Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 15, 2010--One Uneventful Week

President's Email:

Sorry to hear your news about being in the hospital! That doesn't sound like any fun at all! It's no fun to be hung up on the work because of pain. I've been the same way this week. For some reason I've these rock solid knots in my back that are causing excruciating pain. I have shortness of breath, and I can't hold my bag, ride my bike, sit for long periods of time, etc. The only good position is laying on my back with my feet propped up on a chair laying on ice. I've talked to Sister Welch about it, Dr. Hoffman, ward members, etc. Thursday was really bad. We stayed in until our 3:00 appointment. We're teaching this amazing woman, Elaine, and she is just loving everything that we are teaching her. She knows she is going to get baptized, but she just doesn't know when. She's praying about a date. She has a very interesting career. She helps 2 kinds of people:
1. People who don't know what they want
2. People who know what they want, but don't know how to get there.
She told me she has a few tricks up her sleeve and  that she could help me. If my back still hurt Friday then we are more than welcome to come over and she'll talk with us. Needless to say my back was killing me on Friday. We went to one other appointment after Elaine on Thursday and had to cancel our third appointment and take our exchanges home because I just couldn't sit or drive any more. I talked to Sister Welch and she told us to just stay home all day Friday to let me relax.

Friday I laid on ice the majority of the day, but at 5:00 our investigator invited us over. She sat me down on the couch and told me that she was going to help me. Awesome! Finally! She asked me where it hurt on my back (Middle of the back on the right side.) She told me that different pains in your body tell you different things. Because mine was in the middle of my back she said I was worried about family. Strange...as far as I knew my family was doing great. And because it is on the right side that is the masculine side of the body. She said I was trying to be tough for my family. Strange again....but as she further explained things and asked me lots of questions she came to the conclusion that I have anxiety about going home. Weird...I still have 6 months left! My family knows about the changes that I've made, but hasn't actually had the opportunity to see them for themselves. I'm really worried about going back to the shy person I was, but I didn't know I was that worried about it. She taught me practically from scripture in the Book of Mormon that if I change my thoughts, words and actions (deeds), that my destiny would be a good outcome. We went though and did a few exercises that showed me examples of how to do these steps. It was really interesting and as I've applied them since Friday I've been able to relax a little bit. I still have a ton of knots, but the pain is less than it was. She also took the time to teach me about the Atonement. It was an amazing spiritual experience for myself and with an investigator. Since the Atonement is new to me and how to apply it to my life I hadn't thought of applying it like this before. She described it as "giving my pains and fears to Jesus." As I prayed that night and have continued to pray I see the Atonement taking place. The majority of my fears about going home are leaving me. I'll still be nervous, of course, but now I know how to deal with it. It was really cool.

Needless to say my companion has been fabulous about the whole thing. For about two weeks now she has been messaging my back now regularly and now she carries my bag for me everywhere we go. She's fantastic and I truly love her.

I love having all these opportunities to learn about the Atonement. LOL and it always seems to be when I read the "Continuous Atonement."

I love you so much and am so grateful for having the opportunity to be here at this time!
Love, Sister Denson

This picture broke Mom's heart!

Family Email:

Sounds like you have had a crazy/sad/fun week. It sounds like its been emotional. Mom, thanks for sending me Amanda's email on Saturday. We got it at the end of the night. I was tired and in pain and just started to cry. As soon as I saw it was email originally sent to the ward I knew what was happening. Even as I sit here at the computer at the Church with the elders I'm tearing up. I don't care though. I love them so much and that family has such a special place in my heart. I wish I was there to see them off, but at the same time I know that would be so hard too. They are such an example to so many with their obedience to the commandment Heavenly Father has given them even though it is such a hard one. They will be so blessed.

As you can tell we've had a slow week. I don't like back pain. Now I know how a lot of you feel when you have back pain. It may be a different kind of pain, but it effects EVERYTHING you do!!!  Lame.

Yesterday was fun to see Sister Gwynn and her kids. I'm excited to see them next week at Stake Conference too:):) It was also fun because my favorite YSA from the Boca ward was also there too! It made me so happy!!

The pictures of us making appointments are with members. The dark hair one on from Brazil. They just moved here in December. She is leaving for Utah in 3 weeks to go to LDSBC with her twin sister. The blonde is from Italy. She and her sister are just visiting here. I'm not exactly sure why. We were making plans for them to come out with us this week.

Having the burritos with the elders was SO fun and they loved them so much. I didn't stop hearing about them and still haven't. They told a member about them and now the member is like "Make them for me!!!" LOL Silly Elders. We just put the camera on the piano and put it on timer.

