Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31, 2011 - Sunny Day in Miami Beach

Hello Fullmer Family!

First I have to start out saying that life is going well for me on my mission. This week has been absolutely crazy but it's been fantastic! I've really received a testimony of planning and how much you can get done when you have a plan, and also a backup plan.

This week we had many cancelled appointments but nevertheless we had a backup plan for everything and we were able to meet some many wonderful people who are interested in learning about the Gospel. It was so great to hear about what's been going on back home. The weather's been pretty crazy in Utah! Everyone who I tell that i'm from Utah the first thing the say is, "La Fabrica" which means "the factory" meaning the factory for producing missionaries! It's pretty funny! Then the second thing they say is, "Hace Frio!" which means, "It's cold." I say that during the winter it's cold but by now it's warm. I guess i've been lying to them because it snowed at our house yesterday! That's insane! I can't believe how much rain that you all have been getting. 

Suprisingly we've had one day of rain this past week. It was yesterday and it only rained for about five minutes. I'm sure I'll get my fair share of rain soon though. On Saturday our branch held a "Hurricane Preparation Meeting" which was exciting. I have to say it scarred me a little bit. Just to let you know mom that Miami Beach is an evacuation area and the whole island is required to evacuate. Plus the missionaries go to the Red Cross center and help volunteer. So no need to worry! I know that I'll be protected. Hurricane season officially begins today. So we'll see what happens.

A report on President Hale. He's is doing fantastic! I can't believe how well he's doing. He was describing his surgery and was saying how they had to cut through five layers of muscle in his lower back. He said that he didn't realize how many things are connected to those muscles but he said one of the only things that doesn't make him hurt is to smile so he's been doing that a lot. But He's keeping up with everything for the most part. He couldn't travel to us last week for the PPI's so we traveled to him which was nice. It's always nice to go to the mission home. It reminds me of our home. It's got a pool and it's a little bigger but the feeling is what reminds me of it. It's the Spirit that's in the home.
Yesterday I had my first baptism! He has a wife who's been a member her whole life and they have 2 kids! It was great to see him be baptized and to hear what he said when he came out. He said "I feel like a new man!" It was a great feeling! Also at the baptism two of our investigators came and both of them really enjoyed the baptism. One of our investigators has a baptismal date for June 11th. He's a Cuban man who we contacted my first day in Florida. I've realized that I can understand what he says. For the most part. Anyways he is such a strong person. He understands everything we say and knows how important prayer is. It's so cool to see. 

We taught him the word of wisdom the other day and I was a little afraid because Cubans love their coffee. After we established that he didn't smoke or drink we got to the coffee. We said, "The third thing we're not supposed to have is coffee." Immediately he said, "I drink coffee everyday but I'll give it up!" It was so cool. He knows that it's true and he'll do anything to be able to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. It was very cool to see. To answer your question dad about baptizing in the ocean... To be honest i'm not really sure. In our chapel we have a font but I don't know the rules about the ocean... I'll try and find out. 
On Sunday I gave my first talk which I spoke about the blessings that we receive because we know we have a loving Heavenly Father and that we are His children. I think it went okay... It was terrible! Haha. This next week (Thursday) we have Zone Conference and Sister Hale asked if my companion and I would do the musical number. We're going to sing Lead Kindly Light, as my companion is playing the organ and singing at the same time! He's an incredible musician! I think it's going to go really well. It's a Mack Wilberg arrangement so it can't sound too bad. Ha ha.

Something cool that happened on Sunday is that for the 5th Sunday meeting it was all about what members can do to help with missionary work. After the meeting, at about 5 o clock, a member called us and said during the meeting the name of a family came into her mind and she decided to go talk to them after church. She knocked on their door and asked if the missionaries could come and talk to them about the church and they accepted! It's so cool to see members stretch and do their part. It's so much more effective if the members are involved! I'm excited to go meet them tonight.

...Okay I've got to get going! I love you all so much and I'm grateful to be a missionary. It's definitely the hardest thing that I've done but it's so worth it. I come home exhausted everyday but I also come home happy. It's an incredible experience and I've been learning a lot! Thank you for all of your love and support. You're the best family anyone could ask for! I love you all :)
-Elder David Fullmer
P.S. Happy Birthday on Sunday Dad! I'll be sending home a birthday card so if you don't get it by your birthday forgive me but it'll be on it's way! The big 50! Congrats!
PPS. When is your anniversary? I can't remember

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011- Another Week in Miami Beach!

