Monday, March 24, 2014

First Baptism and Twin Gators!!!

My first baptism of a gator I taught!  Jeremy was baptized March 16th.
These are our beautiful twin gators, Caitlin and Kristen.  Caitlin (left) is the one we met first, though a media referral.  She is studying Political Science and wants to go to law school.  Kristen (right) is studying Psychology and dreams of working for the FBI.  Both are attending University of North Florida, and they are both amazing!  
We love these girls so much!  

Monday, March 17, 2014

You Know You're Tired When....

Leap of Faith
Mission Scripture, Motto, Vision. We say them each morning.

My first baptism of a gator I taught!  Jeremy was baptized March 16th.

Sister Zone Conference

Hale Murray in the Chappell

You know you're tired when... 

...three different people on three separate occasions straight out tell you  look tired.  Yah... it was a hard week.  Haha, we met with a less active girl named Territa.  We sat down on her couch and she said, "Ya'll look tired.  Especially you," as she pointed at, you guessed it, me!  This is a common conversation in our companionship:  Oh boy, let's get to bed early tonight!  Oh wait!  We hardly ever get into the apartment before 9:30 because we have a half hour drive home most nights (because we are blessed to have such a big area).  And then we plan until 10...  oh, ok we'll keep going to bed at 10:30!  Haha, but it was also a week with so many wonderful events!
I saw my first baptism of a gator I had taught this Sunday.  Jeremy is a very loving guy with a desire to follow Christ.  The other YSA Sisters started teaching him, but we helped him finish up.  It was a good baptism, with a nice Jeremy touch. :)  We sang "Ring out wild bells" and "Today while the Sun Shines."  It was a good reminder that we don't have to stick to traditional ways!  Funny side-note.  Jeremy asked the mission leader from one of the home wards to baptize him.  This mission leader and his wife are in the Law of Chastity pamphlet!!!!  How funny is that?!? Page 5 if you happen to find a missionary with one around. :)  They're great and they have the cutest kids!  We keep running into them at baptisms.
Going back in time... on Monday we had a Sister's P-day.  Most of the Sisters in the Mandarin Zone (my new Zone) and the Jax East Zone (my old zone) got together and went to the MOSH Museum. (Museum of Science and History)   It was the most amazing museum I have ever seen.  I literally could have spent an entire day there!!!  I would definitely recommend it, but if you ever visit Jacksonville keep in mind that you should check on places with people who know their area.  Apparently the museum is three blocks away from a part of town called "Murder Alley."  Moral of the story?  Park close to the museum, say prayers for safety, and have fun!  :)
On Tuesday we had another trade-off.  Sister McCleary came with me and Sister Hale to YSA.  It  is fun to be able to learn from other sisters.  On Wednesday we had interviews with President Craig, Sister Craig, and the Andrew couple (the medical missionaries).  It was a full day!  That evening I got to go with the Sister Training Coordinators to teach a new gator.  I keep forgetting that the Sister Leaders are a fairly new thing with the influx of sisters.  Here's how it works for ya'll older missionaries ;)  Sister Training Leaders is one companionship in each zone that do one trade-off with each sister companionship per transfer to see how we're doing.  They are examples and teachers for the zone.  THEN their leaders are the Sister Training Coordinators (the ones I went out with this night).  These sisters are sometimes compared to the AP's.  They do trade-offs with the Sister Training Leaders.  So... long story short they were on a trade-off that night so I got to teach a lesson with Sister Major (STC) and Sister Phelon (STL from Gainsville).  It went really well and it was amazing to see how well these sisters teach.  They asked me to give them tips for teaching in a trio since they had never served in one.  This gator's name is Nicholas.  He was a swimmer at one of the colleges around, but decided he was sick of the self-centered attitude and the partying taking place.  He is a very deep thinker and we had a great discussion.  His best friend is on a mission right now and we held the lesson in the home of his friend's parents.  The spirit was so strong being in a member's home.  I wish we could do that more often, but that's a struggle being in YSA.  Anyway it was a good lesson and he said he would, "Absolutely" be baptized if he finds what we taught is true after he prays.  We're so excited!  God truly prepares his children for the gospel!

