Monday, August 26, 2013

July 8, 3013

Two Missions! Jackson, Mississippi and Sao Paulo, Brazil

 Hey ya'll!! Life here in Mississippi is GREAT!
 Here's how it all went down the morning I left the MTC:
     Monday morning everyone in my room (except Sis Morrill because she was leaving to CA on Tuesday ) Sister Shaw, Sirmans, McElderry and me grabbed our luggage and headed to the bus = 4:30am - woke up at 3:20am!  My luggage was 70 and 75lbs!  On the ride there, there was an Elder sitting in front of both me and Sis Shaw. He talked to her the whole ride to the airport. I took a nap. When we all got to the airport, I had the HARDEST time getting my luggage around; and everyone had to keep waiting on me. I had my heavy purse around my neck / shoulder, 2 70lb suitcases, 1 rolling computer bag filled with tons of books = heaving, my scriptures, and two pillows.  AH! I had SO much stuff!
     I had brought extra money specifically for that though, so I thought I was ok. As I pulled all my stuff up to the desk, (fingers ready to break, but trying to keep a smile on my face) I pre-warned her that I know they're about 70lbs. i pay for the first one - $160. I bring the other one up, $200...bc it was 4 lbs over 70. I wasn't able to do cash and card, so I had to have Sis. McElderry help me (after i took 4lbs off = shoes). I brought the weight down to 70.5 (so they gave it to me for 70. In the process of figuring out what to take out of my suitecase, the lady was like, "you don't need to take so much stuff. I know. served a mission. I served in Switzerland, and I didn't need all that stuff. Switzerland, or Brazil....Same thing." That made it hard on me. The tone of her voice, her facial expression, and her attitude was just my breaking point. When I realized I didn't have enough money and I needed to borrow, I worked really hard on holding my tears back. I then had to figure out what to do with all my shoes. I ended up getting another carry on bag = $20 cheaper than paying 200! and stuck my purse and shoes in it. Eventually after all of this was finally sorted out, we got through security and got to our gate. I wasn't planning on eating / buying any breakfast bc I brought snacks, but then at the wrap palace ( where others were buying) there was a Mormon couple, and bought us all breakfast!
     While we were sititing waiting  for the plane, we met a couple. He served in Brazil on his mission, and his wife is from Brazil.  So we all got some practice at portuguese.
     On the plane, I sat next to a man from Texas. I don't remember his name. Our conversation started out with me telling him how excited I was for jmy mission! I wasn't sure if he was Mormon or not because we were coming out of SLC. Eventually, it led into him asking what we do as missionaries - to talking about the difference between churches and temples - to the importance of the temples - to why wthere are so many churches on earth (the apostasy - restoration = 1st lesson) - to marraige and the importance and blessings of being sealed together forever - to the Plan of Salvation ( 2nd lesson!) Enventually, in so many words I asked hi mto read the BOM and pray about its truth. in the end, he said he would out of pure curiosity. He also believes that things happen for a reason; and that he believed that we were talking for a reason! My comp behind me gave me a card, so I handed it to him! It was really amazing! He asked me so many questions! HF really helped me!
     When we arrived at the Dallas airport, we found phones and called our families.. I first called home, Trevor hanswered. I could tell he was excited! I heard Julianna get super excited and yell my name in the background! She told me about how well her school was doing, and how much it's been storming there. I also found out that my mom was out and about. Sadly, our phone call was cut off.. I called my mom's cell. She was super happy to get a phone call from me! It was good talking to my mom! She said she sometimes sets 7 plates instead of 6 on the table! I told her about the MTC, what I've learned, and the plane ride!
     Eventually, I heard my mom say, "Hello? Hello?" and then was completely gone. I realized I didn't say, "I love you." but instead of almost crying, I made myself think about how I was glad I was able to hear her voice, and tell her about what's been going on. I love my family!
     While I was waiting for the Sisters (who were still on the phone) I stood by, and a man came up to me and asked about my name tag (which is in Portuguese). I translated it, then explained how I am eventually going to Brazil. I shared  a little bit with him, then he headed off to his plane.
