Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Sister Fife at Zone Conference
With  Sister Merchant
Sister Martinez shopping
A tiny frog

This was a different week... I feel like I got some good opportunities to work on Charity though! I've been studying the topic this month, and I have found that we see charity in the big acts of service, but also in the little daily actions like patience, encouragement, and positivity. Of course the greatest exemplar of charity is Jesus Christ himself. Truly "Love is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the pathway of discipleship”
                                  (“The Great Commandment,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 28–29). 

Monday was our Zone Conference with Elder Golden.

Tuesday was our P-Day. We played warrior ball with our district. It is pretty much dodge ball, but there are no teams so every man for himself!

Wednesday we had interviews with President Craig. Half of our district came for a lesson from Sister Craig about safety and rules. One by one President tapped us out to talk to him. It is always so good to visit with President! He asked my opinion about the work in the area and the apartment situation. He always asks how things are at home, and I even got some school advice from him. I just love the Craigs so much!

Thursday was moving day. It took about three hours to get our furniture and other items moved down the street to the Asbury apartments. (5333 SW 75th at Apt 177) These apartments are so nice! Our whole district helped and we had two members bring their trucks.  The moving went pretty quick and the Elders set up our bed frames. Elder Young even put all of our food away in the kitchen for us. If we ever couldn't find something we would ask, "Now, where would Elder Young put this?" We really appreciated all of the help!

Elders Collins and Walgomott moved into our apartment after that. This actually was a huge blessing because about this same time several sisters were diagnosed with scabies. They have been quarantined to the Elders old apartment. Elder Collins decided it would be nice to make dinners for them so he called us and told us we could be in charge of organizing meals for them. Haha, I guess he has learned the art of delegation. 

Friday we were super busy. We rushed through weekly planning and we used our lunch time to make dinner for the sisters. Then we dropped off dinner on our way to a district service project for the 2nd Ward sisters’ investigator. It went really well! During the move Sister Martinez's leg started to really hurt. She had someone collide with her playing soccer the p day before transfers. It just seemed to be badly bruised, but moving put a lot of stress on it and hurt her leg more. The medical missionary, Elder Andrew, said we needed to take her to the doctor. Unfortunately we were on a tight schedule. We were able to get our wonderful sister training leaders to trade off earlier though so Sister Lawrence took Sister Martinez to the doctor and Sister Merchant did service with me. I had an amazing trade off with Sister Merchant! It was her first one as a sister training leader. She came out the transfer after me. We were able to go out and work hard which was so nice since we had been taking it fairly slow with Sister Martinez's leg.

Saturday Sister Merchant and I got three other lessons in one apartment building! It was great! We traded companions back and I learned that Sister Martinez's leg was fractured. She has a cane. We went to our dinner appointment and we got permission from President to use their computer so Sister Martinez could email her x Rays to the area missionary doctor. He called later and said he thinks it might be worse than we first thought. So we were a bit stressed for the Women's Broadcast that night, but it was good. I definitely felt the spirit and loved all of the talks about the temple and covenants. Our ward met at 7:39 for a chocolate appreciation. Everyone brought food to dip in chocolate. The sisters with scabies got to come too (as long as they didn't hug anyone :) ). 

After the meeting we stopped by our old complexes and Elders Collins and Walgamott brought a chair to the parking lot to give Sister Martinez a blessing. Then we went to Walgreens to find a brace for her knee. We just found out she needed one right before the broadcast. The only problem is that the closest
Walgreens closed at 10:00 and we got there just at 10:00. Elder Andrew found a 24 hour store for us, but they didn't have the kind she needed. We called a member who used to specialize in orthopedics and he said we wouldn't find one on a Saturday night. So we went home and got to bed about 11:30.

We were both pretty tired Sunday and we ended up staying at the church from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm since we couldn't go out to work. It was the Sunday of the primary program which was so fun! We found out this Ward has 31 infants and 59 children and the average sacrament meeting attendance is about 150. Young Ward! I love it! 

