Monday, June 27, 2016

Elder May: Chapter 9

Two month exactly today!  Hard to believe for sure.  WE still miss him every minute of every day but are so blessed to have him as a missionary and working hard as a servant of the Lord. We love him, we miss him but we are oh, so proud of him!

Chapter 9:
1 And it came to pass that in the sixth week of the work of the mission we found men and women and

did teach many lessons. 

I am not sure what that is
or why they are so close to it!
Wow that was really dorky. That’s my missionary sense of humor nowadays. It's finally kicking in. We did do that though. We had a few people that weren't extremely fun to talk to but we had a lot more of them that were fun to talk to. Also I will send the pictures to my awesome mom and hopefully she can get them working. 
First miracle, I haven't gotten sunburned yet this week. It is amazing what a full bottle of sunscreen can do to prevent the sun from burning you! Also this was my first week of not being sore from workouts and that is amazing as well. 

This is Elder May's sunburn from
2 weeks ago!
Unfortunately we did not have a baptism this weekend but we are still going to try and keep teaching him! He thankfully did not drop us like the last guy did. He hasn't responded to our texts though either.....We will see how it goes but I hope it goes well. 

An awesome quote that we had this past week was from Kevin who we met last week. He is progressing extremely well and when we invited him to this week’s baptism he asked, "Do you want me to just bring my bathing suit and I will get mine done too?" We could not do it yet but I wish we could have. 

Some cool miracles are:

Moses: During some of our scheduled finding time we felt we should go to the Winn-Dixie parking lot and try to find people. As we are talking to people, I look over to see Elder Gardner yelling to a guy that is walking around as if he has no idea where he is or how he got there. We taught him and found out that his name is Moses. That was pretty cool.

Brandon: Brandon is a former investigator that Elder Gardner was teaching but then his girlfriend didn't want anyone coming by anymore so they had to drop them. But we were recently walking around downtown New Port Richey (a town in our area) and we see this kid that is sitting on his porch. Elder Gardner walks up and says "WHATS UP?!" It’s Brandon. His girlfriend recently moved out and so he went to live with his cousin and somehow we ended up meeting with him. We retaught him the restoration and are going to continue teaching him. When we asked if he had any referrals for us he pointed at a house and said "DONT GO THERE. THAT LADY IS CRAZY. She met me the first time, called me Satan because I have tattoos, and then attacked me and pulled on my skin hoping to rip them off." We did not go to that house. I don't have any tattoos and I was scared. 

Elgin: Last night we were walking around in an area because an appointment fell through and we see that there is a member that lives on the road next to where we are. We had never heard his name before so we assumed he was less active. It’s a good assumption because our ward has less actives than it does actives. We went to his house and accidentally passed it. After we turned around a car pulls into his driveway and so we talk to the guy in the car. We get out and walk up and he exclaims, "ELDERS! I HAVEN'T SEEN ONE OF MY PEOPLE HERE IN A REALLY LONG TIME!" He gave each of us a hug and invited us in. That was really cool. 

Maria: We were having our daily planning session which just means we were confirming appointments for the day and we start each day out with a prayer. Right when we said amen, the phone rings and it is a kind lady that tells us she recently had someone try to break into her house and while she was running away she tripped and broke her foot. Then asked if we could give her a priesthood blessing. She is also a less active member and when we finished the blessing she looked at each of us and said, "I will come to church again. Thank you both so much." That was really cool.

Nate: We recently had a new neighbor move in. A couple of weeks ago, we walked outside to start our day and these three men were standing around a couch outside. My only guess is they were contemplating how to move the couch up the stairs into the apartment. We offer to help and somehow it ends up with me and the new neighbor carrying it up the stairs by ourselves! It was a three seat reclining couch and I don't know if you know or not, but those are heavy. Anyway, he was very appreciative and told us we should come by sometime and hang out and so we took that as you can come teach me sometime, so we did this past week. He was raised Hindu and has a lot of fantastic questions about what we believe and he is understanding extremely well what we teach. This past lesson, we were about to close with a prayer so we asked if he would say it. He said no immediately and I explained how easy it is to pray. After I explained, he said he would do it and he said a perfect prayer and it was even cooler because in the prayer he didn't ask for a single thing. Just a completely grateful prayer and that was really cool. 

Alright, I will try and send my mom the pictures from last week. I haven't taken any this week so I don't have any. I will take a selfie real quick and send it that way there is something. 
Love this Elder!!

I love anyone that is reading this right now. Near or far, related to me or not, I love you. I am thankful for any prayers that are being sent to me or any of my fellow missionaries. We truly can feel them all. 
Love, Elder May

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Elder May: Chapter 8

Hard to believe but no, it doesn’t go fast.  We miss him every day and feel like a hole is in our family but we are proud of Elder May.  He did send pictures but the links were all broken but I was able to find some on the Florida Tampa Mission Facebook page.  Make sure to read his testimony at the end.  He is amazing!!  Love him, miss him but oh, so proud of him.  Enjoy!!

