Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 80: New Investigators...Yeah!!!

Hey Everyone!

I'm so dead and exhausted and my voice is completely gone as I'm writing this...good times!;)  But hey, it's good to be in the service of the Lord!

So this last week we were able to get a good amount of the new member lessons in with Helen which went pretty well. Sometimes she has some pretty crazy questions and wants direct answers, but she's doing well for the most part. We just have a hard time getting her to stay for Sunday School and Relief Society...! 

Besides teaching Helen, we picked up a few new investigators throughout the week who unfortunately didn't make it to church...but we had a pretty cool story with one that I have to tell. So last Tuesday Elder Van Cott and I were knocking doors in the afternoon and it started to rain. Well, we kept on moving forward, but when we went up to a door it started to rain sheets, so we were cowering under this person's porch. Well, she ended up having pity on us, yanked us inside, and we were able to pray with her! She accepted baptism, coming to church, and a return appointment! Also she's from the Bahamas and her name is Vernique Butterfield. Yup, you read that right! Pretty cool huh? And then as soon as we left it was sunny again...Divine intervention? I think so. So far we've only taught her the Restoration, and she didn't make it to church because of a family crisis with her niece, but we'll follow up with her and see what happens.

In better news, Helen's son Bryan came to church on Sunday for the first time! He admitted it was mostly to support his mom, but he was telling Elder Van Cott and I that we were pretty cool guys and that he wanted to start talking to us more after talking to his mom about us. So there is definitely potential in him which is good! Also funny side note, he took a picture of me with Helen and was showing it to his friends. Well according to Bryan about 7 girls commented "He's hot! I'd be baptized by him!" I seriously died laughing in the middle of church when he told me that XD #StillGotIt;)

As well, we actually had a lady just walk into church on her own Sunday, which almost never happens in Hollywood! Her name is Esther and she's just looking for a church for her and her son, so she walked over to ours! She came in at the end of Sacrament Meeting and stayed for Gospel Principles and Relief Society. She's coming back next week! So we will hopefully be teaching her this next as well!

But that's not all! We rescued 3 less active members this week, and one of them invited their nonmember friend to church without us saying anything. He liked it a lot and the other Elders will be going back to follow up with him this week!

So it was a slow week during the week but ended on a strong note!

Just some other things that were cool--we did member exchanges on Wednesday night so Elder Van Cott and I split up to double our effectiveness and it went well. We are in the process of trying to track down all of the part-member families in our area so that was a huge help! It is hard in Florida because the ward directories are super out of date and most people on the lists are long gone. For example, we have 1200 people on the Hollwood Ward directory, and only about 230 come each week. Most don't actually still live here, but we've found one or two so far. They just weren't interested in coming back at the moment.

The other thing is that Elder Duve', a member of the first quorum of the 70, is touring our mission right now. Sunday night we had Mission Leadership Council and he talked about how to be better leaders as well as how we need to work better with the members here. So it was a confirmation that Elder Van Cott and I are on the right track with member exchanges and contacting part member families etc.

That's pretty much it for this week though. We have our zone conference tomorrow with Elder Duve' and then from there we just need to explode our area!!!

Well love you all,
Elder Butterfield

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 79: A Birthday Baptism!!!

Hey Everyone!!

Well, the good news from this week is that Helen got baptized and confirmed Tuesday night! She is doing awesome and said that she notices and feels a difference in her life. She feels the Spirit guiding her more on making the right choices, and she said she finally felt clean after 30 years of trying to repent on her own. When she told us, that was definitely one of those moments that make a mission worth it. Just knowing that Elder Van Cott and I were able to help someone receive a remission of their sins through baptism by the proper authority was definitely the highlight of the week:)

Not only that, her son decided to come to the baptism this week! Normally, he keeps to himself and just stays in his room, but we met him for the first time Tuesday when he came to the church for her baptism! He didn't make it to church since he was sick and we haven't been able to teach him anything, but there is definitely potential there!

Other Helen related news is that she passed her interview for her limited use temple recommend! So now we just need to teach her all the new member lessons, help her get some names to take to the temple, and we will be able to go with her to do baptisms at the temple for the first time! They just barely approved that in our mission, so we are super pumped!

