Monday, February 23, 2015

Ipads and Miracles

RS Activity Thelma, me, Veronica, Karen, Sister McCook

Sister McCook, Thelma, me 
I Love Karen!
Sisters at the beach
Sister McIsaac's Hula
Sister Thomas the RS Pres

Sister McCook, Sister Fasick, Thelma, Sister Garlitz, Veronica, Me,
and Sister Pennington on the front.
Last Monday after Family Home Evening at the church we took Summer with us to teach Brandon.  Brandon just recently converted to Catholicism. We taught him the restoration and he isn't certain about it yet, but he is open.  He really wants to attend church with us! 

Tuesday morning we attended the Ft. Caroline district meeting before beginning our trade off with the ft. Caroline sisters.  Sister Case came to Arlington with me.  It was a bit of a different day, but good.  We cleaned Sister Beverly's floors. She is a sweet elderly lady and she had a nurse there when we came.  She started telling him all about the church. I love it!  That evening we were able to visit Sister McNeal with Veronica!  Sister McNeal was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer and it was a tender mercy that we brought Veronica along because they found out they only live a block away from each other so Sister McNeal always has someone close by to call if she needs anything as she goes into surgery this week. 

Wednesday morning we swapped back companions and headed to Dunn Ave for our own district meeting.  We were also able to teach Jojo one more time.  She is not willing to come to church at this time and she is not progressing so we told her she can call us when she is ready to learn more.  She is so sweet we will miss seeing her.  We were also able to teach Karen that night with Sister Nuttal!  She loves Sister Nuttal!  

Thursday was amazing!  Sisters from Waycross, Georgia had spent the night with us for the big meeting.  Elder Zwick of the 70 came with Brother Hemmingway who is over the technology side of the missionary department.  There are some new changes coming out and we were the very first mission to get them!!!  We learned a lot about using iPads and Facebook, but what I mostly remember is the strong spirit as they spoke about the work we were doing.  We learned about obedience and that we should continually be improving in a "spiritual trajectory."  At the beginning of the meeting we were told to ask, "Am I willing to change?"  We have to be willing to change so we can grow from what we learn. This week every missionary will be getting a new iPad mini.  Those who will be here after August will be required to pay for their own. Those going home before will be able to turn them back into the church when they depart.  These iPads hold more storage and will be faster.  We will also be going off Facebook for approximately two months to restart the Facebook work completely.  We received drafts of two new books for missionaries about using technology effectively and safely.  We also saw a sneak preview of the Church's Easter initiative which will come out next month.  Get excited y'all!  It's going to be beautiful!  Oh, and I got to play piano for the meeting so that was fun!  I played while everyone walked up to shake Elder Zwick and Brother Hemmingway's hands too.  

We were able to teach Pete that evening before heading to the Relief Society activity: "A Trip to Hawaii."  It was super cute.  They had made invitations like a plane ticket and you turned those in at the door to the RS room.  The room was set up like the inside of an airplane and a member of the ward was dressed up as a pilot.  They had stewardess passing out treats and masks taped onto the back of the seats!  So cute!  On the "flight" we watched a short movie about visiting teaching.  Then we exited the plane and went into the gym which was set up like Hawaii.  Two girls put leis around our necks and there were treats and decorations and the Bishop's wife was dancing the hula. They had some short thoughts about visiting teaching and we enjoyed one another's company.  It was Sister Thomas's sneaky way of having a visiting teaching activity--she didn't think people would come if they knew that was the topic!  it was super fun and cute!  Karen even came and she was so welcomed!  She LOVED it!

After weekly planning on Friday we started another trade off!  I went to Atlantic Beach with Sister Bowers this time.  Sister Bowers came out with me and the first day we met we both thought the other looked familiar but we could never figure out why we knew each other... so we decided we were just best friends in the premortal life!  We had so much fun!  And we saw miracles!  Her trade off goal was to better work with members.  We decided that night we would visit a member who gave a referral to the previous sisters--Sister Goode.  Sister Goode actually served her mission here in Jacksonville!  She invited us right in for hot chocolate and girl scout cookies (and that was the night it was about 34 degrees so it was appreciated!)  We shared a message with her and it really touched her.  She said she would allow us to come back the following day and do service for her, even though she doesn't like to let others serve her.  

Saturday we went back to the Goodes and helped with pinning and cutting a sewing project she had going on.  Then the neighbor she had referred, Cheryl, came over!  We were able to teach her a lesson in the Goode's home and Sister Goode bore testimony!  It was so great!

Sunday was amazing!  Kurtis Williams spoke in church and he invited his neighbors, and they came!!!  There was also a part member family that just moved here and decided they needed to start coming back to church after 15 years--the Cooks.  They want us to teach their two children who were not baptized!  Such a miracle!  That evening we had dinner with the Nuttals.  Sister Nuttal told us she takes cards with her everywhere and hands them out-grocery stores, on campus, etc.  She is such an example!

Well, I hope y'all are having a great week!  Remember Transfers are this week! Talk to y'all next Tuesday!

Sister Murray

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day lunch with Veronica and her mother
Valentine's Day Chinese Dinner
Valentine's gifts from Pete and Amy Weber
Thank you for my William Joseph piano book

We definitely saw some miracles this week!

