Monday, July 29, 2013

Sister Florida

Hey Family!
Sooooo. Opening an area isn't the funnest thing in the world. Last Wednesday was Transferes and a member from 2nd Ward drove us (sisters from 2nd ward and 3rd ward) to Jacksonville. It was a really fun car ride! But I was already missing my area and everyone there already. I don't think I've ever been so sad about losing a companion. Sister Atkinson was the best! I know she's going to do awesome, but I'm gonna miss her guts. I'll see her on P-days and Zone Conferences, but it wont be the same. I think she has been the companion I've been the most sad about leaving.
Sister Shelley is my new trainee! She's really shy and quiet, but she's really nice. She's 19 and from Fairview, Utah. She went to Snow for a year before coming out, and she played Sax (berri and soprano) in High School. We got to know each other a little bit, and they shipped us off to the mission office, where they gave us our new car and a few nick nacks for it. We started driving to the address in Gainesville they gave us, but rush hour in Jacksonville isn't very good. We didn't get to the appartment until around 8, so we just put our stuff inside and ate dinner (the bread that the RS President put in the fridge) and went to bed. We now live at:
3461 SW 2nd Ave Apt 146
Gainesville, FL 32607
The complex is called 'Hawaiian Village' (I think it's funny they have Hawaiian themed stuff in Florida). Our appartment is actually quite large. It has two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a living room and a family room. We have two beds, two dressers, a table, and folding chairs from the church. The front room is empty and one of the bedrooms is empty. It's weird to walk around a place that's half empty. It's nice having your own bathroom though! There's a river right behind our house. Yesterday we were doing studies and a man suddenly came in our 'backyard' (it's a shared backyard that ends in the river). He was fishing. He caught a fish in two seconds, threw it back in, then walked up the river some more. It was really odd.

Starting a new area is interesting. It's a good thing Elder Saynez is on top of things. He gave us a map with the Ward Boundaries, a marked up roster and had a couple of appointments set up for us. He couldn't make us a mapbook though, because they are Spanish Elders and don't have to stay in Ward Boundaries - so they have different boundaries that we do. So we've started the long process of making a new mapbook. We've already made a bunch of sub-areas and gotten lists of unbaptized children and part-member families. There are a lot of unrecorded part member families. Just from notes the Elders made on the roster, I added to the part-member family list last night and in addition to the four that were already on the printed list the clerk gave us. I think I added about 15-25 or something. I think I'm going to type up an actual list to give to the Elders and Bishop. There's a lot of these kinds of famlies in this Ward. We also can't use the majority of the Elder's Potential Records because of that same reason. They don't have the same boundaries as us, and most the people they talk to speak Spanish. So we're litterally starting from scratch.
You'll be excited to know that we already have a new Gator! Her name is Miss F. She is from Brazil and bairly speaks any English! She doesn't know what we're saying half the time, and we don't know what she's saying. But her friend that she's visiting till December (then she goes back home) is a member and she translates for us. She's really smart (already has an undergrad in Anthropology from Brazil - she works with natives along the Amazon, and now she's working on a Law degree). I didn't understand where she said she was from, just that it is North Eastern Brazil. Rio? She kept forgetting the word for prayer so maybe I learned a new word in Portugese! Accra! (If that's not it please say so Dad). She really liked reading about the First Vision in her friend's Portugese Joseph Smith History. She really identified with verse 19 because she grew up in the Catholic tradition, but didn't agree with it once she got older and started looking at things.
So other that that, we're just trying to get to know people. We've been iNetting a lot - visiting and knocking around less actives, because there's nothing else for us to do. After our first District Meeting we had a service project with this really sweet lady, and that night we went to the Releif Society Activity (lots of chocolate and get to know you games). There was this old lady from Cuba who doesn't speak much English, but that's one of her goals (she's trying so hard!) and she basically talked to us in Spanish the whole time. Every now and then someone would translate, but she seemed very happy that we were there. I've been told that she also lives in our appartment complex and that she loves to give us cake. But we'll be trying to set up a lot of service and getting to know the members. They are totally eliminating tracting soon. That book that you sent me "The Power of the Everyday Missionary" is actually for members. We'll be teaching out of it to them to help them become missionaries and find us people to teach. Ya'll should read it! I just got done with the second chapter and it's amazing!!

This last Saturday they had a really cool Youth Conference. We missionaries got to go because it was missionary themed. For a couple hours on Saturday, they paired us up with a group of kids, we trained them in a 'District Meeting' about how to do door approaches and street contacting, and then we went and knocked on doors and did street conacting with them for a couple of hours. They did really well! A lot of them got doors slammed in their faces, but it was surprising about how it helped them with their testimony when they talked about it in testimony meeting afterwards. Several people gave out Book of Mormons and a couple of people actually got appoinments for missionaries in that area! I don't know if this would work in Utah, but it was really successful.
Anyway. I still have to write President. Y'all write me letters at my new address!
~Later from Sista Gator