Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Week 88: Speaking Spanish in Stuart!

Hey Everyone!

Well, this last week was a pretty dang good one to be honest with you! We taught lots of people, picked up some cool new investigators, and have been able to speak plenty of Spanish:) Funny thing, there is actually more Spanish work here in Stuart if you go to the Spanish neighborhoods than there is in my old area Riverside Park in Fort Lauderdale. Go figure right? But hey I'm sure loving it a lot!

Update on the investigator Catherine from last week! So she actually moved out of our area down to Jupiter with her husband. They had been separated for a long time but are still married, and she needed to get out of her current situation which involved a lot of abuse. So while I'm definitely sad we can't teach her, it needed to happen and it will work out way better for her there. The Elders are already teaching her down there, and she is still preparing for her baptism on the 8th of May. As well, they are teaching some of the family now, and she's a lot closer to the church whereas in our area she lived forever away and didn't have a car so she had to a get a ride. So it's definitely what needed to happen. I'm just hoping this can be another referral passed on that gets baptized!

We also had a pretty amazing miracle with a family from Venezuela! So I actually came on quite a few exchanges here to the area of Stuart back when I was serving in Jupiter and taught a lot of different people. So when I got here, I went back and pulled out all of the people I remembered to go follow up with them. We went to go follow up with one of them on Thursday, and right as we pulled up to the apartment, another car pulled up in front of it as well. It wasn't the lady I had taught, but actually a Venezuelan family that had just moved into the apartment the weekend before. So we approached them and they looked pretty relieved to find someone to speak Spanish to. Turns out they fled Venezuela as refugees 6 months ago, arrived to Hialeah, but it was too crazy/expensive for them and they couldn't learn English there, so they moved up here to Stuart where they will have a lot more opportunities to learn. Not only that, the father Yeimer had a Mormon boss back in Venezuela, but he had just never been interested in the church before. However, when we showed up and invited him to church and a return appointment he happily accepted. Then he and his family came to church on Sunday! So that was a pretty cool experience and definitely a testimony to me that I am in the right place!

Amongst other things, we finally went out to Indiantown this week. It's a good half an hour drive away and is out in the country somewhat close to Okechobee. It's definitely a farming community, but there is a Haitian recent convert there who brings her neighbor and her kids to church with her. So we finally were able to start teaching her neighbor, and she is preparing to be baptized! The language barrier is hard sometimes so it's a slow process and there's definitely some life changes she will have to make, but it definitely can happen!

So ya, lot's of good stuff happening here in Stuart! The only sad thing that happened was that Ola Brown lost her job this last week and her car broke down. Dang Ford Taurus'... So ya just like most of my other recent converts, the post baptism trials came pretty quickly.... but the good news is that she is remaining faithful and the ward is doing a great job of reaching out to her and helping her with a ride to church. So God will definitely work things out in His way. I just don't know why so many bad things happen after a baptism. It's pretty frustrating sometimes....!

That's pretty much it for this week though. Elder Adams and I are having a lot of fun and enjoying Stuart together, so I don't have much to complain about:)

Love y'all, have a good week!

Elder Butterfield

 McKay and Elder Adams are stylin' in their Florida t-shirts.

 McKay conveniently left this out of his weekly update. We had to find out about this escapade from Elder Adam's sister.  She and Brooke are friends, and she passed along the fun info that these two decided to shave their legs this week!  McKay's are bloody ones on the right. I didn't know this was a necessary missionary skill?!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Week 87: A Baptism in Stuart

Hey Everyone!

Well, this last week has been pretty crazy, but it's been a really good one honestly:) Though I do have some sad news to share first. So update on the investigators I left behind in Hollywood. Pamela and her daughter got baptized, but somehow her daughter Mia didn't get confirmed with her. Not sure what happened there. I'm asking around before I make any assumptions. As well Carmen told the Elders not to come back anymore--no idea what happened there either. So that was definitely sad to hear, but what you do you do? That being said it was definitely wrong for me to question the revelation my mission President had received about transfers. I just hope that one day Mia, Carmen, and Junior get things figured out...

