Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Going home... My mission Home!

Judging the Chili
Trunk or Treat! Sisters Martinez and Murray

Well, I'm being transferred (which surprised me). And I have been called to serve as a Sister Training Leader (which surprised me even MORE.) Do you want to guess where I will serve? Arlington! (I would have fallen out of my chair by that point, but I was already sitting on the ground! Arlington is the first ward I served in! I'm going back to my homeland, "birthplace." Pete has been praying I will come back. I think he might cry. Haha, I think I might cry!)

Am I excited? Yes!
Am I super scared for the leadership responsibility? Yes!
Do I know this is where he Lord needs me? Absolutely!

Quick explanation of the calling of Sister Training Leader: Every Zone in our mission has a companionship of Sister Training Leaders. These sisters go on trade-offs with the sisters in their zone. They are to be a good example and to support and uplift the sisters they work with. I will also go on a trade off with the Sister Training Coordinators (sister versions of the Assistants). We go to Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) once a month like the Zone Leaders. We learn from the trainings given there and then we present those trainings to our respective Zones. I will be in the Jax East Zone! 

Monday evening we were at the Janson's home for dinner. Before we sat down to eat I checked the phone and saw that President Craig had called. I listened to the voice mail and he said he needed to talk to me. I stepped into the hallway to talk to him, but apparently I was so nervous I put the phone on speaker phone so everyone heard anyway, haha! I'm not sure what I said between President saying, "Hello Sister Murray" and "Bye, love you!" But somewhere in there I accepted the call to be a Sister Training Leader!

I was super nervous about the call and not knowing where I would be serving. So when I heard my name when President got to the Arlington Ward I about went into shock! Ok, not really, but I'm sure the expression on my face was priceless!  I started thinking about the area and the people I love so much. Let's just say I didn't sleep easily last night! 

This week we had a meeting with our new Ward mission leader, Brother Granto. He is going to be a great leader!

The Ward Trunk-or-Treat was super fun! There were a ton of people there, but between trying to judge the chili and handing out candy it was all kind of a blur! The judging wasn't as organized as it should have been. We were trying to number the chili as we took samples, but people kept bringing more chili and we were holding up the line so we just grabbed bowls of chili and took them to a table. We tasted the chili with the Elders and assigned awards. Sister Martinez and I came up with the awards and even had scriptures that went with each of them. Brother Granto had spray painted wooden spoons gold and everything. And then it was announced to move our cars for the trunk or treat so we ran outside to move our car, thinking the Elders would get the awards handed out... but apparently they never got handed out! After thinking of all the scriptures, making the spoons, and braving Elder germs to taste test the chili... and I tried Brother Granto's "judges only chili." He has this super spicy hot sauce called the Bomb. He always makes the Elders try a drop of it and 3 out of 4 throw up because it's so hot. So he put some of that into a chili. I gave into the peer pressure and ate one bean. My entire face went red, but I’m still alive! No awards. It will be better planned next year! Our trunk turned out great! It was so fun!

This week we also got a progressing investigator! Elders Baldwin and Tauoa's area is being closed so they passed off Ramona to us! We were all going to her lesson so we could explain that they were handing her off to us. So we show up and all the Elders are there talking to her so we walk over and they get up and leave! It was so awkward because they hadn't explained that we were going to teach her! But she is super sweet and she was really good about it.

We also had an extra trade-off with our Sister Training leaders this week. I went to the YSA area. It was a lot of fun! It was also really great for Sister Martinez. They figured out how to ride the bus to get around the area. We were going to try it again, but we haven't gotten to yet. So I guess I won't be doing that before I go.

It's going to be a good transfer! I'm excited for the miracles ahead! Thank you for all your support!

With love,
Sister Murray

Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Stay Busy 101- From Using Awesome Members to Feeding Cats with Diabetes

Feeding Molly
Isn't she cute?
Just in case you were wondering-this is what your feet will look like if you are not incredibly thorough with bug spray
Best Halloween Decoration or What?

This week was a lot better in the sense that I felt we were very productive. We had our slow moments of course, but it was better.  Our members really pulled through for us.  We had the Relief Society President send out an email to the sisters asking for anyone available to give us rides to visit people. 

