Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010--I love this work!!!!!!!!!!!

Heeeeeelllllloooooo Family!!!!

How is everyone doing??? I'm doing FABULOUS!!! This week has been fun! We rode the bus all the way down to Homestead this week. Yeah, I know how to read bus routes now too. I'll be taking the bus everywhere and I'll just strap my bike to the front when I get home :):) I'm excited. LOL I want to you know though, as a result I got a wedding proposal out of it. LOL We were catching our last bus for the night and waiting at the stop and a man came riding up to us on his bike out of no where. He asked if I was British. I said no, and he was like, "You're beautiful!" I was like, "Thanks....." I kinda ignored him and went back to whatever I was doing on the phone. He turns to Hermana Lealaogata and says, "Do you think she will marry me?" She responded perfectly. "She might marry someone like you..." Haha She asked what church he went to and he was like, "I go to the one she goes to!" Luckily by then the bus had gotten there. It was one of those "only as a missionary" moments. LOL So then we got on the bus and were the only ones on it for the second half of the ride. We got off and told the bus driver "Thanks for being our personal chauffeur!" He starts talking to us and then hard core hitting on my companion! It was hilarious! It happens to me often, but I've never seen it happen to her. It was priceless. He wants to take us out to have a steak dinner with him. Mostly her, I would just have to tag a long. It was so funny. The funniest part about it though was that she thought he was cute!!!!! I think I laughed for the rest of the night. It was so perfect.

Wednesday, we got to help this guy paint his house. It was fun. He thought we were professionals. We were like, "No, just have helped out parents decorate and re-decorate." He gave us an entire aloe plant! Cool huh! Since it was of course mid day and being me--I got eaten alive by mosquitoes. I, of course, forgot my bug spray so he gave me some.....the whole bottle.... It's what they used when he worked at the nuclear plant. It was amazing. I didn't get bit the rest of the day! And I only had to apply the smallest amount. Fabulous!!!

Saturday we got to go to Bradley's home. The nonmember BYU student. [For more details, see the President's email below.] His dad started an investment company, but recently sold it. He lives in like a mini White House. It was stunning! It was so delicate and fancy on the inside that we weren't sure we could touch anything. Lol gotta love going into those kinds of places as a missionary. Feeling frumpy on a good day, and then in a home like that.... I felt like garbage. I don't care though. It was a fabulous lesson.

Yesterday Apuleyo got the Holy Ghost. He's so amazing! It's so fun to teach him. Even though I really cant, cause he can only speak Spanish and I can only speak English, the Spirit is still strong.
Have I told you guys I love this work? I don't know if I'll be coming home in February. I think I'll be staying here a little longer.....LOL I don't want to come home! No offense! :):)
I hope you each have a wonderful week! I love you all so much! Personally and specifically!
Love, Sister Denson

Sammi and Sister Briggs. 
Her family is from Syracuse and they know a lot of the same people! It's so fun for them to live together as they serve the Lord. 
(Look how tan Sammi is!!)


President Hale-
This week has been awesome! I'm really enjoying the teaching this age group. They're fabulous. It's so aweome to actually teach someone and see them progress. It's been nice to learn from them and be challenged by their questions. We are teaching a young man right now that is from here in Miami. He got his Bachelors Degree from U of M. He was looking for a place to go for his MBA and CFA. He chose BYU!!! He loved their honor code there and loved everything about it. He knew it was a "Mormon School," but went through with it anyway. He learned a lot about the Church, obviously, and had some RM friends. They invited him to church and all the activites. He took the lessons from some Sister Missionaries up on campus, but then came home because of summer break. He walked into church a couple of weeks ago. He said his friends said the Church is all over the world, so he wanted to see what it was like in Miami. Cool huh! It's been so fun teaching him. He grew up Catholic, so we were able to take a member to his home/mansion that served his mission in Italy and is Italian-American. It was perfect. He was able to help him fully understand the Apostacy from a Catholic's point of view. It was wonderful.

I've seen so many blessings from this Singles Ward. Our Branch President is back in town and we are able to meet with our Branch Mission Leader this week. We're so excited to get the ball officially rolling!
Thank you so much for everything! I'm excited to see you Wednesday for PPI's! Have a good day!
Lots of Love, Sister Denson :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010--I'm a Nurse and a Beautician!