Thursday we had dinner with our twin gators (Caitlin and Kristen) at a recent convert's house.  This sister  was just baptized on the 9th.  She made us a delicious dinner of baked ravioli and spaghetti squash.  Yummy!  And then she spoils us like no other!  She works for General Mills as a representative of some sort and she gets tons of free samples.. which she sends home with her favorite missionaries!  And the Elders get some too... Haha, just kidding ;)  She shared her conversion story and we had a wonderful lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Caitlin and Kristen talked about how they feel the spirit and they both came to realize how the spirit speaks to them.  They have a baptismal date set for March 30th.  This week is spring break and they are home in Southern Florida.  We had a special companionship fast and have been praying that their family will be accepting of their choice to be baptized.  They come from a Catholic family.
One funny story from that night... I was sitting in the backseat when we pulled up and somehow the child lock got turned on.  My lovely companions ran out of the car to give the twins and a recent convert hugs and, to my dismay, I was locked in!   I had to knock on the window for them to come open the door.  We all had a good laugh about that one!

Saturday was a bit different.  Sister Chappell needed to get some rest due to some medical conditions so we called around and found three different members' homes for her to stay at through out the day so Sister Hale and I could continue to work.  One of the homes was that of Grandma Williams (Arlington ward).  We dropped Sister Chappell off just as our service project got canceled.  Since we were already in our service clothes we cleaned up Sister Williams's street gutters.  I've been told that everything in Florida bites (all of the sisters who have spent a summer here have pretty great scars from bug bites on their legs... I'm going to be using a lot of bug repellant!) and I am getting my first experiences of it!  There were these lovely little gnats all over.  In Utah that's no big deal.  You swat them away, maybe squish a few and they're just annoying.  Not the Floridian gnats!  Oh my goodness those things bite!  I have bites all over my arms and neck now thanks to those guys.  It's pretty remarkable that something so small can leave such a big mark.  It reminds me of the fiery darts of the adversary we're told to watch out for.  Satan tries to make things look harmless and innocent, but if you don't protect yourself you will pay for it later.
Well I hope ya'll have a great week (and hopefully don't look as tired as I must have!)
Sister Murray

Monday, March 10, 2014

Miracles in the Sunshine State

Bestest Trio Ever-Sister Chappell (Richfield, UT), Sister Hale (Pinetop, AZ), Sister Murray (North Logan,UT)

Trade off- Sisters Chappell, Murray, McCleary (notice bird in background)
9:47 AM
It was a busy week and we are feeling so blessed!  We have so many solid investigators!!!  On Tuesday the Elder's gator brought Caitlin and Kristen (the twins) to the church to watch Prophet of the Restoration.  They loved it, and were excited to stay for institute.  Guess what the institute lesson was on!  Prophets!  Even Caitlin commented on how perfect it went with our lesson!  What was even more of a miracle was that the institute teacher said he wasn't planning on going the direction he did with the lesson.  I know that as teachers follow the spirit we will be given exactly what our students (and even ourselves) need to know.
This week I decided to start a missionary blog. I have yet to get an official post on it, but it should be completely running in the next couple of days.  You can check it out at:  I will be posting thoughts and lessons about Christ and his gospel.  I am excited to have so many tools now that I can use to share the gospel.
We had a trade off this week.  Sister Hale went with Sister Heckel to their area in Hendricks, and Sister McCleary came with me and Sister Chappell.  We did some good work, and had a lot of fun together.
On Tuesday we had zone meeting and on Thursday we had a Zone Sister's meeting.  We have more sisters in the zone than Elders!  One thought that stood out to me was that of the importance of repentance.  One of the Zone Leaders, Elder Hamilton, comapared a sin to a sliver.  If you just put a bandaid on it, it will never completely heal.  You need to remove the sliver (or sin) and then go through the process of repentance to be completely healed.
Sunday was a big day!  A Sister was baptized!!!!  She's been investigating since about June.  Sister Hale's boyfriend, Elder Calder taught her so it was really great that Sister Hale was able to see her baptized!  Her family is Jewish, and President Perkins talked about the similarities and differences in the two religions.  She is so loving and happy, and she's been involved in the church so long a lot of people didn't know she wasn't baptized.  (and another nice bonus for us is that when she comes to lessons we can actually count it as a member present!! Yea!  haha!)
Sunday evening we finally got to go to dinner with the Drapers (military relations missionaries).  They will be going home next month!  We've been trying to get all of our military-involved gators to dinner and it keeps falling through.  Finally Elder Draper called and said they had a YSA Navy man coming so we should just come without a gator.  It was really fun, and we were able to meet three men in the Navy.  Two were members.  The third one is a helicopter pilot from Australia.  Sister Hale and I just wanted to listen to him talk all day with that amazing accent!!!  It was interesting to get his perspective on different religions and cultures he has seen traveling all over the world.  He met the Drapers in the Memorial day parade last year.  We were able to read the Introduction to the Book of Mormon as well as Joseph Smith's testimony.  He said he was really looking forward to reading the entire book!  The gospel truly is going ALL OVER THE WORLD!  I thought I would be teaching people in Florida and now I'm teaching people from so many different countries!
Another final thought that has come up with several people I've talked to this week is that of focusing on what you can do.  It is so easy to blame others or the situation, but in reality what we can change is ourselves and our attitude.  It is a reminder I think we all need at one time or another so I wanted to share it with ya'll!
I love ya'll!  Have a very blessed week!
Sister Murray

