Monday, May 25, 2015

Fueling Flames Amidst a Storm

Hey ya'll!

Happy Memorial day! To all those camping out in Carpinteria--- swim in the ocean for me and go to Robettille's candy shop please! Haha, I hope it's been fun and not too cold.

We had a pretty great week! Going from a trio to a regular companionship was a slight adjustment but it's been good. For starters, we're super excited for our gator Hannah! Not sure if I mentioned her before but she's 18 and she's getting baptized next week in a lake in Michigan haha. Her mom and sister are members but she had to wait until she was 18 because her dad is not so excited about it. But she's awesome and really happy for her baptism :) she's seriously on fire- whenever we teach a new commandment or anything she's all in committing to it. we're sad we can't go to her baptism but she'll be getting confirmed in the Leesburg Ward!

On Wednesday we got to do service for an awesome less active family in the Ward. They're fixing up their yard and oh boy it's a big job. We helped them pull tons of weeds and chop lots of branches into smaller pieces. It started out insanely hot cause it was the middle of the day haha but then (welcome to Florida) it just started pouring rain! What was really fun was that the member was making a fire to cook dinner outside and we just kept the flames going strong amidst the downpour--- hence the title and knew gospel analogy. If you continually nourish the flames of your faith even when trials and faith pour down, you can keep the fire strong :)

Had an awesome lesson with our gator David. He's the one who works at Waffle House and he wants to get baptized! We set a date and are praying for him but he didn't show at church on Sunday so we're kind of worried. He's very excited to learn and has been reading the Book of Mormon so we're not quite sure what's happened- eek. The members have been really great at fellowship with him so that's a huge blessing. 

I love the members here so much! We're working with a lot of less active members of the ward and we had the sweetest experience saturday night. We stopped by one family, the Murrays, to see how they were doing (the mom had broken several ribs a couple of weeks ago... yikes). She was so happy to see us and came outside to tell us how she is really set on coming back to church finally and getting her youngest kids baptized. One is almost 9 and the other is almost 8. She just opened up about how much she wants to take her whole family to the temple and was just crying. I'm so grateful to be here with her and to help her and her family get to the temple. We're going to start meeting with them twice a week because she wants the family to have the lessons and they committed to coming to church on sunday! Pray for them, they're amazing. :) 

Thank you all so much for your love and support. I really do appreciate it and recognize it. I love you all! Don't forget to help the missionaries out in whatever area you may be in ;) haha. And never forget how much God loves you. Keep pushing forward, like the talk from last general conference-- Latter-Day Saints keep trying. Because, "In the strength of the Lord" YOU "can do ALL things". Have a wonderful week!!! 

Sister Woolley

Monday, May 18, 2015

Small world + Singing

I feel like I say it every week but holy cow there are so many miracles here my goodness.

Hello everyone! What's new? 

This week was just wonderful :) And it certainly FLEW by. Time isn't even real here haha. For starters, we're pretty upset because the trio (Sparks, Woolley, and Harthun a.k.a Sparoolthun) is being torn apart. Sister Sparks got a call yesterday that she is leaving today to serve in a different area. So Harthun and I will be here together for the rest of the transfer. Very sad! But Sparks did a TON of good while she was here and I've learned so much from her. 

Ready to see how small the world is? 
So last week we had dinner with a young couple (one of three young couples in the ward haha) and the coolest thing happened. The husband, Brian Bourgeois was telling us about his conversion story. He was young and then in his teens he became less active. He went to a fireside or stake conference and it changed his life. Two general authorities came and their talks sparked a desire in him to go on a mission. Guess who one of those general authorities was? My uncle, Robert Gay! How cool is that? So shout out to my extended family, look at the miracles that came from that fireside. The spirit was very strong as he was sharing this experience and I'm so grateful he did :)

Here's something neat! We have what we call "Key Indicators" for goals each week such as "Number of Lessons" or "Baptized" and there's a new one now! It's "Reactivated Members" because we're working with a lot of Less Active members now and I just think it's the coolest thing! And, we can now attend the temple with our converts for their first time to do baptisms as well as after a year to receive further covenants. oh so happy! That means I get to go with Betty! She's preparing to get her recommend and to take her mom's name to the temple, which will be so sweet :)

MIRACLE: three of our investigators came to church yesterday! Ah so cool. It's very stressful with so many there because you not only have three people to keep track of but then three members to make sure they're sitting with them and helping them haha. But it was the sweetest thing. They all loved it and want to come next week! J.R was one of the 'gators who came and we actually had a really neat church tour with him on Friday :) Pray for him please! We're hoping to give him a baptismal date maybe later this week, he's so great! 

I got to go on exchanges with Sister Lokotui, one of our Sister Trainer Leaders up in what we call "The Villages"- so fancy. It was a ton of fun and who knew how relaxing it would be! They have some wonderful investigators up there so it was really great :) One of them just decided that very day she was going to quit drinking coffee so we had a hot chocolate party with her! Hot chocolate in Florida when it's 95 degrees is quite interesting haha but good :)

I have been to so many funerals on my mission already, yikes. Our bishop asked us to sing again for it. We sang "Abide With Me", who knew I loved singing in front of people so much?? It was really sweet to be able to contribute to the service. I had only met the woman once and she was darling. 