Hello Family!
This week has been an extremely great week! We've been working very hard to try and find more people to teach and help them come closer to Jesus Christ. Just to let you know that next Monday I will not be writing home because it is a holiday. I will be writing home Tuesday which will be our P day. Thank you for the wonderful package that you sent me this week. I was very happy to see everything in it. Luckily the protein bars didn't melt and stayed nice and solid. Thank you for my iPod which my companion and I have greatly appreciated. Thank you mom for sending the book as well. Hopefully it will help gain some knowledge that I can share to our investigator. I love you all and was very pleased to receive a package! 
Thank you also for joining in mighty prayer with the mission. Prayer is very powerful and it is always a source of strength.
This week we've been very busy, as always, but it seemed even more this past week. On Wednesday we were able to go see the BYU Young Ambassadors in Miramar Florida. They came to share their talents which were absolutely amazing. I don't really know if you know who they are, like I was, but they are a singing and dancing group that travels all over the world performing. They are absolutely amazing! It was very fun to be able to see them and feel the spirit through music. What I later found out is that after they performed in Florida they got the opportunity to go to Cuba to perform for 4 days. They didn't want a lot of people to know about it just in case it wouldn't work out. Cuba is slowly but surely opening up. I don't think it'll be much longer before it'll open up for missionary work. I just hope I don't go over there because I won't be able to understand anything that anyone says! :) Oh well... Luckily I don't have to worry about that right now. 
Also this week I was able to go up to Plantation Florida to have my Personal Priesthood Interview with President Hale at the Mission home. It was a very great experience. We talked a lot about family and how when we are serving the Lord on our missions our family becomes closer together. I remember before I left on my mission I was talking to mom about how after I leave the family won't be the same because Whitney will be getting married and everything will be different. It definitely won't be the same but I feel like I've become closer to all of you in these past few months than I ever have before.
He also said that when we get to know our Savior more we grow to appreciate our parents more. I know that this is true! I have grown to appreciate everything that you have done for me. Especially just the little things. I appreciate all the time that I have been able to spend with you and learn to love everything about you. While I've been in Florida the families here definitely aren't like in Utah. It's rare to see a family with 2 parents and children who live in a house. Actually I don't think I've seen one. It allows to be thankful for the family and to cherish the amazing family that I have. I love the family picture that you sent to me in the package as well. We have a wonderful family and I cherish it everyday. Thank you for your example and your love. 
This past week we have 2 new investigators with a baptismal date, so total we have 4! One of the dates was supposed to be yesterday but through prayer and through the Spirit my companion and I felt that he wasn't quite ready to enter the waters of baptism. There was a conflict of deciding when the his baptism should be. He works for the postal service so he works very long days along with Saturdays. His wife's birthday is on Sunday and they couldn't do it on that day. 
We were in a predicament because we didn't want to wait a lot longer. I said a prayer to direct me to find when the day should be. I had the impression to grab the calendar and to look for our options. Then I saw "Memorial Day" I thought that this is the perfect day! He doesn't have to work, he doesn't have to wait a long time and it was on a holiday so a lot of the ward could attend his baptism along with our investigators. Everything has worked out and we feel that he is a lot more prepared and will be ready for baptism next Monday. I know that through prayer we were able to make this decision. It wasn't a huge thing that was solved but miracles are wrought by small and simple means. Go on your knees often! 
One of my companions at the MTC went home this past week because of issues with his knees. He should come back soon, hopefully, but please keep him in your prayers. Luckily my knees have only been getting stronger and stronger with all the biking that i've done this week. Along with all the biking I got my first flat tire this week! Gotta love it! 
I wish I could keep writing and writing but unfortunately I have a time limit and it's almost up, plus I'm a slow typer... Anyways I just want to let you know that I love all of you very much and I know that we are children of God. He knows and guides us daily. It's such a blessing to know this simple truth and I invite you to ponder about how having this knowledge has blessed your lives. It definitely has blessed my life and has guided me to share others of this wonderful knowledge. I know that this is His work and His glory. I feel very happy to be able to assist Him in His work. Have faith in Christ. Everything that you are able to do is because of His Atonement. The Atonement allows us to do hard things. He is the reason for everything and He knows you perfectly. Thank you for your love and support! I love you more than you can know. Have a wonderful week!
-Elder David Fullmer
P.S. I get to give my first talk in Spanish this next Sunday so keep me in your prayers :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011 letter

