Thursday, June 29, 2017

Week 73

June 26, 2017

"The gift of the Holy Ghost operates equally with men, women, and even little children. It is within this wondrous gift and power that the spiritual remedy to any problem can be found." -Boyd K Packer

Hey Y'all! 
This week was wonderful! We have had a crazy one that's for sure. 

So remember our adorable Spanish twins? We had a miracle this week! Their mom has been relatively unsupportive in their coming to church and meeting with us, and last week, she called and said, "Are you still going to that church?" They said, "Yes." And she told them, "Well, do whatever makes you happy." 
So they accepted a baptismal date of July 22nd!!!! They are so excited because their birthday is that week! What a great present :) 
We also taught them the word of wisdom and they immediately accepted it and want to live it! Ah they are so amazing! 
We finally got a picture!

 They are literally adorable. 
They also came to church for the 4th time this week! They love the gospel and are beginning to understand it. 

Also this week we were able to meet with a less active who we are beginning to visit with pretty regularly. She has been doing AA and really loves it, and a few weeks ago she started step 3 which is trusting in God. She told us she had been pondering on this and heard a knock on the door- and there we were! Ever since then she has been coming to church and making progress. We love her, she is so much fun and she has been through a lot in her life. She gave us some hats that she made! So we had to take pictures haha 

 She is so great! 

Also I got to spend the day with another sister missionary while our companions went off to celebrate their halfway marks- pretty exciting- and we found some great people to teach! We had fun together and took a selfie. 

Sister Pennock!

Also since this week was transfers, our awesome district leader is going home and we got some great District pictures. The AP's showed up for district meeting and we all went to the best pizza place in the world- Satchels! 

Here's our district plus the Zone Leaders and Assistants to the President

Our 12 person table at Satchels! (I'm smiling in the other picture but not everyone was in it)

Then we had a great transfer dinner with our lovely senior couple, The Bookers! We love them so much. 

I'm just front and center all the dadgum time. I don't know why. 

So transfers is this week, and I am staying here in the Gainesville YSA! My companion Sister Ridenour is getting transferred to Mandarin and I am getting a new companion for my last 6 weeks! I can't believe it's my final transfer, but I'm glad to stay here where I love everyone and know the people :) 

Wish me luck, I know this next transfer is going to be a good one and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it! 
Love y'all! 

Sister Caton

Week 72

June 19, 2017

"Our Father knew exactly what He was doing when He created us. He made us enough alike to love each other, but enough different that we would need to unite our strengths and stewardships to create a whole." -Sheri Dew 

Wow this week was a great one! 
Sister Ridenour and I have been finding and teaching and it has been loco but awesome! 

So our cute little twins have been really progressing, and they came to church again! They are so awesome and they love the gospel. They have been praying about getting baptized and they love learning more! This week we invited them to ask their mom to meet with missionaries where she lives so that they might get her blessing to be baptized. They haven't asked yet but we will see! :) 

Also, our other investigator who we met last week is doing fantastic! She read some of the Book of Mormon and took notes! I have never seen that before but she did it! She wrote down all the questions she had and we were able to explain it and help her see. She is gaining an understanding and she is praying on a date to be baptized! She also wants the blessing of her parents in this and she is getting up the courage to ask them. She loves the gospel and she said something that just struck my heart. We asked her how she felt about all of this and she pondered for a moment and said, "Well, I believe that Moses parted the Red Sea and people walked through, and I believe in Jesus, so why wouldn't I believe in this? I believe it." The spirit just hit me. Wow. 

So we have also been teaching this Atheist man and it has been the most interesting experience for me. He is so logical and he approaches the gospel from the strangest place. He was raised in a very religious household and he realized that so much of what he was taught conflicted with itself. He was especially concerned with the teachings of hell, because why would a loving God send his children somewhere they could burn for all eternity in misery? He stopped believing in God and turned to what else he knew. When we went back for our return appointment this past week, it was awesome. We taught about the Restoration of the gospel and he was definitely intrigued, but at the end of the lesson, he says, "Well, if I ever need help reading this I will get in contact with you but I don't need you to come back and see me again." And I said, "Well, we actually teach a set of lessons to people, and the next one is something I really think you'll want to know, it is about Gods plan for us and where we came from, why we're here and where we're going after this life." 
He looks stunned and says, "Okay, so you've piqued my interest. What do you believe about that?"
And I said, "We can come back on Saturday and teach it to you." 
Haha he agreed. Then Saturday rolled around and we taught him the Plan of Salvation. A special spirit was definitely there and his heart had clearly softened since our last meeting. He tried to act very casual about it all but he had read the first part of the Book of Mormon and the whole pamphlet we left with him! 
As we taught him, the truths definitely touched his heart and he said softly, "I like this." 
He is starting to understand! 
We have another appointment for Wednesday :) 