We are looking forward to another week! We have made a list of things we can do in our apartment to stay productive. Elders Baldwin and Tauoa are coming to dedicate our apartment today too! 

Also! The new movie, Meet the Mormons, is coming out in October. It is a video about 6 Mormons. It will be shown in select theaters according to requests so we are working to get our members to request it near us.  You can see the trailer and request to see it near you at meetthemormons.com

AND! Don't forget to join the event on a Facebook  The  Prophet Speaks. This Friday post your picture and share your testimony about the prophet or a favorite conference quote. Include #theprophetspeaks. If you are up for a real challenge (and huge blessings) invite a non member to watch conference next weekend. I can hardly wait to hear our prophet speak! I know that President Monson is a prophet of God. He holds the priesthood authority to lead Christ's church. 

Happy Conference weekend!
Sister Murray

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


It's been a roller coaster of a week!  On Wednesday we drove to Jacksonville with the second ward sisters for the transfer meeting.  I always love hearing the testimonies of the departing missionaries and of course of President and Sister Craig.  After the meeting I was able to run and give my sweet Sister Hale a hug before she went into a meeting for trainers.  We both started crying right there in the chapel (man, I'm going to be a mess when I see y'all at home again.  Bring the tissues!).  

My new companion is Sister Martinez, from Lancaster California.  I realized this morning that all of my companions have been from different states so far!  How long do you think I can keep that one going?  She LOVES football, which is good because we are in a football capital and I don't know too much about football.  I've only been to football games to A: play in the pep band B: work concessions or C: ushering. (and basketball too). Her dad is a football coach at a junior college in CA. She has been out for fifteen months and just came from Palatka (a tiny town) where she was companions with Sister Despain who was with me in the MTC. We are still adjusting and figuring out the area (apparently Sister Stitt and I did some work in the Elders' area for them... Oops!).

The highlight of the week was the zone conference with Elder Golden of the 70. The night before Sister Williams (from Millville, UT) and Sister Koenig, who are serving in McClenny, spent the night with us so they didn't have to drive as far in the morning. We borrowed air mattresses from a couple members and sister Rudd gave us muffin mix, eggs, cereal, and milk for breakfast.  Our meeting started at 7:30. We were able to line up for a firm hand shake from Elder Golden and a sweet hug from Sister Golden, and the same from President and Sister Craig. The meeting went until about 3:00 when we had a great southern BBQ. 

Elder Golden is amazing! He is from South Africa. He is the definition of bold and loving. If something needs to be said he says it! For example, were singing “Help Me Teach with Inspiration” for the opening hymn and as we are starting the third verse he stands up at the microphone and tells us we sound like a funeral march and we needed to speed it up!  He also told us we are doing amazing things! He said we are irreplaceable. He told us we should be thanking Heavenly Father every night for letting us serve in the South. It truly is amazing how nearly everyone here loves Jesus and the Bible. We can use that common ground to share the gospel.   We were able to ask him questions at the end of the meeting and he gave us some really great insights! We learned a lot about the saints in Africa. He taught us that the Holy Ghost speaks to our minds more often than we think. When we ask a question, if we are being obedient, the first thought that comes to our mind is our answer from the Holy Ghost (more often than not). It put a whole new light on how the Holy Ghost speaks to me.  He also gave us examples of how the church today is the same as the church in Christ's days. He taught us that faith is nothing more or less than personal righteousness. 

Sister Golden told about her mission and how she discovered there are four kinds of enduring: enduring temptation, enduring chastisement, enduring afflictions, and enduring in faith. President and Sister Craig addressed us as well. Sister Craig explained that if small and simple things led to miracles small and simple things could also take us off the right path. President talked about the process of finding to baptizing and he said we must be like Nephi and commit to not go home until we have done everything the Lord has commanded. 

The rest of the week has been trying to find more people to teach and working on figuring out the area since Sister Martinez is new. Things are going well. Oh, and our moving date got pushed back to Thursday.  This is our new address. 

