Monday, October 3, 2016

Florida - Still Hot and Sunny!

September 26, 2016

Hello, all!  Not too much to report on this week.

The Reeces cancelled our dinner appointment because Sister Reece wasn't feeling well, but they ordered pizza and gave us snacks.  It was Dominoes, my favorite!

On Friday we taught a really nice woman named Vanessa who we met and set up an appointment with last week.  She is from Puerto Rico and likes to talk and dance.  She had a lot of questions and wants to read the Book of Mormon and Our Heritage to learn more about church history.  She was curious about how the next prophet is chosen.  She is neighbors with Reese and Reese's dad Michael helps her with yard work and technical problems sometimes.  He was fixing her lawnmower when we came over.

On Saturday night, we had the General Women's broadcast.  We had invited Vanessa, but she ended up not being able to come.  But Sister Cook invited us over to watch it and eat Publix Chocolate Trinity ice cream, which is everyone's favorite here in Florida.  It was so fun!  I love the Cooks.  One of my favorite quotes was from Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk on faith: "The purpose of faith is not to change God's will, but to empower us to act on God's will."

Yesterday I got a surprise at church!  Brother and Sister Thompson, who were in my branch presidency at the MTC, were there to visit Brother Thompson's brother, who is the stake president here in Tampa.  They are so awesome!  They were excited to see me.

We have a zone activity today so that should be interesting.  We had to kind of rush to get everything done.  But we did it!  We will be playing games and eating pizza.

I hope you all have a great week!
--
Sister Porter

Another Great Week!

September 19, 2016

Hello, all!  Today we got the transfer email, and Sister Minson and I are staying in Odessa!

On Monday, we did a little shopping and then went to dinner at Steak n' Shake.  One of Sister Minson's converts from Palm Harbor works there, so we got to see her.  She is really sweet :)  We met with A. again on Monday night, and tried to explain how he needs to act in faith to receive an answer of which church is true.  We think he understands that better now, but we committed him to come to church and he didn't.  We haven't been able to meet with him again yet.

On Tuesday, we had the last district meeting of the transfer.  Guess who was also at the mission office for her district meeting?  Sister Anderson!!!  It made me so happy!  I love her!

We saw Kathleen, but since the fellowshipper we wanted for her was unavailable and we hadn't had a chance to get the necessary supplies, we didn't feel comfortable doing the stop smoking lesson until we were fully prepared.  So we rescheduled it for the beginning of October.  We saw Mark and his daughter Rebecca again.  I can't remember if I talked about them.  They are interested in learning about other religions, but I'm not sure they are really open to finding out if something besides what they already know is true.  They said they wanted to read the Book of Mormon on their own and then have us back for dinner in awhile to talk about it.  They are really nice!

On Friday we taught Orlando and Eileen more about the Book of Mormon, and our ward mission leader Brother Werts came.  It was a great lesson!  They are planning on reading the Book of Mormon together every night.  Then we went and taught the Montesinos more about how they can prepare to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  The Bishop came and was able to be a good friend to them and convey the important responsibility of doing temple work for our ancestors.  It was great!

On Saturday the Tampa 2 sisters had a baptism!  Sister Minson did a musical number with her former companion Sister Hunt, with Sister Felt playing the piano.  We taught Reese and watched most of the Restoration video with her.  We were supposed to meet one of our investigators at a restaurant for dinner, but were never able to find her and couldn't remember the name of the restaurant, only the intersection it was on :(  So we went to McDonald's. 

Yesterday we met with the Jones family in the ward.  They are super awesome.  They moved here recently from England.  They are great missionaries!  It sounds like they give away a lot of Book of Mormons.  Afterwards, we stopped by and were finally able to meet one of the investigators that the elders had passed on to us.  But that wasn't even the best part!  When we left, the next door neighbors the R.'s were outside and they are somewhat less active members that Sister Minson has been wanting to see.  They are really nice and actually moved from Utah last year.  Their son graduated from my high school the same year as me.  What?!  Anyway, we were able to set up a dinner appointment with them for Thursday!   

It was another great week.  I hope you all had a great one, too.  I love and miss you all!                                             
--
Sister Porter
__________________________________________________________________-
Pictures:
District Meeting Pics! :)
Look who I found at the mission office!

The rest is just my silly district.  They're pretty great.  Elder Thomas, Elder Laub, Elder Smith, Elder Keppner, Elder Harper, Elder Durrant. Elder Ellsworth, Elder Stevenson, Elder Hale, Sister Blanchard, Sister Brewer, Sister Minson, me, Sister Felt, and Sister Swanson.




Another Crazy Week!

September 12, 2016

Hello, all!  It was a great week.

On Monday we had a lesson with the Montesinos again about temples and family history work.  Sister Montesino wants to get her family to the temple.  She and Kayla, the oldest daughter, have been to do baptisms for the dead. Kayla loves learning about her family history and was making a FamilySearch account before we left!   They had ice cream sundaes for us.

