Monday, February 24, 2014

Fights, Funerals, and Family Work (Week 29)

Quote of the Week: "So basically Taylor Swift is in the illuminati. Oh, and Nicki Minaj goes around breaking the law of chastity with penguins. This is what the world has come to." -Second Counselor in the Bishopric

Haha, so this week was pretty much fou nèt! True story. It was probably the most stressful week of my mission, but it had the best ending EVER! It would make a good story. Well, at least the first part.

So, let me paint you a picture. Not a boring picture like the Mona Lisa, but the funniest picture in the world. It's starts in the middle of Sistrunk Boulevard (Ghetto central). We're just chilling, teaching a lesson about the Restoration when suddenly, our investigator looks out the window. His eyes get huge, and he jumps out of his seat and runs into the kitchen. He comes back out with his camera and yells, "Oh, they finna fight!!"

We follow his outside, and all of the old women in the street are pouring out in the street, a group on each side. There's one lady that has a hand taser and is pointing it at another lady from the other side. All of these women in the street are just yelling things at each other and threatening to kill them. Haha, I was laughing pretty hard, but I probably shouldn't have. Some of them had brooms and buckets and things that they started throwing at the other group. There was even this really old lady that ran into her house and came back out with a couple of bowling pins that she threw at the lady holding the taser. I had no idea what to do, so we just ran to the car and drove off. We went back to the same house for another lesson two days later and it was like nothing happened. Haha, Florida be cray!

On a less comical note, we were asked to speak at a funeral this last Saturday. It was the brother of a member of the YSA ward, but he was Haitian, and all his family was Haitian. I gave a talk on the Plan of Salvation. I was pretty nervous before it to be honest, just because the chapel was full of crying Haitians who only spoke Creole and I really wanted it to be a spiritual experience for them, especially since none of the were members. The talk went really well though. I talked about how there is life after death and God is merciful and has given us the chance to come closer to Him even after this life. Lots of amens were yelled out during the talk. It was weird being at a funeral though. I think it was the first one I've been to (at least that I remember) and it was weird just watching all of these people who thought they'd never see Akeem again. He was shot in a drug deal and was only 23 years old, so it was really hard for them. It made me really glad for the knowledge that we have though!

Alright, now to the best (and most stressful) weekend ever. So we have been working with these two girls named Khadijah and Rickia Anderson, who are 15 and 11. They said they'd be baptized on Sunday, but we stopped by their house Sunday morning to make sure they were coming to church, and their grandma answered and said they'd gone to their mum's church that day. Heart=broken. So we went to church and had a few investigators show up, so it was all good. Then, right after sacrament, I saw Khadijah walking out of the chapel and I was like, oh, gade fil sa! So we ran over to her and apparently her and her sister were both there for all of sacrament but we just hadn't seen them. They commited to be baptized that night so that their whole family could be there. We went over to their house again that night at 6 to make sure they'd be there at 7, and they weren't there. We called all the numbers we could but nobody answered. So we just went to the church and basically prayed for days that they'd make it there. Miraculously, after everyone had waited at the church until 8 and were about to go home, they showed up. Apparently their mum had be asleep and they didn't want to wake her, but she woke up and they had made it. And then THEY GOT BAPTIZED! And it was the most spiritual baptism I've ever witnessed. Every person there was crying. And Khadijah asked if she could bear her testimony after and talked about how she wants to serve a mission in a few years so she can help other people feel the same way she did then. It was so amazing. These two girls are so incredible, and they're setting a great example for their mum and her boyfriend! We're going to be working with the rest of their family these next few weeks, so we'll see how that goes. But these two girl's lives have been changed forever and I'm so happy that I was blessed with the chance to not only witness this miracle but play a part in it and feel of the sweet spirit that was there.

So that was my week. Pretty crazy, but worth it! I love this work so much, and I love all of you! You be da bestest! Also, here a picture of a minion, for Ruth's birthday! Happy birthday my little minion. Have an amazing week!
Our temple drawing on the window ^^
 Us being classy and giving the sisters some pudding with roast beef for valentine's day ^^

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

And he be like, yo! (Week 28)

Quotes of the week (They're all from the same recent convert)

"And Moses was like, 'yo!' Well...not yo, but, 'get on da boat!"
"California's a spiritual portal."
"I don't know if they were real dragons, but they were dragons! And they destroyed all of the planes except mine."
"The tree was walking and was killing da peoples. And there were bones on da floor! And I think the tree was President Bush!!"

Haha, yup. People here be cray. But hello family dearest. This week was a pretty normal week, normal being a relative term. Nothing super crazy happened, and I definitely didn't get hit by a truck so that's good. 

