This was my last week as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I have so many feelings.
Lemmmmmme tell y'all about my week first... then I'll get sappy in a sec....
Ok so... MONDAYYY we had P-Day. Always a good time. After P-Day we had dinner with Sister Pokipala who is my favorite lady. Then we took Sister Pokipala to visit #MiracleRyan. Do y'all remember that guy that called us out of the blue last week when we accidentally left a note on his door? WELL RYAN IS SO SOLID IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY. He let us right in and told us he watched the Easter video we told him to watch... he also told us he watched some of Conference and asked us what a seventy was... and he tried to make light conversation by saying "So I heard the age for missionaries to leave has recently been changed."
What? Yes... yes it has.
TUESDAYYY we stopped by the Keller's so I could say goodbye to them. Here's a picture of me with them and their cats.
I LOVE THIS FAMILY MORE THAN ANYTHING!
Then we had lunch and then visited Krista. Krista dropped us hard... she even gave me the Book of Mormon back... OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH but she did say a really sweet prayer at the end of the lesson asking God to bless me and keep me safe in my travels home. After Krista we knocked a whole hekka lot of doors. We met a cool lady named Giselle who we picked up as a new investigator!
Then we knocked some more doors. I never thought I'd say this... but I'm gonna miss this.
Then we had dinner with Bishop and Sister Northcutt. That was fun. Then we had the BEST LESSON OF MY LIFE WITH MY GOOD FRIEND KATHY. Kathy has been taking the discussions from the missionaries for like a thousand years. We were looking through her teaching record and it dawned on us that NOBODY HAS EVER INVITED HER TO BE BAPTIZED...
We had this awesome lesson where we talked about how Jesus Christ is inviting her to be baptized. The Spirit was so strong it's not even funny. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and she watched quite a bit of conference and loved it. Her heart really is being prepared. She said she couldn't give us an answer yet, because it's something she still needs to pray about, but she did say "that doesn't mean I'm saying no." I LOVE KATHY SO MUCH!
After our bomb lesson with Kathy we ran on over to Nelly's for another bomb lesson. She is just the sweetest thing. We showed her her baptism timeline and she was ecstatic. Oh I love her. She just does everything we ask her to and she asks all the right questions and she is just.... ahhhhh I love her.
WEDNESDAYYY we did service at A Place For Grace. My buddy Caleb made a special trip into the store so he could see me before I left. After we were done working we all ate "ceremonial cookies" because I was leaving. I really do love those people so much!
For lunch we went to this cute little place we've been hearing about called Jimmy Bears. It was there that I tasted the best BBQ of my life.
After service we went and taught the Pastor family. They are just so much fun. Then we had dinner with the Rodriguez's. They gave me a cute "I ️ Orlando" keychain. People are so good to me. Then we went over to the Clarke's. Gary and Jasmine weren't home so we had an awesome Book of Mormon read with Ashley. We read 3 Nephi 11 where Christ comes and it was great. After we were done with the lesson Gary and Jasmine came home so we got to talk to them for a while. I love this family more than anything.
THURSDAYYY we had my last District Meeting of my mission. It was interesting...
We tried to take some nice pictures but this is what we got...
Sorry Elder Reyes...
This is my favorite picture because it's totally candid and I have no idea what we are all looking at.... haha I love these sisters.
After DM we taught Sister Johnson. THEN THE BEST THING OF MY LIFE HAPPENED.... my bestie Sarah Swerdfeger from the Buena Vista YSA ward drove down to our area to take us to get frozen yogurt so I could see her before I go home!
Then we went and had dinner with Sister Torres who is always so much fun. After dinner we went to visit one of our investigators, but they weren't home so we knocked their neighbors and met the cutest lady named Maria. She let us right in and we showed her the Easter video. After the video she said in her cute little Spanish accent "ahhh... that's nice... WANT SOME JUICE?!" Haha she gave us some orange juice and then we taught her about the restoration.
After our lesson with Maria we had another bomb lesson with Nelly. We taught her about prophets. I'm telling ya... that girl is on fire.
FRIDAYYYY WE WOKE UP AT THE CRACK OF DAWN AND WENT ON OVER TO THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH! Friday was my departing temple trip. We got to do a session in the Orlando temple. When I was sitting in the celestial room I opened up the Book of Mormon to Alma 26 which is where Ammon reflects on his mission to the Lamanites and rejoices about the time he's spent as a missionary. He talkes about how good God has been to him and one of my favorite lines that he says is "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."