Chapter 8:
Sorry about how short the last email was. Something really cool happened though so I have a good excuse. Because President Cusick is going home we got to have a mission wide beach party. BUT NO ONE SWAM!!!! I don't think anyone out there knows how difficult it is to not swim on a very hot day on the beach. If you do I feel bad for you because I know your pain. Speaking of pain........

My leg got sunburned. As a missionary you are always wearing slacks, so on the rare occasion that you wear shorts, you forget to put on sunblock.......That one hurt a lot. But it is mostly gone now. On a brighter note,

Here I am with some other missionaries wanting to get in the selfie with me. It was a ton of fun though! We played sports and ate chicken and shared experiences as missionaries.

Then it was back to work the next day. We had a great week too. Our zone leaders issued a challenge to all of us to extend a baptismal invitation with every person you talk to. As we have done so, we have seen a ton of success. Our baptismal dates set now outnumber our amount of new investigators. A lot of them we will have to drop but it is an amazing sight to see right now! Speaking of baptisms!

Meet the newest Latter Day Saint! Cheryl Gee (pronounced G.) She has a really cool story of how she got in touch with the Elders. They were at church one day and there she was. After sacrament they go and introduce themselves and she tells them that she has been looking into the church for three years now and she wants her five lessons and she wants to be baptized. The elders replied with a simple "We can do that." And so we did. It was pretty awesome! We also had three investigators attend her baptism and one that attended church and got to see her confirmation. We have another baptism scheduled for this weekend so I hope there will be some more pictures for then. 

Here are a couple of miracles that have happened this week:

Kevin: When we don't have anything scheduled we go to parking lots to meet a lot of people and quickly teach and boldly testify. It's where we find the most people and teach other lessons. We went to a Save-a-Lot and this guy is biking through the parking lot. When he comes by us we quickly say "CAN WE SAY A PRAYER WITH YOU?!" He said yes and then we said a prayer and started teaching him. When we first met him he looked as though he was homeless and so we taught him and set up a return appointment. When we get to his address he gave us he actually had an apartment and we knocked on the door. He wasn't home. We call him and set up an appointment for another time. During that next time, we missed the appointment because we gave a church tour that went on for too long. We call and reschedule the last time and when we get to his house, he tells us that he got home two minutes before we knocked and to our surprise he had read the pamphlet we gave him and wanted to learn more. Since that time, we have taught him two other times. He now has a baptismal date for the 23rd of July, is reading the Book of Mormon and attended church this past Sunday. 

Hector and Sierra: Yesterday, Sunday the 19th, we had a lot of things fall through. We went to the park as a local place to sit and plan what we were going to do next. While we were sitting there we see this car drive by, park for ten seconds, then begin to drive off. They are leaving and Elder Gardner waves them down and asks to say a prayer. They excitedly say yes and that they need it. We pray and teach them about the restoration. They are really interested and have been looking for a new church. It was a miracle because they really had no reason as to why they went to the park and we only stopped there for a minute or two. It just lined up perfectly that we were both there at the same time.

Those are a couple of the miracles that we have been able to meet this week. Something I want to try and do is every six weeks, also know as a transfer, I want to end my email by sharing my testimony. That way when I look back I can see my growth or something like that.

I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the only complete, and perfectly true church on earth. It has been confirmed to me, time and time again that it is. I know that God is my loving Heavenly Father and he is constantly and consistently working to build me up so that I may be more like him. I am missionary because I know this message is true. I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ happened and that it works. I have utilized His Atonement in my life. It works. Guilt goes away and where the guilt was being held is flooded in by the Spirit. My purpose is to talk to everyone, teach them of this message, invite them to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. That is all I am able to do and I am extremely thankful for the incredible calling that I have been given. It truly is one of the most important callings in the church. It is set apart by God himself to allow us to bring his children back into the fold. I will do all that I can to accomplish this goal. In closing I want to let you all know that I know that my redeemer lives. He is my savior, redeemer, and perfect older brother. I am excited to see Him again, give him a hug, and thank Him for everything that he has done for me. I love this gospel and know it is true.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Elder May: Chapter 7

Not a super long email this week but this Elder is doing awesome!  He is loving the mail, emails and packages so keep them coming.  We love him, miss him but are oh, so proud of him! Enjoy!!

Chapter 7:

This week was full of miracles that we were able to see. We unfortunately did not have our baptism though. He didn't say he doesn't want us to stop teaching him though. His new date is the 25th and we do have an incredibly solid baptism that you will see pictures of next week. I pinky promise. One of the miracles that we saw was a young couple that just moved down here from Michigan. We met them
Yep!  That's Elder May ~ Already super tan!!
Love him!!
because we were bummed out because of the baptism falling through so we ate at Culver's which is delicious and amazing because a worker there was about to throw out a shake and instead looked at me and somehow knew it was exactly what I needed and just gave it to me. Oreo and peanut butter. Sorry, I am getting off topic. Anyway, we are leaving Culver's and see a car just parked there with two people in it and a bunch of laundry. We went over and started talking to them. They apparently moved because the guy got a job down here in Florida, so they packed up everything and moved here together. When they got here, the employer gave the job to someone else and left them thinking, "well now what do we do?" So they live in their car and we prayed with them and made them a promise. We said "If you take the missionary discussions, God will provide you with a job and place to live." Hardcore right? 