On Monday we went to the family home evening for the older singles and empty-nesters.  We were invited for dinner and Elder Baldwin and Tauoa, who normally attend because they work with that age of singles, said we could go instead of them.  We had a really great dinner and a wonderful lesson from a talk by Elder Christofferson (Recognizing God's hand in Our Daily Lives, Ensign January 2012) about asking for our daily bread--those blessings and answers that we need THAT day.  And also recognizing God's hand daily in our lives. It was a much needed reminder.

Tuesday was district meeting.  Sister Martinez and I gave a training on planning.  Sister Martinez had the idea in studies a couple weeks ago to use Korihor as a bad example of planning.  So we compared how he "planned to fail" and how we can plan to succeed.  We also found a lot of examples of people in the scriptures who planned.  Look at them all!

--Heavenly Father has a plan. Chapter headings of Abraham 4&5
--Joseph Smith "After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go..." JSH 1:15
 --Esther, planned to go into the king (Esther 4:16)
--Moroni, in preparation for war Alma 52:21, Alma 59:4
--Jaredites, chapter 2 heading "The Jaredites prepare for their journey to a promise land." Footnote 23a-  
                 Noah's ark used stones for light- Mahonri Moriancumer had studied his scriptures!
--5 of the 10 virgins Matthew 25:3-4
--The Sons of Mosiah, scripture study, prayer, fasting - Alma 17:2-3
-- Satan has a plan too. We are in a battle so we so have to plan! D&C 10:12

Elders Collins and Walgomott made pumpkin pie so it was a pretty good district meeting!

We went home for lunch and decided we could use a nap--literally 30 seconds after I woke up there was a knock on the door (which is really weird to hear as a missionary).  It was Sister Janson!  We had totally forgotten that she said she could drive us around to visit people!  So we grabbed our supplies and hopped in her van.  We ended up running into a man named Terrance while looking for a less active sister.  He preached to us for a good 45 minutes through poems he writes and shares with youth.  It was great, but we could hardly get a word in.  He mentioned some things that were not true about our church so finally I cut in and told him before we left we needed to clarify some things.  I went into explaining Joseph Smith and how the Book of Mormon came about. Once I got the ball I took off running.  I really wanted Sister Martinez to help' but I was certain if I stopped for even 2 seconds Terrance would be off again.  Sister Martinez said she agreed and she was cheering me on silently.  So not the best teaching, but we got the message out there!  He said he really appreciated how calmly I explained what he had misunderstood.  He preached some more about how good a work we are doing and then we left.

That evening we went to dinner with the Stokers.  Can I just say how positive this family is?  They are amazing examples!  Apparently most Mormons don't attend the parties the anesthesia students have because they know they will be alcohol there.  Valid concern, but it has put a bad name out there for us because it comes across as the Mormons thinking they are better than everyone else.  So the Stokers started going to these parties and soon enough they've made a lot of friends and now there is always a "Mormon cooler" at the parties with non alcoholic drinks.  

We also went to young women's that night.  The girls were all challenged to invite a non menber friend.  One came!  We did the brown paper bag biography that we did at the relief society activity in August.  And we played Never Have I Ever.  You go around the circle and say something you never have done.  If the other people have done it they have to put a finger down.  When all 10 fingers are down you are out.  It was really fun!  Haha, when one girl said, "Never have I ever been kissed," the young woman next to me stared at my fingers like they were going to fall off waiting to see if one would go down.  So funny!

Wednesday we had the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Lawrence and Sister Merchant, come over for dinner (it is fun to feed the missionaries!) and then we had a power trade off-we traded companions for a few hours.  It was SOOOO good to get on my bike with Sister Lawrence and go talk to people.  I really feel like there is a family here for us to find, teach, and baptize.  Pray for us to find them!  Sister Lawrence and I taught 5 lessons!  We found a less active member we didn't know about too.  It was great!  For as much as tracting scares me it sure felt good to be out knocking doors again!  It's hard to keep busy when we can't walk around, but it is going well.