I love you guys!!!! Have a good week!!!!
Love, Sam
Elder Clark, Sister Cluff, Sister Denson (she wrote on the back of our picture that she looked "trashy" that day because she didn't wear any make-up and was in the kitchen all day! :D ), Elder Hudson

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seeing Sister Gwynn!

When Sammi served in Boca Raton, she met a WONDERFUL sister who loved to serve the Sister Missionaries and go out with them on appointments. She fed them, drove them around; anything they needed, Sister Gwynn was there! They were both very sad when Sammi was transferred to Miami.

This past week, the Gwynns found out they will be moving back to Salt Lake City in the next couple of weeks. She wanted to make sure to see Sammi at least one more time before they leave so she went to Sammi's ward in Boynton Beach (about 10-15 miles from Boca Raton) and saw her! One of the best parts of Sister Gwynn was she sent me pictures via Facebook of Sammi "in action." Today was no exception!!

Sara, Keydi Gwynn, Sister Denson, Sophia
(Keydi said they both cried when they saw each other!)

Sister Denson and Sister Cluff

I'm not sure who the other two sisters are but I think they're ward members. I'll find out tomorrow in the email.

Keydi caught them in action...making appointments.

What a GREAT surprise and blessing today! 

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010--August=Heat, Rain, and Humidity!!

Hey guys!!
How are you all?? Sounds like you've all had an eventful weekend in one way or another! That's really cool about the garage sale! Mom, I can't believe you sold that much stuff! Are you just going to turn around and buy all new stamp stuff now?? LOL I'm glad it all worked out for you guys and that you had a successful week of selling stuff.
This has just been another week in missionary life. Nothing too exciting.... We have an amazing new investigator, Elaine. She's a girlfriend of a Less Active member. She knows nothing about the "Mormons," which is SO rare!!! She's completely open minded. It's so exciting. Teaching her on Thursday was amazing. She's great. We hope to set her with a baptism date this Thursday. We also have another investigator that is praying about a baptism date too. We're excited for her. We've taught her all we can, so it is up to her still. I know she'll get baptized, it's just a matter of when..... Her name is Lala.
Yesterday in RS a high council man that I served with in the Boca Raton Ward, Brother Lustig, was at our meetings. He's my favorite and he's told me numerous times I'm his favorite. LOL So yesterday he put in a plug for us sisters about the sisters in the ward coming out on exchanges with us. Needless to say it was AWESOME!! Four ladies came up to us after and gave us their numbers so they could come out with us!! This week is going to be great! We're so excited!!!! LOL He told me after the meeting that what he should have said was, "If I could hand pick two daughters, it would definitely be Sister Denson and Sister Cluff. Oh, but Sister Denson I'd have to fight the Lakes for you...." LOL He kills me. At least he knows where he stands. What he actually said was, "I don't know what on earth you've done in this ward but you have the two most beautiful Sister missioaries in the mission." Hahaha! Whatever Brother Lustig.....
I only have one picture this week, but will have a lot next week because us and the Creole elders are having SWEET PORK BURRITOS today!!!!! How awesome is that!! Especially that you guys are having them this week too!!!! This is my first time cooking them all by myself, but so far so good!! I made the green sauce this morning and was ready to chug it! It's been over a year since I've had these!!! None of us can focus today because we're all so excited for them!!! lol I'll take lots of pictures so you can see them next week! 

The picture that I'm sending is one of a recent convert. She was baptized just before I got here. Her name is Berlande (Burr-land). She's 19, almost 20, has a little boy Jarome, 2, and has the most solid testimony I have ever heard! She's fantastic! She's a little irresponsible, but she's solid. We'll work on responsibility. She's way mature in some other areas though. She is the oldest kid in her family. Her family is going through foreclosure and since her parents only speak broken English she is the one that has to deal with all the phone calls and what not. It's ridiculous. No 19 year old should have to deal with that! I love her so much though!
Mom, go ahead and add Chelsea Papenfuss to facebook. I've gotten to know her and love her already. Sister Call loves her a ton. Oh, speaking of which! I got an email from her today! It made me so happy!!! Tell her I'll try and write her this week, but no guarantee. I'll for sure get her no later than next week though!!!! Promise!!!!
Thanks so much for everything!!! I love you guys so much!!!! I'm so happy that Mom and Mal got to meet some of the most influencial people in my life. They mean SO much to me. I love you guys!!!!!
Love, Sam
PS We've had so much rain this week. That mean that I usually get a migraine--the barametric pressure changing is hard on my head for some reason. But because of the rain the humitidity is super gross!!! Yesterday it rained for hours and it put a huge keenk in our day because we were supposed to be out finding and riding bikes. Lame. But yeah, it's hot, it rains a lot, and its HUMID!!! Welcome to August in South Florida. :):)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mom and Mallorie got to meet Sister Hale and the Lakes!!