This week we've been working a lot with the son of a member in the ward. He be huge! He's like this 40 year old, 300 pound black man who's on house arrest for something crazy. The first time we went over there, right after we introduced ourselves he just flat out told us that he wants to be baptized. Since then we've taught him every lesson, and he's been eating it up. The spirit is always so strong in his lessons because we've been focusing a lot more on bearing testimony and promising blessings with him. When we taught the Law of Chastity he voiced his worries because it's hard for him to keep. But after we bore sincere testimony that it is a commandment of God to keep us safe and protect families, he looked at us for a second, then said, "On my own, there's no way I can keep that commandment...But with God I know that anything's possible. So with God's help I will keep it." I felt the spirit stronger in that situation than ever before. It was absolutely amazing, and such a testimony builder to me to see this huge guy who's on house arrest and had a drinking problem completely change his life around to follow God. And he's preparing for baptism this Sunday!!! The whole house arrest thing may be a problem, but we'll see what happens. I'm still excited for him:)

We also followed up on a referral that Bishop Brown gave us. It's this 15 year old girl named Khadijah who apparently has come to church 3 times already and Bishop Brown has taught her almost everything. We went and prayed with her and her family, and she wants to be baptized this Sunday with her sister, who has also come to church a few times. So that's sort of awesome! Their mum and her boyfriend be cray though, and their neighbors keep whispering to each other about getting rid of us because we park on their street and awkwardly wait in the car when Elder Brockbank has problems with his diabetes, and they think that we be creepin'.

We met this guy on the street named Chris this week. When we asked him what we could pray for, he told us his whole story of how he moved here with his dad from Georgia, but his dad died and now he's homeless and jobless. And his finger was all cut up and gross from trying to do odd jobs for people. Twas super sad. I wish there were more we could do for him...And my comps been pretty sad this week because his diabetes has been giving him a hard time, and when his blood sugar's not in a good range we have to wait in the car until it's good again, which sometimes takes an hour or two. It really stresses him out. I've been working so hard on loving and comforting others recently.

 I have been studying a lot recently about showing love to others. It says in True to the Faith that you show love to others by comforting them, mourning with them, serving them, sharing the gospel with them, and being their friend. I am honestly thrilled when I have opportunities to do these things, but I've been working on actually going and seeking out opportunities to serve and show my love for others instead of just taking opportunities as they come. Our loving Heavenly Father shows us so much love and even loved us enough to send His only Begotten Son to help make the pathway back to live with Him so much easier. I want to pay Him back as best I can.

But yeah, that's pretty much my week. I love you all! Hope you have a great week. You be da bestest eva!

Love, Elder Skidmore

p.s. Temple open house here starts in like 4 weeks!!! #guesswhogetstousher
p.p.s. Found a string of English stores here with English chocolates
Oh, and here's a picture of the top four zones in our mission! The guy to my left is my current comp, Elder Brockbank

Monday, February 10, 2014

No Subject (Week 27)

I decided to start off each email with a quote from the week, just so you guys can understand what the ghetto people here are like.

"What da ring be fo? You two married or somethin'?"
"No man, it's a CTR ring. It means I'm married to Jesus!"
"Wha-! Jesus ain't gay!"

True story, he's not. And apparently Shandra knows that now too. Haha, Fort Lauderdale is a lot different that I had expected. We've been working in more ghetto areas a lot recently and it's been...interesting. The sister missionaries in our area were looking for a recent convert a couple of days ago, but suddenly felt like they had to leave right then. When they started driving away, a bunch of cop cars went shooting past them at stopped right at the house they were about to knock. They found out later on that a body was found there...yup, strange things afoot in Fort Lauderdale. But that's okay, it keeps things more fun, right:)

Elder Brockbank, my companion, is the district leader, so we go on two exchanges every week. I was in a spanish area and an english area this last week and it was super weird. The spanish area was basically just me sitting there all day not saying anything but "no hablo espanol". The English area was basically just me fearing for my life as we biked through streets with gang fights happening and with couples yelling at each other. Let's just say I'm very thankful to be working with Haitians. They're not nearly as crazy. 

We've been working with somebody called Mei this week. He just showed up randomly at church last week, so we went over to his house and he said he'd prepare to be baptized!! And he came to church again yesterday with his 6 year old son. His wife works on Sundays but she's trying to get that off, and they have family prayers together every night now! And they're going to a family home evening with some Haitian members in the ward, which is going to be awesome!! He's working towards being baptized this Saturday so his wife will be there. So pray for Mei!!