A funnier thing that happened is with a guy we are teaching named Darius. He is learning about the church but absolutely refuses to read the Book of Mormon. He saw a picture of it on the back of the pamphlet and said that he shuddered out of pure fear to read the book. We tried to teach him that fear only comes from Satan but he wouldn't here it. He gave us back the book we had just given him and said he will study more about our theology first and what we believe so we told him the website for the church and left it at that. We taught him yesterday and teaching him was sooooooooo difficult not to bust a gut laughing. He apparently tried to use the site and it was down at the time he tried so he watched two YouTube videos and called that his studying of the church. We get there and right off the bat he starts staying stuff like, "WHY DOES THE CHURCH NEED A HOTEL?!" because the Marriott is owned by a member of the church and he was soooo confused about the difference. He also said, "DID YOU KNOW THE CHURCH MADE A CARTOON?!?! A REAL CARTOON. IT WAS CANCELED. DID YOU KNOW THAT?! IT WAS A REAL CARTOON AND IT WAS CANCELLED!" I had no idea what to do with all this useless information. He still refused to read the book of mormon and instead he is going right to the horse's mouth. (His words). He is going to use to find President Monson's number and call and ask him these questions. We left at that point and said, "If you do get ahold of him, I promise he will say to you that you need to read the Book of Mormon, so call us when you talk to him. We want to hear about it and will be happy to give you the Book." That was a really funny meeting. 

Alright I have to get going soon because the senior missionary couple is picking us up. I am having trouble getting my iPad pictures onto the computer so I don't have any this week. I'll get better at it I promise.

I love you all - Love Elder May!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Elder May: Chapter 6

Wow!  6 weeks already!  In some ways, it has gone super fast but in others, well...   But Elder May is doing awesome - he had his first baptism, his first accident in the field and his first witness of miracles firsthand.  Oh, how I love and miss this Elder but oh so proud of him!

The Book of Elder May – Chapter 6

I need to point something out before I make this email. That picture of the house is not my apartment. That is a picture of a house that I took to show how pretty Florida is. I can send a picture of my apartment. One second. 
So those are the apartment buildings. Ours is a second floor apartment so the brown part of the building. Its really nice!  

On to the mission. First off I cut my eye. I was attacked. I was busy focusing on my duties as a missionary and all of a sudden, I was attacked by someone or something I didn't even see. I eventually found out what had hit me and its pretty embarrassing. Here is the story. We had a baptism!!!! His name is William Anthony Kephart and on Sunday he became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

My duty at the baptism was to open up the doors of the font to show Elder Gardner and Bill in the font and that is when the attack happened. One of the doors was locked and I was trying to open it and found out the problem was they had locks on the floor and the roof. I unlock the top and am trying to hurry and get the bottom one so they could baptize him so I move to the bottom lock and hit my whole face on the glass of the font. I didn't even realize I was cut until after the baptism. So that is the story of the cut on my eye. 

We are super excited that Bill is a member though. He leaves to Arizona on Tuesday and he is going to be working at Sky Harbor Airport so maybe I can see him while getting off the plane in two years. 

Other than that, we are planning to have two other baptisms and with any luck while any luck we can have two more on top of that. Alex, Cheryl, Fred and Angelica. I am really excited to be a part of all of this work!

I have a few miracles that I can write about. First would be Ed. Ed is a nonmember but is married to a member and his son is a member as well. We met Ed because we were talking to someone else next to a highway. While we are teaching her, a big rig truck pulls off the road and the driver points at me and says, "Come here." Certain I was gonna die, I said a little prayer while walking over. Instead of shooting me he tells me that he misses the Spirit of the Lord in his home because his wife and son are inactive and he wants to have that back. Then he refers himself to us. That doesn't happen often. 

The other miracle would be Angelica. She lives in her car, and she works all the way in Tampa and drives there and back almost every day. We met her in the McDonalds parking lot and we only stopped there because we had biked for about 5 hours in the middle of a humid day. We walk over and just offer to say a prayer with her. She is now two lessons in, with a baptismal date set for July 2nd but we might be able to bump it up to the 24th of June if we meet with her as often as we have been. We meet her at the McDonalds that we first met with her at. I love so much that McDonalds doesn't kick us out of there because they easily could but we have taught probably 20 lessons in some McDonalds. I love it. Those are my two miracles that I have for the day. 
Also, I found this amazing trailer that I almost laughed out loud as it passed by. 
It is a septic tank removal company!!!!!! It was the best thing ever. 

I love you all and am thankful for all of the prayers and good vibes coming my way.
Elder May