Monday, September 18, 2017

Mormon's Helping Hands

Hurricane Irma recovery/Mormon Helping Hands

Hola Familia,

So I only get a few minutes today, as our P-Day is this Friday because we still get to go to the temple!!!! I am SOO excited! Several zones will not be able to go this transfer because of the Hurricane, and I am so grateful to still be able to go on the 22nd. It's a miracle in and of itself!

So, what everyone wants to hear about--Irma! We can't find her anywhere, haha! We had several mission-wide conference calls leading up to the evacuation a week and a half ago. Everyone in our mission was evacuated to secure chapels. We went Friday night to the Kendal chapel with several other member families and our whole zone. It was super fun! We played volleyball until 3pm on Saturday because of the risk of the steeple falling through into the chapel/gym(it didn't!) and then played some board games, card games (not face cards! ha) and tons of Mafia. Haha, it was really fun. We used some of our water storage, but not too much, because the water was safe to use until the power went out. We lost power all day sunday, it came back on later that night I think, and then we lost it again Monday night. Haha, it came on in the middle of the night and woke us all up. I turned the light on, and Sister Harris turned on the AC. Comp Unity! We all felt really gross after not being able to shower for several days, so our chaperon, Brother Gorman (a member from the Coral Reef ward) rigged us up a shower in the men's bathroom! It was awesome! He pulled the hose in there and we even got hot water! It was an experience I will never forget! I loved how close we got as a zone, and now we get to go to the temple all together, it'll be great!

So we and the Snapper Creek YSA sisters didn't have power but everyone else did by monday-ish, and there was a curfew at 7:00pm because of looters, so we all stayed another night except for the Sunset sisters. The next day (I think) we went to sunset, and stayed the entire week with them because we never had power at our house. We got back just yesterday, and it feels so good to be back home! The house is completely fine, even without shutters, we just have twoish trees down in the back.

I absolutely love service! I am running out of time, so Ill have to write more about it next week, but I love being a part of the Helping Hands! We will do it again next weekend. Oh my goodness, we went to the Keys on Sunday, practically  all the way to Key West (we got to mile marker 10! Key West starts at mile marker 5) and the damage is BAD. I took lots of pictures on the drive down and back, Ill send them next week. The military is still there, the curfew was at 4 and now its at 7, and they are very serious about the looters. It is so sad. But the few people we were able to help were in tears of gratitude, I just felt so much love for them! I can't wait to keep helping them, but we are going back to the normal missionary schedule now.

I love you all so much, have an amazing week!
Hermana Stokes

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma Preperation week

Hurricane Irma

Hola Familia!

    So, you all have probably heard this, but there is a Hurricane on the way! Hard to believe when you look outside and its all sunny and peaceful, but time will tell, ha. We had to go to Walmart this morning at 6:30am to make sure we got all the supplies we would need, and the water was STILL ALL GONE. It was a sight to see. I'd like to see how empty all the shelves are by Friday. Don't worry, though! We still got water :) We went to 7 Eleven and picked us some jugs and two cases of water bottles, I think we are all good! (They went fast after that, BLESS) Plus we always have emergency water in the house. Thanks for all the prayers for safety! I am sure they will and already are coming in handy! God is so good! No matter what happens, if Irma hits or It doesn't, I know the Lord's work will continue to roll forth!
    Anywho, no hurricane will stop us! Except when committing people to church and their very real excuse of not coming this Sunday is because of Irma...Ha. It's great. We have to pack all of our stud today in case we are evacuated, or just put it on the highest selves we can (I call the fridge! Ha) It'll be an adventure, it always is.
    Miracles for this past week! Luis Espinoza (LA) came to church! He absolutely LOVED IT! There is such a sweet spirit around him, I'm such a dork, I can't help but smile to see him coming back! His wife Leyla would have come, but she had a bad fall on Saturday and was home resting. He loves the Gopsel so much, and KNOWS it's true! I was leading the music and could see him from up front, and he was smiling the entire time! After Sacrament meeting, he told us he felt so clean and good, it was amazing! We are going over to their home later this week to eat dinner with them, We are super excited. We had two other Less Actives/Returning Members at church, it was awesome! We knocked into one of them a few days ago, Sister Fernandez, and she said she was going to teach in Primary that Sunday. We found out on Sunday that one of the councilors in the Primary had reached out to her, told her that she missed her and that they needed her, and she came and taught! I know that there are so many members of the church who have fallen away for one reason or another, but I promise you that as we work together to reach out to them, share with them our love, we CAN and WILL bring them back! When we knocked into her, she also had who two cute twin 11 year old daughters come and meet us, and she said Kayleen really wanted to come to church, and that they were both not baptized, right there on the doorstep! Haha, it was great!
     Something interesting that happened on Sunday, too, but first a back story. So, we texted a member on our ward list that we didn't really know, Sister Viecco, a week or so ago, wanting to meet with her. We didn't get a response, but at church yesterday she introduced herself to us after sacrament meeting, and her son was there, AND I KNOW HIM. UM, WHAT? Never saw that one coming! His name is Derek and he was up at school with Steff and I, and he was on our World Dance Team😂 We went over to their mother's house yesterday and ate with them, haha. It was interesting, but fun.
    That's about what is going on right now, we also had interviews with President Friday, which was awesome, love him! Oh, we had a Sisterhood Conference yesterday morning after the mission-wide conference call about the Hurricane, and it was soo good! The Spirit was so strong, I absolutely love being a missionary! I have never worked harder in my life, but I have also never been happier or closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. It is just amazing! I can feel myself changing into something I never even imagined before, and I know God will continue to help me learn and grow, and help me be the person He needs me to be to help His children here on Earth. He can and WILL help all of you, too! Don't give up on Him, because I know He never gives up on us. Something that I've been thinking about a bit lately is something Elder Holland said in a Stake Conference from the Jupiter Zone, and that is that God loves broken things. To me, I feel such a sweet and tender Spirit when I think about that, and I can't help but feel God's love for me, as imperfect and weak as I am. King Benjamin knew his weaknesses, but trusted so completely in God's power and His love, and I can testify that I know He is there for us.
   I love you all so much! Have an amazing week!
Hermana Stokes

Monday, August 28, 2017

Meal Appointment Milagros!(2)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Country Walk Journey Begins... August 21, 2017 SOLAR ECLIPSE TODAY!!!!