Hey guys! Sounds like you've had a fun week! Enjoy the sun! It's fabulous! I'm glad you liked all my packages. I'm just accumulating too much stuff! I need to send more stuff home.

I've had an eventful week! Tuesday morning we were told we were going on exchanges Wednesday through Friday with the Nova YSA sisters again. I would be going up to Plantation with Sister May and Sister Ramey would be coming down to Miami with Sister Lealaogata. It was such an amazing experience! I learned so much from Sister May. She's incredible. She was baptized about a year ago. Her family is strictly Catholic. She got kicked out of her home and disowned by her family. It's sad, but she is SO strong. She's got the most amazing testimony. One thing I absolutely love about her is that she is able to relate any situation to the Atonement. Its a gift.

So one of the many stories from the most eventful exchange ever: We used public transportation just about the entire time I was down there. Yeah, that was a new experience in itself for me! So we were done with one appointment for the night and were walking to the bus stop headed home. All of a sudden I look back over my left shoulder and I see the bus coming. We weren't at the stop yet so, of course, we start running. Sister May is a little bit of a clutz and fell. Flat on her face! I'm so rude, but I stopped, asked if she was okay while laughing at her and she responds, "KEEP RUNNING!!!! GO CATCH THE BUS!!!!" Hahahaha it was priceless. We were right in front of a KFC, so I'm sure it was entertaining for many, being dinner time and all.... So we get home for the night and check out her knees. Yeah, they looked HORRIBLE!!! This completely unnatural behavior in me kicked in and I became very nurturing. It was weird. I cleaned her all up (while she was on the verge of tears) and bandaged them up all pretty. Well, not really pretty considering the size of them. The first picture is of her left knee, and the second is of her right. [She ended up only sending one picture of Sister May's knees. OUCH!!] 

The third is me and her Friday morning before we left to get our companions. She's beautiful.

So, I get back with Hermana L at about noon of Friday. She's telling me that she's going to have Sister Vance cut her hair to her shoulders that night. I was excited! She's been talking about it for months, but just hasn't done it. This time her mind was made up. She was bound and determined for it. So we get her come cheap scissors from Walgreens and she's all set up ready to go and Sister Vance chickens out! She cant bring herself to cut it all off. So I volunteered. Yeah, me! I've never cut hair in my life! Only my bangs and I always get scared to do that!!!! So I get her hair all parted up and ready to cut. I was like, "Okay, this short?" She's like, "Yeah!" So I cut it and it bounces up! Her hair is curly! I expected it to bounce, but definitely not that high! It is so much shorter than expected, but she loves it. I just kept saying through the whole thing, "You're family is going to hate me!" Lol She was so excited. Yeah, I would  never be if I were in her situation. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself.... I'll never do it again though. Lol here are some pictures of it though. Mom, will you send them to Mona? Thanks!

Saturday was the most amazing day of my life. I learned so much! I can't really put it into words. It was so fun. Really got everyone thinking, and it was so spiritual. My favorite activity was the lean on me. I learned so much about a companionship and the way it has to work properly. The Mosaic Christ is stunning. We put all those pictures together. They told us we were putting them together for a scrapbook for President and Sister Hale. Joke was on us! They brought in the "scrapbooks" and then all of the lights go off. The curtains open and the MoTab is playing. The whole picture was covered with a red sheet. They dropped it and the lights came on. They just let us sit there and feel the spirit. It was so amazing. I LOVE THIS MISSION!!!!!

The Mission Zone Conference theme was:
"Do they see His countenance in you?" 

This picture is made up over 800 pictures of missionaries!

I'm sorry there aren't a lot of pictures. President wasn't the one taking them. If he was, there would be a whole lot more..... I wasn't able to take my camera around because everything was really hands on.

President and Sister Lake, Sister Denson 
She LOVES these wonderful people!!

Sister Denson with Sister and President Hale!
What WONDERFUL people!!
I love you guys!!!!
Have a wonderful week!!!
Love, Sister Denson

P.S. The picture that I'm awkwardly squatting is some of the missionary moms' missionaries. We didn't get all of them, but we didn't know who all of them were. I don't know what happened to Elder Langford though!!

