Monday, April 3, 2017

Carpe Diem - Seas the Day

Hey Everyone!!

Wow I can't believe how the weeks have been flying by and I can't believe that I only have one full week left on my mission and will be home in 10 days. But as my title suggests today is the day to Seize the Day (Seas the day is the Florida edition) and give it everything I've got these last few days.

This week we were trying to show the people that we are working with that we love them and want to help them to progress. That involved going to the talent show of one of our less actives. He performed in a saxophone quartet playing the Mario theme.

​(He's Luigi)

Right now we are just trying to find people to teach and less actives to reactivate so that we can be able to help this ward grow.

The biggest highlight of this week was General Conference, every six months getting to hear from modern day prophets and apostles is the greatest. This weekend is something especially as a missionary I look forward to. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

- "Genuine discipleship is a state of being. This suggests more than studying and applying a list of individual attributes. Disciples live so that the characteristics of Christ are woven into the fiber of their beings, as into a spiritual tapestry." ~ Elder Hales
- "Overcoming the world is not one defining moment in a lifetime, but a lifetime of moments that define an eternity." ~Elder Andersen
- "The trial of our faith will always involve staying true to simple, daily practices of faith. Then, and only then, does He promise that we will receive the divine response for which we long." ~ Elder Clayton
- "When you pray with faith, you will feel God’s love as His Spirit speaks to your soul. No matter how alone or uncertain you may feel at times, you are not alone in this world. God knows you, personally. As you pray, you will come to know Him." ~ Elder Grow

Such a good conference, if you didn't get a chance to watch it or watch all of it check it out.

Funny story about how I became a temporary AV (tech person) for the church. On Saturday we showed up to the church expecting to find the conference being broadcast to the church, but it wasn't. The first session we eventually got loaded up on a computer but we played the buffering game the whole time and didn't really get to watch the first session. In between sessions on Saturday we called up a member to help us set up the broadcast. We searched the church for the projector and found the room it's stored in unlocked (which was a surprise) and were able to figure it out just in time to watch the second session. Then on Sunday came into the church once again to find the broadcast not being projected but I'd figured out how to set it up the day before so I did it again and we were able to watch the Sunday sessions with no problem. Truly God wanted us to watch the conference and unlocked many doors for us, literally, so that we could be able to listen to the words of a prophet.

Well that's all for now!


Sister Jennings

Monday, March 27, 2017

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair

Hey everyone!

So super cool this week we had a baptism!!!!! Her name is Isane Ruano Mora and she has been waiting 3 years to be baptized. All of her aunts and uncles and cousins are members just not her own parents. Well her parents told her that she would have to wait to be baptized and so she was waiting for either her parents hearts to be softened or that she turned 18. She turned 18 last August but had some visa problems and had to go back to Mexico for a while. Here is where the cool things start. When I served in Port St. Lucie more than 3 months ago in our book of former investigators there was this teaching record for Isane and I thought wow she sounds so cool I want to teach her, the only problem was the address said "Lives with Sister Mora" and there was no Sister Mora on our ward directory so I just left it in the binder and kept on working in Port St. Lucie. Then coming here to Stuart and replacing the elders they didn't really leave us a whole lot of work and they didn't even mark on the directory who the active members were. So we just started visiting people to figure out if they were active or not and who they were and on our first Monday we knocked on this door trying to find Carlos (turns out he moved) and instead met Sister Mora! On Sunday she had leaned over to us at church to tell us she was feeding us on Thursday and that was the only way that we recognized her. Well Sister Mora invited us in to visit and told us that her unbaptized niece Isane would be at the party on Thursday that she signed up to feed us at. Went to that party on Thursday and the rest is history and she got baptized on Saturday!!!!!

Sorry that was a long story but it is so cool to see how a seed had been planted and watered for so long before it finally came to bear fruit. Now here is a short funny story or two.

Last Sunday we had a member come up to us at church and ask if either of us knew how to cut hair and neither of us did, and then she asked if we would like to give it a try because her hair needed to be cut and she didn't want to pay to have it done. So we went over this week and I cut her and her daughter's hair with kids school scissors because they didn't have anything else.

Also super funny when I served in Port St. Lucie the elders in Stuart always complained that the members never fed them. Well that has changed a lot since I've been here. This was our donate food to the missionaries bin on Sunday. Basically I don't need to buy groceries this week because they got me taken care of.