5333 SW 75th St. Apt 177
 Gainesville, Florida 32608

We were able to teach Sheree again! She is doing really well. Her e cigarette is dying... Aww..  She just loves the gospel! We are planning to meet with Nikita again tonight. She has been busy with work and with things going on in her family. I will keep you updated on her progress!

Thank you for all the love and support! Keep being amazing!

With love,
Sister Alyson Murray

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Another Beautiful Transfer in Gainesville


When we saw a  piece of sidewalk chalk on the ground at a members home we just had to
leave a note :)
We sticky-noted our ward mission leaders door!  

Another Florida Spider Specimen

I will be staying in Gainesville 3rd, but Sister Stitt is going to Orange Park 2nd ward.  My companion will be Sister Martinez. I don't know her, but I am excited to meet her!

It was a great week!  We set a baptism date with Sheree, but we will need to move it back to at least October so she can have time to begin living the word of wisdom and to come to church again.  She is a sweetheart and she loves Jesus!  Did I mention she was meeting with the Jehovah Witnesses?  We knocked on her door for an appointment and out comes the JW's... Yah we were confused.  I guess she has met with them for a long time.  When she first met them she thought they were from our church!  We clarified that one!

On Saturday we went with Sister Moffett to see Antoine again.  Last week he and his friend, Jeff, just shot anti at us the whole time.  We figured it would be the same, but we felt we needed to go one more  time to give them the chance to have read the Book of Mormon sincerely.  Brother Moffet didn't come this time.  He knew that Antoine and Jeff just wanted to get him in a doctrine debate and his Irish blood wouldn't handle it very well.  Sure enough they asked where Brother Moffett was!  And sure enough the lesson went right back to them asking a ton of questions they must have gotten from their preacher or online somewhere.  They just kept asking questions that were really not important (no offense, but some things just don't really matter).  They had all these quotes and scriptures to use against us.  We answered them patiently and finally I asked the question, "You've shared a lot of concerns you have about the Book of Mormon, but what have you read that you like or agree with?"  Haha, Jeff opens up to a scripture in the back of the book (he said he read from the beginning and so there is no way he read clear to Moroni!) and shared a scripture he agreed with, but then he pulled out some crazy quote from the Journal of Discourses and shot it right down.  It was ridiculous!  Then they told us we should have Elders come answer their questions since, "They would know what they were talking about." About that point Sister Moffett stormed out and we tried to leave with a prayer.  We never got to the prayer though because they wouldn't stop asking questions.  They finally told us our souls were damned. That was definitely an experience for the missionary books!  Haha, it was just so completely ridiculous!  Why do people even want to work so hard to put down our beliefs?  Oh, yah!  Because it is truth and truth will always be opposed.

Nikita is doing so great!  She was still really wanting to meet with us and she wanted to come to church again... and we hadn't even taught her any of the lessons!  She is so prepared for the gospel!  Before church on Sunday Sister Jepson came and we taught Nikita the Restoration.  When we invited her to baptism she sat there for a moment thinking.  She finally told us, "I'm scared of change, but I know he wants me to do it.  I can just feel him pushing me.  He won't make me do it, but I know he wants me to so I will!"  She has a baptism date for September 28th!

I think that is a perfect description of how we feel when Heavenly Father pushes us from our comfort zone to a place that is better for us.  An institute teacher once compared it to leaving the garden of Eden.  We get so comfortable and we don't want to leave, but finally we know that if we want to keep growing the way God intended we have to walk into the unknown wilderness.  The great thing is that I know He never leads us alone on that journey!

I love all y'all!
Sister Murray

P.S. Welcome home to all my Primary class buddies! I can't believe you are all getting home from your missions! We will definitely have to watch Prime the Pump when I get back! :)

P.P.S. The song of the week in this companionship is The Family is of God. We have been practicing one of the verses in Relief Society for the primary program and it is stuck in our heads every day! It is one of my new favorites!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fasting Brings Miracles!

