Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 84: Happy Easter!

Hey Everyone!

HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!!!!!! I hope everyone really did have a wonderful Easter! Honestly mine was pretty crazy; it didn't even seem like Easter, but hey I think that's just part of being a missionary:)

So this last week...Monday we did a family home evening with the Baderaco family, a member family here in the ward. We were able to help them invite some people to the church Easter egg hunt which was pretty cool! More to come on that later! Afterwards we taught our investigator Pamela, and she's awesome! Then we did exchanges on Tuesday, so I took over the area and brought Elder Spencer into Hollywood with me. It was pretty fun; we had a good little exchange! Nothing too much report from that though. Although I do have a funny story that happened this week! So Brother Tinny, our ward mission leader, was telling us how his wife keeps getting viruses on her phone. I was trying to explain to him how it happens and how to avoid it before our correlation meeting. Well somewhere in the conversation I said the word function, but I stuttered when I said it and so I accidentally said "the big one, the mother of all dirty words, the f dash dash dash word" in the chapel...whoops! After I stuttered, I realized what it probably sounded like and looked over at the other Elders who sure enough are trying not to bust up laughing, confirming that I did indeed say it. They were doing a pretty good job of keeping quiet until a ward missionary Brother Johnson just busted up laughing and then they lost it too. Then I started laughing too because it was pretty funny... :)

Wednesday we had a pizza picnic after district training so that was pretty fun, then we knocked lots of doors and went and taught some lessons with Brother Russ from the ward. We went to go see someone who had requested a Book of Mormon, but really he just wanted a movie about Jesus. Online missionaries tend to sugarcoat these media referrals haha! He actually lived in a gated community, so Brother Russ just tried to sneak in and had the security guard chase him. That was funny too. We did end up seeing the guy, but he just wasn't really interested. Then we taught Jiselle the Word of Wisdom which went well that night,but she smoked the next day and is kind of in a spiritual downward spiral right now. Hopefully we can help her get back on track. Time will tell.

Thursday was awesome! We taught a guy named Cesar the Restoration with another member named Junior at the church. So interesting back story: Cesar is the brother of Brother Ronda who passed away recently in the Hollywood ward. We actually went to his funeral as he wanted the missionaries to be there. Well, Cesar lives in Miami, but since his brother's passing, he has gotten super interested in the church. And since he knows people in Hollywood, we're at least starting the teaching process. It was an awesome spiritual lesson, and when he prayed, he said something along the lines of, "This is the first step in something that I'll be doing the rest of my life." That was pretty cool. We didn't invite him to be baptized yet since he's kind of taking things at his own pace and other people had already talked to him about it, but he'll get there for sure:)

Friday I went on exchanges in the Spanish area of Hollywood with Elder Perez which was fun. It's a bit difficult to find Spanish speakers here, but it was a good exchange!

Then Saturday we went to the Primary Easter activity since the Baderacos had invited a few non members. It was pretty fun. I talked to the people for a bit. They weren't quite ready to accept an appointment, but they had a good experience so that's a start! Later on we went to a baptism to which I will give the backstory right now!

About a month ago, we had dinner in the home of a Venezuelan family that attend in the English ward for their kids. Well, the mother and kids are active, but the husband had been super less active for years. Not only that, the non member mother of the less active father is visiting here for several months in Florida, but she only speaks Spanish. Good thing my companion and I are both Spanish missionaries even though we're in an English area! So after dinner, I pull out the Restoration pamphlet in Spanish! I look over and my comp is somewhat skeptical about the whole situation, but I didn't care. I was going to teach this Venezuelan grandma the Restoration! Well long story short, we passed the grandmother to the Spanish sisters, and she got baptized this last week by her son who just got rescued! How awesome is that?? Sure it wasn't a baptism for our area, but we helped bring another soul unto Christ!

Sister Bolivar, the wife of the less active man, was SOOOO GRATEFUL for us initiating the whole thing. It was really great to see that taking the drive to teach the Restoration in that situation paid off big time:)

Last but not least, Easter! Honestly though, Easter was a pretty regular Sunday for me. I knocked on people's doors and reminded them about church, went to church, and then we contacted a Book of Mormon referral from Ethiopa who seems super cool! He is only available on Sundays, but I definitely can see him getting baptized! After that we had dinner with the Hamilton family,  knocked doors, and then taught Pamela to read and study the scriptures daily since she came to church.