Interesting story time! So we were harvesting on Friday and came across this lady named Regina. She let us pray with her, and when we finished she was sobbing and said a definite yes to baptism and to church. We tried to follow up with her on Saturday but she wasn't come. We called her and sent her a message Sunday morning to remind her about church, but she didn't answer and didn't come. That night, we were over in that area, so we went and knocked on her door, but still no answer. That night she gave us a call and said that we need to stop calling and texting because she wasn't interested. It was a little weird, but it has happened before so we didn't think too much of it. But this morning we woke up and had another voicemail from her. It was her husband. I'll just quote it because it's more fun. "Y'all need to stop creepin' on my wife. Don't call, don't text, don't nothin'. If I ever see you knockin' on our door again, imma hurt ya...bad!" Yup. I guess it's hard to blame them because it might have seemed a little creepy, but still. Lighten up folks, we're just trying to save your souls!

Other than that fun experience, though, we've just been finding lots of super cool people. I feel really good about this area. It's different because we don't really have a lot of people to teach, so we're constantly needing to find new people to teach the next day, which we weren't very good at in Coconut Creek because we always had a ton of people. I kind of like this though because it's a lot more focused on each person. There's a lot of funny people here in the Fort Lauderdale ward. There's a guy that was pronounced dead, but woke up in the morgue a couple of days later and joined the church. Testimony meetings are always fun because it's just a bunch of skreet people that go up and talk about the crazy experiences they had that week, and then they say a scripture that they've read and go sit down. haha, it's just a very different place from Utah, at least where I'm working. 

Alright, that's about it from me. I love you all and hope you don't get eaten by bed bugs (because they are real and are really annoying). Love you!!!
Elder Skidmore

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I was reading a talk this morning by President Uchtdorf from the May 2013 ensign (I think) but it talked about the light of Christ being available to all at every point in our lives if we just do three things: 1. Start searching for it 2. Pray and ask for His light, and 3. Act on the promptings received. Or something like that. I don't know, its' written down in my study journal. But I just thought I'd share it because I've found recently that if you sincerely pray for joy and the spirit each morning, it will be there. But even if it is there, it will leave if you don't follow the promptings that you receive or if you're not focused on what you're supposed to be doing. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Forward to the Fort (Week #26)

Hello strange family of mine;

So it was a very strange week, what with transfers and everything. Packing wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but it was a little sad saying goodbye to my recent converts. I printed off the pictures of their baptisms and wrote little notes on the back for them, so hopefully they'll remember me until I get home and can call them again! And I got transferred to............................................Fort Lauderdale. I'm actually super excited! If I'm here next transfer then I might be able to help out with the open house, which will be awesome.
Yes, 'tis true, I'm in the most ghetto of ghettos. Haha, okay, not really, but this area we teach both Creole and English, so we be teaching over in the ghettos as well and it's super crazy. People selling drugs left and right. We were praying with an old Haitian mami and she was selling weed in the middle of the prayer. It's almost a completely different world over here, but I guess it keeps things exciting. We're even teaching a deaf man in broken sign-language and writing notes, and we're teaching a weird Indian family who always smell like curry and don't know who Jesus is...
We have a few people we're working with over here, but names are still a bit confusing for me, especially Haitian ones (since that's still mainly what we teach). But if you could remember Ashley, Jennifer, and Kensli in your prayers, that would be awesome. They're three friends and they're all basically Tatyana's in that they don't have parental permission to be baptized, but they really want to. And they're also from the hood, or skreet, if you will. Did I tell you black people here have their own language. It's pretty fun. I'm finna whack you upside da beans. Skraight up! Haha, I know, it's ridiculous but it's so funny.
We went swap shopping this morning. It was basically like being in India all over again. There just a bunch of booths set up with people trying to sell whatever random stuff they have. It was fun though, even if it did smell like 5-month old dead chicken brain.
Also, Florida drivers be cray cray. We were riding our bikes along the side walk on Thursday when suddenly I was hit with the force of a killer whale. After just laying on the ground for a couple of seconds, I looked over and realized I'd just been hit by a truck. Yup, a truck ladies and gentleman. And the guy just wound down his window, said sorry, then drove off. Hm, should be an interesting transfer.
I do find myself missing Coconut Creek a lot though. And my crazy little Haitian man. It's okay though because my new companion's also yon chèf! His name's Elder Brockbank. I think he's from riverton or something like that. I guess I could ask since he's sitting right next to me, but that would be too much effort. Yes, it was just confirmed. He is from Woodland Hills, but used to live in Riverton.
Well folks, that's about it. Just a crazy week of changes. If you have any questions, let me know and I'll gladly do my best to answer. Wuv you all! Keep being awesome people and shtuff! And have a great Valentine's Day (I don't know when it is, but I'm pretty sure it's sometime this week or next week). Love you!!!