I got a new online investigator!  His name is Omar, he is my same age, and he lives in the UK.  His family is Muslim, but he isn't sure he believes their faith.  He reached out to me because he saw my cover photo on Facebook which says, "I'm a Mormon."  He has a TON of questions.  When I told him I had to get off and we could talk again on Wednesday he said that was too long!  The only other time I could guarantee I would be on is tonight at 8:00 here and 1:00am Tuesday there.  He said he'd be on so we will see how it goes! 

Things have slowed down a bit with Giova.  He said he will read the Book of Mormon before the weekend so when I get on again today I can see how that went!

Sheree seems to be avoiding us!  We called, stopped by, left notes.  One time we could definitely hear her in the house and she wouldn't answer.  So we had to drop her.

Y'all are probably wondering where the cat comes into play.  Last week in ward council Brother Woods said he and his wife haven't been to the temple for a few months because they found out their cat has diabetes and she has to be fed a specific times.  So he asked if anyone would be willing to feed their cat and we said we could.  We went over in the morning and afternoon to feed Molly.  She is gorgeous and so sweet so it was a fun service, and one that can be done on crutches. :) 

Sorry for the novel today, but one more note.  Elders Baldwin and Tauoa had an elect investigator come to church Sunday--Ramona Mooney!  She is a sweetheart!  In Relief Society she introduced herself and said she has always felt different from others because of her standards. She has tried churches but has never felt she fits in until now.  The ward was so welcoming and the spirit was so strong!  

I hope y'all have a blessed week!  Take good pictures at the Family Halloween Party!  We will be having a chili cook off and a trunk or treat!  Remember transfers are next week so I will email on Tuesday!  

I love y'all!
Sister Murray

Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Day, Columbus Day, and my 11-Month Mark

My crazy twin sisters each sent me the same package on the same day! You
two are nuts! I love you!  It is just like when I used to have the
same conversation with each of you on the phone! It made me laugh so
much! Thank you!
Dinner from my twin packages.
This is what happens when you spend half the week inside
More big bugs!  Elder Lake said it was a katydid. It was huge!
It's hard to see but these are gators on the UF campus.
Our treats for Meet the Mormons

This week was more of trying to find ways to stay productive while inside without a car Monday-Wednesday. We were able to do Facebook, we've made phone calls, and we have been watching Mormon Messages we might use with lessons. We made cookies to take to less active members too. So it's been good. I had a cold this week and that was annoying, but I'm doing better now!

Tuesday morning our Zone met in the institute building to watch Meet the Mormons. It is soooo good! It had us laughing and I almost cried (which is saying something because I don't cry in movies). I loved seeing the different lifestyles and personalities of six people who share the same faith. Please take your friends to it if it is in a theater near you! It is amazing!  Sister Martinez was super excited for the football coach. I loved it all so much!

Tuesday evening we went to mutual with the Young Women. Sister Janson volunteered to pick us up early to feed us dinner! Then we went and did family history with the young women. Elders Collins and Walgomott taught us how to do it better. It was fun.

Wednesday evening we got a ride with Sister Ashley Gooch (Relief Society President) and Sister Mallory Gooch (Their husbands are brothers) to help a new ward member unpack. Her name is Sister Hague and her less active son and nonmember daughter in law lives with her too. We weren't there very long, but it was fun. On the car ride we were telling them how we keep realizing that we forgot to bring things from our old apartment. Sister Martinez burnt her finger trying to use a fork instead of a spatula since we didn't have a spatula. A few minutes after returning to our apartment we heard a knock on our door. That's always different for missionaries to get knocks on our doors. We answered and found a bag with candy and a spatula! We texted them to thank them and they said they didn't know what we were talking about. They are so sweet!

Friday evening our Ward mission leader, Brother Bennion, came to a lesson with us. We went to teach Alice and Dale. They forgot we were coming and Dale was drunk. At first he seemed fairly sober, but he more we talked the more it became apparent he was pretty out of it. Gratefully Brother Bennion taught a lot of drunk people on his mission in Brazil and it snapped him right into missionary mode. He was phenomenal! He had some great analogies and his testimony was great. Alice probably will remember more of the lesson than Dale. Brother Bennion invited them to church, but they ended up not coming.