On Tuesday, we met an elderly woman named K. who wants to stop smoking.  She says she actually used to be a member of the church.  We have an appointment for tomorrow to start the stop smoking program with her.  We read it over yesterday and it is really cool.  I am excited to help her!  We just need to find a member who can help and support her through the process.

Wednesday was interesting.  We taught Olivia, Reese's mom, with Sister Ward who was great to have there.  Then we met up with Abby to come to a lesson with Alec, who wasn't home.  So we went to see M., and after a minute, his dad came out and said they already belong to a religion and aren't interested.  We were able to answer a few questions and clear up some misconceptions about our beliefs.  He realized that our beliefs aren't all that different.  But we won't be teaching M. anymore.  He didn't realize that baptism meant joining our church.  Whoops.  After that, we taught the Marshalls again and Sister Begg came.  Their granddaughter drew pictures of us :)  Then we had dinner at the Chaffins!  It was really good, but they gave us too many leftovers and Sister Minson isn't eating them because she thinks she is allergic to something.  Finally, we got to see Orlando and his wife Eileen again.  We taught the Plan of Salvation because Orlando's mother has recently passed away.  They really felt peace and comfort from it and shared experiences that confirmed what we said.  It was awesome!  We had pretty much back to back lessons and members were at most of them.

On Thursday we had a zone training meeting.  President Cooper decided to remove some of the limitations that missionaries in our mission have on exercise, music, and studying.  We now go mainly by the missionary handbook rather than having extra rules.  This allows us to follow the Spirit and exercise our agency more, which gives us a whole lot of responsibility.  He also encouraged us to find any service opportunities we can, whether it be for members or the community.

On Saturday, we taught a less active member, Sister Giglia.  She is really sweet.  She is a flight attendant, so has a crazy schedule and is taking care of her sick mother.  But she felt the Spirit pretty strong in the lesson and said she would definitely be at church the next day.  And she was!  Lots of members seemed to remember her and went up to greet her.  5 minutes before sacrament meeting started, the bishop came up to us and asked if one of us could give a talk on keeping the commandments.  A couple of the people who were supposed to speak were sick.  Well, it turns out our lesson with Sister Giglia had been on the blessings of obedience, so I volunteered.  It actually wasn't that bad!

We had a meeting with the bishop on how to increase missionary work in the ward.  We shared a few things we learned from Elder Foster and came up with some great ideas.  It was funny, because after we came in from the meeting, the bishop asked his daughter if she would invite her friend to a youth activity.  She said, "No."  He asked why not.  "She's a school person."  What?

After church, we found a voicemail from a man named Roberto who the elders had taught that we have been trying to reach.  He has been coming to church the last few weeks!  We never saw him!  We called him back and were able to set up an appointment.  We had a great conversation and he wants to be baptized!  We set a date as a goal for October 29, and he said he would read the Book of Mormon on the plane today as he was flying out for a business trip.  Yay!

Anyway, there are good things happening in this area even though it may not be as fruitful as other areas.  I am excited to see what happens as the members get more involved!  Hope you all have a great week.
--
Sister Porter
___________________________________________________________________-
Pictures:
1. Wendy's frosties!
2. Pretty scenery
3. This one is old...I don't remember when we took it, but I thought it was cute. :)



Storms and Sickness

September 5, 2016

Hello, all!  It was a little bit of a boring week as we were stuck inside for three days, but here goes:

On Monday night we stopped by A.'s house to see how he was doing.  He said he had been reading the Book of Mormon and praying.  The coolest thing was that you could tell!  Both Sister Minson and I saw in his countenance that he was happier and closer to the Holy Spirit.  There was a light in his eyes.

On Tuesday, we had a district meeting and since we were low on miles, we were able to ride part way with the Land O Lakes sisters.  They are really awesome!  Sister Blanchard gave away a Book of Mormon at a stoplight.  The light turned green before she was back in the car.  It was crazy!  Later that night, Sister Minson and I realized that we were both in Women's Glee Choir at BYU-Idaho at the same time! (Fall 2014)

On Tuesday night as we were getting ready for bed, we got a call to stay in the apartment for the next 24 hours because of the hurricane.  Sister Minson was starting to feel sick anyway.  We got special permission to go see a doctor (who diagnosed strep throat) and pick up an antibiotic on Wednesday morning.  For the next 3 days, we stayed inside because even at the small intervals that we were allowed to go back outside, we had to stay in so Sister Minson could rest and recover.  It was really hard to exercise inside in the morning.  When Sister Minson was napping, I organized my things, read a lot, clipped my nails, washed dishes...whatever I could think of.    When she was awake, we were able to watch videos together.  We made waffles for dinner one night.

On Saturday, the storm had passed and so had the sickness.  Yay!  We taught Reese and her mom about family history work.  We also taught A.  again.  He seems to understand and believe what we teach.  He even shared an experience that he had a dream when he was younger that corresponds to our belief on why God sent us here to earth.  But he doesn't understand why he needs to do anything different from what he's already doing.  We hope our lesson on Wednesday will help.  What he is doing is great, but there is so much more!