Elder Wilcox, Sister Crane, Sister Denson, Sister Call, Elder Lauck, Elder Wardle, Elder Gubernick

The last is of Apuleyo. He got baptized yesterday!

Sister Vance, Sister Briggs, Apuleyo, [?], Hermana Lealaogata, Sister Denson

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010--No official email...

Sammi didn't send an "official email" today...we "chatted" via email quite a bit. (She promised a handwritten letter, though, so I'll post what I can from that when we get it.) She sent me her email to President Hale and it said she LOVES the Snapper Creek YSA Ward and is so excited to see the work progress there. She's a bit frustrated with the Sacrament Meeting because everyone texts throughout it and the talks on dating and finding the "special someone." Since that isn't her area of focus right now, it's kinda difficult to listen to meeting after meeting. She said there's a lot of member support so they're hoping to see many who are ready to accept the gospel. Yesterday, Maddi and I attended Elder Hirshi's homecoming where we visited with Elder and Sister Holdstock again. When I told them Sammi had been assigned to the YSA Ward, Sister Holdstock said President Hale must have a lot of confidence in her and Sister Lealaogata to put them in that position. She also said when the Sisters are assigned to those wards, the numbers skyrocket! This will be fun to watch!

She also sent me (and President Hale) this picture of all the sisters with their "Florida Flamingo" pillowcases! I've been looking for flamingo material for a long time and finally found this one that I loved. I decided all of the sisters needed one. I LOVE the picture!!

Sister Vance, Sister Denson, Sister Lealaogata, Sister Briggs

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7, 2010--YSA Exchange

Hey guys!!! Sounds like you all have had so much fun this week and last weekend!!! Isn't summer great??? Yeah, the weather is like that year round here:):) It has been POURING this entire week. The rain gage that you sent this week mom, was perfect timing. Too bad I kept forgetting to put it out there until this morning! Oh well, I'm pretty sure it will rain again;)

Dad, to answer your question about using the car full time now. The answer is no. We will actually be using it a WHOLE LOT LESS!! I don't know if they counted your miles when you were on your mission, but they only give us a certain amount of miles each month. When I first got to Miami we had 1250. Awesome! Then we were cut down to 1000 (because both me and Hermana L had bikes), now our area is ridiculously huge and we still only have 1000 miles. At first we thought it was ridiculous, but then we were told why and now were really excited. We are to be using the members as much as possible, riding our bikes and even using public transportation. We checked into buying monthy bus passes (Yes, I've humbled myself into using public transportation) but they are $100 for a month! Thats way to expensive, so we really need our members to help us. I love the bike so much! We are going to be on it a ton! The only thing that I really don't like about the bike is right after it rains there are A TON of swarms of nats. It's so dang gross and annoying!!!! They get stuck in our hair lines, in our eyes and of course occasionally our mouths. It's special.

When I was up in Plantation with Sister Ramey this week we went biking to an appointment on Thursday. It was ESPECIALLY humid and hot and gross Thursday. So we go biking it was SO humid! We get to the appointment and what? They have no air conditioner. LOL we were sweating so bad. We get in the house and were constantly wiping sweat off our arms, faces, upper lips everything. We were sweating so much that our skirts were becoming wet because of the sweat!!! I wish you guys could see it because you probably cant imagine ME in that kind of situation. It was so great. One of those cherished mission minutes.
Then, on Friday it was raining in ridiculous amounts. Like a down pour almost like the one we went through in Independence. We had Sister Call's bike on the back of the car, cause we were going to deliver it to her (She's in Hollywood by the way mom). Her seat has a rip on it from when she got in the accident, and we didn't want to get her seat wet, so we were going to put a bag over it. We get to a stop light and I was like "Pop the trunk, I'm going!" So Sister Ramey pops the trunk, I grab the bag and put it over the seat. As soon as I put the trunk down I get the sheet of water slap my whole right side. LOL it was hilarious. I was SOAKED!!!! My hair looked like I jumped in the shower. It was fun.