My friends... I echo his words. My time here in the Sunshine State has been so sweet. I don't know how to accuratly describe the gratitude I feel towards my Father in Heaven for allowing me this opportunity. "Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (Alma 26:16)
After that sweet time in the Celestial room all of the departing missionaries met with a member of the temple presidency and his wife and President and Sister Clark in one of the sealing rooms and they spoke to us. It was such a sweet and tender experience. One of my favorite things was when President Clark talked about the chandeliers. In the celestial room there is this magnificent crystal chandelier that is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen. President talked about how if you look closely you can see it move just slightly. The movement is subtle, but it is that little tiny movement is what makes it sparkle. He talked about how each of us have created a little movement here in Florida and left a little glitter here on the Sunshine State.
We took some pictures outside with the group. I sure do love all these crazy kids.
President Clark even took a selfie with us.... I'm telling you... I have the coolest mission president.
After our temple trip SISTER MOHENOA INFORMED US THAT HER TONGAN COUSINS HAD DRIVEN THREE HOURS UP FROM TAMPA TO TAKE ALL OF THE SISTERS OUT TO LUNCH...
People are so good to us. Oh so good. ️️️
Then we went with Sister Mohenoa and Sister Anderson to the Liahona Book Store....ok ok ok ok..... so MY GIRL SISTER MOHENOA GOT ME THIS CUTE LITTLE WILLOW TREE GIRL WITH A PINEAPPLE BECASUE I LOVE PINEAPPLES AND MY HEART JUST EXPLODED BECAUSE I LOVE SISTER MOHENOA SO MUCH.
AHHHHH....PEOPLE ARE SO GOOD TO ME. #BLESSED
Then after a long drive home we weekly planned and I started packing. My friends.... packing is rough. My heart belongs to the Sunshine State and I don't know how I'm going to leave this place.
We did a little bit of finding in the evening. We met a lady named Lara who happens to be the wife of our investigator Tony. That was cool.
Then we went to dinner with the Pescia's. Brother Pescia is our ward mission leader and their family is from Hawaii. At the end of our little visit they busted out the ukulele and sang to Elder Reyes and I because we are leaving. They also gave us leis from Hawaii and it was the sweetest thing of my life. Ahhh I love these people.
SATURDAYYY we woke up and the Peck's came and got us early in the morning and we headed to the Camping World Stadium for this huge service project. There was a big event this weekend called He Got Up. It is a resource fair that they bus in homeless people from all over and give them free haircuts and job training and food and all kinds of other things. We ended up writing numbers on cards. I did almost a thousand cards and my hand was real tired by the end of that. AND HERE IS THE BIGGEST TENDER MERCY OF MY LIFE..... my BESTIES LACEY BREWER AND SAM NEELEY FROM THE BUENA VISTA YSA WARD WERE BOTH THERE SO I GOT TO SEE THEM BEFORE I FLY HOME AND I JUST LOVE THEM LOTS. I also got to say goodbye to a bunch of other missionaries from other zones including my sweet Sister Larsen.
After we left He Got Up we went with the Peck's to Chick-Fil-A. Then we ran with them to pick up some barbies and logos from this random lady.... haha. It was fun though. We got to play with their chickens and ended up showing them the Easter video and teaching them a little bit about the church.
I really want a chicken.
[Brynlee and I]
[look how cute it is!]
Then we did some studies and headed to this cute little sub place to have dinner with the Wheelhouses. After dinner we visited Therma. She is the best.
SUNDAYYY was great. Nelly came for the first time and really liked it. I said goodbye to a lot of people. I really do love this ward a lot.
[Sister Torres, Sydney, and Lilly]
[My sweet Nelly!]
After church we visited John and Rachel and their family. We had a nice firm discussion about how they aren't keeping commitments and if they don't start keeping them then they will never reach their goal of baptism. It was really good. I took some pictures with them. I sure do love this sweet family a lot!
[Emma's like "what's this black think you have here?"]
Then we went to the Baerga's for my last dinner with them. They are the coolest people.
After dinner we met a guy named Frank. We taught him about the Book of Mormon.
And that wrapped up our week!
MY FRIENDS... I only have two more days until I take off this little black name tag of mine. My heart hurts because it's become such a big part of me. I feel so much gratitude towards my Father in Heaven for this time He's given me to run around the Sunshine state bringing souls closer to Him. More than anything I thank Him for the opportunity I've had to meet so many of His children. I've come to love them all so much.