     Our 2nd plane was TINY! one aisle - one side only, one seat behind each other, and the other side 2 seats behind each other. We then arrived in Jackson, Mississippi, and there was our Mission President and his wife and two Sis missionaries. They helped get our luggage, and we all headed out to the Brandon ward. I rode with the Mission Pres's wife. It was great! They are both so sweet and are always smiling!  There were a lot more new missionaries there! We ate some lunch, then all went into the chapel. After some talking, we all bore our testimonies....I always cry!
    Afterwards, we all headed off to the mission home. We all picked numbers for beds. I needed up on a top bunkbed = just like home!
     After dinner, some Sisters wanted to hear me play, so I played them music on the piano. We all had five minute interviews with the Mission Pres.
     On July 2nd (tues) we filled our some paperwork, then found out where we would be serving. I found out my companion would be Sis. McElderry (roommate at the MTC) and a Sister named Sis. Keyes. (eyes with a K).
     After pictures and goodbyes, we headed off to the transfer area. Sis Shaw and Sis Sirmans were comps and were staying in Jackson. When we got to the Stake Center, we marked our luggage, emailed, then around 1:30pm got into our vans and headed off. We got to Biloxi (our area) around 4pm.
     After a full day of traveling we finally got to our apartment. It's BEAUTIFUL!  Nice big kitchen, 3 desks, electic fireplace, nice shower / tub, etc.
     3rd- We jogged around a pond in our apt area for exercise, then the Spanish assigned Elders picked us up and brought us to the church for DDM - District Meeting. Sis. McElderry played the piano. Elders went up and discussed their investigators. Apparently one was getting married this past weekened and getting baptized this upcoming weekened. After all of that, we all went up and had a little get to know me 5 min each sessions. Afterwards, we all had cake and sang because it was the DL - district leader's bday.  Then we had lunch at Chick- Fil- a and we went back to the church and did some door approach role playing. Eventually  my comps and I went tracting. We met a guy named Dustin. He originally come out in a shirt and boxers, but put some pants, AWKWARD! He seemed pretty interested. We gave him a BOM and we'll call him tonight (Monday). 6:30 pm we met the Bishop of our Ward...interesting man.
4th - for lang study, sis McElderry and I named everything in our apt in Portuguese on sticky notes.
1:30 we met the RS Pres at McDonald's and she brought us on the airforce base (where part of our area is.) Many people in the Ward live on base. They were supposed to be having a party, but it was basically just two families at a house talking and eating.  Afterwards, we visited a member's home. I forget their last name, but they were the cutest! The mom was super skinny, and really cute hair, and just overall, their family looked a movie family! She looked like an artist! They adpoted a little girl from Russia, which is where her husband served (Siberia). We talked about my siblings for a short time who are also from Russia.
After we visted their family, we went tracting in their neighborhood. There was a man and a boy on their porch. They were both very polite, but definitely not interested.
Eventually, we found three people in their garage. One Older man, one in his late 20's, an early 30's man, and one woman. At first they were very,  "I'm not interested" but as time went on, the younger man, (Patrick) started asking some questions. We also found out that the woman (Patrick's girlfriend) has some friends who are Mormon. It eventually led to us telling our stories about how we gained our testimonies. In the end, they were alot more open to us than they were in the beginning. We gave him a BOM and when we asked for his number ,he rejected because his girlfriend was right there. We gave him our # and we stated that he could call us, and if he didn't want anything to do with us, we wouldn't bother him again, but we would love to come and teach / tell him more. His girlfriend spoke up, "well that seems fair." cool...but that was the only real luck we had. We're planning on visiting again later this week.
We've had so much luck this past week!
I don't have time to tell more, but there have been many times were we track so long, and it's the last house that we have success at. There have been two times where people have been praying for help, and we're their answer. It's really cool! I'm really grateful for this experience!
Hope all is well! LOVE YOU ALL!!!

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