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!
Sister Alyson Murray