Yesterday at church, Reese and her mom were at church and Reese shared her testimony!  We went to see a referral we got the day before who requested a Bible in English.  We were able to teach E., his wife Mimi, daughter-in-law M., and her mother I.!  They are from E.  They seemed pretty curious as  to what we believe and were excited to read both the Bible and the Book of Mormon!  That night we met a woman from Burlington, MA - one town over from where I grew up!  She let us pray with her.

I guess it wasn't a bad week :)  I hope you all are doing well!
--
Sister Porter
__________________________________________________________________
Pictures:

These are some pictures that I wasn't able to send last week.  The first two are us with Abby after she spent an evening with us.  The others are just things I thought were cool - a fish mailbox, and a tiny frog on our car!




Pictures 1 and 2: Our haircuts!
Picture 3: us with Elder and Sister Foster at the zone conference!Picture 4: me, Sister Hunt, Sister Felt, Sister Swanson, Sister Clement, Sister Chavez, Sister Gucake, and Sister Minson at lunch at the zone conference :)





Another Great Week in Odessa!

August 29, 2016

Hello, everyone!

On Monday during P-day, we stopped at the church for a little while to play the piano.  We taught a lesson to a high school age boy named Alec and he loved the Restoration video!  The Spirit was really special.  A ward missionary named Brother Kee came with us to that lesson and was able to testify of Joseph Smith and suggest a place for Alec to read in the Book of Mormon.  We were then able to meet an awesome family, who are members of the church but haven't been coming lately.  We got to know them and they shared with us how they joined the church.  They want to come back, but keep letting other things get in the way.

On Wednesday, we did family history with an elderly woman who isn't active in the church.  That was pretty fun!  Later, we got picked up from a member to go to a lesson with M., another high school age boy we have been teaching, because we have been running low on our mile limit.  We then taught Reese and talked about the Plan of Salvation that Heavenly Father made for us.  She has a really strong testimony, and said she never wants to miss church, not even for a cruise. :)  Then, we actually got a call from a man named Mark who we met last week asking us if we were still planning on meeting with him that night.  Somehow it had slipped our minds!  We met with him and his daughter and had a great discussion.  He is trying to understand the things that are different from what he already believes and what we believe, and is willing to learn and study things out.  We have another lesson with him on Wednesday night and our ward mission leader is coming!  That will be so great!

On Thursday, we had an absolutely amazing meeting with missionaries from the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota areas.  Elder Bradley D. Foster and Elder Kosta, leaders in the church, and their wives came to speak to us.  Elder Foster taught us how the best way to do missionary work is through the members of the church.  It shouldn't be members helping missionaries, it should be missionaries helping members.  That night, Abby, a youth in the ward, came out with us.  It was really amazing because Sister Minson randomly found some people she had met before, and Abby was really awesome with joining right in on the conversations and finding opportunities to testify.  

On Saturday morning, we saw a lady named P. who we had met who lives in our apartment complex and had asked us to bring her a Bible.  We were able to have a great discussion with her about our favorite scriptures and she wants to start studying the scriptures every day at noon.  She is super nice, and has an adorable spoiled dog named Sofia. :)  That night, we had stake conference where Elder Foster spoke.

On Sunday morning, we made crepes and pancakes!  Then we got a ride with some members who live right upstairs to stake conference where Elder Foster as well as our mission president and his wife spoke.  It was a great meeting!  Then we made mac and cheese and chocolate chunk cookies for lunch :)  Last night, we met a man named Jonathan who really seems interested in learning more about our church.  He texted us a few minutes after we left saying he had read the pamphlet we gave him and he seems excited to meet with us next week!  He had a cute little daughter who kept ringing the doorbell while we were talking, haha.

Anyway, it has been a pretty good week!  We were able to rearrange our plans and get rides so we have enough miles.  We are planning on getting haircuts later today.  You all just remember to share the gospel with your friends!  It is such a happiness and blessing to me.  Who wouldn't want to share that with others, especially the people that you love most! :)
--
Sister Porter

A Week of Food

August 22, 2016

Seriously, we got so much food this week.  But I'll get to that as it comes. :)

On Monday night, we had a Family Home Evening with the Christiansens, a young family with 2 little girls and baby twins.  They were really great and made a plan for their family to help with missionary work.  We got brownies and ice cream there.  We met with a couple of other families the next night and one of the families, the Sneeds, were so awesome.  The 12-year-old son set some great goals to help with missionary work.  Their family is going to invite 8 people (2 per person) to a church activity per month and give away one Book of Mormon per month, among other things.  

