Monday, May 6, 2013

Dear Family,
This last week has been crazy! Since there are a lot of last minute missionaries who's Visas didn't go through our mission gets to house some of them so there were a lot of last minute changes to transfer instructions. I actually wasn't originally going to get Sister Pettingill! Instead I was supposed to get Sister Carrigan. I know this because the Assistants hadn't changed my transfer instructions when President had made the last minute adjustments. Because there were no other Sister Missionaries left in our Zone, I got to ride the Transfer bus with Sister Crowton all the way up to the Mandarin Building in Jacksonville that was the fulcrum of the transfer. It was kind of a long ride, since we stopped at two other places to pick up missionaries on the way up, and to drop off on the way back. I'm miss Sister Crowton :(

Oh well... Sister Pettingill and I are getting along great! She does not want to waist ANY time. Thursday was kind of a tough day since I was the only person who can plan, and we spent a lot of the time trying to tract, which we realize that we're both very bad at the CONTACT approach. That first part of the day was really awkward. Chasing after people who are walking their dogs. Makes me laugh looking back on it. But the day got better when we had dinner with the Ward Mission Leader, Brother Salmon. After dinner we went across the street to see if a potential was home (her name is M and she's a high school-er who is really into tennis - she's really good at it!). We had first met her while tracting the Town of Tioga subdivision (a very fancy neighborhood) and she was babysitting at one of the houses! Well, it was a miricle in the making because it happened that she was home, had some questions on the Book of Mormon, and loved the For Strength of Youth pamphlet!
Friday wasn't as awesome. We had two Conference Calls, one concluding our 6th week of training, and another to all of the missionaries who have Elders and Sisters in the same area (which number is increasing every transfer). On top of that was weekly planning. Sister Pettingill doesn't really know anything about the area so as we were going through I had to talk about everyone and everything and it kind of took all day till it was prime pross time. We still haven't gotten Companionship Inventory done - but we're not really worried about that. At least we got a lesson in with Charlie later that evening. The Ward Missionaries here are great! They come to Missionary Coordination Meeting on Sunday and they come with us all the time to go to lessons! Sister Chapman came with us to C's lesson.
Saturday was a day of miracles! We headed out to Newberry (an outlying town next to Gainesvill that's in our area) to teach a lesson and during the course of the lesson I realized that I had forgotten my name tag! So we had to go back to the apartment to get it. After walking around in a bunch of mud (it rained a TON last week - the Elders called us during weekly planning session to tell us our parking lot had turned into a miniature river) we finally knocked on Ben's door. Ben is a potential who had spoken a little with missionaries before. His dog had just died the week before and he had just gotten home. We had a great lesson on his doorstep about if there's a God and our testimonies about why we're on missions. He's got the feeling of an elect - full of questions and a desire to act.

On Saturday we also finally met a less active that has always turned us away before. Sister H has five pit bulls and is not a very socializing person, but she let us in when we knocked on her door on Saturday evening! The two pit bulls that were inside with us were really nice (they have really uncanny facial expressions by the way). Sister Pettingill read 1 Nephi 17:13 and asked if at any point in her life, did Sister Hamilton feel guided by the Spirit - as a result of that, she shared her testimony with us. She stopped coming to church at 15, but still regards herself as Christian. The thing that helped her in a dark time of her life was a book called "The Power of Positive Thinking" by a Methodist Minister. We are hoping that we can go back and see her again!
Sunday was crazy! None of our investigators could make it to church, but it was the Sister's turn to teach Gospel Principles! It was on Chapter 16 - the Church of Jesus Christ in Early Times or something. Scared me silly. After the lesson people were coming up and telling me that I did a good job, but I forgot most of what I had said after the fact. So I'll just have to take their words for it. All I remember was that the Elders would make eyebrow faces any time I looked at them.
Sunday after church was great as well! We got to see another less active that we've tried several times before, but I had never met, and we also got to teach Becky. A Vet student getting her PhD. I love talking with Becky! She's so nice and she's interested in coming to Bible Study this Wednesday :)
Anyway. That seems to sum up this past week. How is Jessie and Jake? Tell them they've got to write me for my birthday.
All my love,
~Sister Carlson
P.S. I wouldn't worry about Sister Crowton not coming - I gave her birthday t-shirts for Jessie and Jake since I missed their birthdays. I gave her your number too. Attached is a pic of S. crowton and I and one of the G family who are the BEST