Sunday, March 18, 2018

Flamingo Garden's

Last Transfer before returning Home. Transfer #12 :)

Hola Familia!

   We had Transfers this week, and it was so hilarious because we made a tent out of our flat sheets to hang out under last night during the transfer call, and I am finishing my mission in Pines!!! I knew I was staying, and Sister Wingert is also staying! We are going to have lots of fun these next 6 weeks. I can't believe this is my last transfer! It's like when the time finally came for me to take out my mission papers, so surreal because it was always something so far into the future as to never happen, and yet here it is! Time is a funny thing, haha. 

   We found 3 new friends this week!!! It was a huge blessing, because we hadn't found anyone this entire transfer. They are a potential family that Sister Bohlen and I knocked into and had gone and visited the two kids (21 and 16) once before, but they didn't become new investigators then. Joey, who is 21, is so elect! We messaged his Mom, who loves it when we come by but whose schedule is crazy because she is in real estate, and she told us when we could come by to again visit with Joey and Maddie, so we did! It was so funny because Joey got so excited, and even though he had to take his friend James to work right then, we were able to share "Because of Him" with them and get a return appointment that very next day! We brought a young woman from the ward, Juliana, to the appointment, and we shared a Mormon Message about the Hope we can feel through Jesus Christ and living His Gospel. That opened up a wonderful conversation about the Atonement, Repentance, and Hope and Trust in God. It was amazing!!! We told Joey about YSA and he is interested in going, but couldn't this past Sunday because he had to take his sister to a soccer game, but he told us his goal for this year was to be baptized!!! He will do great in YSA, and I m grateful for the Lord's hand in guiding us to their family my first transfer in the area.
   I studied Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life the other day for a family home evening(that sadly didn't end up happening, but next time!), and I thought it was really interesting the more I thought about it. I feel like there are different times where we are able to reach out to more people who aren't holding fast to the Iron Rod in our life, or even found it yet. In the mission, we talk to so many different people each and every day. We OYM as many people as we see on the street. In my mind's eye, I can see this little stretch(my mission) along the strait and narrow path as a part of my life where it has taught me to reach out to everyone I see along the wayside and tell them of the safety found in grasping the Iron Rod that leads to the Tree of Life. It was fun for that to play out almost like a movie in my head as I read Lehi's account coupled with Nephi's interpretation of his father's dream.
   Sister Thurman, who is living in the same house with us(I served with her my 4th transfer!) will be training these next two transfers, so it will be fun to have a brand new missionary in the house with us! We are excited! Sister Mercado is straying in the Zone, just moving on over to Hollywood Hills South, which Sister Osborne and I pink washed into that ward my 3rd transfer. So fun! 

    We are all very excited to be hearing from Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Lynn G. Robbins from the Presidency of the Seventy this next Saturday, so stay tunes, it'll be life changing! Haha. 
 I love you all so much, have an amazing week!!!

Hermana Stokes​

Monday, March 5, 2018

March 5, 2018

It's Been A Wet 'N Wild Week!!! March 5, 2018

Hola Familia!
  Hello from South Florida!!! It was hot a few days ago, and has since cooled off, and it is so nice right now! I hope every has had an amazing week, and if not, choose today to make this one 10X better! "Choose righteousness and happiness, no matter what your circumstances!!!" That sits on my desk everyday! 
    So to address the title, last P-day we had a water balloon fight zone activity which was so fun! It was a little rainy too, which was hilarious! We played ultimate Frisbee with water balloons quititch style, if any of you know what that means, haha. Basically we had "bludgers" on each team that would throw water balloons at the person holding the frisbe, and if they hit them, the other team would get the Frisbee. Needless to say, it was super fun! 
   Then later that week while knocking, the sky opened up and it DUMPED on us! Haha, we tried knocking a few more doors, and then booked it to the car(we were unprepared, its dry season!) a few streets away and got soaked haha. We took a few pictures :)
   Now this next part gets a little more serous, I just feel like I need to share this with all of you (whoever reads this anyways, haha).
    I am reading in the beginning of Ether right now, and I love it! I just started chapter 3 today, but the last 3 verses of chapter 2 got me thinking. They say, 
"23 And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? For behold, ye cannot have windows, for they will be dashed in pieces; neither shall ye take fire with you, for ye shall not go by the light of fire.
24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.
25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"
   It was impressed upon my mind as I read these last few verses, especially verse 25, that the challenges and trials we face are from God, and that He has prepared them for us for our good. They are the means to the end of us one day becoming like our Heavenly Father. Another scripture that has been on my mind the past few days is found in 1 Peter 1:7,
 " That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ[.]"
   Really that whole chapter is amazing, but it is where Peter speaks of how the trial of our faith is worth more than gold, though it be tried with fire, that really stands out to me. All of these amazing scriptures have helped me to take a step back and ask myself, what is God trying to teach me here? What am I to learn? We face so many trials in this life as part of our time here upon the Earth, and sometimes we might question why we need to face such difficulties. I know that God's plan for us is perfect, and that when we trust in Him and His Power to lift us, comfort us, strengthen us, and change us, we remember His promises to us, as the righteous, as promised in Mosiah 2:41. LOOK IT UP. I know that scripture is true, and that those promises are REAL.  
   Here is an experience I had this past week with facing and overcoming trials. When we were knocking in a gated community up in Weston, I was afraid of being yelled at and having the security guards called on us before we could knock more than 3 doors, so I was praying so hard that the people we knocked into would at least be kind to us. I was essentially telling God that here is my tiny little mustard seed of faith, and that though that is all I could muster in the moment, You have said that that is enough to work miracles in Your name, and that is all I want to do here. I just want to help these people. And you know what happened? Every Single Door we knocked that someone answered, the people were SO NICE to us, I wanted to cry, and later I did in a comp study our district leader gave us on Saturday. It reminds me of the story of the Brother of Jared and the 16 stones. The finger of the Lord touched those stones one by one, and each time the Brother of Jared saw a stone light up, his faith was strengthened. So much so that the veil was taken from off his eyes and he saw the Lord, and His faith became knowledge! In a much smaller sense for me, with my experience, at each door, when we were kindly turned away, I could trust more and more in God's power and how faith in Him brings down that power into our lives. This area truly has been a refiner's fire for me, and I am grateful for what I have learned, felt, and for the conversations I have had with God. I have had to completely rely of Him, because I am weak, and I feel fear, but I know He can take it away and make more of me than I could ever have been. That is the hope I hold onto. I hope my experience can help strengthen each on of you, because God can manifest His Power in your life, too. It is not just available to His missionaries, it is available to EACH ONE OF US AS CHILDREN OF GOD. "Doubt not, but be believing" is what Moroni exhorts us to do. We are here to be tested. Once we understand that, our course is set in an undeviating path toward the Love of God. Hold to the word of God, cherish it, and never let it go, and we will all make it back to our Heavenly Home.
   I love you all so much, I wish I had the words to describe how much. You mean everything to me. Keep holding on, we are all in this battle together, but the secret is, God Always Wins. 

Love Always,
Hermana Stokes

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 26, 2018

February 26, 2018. 16 Months