On Thursday, we went to New Beginnings, an event to welcome the girls who are turning 12 in to the Young Women youth program.  Reese is one of those girls, so we went to support her and it was really fun with lots of refreshments.  Then on Friday, we found a guy named Chris who wants to be baptized!  He has been making big changes in his life already that have been preparing him.  We found him a ride to the ward talent show that night and he loved it!  The talent show was really fun.  We were given a pan of chicken to bring home.  It was also Sister Minson's year mark that day, so when we got home we celebrated with ice cream, popcorn, and Mormon Messages :)

If you think that is a lot of food already, just you wait.  On Saturday we had lunch with a family who made us Swedish meatballs and salad and watermelon.  They gave us all the Swedish meatballs and a bunch of rice krispie treats.  We discussed faith and how it is such a blessing in our lives.  A few hours later, we had a dinner that we had packed and then went to teach another family.  They had dinner ready for us and hadn't told us.  It was chicken lasagna and salad and bread and pineapple cake.  We were SO full, but it was so good!  Then yesterday we had dinner with Reese and her dad at the bishop's house.  We had a great lesson about how Jesus Christ can help us through trials.  They gave us leftovers of turkey and potatoes and brownies.  Another nice old couple we met with gave us a large container of cashews and some donuts.  It was crazy.  We had to give a bunch of food to the elders because we knew we just couldn't eat it all.  

Anyway, that was pretty much our week.  I love Florida and the awesome people here.  I know Heavenly Father loves us and influences our lives for good if we will listen.  I hope you all are doing well!

--
Sister Porter
___________________________________________________________________-
Pictures:
Fun with Sister Minson!
The first 2 pictures are Sister Minson and I on her year mark day :)
The second picture is on a really rainy day.  I was trying to get a picture of the rain, but it just didn't do it justice.  So I took a selfie :)
The last picture is just us being silly.



Hello from Odessa!

August 18, 2016

Hello, all!  So I am now in Odessa with Sister Minson!  She is awesome.  She is from Arizona and went to BYU-Idaho for a year.  The Odessa ward is really awesome and our apartment is nice.  My new address is 1530 Villa Capri Circle Apt. 208, Odessa, FL 33556

So on Monday since Sister Anderson helped with the dinner for the missionaries who were going home, I was with the YSA sisters yet again.  (Sister Swanson is now one of my Sister Training Leaders!)  We went on campus for a little bit, but then went to Family Home Evening with the ward.  It was kind of fun, a scavenger hunt and some games.  But we found out at like 8:30 that a new missionary was flying in that night from the Mexico MTC and needed to stay at the other YSA apartment, so we all had to pack up and go over there.  Sister Anderson and I ended up sleeping over there, too.  The poor Hermana had been up since 1 am, was left all alone at the airport, and lost some of her luggage, too.  But she was as happy and cheerful as ever!

Anyway, my last day in Lithia, we got ice cream during dinner.  We had a lesson with our investigator Brian and got Kelsey to come!  She was able to testify of how her baptism gave her strength in her life.  It was so good to see her because she has been so busy.

Transfers were a little bit stressful, but all is well.  We taught five great lessons on Friday and I got to meet the ward mission leader, Brother Werts.  Then on Friday, we had another great lesson with a man named Orlando and his wife, Lynn.  They have recently been through a really hard experience and we talked about how Jesus Christ helped them through that.  They seem open to learning more about our church, and we are so excited for them!  They have great faith.

On Sunday, an 11-year old girl Reese who was baptized on Tuesday was confirmed.  She is so cute!  She is just so happy and friendly.  The bishop had me share my testimony in sacrament meeting.  It was a little scary, but it went well!

Well, that's pretty much it!  Just a public service announcement: make sure if you ever go to Florida to wear lots of bug spray!

--
Sister Porter
_____________________________________________________________
Pictures:
Here are me and Sister Minson at transfers!



Just because Florida is so beautiful...

The second picture was taken from right outside our front door :)

Birthday Week...Full of Miracles!

August 8, 2016

This week was amazing!  On Tuesday we had a great zone training meeting at the mission office.  Afterwards, the sisters in the zone sang happy birthday to me and then everyone knew it was my birthday coming up.  That night, Sister Anderson and I went out to dinner at the restaurant where we teach the owner.  It was really good!  We taught our investigator Brian who is really cool and our ward mission leader and his wife were able to join us.  We've been teaching him almost every night, but he still doesn't understand why he needs to come to church if he has a personal relationship with God.

Then on Wednesday, I woke up to my desk being heart attacked by Sister Anderson :)  I opened my package from my family.  I got some new shirts that I love and the card was awesome!  My parents recorded themselves saying, "Happy birthday" :)  Then we headed off to Tampa before 7am so Sister Anderson could be at metro with Sister Smith.  It was fun to be with the other sisters, but walking around campus is long and hard.  I broke out into hives for some reason, too...we still haven't figured it out.  Sister Anderson got some, too.  Anyway, then we went to the apartment for dinner and made pizza and ate cake :)  Sister Smith's companion, Sister Phillips, was with us, too.  When Sister Anderson and I got home, we heard a knock on the door and thought that was kind of weird.  I looked outside to a car driving away and when I opened the door, there was a plate of delicious cookies and our door was heart attacked by the young women in the ward :)  Sister Jenkins sent me a happy birthday text telling me to look outside :)  I also got a happy birthday text from President and Sister Cooper and Kelsey!  How did everyone know?  Haha :P

