Monday, July 1, 2013


Dear Family!!!!

I got all ya'll's mail! One from Jessie and two from Dad! Thanks a bunch! I have enjoyed them thoroughly! That email about Mo being eaten by a dog was not encouraging. Everyone and their dog has a dog down here. Pets are really big. Both in size and in popularity.

There has been a lot of weather. One second you're driving along and its hot and really bright, the next second you can't see two feet in front of your car because there's so much rain, and you're car is shaking from all the thunder. Sister Atkinson loves it. She says it reminds her of home. She wants to go golfing out in it. I love her guts! It's kind of scary to drive in though. We have to pull over every now and then to wait it off. We can't even make calls during that time cause the rain is so loud no one can hear us. But we never have to wait that long. In 5-10 minutes, it will be bright and hot out once again. The only difference is that there's steam coming up from the ground cause it's so hot that the water evaporates right then. It looks kind of cool. I thought it looked like mist the first time I saw it.

Funny thing that happened last p-day. Sister Atkinson and the other new Sister hadn't been to Alice Lake yet to see the Gators, so we went there after lunch. We got a picture with this really nice Gator I'm sending you, but as Sister Toledo went to go sit down on a bench to wait for the other two, we hear this hissing sound. There's a Gator underneath the bench! Needless to say, we got out of there. There may have been screaming involved. It was just a baby Gator though. They don't have big ones in Alice Lake.

President Barry is gone! Last Friday we had a conference call with them and he kept alluding to the fact that our mission has been contacted and that we're piloting something. Something big or something... but it's driving me crazy! Apparently we'll get to find out what it is this upcoming Friday when we meet President Craig at a mini Zone Conference. Maybe we'll get iPads! One of the New York missions is piloting that and a SLC mission is too. That'd be nice.

Miracle! M got baptized! I still remember knocking on the door she was babysitting at with Sister Crowton my first transfer here! She's really changed a lot! She goes above and beyond! Just in conversations with her she, on her own, will bring up the fact that she took out all her earrings except one pair, and that she went through all her clothes and only kept the modest ones. She blows me away! 

Her whole family went to her baptism, and M even brought along two friends, who want to come with her to Church and to Young Womens! People tell me that it was a really good baptism and they really felt the Spirit. I felt it too, when I wasn't scared out of my mind because I was giving a talk. And when I got over that feeling in the pit of my stomach that we forgot towels. But that hiccup and the fact that the water was freezing cold (the Elders filled the font up) just made M more excited to relate the experience of what she felt to someone. You could tell that her parents were really proud of her, even if they didn't quite understand why she had to be baptized again. During the waiting period, Elder Greenlaw and Elder Welsh taught the Restoration. They did a really good job. Sister Okes (who was baptized just two years ago and is the Personal Progress tracker in young womens) gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. She had been really worried about the talk, but she also did such a fantastic job! My goodness! Afterwards, her family had a really good time talking with all the ward members who were there (there were a lot). I got to know M's dad a little bit more (he's an engineer and currently working on some stuff for the Transition Lens company). M's mom had a great time as well. The Young Women took care of all the refreshments. They did a really good job. Ice cream in punch, tons of fruit on shish-ca-bobs, and many other gluten free snacks like rice crispy treats and such. I was still trying to shake off my nervousness and I had some ice cream. I don't regret it! I was so dead tired when we got back to the apartment.

Sister Atkinson and I played tennis this morning. We're trying to get a little bit better so the next time we play with Maggie she won't be totally bored (she doesn't get as bored as much as she laughs at how I epic-ally go for the ball and miss). We're gonna go golfing sometime. Sister Atkinson has a stick that she practices with and waves around every morning for her swing. That will be a fun experience for me :)

Anyway. Having a fun and rainy time out here in Gainesville! Thanks so much for all the letters - especially you Jess ;) I'll try to write a reply as soon as I can.

Sister Jen Carlson