Anyways, bad news aside it was honestly a pretty great week! Our investigator Ola Brown was able to get baptized as scheduled, and she asked me to perform the baptism so that was a wonderful blessing! She was very prepared! In fact, I have a miracle to share about her! So last time I emailed y'all she was still unsure of what to do about her work situation, but when we went to go do her baptismal interview on Tuesday with Elder Robishaw, she had amazing news to tell us! So between Sunday the 10th and Tuesday the 12th, her boss called her and offered her a Friday/Saturday shift because someone else had given it up and Ola had seniority over everyone else. As well she knew that she wanted to go to church and get baptized!  So at that point she was completely ready without a doubt for her baptism and she has a solid member friend in Sister Sevenin who's in one of the baptismal photos. So that was an amazing miracle this week!

As well we've had a lot of miracles in finding new investigators!  Here's one miracle that happened I would like to share. My companion and I decided to knock doors in a trailer park. We found someone who needed us named Catherine! Catherine had been praying that day to go back to church, and then we showed up to her door. She burst into tears after the prayer and said that she had never had a prayer answered so quickly! The next day she texted us this,  "Your appearance here yesterday was a direct answer to a specific prayer request I made to God through my Lord and Savior."
God's plan is perfect. Needless to say Catherine came to church and loved it! Unfortunately, she has some problems with an abusive ex who won't leave but she is working on getting him evicted so hopefully that won't be a problem for much longer. That being said we are her third set of missionaries, and I honestly believe that she is ready this time around!

We also  had a recent convert in the area bring her friend to church for like the third time  as well as a family who is working on coming back to the church. They've been coming the past couple weeks, but we just assumed they're all members. Turns out the wife of one of the brothers is a non member and when the Bishop talked to them, they agreed to take the missionary lessons. So we had two member referrals come to church as well as Catherine. Pretty awesome! The only hard thing is that the two member referrals live in a tiny little place called Indiantown which is waaaaay far away; in fact, so far we don't have enough miles to drive there more than MAYBE once a week. We are planning on going out there this week, but hopefully we can get some members who are willing to drive us out  there because we have two investigators coming to church on a regular basis!

So yeah, definitely bad news from Hollywood, but Elder Adams and I are tearing it up here in Stuart. And even though I thought I would hate it here, I actually love it. People up here are very nice, the jobs here aren't as bad as they are in Miami/Broward, so people actually have time to talk to us and meet with us. We decided Stuart is the best kept secret of the mission!

Anyways love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Butterfield

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Week 86: Settling in to Stuart

Hey Everyone!

Well this last week has been pretty dang crazy. Elder Adams and I have basically been running around like chickens with our heads cut off. Wednesday was transfer day and we didn't arrive to our area until 3:00-3:30ish (Stuart is like 2 hours away from the mission office/home). Stuart is actually just above the Jupiter ward, so I'm back to the place I literally thought I would never return to. After reading some of the notes the other Elders left us, we went to meet our investigator, Ola. She was pretty disappointed the other missionaries were gone, but she will go forward just fine. So that was good, then we went to a meal appointment and finished off the night knocking some doors and going to meet the family of a recent convert that I interviewed to be baptized when I was back in Jupiter.

Thursday we had to go to district trainings which are super far away here! Our first district is a half an hour away in the Jupiter chapel and the second one is another half hour away, so we drive one hour away from our house. So lots of time driving, and then no miles are left over :( So anyways we did our district trainings, went back home and had a lesson with Ola and her member friend, and then had some dinner that the members brought to us. After that we just went out to knock some doors and to try to find new investigators.

Friday we got pretty wrecked as well. We had mission leadership council in Fort Lauderdale. So we had to drive ALL the way back down with our district leaders this time and all the way back up. We didn't get back to our area until like 4:30. Then we saw Ola again, reviewed the baptismal interview questions and helped her overcome some concerns that she had. As well we discovered she still needed to pray about Joseph Smith being a prophet, so we committed her to do so.

Saturday we were finally able to sit down and do our weekly planning session and really get settled so that was good. We also followed up with Ola who got an answer to her prayers, and then visited a Mexican family that lives here, the Mora family. They are super awesome and are excited to have two Spanish missionaries here in Stuart which hasn't happened in a long time since it's mostly an English area. They have a few Spanish speaking neighbors they are going to invite over for an FHE so that should be good!