Thursday was awesome, too!  We decided to drop (stop teaching) a bunch of people because we haven't been able to get in contact with them.  It was sad.  But we met with this girl named Alex who we haven't been able to see in awhile and she is amazing!  She just graduated from high school and was the drama club president.  Since we last saw her, she had the opportunity to attend an AA meeting (even though she doesn't drink) and was really inspired by the faith in Jesus Christ she saw in the people there.  She really wanted to come to church and said she would find a ride.  The next time we saw her, she had a ride and was really excited to read the Book of Mormon.  We invited her to be baptized and she really wants to!  We decided on September 10 as the date, and her birthday is September 11!  How perfect is that?!  She will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost on her birthday :)  We also were able to see Mac, the owner of the restaurant, and he had read 1/3 of the Book of Mormon!  He asked us what the 10 commandments are and we taught them to him.  A lot of our set lessons that we had with people fell through this week, but we had so many miraculous unset appointments :)

On Friday, we stopped to use the bathroom at Publix and met a really nice lady.  She had a relative who served a mission and really wanted to buy us something.  We told her we were fine, but she ended up buying us candy bars and fruit salad bowls :)  On Saturday we met a lot of cool people who we were able to make return appointments with.  We also saw one of our investigators who said he would definitely be at church the next day and even bring a friend, but neither of them came.  Alex didn't come either because she slept in and her ride fell through :(  Next time we will contact her earlier so we can get her a ride with the Tiltons who live really close!

There were so many miracles this week, I can't even write them all!  I just know that there are people who are ready to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, we just need to find them!  For the members of the church, you are really key in being an example and a friend to people and teaching them through your everyday interactions.  Would Kelsey have wanted to join the church if her friend Courtney hadn't invited her, shared her testimony, and been an example of Christlike love?  The members of the Lithia ward are so great and willing to help in missionary work and talk about the gospel with their friends.

Oh, the other crazy thing that happened this week.  This morning as I was washing a cup, it just broke in my hands and I have cuts on 3 of my fingers.  Not sure if I suddenly got Spiderman super strength or something?  So hives and bandaged fingers...that's my life.  

Tonight, I will yet again be on campus with the YSA sisters because Sister Anderson and Sister Harper are going to help Sister Cooper with the departing missionary dinner for the missionaries going home.  

We just got the transfer email.  Sister Anderson is staying and training a new sister...and I am transferring! :(  I don't know where or with who I will be yet.  But I guess it's where God wants me to be!
--
Sister Porter
____________________________________________________________________
Pictures:

Birthday Preparations!
Picture 1: The pancakes Sister Anderson made for me on Sunday :)
Picture 2: At the restaurant...it's really cool and western-themed :)
Picture 3: My cake!




Birthday!!!

Picture 1: At birthday dinner - me, Sister Jensen, Sister Harper, Sister Swanson, and Sister Phillips
Picture 2: me with my cake :)
Picture 3: My desk!  It was so cute :)
Picture 4: Our door!




Jeremiah's and Kelsey's Baptism!

August 1, 2016

Hello, all!

On Tuesday, we went on another exchange.  We decided to meet at Jeremiah's to exchange back.  Jeremiah's is an ice cream/gelato place that everyone loves.  Sister Alder and I went there twice while I was in Valrico.  It is so good and it was so fun!  Not only that, but Kelsey was there!  We filled out her baptism paperwork.  Not only THAT, but Chipotle is right next door so Sister Anderson and I ate lunch there after everyone left :)

There was a little scheduling conflict for Kelsey's baptism that we had to figure out.  Apparently the relief society president checked to see if the building would be open, but didn't reserve it.  So the whole building got reserved for some scout training meeting.  The bishopric was awesome and found out we could do the baptism at another building nearby at the same time.  There would be another baptism for the Providence elders right after Kelsey's.   It worked out well.  It was so great!  A member of the Providence ward came in at 6am to start filling the font.  So many members of the ward and even some from the YSA ward came to support her.  The relief society president Sister Bingham and Kelsey's best friend Courtney gave great talks.  Kelsey's boyfriend came even though none of her family did.  There were lots of treats and we forgot to tell Kelsey to bring a towel, so somebody went to the store and got one.  Vivienne's baptism seemed to have a lot of support, too, even though it was last minute and the ward didn't know her as well as we knew Kelsey.  The confirmation on Sunday was really special and it made me so happy to see Kelsey get confirmed.  I wish I had gotten a picture.  It was just a great day.

Today, we went out to brunch with the Alvarezes because it's my birthday on Wednesday!  I'm excited!  We will be in Tampa all day because Sister Anderson is helping with metro.  I will be with the YSA sisters on campus...again!  Haha.  But we got stuff to make cake and pizza so it will be fun.   I will definitely get pictures.  We will also be going to the mission office on Tuesday for a zone training meeting.  Yay!

