Monday, August 25, 2014

Seeking the One!

I Follow Him Facebook Event  The picture is "Seeking the One"
The Gainesville 3rd Ward Primary Children Follow Him
After the One

My past companions. Sisters Fife, Hale, Yeackley
And they say everything is bigger in Texas? Elephant Ear
Aloe Vera
Another doormat
A doggie
A Florida Gator Fan

It was a wonderful week!

Let's start with the title shall we?  Seeking the One.  First- it is the name of the picture I used in the event I Follow Him!  (10,000 came to the event!) It is one of my favorite pictures.  If you look closer you see that Christ is leaving his fold, coming for the one--for me, for you, for anyone who has yet to be found.  I love being a missionary and being one of His Shepherds looking for those lost sheep. 

 We were shepherding in Gainesville this week verifying locations of 4 less active members on assignment of the ward council. We ended up on a dirt road (or maybe I should say sand) going back and  forth over pot holes trying to find the house.  It appeared it had disappeared.  The numbers completely skipped the house we were looking for.  So I followed the wonderful example of my super missionary minded visiting teaching partner, Jenna, and knocked the neighbors' door.  (Jenna and I were assigned several less active sisters and I was shocked when she said we were going to go knock on the neighbors  of the girl we couldn't find.  What a good little RM she is!)  Well the neighbors said we were on the wrong side of the interstate.  But just to be sure we decided to try the dirt road that went parallel with the one we were on.  It looked like there was a gate up the road so we decided to walk in case we couldn't turn the car around once we got to the gate.  We laughed as we walked about going after the one lost sheep.  We assumed there wouldn't be anyone up there but we wanted to know for sure.  Sure enough there was a fence but as I got closer I saw that the road actually turned before the fence and went off into the woods.  Should we try it?  Sure!  So we walk through the trees past a sketchy tree house and a huge banana spider and we find a nice clearing.  Across the clearing is a man by a truck.  By this point we aren't sure if we should be out here alone, but he had already seen us so we decided we had better say hello. Then he surprises us by saying, "Hi Sisters!"  He is an inactive member!!!  We  had a lovely chat with Brother Witt.  He said he knows he will come back, "One of these days."  And he wants us to come back and see him  (at his house not in the woods).  Apparently his father in law owns  the land and he stores equipment for work (building pools) there. He also said it is a great site for  digging Indian artifacts and he is going to give us some arrowheads!  We are looking forward to meeting  with our lost sheep again!

We got members to 3 lessons!  Yea!  One of them was while we were waiting for an appointment.  We took Sister Jepson and talked to a girl sitting on the side of the road.  Her name is Dakosha and she seems really interested.  She didn't make it to church on Sunday but we are looking forward to meeting with her soon.

The biggest miracle was on Sunday morning.  Last week we tracted into a less active man named Tim Shepherd.  Well his wife is Catholic and they have a 14 year old daughter, Tammy.  He has children from a previous marriage who are older, but Tammy is the only one at home (it sounds like she was raised kind of like me!).  Brother and Sister Shepherd decided they would introduce Tammy to both religions so she could choose what she wanted to follow.  Well, Brother Shepherd was offended several years ago and has not returned to church.  Sister Gloria Shepherd called us and asked us to come over Sunday evening! We just so happened to have a dinner appointment with the Rudd family and they have one of the few young women aged daughters so we invited Sister Rudd and Emma to come to the lesson!  It was a great Restoration!  Tammy is an absolute sweetheart!  She is brilliant too! We thought we would be teaching both Gloria and Tammy, but half way through the lesson it became apparent that Gloria will support Tammy's choice, but she is not looking to change religions.  The spirit was really strong and we left them each a copy of the Book of Mormon. Tammy wants to come to mutual tomorrow night too!  Pray for her!  Oh, so after the wonderful lesson the Shepherds got off on so many tangents!  They were telling us about how Tammy used to show dairy cows and who knows what else.  We were there for 2 hours!!!  Finally I cut in and told them what a lovely time we had, but that we needed to get going.  It was great to get to know them better, but next time we will need more strict time restraints!

Also, after dinner Sister Rudd asked to take a picture with us.  She posted it on Facebook with an offer for free dinner in her home with the missionaries for anyone who wanted to learn a bit more about the church.  Isn't she a gem?

Zone Conference was wonderful!  We meet with the Ocala and Lake City Zones.  I got to see a lot of missionaries I previously served with (Sister McCleary, Elder Frazier, Sister Pasko...) it was so great! Cache Valley was well represented!  There was me (of course), Elder Michael Young (from North Logan also- right across the street from me), Elder Caleb Jensen (I believe he is from Smithfield-he  graduated high school with me), Sister Meagan Williams (Millville), and Sister Hannah Corcoran (Hyde Park).  Crazy huh?

We talked about counseling together and reaching goals.  Sister Craig taught us about being a disciple of Jesus Christ.  The senior couple, the Van Blankensteins taught us about thriving in missionary life with  all of the stress and everything.  The assistants taught us about tools and techniques to get investigators to church. Finally President spoke to us about developing Christlike attributes. It was all exactly what I needed!  President used a quote from one of my all time favorite talks, I Will Give Myself to Him, by Brother Osguthorpe (CES Broadcast November 2013).  This is the broadcast where our institute choir sang and the entire talk was based on the opening song.  It has become a sort of personal motto for my mission.  The portion President Craig used is as follows: "The more we follow this path, the  more The Lord will bless us with His love.  And the more we feel His love, the more we know we are succeeding in giving our will to Him."

I had to laugh when Sister Hale sent me the following email about her  Zone Conference:  Sister Murray!  In front of everyone at zone conference President Craig called me Sister Murray twice! Seriously! He was on the pulpit and asking us to read scriptures down in the congregation. Once he got to me it was,   Sister Murra....Hale!       HALE MURRAY forever!  I love yeee mommy (ewwww...)  ;)

After Zone Conference our Relief Society had an activity.  About 50  women came!  It was the brown paper bag biography.  Each sister brought  two items that represented her in a brown bag.  Then we mixed up the bags and guessed who each bag belonged to.  I brought a pack of crayons because I am studying Early Childhood Education and because I love my 20 adorable nieces and nephews.  I also brought a picture of our extended family camping (Thanks for the picture Janese!)  because  I love my family and I love camping and fishing.  It was a really fun night!!!

Thank you for your prayers and letters everyone!  Miracles are just  waiting to happen!
Have a blessed week all y'all!  I love you!

Sister Alyson Murray