Dear Family,
It's been great to hear from you today. I love hearing what's been going on and what everyone is doing. Here in Florida we've had some rain, not a whole lot but we've had some. Yesterday after church a pretty big storm came through but luckily it didn't last long. Mostly it's just been very hot and humid. However I'm getting used to the humidity and sweating all the time. I've been sleeping a lot better lately and trying to get used to waking up in Florida. I get confused some mornings but it's kind of fun. 
My companion and I are doing really well! He's been teaching me many things and I've really enjoyed having him as my companion. The Spanish is still coming a long poca a poco (step by step.) But it's coming. It's frustrating at times because I want to understand what everyone is saying but I can't understand. However I'm trying my best. Cuban is still another language to me. I have a feeling that it'll be a while until I understand that. Ohh well...
Last week I talked about the woman who I gave a Book of Mormon to. Unfortunately as we were going to teach her yesterday they had to cancel because of work problems but we've got another appointment set for next Sunday. Hopefully everything will go well with that. 
One spiritual experience that I had, one of many, this week was on Saturday. We were going to a member's house for lunch, just like every Saturday, and we showed up and she invited a neighbor over for lunch with the missionaries. She is a black woman who has lived in Florida for a very long time. She speaks English, French and Spanish. Very smart woman. She has been a Seventh Day Adventist all of her life but she said that she's been looking for something different. She asked about missionary work and why we do what we do at such a young age. She asked us if we could share a message with her which we gladfully accepted. We taught about the Restoration of the Gospel and about the Book of Mormon. She had so many good questions which we were happy to answer. She commented many times about the way that she was feeling and said "I felt something when I picked up you plate and every time that you spoke." She just kept saying how good she feels. We asked her if she would pray and ask Heavenly Father if these things are true. She accepted and asked us to pray to Heavenly Father and ask if the Sabbath Day is on Saturday or on Sunday. We accepted and I look forward to teaching her more. She explained how she was supposed to go to church today but her son wasn't feeling very well so she decided to stay home and go over to Helen's. She testified that this was no accident. She said that God had but us in her way for a reason. She feels very prepared for the Gospel and definitely has a desire to learn more. The Sabbath Day issue is a tough thing for people to grasp down here in Florida. 
Afterwards she wanted us to play the piano for her. She said, "Play the song that speaks to you." I decided to play Come Thou Fount. I just played and the Spirit was testifying through the music. She said that she had never heard that song before but said again that she felt something different. It was a great experience! 
The members here are so incredible like I've said before. It's a lot different than in SLC because the missionaries are over one ward instead of a whole stake or two. We are able to know each other on a very close level. They love the missionaries and will help us out in anyway and every way that they can. I'm so grateful for them. 
As we go and teach some of the members, lately we've been challenging them to read the Book of Mormon as a family. I remember before my mission when we would read the book about Coming Closer to Christ, I think that's what it's called. However just when we would talk about the Gospel and about Jesus Christ I absolutely loved it! I wish we would have had scripture study more regularly as a family. I would invite you all to have regular scripture study, even though the family is smaller but I know that it will strengthen our Family.
I also have another proposal. Every morning at 9:00 we have this thing called mighty prayer. It's when everyone in the mission kneels down and prays. It doesn't matter where everyone is but it brings power to the mission. We pray for the people here in Florida, the missionaries, the mission president, pray for Cuba to open up to missionary work and anything we feel we need as missionaries. I would invite you to join mighty prayer. Every morning at 9:00 (7:00 Utah time) would you kneel down as a family and pray? I know that it will strengthen the mission and it will also strengthen our family. I want you to be a part of my mission. So would you please do that with me? I'd really appreciate it. 
Well I just want to let all of you know how much I love you! I cherish the times when I get to hear from you and I love how close our family is. We may be a little weird at times but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love us just the way that we are. I feel so blessed to have grown up in my life with the Gospel. So many people don't have this blessing in their lives and I've realized how much of a blessing it is for me. I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. He is the head and leader! I know that He is our Savior and Redeemer and that the Fulness of the Gospel is on the Earth right now! The Book of Mormon is the Word of God and it contains every answer to every question. Read it! Thank you for all of your prayers. I love you!
With Love,
Elder Fullmer