All in all a pretty solid week! Unfortunately, since Jiselle smoked we won't by baptizing in March but April is looking REALLY good. I better stay for one more transfer since transfers are a week from Wednesday. So FYI next P day will be Tuesday!

That's it for this week, love you all!

Elder Butterfield

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 83: Zone Conference

Hey Everyone!

Well, spring break is upon us! Fortunately, things aren't too crazy here in Hollywood; it's more of a family area so we avoid most of that crap! As far as missionary work in my area, this last week was a pretty good one!

We were able to teach Jiselle the Restoration and about the Book of Mormon with members from the ward.  We also took her on a tour of the chapel here in Hollywood which she liked a lot! So because of that, she made it to church on Sunday! Wooohooo! She is doing awesome and really excited for her baptism on the 2nd of April although we will probably have to move it because of General Conference--but hey that shouldn't be a problem! She seemed to have a good time at church although Gospel Principles got pretty weird again. I really hate taking investigators to that class!

But anyways, Jiselle is doing well. A part member family came to church also. It's an active member, her non-member niece and then her fiance who isn't a member either. We haven't taught them much yet but we are looking forward to working with them.  There was also a large Haitian family we were teaching, but they weren't keeping commitments so we had to drop them:(

We also saw a great miracle yesterday after church! We were knocking doors in an apartment complex (apartments are the best, more doors, less time and people are constantly moving in and out:) and found a lady named Pamela! We actually contacted her from the ground while she was sitting on her second story balcony. She didn't seem that interested at first but then came out to talk to us and asked us about what a Mormon is. So we talked about it a little bit, shared the restoration with her, and then she told us how she had recently left her church and was looking for a new one. Then, she explained how she had been praying to God asking Him to let her know if there was anything else she needed to do in her life. Then we showed up:) Needless to say, she committed to be baptized on the 9th of April:)

Other highlights from last week: we had Zone Conference on Thursday. We had to drive to the west coast of Florida in Fort Myers, which was my first time out there! So we had to take I-75 on a stretch called Alligator Alley out there. It's literally a straight road through the Glades in the middle of nowhere. So to make the drive more adventurous, we had our zone meet up and did a missionary caravan of 8 cars all the way across Florida to the chapel. It was pretty funny to see peoples faces as they passed 8 cars filled with Mormon missionaries:) We also got a pic out in the glades from a scenic pull off which turned out pretty cool:)  All in all it was a good week.

Love you all and have a good spring break!

Elder Butterfield

Elders in "The Zone"

"The Zone"

Zone Conference--McKay is 2nd row from the back, 4th Elder from the left.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Week 82: An Interesting Funeral

Hey Everyone!

Hopefully everyone survived the loss of an hour of sleep on Sunday, I know we barely did here! But hey the good news is there is now daylight til 7:30 here, which means we can focus more in finding investigators since people will be up later now! WOOOOOHOOOOOO! If you're unsure why more daylight is a big deal, let's just say that most people really hate it when you knock on their door after DST is the best!!!

So this last week we went to follow up with our homie Ray from Jamaica and his wife Kristie from Trinidad and Tobago and their kids! We had an awesome lesson about the Restoration Monday night and then on Thursday we had a great lesson about the Book of Mormon! They even committed to come to Stake Conference which was super far away in Plantation and were preparing to be baptized on the 26th of March. Needless to say, we were ecstatic considering it's a family! We even stopped by Saturday night to remind them about DST and solidify their commitment to come to church and Ray looked pretty excited. Then we got phone contact Sunday morning to confirm they were coming.  We even saved them a soft bench at the Stake center (to which a lot of members grumbled, but c'mon they're investigators!) And then they never showed up..... :( They didn't answer our calls or anything; we stopped by that night and he was outside,but when he saw us, he ducked in his house and wouldn't answer the door. So they probably got antied in some way which is super happens though. So that was a big disappointment for us.

