Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Second Plague and The Next Step

(The two subjects are entirely unrelated.)

In an area that has the incredible flora and fauna that we enjoy here in Orlando, there are obviously going to be some animals that thrive especially well.  One of them is Frogs!  (Aka Moses' second plague.)  There are always dozens of tiny ones jumping around us when we walk, but the other night when we were visiting at the home of the Spanish Sister Missionaries they stopped Craig from "fixing" their screen door that seemed to be stuck open!  They said if they don't prop the screen door open, the frogs get squished when they shut the door!

Chillin' on the top of the Sister's screen door (There are 2)
Above the door frame - glad he didn't jump on us!
This is what happens to slow frogs... So gross!
Sorry about that...  So last Sunday we FINALLY got to the last person on THE LIST!  Whew!!!  It was a house that we had gone to many times and were always either given an excuse that the person was gone, or when someone said, "Who is it?" they would not open the door.  Good thing we are not paranoid people!  :)  Because it was a woman we were looking for at that last house, I went up to the door myself.  A little boy opened the door wide enough that I could see down the dark hallway, and in a nervy way called to the woman at the end of the hall (who was trying to hide) and said a cheerful, "Hi, are you Yolanda?"  She said a frustrated "Yes," and started hustling to close the door but when I told her I was "from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as The Mormons" she just stopped and her expression changed and she got tears in her eyes and said, "I haven't thought about that Church for so many years."  I asked if we could come back some time and talk with her about the Church and she seemed to be pondering old memories and said a slow, "I don't know..."  At least she gave me her phone number, so I will text once a week and hope for a visit at some point.

It's a good thing THAT visit went well, because the next-to-the-last visit that was right before was not so great.  We had a very cordial, warm conversation with the brother of the man we were looking for at their home and were kindly told that the member wasn't there, and not to come back because he has gone back to his old church.  We  chatted about this and that and because of my overly sensitive ears as we walked away I could hear the brother say, "The coast is clear - you can come out now."  I think I am just so tired of crying at these situations, because I got the giggles and had a hard time hiding my face as I drove away!!!  (Clarification - I do NOT think leaving the Church is funny; how the brother handled it was.)

If nothing else this mission has taught us the importance of Home and Visiting Teaching.  I don't know if I have mentioned it, but both are below 14% here, so members get lost easily.  It's so sad...

So now that THE LIST has been completed, documented, and turned into a very grateful Bishop, we are focusing on "The Next Step."  As we have been taught, we need to always have our eye on the next ordinance for us and for those over whom we have stewardship.  For a lot of those who we have helped "find," the next step is going to (or going back to) the Temple.  This week we were able to take three people:  Jorge (he is the one we talked about months ago who came to church with us for the first time since 1979) went with us on a "Temple Tour," which is an hour-long meeting at the chapel across the street from the temple that shows a video and explains the temple, then we walk around the grounds with the participants.  The point is to help them understand what goes on in the temple, and to get them excited about doing baptisms, and eventually the full endowment.  With  the help of an awesome sister in the ward, our friend Frank was able to prepare his parents and all four grandparents' names for temple work.  He got a limited-use recommend, so the next night we took him to do baptisms and I was honored to be baptized for the women.  It dawned on me that that was the first time I had ever done baptisms in the temple.  Craig and I will finish the work for the three couples.  Then I was able to take a sister who used to be very active, but has been out of the church for 15 years, to sit on the grounds and be close to the temple for a couple hours and share some special experiences.  As she wept she said that she was spiritually starved, and hungered and ached to be able to enter the temple again soon.  I hope it is while we are still here.  I was grateful that she would trust me with her experiences, and let me share that time with her.

Frank, who was baptized for his father and grandfathers!

The view as we came out of the temple!!!
Even though we will sorely miss hearing the strong voice of our dear Elder Perry, as well as hearing from President Packer and Elder Scott, we are so looking forward to Conference.  While it's nice to pray for the Brethren and Sisters as they prepare, I learned from my mother that more important is praying that we ourselves are ready to hear and follow what they have to tell us.  That is our hope for the week!  The Gospel is True!  We love being missionaries, and we love you! 

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