Alright, well, I hope you all are doing well!  Remember God loves you!  3 Nephi 4:7
--
Sister Porter
 ________________________________________________
Pictures:
First picture: me, Sister Anderson, Sister King, Sister Jensen, Sister Harper, and Sister Swanson at Jeremiah's.
Second picture: us with Kelsey at Jeremiah's
Third picture: Kelsey and former Elder Cloward (who flew in from Utah) on baptism day!
Fourth picture: us with Kelsey on baptism day!
Fifth picture: Courtney and her best friend Courtney :)






This week is gonna be good!

July 25, 2016

Hello, all!  As typical, it's been another crazy week.  But we are SUPER excited for Kelsey's baptism on Saturday.  She passed her interview yesterday :)

On Monday night, we taught a few Family Home Evening lessons with members.  We ended up with a tupperware full of pasta, a large piece of delicious homemade chocolate cake, candy, and mango fruit pizza.  Yum!  The next day we got banana bread from a member, and we got tons of leftovers from a Pioneer Day activity on Saturday.  Biscuits, gravy, and eggs :)

On Tuesday, we saw Christine. again.  She was super glad to see us and we invited her to be baptized.  She was so excited and already considers herself "Mormon".  However, she hasn't come to church yet. :(

On Wednesday, we had a mini district meeting at the mission office while we had interviews with the president.  It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought :)  He is great.  

Not really sure what else exciting has been happening.  We stopped at a bathroom in a restaurant on Saturday.  I come out, and Sister Anderson is teaching the owner!  We ended up giving him a large print and children's Book of Mormon because he said the print was too small and there weren't enough pictures, haha.  But he seemed open to read and learn more about our church.

Being a missionary is hard.  Just putting that out there.  And it is really hard to keep doing hard things.  But when you know it is what God wants you to do, it makes it a whole lot easier.  Not only that, but you can have His help through anything if you just ask.

Alright, y'alls!  Hope you have a great week.  I think it's going to be a great one for us :)
--
Sister Porter

 ______________________________________________________________
Pictures:

Us with Kelsey!  We just love her!

The last picture is of a great meal we made...we call it foil dinner casserole :)  We keep smelling people's barbecues, so we thought we would have some summer food of our own if we can't have a campfire or a grill.  It was good :)


Monday, July 25, 2016

A Great Week!

July 18, 2016

Wow!  This week was awesome!

Let's start at the beginning...on Monday afternoon we got free slurpees from 7-11 and then went to a member's home to alter some of our clothes.  We spent a long time there and before we knew it it was already 4:30 and we still had to go grocery shopping and wash the car.  Brother Tilton offered to make us food and he made us sandwiches!  Then we were at another member's home, the Alvarezes, and they gave us a pizza.  Seriously, they had ordered pizza and it got there just as we were leaving and they had ordered an extra one for us.  Score!  Oh, and I got an awesome package from my mom that night, too :)  Now we have music to listen to in the car!

On Tuesday, Sister Anderson and I went to the district meeting in Tampa and then went on an exchange for a day.  I was with Sister Harper, the other Sister Training Leader, until Wednesday morning and she is awesome!  She taught me a lot about being more bold and confident.  I wanted to go see a woman named Connie that we had met because we were in her area.  When she answered the door, I asked her if she was still interested in our church and she immediately said yes.  She said she had just been watching a spiritual movie called Miracles in Heaven and was wondering which church to go to on Sunday!  Sister Harper invited her to be baptized and she wants to!  She was definitely going to come to church and hopefully bring her family, we even stopped by to remind her on Saturday, but none of them showed up.  However, we asked a young man to invite his friend that we had met to come to church and he did and he came!  We are meeting with him tonight because he wants to learn more!

Sister Harper and I also met another woman who we invited to be baptized and had 2 really good discussions with, but she called us later and said she really feels like she is good where she is at.  She has already been baptized, believes in the Bible, and said if the Book of Mormon is true, then she has one now and that's all she feels she needs.  But there is so much more than that!

We also heard from Ann, the lady who gave us cake and ice cream, that she wants to be baptized but doesn't feel spiritually ready yet.  We know she is because she loves the Savior and truly desires to do what is right.  That's all that is really needed in order to start progressing towards baptism.

We also met with Kelsey to brainstorm the program for her baptism!  A lot of the members she wanted to help with things are going to be out of town so we will have to figure that out.  I might play the piano for the opening and closing hymns and/or say the opening prayer.  Sister Anderson is going to play a musical number while Kelsey gets dressed after the baptism.  I just can't wait!  She is not going to BYU-Idaho anymore, at least for a while.  She went to the YSA (Young Single Adult) ward for the first time yesterday :)

One day we were walking and I said, "I just want water.  No, A/C.  No, water AND A/C!"  A little later this awesome couple lets us in to their house and gives us water.  They shared amazing testimonies of how God has influenced their lives.  God really does love us :)

Well, there have been many other miracles this week but this email is already getting long.  I hope you all are doing well and send you love all the way from Florida!
--
Sister Porter
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Pictures:


First picture: Sister Harper and I on the left, Sister King in the front, then Sister Lance and Sister Anderson.  This was at the end of the exchange :)
Second picture: This is a very common door decoration.  We like it :)  Pineapple doorbells and frog doorbells are also popular.
Third and fourth pictures: the result of getting caught in the rain...
Fifth picture: P-day selfie :)

Hope you all have a great week!
 