Good news is we stopped by last night to follow up with an investigator named Giselle who we had lost contact with. She is doing well, but she didn't make it to Stake Conference since her daughter had the flu, but she's excited to bring her daughters next week! Not only that but she knows that something is missing in her life and so she committed to prepare to be baptized on the 2nd of April! That was a tender mercy of the Lord last night!

That's pretty much it for investigator news. Carmen started to reject our calls so that didn't work out unfortunately...but hey that's missionary work!

Other cool stuff that happened last week: we had our zone training Tuesday which went well. We focused on working with the members a lot which was good. Wednesday we were actually invited to the funeral of a member here in the Hollywood ward. He was a convert and so his widow and the rest of his family aren't members. His dying wish was to have the missionaries there and for the speakers to point them out and invite his family to seek us out. While I can't say any of the family came running to us during the dinner after, it was a cool opportunity and his brother in Miami is actually super interested in the church and came to stake conference with a member this last Sunday, so that was a cool sight to see.

Friday we did exchanges with Plantation, so I went with Elder Stafford and had a good time! And then Saturday we did blitz exchanges (ie we split up with another companionship to knock doors in the same area) with the Haitian Creole Elders in some Haitian apartments we found. So that was fun!

Basically Elder Van Cott and I need to find more people to teach and baptize, so we're gonna go work hard with our own efforts as well as FIND FIND FIND through the members here in Hollywood!

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Butterfield

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 81: A Visit from Elder Dube of the Seventy

Hey Everyone!

Hopefully it's starting to warm up in Utah like it is down here in Florida. It's starting to get REALLY warm again. It won't be long before the sweat is dripping down our backs...! With that lovely picture in mind, I'll tell you how the week went!

So last Tuesday we had our zone conference with our visiting General Authority, Elder Dube, one of two black members of the Quorum of the Seventy. The other one is coming to our stake conference this weekend. Sweet right? Anyways zone conference with him went really well. He offered some great insight on how to better work with and involve the members here. He was also impressed with us as a mission. In Mission Leadership Council he told us that he usually gives an obedience training on getting up at 6:30 am and stuff, but as he went around to shake our hands, he knew that wasn't a problem in our mission and instead trained on us on more important stuff! So that was pretty cool!

As well, at the end of zone conference Tuesday, President Richardson picked some missionaries to have private interviews with Elder Dube, and I ended up being one of them! It was a good experience although a little scary! He just asked about my family, how many siblings I have and stuff. Once I said I have a brother, he said I needed to set a good example for him because a mission isn't optional! So there you go Brendan, Elder Dube says you have to go on your mission in case you weren't already planning on it :) Then he just asked about the zone and a few personal questions. It was weird though because I just knew when he looked into my eyes that with the gift of discernment he knew everything about me. Of course I don't have anything to hide, but it's a different feeling knowing that he's able to read people like that! Overall though, a good experience!

Another highlight of the week was that one of the Assistants to the President came and did what's called a shadow exchange with us on Friday. Basically one of the AP's just comes and follows us around all day to see how we're doing. Fortunately, we had a really good day that day with lots of teaching, so it went well:)

 The sad part about this last week is that we picked up somewhere around 11 new investigators that were committed to baptism and coming to church, but they all dropped off Saturday night or Sunday morning:/ So basically we are starting from scratch again....if people would keep their commitments this wouldn't happen! That's one of the things I liked that Elder Dube said, if we can get people to keep saying yes, then they'll get baptized!

That being said, last night we were knocking doors at an apartment complex near the chapel and we found a really cool lady named Carmen! She's going through some rough times in her life right now, but as we prayed with her, you could see her feel the Spirit. She told us how a lot is going on, but that she wants to make changes in her life and had actually been thinking about baptism all week and in particular yesterday! Then we showed up at her door. That is one thing that has been such a testimony to me of the truthfulness of this work on my mission. I've run into sooooo many people at just the right time to the point there was no doubt in their minds or mine that God sent us to them. Sometimes they choose not to continue or act on the witness they receive, but I really do know that this is God's work and He DOES love His children.

So I'm very excited to see what this week brings my way, I have my hopes up that Miracle March still has some miracles in store for Elder Van Cott and me..!

Elder Butterfield