There has been a huge emphasis lately on Talking With Everyone.  Well this week we had a few minutes before our next appointment so we thought we would stop by to see a former investigating family.  A young man was riding his bike in the parking lot and Sister McCook waved at him.  We parked and I started to pray before visiting the family as we always do.  Suddenly there was a tap on Sister McCook's window.  I ended the prayer and we looked to see the young man we had waved at.  We rolled down the window and he asked if we had been trying to catch his attention.  We told him we had just been waving to say hello.  We explained that we are missionaries and he said his name is Marc and he asked if we knew Sister McCleary.  He went on to explain that She had taught him a couple months ago, but then he got into some legal trouble and went to jail for a couple months.  He lost contact with them.  He invited us over to teach him that night.  We were able to go and teach him the restoration.  We met his family too. They didn't want to join in the discussion but we feel that if we continue to work with him his family will soon join.  The next day he was texting us to tell us he was reading the Book of Mormon and he was asking questions.  He is so elect!  We feel like we have been finding a lot of flaky people so we counted up all the new investigators we have found since Sister McCook got here.  It took finding 52 flakes to find one elect!  Patience is a virtue! Unfortunately he canceled our next appointment and didn't show up at church so we are praying the flaky virus doesn't get to him too!  But ultimately he has really felt the spirit and he knows he needs to change his life!  We are so excited to keep working with him!

Karen is still doing well!  We taught her about family history and eternal marriage this week.  She met with a sister in the ward before church Sunday to get started on her family tree and she loves it! The only problem is that then she went home and didn't stay for church! It has been such a struggle getting her to stay all 3 hours because Sunday is her only day off and she has so much to do.  We are still working up to that one!

This week we also met with a younger man named Brandon.  Sister Petramolo taught his mother and her boyfriend a couple months ago. The boyfriend was very controversial and the mother was nice but seemed to feel sorry for us more than having real intent.  Last week we stopped by again to see her and met her son, Brandon.  He is amazing!  He set up an appointment for this week so we showed up to teach him... only problem was that boyfriend was still there!  We tried teaching the restoration but we only got through about 3 points because the boyfriend kept asking questions.  I love it when people ask questions, but he wasn't willing to accept our answers so there was no point in trying to teach him.  We finally told them we would need to leave.  Brandon walked us out and apologized for the boyfriend’s actions.  Brandon recently converted to Catholicism and he is very knowledgable when it comes to Christian theology.  He had some wonderful questions and even bore his testimony on some great points to the boyfriend.  He is great!  He says he isn't sure Catholicism isn't for him but he is open and he wants to come to church.  Do you want to know how perfect this timing is?  This upcoming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and he decided on that day he would quit smoking and drinking!!!!  Miracle!  He has a lot of friends who are Mormon so he has some good support too!  God is so good!

We had Zone Conference this week and I got to go to Georgia for the very first time!  We met in the Kingsland building.  Zone Conference is always amazing!  President talked about Elder Bednar’s talk: Becoming a Preach my Gospel Missionary. Sister Craig gave a training on being more dignified in our teaching.  The Assistants, Elder Cordon and Elder Jorgensen, talked about having the faith to find and using the survey method.  Sister Craig also talked about how missionaries can be transformed over their 18 months or 2 years when they apply the enabling power of the atonement.  That is definitely a topic I want to study more! She taught us that what happens inside of us is up to us. When we act we can change who we are.  President Craig also talked  about the faith cycle from Alma 32. It was a fulfilling conference!  It wasn't until after the conference was over that I realized if the timing isn't right it was my last!  I will either get one more ZC just before I leave or it will happen right after I go home.  I'm praying it will come before I go!

Directly after the conference we began a trade off with the Dunn Ave Sisters.  While Sister McCook was in Dunn Ave they tracted into a part-member family that attends our ward.  The girlfriend wants to be baptized' but they aren't married yet.  The sisters committed them to pray about a day to be baptized!  It finally seems they are ready to move forward!

I was in Arlington with Sister Egbert.  We had a fun service project ripping up flooring and painting a dog grooming salon.

This was the best Valentine's Day ever!  We truly got to focus on the Saviors love.  We had lunch with Veronica and her mother.  Then we did some service for a sister moving some boxes from one room to another for remodeling.  Next we were driving to visit some people when Sister McCook made a wrong turn.  We ended up passing a house where there were about 7 people in the front yard planting trees.  We felt that we should ask to help them so Sister McCook turned around and we rolled down the window and offered to help.  It was probably a good thing they couldn't see we were in skirts because we usually get turned down, but they said yes!  It turned out to be a permaculture group. They go to different people’s yard and create permaculture gardens-a garden that will self sustain.  Today they were planting fruit trees. They dig a big circular trench around the tree then layer branches, manure, compost, bark, soil, leaves, and straw to create new, fertile soil.  They then throw (literally) pea seeds into the ground so there will be a plant to continue to put nitrogen into the ground to replace what the fruit tree is using.  Those are covered up with straw.  It was one of the most fun service projects although I probably don't want to shovel manure in a skirt again!  Haha!  They let us try all sorts of new roots and edible weeds that they use.  They are very much about being kind to the earth and all creatures on it.  I learned a lot, but the best part was that we got two return appointments!!!  We are going to do the survey with their neighbor and we are going to teach one of the men who was there.  It was the best! Directly after that unplanned service we met the Webers for dinner at a Chinese Buffett!  So yummy!

I love all y'all! 
Sister Murray

"Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God.  A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing hiss family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." -Joseph Smith