Monday, November 28, 2016

Fed a goat, then ate that goat...Happy Thanksgiving from the South!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We sure did.  We went to three different members' homes.  People are so kind here in the Funky Shack.  We went to the Everetts' first and fed their baby goats and it was SO fun. Then later for lunch, we ate one of their goats for Thanksgiving. It was so sad...they smothered it in BBQ sauce and it didn't taste too bad.  It's just sad that we literally ate the goat right after we were just feeding it. hahaha. 

On Wednesday we had zone training in Niceville and Sister Dominique and I trained on obedience through love. I love this concept. Being obedient on a mission is really important, as well as being obedient off a mission. We focused on the WHY to obedience. Why do we do these things? Is it just because our mission president tells us to? The perfect example of obedience through love is Jesus Christ. In Matthew 26:39, Christ is suffering through the Atonement for us. He says to Heavenly Father: "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Jesus Christ suffered and bled and died for US because he loves US and he loves His Father. He was obedient to God not just because that was what he had to do, but because he loves us so much. So, I have learned how much I need to give up my own desires and my own will for Heavenly Father's will. THAT is exact obedience.  We follow Him because we love Him. So, what drives y’all to be obedient? Why do you follow Heavenly Father every day? I invite you to think about that more deeply this week :)

On Friday we had our whole day set and planned out with people to see. On our way out the door, we received the saddest phone call from a man in the ward, Brother Anderson, who had just been in a car accident with his wife in West Virginia while they were visiting family. His voice was shaking and he asked us for the Elders’ phone number who are serving there so they could go to the hospital to give his wife a blessing. He wasn't hurt too bad but his wife was not doing well at all. We rushed over to a member’s home who lives close by to help us track down the phone number.   The member called them and left a message and we went on our way, hoping and praying the elders would hear the message soon so they could give Sister Anderson a priesthood blessing. We then went to a few investigator's homes to teach and no one was home! Even our backups weren't available. Right as we were about to go door-to-door tracting, we thought we should call the West Virginia elders just in case they hadn’t gotten the message. We found out the phone number actually belonged to the Elders in UTAH. Frustrated and panicked, we called Brother Anderson explaining what had happened and that we were trying to get the right phone number.  Instead of waiting, he decided he wanted to do something called a proxy priesthood blessing. We met our elders at the church and I was able to stand in for his sweet wife as they gave me the blessing in proxy for her.  We had Brother and Sister Anderson on the phone and you could hear them crying throughout the whole blessing. It was SO sad but it is amazing how much faith they have.  I know everything will be OK, according to God's plan. It was just great how everything worked out so we could be there at the church to perform this proxy blessing for them. God's timing is perfect and he works in incredible, mysterious ways. 

Saturday was one of the best days on my mission. Our investigator Teresa is SO excited about baptism. She is getting baptized on Dec.10th.  The way her eyes lit up from excitement about the covenant she is making with God, wow! It was amazing and indescribable. I can’t wait for her and her two little boys, who now, because of this decision, will be able to grow up in this gospel! Sister Dominique and I left the lesson, grinning from ear to ear. I have never been so happy for someone!

Well, life is good in the Defuniak Hood :) haha. I love you all and am grateful for your prayers and sweet spirits. Missions are pretty hard but SO worth it. There is truly nowhere else I would rather be.

sister fletcher 
Cute baby goat!
The Mook girls
(And YES...I AM holding
a cat.  For those who know
me well, know how I hate cats,
so this is a HUGE accomplishment!)

Brick roads of DeFuniak!
Cooked baby goat
Wittle's baby puppy
Miss Flora B
Teresa's baptism calendar!
This baby is ONE year old!
She is precious!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Divine Gift of Gratitude

How is everyone? :) I miss you all! This week was a good one. So on Tuesday we taught a lady named Johnie Varella. She is absolutely precious. I have been to her house three or four times now and every time we go over there, she makes us all food and sends us home with cakes, pies and peanuts. It is SO humbling because she literally has nothing. She is barely getting by. Every time I leave, I feel like I wanna cry because of how amazing and selfless she is.  The longer I have been here in DeFuniak, the more I have been able to witness so many kind acts done by the amazing people in this town. We visit Johnie because she doesn’t come to church and we are trying to help her back into activity. She always does way more for me than I feel I could ever do for her.