Another Crazy Week...

July 11, 2016

Hello, all!  This week has been crazy for sure.  Ups and downs of missionary life...like a roller coaster!

On Tuesday we had a great district meeting on obedience.  We have been trying really hard to be on time and have the Spirit with us so we can make the best decisions on how to spend our time.  Later we were tracting and Sister Anderson stopped and wanted to say a prayer.  She prayed that we would be able to give away a Book of Mormon.  The next door we knocked on was a guy we had met the week before who is a social studies teacher, and he was interested in reading it, so we gave one to him!  A little later, Sister Anderson prayed that we would be able to give away another one before we moved to the next neighborhood.  Again, the next door we knocked on we were able to give it away.  When we get to the next neighborhood, we pray that we will find a new investigator before dinner.  This means that we have to make a return appointment, and there was only half an hour before dinner.  But we found a woman who was going through a rough divorce and felt we were sent by God to give her strength.  We set up another appointment and both were great lessons.  She wants to come to church.  She went to court on Friday and we haven't been able to talk to her and see how it went yet, but we saw a little girl's scooter outside when we stopped by on Saturday so we think she got custody of her kids :)

Let's see...on Thursday we met an old couple who had monkeys in their backyard.  It was really cool!  They are licensed as exhibitors so we signed a guest sheet.  On Friday there was a leadership meeting so we went to Tampa and I was with Sister Lance and Sister King on campus.  It was really fun!  We did studies together and then made a delicious chicken alfredo pizza for lunch.  We taught a lesson in the student center and gave someone a church tour.

Last week there was a man who walked into church.  I guess a friend recommended he come.  He really seemed to like it and participated in the class discussions.  He stayed for all 3 hours.  He came again this week and came right up to us and said he wants to meet with us to learn more.  We set up an appointment..but he doesn't actually live in our area so we invited the elders and we will meet at the church.

Anyway, there is great stuff happening here!  There are some great members who really love being involved in missionary work and have friends they are sharing their beliefs with.  We are having dinner on Thursday with a family who is really good friends with a family in our ward.  Yay!

Hope y'alls are having a great summer!   And I also hope it is not as hot as mine...haha!  Just kidding, it's not that bad :)  Sending love from Florida!

--
Sister Porter
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Picture:

Only one picture this week ... but it's awesome!  Haha, these birds are cool!  They are everywhere!

Crazy, Awesome Week!

July 4, 2016

Hello, all!  Happy Independence Day!

So Kelsey chose a baptism date!  She is getting baptized on the 30th.  We are so excited for her!  She even told her parents and they are not thrilled, but they may want to come.  Her friend who is moving will still be here and the first missionaries who taught her (4 years ago!) are going to fly out.  We have been helping her get to know some members of the ward better and there was one woman who was really able to help her because she has had similar experiences.  On Saturday, we just went through the baptismal interview questions just to see if there was anything she needed to work on, but she is totally good.  She is applying to go to BYU-I in January and we are so excited!  I told her about the apartment I lived in there and she said she would check it out.

On Thursday, we got to meet the new mission president and his wife!  I just love them!  They are just such nice people.  It was kind of a crazy week because we had some really great experiences and met some great people who want to learn more, but we also had some really rude people.  I got my first door-slam :P  One woman talked to us for a really long time and gave us cake and ice cream.  She is amazing and really wants to learn more.  Last night we went back to a family we met last week and they gave us mangoes :)  They had great questions and really want to come to church.  We just had really good discussions with a lot of people this week!

Not really sure what else to say.  But this was interesting...On Friday night after we were in bed, we kept getting phone calls and texts.  I got up once to see what it was, and didn't recognize the number and the text was talking about a pizza delivery, so I figured they had a wrong number and went to sleep.  It turns out Sister Anderson's parents tried to order us a pizza, but we were already in bed and the pizza guy couldn't get into the building.  It was sad, apparently her mom was calling bishops and doing everything she could to get that pizza to us!  The bishops of both wards came up to us on Sunday and asked if we ever got our pizza...nope :(

Anyway, definitely an eventful week!  Hope all is going well with all of you!  Might I point out that I didn't get any letters this week...hint hint :)  I want to hear about your lives!

Sister Porter
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Pictures:

First picture: Fourth of July selfie :)
Second picture: Us with a family who the mother Patty and her 2 sons recently joined the church.  Patty's mom has been visiting and wants to meet with missionaries when she goes back to Peru :)
Third picture: Porter Road!
Fourth picture: New mission president!  President Cooper and his wife :)
 



 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Miracles and Metro

June 27, 2016
Hello, everyone!  How are you all doing?

This week we contacted a girl Kelsey who had been taught by missionaries before and she wanted to meet with us again.  Her parents do not approve of her interactions with our church, but she is 18 now.  She said she would come to church and we arranged to meet her afterwards.  Later in the week, we knocked on a door and found a boy her age who had not been coming to church and invited him.  He said he would come and they both did!  We found out they knew each other, so we met with them both after church and had a great lesson.  They are both really awesome!  She really wants to be baptized but we are worried about her relationship with her family if she does.