One more miracle! We went to see a potential named Diana randomly earlier in the week. Stopped by and she just blew us off but told us to come back the next day. So we did. And what do you know we taught her the Restoration on her front porch with two little kids. Oh so powerful. We have an appointment this week with her and I prayyyy that she will be prepared and we can continue to meet with her family. :) 

Sorry this is so long! It's been really great out here. I'm definitely learning patience and change. As a Zone we've been talking a ton about making changes to become what the Lord needs us to be. Prayer is key and the ATONEMENT. It literally will strengthen you to overcome  anything. I've been studying it a ton this week and all about Christ's love for each of us. Read 3 Nephi 11:14-15 I just love it. 

I love you all so much!! Stay strong and remember to pray!

Sister Woolley

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 11, 2015

Hello my wonderful friends and family!

Leesburg is just awesome. This week was a little stressful, seeing as how two nights in a row our appointments bailed on us. ugh. BUT! One of the nights it was really cool to see how the Lord worked. Our appointment bailed and we were upset and then our member who was going to drive us ended up not being able to go, so it basically all worked out haha.

Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful spectacular mothers out there! And to all the women who have influenced my life <3 I GOT TO SKYPE MY FAMILY! Aww coolest thing ever. I love you guys so much :) It's great to see how happy they all are which is just so uplifting! Not gonna lie, I cried a bit after but hey! happy tears :) 

So investigators are struggling with progression which is quite frustrating... it's hard cause I just love them all SO much and they won't do the things we ask them to. We did get to see Rob and Gaby on Wednesday. They're the ones that missionaries have been meeting with for over a year. They have a lot of doubts about prayer but the other night I got to testify to them about prayer, reading the Book of Mormon, and coming to church. I know I've said it a million times but I swear it's just SO important. As Rob shook my hand when we were leaving he said to me "you'll see me at church one day" ahhhh made my heart smile :)

On a happier note! We've gotten a less active lady back to church and she now has a calling in Relief Society :D yay for member missionary work!! Now on to her family! We go over every night and they're just the sweetest family. 

Here's a cool story! Last transfer we called a potential investigator named Joe and set a time to see him. Then I got new comps and Joe bailed on us. We set another time probably 3 times and he kept cancelling... we almost dropped the poor guy. But Saturday we got to see him yay! And let me tell you- he is AWESOME. Taught him the restoration and he just loved it. My favorite part about new 'gators- when they pray sincerely for the first time. It just melts my heart :) He said in his prayer "I know the Book of Mormon is true, but I know I need to read it." Oh so happy :) Pray he'll come to church next week!!

I think my whole mission I'll be learning humility. But these last few weeks my patience is definitely being tested. I was reading in the New Testament about Christ's examples of patience- ah so sweet! Everyone go read John 17 it's the sweetest <3

Here's some fun pictures from the last couple of weeks :) Life is pretty awesome out here! Happy to be a missionary for the Lord. 
1. Mildred's kitten :) 
2. Us at our favorite taco truck 
3. last week's house painting excursion
4. a note I left at a potential investigator's house... the puzzle piece was on the ground.

I love you all! have a great week!

Sister Woolley

 Mildred's kitten  :) 
 At their favorite taco truck
Last week's house painting excursion 
a note she left at a potential investigator's house... the puzzle piece was on the ground

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Toads, General Authorities, and Paint

Hey ya'll!!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! (did I spell that right? haha)

Whew what a week! Sorry to freak everyone out for not getting to email yesterday, we had a super great conference yesterday. Elder Clark from the 70 came to speak to us for HOURS. It was awesome. Spiritually exhausting after the fact though... like there's so much I need to work on ah. Something that was really neat though was when he was talking about us being the .00000001% in Heaven who had EXCEEDING faith. Never forget who you were before you came to this earth. You are valiant. You are a son or daughter of God. He loves you. 
Also he talked about Retention. These converts are precious and need to be taken care of. Apparently President Hinckley's very last conference he chastised everyone about not retaining membership. Whooo! That was intense. So basically we all need to step it up and we can do this!

Here's a funny story: to keep up awake (which we weren't really falling asleep but still) Elder Clark had us stand up and do the head, shoulders, knees, and toes song/dance thing haha. And then he taught us it in spanish. You guys! I was in the front row- how many people can say they looked into a General Authority's eyes and sang "Head, shoulders, knees, and toes" with him?? For reals. haha. 

So Mildred is struggling SO much with figuring out whether or not the Sabbath is on Saturday or Sunday. It's very frustrating and basically we've testified and testified and cried and explained and given her proof from the Bible and EVERYTHING and it all comes down to her just coming to church, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying. Literally that's it. She said she'd come next sunday, pray for her! 
Something funny about that though is our District Leader and his companion gave us some scriptures in the Bible to use for her and our excitement about it was so funny. Seriously I was so excited---how many 19 year olds around the world are excited about a verse of scripture? I love it :) 

Fun fact I caught a toad this week. And held a tree frog. Sister Sparks just calls me the toad catcher now! 

On Saturday we got to paint a lady's house! That was fun. Then she fed us a complete Southern meal. Some people in the south really do know how to cook. 

Today's excursion of p-day... cinco de mayo volleyball games! 

Another note: favorite thing about being a missionary--- watching Heavenly Father work through me. Seriously it's so cool! Two days ago our appointment with Dale fell through (who is progressing slowly but surely) so we went to the neighborhood by our next appointment with Chuck. Stopped by a Potential named Dawn and she came out of the house right as we pulled up. She was so awesome. She has two little girls and we taught her the Restoration and she is just golden. We can't see her for almost two weeks so pray for her that we'll be able to keep in touch and then baptized her!! :)

So I hope this wasn't too much of a ramble. Life is wonderful. I couldn't be happier. I'm always praying for ya'll. Thanks for the love and prayers.

Sister Woolley

P.S I'll send a pic of the toad catching next week <3