Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Florida




Hello yall.
It is so nice to read all of your letters! I did get Julie's email with a few pictures attached - nice outfits Julie and Josie ;) I also got Dad's letter that was sent April 24th. I'm gonna write her again next week about another kind of bug that's coming out as it gets warmer.
I think it is ironic that it is right after I leave that yall get trees for the yard. We've never had trees. I leave and go to a place where I'm practically buried in trees, and yall get two trees. Interesting.
Well, the reason I'm writing to you on Tuesday instead of Monday is because my first transfer had ended. They call the Missionaries Monday night and tell them if they are being transferred, and give them Tuesday as a P-Day to get everything washed and packed. Wednesday they pick everyone up in transfer buses and move everyone around. Sister Crowton will be leaving me tomorrow morning. Sad day. Yesterday we met with the Relief Society President so Sister Crowton could spill out her brains about the women in the Ward that she has visited since she got here in February before she leaves. Sister Davis is the one who drove us down after I flew in and she also gave us a lot of stuff for our apartment.

We had lunch again with Sister May at the Gainesville Alehouse yesterday! She ordered a huge plate of deep fat fried shrimp. Her grandson was there and he actually told us about his girlfriend who might want to talk to missionaries again! I had fish and chips (fish and french fries, not real English chips) that was really good and Sister Crowton was able to say goodbye to Sister May. Earlier this week we had visited her and she showed us all of her stuff that she had made. She has a drawer full of doilies that she had made and she gave us some! She also gave Sister Crowton and I two little hand purses that she had made out of fishing twine. She's so cute.

We also met with the G family last night. I love the Gales! They were able to come to sacrament meeting on Sunday and Sister Gale brought her friend Hanna, who has several mormon friends and loves learning about other religions. She was there for the lesson last night as well and asked us a question about what someone told her and it was a reason she didn't really like the church. Someone had told her that mormons believe that after we die, all the mormon people are in bubbles floating around while everyone else burns in hell. They are really careful not to let others pop their bubbles so they won't burn too. After a certain amount of time, God will take them out of their bubble to live with him. It was interesting. That lesson started out as reading from 1st Nephi, to D&C 8 and how we recognize the spirit, to Plan of Salvation. Brother Gale also asked about all the other people who hadn't heard of Jesus Christ and what would happen to them. 'If ye areprepared, ye shall not fear!' It was a really fun lesson. The Gales are just fun people - I love going over to get to know them more.
After meeting with the Gales, we had to hurry fast and get gas and race back to our apartment because the Transfer Conference Call started at 9pm. President Barry read through all the transfers and my new companion is going to be Sister Pettingill who I came out with in the MTC! We are going to be finishing each other's training. Both Sister Major and Sister Houtz in GV 3rd Ward are training NEW missionaries and Sister Houtz is opening an area to sisters at the same time. We now have three pairs of Sister Training Leaders who cover all the sisters in the mission. Sister Hale (the sister that Sister Crowton began training last trasfer) has finished her training and has been called to be one of the six Sister Training leaders. Another Sister who came out in my group who hasn't finished her 12 week training, Sister Call, has also been called as a Sister Training Leader. They're kind of like Zone Leaders and will go to the same meetings as they do with President. 

Miracles are happening everywhere and planning has definitely taken place in all of it! Smackting is definitely inspired. 'Smackting' is from the term coined by Sister Barry "Smart Tracting" where you would tract around the houses of members and less actives.  My first week here we were smackting since all of our appointments fell through in that area and I talked to a gentleman who was smoking outside his house. The Elders have been teaching him and he has set a baptismal date for the end of May! Hopefully, that will go through. We were also smackting around a Media Referral and met a 'Marrying Reverend and Junk Dealer' who teaches at Alachua County Prison. We had a lesson with him and made a return appointment! He gave his next door neighbor as a referral, who wasn't interested, but she gave HER next door neighbor as a referral, who set up an appointment with us! Crazy!

One of the things that I think I need to work on is the 'picturing everyone in white' - that Conference talk that President Monson gave in Priesthood last October about that really successful missionary. Every now and then I think while we're teaching or knocking on doors, that these people wouldn't change or that they probably wouldn't accept the gospel. I can't imagine them wanting to be baptized. That kind of thinking isn't faith and it only adds to my fear of knocking on doors. I am working on strengthening my faith in God that he can help me to love everyone and to have faith in humankind. I need to give everyone that chance of hearing the gospel. I also want to work on getting the members involved in going to lessons and be Book of Mormon mentors. Sister Crowton and I think that's what Sister May needs. Someone to read the Book of Mormon with her while we're not there. Plus that means that she'll get more visitors. She's kind of cooped up in that little house and she needs some nice friends.
Yall have a good week! All my love,
~Sister Carlson