September 26, 2010

Go Gators!!! September 25, 2010

Go Gators!!!!! (I actually saw one in a swamp on campus)

Oh my goodness! So many things to answer back and I hope I can do it all in time. This letter can go out to everyone because I only have time to write one since I want to write Christopher too. First, it is so weird to read my name so many times in a letter. Lol I'm guessing that is a good thing. Man I hope I'm not weird when i get home. lol

This area is crazy! It is unlike anywhere that I have served in my mission. This is my fifth area and my 7th companion! well seeing as how I had sister Cutler in the MTC already it could only be 6th but I'm counting her again because three weeks in the MTC is not enough to really get to know someone. She is still so cute and amazing as before. She has changed since the MTC. She is less loud more patient and loving. She and sister Liku were in a three-sum together and they did not get along so well so I was really nervous before we got here, but through a lot of trials within our first week we have all clung to each other for strength. Our apartment consists of all the sisters who are the most stubborn, impatient and vibrant personalities. We have been white washed here without a car, no laundry room, and one bathroom with members that don't trust the missionaries and with area books and information sheets not filled out. We are really left with nothing. I think God is trying to teach us all something. There is a lot for all of us to learn and one big thing is to love and not get irritated. We have come up with a new saying in our apt. or when ever a thing seems to not go our way or we get stressed. PMA. Positive Mental Attitude. Lol I love it so much! When we get upset, we hold hands (humble yourself) close our eyes and say PMA and breath. lol it's mostly sister Johnson who starts the circle but it works. I have also added a quote to the transfer, "We are going to be doing a lot of laughing this transfer." We decided we are going to laugh it off and move on. Things never get better when you sit, pout and cry; you laugh when you trip or fall, shake it off and keep going. We have done alot of that so far this transfer. It's going to be so good. Now we just need to pass it on to the ward.

When we went to church on Sunday it was not the best ward welcome. The ward is very clicky and I felt like i was back in high school. I never thought I would have to deal with this until i was home but maybe God is preparing and showing me how to fix that here so i won't have to deal with that issue at home.

We got uninvited to FHE for a start and our class is kind of cancelled for church. We sat in the hallway with no one saying hello except for about 4 people that we had previously met; way too much drama already for my spirit to handle. I do not like it at all. This is God's church and he does not like clicks, drama, or any kind of childish things like that. There is not segregation. So we decided to fix that with love!!! It will be a little difficult seeing as how we are in a singles branch but if we have to stay up all night baking cookies or heart attack everyone's door so that they feel loved, we will. We are thinking of good missionary activities so we can still be involved and show them how hard working we are by going out and doing work and bringing them to church.

The tracting here is very different. President Berry asked us to go by the spirit of planning and let tracting be the very last thing we do in trying to find people. Really that is no problem here because all we do is contact. We walk people to class, or we interrupt them while they are eating, studying or talking with friends. It is so sweet! It is a very different approach here too. We have to become friends with them and sit and shoot the breeze with them before we can talk about God but we use what we have learned about their life to better help us understand how the Gospel can help them. It's called teaching to the one. I like it. It's harder but better. It requires asking lots of inspired question driven by the Holy Ghost. Talk about being in tune with the spirit. I would not know what to say without the spirit guiding me. There are not any restrictions for tracting or contacting here so it's all free game, which is really nice but we have to make sure we are not pushing people or causing a huge commotion or the students will complain and we won't be able to contact on campus anymore. So the approach is soft. We set up appointments to either meet them at their apt. or at the institute building which is about a mile from campus. We have an office there which is nice because once we leave the apartment; we can't go back because it's two miles away. (Don't worry we are very safe and we are going to start to very our route home so that we don't make patterns) We teach guys just like we teach girls except a guy needs another female inside for us to come inside or else we teach outside on the porch or front door step. I guess the only restriction that we have is from our mission president, that we don't tract dorms, sororities or a fraternity's cause they can be crazy! We don't contact on game nights and we try to have an appointment on weekends at night so we are off the streets and then all four of us walk home together. (We are safe)

The Elders here did a good job of cleaning the apartment but when a woman cleans something and a man cleans something it is very different. So needless to say we have cleaned it again. lol. Our zone leaders are taking care of us so we will be getting bikes next week, so that will be a new experience in itself but God will help me... PMA. Oh and because we don't have a washer and dryer and the ones down stairs are way too expensive, we have been washing our clothes in our bathtub and hanging them outside to dry. I totally have a new appreciation for the pioneers and anyone that has to hand wash anything, but it's been a blast!

Oh we also do a thing called tabling that helps us attract people as well; we stand at a table with a sign that says who we are and what we represent and then people come and talk to us or they ignore us, (which is most of the case) but we are getting better at pulling people in to talk to us. It's definitely different here but I love it. We recently just started handing out the church website to students because it's the best way to get their attention because they are always on the computer.