You know how there are too many deer  in Utah? Well here
they have gator hunts to thin out the gator population. We had dinner
with the Whalens (who adopted two girls from China! They remind me of
my beautiful cousins!) and they had this head on their mantle. It came
from a 400 pound gator Brother Whalen got!

Sister Stitt

These pictures just don't do this justice! There is a three inch
banana spider right behind us. You can hardly see it but it is
literally a foot from my face! I was disappointed you can't tell how
close I am or how big it is, but it is there! Welcome to Florida!
Biggest bugs around!

 Fasting truly brings miracles! We had a special mission fast last week  and after two months of trying reach a goal of five member presents in  a week we finally did it! And we went from 0 progressing investigators  to FOUR!!!  Miracles!

Another miracle was in getting the perfect member to a lesson with  Shaquana. Sister Arrant came with us for the first time and she was pretty nervous, but Shaquana told her she answered some of her  questions and wanted her to come back! It was just what Shaquana and Sister Arrant needed!

And we had dinner Tuesday through Saturday! That is a miracle too!  I  love spending time with the members!

While knocking doors in a trailer  park one night we knocked on a door  and a lovely black woman yelled through the door, "Whoooo is it?!?!"   She sounded super scary!  We said, "We are representatives of Jesus  Christ." Then she came to the window and said, "Sorry, I'm eating  dinner."  Haha, she turned out to be super nice, and her name is Lowla.   We will be going back to see her when she isn't eating dinner!

Saturday we had brunch with the Haynes before helping clean their floors. We haven't had many  service opportunities so finally we called  Sister Haynes and said we needed to do some service and asked what we  could do for her. The Moffetts picked us up from there for our lesson with Antoine. (Brother Moffett just got here from Ireland six weeks  ago!)  Antoine had a TON of questions, which would have been great if  his anti-Mormon friend wasn't there.  They both shot about every anti-Mormon question I've heard at us. Brother Moffett said he  noticed the friend had an anti-Mormon pamphlet in his Bible. No wonder   he had so many scriptures he tried to use to contradict what we  taught.  We were there for about 2 hours. It was ridiculous!  We were so grateful to have Brother and Sister Moffett there with their  scriptorian knowledge and amazing testimonies!  Antoine seems like he  genuinely accepts our answers so we are going to try to visit him one more time.  If it is the same situation we are going to have to move on.  It's like Samuel the Lamanite--when people are shooting  anti-arrows at you they don't listen with their hearts.

Sheree came to church this Sunday!  She says she can see the face of Jesus in the marble on the front of the building so she knows it is Christ's church.  We will keep working on how we gain a witness  through the Holy Ghost :)  But she is so sweet and is loving church!

Sister Stitt and I got to help teach the youth Sunday School class.  I  forgot how crazy teenagers can  be!  It was an adventure to say the least!  But we were able to have some really great discussions about  teaching the doctrine of eternal families.

One more miracle that really touched me. It would be appropriate to preface this story with the words of Ammon: "I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God." (Alma 26:11)  During fast and testimony meeting yesterday a sister in the ward stood up. Her baby was blessed that day. She told of how when she found out she was pregnant she decided to read the Book of Mormon before she had her baby. She said that when I played my flute in sacrament meeting and I got to her favorite hymn, How Great Thou Art, she looked down at the new baby in her arms and reflected on her experience reading the Book of Mormon, and now having a new son,  the spirit was overwhelming for her. I think it is amazing how sharing our talents  truly can strengthen and lift others. There is a reason each of us have been given talents and if we hide them under a bushel we may be  missing an opportunity to help someone else strengthen their testimony. Who would have thought that something as simple as a musical number by a sister who has hardly any time to practice could become a testimony building moment for another sister. I know music is a prayer unto God. It invites the spirit so strongly it can touch even the hardest of hearts.

Love all of you!
Sister Alyson Murray

P.S. Transfers are next week so I will email on Tuesday. And we are still doing apartment searching so I will let you know when we are moving!