Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Year Mark!

 One year Celebration!
In the South-sale on turkey fryers!

First off: Congratulations to my mission mamma, Sister Hale!  She and Mitchell Calder are officially engaged!  You two are just "a-door-bell!"  Love yeeee!

Second: You asked to hear more about Sister Kloepfer:
She has been out 9 months! This is only her second area.  She was in Timiquana before.  She has an older sister, a younger sister, and two little brothers.  she loves chocolate, pumpkin cake, stir fry...  She worked road construction two summers before she came out and her biggest pet peeve is when people call concrete cement.  (Apparently cement is an ingredient in concrete.  Guess I should have hung out with you at work more Dad!)  She will reach the ripe old age of 20 on December 3rd!  We were talking about the age change one day and before thinking about it she said, "I won't even be as old as you are now when I go home from my mission!"  Thanks Sister. ;)  I love her diligence and hard work.  She really puts her heart into the work as she serves.  I am already learning a lot from being with her. She likes to sing, she loves her family, she LOVES holidays, and she loves Scotty McCreery. 

It was a good week!  I saw my first live possum!  It was so cute!

Tuesday we went to Jax Beach's district meeting. We tracted Hoover street.  Back story on Hoover street:

Once upon a time there was a girl named Alyson.  She thought it would be fun to put a toy basketball hoop with a suction cup to her forehead.  It was fun, until she took it off and was left with red mark on her forehead for a week.  Gratefully her kind mother let her use some make up to cover it up.

In another village another girl named future Sister Kleopfer saw a vacuum and wondered what would happen if she turned it on and put the hose to her forehead.  She soon also found herself with a red welt on her forehead and borrowed her mother's foundation.

Years down the road these two girls became companions in the Arlington ward.  Realizing they both had such similar experiences they determined they must be called The Hoover Sisters!  When they were busy at work one day they noticed a street called Hoover Street! (no joke)  And went to work tracting it! Anyway...  that night we also visited a 9 year old boy named Angel.  His mother is a convert and married a non member.  Angel has never been baptized, but now he is ready and excited to make these covenants with his Heavenly Father.  He will be baptized December 6th!

Wednesday we went to the Dunn Ave District meeting then drove straight to Jax Beach for our second trade off.  I had my first trade off in our area. Sister Hendricks came here and Sister Kloepfer went to Jax Beach with Sister Hutchins. We had a busy and fun trade off. Sister Hendricks went to Murray High School so that was a fun connection.  We had a member pick us up for dinner and we had Correlation with our mission leader. Sister Hendricks had some great comments in the meeting even though she isn't in the ward!

Thursday was my year mark of the day I entered the MTC. We traded back companions the by meeting at Rita's for some Italian ice to celebrate (and because who doesn't like Rita's?) My favorite! I had gingerbread ice with vanilla custard! Can you say heavenly? Some days you just have to forget you are trying to eat healthier!

Friday we had lunch with Sister Pennington and helped her prepare decorations for the Relief Society Christmas Dinner.  I am going to be playing flute at the dinner so that will be really fun! 

Saturday we visited some people and ran around getting members to participate in the latest Facebook challenge: Thankful to be a Mormon.  We asked members to create a 1 minute video to introduce themselves and to share what they are thankful for.  It is the same idea as the ALS ice bucket challenge where those members then challenge 3-5 friends to either make a video or donate cans of food to a food pantry.

We had stake conference that night in the Hendricks building.  It was a really good meeting--all about hastening the work of salvation.  President Spackman, the Stake President, talked about the difference in being friendly and being a friend.  The latter takes more sacrifice, is more meaningful, and opens doors to share the gospel.  Sister Craig talked about preparing both sons and daughters for missions by teaching them how to: be independent, set and achieve goals, to know they are loved by their Heavenly Father, deal with stress, and to know that life is supposed to be hard.  The Craigs were at a mission president conference most of the week and just flew in that evening!  I was able to see a lot of my YSA's at the conference which was so good!   I love them all so much!

Sunday we planned on several investigators coming to church.  We were disappointed when no one answered their phones.  We went to their houses and no one answered their doors either.  We haven't heard back from Trina McDonald again, and we have had a hard time teaching Amisty and her mother.  We may have to drop them.  That makes me sad, but I know we cant keep trying them if they aren't willing to act.  We were passing out programs when Karen walked in!  She told us she purposely didn't answer her phone just to scare us!  Isn't that awful?  She wanted to get us back because the last time we visited her we knocked on her door and hid to the side so she couldn't see us.  Oh my goodness that last visit was a fun one!  I think she might have been drinking before we got there because she was REALLY happy.  In the I was sitting by her on the couch and when she got to the end of the closing prayer she couldn't remember how to end so she just started laughing and fell over into my lap!  

This session of stake conference was really great too!  One speaker talked about how he ran away from home at age 16.  He had his Bible with him and inside the cover it said' "This book will keep you away from sin, or sin will keep you away from this book."  The Allens, of the temple presidency, spoke about the importance of the temple and temple work.  Satan tries to discredit and distract us from the work of the temple.  Hearing them just increased my determination to attend the temple regularly again in 6 months!  President Craig spoke and told everyone they need to meet their neighbors!   Elder Searle, who is in the Arlington ward, got to speak.  Lucky him!  He did a great job! President Spackman told us that if we want a temple in Jacksonville we not only need too pray for it, but we need to work for it.  We need to increase our family history, or temple attendance, and our missionary work.  This stake has a goal to have every temple name done be a family file. I cannot wait for there to be a temple here!

Reflecting on all that has happened in the past year has really been humbling.  A year ago I honestly didn't  think I would survive long enough to have two Christmases in Florida.  I understand more now what Ammon meant when he said, 

"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

I know the Atonement is real.  I've felt its power so many times.  I also have felt the power of prayers from you and from people all around the world.  I am so grateful for those prayers!

Many mighty miracles have happened in the last year and I know there are going to be many more to come in the next six months, and for the rest of my life.  When we serve with our heart, might, mind, and strength we can "expect mighty miracles all day every day."

Thank you all for your support over the past year!  Love y'all!
Sister Murray

PS- So there was a tornado warning and a really bad thunder storm and now the power is out.. so if you get this a day late that is why!