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011- Happy Mother's Day

Dear Family,
It was very nice to be able to talk to all of you yesterday and to be able to see all of your faces! It was such a privilege to skype and it definitely made my week. I love all of you and I miss you! 
Things are kind of tough here in Florida. The transition is difficult with the language barrier, a different lifestyle and home sickness. However, I've definitely been blessed very much. I have a wonderful companion, who is working hard to make sure I have a good first area. He's been out for almost two years. He's in his final transfer. So I'm in my first and he's in his last. My role is to make sure he doesn't think about going home and his goal is to make sure I start out my mission well. 
It's kind of weird living on my own but I think I'm going to be just fine. I pretty much told you all yesterday about my area and my mission so far. The members are incredible. They don't have very much of anything, but what they do have they are willing to give to the missionaries. I'm so blessed to be in this area. 
Yesterday at church, they asked if I would bear my testimony to the branch which I of course said, "Claro" which means "Of course." I went up and bore my testimony, or what I could say in my Spanish and then sat down. A member of the branch presidency spoke after me and what I didn't understand my companion told me. He said, "This is the second time that I've heard Elder Fullmer bear His testimony and it is also the second time that the spirit has testified to me that He has been called of God. There was no mistake why he has come to this area at this time." 
He's such an incredible member of the church. It seems like I've known him and his family for a long time. He values his family so much and would do anything for them. He has such love for the church and for the members of the branch. There definitely is a reason why I'm in this area. 
A couple days ago, we went and visited a less active member of the branch. Her husband is not a member but is wanting the missionaries to teach him. The other day he wasn't feeling well but we still went over to their house to teach her. I wasn't sure what everyone was saying, catching a word here and there but towards the end of the lesson I had a very strong impression to bear my testimony. I didn't really know what to say but I just started talking. I ended up talking about the importance of prayer and how we can know the Book of Mormon is true and how we can be strengthened by the Lord through prayer. I just kept going and going. At the end I was in tears, and everyone else was also. It was an amazing experience. 
In the scriptures, I'm not sure quite where, but it says something along the lines of open your mouth and it will be filled with the words of what to say. I botched that but I hope you get what I'm trying to say. That is definitely true.
Another Spiritual experience that happened to me this week was right after I Skyped with all of you yesterday. My mind definitely was back home and wasn't very focused I have to say. However we had an appointment to go teach a girl, who is 15 years old. Her mom is a member along with her Uncle. However when we got there, her uncle invited a friend to come listen. We taught the first lesson to her. I actually said quite a bit in the lesson and my Spanish is getting better every single day. At the end I gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. She asked if I would write my testimony in the front of it. She realized I was still learning Spanish and asked if I would write it in English. She wanted me to write the feelings of my heart and not be limited by the language. I did this, which was the first time I've ever given a Book of Mormon to anyone. I just kept writing my testimony and the words of what to write came into my mind. They were laughing at me because I was writing so much but I'm glad that I wrote the things that I did. They gave us some food afterwards which was pretty spicy I might add, but very good. 
She wants us to keep teaching her so we're going to teach her again on Sunday in the member's home. She definitely seems prepared to receive the Gospel and I feel very privileged to be able to teach her. I'm excited for the next lesson. 
It's great to hear about Uncle Gary and the blessings that he has from all of the changes. I really wish I could go to the temple as much as he does. It really is a blessing and I loved being able to go every week in the MTC. You all should try and go to the temple more. I know you all will be blessed from it.

