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!!!



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