Also this week we met this less active Sister Schmitt and she told us that she went less active after her husband passed away last September because she was so sad. Then she told us how when we called into her gated community and she let us in she was totally expecting these two elders and instead these two sweet sisters were knocking on her door. She then commented on how beautiful my braid was and how she wished she could see what my hair looked like down. I then told her that I would wear it down on Sunday so she could come to church and see it. She told us she would come to church and said it would be funny if she told everyone that she only came to church to see her missionaries hair. Well she came to church on Sunday and it was the sweetest thing she came up to the two of us and told us that she was there because of us and she thanked us so much for our help.

Well that's all for now!


Sister Jennings

Monday, March 20, 2017

Milestone Markers

Hey Everyone!!

Wow I can't believe how time flies it seems like only yesterday that I just got on my email and now my companion just hit her year mark! It's weird because Sister Fernandes first day on the mission was replacing me in Boca Raton right before I left for Miami and now she's at her year mark.

​Yep we celebrated that day!!

Also one of the less actives that we are working with had her birthday this week so we had our investigator go over there and we taught a lesson and celebrated a birthday so that was super fun. I love parties, especially when it helps others come back to church and helps our investigator have more friends.

​(sister Fernandes, Ashley the Birthday girl, me, Adriana, Isane our investigator, Roxanna)

Also we've been working on a project of putting our entire ward list in groups by where they live with all their info so we can keep track of people better and so we can more effectively visit everyone and we finally finished.

​Yeah it's impressive, yes it's a little bit creepy, but man is it effective. I wonder what people would think if they came into our house with pictures of Christ everywhere, lists of people, and maps on all the walls. We promise we aren't weirdos, just trying to help people come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Cool experience so last week on Monday we were getting to the end of the night and were kind of tired because we hadn't been seeing a lot of success that day when we decided to stop by a less active member. Well pulled up to the gate (because everyone in Florida lives in a gated community it seems) and called her from the box and she actually let us in #Miracle. Then we pulled up and were knocking on the door when all of a sudden this lady comes running down the road flailing her arms. Apparently she'd moved apartments two weeks ago and the new owners are not so nice. Well after visiting with her found out that her phone that the gate box uses had been disconnected and just got reconnected 15 minutes before we called. #Miracle! So visited with her and she's been less active for over 13 years and we finally found her! Yeah!!!!! So now we'll start working on her to get her back to church.

Well it's been a good week, hope you all have a good week too!


Sister Jennings

Monday, March 13, 2017

Good Life, Sleep Strife, because the Bedbugs Bite

Hey everyone!!

Well the adventures of Sister Jennings never end, my last week in Vanderbilt someone broke into our house and now in my first few weeks of living in Stuart we get BEDBUGS! Sunday morning we both wake up with tons of bug bites all over our arms and legs and so we call the mission nurse and pretty sure it's bedbugs. So Sunday night we spent the whole evening cleaning out bedroom and yup it's bedbugs and most of them lived in my bed (of course). Let's just say after the next few weeks our apartment will be the cleanest in the entire mission especially since we have to vacuum our room and steam our mattresses every morning and throw our sheets in the dryer to kill any of the little bugs left. So yeah, new adventures!!!!

(Here are just a few of the bites)

Well this week hasn't all been bad adventures. We saw a super cool miracle this week. We were knocking the other day and knocked on this door and the lady opens it and says "your probably looking for my daughter Keisha right, well come on in." Had no idea what she was talking about but walked right in thinking maybe her daughter Keisha was a less active or something. The lady went and grabbed Keisha and we proceeded to talk to her and come to find out she isn't a less active member but a former investigator! Went home and looked through all of the teaching records and couldn't find the former Keisha. Well the next day happened to be looking through a bunch of formers we picked to try to contact and Keisha (the one we knocked into) was in that stack. We knocked into a former that we wanted to try and find and got a return appointment with her. Awesome!!

Also this week I officially started myPlan, which is a program that the church created to help returned missionaries ease back into non-mission life and set goals so that we can continue to progress. Let me tell ya it was super weird thinking about life after the mission while I'm still on the mission.