This is a copy of Mom's blog post after meeting Sister Hale and President and Sister Lake at Heather's reception.

President and Sister Hale's oldest daughter, Heather, got married Friday, August 6. Unfortunately, as a Mission President, he was not able to attend but was able to go with her to the Orlando Temple. I can't imagine how hard that was for everyone...not having "Dad" there to share in the joy of the sealing and reception.

President told Sammi to make sure I knew to go to the reception so I could meet Sister Hale. I was SOOO excited!! I asked Mallorie to go with me which was really fun. None of the Missionary Moms had met her so I was really excited to show off my beautiful, sweet oldest daughter!

I rode down to Salt Lake with my great Missionary Mom friends, Becky Olson and Lanette Crane, and one of my favorite RM sisters...Karli Olson. We met two of my other BFFs, Jan Call and her RM, Meryl at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. (Evidently this is the FAVORITE place for Florida Missionaries to eat...I have to ask Sammi.) Mal met us there after work.

Sister Meryl Call and Sister Karli Olson
Returned Ft. Lauderdale Missionaries
(Sammi loves these girls!! Me, too!!)

The reception was held at LeJardin (check it out here) in Sandy. Interesting reception center to say the least but I ended up really liking it after all. There we met up with another BFFMM,  Marianne Wardle and her husband Kevin. We all proceeded to head into the reception. I had heard that Sammi's FAVORITE people, President and Sister Lake, would be there...SHE LOVES THEM!!!! (See one of her funnier posts about President Lake here.) Anyway, they were right as we walked into the reception! The minute I told them I was "Sister Denson's Mom," they threw their arms around me and wouldn't let go! We talked for a long time about how much they love her and how wonderful she's doing. They absolutely could not say enough good about her! They just kept going on and on about much she's grown personally and spiritually and how much good she's doing. It was AMAZING!!!!!

After visiting with the Lakes, Mallorie and I proceeded to go through the line for Heather and Josh. What a CUTE couple!!

Wisely, they had separate reception lines for Josh's parents and Sister Hale. It was kinda funny because Sister Hale's line was almost as long as Heather and Josh's! She was so gracious and didn't rush through talking with people simply because of the length of her line. She visited with the people in front of us, said good-bye and turned and exclaimed, "I know who you are!! SISTER DENSON!!" She opened her arms and completely enveloped Mal and I in the biggest, warmest hug I've ever had. We'd step back, look at each other, and she'd pull us in again. She proceeded to cry with me over Sammi and how wonderful she is, how much they LOVE her, how much she's changed and grown, how proud we can be of her. It was one of the greatest moments I've ever had! She was WONDERFUL and it was such an incredible blessing to visit with her for a few minutes. I'm SOOOO grateful to her and President Hale for being such amazing "parents" to our Ft. Lauderdale missionaries and especially, our own Sister Denson!

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2, 2010--Boynton Beach South

Hey everyone!
Happy August! Can you believe that it is August?!?!?! Time is flying by way too fast!!

I had a great week last week. As you can read in the email I sent to President that Satan tried to stop our Miracle Week. Yeah, not going to work with us! We're way stronger than he thinks we are! We didn't get as many lessons taught that we wanted, or as many new investigators as we wanted, but they will come. We will see the fruits of our efforts soon.
We did have one interesting/frustrating/sad experience this week. We were teaching a  guy named Venel in his driveway. We met him at the park a couple of weeks ago and said we could come back. We were finally able to meet up with him. The lesson was going great. He was understanding the Apostasy so well and the authority to baptize and everything. All of a sudden a car pulls in the driveway. Cool, another person to teach! Yeah, no. He was a "minister" that was quite rude. He completely had the spirit of the devil with him. As soon as there was a 2 second pause in our lesson he jumped it. Of course the spirit was gone, so we couldn't teach anymore. He was arrogant, and prideful, and we couldn't get him to stop talking so we could continue teaching Venel. Poor Venel looked so confused! He had no idea who to believe! We ended up leaving with just giving Venel the pamphlet with our number on it and told him to call us. He hasn't called us back, but we are going to stop by on Friday morning at 10:30 again. He said he's always home at that time. Pray that he will see the truth in what we were teaching him!
Okay, let me tell you a little bit about Boynton Beach and serving here. First, Karli is right. This is an amazing ward! We have members that call us and ask us if they can come out with us. The recent converts are truly converted, the Ward Mission Leader is OUTSTANDING, the Haitian are so fun and humble, and the elders that I am serving with right now ROCK!! I truly feel like a missionary again! 