On Wednesday we had exchanges with two sisters from Crestview. I was able to go on trade-offs with Sister Saunders who I absolutely LOVE. We had so much fun and taught a spiritual lesson to our investigator, Teresa, who is set for baptism on December 3rd still. She knows the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith saw God and she can’t wait to enter into the waters of baptism and receive the Holy Ghost. I am so excited for her. Sister Saunders and I also went to visit a less active sister who is in a rest home.  She was laying down on her bed and looked super uncomfortable because her legs were hanging over the edge and her pillow was literally half-way down the bed. Sister Saunders and I got on each side of her and tried to lift her up THREE times but couldn't. She is literally a 100-pound lady that we couldn't lift! We were all just laughing and laughing about how lame we are.  Then this nurse came in and lifted her with no problem. yeah...haha

On Friday night we had dinner and an awesome lesson with the Mook girls. I think I mentioned them last week. They have four young daughters and we teach two of them (ages 8 and 10).  They are going to have their dad baptize them in December or January. They are definitely one of my favorite families on my mission! Every time I am around them, it makes me wanna have kids but then I snap out of it haha. I just hope I have girls as sweet and adorable as them! Hopefully one day :)

We had a family history event at our church building on Saturday and had a much better turnout than I expected! We had an hour presentation about family history and then did one-on-one training with the people there. It was a great event! Family history is so amazing. It really helps link the gospel in as well.  The week was great but yesterday was the best day! We had FOUR investigators come to church! Honestly, having the people you are teaching and continually inviting to come to church, actually show up to church is the best feeling in the world! Marissa Johnson and her Grandma Sandra came and loved it! The Mook family also came :) It was the BEST! They mentioned that because they came to church and partook of the Sacrament, they are now spiritually full for the week.  Then that afternoon, we went to a rest home to share a message with more less actives.  I had my guitar with me to play them some songs. After we left one of their rooms to go see another woman, a lady who works there stopped me to ask if I would play in the hall for everyone. She pulled a chair up for me and I started singing and playing. There were about ten people there initially but by the time I was done with the first song, I looked up to see more than thirty people standing around me listening. It was amazing! Music really has blessed my life so much and brought the Spirit in times I needed it most. It’s so cool to be able to sing and play for people and help them feel of God's love through music. It is such a great missionary tool honestly!

With Thanksgiving coming up, I have been reflecting on gratitude. I have been studying a talk my mom sent me last week, called “The Divine Gift of Gratitude”, by President Thomas S. Monson. It has brought me to think a lot about what I have and how truly blessed I am to be here serving the Lord with everything I have. So many times we see what is lacking in our lives. We need to focus more on our blessings and how truly great we do have it. 

In the talk, President Monson says, "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has!" I believe that to be true. We should always live in a state of thanksgiving! and I need to take my own advice! It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself. I have been kinda doing that, wishing I could spend Thanksgiving with my family, but I am now realizing how grateful I am to have sweet families in the DeFuniak Springs ward who want to feed us on Thanksgiving, that I can be in a home with a family! Many people don’t even have that, and that breaks my heart. I am just so appreciative of the life I live. 

Lastly, President Monson emphasizes to not just express gratitude, but to live with gratitude in your heart! Let everything about you radiate gratitude and joy! I am learning this more and more :)

I love you all! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving :)

sister fletcher 
Miss Flora B.

Sister Varella

Sandra Gaydon
and Hannah (I'm obsessed)

Me and my guitar!

Sister Saunders
Teresa Villas cute family

Monday, November 14, 2016

All is well in DeFuniak:))

Hey y'all! This week has been absolutely nuts. Pretty crazy things went down. (which I will talk about in a year when I come home ;))

The work is progressing so much in this area and it’s amazing :) God's hand truly is in His children's lives here in DeFuniak. So on Wednesday, we drove by these apartments in Freeport (the town over from DeFuniak). Sister Dominique and I noticed a lady sitting against the sign of the apartments and what we specifically noticed was how sad she looked. We turned our car around, got out and asked her if there was anything we could do for her. I had my guitar in the back seat of our car so we played her "Nearer My God To Thee" as she waited for her five year-old grandson to get off the school bus. She then invited us to come in to her apartment and we were able to teach her the restoration of the gospel right then and there. It was such a powerful, spirit-led lesson. We found out she had recently moved here from Iowa and had just left her husband of over forty years. She said she needs God in her life and knows that this gospel will help her. It was truly amazing.