This area is going to be a challenge just as all my areas have been but maybe the most challenging because I felt I just came from where they are, but I know as I stay strictly obedient and do all that I'm asked to do and follow the spirit, God will strengthen and direct me in this area. This is going to be a blast. I'm learning a lot already and finding many weaknesses that I know God wants me to change.

President said once that I seemed to be an Elder magnet and to be aware of my surroundings and what I say in order to help the Elders stay on track. I have been doing my very best and the President in my last interview last week said that I'm doing very well and can see a difference in the way that I now act. It made me feel good to know that he could see a difference. I hope that people in the ward will see that same difference and be able to recognize that we are not those kinds of sisters but that we are here to work hard and to build up the kingdom of God. I'm so Happy that God sent us here and trusts us to make this area work and to build it up, I'm excited for the challenges that will help change me inside and out. Some of the toughest critics for missionaries are returned missionaries and we sure have a lot of them around here, so I know they will be watching with a close eye.

I always keep the family in my prayers and love you all sooo much! Dad the package did not get sent off because I got transferred and now I don't have a car to get to the post office so it will be late but better late than never! Love you all so much!

Your sister missionary

Please give all the kids tons of hugs and kisses for me. Really do it, not just tell them. muah!!!

September 20, 2010

University of Florida!! September 18, 2010

Oh my gosh I have so much to tell you! But I don't have time to tell you everything so I'm just going to attach my president's letter and hope you love it. I now have p-days on Saturdays, well at least for this transfer. I'm now in Gainesville Fl and I'm on campus at the University of Florida in the singles ward with my MTC comp. sister Cutler! (The U of F has a 2000 acre campus and over 50,00 students making it one of the largest universities in the nation) We are with another set of sisters as well; sister Johnson my trainer and sister liku from Tonga. We are the first sister missionaries in the mission and at least in the last 4 years that will be on foot without any car for anything! We have no washer or dryer and we have one bathroom for four girls! Wow, can you say crazy! I'm so excited for this transfer! Also the singles ward has never had all four girls before, ever! So we are the first ones. They haven't seen a baptism in over a year so we are going to change that as well as the LA. We are getting everyone to come back to church and bring their friends. It is so crazy! The package for Dad's b-day is coming this week and there will be more info. Sorry for short letter love you!!!!

Dear President Berry~

I don't know what happened last week but it shows that I didn't write you a letter. I'm sorry if it didn't make it to you but I assure you that I did write one, it just didn't make it there for some reason. I'm really sorry for the confusion.

So far I'm loving it here! It will be a great stretch for me and will push me to what the Lord knows that I can do. I'm excited for the challenge and this great experience to grow. My companion now, Sister Cutler was my MTC companion and it will be very fun to see how we have grown and the different things that we want to change. I'm so excited to serve with her. We will hit our half way point together. I never thought that I would serve with her but I think God is reminding me of the Goals that I set in the MTC and the many things that I wanted to change when I first came out. There are a lot of things that I could have done better in my last companionship's and we talked about a lot of things that we can change during weekly planning yesterday. We have set some great goals and things that will help us change, not merely make it through because this mission is so much more than just passing the time.  I completely agree with memorizing scriptures. It will be something that will not only keep my mind focused on the work but it will help my memorization skills and help me to remember my daily contacts and names and other numerous things. I'm excited for the challenge.

This campus is amazing. Having gone to college myself I am reminded of what it was like and it gives me a new perspective on how much I struggled through trying to find out who I was and what I really wanted out of my life. It helped me so much. I was so blessed to be going to a BYU school in Idaho at the time, so I was constantly surrounded by good influences and people who pushed me to be better, not to mention parents and siblings that were looking out for my best interest.

We went tabling the other day, which was completely a whole new experience in and of itself, but as I stood there and watched the students walk by so caught up in their phones, activities, sororities, and friends, I couldn't help but want to grab each of them and ask them, "do you know? Do you know who you are, and where you come from? Do you understand the love that your Father in heaven has for you? You do understand how much of an important role he plays in your life? You do have time for him, don't push God away." It breaks my heart to talk to so many college students that say, "I just don't have time for that right now." What do you mean you don't have time? It is so hard to see that from my point of view; they can't afford not to have time for him. I know my background is very different. They have yet to discover it, and there will be those that do seek to know, but yet, know not where to find it. And that is when God will put us in their path.

This is a whole new ball game and I have plenty of people to practice on. There will never be a day that we tract all day and can't find anyone to teach because no one will answer their door, for when class get's out, there is over four hundred people at any given time to tract down. I love it! It won't be easy, but anything easy is never worth it.

I have a couple questions about how we are to report our numbers since we report them to you on a Saturday. Do we go from Saturday to Saturday or do we just do Mon.-sat. and then you get all the reports on Sunday from the zone leaders? If that could be clarified that would be great. I'm sure it might be answered by the time district meeting comes around but just in case.