Also this week I had a very neat opportunity. For Father's Day, some of the people in the YSA go to this place called Tacachale and we hold a service there for the people. Tacachale is a mental hospital. 
I was so scared to go there! I heard a few scary stories from the members and how weird it is and all that jazz. 
On the way there, we got lost and ended up driving through the tent city of Gainesville which is basically a place where homeless people live and it's super sketchy so that was cool! 
Then we finally got there and we go in, and it's this giant auditorium that was super echoey and creepy and all the mental patients were booing and making sounds. It was a little weird for sure. 
But then we sang some songs and talked and the people were getting up and hugging each other and smiling, and halfway through the first song, a tiny adorable old lady was led in and wanted to come straight to the front. She was making the biggest and cutest smile I have ever seen! 
She sat there and just smiled through the whole service. I felt a special feeling like I knew her and she was important to me before this life and I just had to talk to her. 
After the service we kind of mingled with the people for a few minutes, and she ran right out the door! 
I followed her and saw her standing by one of the vans outside. 
She saw me and waved and smiled so big. Then she crooked her finger at me and said, 
"Come here!" 
I came over and she said, "I like your glasses." 
I said thank you and then she hugged me around the waist! She was that short! 
I said, "It's so good to see you." And she smiled and then said, 
"It's so hot out here!" 
Hahaha but it was a special experience. I truly felt like she was someone that I knew and I had to say something to her because I never will see her again in this life. :) 

So good week! Miracles! 
Also, today is my companion, Sister Ridenours Birthday! So we have lots of fun planned! 
Love y'all! 

Sister Caton
A man hugging us at Tacachale.... doesn't count! 

Selfie after rain! Rained so much this week.

Sis Ridenours talk at Tacachale

Weekly planning selfie on Sis Ridenours iPad haha 

Week 71

June 12, 2017

"There are those who have great wealth, yet they would give their all to add just a few additional years, months, or even days to their mortal lives. What should we be willing to give for eternal life?" -Joseph B Wirthlin 

Hey y'all! 
This week was great! 
It has been raining cats and dogs and raccoons out here! 

Haha it was raining so much this week and we got soaked like 4 times but it was so worth it to find the investigators we found this week! 

We met this girl this week who has been so amazing! 
She is partially deaf but still hears pretty good and reads lips. Her life has been so hard and she has overcome so much but she has always felt not close enough to God. We invited her to come to the church and have a lesson with us because when we first met her she asked so many questions! 

She came to the church and we were able to have a great member come. She is so amazing! 
We invited her to be baptized on July 1st and she said, "Well, I don't know." 
And then when we saw her again, she asked us about being baptized and she's been thinking about it! She is so amazing and we've been so stoked to meet with her again. 
Pray for her please! 

So last Monday we went to Paynes Prairie and saw a bunch of gators. I got some more pictures from other people there:

There's an alligator like 3 feet away from me in this picture haha you just can't see it because it's in the water. Don't worry, we're safe! 

 All the gators! 

Also we were able to go help paint a house for a service project and we had a good time 

We had a good time out there. 
This week was really fun even though it rained so much. We met this awesome guy whose dog was named Zion. #futureconvert
I am doing well and preparing for my final transfer! 
Shout out to my amazing Dad for Fathers Day this weekend! Love you dad! 
Sister Caton

Week 70

June 5, 2017

"Read what the holiest inhabitant ever to live on this planet said about the necessity of certain ordinances, or you will see that he allowed for no exceptions, including himself." Neal A Maxwell

Hey everyone! 
This week was so full of miracles and I am so happy! 

So some follow up on the miracles from last week, our Puerto Rican twins are the best! We have gone back again and we brought a member that could speak Spanish to them! It was so wonderful to have the concepts click in their heads. We invited them to be baptized next month but they said no since their family is Catholic. It was a miracle though because they came to church!!! They loved it and so many people fellowshipped them because half the people in the branch served Spanish speaking missions haha it was great! They are the cutest, we will get a picture this week :) 

Also, we got to go back and teach the Muslim man again! He is so sweet, he gave us his old Quran that is English and Arabic so we can read it (we aren't really allowed to read it so...) but he is so nice. We taught him about the Restoration and he said a closing prayer in Arabic! He isn't sure about all this yet, which makes sense, it would be hard for him to join the church, but we will see where this goes! 

