It's so cool to hear about Dad taking people on Dam tours and Jess getting First in State for winter percussion!!!!!!!!!!!! I got Julie's letter by the way! I loved it! Write me again and I'll definitely write a reply next week, when we don't have zone p-day.
I don't think I have eaten so much cake in my life! Saturday was Sister Crowton's birthday, she turned 30, and Friday they Elders brought over their usual cake (but this time, decorated as a birthday cake). Then Sister Hale brings over another cake on Saturday for our little lunch party with 'magic' candles that re-light after they've blown out. Sister Crowton's mom also sent a 'party in a box' with grandma pink cookies and candles and cool glasses. Then we go visit Sister Okes (who just got her patriarchal blessing yesterday!!) that night and she gives us this GIGANTIC ice-cream cake. She loves missionaries. Then we made a cake for Sister Houtz birthday today! We went to eat at Gator Dockside and had some gator tail. While they were ordering, Sister Crowton, Hale and I snuck out and frosted the cake that we made in the parking lot and ate some that cake after eating the gator. Side note: they deep fry everything down here. Sister Houtz ordered a sandwich that was deep fried. I think my favorite thing at that food place was the Corn Nuggets. You take creamed corn, and deep fat fry it! Soooo good! The reason I'm writing you a little later in the day is because we went fencing as a Zone and we didn't have time this morning.
In contrast to all of this cake, we have also been doing more activity! Instead of running 10 laps around our parking lot, today I ran 14 and took the whole 20 minutes! First time I could keep up with Sister Crowton the whole time. The secret was Sally DeFord's "The Greatest Among Us" which was in my head the whole time and that kept a consistent beat going. It's nice to run when you don't feel like dying after a couple of laps!
We also had trade-offs during Sister Crowton's birthday! It wasn't so fun that every single appointment fell through, but it was wonderful because we got to eat a birthday lunch with Sister Carrigan and Sister Ashcraft! (Of course Sister Howell and Hale came by, we're still in their area since all of Gainesville is in their YSA branch). I had my first evaluation with Sister Carrigan. My planner got graded! I got a 40/41 :)
Things are starting to pick up and slow down at the same time here in Gainesville. We notice that there are several people that we need to drop who are not progressing at all, but there are also others we meet who you can tell they want this in their lives. We met at 96 year old woman yesterday in Church who: lives by herself in her own three bedroom house, volunteers twice a week, makes all of her own clothes, and still drives. Sister M is amazing and we're looking foreword with meeting with her this week! Cool side note for dad: This lady also had shoulder problems with calcium deposits. She couldn't move her arm above her head. Solution = celery! Sister Hawkins (a member of our ward who made instant friends with Sister M in Relief Society) mentioned that the magnesium will clear it up. It is evidenced in this 96 year old lady that it works. Eat more celery dad! Or put it in that green mush you like to drink. I personally have gotten some and will be eating it with peanut butter.
Tuesday we had this cool video conferencing with everyone who came out with me four weeks ago with President and the Assistants. It was really cool to see everyone again! Then the very next day we end up having to drive to Jacksonville anyway because Sister Crowton had to go to a leadership conference anyway. The Church is actually putting out a world wide leadership position for Sisters now. They're called 'Sister Trainer Leader' and will be like Zone Leaders, but for Sisters. They can't be in a companionship yet, as everyone is needed for training, but that is what the goal is. Our District Leader followed us home in a new car for the Elders in our ward! They day after they got it, it had a flat tire. Also, the poor Elders, they went to the 'Beast Feast' where they feed you all this meat and then tell you what it is (they had squirrel, duck, opossum, wild boar, frog legs, crawdad, and armadillo) and Elder Greenlaw got sick.
Cool story, Sisters Hale and Howell got one of the most high profile referrals in their lives last week! They got a referral from Elder Andersen of the 12! I don't know the details, but if the person is in our area, we might get to help out if they ask us. Other than that, nothing too exciting has happened.
Fast Sunday was really nice. I think that was one of the first times that I've fasted and liked it. The Testimony meeting was ok. Lots of kids got up and their parents whispered in their ears - not too many adults. Brother Stackhouse's kids got blessings in Sacrament meeting though. Brother Anderson (the former General Authority) gave the blessings. The last few days have kind of been centered around patriarchal blessings (we have been studying for preparing sister Okes and another sister in our ward who is preparing to get her's as well) and lo and behold, we have a Relief Society activity next week with the Patriarch! I need to finish studying mine before then. Jess should think about getting hers!
PS For my birthday, could you send: one or two black/white undershirts and maybe a gps? but only if you want.