 The zone conference was amazing. Thank you so much. I was truly inspired in the things that I need to change and make better right now. God truly is shaping me through the work and when I'm obedient to it and I forget myself and go to work not only am I so much happier and see many miracles but when looking back at those experiences, I see how I have changed for the better.

September 14, 2010

Transferred Again September 13, 2010

I'm so sorry your sick. I hope you feel better and I hope you heal really soon. I hope this story makes you feel better~

Going to the temple this weekend happened to be the funniest experience of my mission. Eddie is a recent convert of a year and has been preparing for a year to go through the temple and take out his endowments. We were all so excited for him. He is totally faithful and is a very fun outspoken man so everyone knows him. He is in our ward so we asked the mission president if we might go with him for support. President said it would be a fantastic idea and that my last comp. sister Waddoups could come too.(because she was the last one here and she was with him for three transfers.) I was so excited! So a ward member sister Willis and her daughter plus a wonderful Spanish woman Emma, (I can't pronounce her last name so I just call her by her first name) plus my two companions sister baker and curly, and sister Waddoups and her comp sister Christianson were all riding in the same car. It was so fun to be all together in their suburban talking and laughing when all of the sudden the back seat starts to shake like crazy! We find out the tire is flat. So we pull off the road to a gas station.

The Orlando temple is almost a three hour drive and we left at 11:30 hoping to get there by 2:30 before the session started at 3. It was 1 and we still had an hour drive ahead of us. So we fist try and fix it ourselves. Really how hard could it be? We had all changed a tire or seen it done at one time or another. So we get all the stuff out and find a wrench looking thing to drop the spare from under the car, well someone decided that the rubber piece was meant to go inside of the hole to help crank it down, wrong! That part needed to be thrown away so the plastic is stuck in there with no way to drop the tire. So picture this; 8 woman dressed in there Sunday best underneath the car hitting the tire with whatever we can find to get it to drop. (don't worry if you can't picture it, I have pictures) That doesn't work so we call a couple of friends to help get it going. One showed up and he was in his 70's. then after much prayer two mechanics happen to pull up to get gas and fix our problem within a matter of min. (man Shanna aren't you lucky you married Adam?) by this time we have sweated off most our make-up in the 90 degree weather and it is 2 o'clock. We won't make it to the temple in time but we can at least wait outside when he gets out. So we clean ourselves off and pass around the powder and perfume and other amazing things in sister Christensen Mary Poppins bag and we head off on our way.

The temple is beautiful! I have had the privilege to go twice in my mission but my comps have not. It was such a good experience. It's amazing what sitting on just the outside of the temple will do to your spirit. I love it! We got to go through the book store and get some things from the distribution center that some of us needed. Then Eddie came out. He was so excited he could hardly stand it. He loved it. He said that even though we couldn't make it, it meant more to him that we would come anyway just to see him when he got out. He is an amazing man. (He goes back next week to do all the work for his wife that passed away) After pictures we went to Mimi's cafe (the one in Utah that you love). The best food ever! I forgot to mention that Eddies escorts were the bishop Ross and first counselor brother Lafontaine. We had a blast and the best conversation over dinner about the ward and how we can strengthen it. So amazing.

By that time it was 7 and time to head home. About an hour into our drive home the back seat starts to shake again! and pow! Out goes the tire only this time the tire traction completely ripped off. We had two more hours before we would get home. After about an hour or two of trying to figure out what to do we came to the conclusion that we had to all fit in bishop's truck while the Willis stayed at a hotel.

Side note, everyone thinks that because we are missionaries we have some sort of magical power that makes things better or that our prayers mean more or that we don't have any problems.

So needless to say all the sisters spent the next two hours sitting in the back of a pickup truck on i95. It was so fun! The best time ever! We got home at about midnight and completely tired. But we were safe. I guess God protects his missionaries after all.

That is my fun story. I have got to go but I love you so much.
love your Sister Missionary!


I haven't gotten them yet but that sounds amazing! I'm so excited for the notes. I love hearing your insights on what you learned. I'm excited to get them! Oh man! Elder Pierson from the 70 is coming here to talk with each individual zone and has asked us to write a three to five min talk and be prepared to give it if called on. Plus we have to memorize a song and a scripture and a quote handed off to us, all within this one week. He comes Thursday for orange park but I'm getting transferred again and I don't know where I'm going so I don't know when he'll come to my zone. I'll just have to wait and see. I'm upset to be transferred because i really like this ward a lot!!! I'm going to miss it so much! I wanted to stay at least two more transfers but I guess God needs me somewhere else, so "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord."

Tell the Elders i say hi back, if you ever get the chance to. What an amazing experience! I'm jealous but I guess I had Elder Nelson so I can't complain at all! but I know what an amazing experience it must have been. You're so lucky to have gone!

I love you so much!!! I have really gained an appreciation for you out here on my mission and how much I love and admire you and how lucky I am to have you as my Daddy. I love love love you!!!!

Love your little girl who is now your BIG sister missionary~

~the ward really needs to stop feeding us. lol~

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