To my sweet friends Mayra, Cassie, Will, Cedar, Junior, Josh, Patrick, and Robbie who I've watched enter the waters of baptism while I've been here I want you to know I'm so proud of each of you. I'm glad I got to watch you come closer to your Savior. I'm glad I got to play a tiny part in you journey to the Celestial Kingdom. Stay faithful my friends. We are going to rejoice together in Heaven someday.
To all my investigators I've taught over the last year and a half and the hundreds of people I've met in the streets or knocked on your doors, I want to say thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my testimony with you. Because every time you let me share my testimony, my testimony became a little stronger. I want you to know that I do know these things that I've taught you are true. I pray that y'all will be able to continue to learn and grow and I can't wait to see you again someday and see how far you've come.
To all my sweet ward members. Everyone from Leesburg, to Daytona Beach, to Buena Vista, to Deland, to New Smyrna Beach, to Lake Nona. Thank you so much for all you've done for me. Because of you home has felt a little closer. To the active members, and those who come to church less frequently, I don't know how I would have done the last eighteen months without all of your sweet smiles. Thank you for your righteous examples. Thank you for all the meals. Thank you for being such good member missionaries and for sharing the things you know and love with your friends.
To all my deer companions. Sister Ives, Sister Brown, Sister Guynn, Sister Mohenoa, Sister Nelsen, Sister Lewis, Sister Duran, Sister Muhlestein, Sister Hart, Sister Larsen, Sister Simpson, Hermana Jones, Sister Glover, and Sister Yance thank you so much for all you've taught me. Y'all have become some of my closest friends and will forever be people that I think about with joy. I'm glad God allowed us to spend so much time together. I want each of you to know how much I love you and how much I appreciate each of you. I hope we are able to stay in contact and I know that these friendships we've grown won't just last in this life, but will extend into the eternities.
To my mission leaders. To President and Sister Berry, President and Sister Clark, to President and Sister Wood, and President Humphrey's, to all the elders that have served as Assistants to the President, to all my Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and District Leaders, and to my sweet sweet trainers Sister Guynn, and Sister Nelsen. Thank you for your righteous examples. Thank you for teaching me how I can be the best missionary I can be. I don't now if you realize the impact your small acts have influenced me as a missionary and as a person. I have strived to emulate the love you've shown me with those I've been able to serve and my heart has swollen with joy in the process. Thank you for your trainings. Thank you for your love. Thank you for every time you've served me. Thank you for helping me be better.
To my fellow FOMers. Especially the sweet sisters I've been able to learn from as I've served as a Sister Training Leader. I've probably learned more from y'all than I've ever been able to teach you. Thank you for becoming my friends. Thank you for helping this time I've spent in Florida become such a joyful time of my life.
To my fan club back at home. To my sweet family, to my friends, to my home ward, and everyone else who cheered me on as I've been out here serving. Your prayers have carried me. I know that angels were sent to assist me in this work because of the prayers y'all have said in my behalf. Thank you for the financial support, for every letter you've sent, for every email you've typed, and for every prayer you've said. I feel so grateful to have such an army behind me supporting me. I wouldn't have been able to do the things that I have if it wasn't for you.
And last but not least, thank you to my Father in Heaven for this time I've been given to serve here in the Sunshine state. I echo Ammon's words again when I say "Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12)
I will praise his name forever. Blessed is the name of my God for the joy I've been able to feel here in the Sunshine State.
MY FRIENDS. IT'S BEEN REAL. 🏻️
Out of context quotes:
"They would be excited to see me... all of me."
"Has Facebook come up with a level of friendship friend request? Like... is there a 'just friends' friend request?"
"I'm not shaving my mustache... he has to accept me the way I am!"
"Girl... ain't nobody want to date a girl with a mustache!"
"And then he'll propose to you and all you'll hear is 'wa wa waaaaa'"
"But also... you're both attached to another man."
"That was nice....YOU WANT SOME JUICE?!"
"Why couldn't the nephites eat dinner?"
"Because they were fasting."
"it's a good thing you live on an island!"
"I can't eat again... I can only be fed by one Polynesian family a day..."
"Everyone knows you follow the Lord's heart"
"We know who Sister Reid's new companion is.... he's a hunk!"
"That's not Chico...that's Steve..."
"I woke up in the middle of the night and you know what question I had in my head?...... 'Is it disso to sing I'm a Little Teapot?' You know... because like... the word of wisdom" (conversations at 6:45am)
I LOVE Y'ALL MORE THAN AMMON LOVES BEING A MISSIONARY. SEE Y'ALL IN A FEW DAYS.
P.S. HERE IS THIS FOR ANYONE THAT MISSED MY INVITATION TO MY OPEN HOUSE AND HOMECOMING.... HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!