I love being a missionary so much! I'm so excited for Nique!!!!! Tell her I really want her to write me. I want to tell her everything!!! She's actually crossed my mind numerous times about serving a mission. She would be fabulous because she has that true conversion story. She'll be able to connect with so many people on that level. I hope she gets called here! :):) It is after all, the "greatest mission in all the land!!!!"
Being in YSA is completely different from the family wards, but I know I am supposed to be here for a reason. I'll probably learn more from then than they'll ever learn from me. They are pretty supportive of making sacrifices, but they'll be so excited to make them one the branch starts growing and they see the blessings come. Being on exchanges with the Nova Sisters really helped. We learned a lot and it got me PUMPED!!!!

I'm adding some picutes of our exchange. This is how crazy we got.

Thank you so much for everything!!!!!
LOVE, Sister Denson

Sister Denson and Sister Ramey
Hermana Lealaogata and Sister May
Snapper Creek YSA and Nova YSA Sister Missionaries!
Sister May, Sister Denson, Sister Lealaogata, Sister Ramey
A little crazy!! They had a GREAT time!!
Definitely silly sisters!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1, 2010--Singles Ward!

Sounds like you all had a fun weekend! Yeah, I did missionary work. Surprise! Haha no, but we went out on bike and got to talk to some awesome people.

Well, a major event happened in the life of a missionary companionship. Haha well, not that major.... Tuesday night we got a phone call from the Assistants to the President. They had had transfer meeting that day and prayed about were everyone was to go. They received some some very powerful confirmation that me and Hermana L were to be pulled out the Miami 4th Ward. A ward that I love just as much as the Layton 37th ward. There are so many amazing people there and so many that I love and have learned from. I was so sad to hear the news. Even more shocking was that we are now going to be serving full-time in the YSA Branch. Yeah. You all know how much I love YSA branches/wards. Haha It was really hard to accept, but Heavenly Father has helped me SO much! It's definitely going to take time to get used to church with like 30 people, but that is what we are here for. To grow the branch. They are a really new branch. It was only formed in November of 2009. They don't have a foundation to build upon yet, but are still trying to build. Doesn't work. So we get to go "out of town" this week. Haha Yeah! We are going up to Plantation to spend Thursday and Friday with the Nova YSA Branch sisters. They have been serving there full-time now for a while and it is just booming. We are to learn from them and then come back and apply it down here. Of course not everything will work the same, but it definitely will help us. We're really excited. So are huge area of Miami just got HUGER!!!! I'll attach some pictues of our new map/area. Are top boarder is the same, but now we go down all the way to the bottom of Florida. Crazy! Pray for us! Its going to be a long journey, but definitely an adventure. I've got to learn to love YSA wards. Lol

As of today, June 1, hurricane season has started. Mom, I was wondering if you could get me a couple last things. The grocery stores down here are expensive and they're not that great anyway. Could you get me some granola/power bars, jerky, non-perishable food item, etc. I was thinking maybe you could go to Sam's Club to get me some. I don't care what, just anything. I need to add them to my 72 hour kit. Thanks!

I asked Elder Hirschi for his chapel's address in Ogden, but he didn't know it. I gave him my email so he can send it to me next week. Hopefully he'll remember. I'll give him mom's info just in case.

Everything that you know about Sister Call is the same as me. We don't find out anything sooner.
That picture of Sister Pirotta and Joe is absolutely adorable. I sent her a card last week, so you can send her one if you want or not. Tell them that picture is so dang cute though!

Oh! Tuesday we also got to meet this amazing guy! We obviously talked a lot about the church and just chatted about life. When we were about to leave he asked us to hold on for a second. He went in his apartment and came out with a Bible printed int 1870 something. It was amazing! The more amazing part is that he let us take it home and look at it for a few days! We asked why he gave it to us because it is such an heirloom and his family is fighting for it and his sons would kill him if they knew we had it and all he said was, "I was told to." Interesting. It's so awesome though. We get to go give it back tomorrow night and have BBQ beef and chicken, fried ocra and sweet potatoes with him. I'm excited. I haven't had a true southern meal in a long time!! He's really cool though. Hopefully the elders will be able to teach him!

The last picture is of us and Amanda Hibbard. My favorite ward member in the 4th Ward.

I love you guys so much!!
Love Sister Denson

ps you don't need to do anything about the mosquitoes. I'll be fine. They aren't THAT bad....