Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas Y'all!!!

Christmas Skyping!! Some of my family.
With some of the Williams family
Meet Sister McCook after an epic Pday volleyball game
Sister McCleary! Good luck RM
Finally got a Winn Dixie picture. It's going in the front of my Because of Winn Dixie book.
In case you need a smile! A Mail Manatee

I hope it was a very merry and white one for you!  It was a great week here in Sunny Florida!  It's 75 degrees today!  Who wants to come visit? ;)

Monday we had a zone p-day playing games together and eating pizza.  Then we went caroling from 6-8 in a thunderstorm.  We were soaked, but Sister Kloepfer and I were able to talk to a lot of people at their doors after singing and now we have a ton of great potential investigators to go visit!!!  We ended the night at the home of a member who invited us in for cookies and hot chocolate.

Tuesday was our trade off with the Ft. Caroline Sisters.  I went to their area with Sister Clay again.  I just love her so much!  She reminds me of Sarah (my cousin) and they even have the same first name.  We saw so many miracles together!  We were able to teach 8 lessons that day!!! We decided that we will just have to be companions before I go home!  

Wednesday we had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with the Dains family.  We had potato soup and Sister Dains famous bacon wrapped chicken!  Yum!  We did some more caroling with the Ft. Caroline Sisters and our Elders.  It was so fun! We went around to a lot of the recent converts in our ward and sang them a song and left them with the DVD Joy to the World.  We even got some caroling done in "Sin City!"  (Don't worry Mom- the Elders had their tazer :) )

We also stopped by to see Karen and taught her two nieces!  They are now new investigators!!!

We pulled our mattresses out under the Christmas tree and opened the present with our matching pajamas inside.

Christmas was the best!  I love being able to focus on the real meaning of Christmas on a mission.  I know that doing so really allows us to feel the spirit!  We started off the morning using our exercise time to doorbell ditch some gifts from the ward to a less active family who didn't have gifts for Christmas.  It's actually the same family we did it for last year, but this year the ward provided the gifts so they will be much better :)  Then we went to the Ft. Caroline Sisters' for a quick sticky bun breakfast before running back to the apartment to open the rest of our presents. Thank y'all for the sweet notes, gifts, and prayers!  They were very appreciated!

After studies we came to the church for Facebook time.  Then we tried to visit a widow in the ward, but she wasn't home so we knocked on the doors of her neighbors. We actually found one family who said we could come back!  They live in the Elder's area so we'll reassign them!

Then we went and visited with the whole Williams Clan!  It is so fun to be with them--just like being home.  Then we drove over my favorite bridge (Dames Point) to the Relief Society President's house, Sister Thomas.  I played my flute for them and we used her flannel board to tell the nativity story.  We had a lovely dinner before driving back to the church to call home.  I always forget how nervous and exciting I get to call home!  It was so fun to see all y'all even if I didn't get to talk to everyone for very long.  That hour went way too fast!  But we'll talk again in five months!

After some happy tears and wonderful conversation we headed out to visit Brother and Sister Pete Weber.  We couldn't stay for long but it was good to wish them a Merry Christmas.  Then we met up with the YSA sisters and our Elders for more Caroling!  It was the best Christmas ever!

I know God hears and answers our prayers--though they may not always be in the way we expect.  Last year at Christmas time I was having a hard time being away from home.  I don't feel the same now, but then I just wanted to be home for Christmas in 2014.  I was praying one day and just felt great peace so I went on with life and almost forgot about that.  I came to love being in Florida and didn't want to go home.  It wasn't until this month that I realized I feel completely at home in Arlington.  I already loved the area and the people.  I really was home for Christmas--just in the way that Heavenly Father always knew was best.  It is hard sometimes but we really do always need to put our trust in him.  

Friday morning we had a service project cleaning up an Elderly couple's lawn.  Then we had weekly planning all day.  We had dinner with Sister Giffen and Sister Fresh which was so fun!  Then we were driving back to the church for more caroling when President Craig called us!!!  So many missionaries needed to go home for school they decided to have a mini transfer and make necessary changes.  We didn't think it would affect us, but President released Sister Kloepfer as a Sister Training Leader and called her to be a Sister Training Coordinator.  She was practically in shock.  I am going to miss her, but I know she is going to do so many great things!!!  And now she's my leader so I get to go on trade offs with her!!!  

Saturday was filled with packing, saying goodbye to people, and trying to stay busy so Sister Kloepfer didn't have to think about her sister's wedding that was happening back home.  We were able to see Karen again.  She cried when Sister Kloepfer told her she was leaving.  It's going to be hard for everyone to see her go.  

Sunday we had a wonderful service.  Sister Joan (Grandma) Williams gave her annual talk reflecting on the past year.  She mentions world events and ward events.  She lists all the missionaries who served in the ward that year (so I got mentioned twice!) and those serving from the ward.  She lists baptisms, births, deaths, and just about everything else I never would have thought of.  It was really great!

This morning we drove to Mandarin to trade companions.  There was no transfer meeting--we just met up with our new companions and traded in the parking lot.  I am now serving with Sister McCook who is from Tuscon Arizona.  She has been out 10 1/2 months.  I've been with her 5 hours now so I don't know a whole lot about her, but she is a sweetheart and so excited to be a Sister Training Leader.  I am excited to work with her.  

Have an amazing week!  I love y'all!!
Sister Murray

P.S. Our total mission baptisms was around 450. I will likely get an exact number at MLC this Wednesday!  We didn't reach 1000, but sometimes our vision is raised by our leaders and we work harder than we would have and we achieve what we might not have without a high goal.  On Wednesday we will be setting goals for the mission for 2015.  pray for us please!