Monday, June 30, 2014

Everybody Loves Sisters

Sister Murray and Sister Stitt

I’m  writing this on my iPad so I hope I can get enough details without  too many typos! :).  Transfers were on Wednesday and  I am in the Gainesville 3rd Ward with Sister Stitt. A member of the ward who is attending the YSA branch here in Gainesville, Julie Castillo, picked up us and the YSA sisters in Jacksonville and drove us the two hours to Gainesville.  She just got home from a mission in San Francisco!
Sister Stitt is great!  She is from Woodburn, Oregon.  She is 20 and is the youngest of 3.  She is an amazing missionary!  I wouldn't know this is only her second transfer out if I wasn't doing an extra hour of studies with her to finish her training!  She is a vegan- no animal products.  She only cheats on honey and when members feed us.  We get fed about three times a week.

The ward is amazing!  Coming from a branch with an inactive ward mission leader it doesn't take too much to make me happy :).  The ward is very young for the most part.  A lot of the members are going to school- mostly to become doctors, dentists, etc.  The ward is about 40% children.  It's a little hard to focus in sacrament meeting. Speaking of which, we had an investigator in sacrament meeting!  His name is Caleb.  He is 19 and is going to a ministry school. Apparently, last time he met with the sisters he said he was pretty sure the Book of Mormon was not true. But he still wants to learn! If  he proves promising I guess we'll be handing him over to the YSA sisters.  Gosh, it's weird to say that!  Our sister training leaders are YSA so maybe I will get to go on a trade off in the Gainesville  YSA!
The Gainesville YSA institute teacher, Brother Janson, is in our ward!  His son, Thomas, is the one who lives in Jacksonville that we went to the Catholic church to hear sing!  It's fun to be serving with Thomas's family now!

The work is going great here in gator town.  It's a bit slow, but things are picking up. I really like Gainesville.  Maybe it's because I grew up in a college town.  It's smaller than Jacksonville and people are actually really nice!  Ok... Maybe not when you knock the rich areas...but that's another story.  Haha, our bishop has asked for a push on knocking this high class area  called Hail Plantations.  I  had to laugh when I was studying this morning and turned to the wrong scripture.  It said, " And there shall be a great HAILstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth."  Not on our watch will hail  destroy the fruit of Gainesville souls! Last night we got yelled at in hail for "soliciting."  The Elders usually cover that area. We are just there on request of the bishop.  There are two sets of Elders in the ward- Elder Greenlaw and Elder Lewis, and Elder Lane and Elder Baldwin.

Another important thing to know is that we are in a car share with the Gainesville 2nd sisters, Sister Montgomery from Idaho and Sister Winkler from Alberta, Canada.  We ride bikes every other day to share the car.  There are two bikes in the area for us to use. They both have various problems. Bike one: super short bike for little girls, no brakes (except I did find out you can tighten one brake but it gets loose fast). Bike two is the one I am on: kinda short- the seat is about a foot below my waist, one and a half pedals, loose breaks, no light, and it is pink.  Sister Stitt amazes me! She is so fast I can hardly keep up with her and her bike is shorter than mine! I am so grateful I will have a new bike shipped to me in a few days!   Thank you, thank you, thank you Mom and Dad!

The first day on a bike was Thursday.  It was fun at first! I was so grateful I had brought biking shorts because there was no way my skirt was staying past my knees!  The only problem is that I don't know the area and sister Stitt has only been here 6 weeks so she doesn't know it too well yet... and we got lost.  Super lost.  We biked so far that day that by the end of the day as we were riding home I couldn't decide if it was better to endure the pain of sitting on the bike seat or the pain in my knees when I stood.  And I couldn't see the path because my light was out.  Someday this will be a funny story to look back on and tell my own children when they are on their missions right?

On that same day we stopped to talk to a middle aged man who was walking.  He said he had already talked to two sisters on bikes that day and that we should pray for his mother.  Then he said he would say good bye with a kiss on the cheek... Yep a kiss in the cheek for each of us!  Oh the joys of missionary life!

We taught two Restoration lessons on Sunday and we are getting to know the ward.  The ward mission leader's wife just had a baby so his assistant is filling in for now. I told you there are a lot of babies!  It is so super weird! I just spent 7 1/2 months with singles my age and now I'm with surrounded by people close to my age who are married and having kids! It's weird when you have those moments that remind you you're growing up!

Miracles are happening and I am loving this area! This week we met with a struggling member.  I pulled out a video on my iPad I hadn't seen for a while but that I thought would go well with the lesson. When it ended she asked how we knew what she was struggling with.  I was able to testify that I didn't.  I had never even met her before, but Heavenly Father truly knows his children.  It's moments like that that I live for on my mission- especially when I have a hard day, a hard week, or a hard transfer.  It's been hard to adjust to the transfer but I know I am in Gainesville for a reason and I am ready to  see miracles!

I'll end with two funny experiences   First- at ward correlation Brother John was trying to get us excited
about the 4th of July breakfast.  He said, "Everybody loves..." looking for the words "free food!" but
Elder Lane said, "sisters."   Hahaha, we liked that one!  Second funny experience: Elder Lewis and I were asked to say prayers in sacrament  meeting.  I was asked to say the opening prayer, but Bishop Lowry
introduced us in the wrong order.  I wasn't listening and Elder Lewis decided to follow what was announced so we both walked up to the podium! He got there first though so I just sat in the closest bench.  It was pretty funny!

Have a spectacular week ya'll!      Love you!