome! We taught him the Restoration, and he accepted to be baptized and come to church, read the BofM etc. Keep in mind he had just had surgery on Wednesday, but told us "Dios Primero" or "God first". He's in a pretty humble living situation, but he's been searching for God and it seems his heart is in the right place. We also went to follow up with a woman from Mexico we found Wednesday, took a brother over with us, and had a super spiritual lesson! She just talked about how she felt good when we prayed with her on Wednesday; some difficult things were going on but she felt this was going to help her. Well, she committed to come to church and then offered the closing prayer and began to cry as she prayed to God. And that was a wrap for Thursday!

Friday really sucked though.......I woke up feeling awful and with a 100.5 fever. So we got stuck in the house all day Friday which was a big bummer because we had so many good appointments scheduled, but oh well... Fortunately with a Priesthood blessing I was already back out without a fever Saturday morning!

Saturday we finished 3 Nephi: 11 with Martina and she understood all of it, the need to be baptized the proper way with the proper authority, everything. So we invited her to be baptized. She didn't really give us a solid answer, but said she wanted to come to church. Unfortunately, she got called to work and didn't make it:/ She said for sure next Sunday though. We shall see... Jaime was having a pretty rough go Saturday with his surgery recovery so we talked about the  Atonement and then felt prompted to talk about Priesthood blessings to him. We followed the prompting and then asked if he would like a blessing, and then we gave him one which was a neat experience.

Sunday morning came around, so went to go round up our investigators for church. Well, we go to make sure Jaime is coming, and when we get there he was already sitting out by his car dressed in a white shirt and everything! That was really cool to see. So he came to church and then Claudia and Amilcar came also. Unfortunately Jaime had to leave early because of post surgery pain, but hey he came for the sacrament and the first talk. I was impressed!

That was basically the week. Jaime is praying about a baptismal date for the 21 of November, and Amilcar is hoping his divorce only takes about a month. So we'll see what happens!

Also I guess some have wondered why we invite people to be baptized so soon here in our mission? To give some background, the 12 week program for new missionaries teaches us to invite our investigators to be baptized on a specific date--no later than the 2nd lesson. And that's something church wide! We just do it a little bit earlier sometimes because that's the revelation that's been received for the mission and the mission President and the area authorities are well aware of what we do...So maybe that seems kind of soon for some, but then again our mission baptized 83 in October. People don't change unless they're invited to, so it's just easier to set that expectation from the beginning. So hopefully that kind of answers that question or concern...!

Well, love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Butterfield

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 63: A Calmer Week...

Hey Everyone!

Well, this last week was just a bit calmer than the week before--still crazy enough, but just a bit calmer :)

So Monday night we had a cool family home evening with the Medal family. They had invited three of their non member family members over and it went pretty well. Unfortunately, two live outside of the stake so there's no way that we can teach them, but the family night went pretty well. We didn't a get whole lot of time to talk/teach, but hey we sat down with non members/investigators! That's a huge step up from any of my other areas already!

Tuesday we got wrecked a bit knocking lots of doors and then we had our correlation meeting. Also while we were knocking doors,  someone stabbed Elder Mears tire with a knife or something so that really messed up the night. For some reason they only stabbed one and didn't touch my bike though. Tender Mercies right?? And just another bike problem story to add to the list hahahaha!

Wednesday was District Training, and then we got Elder Mears' bike fixed, knocked lots of doors, had a return appointment bail out on us, and then we went to see Claudia and Amilcar! Theyr'e still doing awesome! We actually had planned to go finish the Plan of Salvation with them, but then we ended up being guided to go over the Book of Mormon. It turned out really well; they both ended up reading and love it a lot so far! Really golden people--just gotta get Amilcar's divorce to go through and get them married.

Thursday turned out to be really great day. We actually visited two members and got referrals from both of them! That's pretty much the first time in my mission I've received referrals that easily.  It was an amazing feeling!

Friday was a pretty interesting day. So in my district I have a set of Haitian Creole speaking missionaries, but I still have to go on exchanges with them. So I brought one of them into my area (It's funny I say my area, but we share the exact same geographical area. They just work the Haitian parts and we do Spanish haha) which means I had to do ALL the contacting and teaching. It was pretty exhausting and a different experience. But hey we ended the night with Claudia and Amilcar and took the Branch President over with us to teach them. It was a great visit, and we were able to finish the Plan of Salvation as well as talk about eternal marriage!

Saturday was pretty weird (go figure). Besides knocking doors and contacting formers, we actually had a lesson set up with a lady named Juana. Her husband wasn't home when we arrived so we just started to teach her the Restoration and she was super prepared and had been dreaming that Christ had been telling her He was going to change her life! Well, right in the middle of the first vision, her husband showed up and interrupted the lesson. He was actually pretty nice though; he let us in and we sat down. But they didn't have much time so really basically revised the parts he had missed and then finished the first vision. After, we invited them to be baptized. Well Juana was nodding her head yes and said "Si." She wanted to come to church and everything. Unfortunately, her husband was a bit more skeptical and said they would have to talk about it, that they had our info and they would "call us" which in missionary work is really just the nice way of saying no. So that was a huge letdown, but we'll try to get back in touch sometime and see what happens because she was so prepared!

As for Sunday, Claudia and Amilcar didn't make it to church because they had a family emergency come up, but hey that stuff happens. Fortunately, it sounds like everything is still okay.  We're going to see them Wednesday night, and even though we didn't help anyone come to church, a member brought his non member brother and his family to church because they were having him bless their baby! So the Branch President was on top of everything, said that he had already talked to them about us coming over and bringing a "Finding Faith in Christ DVD" as well as to sharing a short message. So all we had to go was go over there to introduce ourselves and set up the time! This place is seriously the best. I just hope I can keep up everything and keep fueling the fire!

So anyways that's pretty much it for this week.  I love the area and love my new comp. Just really trying hard to live up to what's expected of me here in this branch!

Also, for those wondering about Halloween, we couldn't have a sleepover because President Richardson said no to the whole mission on that, but since the Assistants to the President live like 5 minutes away from us, we went over to their house from 7:00-9:00 PM and deep fried chicken wings. It was pretty great!

Well love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Butterfield

McKay and Elder Mears

Ward Party

Ward Party