Monday, March 30, 2015

Learning to Follow the Spirit

Sister Clemons painted this. Happy Easter!
Rainstorm anyone??  Sister Gillman and Murray
Just in case...
A day at the beach!!  I've been companions with each of these Sisters... Gillman, McCook, Kloepfer 
This week was even more of a blur than usual!  Monday we spent our Pday with the zone playing volleyball and painting Easter eggs. Right after p day we started our trade off with the Mandarin 2nd sisters. Sister Clemons came to Hendricks with Sister Gillman and I went to their area with my past companion, Sister Stitt. We had a lot of fun serving together again! We went to their ward FHE and Chirag was there! It was good to see him and to hear about how everyone was doing.

After trading back companions we taught our neighbor, Courtney. A couple Pdays ago we were taking out our trash and a man walked by towards his apartment carrying a table. Since we talk to everyone in our mission we wanted to give him a pass along card, but our hands were full of trash. He went into his apartment before we could get to a card. Sometimes we rely on cards too much I guess. Well, gratefully, he came back out to carry something else in and we were able to talk to him. Turns out he is a member who hasn't been to church for a long time and he wants us to teach his girlfriend and their daughter who is 12. On Tuesday we were able to teach them. They are great!

Wednesday we had a meeting with the Stake President, President Spackman. He was surprised to see me in the Hendricks ward. I've served in three wards in the Jax East Stake now--they just can't get rid of me! Then we started our trade off with Atlantic Beach. Sister Gillman went there with Sister Talbot and I stayed here with Sister Blatter. Both sisters are going home next Monday and their area is being closed. It was a bit different being on a trade off knowing that they were going home so soon, but it was good! All of our plans fell through that night, but I felt prompted to go see one of our investigators and that worked out well.

Thursday we taught a woman named SarahSue. Her father is a member in Arlington. She has 23 cats! There sure are a lot of them! After swapping back companions, Sister Gillman and I decided to knock a couple doors before dinner. As we got out of the car it was getting cloudy and right as we stepped on the first porch a torrential downpour began. Unfortunately, the lady wasn't interested so we ran across the street to knock one more. You could tell she looked sorry for us... but she said no too. We got back in the car looking like we had been in the shower. I was even wet through my coat! When we got to our dinner appointment it wasn't raining at all and the members were wondering why we were so wet!  We had another appointment fall through and thought to stop by and see Jenny. We showed her the new Because He Lives video and she was so happy! She said, "I was praying for a good message today." I was grateful we followed what we didn't even know was a prompting.

Friday we had a great weekly planning session before beginning our third trade off for the week. This time with Arlington! I was so excited to go back to Arlington with Sister Bowers! Sister Jones is in training and she came to Hendricks with Sister Gillman. Sister Bowers and I had a lot of fun! We taught the woman we found next to our unplanned permaculture gardening service project. Her kids were kind of crazy, but I was able to help them stay quiet at least for the first vision. She is doing well. We also saw Veronica. It was so fun to see her again! She is getting ready to go to the temple! Finally that night we went and saw Sister McNeal. She is doing well after her surgery but hasn't made it out to church yet. We had a good talk with her.

Saturday morning we got to do service for Pete! They were surprised to see me too! After getting back with Sister Gillman we went and taught another woman we met in our complex named Ana. She is from Columbia. And it just so happens that her son is dating a Mormon and started going to church with her. She had music playing in the background and as we started reading about Christ appearing in the Americas this super dramatic classical piece came on. It was perfect, but so perfect we could hardly read without cracking a smile. It was kind of funny.  We were able to teach SarahJane right before the women's session of conference., which, by the way, was incredible!!!  I love the focus on families! I really felt the spirit there. I am so grateful to be able to testify about and defend the family!

Oh, and while I was gone on Saturday, Aileen showed up at a lesson with Lana! I almost got to see her! And I just missed having her come to an appointment with us while I was in Mandarin this week. Oh well, I will hopefully see her soon!

On Sunday I learned a good lesson about following the spirit. After church we talked to Josh and Morgan and they said they would come to the tri stake fireside called "Why I Believe." At this fireside converts share their testimonies and their conversion stories. Sister Gillman and I really wanted to go, but we could only go if we had a gator with us. Lana said she couldn't go in the morning. As we were getting ready I had a thought to verify with Morgan, but I pushed it aside. The Winters picked us up and we went to the fireside. While there Morgan texted and said he actually couldn't come! Sister Gillman and I felt so bad that we had ignored the promoting to call and make sure he was coming. We weren't supposed to be there without a gator, but we couldn't just leave the fireside because Sister  Winter was involved in a musical number. So we stayed. It was a really good meeting, but what I learned the most was to not ignore a prompting. Gratefully we have a patient Heavenly Father and that night Sister Gillman and I renewed our determination to never ignore a prompting. I guess sometimes we really do learn the best through our mistakes! I am so grateful that through the Atonement we can continue to improve. No matter how minor or large our mistake we can change if we have that desire. I am honored to carry this message to the people in Jacksonville! I love being a missionary!