Something funny that happened to me this week was when we were at the chapel waiting for someone to show up to go on exchanges with us, a man was walking by, looked at me, stopped and said (in his British accent), "You look just like the Prince of England!" I laughed and talked to him a little and then he walked away. I'm pretty sure he was drunk but it was still funny.
Concerning my iPod. If you don't receive my letter (hand written) it talks about the rules for music. I'm only allowed to listen to music that is sung my the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. So if you could take those songs that are not by them off I'd appreciate it....
Anyways I should probably get going. We've got some things that need to get done. I love all of you very much and I know that this church is true. I know that being a member definitely doesn't make life easy but through the Atonement and through prayer, the Lord helps us through our trials. Have a great week and keep praying for me. I love you!
-Elder David Fullmer

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5, 2011

(Handwritten letter received in the mail) 

I can’t believe I’m in Florida! Time has gone by so quickly and it’s time to serve in the field. Thank you for all your prayers. I know that the Lord is with me. 

So after I talked to you on the phone I’ll describe what happened going to Dallas. Everything went really well on the flight and we got into Dallas safely. The first thing that I realized about the airport is that it is HUGE! It was so big! We needed to change terminals so we took the train or monorail type thing which was fun. We got on our plane and got into Ft Lauderdale. 

When I got off the plane it was insane! So many different languages were being spoken and I didn’t understand any of them. I was ready to meet President Hale and go to the mission home.  So we got our bags from the baggage claim and were looking for missionaries or President or Sister Hale. We couldn’t find them. After about an hour of looking and being very frustrated, I decided to say a prayer. I was praying in my heart the whole time but thought I need to say a “real prayer”, so I did. After I said the prayer, I looked up and saw two missionaries walking towards us. I was so happy! Apparently the airline times were mixed up and they thought we were going to arrive two hours later. Oh well. 

So we loaded up and went to the mission home which is beautiful! Oh, by the way, it’s humid! We had dinner at the mission home which was real food! CafĂ© Rio Salads! So delicious! President and Sister Hale are so nice and kind. I am so grateful to have them as my Mission President and Mission President’s wife.

We spent the night in a hotel because the next day we were going to have a mission wide transfer meeting. Since President Hale was gone for so long he wanted to see everyone, so he decided to have a mission wide transfer meeting.  This is where I would find out what area I’m going to and also who my companion would be.   

When we got to the meeting there were so many people there! About  140 missionaries or so. I got assigned to Miami Beach with my new companion from Portland, Oregon. He’s in his last transfer, but definitely not “trunky”. He is a great missionary who works very hard. He’s really into music like me. He can sight read anything and he loves to sing so I’m very excited for this companionship. 

So right now I’m living in a little apartment on Indian Creek Road I believe. It is a nice little apartment. It definitely could be much worse. Outside is so beautiful! Miami Beach is an island and we have a bay on one side and the ocean on the other. So pretty! Everything is so green and there are palm trees everywhere. So pretty! 

Yesterday (Wednesday) we had a couple of teaching appointments. I didn’t say much because I couldn’t understand anything they were saying. They were Cuban;  However, the other  appointment was in English. That was better. It was a long busy day but it was very good. We did some street contacting and many people said they would like us to come visit them. Hopefully everything will work out. 
The people here are so kind and if you go up to them they’ll usually listed to what you have to say. They may not accept us but they’ll listen. Luckily, my companion speaks very good Spanish. We use our bikes every day.  It will take some time to get used to it since I’m terrible a riding a bike. Thank you for ordering it Dad! It’s a great bike! I’m so thankful to all of you for your support and I’m excited to be able to talk to you on Mother’s Day. I’m so thankful for all your prayers and letters of encouragement.

I need to remember not to be afraid  and just get to work and love it! I am so thankful to have a family like you! You are so supportive of me and I love you all so much! I know this is the Lord’s work and he is helping me do it. It’s a hard transition and it’s hard work but it’s a good thing, a very good thing.
Yesterday I was pretty overwhelmed with everything but glad to be out here. Hopefully, the language(s) will start to come. President Hale said don’t get overwhelmed with the language.  It will come! So I am sure it will. I need to do as much as I can and the Lord will do the rest. I am so thankful for that. 

Alright well, I need to get back to work. I know this is the Lord’s church and the Lord’s work. He knows everything. I’m grateful to my Savior for everything that He has given me. I love Him so much! I know this church is true! I love you all so much. Keep praying for me, my companion and for the people. I love you.

Elder David Fullmer

P.S. The only music that we’re allowed to listen to is the Mormon Tab. Anything else is not allowed. So, if you still have my iPod, if you could take everything else off I’d appreciate it. I love you!