(As missionaries we've nicknamed in "Reverse 12 Week" because when we first come in we do "12 Week" which trains you on how to be a missionary, and this trains you on how to be a normal person)

Also went to Tijuana Flats this week for dinner and saw the funniest sign. A lot of people here in Florida believe that Mormons are a cult (we aren't).

Well that's all for now, it really has been a great week despite it's trials. I know that God loves each and everyone of us and that trials are to help us grow and to learn and maybe right now I just need to learn how to be a really good cleaner so that I can apply it when I get home. Nah, but there definitely are lessons to learn right now.

Love ya all!

~Sister Jennings

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sisters are better than Elders

Why hello everyone! This week definitely have a story or two for ya!

To follow up on last week since I didn't have time, my house in Vanderbilt got broken into. Sister Tyrrell is a very light sleeper and heard someone in the hallway and then heard the really loud bedroom door open and woke up in the middle of the night (2 am) because she thought one of us was coming for some reason. Well surprise it wasn't one of us but a guy with a flashlight staring at her from her bedroom door. She woke up her companion and they waited til he left the house and then came and woke me and Sister Neeley up. Turns out Sister Neeley saw him come into our room as well but just thought it was me getting up to go to the bathroom. Well we called the cops at 2:30 in the morning and they told us to go outside and wait, so I grabbed me a frying pan so that I'd be armed if he tried to attack us while we waited outside. The cops got there and couldn't figure out how he broke in but think he's just a drunk guy (lies!!) and told us not to worry about it and joked with me about how I was deadly armed with my frying pan (clearly they've never seen Tangled). Let's just say the next few days slept with the frying pan just in case and we put wood dowels in all of our windows and now lock our bedroom doors. Now I'm in Stuart though so no need to really worry! Here's a funny photo of us armed for if he broke in again.
(Sister Tyrrell, Schmidt, Neeley, me with my frying pan)

For p-day last week we went to the Naples pier and it was a beautiful day to enjoy some sun and ocean!

Also transfers happened and I'm in Stuart now and I'm PINK WASHING an area, which means that there used to be elders here but now there are sisters. Well let me tell ya it has definitely been interesting taking over an elders area and living in an elders house. We found out from a neighbor today that he's lived in the house next to us for 20 years and in those entire 20 years it's been elders so we're the freshest thing this area has ever seen. It has definitely been an adventure this week taking over the area, the house was disgusting and we had to clean it real good, the records here are terrible so don't know what has been done for the last several weeks and on top of that they have been taking notes on the ward on 3 different sets of directories. Seriously boys and girls minds are so very different. So let's just say it has been an adventure getting to know this area. Our ward is so excited to have us though and we've had countless comments about how Sisters are better than elders and they are so excited to have us. Let's also say that we've had countless meetings with the ward leaders here so we can understand the area. Stuart is a super small ward with lots of less active members that we are going to work on reactivating.

I'm at the top of the board and go home in 6 weeks can't believe it. I'm on death row!!

Cleaning the whiteboards in our house to get organized.

First Sunday in Stuart and guess who came to church, Mitt Romney!!

So a little bit about my new companion. Her name is Sister Fernandes (pronounced Feh-nan-jez) and she's at about a year on her mission. She's from Recife, Brazil and technically portuguese is her second language (english being the first) but she's learning english (since she forgot it all). She served in Boca Raton right after me and Miami YSA right after me as well so she's been chasing me around the mission this whole time and now we're companions. I'm super excited to serve with her.

Love ya all!

Sister Jennings

My new address:
3287 SE Brook St.
Stuart, FL 34997

I'd love letters these last 6 weeks!!​

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

Hello dearest family and friends!

Well this week has been terrific, started it off by going to the zoo last Tuesday!

What a gigantic lizard, totally kinda scary, hoped for no Harry Potter moment :)

Went to an animal show and I got chosen to participate as a competitor against an animal. They were showing us how animals camouflaged and I pulled out my awesome animal detecting skills my dad taught me and found all the animals on the screen lickity split (I think I even surprised the worker).

Such a fun day seeing lots of cool animals. We even watched a few minutes of the alligator feeding show and then got really bored because we'd been so much closer to alligators the week before but it was cool to see 16 alligators get in a line.