I love all y'all! Have a great week!
Sister Murray

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 Murray Family Peeps Diorama

The Book of Mormon Musical came to Jacksonville
A Great Missionary Experience for two groups of twelve missionaries!
Sisters Hurst, Gillman, McCook, and Murray
1,000 Books of Mormon were passed out in 6 days.
President Craig was interviewed for the newspaper.
Stacks of special pass along cards were given out. 
Church ads in the playbill

Monday, March 23, 2015


Happy Easter

 Monday evening we had a lesson win Lana. She walked into the Mandarin 2nd wars and the Assistants taught her several times, but realized she actually lived in our ward so they reassigned her. She is incredible. She is literally the most elect person I have met on my mission! She had a baptism date for this Saturday, but she won't be quite ready so we are pushing it back to April. We started talking to her about her scripture reading, and she asked if we would give her assignments to read in between appointments! Then she took notes and asked questions all throughout the lesson.  She turned away from God when her baby died 16 years ago, but has realized things aren't working without God in her life and she needs to come back to Him. She does have two children- 16 year old Hailey (her twin is the one who passed away) and 14 year old Ian. She has been a heavy coffee drinker for the last 25 years and suddenly had a desire to stop drinking. She went through bad withdrawals because she was so addicted, but cut down from 3-4 cups each day to just one. Her friend invited her to church one day and she decided to go. I almost cried when she told me her friend is Aileen Simons--my recent convert!!! She has known their family for years and was amazed by the change she has seen in Aileen and now Aileen's father who was recently baptized. Aileen told Lana about the Word of Wisdom and she completely stopped drinking coffee before we even met her! We had a powerful lesson and when we got back in the car to go home we were literally in awe.  Miracles have not ceased.

Wednesday morning we had interviews.  Sister Winter taught us about emergency preparedness and Sister Craig showed us the new initiative that will be coming out this week! Get excited and get sharing it online on the 27th!!!  President came and got us one at a time to talk with him. It's always good to have some one on one time with President. He gave us some advice for our area books and we talked about setting goals for the last of my mission. And we talked about my family and my plans for after my mission.

Wednesday we went on a trade off with Jax Beach. Sister Aure came here with Sister Gillman and I went to their area with Sister Jensen. Sister Jensen served in Gainesville 3rd after me so it was fun to hear how things went while she was there. We saw a lot of miracles. We had a daily goal to teach 3 other lessons and in a couple golden hours we taught three and taught a fourth later that night. It was a great day!

Thursday after trading back we had lunch at Sister Cano's with Lana. The two hit it off--but honestly I don't know how someone can not love Lana. She is amazing! We enjoyed getting to know one another better and we taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

After that we stopped at Walmart for some medicine for Sister Gillman who has a respiratory infection. We came in for the night so she could rest.

Friday was weekly planning and more rest for Sister Gillman. Then because we are such a unified companionship I got sick too. Not fun. So we spent Saturday laying around too.  We were able to call in to give our report for a Ward Coordination though! 

Gratefully we felt better Sunday because Lana came to church with her children. Her children are just as amazing! They agreed to let us stop by after church. So that evening we visited some other people like Brother Zielinski. He has still been drinking coffee on and off so we taught the Word of Wisdom again. He said he would stop today. We asked if we could take the coffee he had left and get rid of it for him and he said it ran out that morning. How perfect! 

When we showed up to teach Lana and her children, her boyfriend was also over. We invited them all in for the lesson, but we were scared Chris was going to be a negative influence. Especially when they proudly explained he was just baptized (into another church) a couple months ago. Well we had planned to teach the Restoration so it was absolutely perfect! The spirit was strong and Chris's heart just softened. Lana is so engaged in the lessons! Ian is just your typically 14 year old boy, but he has really good questions even if he doesn't always look like he is listening. Then there is Hailey. She was so excited she was practically falling off of her seat. She just kept saying "this is so exciting!" with the biggest grin on her face! At the end of the lesson we invited them all to be baptized. Chris said, yes, but he had just been baptized. Lana jumped right in and reminded him that it hadn't been done with the authority from Jesus Christ (and that comes a lot better from your girlfriend than from two strange missionaries) so he agreed. Ian said yes. And Hailey again almost bounced off of her seat saying yes.  That was probably the most powerful lesson I have been blessed to take part in. Sister Gillman and I explained things in ways we never have before--that's when you truly know the spirit is speaking through you. One of the hardest things for people to understand in the South is authority and also the definition of a prophet. They would consider us prophets because we teach God's word. We had the inspiration last night as we taught to describe those who follow Christ but don't have the authority as disciples-so us, them, and even leaders in other churches who help others learn of Christ. That really clicked for them.  At the end of the lesson Lana said a beautiful prayer and when we asked if there was anything we could do for them Hailey said "come back everyday!" We can do that! Haha! It was truly a miracle! We left them all with Books of Mormon and gave Chris a Bible too. There is no doubt that Lana's baby, Hannah, is working on them from the other side. It was an incredible way to end the week. 