Saturday we visited, or tried to visit, a lot of less active members, potential investigators, and former investigators. Sister Martinez's leg was hurting so we got permission to do Facebook (we can't normally do Facebook on Saturdays unless there is a special Facebook event coming up.) I was able to teach a lesson to an online investigator, Giova. He is from Texas, but he is currently living in London. A random member who friended me online told me to talk to him, and he ended up being interested! I was able to teach the entire Restoration online! He agreed to read the Book of Mormon, but he doesn't seem to believe that it is important to ask God what is true and what is not. He believes truth will stand out on it's own without going to the ultimate source of truth. We will work on that :) I have been praying for an investigator online so this is a miracle! Other than the hang up with truth he is loving the message. He says it is, "awesome."  I have to agree!  The only other concern is that he started asking how old I was... So I sure hope this doesn't turn into my first mission proposal! ;)

I hope y'all have a blessed week. Reread the conference talks and decide how you can apply them in your lives! I know these talks are the specific things we need to focus on at this time and as we heed the counsel of our leaders we will see great blessings and we will become better sons and daughters of God.

Sister Murray

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hello Autumn

Companion on Crutches
Sister Martinez
Thanks for the package!
Tiny Lizard
Our new apartment!  So Nice!


Warrior Ball
We made it to Sweet Frogs. Yum!
It is starting to feel like fall at a frigid 69 degrees. I know y'all in Utah are jealous, but we really felt cold last night when it got down to 69 degrees. I was thinking about how cold I’m going to be this winter... Then I was thinking how frozen I will be NEXT winter.  Maybe  I'll just stay in Florida ;)

Our progressing investigators has again dropped to zero. Nikita has fallen off the face of the earth. She told us her family asked her some things about Mormons so she had questions, but we were never able to meet again. She hasn't been answering our calls or Sister Jeppson's. It looks like we will have to drop her.  Sheree has had a lot of problems in her family and we haven't had too much contact with her either  lately.

This week we spent a lot of time inside for Sister Martinez's leg finding ways to stay productive. We went to the doctor again and learned that Sister Martinez just has really bad bone bruising.  She is  on crutches at least until the end of the month. No biking, and limited tracting. So on our bike days we are fairly home bound. We have been able to get members to take us to our appointments though!  That is a blessing!

Last week Sister Woods (they finally called a sister Ward missionary!) came with us to a lesson with a girl Sister Stitt and I met tracting named Yashimabet. We were able to teach the whole restoration, but the
environment was not conducive to the spirit. She wouldn't let us in and she didn't want to shut her door so she just stood in the door way Her nieces and nephew kept coming and asking her to get things and  her family was yelling at her to shut the door. The whole lesson only took about 15 minutes.  She  accepted a Book of Mormon. We are going to invite her to come to a Sister Woods' next time. With such a short lesson we decided to take advantage of having a member with us. I suggested we see the Shepherds. We haven't seen them or heard from them lately.  It was funny, when we got in the car I realized we had  other people in the same complex as Yashimabet planned as backups, but  I hadn't even thought of them. I think Elder  Golden's lesson on following first thoughts kicked in. We found the Shepherds home and were able to share a short message. Brother and Sister Shepherd talked the most and Tammy is the one who is most interested in learning so we want to find a time to have Tammy come to the Woods' also. It would be great if we could teach her without distractions. We found out Tammy is in the same grade as Sister Woods' daughter! Miracle!

On Saturday a member texted us and said she felt inspired to refer her neighbor to us! That is a miracle too! We stopped by her neighbor's that night. She was super nice, but she was also a Jehovah's Witness.
She wasn't interested in learning more, but we were still grateful for the referral.

Wasn't general conference amazing?! We watched all four sessions at the church building. We had some people we thought would come, but no one did. I still enjoyed it! I love hearing servants of the Lord and I know their messages are inspired. I heard some things I really needed this weekend and I hope all of you did too. After conference we went to the park where a lot of families had a potluck dinner Cafe Rio style!     Yum!