So that's definitely most of the good news for the week:) On the other hand, Elder Van Cott and I weren't able to get any investigators to church and we basically need to rebuild our teaching pool from scratch. But we'll do it one way or another. One awesome thing is that the ward and stake here are really working with us to step things up. Stakewide, they are assigning members to go out with the missionaries each night to teach investigators as well as visit part member families and less active members. So that should be a HUGE help! The correlation is that when member-present lessons go up, then baptisms go up so we are seeing what we can do to baptize more here. As well we've been working with the Elders Quorum President, Brother Bills, to set up member exchanges on Wednesday night. So we will be able to split up and each go with a member as our companion for the night to do double the work. That should be a big help as well. Really good things are happening in the ward here; now we as missionaries just need to contribute our part and find some new investigators!

So ya, basically we are just doing our best to involve members more and we figure as we do that only good things will happen. So we will see what happens as #MiracleMarch is coming up (Last year in March the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission hit it's goal of 100 baptisms, 102 to be exact. So we are shooting for a repeat!

That's pretty much it for this week, I'm excited to see what awaits me in Hollywood this week!

Elder Butterfield

McKay, Helen, and Elder VanCott

 Elder VanCott, Helen, and McKay

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week 78: Another Six Weeks in Hollywood!

Hey Everyone!

Well, first off transfers are this week........and Elder Van Cott and I are both staying in Hollywood! We were a little surprised, but we're ready to go forward and help the Fort Laud zone bring more souls unto Christ:) Seriously though, one of President Richardson's counselors actually pulled Elder Van Cott out and told him to say his goodbyes because he thought he was leaving, and then he ended up staying so that was pretty funny! But it should be good, good things are happening in this area, so I'm excited to stay and see more miracles!

So some crazy good news about Helen! She's getting baptized tonight!!!!!!  So Sunday she had her baptismal interview, and she passed that which was great! Then we found out that there is a funeral on Saturday the 20th in the chapel, so we figured it wouldn't be appropriate to have a baptism there that day. We called President Richardson and got the ok to move it to Tuesday (since we thought that Elder Van Cott was leaving at that point). We called Helen, made sure she was ok with that and didn't really think anything of it. Well, Monday night when we go to see her and fill out her baptismal record, we find out that today is her birthday! How crazy is that??? We honestly had no idea until we filled out the record... God has His timing that's for sure:) Also, while we were there she had us "cast lots" (or pull paper out of a box) to decide who would baptize her. I pulled out the right one so I will be the one performing the baptism which will be neat!

One other really cool thing that happened last night was Helen took 10 minutes just thanking us for taking the time to visit her and for answering her questions and being the good people that we are. She said that she has a lot of respect for us and to get the point across she said, "No really I'm not just kissing a**. I mean it!" This was super hilarious because she doesn't usually swear. She's a great woman! She also talked about how excited she is to go to the temple to do baptisms and already has information for her parents and grandparents! By the way, we were able to take her to do a temple grounds tour on Friday evening with a member. So she is super solid for her baptism and we're super excited for her!

As well, our friend Venice came to church again, and this time her husband made it too, so the whole family was there! So far it's proven difficult to teach their family during the week, but Elder Van Cott and I are keeping our hopes up:)

Other than that we're just working hard to find more investigators and work together with the ward. We got the Elders' quorum president to agree to get 4 Elders for each Wednesday to do splits with us so that we can split up into 4 different companionships to teach our investigators plus contact the part member families here. With that rolling we should see some amazing things happen!

One other thing that happened last week was that Elder Van Cott and I gave our first zone training together. Since our zone has been struggling, President Richardson came and gave some input as well. The good news is he really liked it and said it was the best one he saw! So things should be on the uphill here!

That's pretty much it for this last week. It's been a pretty good week for me, and I'm excited to see what else Hollywood has in store for me:)

Elder Butterfield

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Week 77: Making Progress with Helen

Hey All!

To be honest this was a harder week for me. Not really anything major, but just a bunch of little things piled up enough to frustrate me. Sometimes life goes like that though.

