I'm super jealous my sister in in Texas with Jana and Patti right now. I've thought about that more this week than I probably should have. Haha.
One of the families I have worked with a lot the past two months is Gil and Virginia. Just to re-cap on their story:
When I came in to West Palm, there was one Spanish ward and we worked in the ward with a companionship of Elders. One Sunday we were in Ward Council and the bishop told us that he had received a referral from the bishop in Wellington (an English ward) of a couple that had gone to church for almost a month but wanted to attend church in Spanish. He was pretty sure they lived on our side of the ward, so we told him we would contact the couple. When I heard their names, it was one of those moments that I was like "Yeah, we really need to talk to them. They are ready." So we had a full day exchange the day of our appointment with them and my companion went with another missionary to talk to them. It ended up being a crazy night full of rainstorms and bad directions but eventually they got there...and realized that they lived on the side of the street that was the beginning of the Elder's area. So we passed them to the Elders, who dropped them.
I had never met Gil and Virginia at this point, but I continued to think about them a lot. I harassed the elders about them for a couple weeks, but finally figured that they are good missionaries and if they had stopped working with them it was for a reason. So we let it be. The beginning of my second transfer here the ward split, so there are now 2 Spanish Wards in our building. We cover one and the elders cover the other one. When the ward split, our area got a little bit bigger and Gil and Virginia were in our area. Well, Sis. McGrath and I thought about them all the time still and we didn't really understand what happened, so one day we were knocking and Sis. McGrath said "You know what, we are just going over there. Right now." So we did. I felt an instant connection to their family and knew the second I walked in that I was looking at two people I had promised to teach. They are awesome people!
Sis. McGrath and I started to teach them again and it was going really well. When Sis. McGrath got transfered, Sis. Endemano and I kept teaching them. We had a really hard time right after transfers getting ahold of them and at one point considered dropping them as well. We prayed and decided to give them a couple of days without talking to them and if they came to church during 1st hour (something they hadn't done yet because of work) then we would keep teaching them. So then they came to chuch during the last 20 minutes of sacrament meeting!!!!! (That was one of many miracles in their story.)
After sacrament meeting we had a huge breakthrough when we set a date with Gil. Virginia was really, really excited for him and supportive, but wasn't ready to take the step herself. She expressed her frustration at being pushed and said she wanted to make the decision on her own. So we did a lot of praying but never brought up baptism to her. She would hesitantly bring it up and we would help her and work through her doubts. On Tuesday, we went to our appointment with them and brought Hermana Rivera, who had given a testimony on Sunday that was a direct answer to Virginia's prayers, and Virginia said "I told Gil last night that I am thinking about being baptized with him." We were sooooooo excited but tempered that a little bit. Hermana Rivera faced very similar questions as Virginia and was perfect. I played it cool and said "You know what, what you could do is you could interview on Thursday with no commitment. If you want to be baptized, then you can be and if not that is okay too." So then Wednesday she backed out a little bit but Thursday we came over and she looked at us and said (ALL ON HER OWN).. "I want to get baptized. I know that is the best decision for my family and I want to be sealed with them next year. I don't understand everything completely, but I know I will because I already understand so much more. I've seen too many miracles." It was huge! So she went to talk to the district leader and Gil walked out in tears. He looked up at me and said really quietly "Thank you. Thank you so much." So, Virginia and Gil will be getting baptized TOGETHER this Friday. We celebrated with a cake that I made for Virginia's birthday. (I didn't ever think I would use the skills from "Cake Decorating 101" at Hobby Lobby I took 4 years ago but what do you know. haha.) We went over again on Saturday and Gil said "I drank 5 bottles of water today. Wanna know why?" He told us about how he had been offered alcohol 3 times on Saturday and said no every time. Bam. Best news ever.
Moral of the story is this. I have been out on my mission for almost 6 months now. I have spent a least a third of my mission in one ward, working one area, because God didn't just send me to Florida. He sent me to specific people in Florida. Gil and Virginia have been a roller coaster and I'm sure it will be an adventure the next few days until their baptism, but it is interesting that we work with the people that we have been prepared for.
Just a side note: Transfers are next week so my P-day with be Tuesday. Love you all! Have an awesome week!
-Sister Bren Scadden