I love all y'all!
Sister Murray

Monday, March 16, 2015

So Many Miracles!

Happy St. Patrick's Day y'all!
Service at Zielinski's sisters, Elder Dewsnup, Elder Randall, Elder
Lund, Elder Ray

Begging Elder Winter for more miles
Happy Pi Day!   3.1415

This was a truly remarkable week! I could say that every week.. But it's true!

On our Monday morning leadership conference call the assistants challenged us to invite someone to baptism everyday--each companion. So Sister Gillman and I decided to go for it. That night I was able to invite someone fairly quickly, but the time was ticking and we needed to find someone for a Sister Gillman to invite. We were running around knocking doors, but no success. We decided to try a potential investigator on our way home.  We knocked and she answered, even though she had to get out of bed to do so... Oops... at 8:59 Sister Gillman invited her to baptism!!! We saw miracles like that every day this week, and we achieved our goal! We each invited someone to be baptized every day and it felt so good! Most of the people were just at their doors so we didn't get to set specific baptism dates, and not everyone said yes, but we did our part!

Tuesday we started our trade off with the YSA sisters. Sister Perkes came to Hendricks with Sister Gillman and I got to go to YSA with Sister Malm! It was so so so much fun being back in my old area! During our finding time we decided to make it more fun by rating our awkward moments on a scale from 1-10. I think we only got to about a 7 though with a man who was on his porch lifting weights and sweating like none other! Haha, it was fun! That day we also met with my past branch mission leader! He hasn't been to church for a while so we went to see him. It was good! We also went to institute that night! It was great to see a lot of the members I knew!

Wednesday when I got back with Sister Gillman I found out the assistants had a referral for us! They had a woman walk into the church! They taught her the first three lessons before finding out she wasn't in their ward, they thought she lived in our ward, but weren't sure. We stopped by the family history center and looked up her address and we cheered when we found out she was! Her name is Lana and we have yet to meet with her, but we have an appointment tonight and I can't wait!  That day we also went back and taught an 18 year old named Morgan! He is so elect! The sisters before me found him while doing the survey.

Thursday we had our weekly planning so that made the whole week seem to go fast! That night we drove to the mission office to pick up some sisters from Ocala to stay with us for the night.

Friday we had a mission conference in Orange Park! Elder Kopischki of the 70 came! He is incredible! He is truly a master teacher! I was asked to play piano again (which was so fun). And he came up when he first walked in and asked if I could play piano while shaking his hand... It didn't work too well but I did get to shake his hand, and he thanked me for playing.  He started off by telling us he hadn't come with an agenda. That agenda would be set by what we wanted to know. He asked us what qualities we admired about Joseph Smith. He said we need to develop these qualities because we need a generation that creates not just follows in the world. The rest of the six hour meeting (which was only supposed to last four hours... But who is going to complain about extra time with a general authority?) It was opened to  asking questions. He taught us a lot of skills about teaching, testifying, and talking with everyone. He did some role plays with the Assistants. He is a powerful teacher! I know that I want to testify of Jesus Christ every chance I get for the rest of my mission! We also learned tips to better work with members and to get referrals. He talked a lot about the fair cycle. We have to begin to experiment and work--At the end I was able to ask a question too. He gave us some good resources to study up on.  I was continually amazed at his ability to take a question and expound and teach off of it. We learned so much!

Directly after the meeting we began another trade off. Sister Gillman went to Ft. Caroline (her old area) with Sister Case and Sister Mackay came here with me. Let's just say I don't really know the area yet... Haha thank goodness for gps! We had a member feed us at Bono's BBQ then met up with another member for an appointment. The appointment fell through so we walked around the complex to talk to people-- and invited two people to be baptized! It was incredible!

Saturday we had coordination and I was confused on the time so we showed up a half hour early--time to practice lessons! After lunch we went to a baptism the YSA sisters had. The spirit was so strong and it made us want to invite more people to baptism! 

Sunday was wonderful! We got asked to teach Relief Society last minute. Then we taught Sunday School. Then I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. (Yes that is the order of the meetings) It is a good thing I love teaching! 

So it was really an incredible week! I am excited for this week to go out and tell more people that I know Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I know that because He lives we can live again. It is through His Atonement I find strength to do tough things and to love tough things. I do love being a missionary!

Have a blessed week!
Sister Murray