On Friday we went to a training meeting all day.  It was called Metro.  We got to go back to the University of South Florida campus for a couple of hours to talk to people and eat lunch there.  It was really fun to get together with other missionaries and learn how to be better.  There was even a bag of hand-me-down clothes we could take stuff from, haha :)

On Saturday night we had a lesson with a really nice man named Max and brought a member of our ward.  It was a great lesson and Sister Jenkins was able to testify of the priesthood, the power of God for man to act in His name.  Her husband has been in the military and Max has served in the military as well, so he really wants to meet him and hear his experiences.  We will have to bring him next time!

That same day, we knocked on the door of a family who was just moving in and offered to say a prayer with them.  They asked us to pray for them to be able to sell their old house.  Later, a car pulls up and a woman says, "You guys just prayed with my husband, and we just got a text with an offer for our house!  Thank you, and keep praying that it is a good offer!"  That was awesome!

Anyway, that's pretty much all I've got for this week.  Our new mission president gets here this week which will be fun!  I just know that God is involved in all of our lives.  He leads us through the Holy Spirit for the benefit of all of His children.  He knows what is best for us and loves us dearly.

Adios!
Sister Porter
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Metro Pictures
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The first pictures are me and Sister Anderson at the USF sign.  The last picture is the metro group: Sister Chavez, Sister Myers, Sister Whitlock, Sister Phillips, Sister Blanchard, Sister Sackley, Sister Lance, Sister Sutton, me, Sister Anderson, Elder Menlove, Elder Peterson, Elder Gneiting, Elder Taylor, Elder Phelps, and Elder Cantu.  Elder Menlove and Elder Cantu are the Assistants to the President who did most of the training.  Sister Sackley and Sister Sutton are basically "Sister APs" who did some training as well.  They are all awesome!


Another Transfer in Lithia!

June 20, 2016

We got our transfer email and both Sister Anderson and I will be staying where we are :)  This week I feel like I've really gotten to know the area better.  We spend a lot of time in Fishhawk, which is a really nice group of neighborhoods right near where we live.  I also learned that there is country in Lithia!  We went and knocked on doors on some country roads where the houses are farther apart and there are beautiful green fields and even cows!  Who knew?  We have been meeting some very nice people, though most people aren't interested in learning more about our church.

So the beach party was on Monday!  It was pretty fun.  We just got to hang out and eat and spend time on the beach.  I love the ocean and the sand was so soft and the water was so warm!  Don't worry, I didn't swim...just dipped my toes in once :)  Some of the sisters in our zone got us "ugly Hawaiian shirts" so we could all match. 

On Tuesday, we biked to Fishhawk for the day and ate dinner at Fishhawk Pizza.  It was really good!  Then on Thursday, I did weekly planning for the first time!  It was actually pretty fun, though it seems to be dreaded by every other missionary.

We have had some good experiences this week with following the Spirit on where to go.  One time, we had about 10 minutes before dinner and were going to head to a road that was on our way home.  As I was about to pull out, I looked across the street and felt like we should knock on doors there.  The last door we knocked on was a young father with a little boy who said he wanted to find a church, but had been waiting until his kids were older.  We told him there is a great children's ministry at our church and he seemed pretty interested in coming to check it out.  Yay!

It has been raining more.  One time, it was crazy.  It was pouring ridiculously hard, the wind was pretty strong, and my umbrella turned inside out.  We ended up taking refuge on somebody's porch and just hoped they wouldn't come in or out.

Yesterday, I got to meet a lot of the members of our congregation and they are awesome!  There are a couple families who have really been sharing what they know with their friends.  Our ward mission leader Brother Birch is awesome, too.  We had a great meeting with him where he gave us some great ideas.  He then came with us and his wife to a lesson for a recent convert to the church, Patty.  She is from Peru and doesn't speak much English, so Brother Birch was able to translate.  Her children and her mother were there as well.  Her mother actually said she really likes the change that she has seen in her daughter and wants to check out the church when she goes back to Peru!  

Anyway, that's about it for this week.  Hope all is going well with all of you!  I would love to hear about what's going on in all of your lives!
--
Sister Porter
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Pictures:
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First picture: Sister Meagher, me and Sister Anderson :)
Second picture:  I don't actually know the 2 sisters on the left, but there is Sister Meagher, me, Sister Olson, Sister Lance, and Sister Anderson.
Third picture: Sister Anderson and I on the beach :)
Fourth picture: me by the water :)




More Beach Pictures:
1: Feet :)  See my lovely foot tan?
2. selfie on the beach :)
3. beautiful beach scenery
4. us with Sister Cusick, the mission president's wife :)



Sorry...even more pictures:
1. the sisters in my zone: me, Sister Anderson, Sister Durrant, Sister Macfarlane, Sister Lance and Sister Harper.
2. us at Fishhawk Pizza :)