Because there are so many Haitians here, the Elders are teaching English classes on Tuesday nights. It's so fun. We get to help them because there are so many that show up! It's so fun to see them try and then talk to them the next Sunday at Church! The Haitian culture is very similar to the Latin culture, but for some reason I love the Haitian SO much more!!!

I feel so blissfully happy up here. It's so strange. I love contacting and talking to people on the streets. I'm not shy about it, and it's just like a casual conversation about God that I get to end up bearing my testimony to them. Priceless! Sister Cluff is always like you're such a naturalist at this! I'm like "This is hardly me! My family would never picture me like this!" LOL I love not being shy anymore!!!!

I had a wonderful one year mark in the mission. Like I said Sister Cluff got up in the night and made me my cake. We worked hard all day, but at the end of the night I was able to go get a Rita's Italian Ice. It made me so happy! Miami doesn't have a Rita's, so the last one that I had was in Boca. Sister Cluff doesn't eat sugar right now, she got too addicted to it at one point. LOL The Elders always give her crap about it, but she's strong.

On August 22nd we have Stake Conference. Mom, make sure and tell Sister Gwynn that I'll be at the Sunday session and that she needs to come find me. We'll make sure and get pictures for you too.
I'm SO excited that you get to meet Sister Hale this week! I talked to President about it yesterday. He came to our ward unexpectedly :) I went and chatted with him after Sacrament Meeting. He wanted me to make sure you knew to go. Do you need the address or anything? They sent every single missionary our own wedding invitation. It's so cute, but surprisingly simple.
I can't tell you how much I enjoy this work and sharing what I know to be true to everyone I can. My testimony is stronger than ever! I love just testifying and telling people how it is. With love of course! This is truly the work of the Lord and I'm eternally grateful to be a part of it.
Thank you so much for each of your love and support! I love you all so so so so so SO much!!
Love, Sister Denson
PS Here are explanations for the pictures.
1. Me and Sister Cluff on our first day. My camera was to big and heavy for her little hands so it's kinda trashy. I'll get a better one on a Sunday when we're all "glammed up" LOL

2. I made the elders the chocolate cake. They just cut it into 4ths and ate it all. Gross huh!! It goes Elder Hudson (My absolute favorite elder--and he's a redhead!!) and Elder Clark. They're Creole speaking missionaries. Elder Zinn (He's from Fort Wayne, Indiana--where is Elder Swain serving right now?) and Elder Paulos. All 4 of these elders are so stinkin cool! I'm really sad that the two on the right are going home this transfer!!

3.  A better shot of them with the cake.

4. My Happy Birthday banner. It was HUGE!!! To say the least...

5, 6 Happy One year Mark! You can choose which one you like better.

7, 8. The elders enjoying my birthday cake. No worries....I actually had some for myself! That's a first! Seriously.....

9. Really, another flat??

President's Email:

Hey President
It was so fun to have you come to our ward yesterday so unexpected! Fast and Testimony meeting was amazing. I'm so grateful to be serving in this ward! It's so fantastic!
As you know we were going to have a miracle week this week. LOL it was crazy! We haven't seen any miracles from it this week, but we sure know that Satan tried to stop us from doing our work. We had 3 of the 4 of our tires go flat (We're pro's at patching them now), I got a migraine, the heat was ridiculous, etc. But we pushed on! I've got a great companion that doesn't love the bike so much, but we're working on that:) She's such a trooper. She's been completely worn out this week!  I love being here and time is flying by way too fast! I can't believe that it is August! I'm absolutely loving life and LOVING being a missionary again! I feel like a real missionary serving with Sister Cluff! I learn so much from her and am blessed to be serving with her!
Thank you so much for everything! This is an exciting week for your family! You are all in our thoughts and prayer!
I have a card for Heather...Should I just send it to the mission home?
Love Sister Denson!

"We should work at a bike store when we get home!"
She's fixing flats the "old fashioned rubber cement way" that Dad taught her when she was little. She said she's SOOO grateful he  "made us learn how to do things on our own growing up. I'm such a handy woman these days.  :) "