The good news is that Helen, our investigator, agreed to move her baptismal date up to the 20th of February. She came to church again, which was good. Her first time in Gospel Principles class was a little rough though. I'm kind of growing to hate the manual for that class. Freaking investigators are in there and all of the scripture references in lesson 5 about the Creation are in the Pearl of Great Price. DEEP DOCTRINE MUCH??????????? So ya when we read the scripture about how all living things have spirits, Helen freaked out a bit. Not to mention that Heavenly Mother was brought up......... Good grief. I should note that I'm not just frustrated with the class here in Hollywood but in general with the class. This stuff happens everywhere and scares investigators away like you wouldn't believe. But hey, I'll get over it sooner or later... :)

Despite the craziness, Helen really is doing pretty well. She got a testimony of the Book of Mormon this week! We were talking about how the Book of Mormon helps us to answer our questions. So we had her come up with a question and then told her to pray for understanding, read the Book of Mormon, and she would receive an answer! Well she did it, opened up to a random spot in the Book of Mormon and found answers to all three of her questions reading that way. That was a pretty big miracle! As well she's agreed to live all of the commandments and accepted baptisms for the dead. So things are moving along pretty well.

As for the other families, Venice's father has been sick in the hospital this week so we weren't able to see her and she didn't make it to church yesterday. But we stopped by and she agreed to pray about a baptismal date. So we will see what happens. As for David and his family, they actually moved into the other Elders area this past week. We helped them load their truck which was fun. Didn't make it to church, but the other Elders will do some follow up with them.

That's pretty much it for cool investigators, Helen is doing well but we need to find more new investigators!!

Also, we had a lot of fun at the Book of Mormon musical this past week.  With two other Elders, we passed out 125 copies of the Book of Mormon to patrons going in so that was pretty cool! Hopefully some of them decide to learn more!

That's pretty much it for the week.  Just another week in Paradise:)

Love you all,
Elder Butterfield

The true Book of Mormon stars!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 76: We Finally Got New Investigators to Church!!

Hey everyone!

Well I feel like the title sums it up, we got 5 new investigators to church yesterday!!! God is good:)

First one is a Peruvian lady named Helen (don't worry she speaks English). The spanish sisters actually knocked on her door and then passed her to us as a referral. Well we finally saw her Wednesday night and she is awesome!! She's a very intelligent woman who has a bachelors in biochemistry and is working on another bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering. Yup, super smart. But she reads everything we give her and prays too! My favorite moment with her this week was when I felt prompted to testify about how baptism by proper authority washes our sins away (a remission of sins) and it just clicked with her. She understood it perfectly and was super excited that she would be able to have her sins washed away. So when we invited her to be baptized she accepted! Interestingly enough we invited her to be baptized the 13th of February. She didn't accept that, but asked how often we do services and so we told her every Saturday. She then proceeded to pick her own baptismal date and chose the 27th of February. How awesome is that!?!?! So super excited to keep teaching her:)

I also was reminded of the importance of members this week. One thing with Helen is that she was studying the Book of Mormon like a textbook and just thought that it was a book of stories. So we were trying to help her understand that she needs to read it like scripture and pray and ask God if the book is true, but for some reason we couldn't explain it the right way. But then Brother Rodriguez came in and saved the lesson and helped her understand what to do with the Book of Mormon, it was awesome!

As well, we also helped 2 new families come to church for their first time. We had taught Venice a couple of times, but then she got busy and we hadn't been able to meet with her. We got her to church though and she loved it. It was interesting because she is actually an active member of another church. So when she came to ours, she asked when we would throw the tithes and offerings into the bowl. We then explained how no one in the church gets paid and that those things are paid in private. Her response? "My church is all about the MONEY!" Needless to say, I think she'll be coming back again:)

Also another guy named David who we contacted in the laundry room of his apartment complex a week ago came as well and he loved it so much! He said he's been to a lot of churches but just hasn't really felt one. Then he came to ours and he has nothing but good to say about it which was cool! Unfortunately he's moving out of our area and into the area of the other Elders in the ward so we won't be able to keep teaching him, but hey it's all the same team:)

So that's pretty much it as far as the work here in Hollywood, things are finally picking up!

Probably wondering about how the Book of Mormon musical went right? Well I got the chance to do it a couple of times this last week, and let's just say it's an adventure:) People either try super hard to avoid us or they're totally open to talking to us, there's no inbetween! It's pretty fun to pass out copies of the Book of Mormon like candy though, we passed out a bunch Saturday after the matinee showing which was good! Hopefully some baptisms come from it!

That's pretty much it for this week though, love you all and have a great week!

Elder Butterfield