We have an investigator named Teresa who is SO awesome. We taught her the Word of Wisdom this week and she was SO incredibly accepting of it. At the end of the lesson, she said, "Take my coffee! I’m done drinking it!" Teresa is GOLDEN. She is set to get baptized on December 3rd and loves attending church. It is so amazing too because she has two little boys who can now grow up in the gospel and experience the blessings that come. I am so excited for her and her family :) This gospel blesses families immensely and it is not until coming on my mission that I have truly been able to see the difference for those who have not been exposed to the gospel and then have the opportunity to learn of the gospel. It’s amazing to see how they are so much happier because of it. I am so grateful for my parents and all they did to keep my family on the gospel path. Having a gospel-centered home is so much more important to me now. Family Home Evenings every Monday night, scripture study, and family prayer is so essential, especially in the world we live today. 

One of my favorite families here, the Reeves, own thousands of acres and tons of animals. Brother Reeves has a contract with a bakery and gets hundreds of loaves of bread and bagels every week to feed to his hogs. Every Thursday, the elders, Sister Dominique and I load the bread into barrels. It’s pretty fun :) Brother Reeves supplies us with whatever bread we want! haha. We have also taken care of the horses for a while. (they own 14!) It’s SO much fun. They have also fed us a seafood FEAST. People are so selfless and giving here, I truly feel so humbled every day. Oh, here’s a side story about the Reeves. They have a daughter who lives in Fairhope (my old area) named Alison Kidd and her 12- year-old daughter, Tucker, is not baptized yet. I actually taught Tucker! It is really cool now knowing Tucker's grandparents. They are having us over for Thanksgiving and Alison's family is coming too, so I am really excited to see them!

So Friday was a crazy day. We had a lesson with a lady and went in her home when we both knew we shouldn't have because the Spirit was telling us not to. That was the first time I’ve ignored a prompting from the Spirit and felt the repercussions from it. (I’ve repented, don't worry.) Anyways, we had a really crazy experience in that home, and then when we left, we went to the elders home for them to give us priesthood blessings.  We then went on our way to teach more lessons. When the day was over, we came home and started planning for the upcoming day. All the sudden, we heard loud banging on our front door. We both panicked. NO ONE knows where the missionaries live and no one should be coming to our house that late at night. We live on a street with only one other home and we were just terrified. The person banging on the door kept turning the knob trying to break in. We were shaking from fear.  As sister Dominique called 911, the phone reception was breaking in and out but we were finally able to tell our address. As we were on the phone, the banging started happening on the windows and on our back door. I felt completely sick inside. We got a little closer to the door, accepting our fate that we would probably die in that moment… but then, we heard our names called out. We looked through the peep hole to see the elders standing there with cake and pizza...we were SOOOO mad, but it was pretty hilarious. The cops pulled up and luckily just laughed about it all.  So the moral of the story is...don't call the cops on the elders, or do, because they are dumb and deserve it!

I wanted to end with a few verses in 1 Peter chapter 4:
 v.2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
v.12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened unto you.
v.13 But rejoice, inasmuch  as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
v.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.

I love verse 2, saying how we shouldn't live after the lusts of men, the things of this world, but always do and think the Will of God. It is so cool being on a mission, striving to live my life in exact accordance with how God wants me to live. I want to continue that after my mission, to hope for things not of this world because this world is a scary place and it’s only going to get worse until the time Christ comes again! It’s so important to have our feet rooted deep in this gospel.

Then in verses 12-14, I love how it speaks about the trials ahead of us, how sometimes they seem impossible to bare. It is really easy to complain about trials and face them with negativity but we should rejoice in our trials, because we get to experience just a minuscule of what Jesus Christ experienced for us and when He comes again, we will be so glad to see him and realize in a whole new way, a small amount of the pain he went through for us, because he loves us SO much, unconditionally.

I am so grateful for this gospel that I can share with the people in DeFuniak Springs, Florida.  I just love you all so much! and hope things are going well :) I pray for y'all daily!

sister fletcher
My home 
The Mooks (cutest family ever)
We teach two of the daughters


DeFuniak Lake

The crew minus a few

Our cute investigator, Marissa,
and her sister Hannah
(I love them SO much)
Yum, Pepperoni!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

More Pictures!

