The past week was kind of rough. Sister Hale and I haven't been feeling negative about it or anything, but yesterday we were looking back and it seems like not much happened. Most of our appointments fell through, we made another trip to the doctor, and the baptism we were planning on this week didn't happen.
On Tuesday Sister Hale was re-diagnosed with Bronchitis. No fun! I've been very blessed to remain as well as I have! That night we had institute, and then went to the mission home. President Craig wanted to check in with Sister Hale and see how she is doing. I spent most of the time putting papers into sheet protectors with the Craig's daughter-in-law. Oh, I lied last week! It was their son visiting, not daughter! It was fun to just talk to them, and see the Craig's adorable granddaughter again! I miss my nieces and nephews!!!
It was cold at the beginning of this week. Yes. Cold! I found out I can fit fuzzy socks on under two pairs of tights then my legs and feet don't get so cold though! ...even if it makes my feet look a bit more wide... but who looks at your feet anyway? Oh, fun fact! I found out that one of the other YSA sisters, Sister Pasko, has Raynauds like me! So, Mom and Dad you can know that I'm not alone out here with purple hands and feet! haha! :) I truly am grateful I was sent somewhere warm. I don't know if my body could handle tracting in anything much colder for too long!
We had three dinners this week, which was fun. Ruby took us to lunch at a Chinese Buffet. Sister Pennington fed us, and the other sisters with their investigator. We got to follow their tradition of looking for a pickle ornament on their Christmas tree before receiving our Christmas present from them. (They had been sick around Christmas time and still wanted us to enjoy their Christmas traditions!) Then we decorated sugar cookies to deliver to their neighbors. Saturday evening we had dinner with a member family in Dunn Ave. and their cousin, Charlie, who is an investigator.
On Sunday in the Arlington ward we taught gospel principles, and President and Sister Craig happened to be visiting! And in the YSA branch, our investigator, Caitlin came to church for the first time! She LOVED it! At the end someone made a comment on how it doesn't seem like three hours, and she said, "has it really been three hours?" EVERYONE was SO welcoming!!! I love that we know investigators can come to this ward and be fellowshipped so quickly.
Honestly, it seems like not a lot happened this week, but there were a lot of small successes. Sister Hale and I are getting so much better at talking together. By the end of the week we were finishing each others sentences. Last night our District Leader called and he asked if we ever had bad weeks because we always seem so happy about everything. We told him we did have a rough week, but there were still things going well. One thing that I think really helps me and Sister Hale stay positive is that we can work hard, but we also have a lot of fun! We get into laughing fits all the time... sometimes while knocking on doors... and other times when the District Leader calls (which makes him think we've gone crazy, but that's ok too!). I love the quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley:
“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”
Isn't it so true! Especially on a mission! You can cry when people shut the door in your face or you can laugh at the expression they gave when you said you were Mormon. And we sure have had some good laughs! Sister Hale told me that when she was talking to President Craig in his home he asked how we were getting along. She included that we laugh, and he said that's why we were placed in the YSA branch. So, long story short: enjoy your life! Really! We can easily get caught up in the stress and imperfections, and I am definitely not saying I haven't done that. BUT I know that when we choose to stay positive we find more joy, and we feel the spirits’ presence so much stronger.
One more exciting part of this week! The first of February!!! I mentioned that the Zone Leaders extended the challenge to choose one thing to fast from in January. I was drawing blanks. I had heard about missionaries fasting from treats while their investigators were giving up smoking and other habits so I decided I'd go with a fast from sugar. I defined my fast as candy, desserts, and pop. Pop was easy for me, candy was slightly tempting, especially when my family sent me junior mints! But the hardest was when members made desserts for us. Gratefully every meal this month we were with understanding members who were actually really intrigued by the fact that I turned down desserts (I wouldn't have done it if I didn't know the members would be completely fine with it, and I would take it home to freeze if I could so I can tell them how good it is! I have plenty of cake in the freezer... :) ) I learned a lot from this experience. One- that I can do it. Two- what it's like to live on a specified diet. Poor Sister Hale is always having to make changes to fit her diet, and we have been working with several people who have Crohns, diabetes, allergies... So I'm grateful to have received a little taste of what these people live with every day.
I wish ya'll a happy week!
Love, Sister Murray
Here is the Florida Jacksonville Mission Called to Serve 3rd Verse:
Called to be a chosen generation
Preach my Gospel is a sacred call
Jax is white and ready now to harvest
We go forth to gather all
Onward ever onward
Teach and baptize in his name
Onward ever onward
Every member we'll retain
Goooo forward, pressing forward (On "go" we fist pump our arm in the air)
As a triumph song we'll sing
God our strength will be;
Press forward ever called to serve my King!