Monday, March 3, 2014

Trio in the YSA

The biggest news this week is that Sister Hale and I have a new addition to our companionship.  Sister Chappell will be serving with us in a trio!  Sister Chappell is such a determined sister, and we love her!  You can read her testimony and hear a bit of her story on her profile here:  It literally is a miracle that she is here.  She was born with Spina Bifeda and has had many medical problems throughout her life.  She entered the MTC with Sister Hale January 2013, and also went home for medical reasons.  She came back, but was sent home again.  She came back a second time on the plane with me in November 2013.  She was actually sitting by me when we landed in Jacksonville.  She said as soon as she met me she knew I would have to be companions with Sister Hale sometimes, but who would have guessed the three of us would be in a trio?

Our names still go together quite nicely.  People used to remember Sister Hale and Sister Murray by saying, "Hale Murray!"  (like Hail Mary)  and now you just "Hale Murray in the Chappell!"   You gotta love servin' in the South!  Haha!  

Other than adjusting to life in a trio it was a pretty slow week.  We did have a lesson with our gator, Michelle.  We had a lot of appointments fall through, and we tried to visit a lot of less active members and someone must have warned them we were coming because most of them were conveniently not home.

Last night we were able to watch the CES Broadcast with Linda K. Burton.  I would STRONGLY suggest ya'll look it up and watch/read it.  Also, Sister Hale's past companion, Sister Jensen, is singing in the choir!   Sister Hale about cried when she saw her!  

She talked all about how the spirit speaks to us, and what we need to to do recognize his promptings.  She taught that sometimes we are given the trust to choose a path.  Then if what we have chosen is not right God will warn us to turn around.  It immediately made me think of my GPS.  I started driving a couple of weeks ago. (scary right?  Tell your friends in Jacksonville to stay off the roads!)  I wouldn't say I'm a bad driver, but I would say I'm used to Logan back roads, not Jacksonville Freeways, so the GPS is my great friend!  He tells me when I need to turn and warns me when I should prepare for a turn in my path.  And when I take a wrong turn he tells me I've made a mistake and shows me the road back.  The other night I was driving us home from Dunn Ave and I think I took about three wrong turns.  It was a little bit ridiculous, but we eventually made it home!  I know that if we are worthy to have the Holy Ghost he will guide us so we can stay on the right course back to our heavenly home.  I am grateful for the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  When I was set apart as a missionary I was told that I would be prompted to go certain places and to stay away from certain places, and that has already happened many times.  I know that it can be the same for each of you!

Finally, I just want to say again how grateful I am to be in the Jax YSA Branch!  Yesterday marked four years since the branch was organized.  It was fun to hear about the rough start the branch had and to look at it now and see how far it's come.  Now we just need to make this Branch into a Ward!!!  We love these YSA's!!!

I love ya'll!!! 

Sister Murray