Feeding the hogs!

Cutting pumpkins with an ax
to feed to the hogs
Spent all day Saturday with the zone
at an Indian Pow Wow running a
family history booth

My companion, Sister Dominique 

Sister Jackson and her
child Sister Fox!

DeFuniak (Da Funky Shack)

Hello all! We had zone conference in Fort Walton yesterday so our P-day is today and the computers we are emailing on are SO slow.  I’ve been watching the computer for over an hour and now it’s finally letting me write my group email. :') 

Life is good in DeFuniak! This place is literally SO different than my first area in Fairhope. Like a whole new world. I honestly have culture shock. It is SO country and so southern, in the middle of nowhere. The nickname in the mission for DeFuniak is “Da Funky Shack” and it definitely owns up to its name... We live in a house so that’s pretty sweet, and the area we cover is HUGE!  so we do a lot of driving and can’t bike much at all here. 

First things first, leaving Fairhope, AL, ripped my heart out. I thought leaving home in Simi was hard...but leaving Fairhope was even harder I think because of the fact that I know I will see my family and friends again for sure, and leaving Fairhope there is uncertainty. (even though I KNOW I will visit!) Linda and Doug, my mom and dad here, who are recent converts, surprised me with a guitar as a good-bye present. They signed it and bought me a strap and case and picks. It was so humbling and sweet. Saying good-bye to them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do!  I also was able to say bye to a lot of families and investigators in my first area. It was a crazy last few days! 

Last Wednesday, I got on the transfer van and headed to Fort Walton.  My new companion, Sister Dominique, picked me up and we headed to DeFuniak Springs! We have already taught lots of amazing, spirit-filled lessons. Our investigators here are really solid and I’m really excited about them.

We teach one lady named Tammy on her porch by the lake and sometimes we hear country music playing as we teach. Whenever we go over to Tammy’s house, I feel like I’m in some type of country film. Brother Strippling, our ward mission leader, came with us to one of her lessons and gave her a priesthood blessing of healing. (she has been having a lot of stomach pain) The spirit was SO strong and she received exactly what she needed. Tears were in everyone's eyes. 

We have another investigator named Marissa (good name, huh ;)) and she is 12 years old.  She is SO smart. She reads the Book of Mormon and has a journal she writes in as she reads every night. She understands and believes everything concerning the gospel and we committed her to be baptized. She wants to be baptized on her birthday in January :) 
Since I have a guitar, Sister Dominique has asked me to take it to a lot of our appointments and has me sing and play for people. We are really excited to tract using it. haha. 
The two of us make a great team. She teaches me how to be “gangsta” and fit in with this place, and I’m teaching her how to play guitar. We have SO much fun together. We keep each other laughing 24/7 and that’s what life’s all about!
There are stray cats and dogs everywhere here! Literally everyone has a pit bull. On Friday, a pit bull bit me and it hurt pretty bad haha but I’m good. Don’t worry, the dog didn’t have rabies. #Blessings.

I am so grateful for my mission and the people I am meeting out here. I have truly become humbled and changed forever. In my scripture study, I am in Alma 26. In verse 1, the prophet Ammon is speaking, saying, "For could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted us such great blessings?" Then in verse 9 it goes on to say, "For if we had not come up out of the land of Zarahemla, these our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us, would still have been racked with hatred against us, yea, and they would also have been strangers to God."

As I have been reflecting on this chapter and these two verses specifically, I think about my mission, and how before it all started, I never would be able to imagine or comprehend the amazing blessings that have come into my life. All the people I’ve met and been able to share the gospel with and all the ways the Spirit has guided me every day. I am forever grateful for this blessing in my life. In verse 9, when it says that our brethren would be lost and never have known God, I relate it to our investigators here. I am so grateful to be a servant of God to bring Jesus Christ's exact gospel to bless peoples’ lives. It is the most amazing calling in the world. How did I get so lucky??
Well, I love you all so much! So grateful for the prayers and love!

My new address is: 
411 Walton Road
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433

Send me a letter if ya ever get bored ;) I would love to hear from y’all. 
Have a great week! and Happy Election Day....  :)))

lots of love,

sister fletcher
Halloween Party!

The District

The Langi Family
(so sad to say bye to them)

The guitar Doug and Linda gave me

Linda <333
Sis P


Doug and Linda gave us these shirts
and signed them!