Our gospel knowledge friend had a giant exam this week and he's pre med so we couldn't meet with him but we have an appointment for this week! 

Also this week we were able to find a lot of people! There were a lot of people that we found who we were able to teach multiple roommates which was awesome. YSA!!! 

Also I had my second to last interview with the mission President this week. Wow I can't believe it's almost over already... 
he gave me some great advice and it was really helpful for going home. He is the funniest person though! haha I told him that I was worried about a few things and I said, "I just feel like I'm rebelling in my heart." He laughed and said, "Oh Sister Caton, that's just your personality!" Haha oh my. Then he said, "You're not rebellious, you're just spontaneous! I love that about you. Add a big dose of the spirit and you're quite a catch!" PRESIDENT I AM STILL A MISSIONARY! 
Haha but it was great. I sure love him. 

But life is good, I am still working hard and I'm not too trunky just yet! But I am now a little more excited to go home. 8 more weeks! Woah! 

I love y'all! Have a great week! 

Swinging on a swing at an apartment complex.

An amazing member we love! He bought us pizza. He is from Gambia! 

Gainesville Zone!

Today we went on a hike to Paynes Prairie with the Elders from Gainesville and Ocala! Good times, we saw SO MANY ALLIGATORS! 


Sister Caton

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Week 69

May 29, 2017

"When you teach a boy, you teach an individual, but when you teach a girl, you teach a whole generation.” -Unknown

Wow this week was amazing! We were able to find and teach so many new people! 

On Tuesday we were able to meet these twins who were from Puerto Rico and they were so open and nice to us. They let us right into their house! We taught them about the Book of Mormon and the authority and they were really interested and so we were able to come back Saturday and teach them again! They both had thought about it and one of them read the Pamphlet we left with them! They were so nice and we are really excited to come back and teach them again this week.

Another miracle was when we met this man when we were knocking and he was super willing to listen to us, even though he goes to one of the big churches around here. We taught the Restoration on his doorstep and he was blown away by all he didn't know and we were able to come back and teach him again, and he has SO MUCH gospel knowledge but wasn't trying to bash on us, he asked some amazing questions. He had even read some of the Book of Mormon before we came back! I am really excited to go back and see him, we are hoping to bring a super solid member with us to help him understand eveything. :) 

Then last night, we were knocking and we met this man who was Muslim and he was just so nice to us and polite. We prayed with him and taught him and he didn't really seem that interested so we kind of gave up. So we said a closing prayer with him and then I asked, "Hey, do you think I could see your prayer rug? I have never seen one." And he explained a few things to us about Islam that were so interesting and he was so happy to talk about it. Then he started talking about the Bible and how he isn't sure if it is the word of God or not. He said, "Most religions only have one book, but they are all different, why is that?" And we said, "Well, we don't just have one, we have the Book of Mormon also." And he said, "How can I know if it is truly from God or not?" We testified to him that the way he could know was by asking God. We read Moroni 10:4-5 to him and the spirit was so strong! He definitely felt it and he was amazed by that. We were able to set a return appointment and we're going to bring him a Book of Mormon in Arabic! It was such a great experience. 

This has been the busiest time on my mission. It is so different from everywhere else I have served and it is so great to teach people who are my age. I feel so blessed to not be lost, because it feels like everyone else is. Nobody seems to know what they believe or if God is real or there. Nobody here feels like God has answered their prayers or that they have ever really understood the scriptures even if they grew up in a church. It is amazing to testify to them that they can have a relationship with God and that they can learn how to be happy and gain direction in their lives! The most common thing that people ask us to pray for is peace or direction and it makes me so glad that I have those things! Life is so hard without the Gospel. 

This week we had Zone Conference and I got to see all my mission friends which was really fun. The group going home this transfer had to go up and bear their departing testimonies, and it was the strangest experience since next time it will be me. I can't believe it has gone by so fast! 

Well, 10 more weeks left yo. :) see you in 70 days! 
Sister Caton

                                                           At Santa Fe College

                              Florida: where behind the apartment complexes are jungles. 

                                 Happy Birthday selfie for the mission presidents wife!