Church was alright on Sunday.  We met a few of the members, had a meal appointment, saw Ola and then knocked some doors. We did find a super awesome Spanish contact here, so hopefully we can keep finding some cool Spanish contacts/investigators.

Pretty much our plan for Stuart is to work with the members, and then when knocking doors, to find all the Spanish speakers. So we shall see what happens.

That's pretty much it for this week, love you all!
Elder Butterfield

An old picture of McKay and his new companion, Elder Adams, at a transfer meeting

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Week 85: The Best and Worst Week of My Mission!!!

Hey Everyone!

Well I'm going to start off with all of the amazing miracles that happened this last week! So I'm sure you all remember Pamela who came to church last week! Well we were teaching her last week, but  about Thursday we kind of lost contact with her and we were freaking out. We didn't hear anything from her Friday either which was really concerning because, from what she had told us, she was going to be kicked out of her apartment on the 1st of April. So we were super worried they had already evicted or she had already moved out or something.

Well Saturday night we stop by, and Pamela had some of the craziest miracles happen in her life that I have ever seen! When we were teaching her, she didn't have a car, was going to be kicked out of her apartment and didn't have a job. She was in a really tough spot both physically and emotionally. Well Saturday when we finally saw her again, she had gotten a job, bought her own car, her ex boyfriend came and paid the rent at the apartment for the month of April, and she found a place to move into in May that is still within the ward boundaries! It was so crazy!!!!!!!! She was so happy and excited and then reminded US that she was going to be getting baptized next Saturday! Unbelievable! She came to General Conference on Sunday, loved it, and we have taught her everything she needs to know for her baptismal interview, which should be happening tonight! Her daughter is still iffy about being baptized but will probably be baptized in the coming weeks!

As well, we were sitting at home Thursday doing our weekly planning session when we got a random phone call from Carmen. (I mentioned her in an earlier email at one point). We had knocked her door one Sunday afternoon and she had been thinking about getting baptized all day! Unfortunately, we lost contact after that and never heard from her again. Well she called us Thursday and asked us to come over and told us that she felt like we NEEDED to come over. So we ended up at her house on Friday night with a brother from the church, and she and her son Junior are both getting baptized on the 16th of April. Her situation is crazy, but the Lord has really prepared her! When we told her that church was on Sunday, she burst into tears because she literally had just gotten Sundays off at her work. She LOVED General Conference as well as Junior!

Another crazy side note. Her mother-in-law who only speaks Spanish came with her to the church on Sunday because she heard Carmen was meeting with the Mormons and was suspicious. This usually means that family members anti our investigators and it's over with. But this amazing mother-in-law decided to come see the church for herself. And what better day for them to come then General Conference when Spanish and English are spoken at the same time?? God literally worked all of these things out and it's so amazing to see how He helps those who seek Him.

Now the bad news: I'm FREAKING TRANSFERRING!!!!! >:( Not only that, my companion is transferring as well! We have all of these people who are super committed to baptism, and they are sending us both out of the area. I'm so furious and angry even still I can't describe it.  

Not only that, I'm going to Stuart, which is right above Jupiter. Another ENGLISH area with almost no Spanish speakers. There's not even a Spanish ward in that entire stake. And my new companion is going brand new into the area with me, so neither of us know anything about the area. I'm leaving baptisms, losing my Spanish, and all of the ward members are asking us what we did wrong since we're both leaving (usually when both missionaries leave it has bad connotations to it).  I'm just so unbelievably upset right now. I literally couldn't sleep at all last night. I finally get something going, and I can't even stay around to enjoy it.

The only saving grace is that Elder Adams is going to be my new companion. Yup, you read that right, my buddy from high school, Gabriel Adams. So that's pretty awesome and I'm excited for that! I just don't even understand why I was called  to be Spanish speaking at this point if I'm not going to be able to use it. And yes I know it says in the call letter my assignment can be adjusted according to the needs of the mission president, but I'm still just really upset and angry about it all.

Mostly though, I just hope Pamela and Carmen are strong enough to survive this. It's usually devastating to investigators.  But anyways, life goes on. I'll probably spend the rest of my mission among the gringos....hopefully I survive.

So that's pretty much my week up to this point, good and bad. That being said, I love all of you and hope that you have a great week!

Elder Butterfield