On to other news, found out I'm leaving Vanderbilt beach for my last transfer and I'm really sad to leave because I have grown to love this area so much and especially grown to love the people but there will be more adventures waiting for me in ..... Stuart!! Crazy I'm going back up north to Stuart (it's right next to Port St. Lucie) and I'm so excited for this adventure. My new companion is Sister Fernandez and she's from Brazil!! So my second Brazilian companion.

​(the Jackson family)

Well something super cool happened this week, I got to go to the temple!!! (with Sister Neeley's recent convert). Here in our mission we only get to go to the temple if we are showing the grounds to an investigator, our last day in the mission, or if our recent convert goes through the temple for themselves and Carlos Amaya got baptized a year ago and got to go to the temple!!

(Sister Neeley, Mckenna, me)

On Saturday  after the temple the member (Mckenna) who drove us to the temple drove us right to Stake Conference for the pot luck and meeting (since we had an investigator coming). Well pot luck happened at 5:30 and our investigator still wasn't there by 6:15 and we started to get worried that he wouldn't come and there was no way we were gonna get home before it was done (because we can only go to the Saturday session if we have someone coming). Well not only did our investigator come but our eternagator (someone who is investigating for a long time) did as well because she got invited to come by some members. Really cool experience seeing how much our ward loves those we teach and wants to bring them into the gospel.

Well it's been a good week and next week I'll send you my new address from up there in Stuart!

Love ya!
~Sister Jennings

P.S. in other interesting news our house got broken into at 2:00 am this week, but we are okay and nothing was stolen and I won't be living there anymore. Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

el Dia de Amistad

Hey Everyone!

Well this week has been crazy with so many miracles!

Miracle #1: We knocked into this Brazilian family like 2 weeks ago and after the prayer they accepted to come to church, prepare for baptism, and a return appointment for the next day. Problem was when we went back the next day they weren't there and we tried back a few times with no luck. The other day we got a referral from the Spanish Elders of a family with the same last name as this family we had met so we called the elders and found out it was the same family we had previously met. Turns out we prayed with them and the next day they had to move, but they remembered us and still wanted us to come back and teach them and they want to come to church and be baptized. Such a cool miracle about God's timing!!

Miracle #2: About 5 weeks ago (the start of this transfer) me and Sister Neeley tried stopping by this less active to see if we could help her to come back to church and she wasn't very interested. Well this week we got a text from the Creole Elders saying they had just met this less active member Sister Walsh and that she had started reading the Book of Mormon again and wanted to come to church this Sunday. Well she had something come up and wasn't able to make it to church so we went by and visited her yesterday and she wants to come to Stake Conference and she might even drive us to it. Then saw her this morning at Wal-mart!! She's definitely gonna come back to church, God is giving her so many signs.

Miracle #3: I spent more time with guys on Valentine's Day than probably any other Valentine's Day in my entire life!!!!! We started by having dinner with this single guy in our ward whose only available day to feed us just so happened to be Valentine's Day. Super funny he might have started flirting with my companion but I got her back and diffused all awkward funny!!! Then we had an awesome lesson with our investigator Thomas and we taught him about the Book of Mormon and he was so excited to read it, he also told us about this cute 8th grader love note he found in the class he was substituting in. Oh junior high boyfriend/girlfriend drama, definitely don't miss that. Then we ended the night visiting this returning member who doesn't really have anyone to celebrate Valentine's Day with and we didn't want him to be alone. We made him cookies, talked about the gospel, and got the best thank you text afterwards! Then we took some cute Valentine's Day pictures as a house!!

Miracle #4: I survived a 8-9 mile bike ride going to the Rookery and seeing alligators!!! Definitely felt like I was dying afterwards and sometimes during the middle but I made it out alive!

(This was the biggest gator we found)

(funny photo of Elder Durrant pretending to jump on the gator) (cute tag photo with me doing yoga in the back)

Miracle #5: Got to celebrate my half-birthday with the best members ever... the Tylers!!! So the Tylers are this cool family who feed the missionaries every single Sunday and last week we found out that Brother Tyler's birthday was February 16th and that he didn't want to celebrate his birthday at all. Well February 16th is my half birthday and Brother Tyler agreed to do cake and ice cream only if we came over to also celebrate my half birthday so of course we went over! Such a fun time hanging with the Tylers.

It's been a great week! Hope all of you have a great week to, until next time!


Sister Jennings