This week has been a whirlwind! We arrived on Tuesday at about 3pm in the Tampa Airport. The view from the plane was gorgeous, the ocean is so blue!!! President Cusick and his two assistants picked us up and took us straight to the mission home (not home, it is a mansion). It is such a pretty house! We learned all the driving procedures (I’m terrified to drive now) and went over other info. Then we ate tacos and dessert. A HUGE lightening storm started spontaneously outside right before we were going to leave for the hotel, and as me and my group ran the ten seconds from the house (I mean mansion) to the car, we got SOAKED. We were literally only outside for ten seconds and it was like I took a shower. IT WAS AWESOME! It was rain that you only see in movies, and now I know that it is actually real! I also tripped and took down 4 other people with me. (No surprise) and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life 🙂
The next morning at six am the assistants to the president woke us up and we all worked out together in the hotel parking lot. My roomie (sister Coleman) and I got locked out because our key wouldn’t work, and the manager had to come save us. We got to know him and left him a little note with the lifesaver mints that mom gave me. We wrote that he was a LIFESAVER. He came by later, thanked us, gave us his business card and asked us to visit him sometime!!!
All that day we trained at the church, then went to Golden Corral for dinner. A lady there kept saying she knew me from somewhere. She asked sister Cusick where I was from and kept talking with me. She finally said she must have known me from another life, because she had seen my face before. So I gave her a Mormon.org card and my email and told her to email me a time to visit! I was hoping I would get assigned to her area, or the St. Petersburg area. The next day I was assigned to the St. Petersburg area instead, but I’m so happy! I knew I would get to work with Elder Stephen Nelson and it looks like he’s my zone leader!!! Woohoo!
My companion is Sister Kunz. She is 20, and looks like my sister! We have the same hair length, similar color, and are both 5 foot 2. She is pretty different from me, she is really intense, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE HER!!!! We are going to be really good friends, that’s for sure. She has been out 8 months and is from Syracuse, Utah. We have become so incredibly close just in a week! She is a great trainer and is teaching me so much. I’m so blessed to have received such sweet companions!
I have another list for you though, of the utmost importance. It is titled: WHY FLORIDA IS WEIRD:
*They have lizards EVERYWHERE. I freaked out and tried to catch them all and everyone thought I was strange. At night they are attracted to the lights on the walls just like moths are. They just sit there and stare at them and it is so weirdly awesome.
*It rains all the time! I LOVE IT! And there is tons of thunder and lightening which makes me happy. The rain doesn’t slowly start though, its just like the sky instantly spit a ton of water down on us all at once.
*In every body of water, there either WAS and alligator, there IS and alligator, or there is GOING TO BE and alligator. Wise words from Brother May who has lived in Florida his whole life.
*There are tons of trailer parks here. And over here, it is totally normal and isn’t a sign of low income. In fact, even though they are small, when you go inside of them they have tons of nice things and it looks like a really fancy house.
*There is a pond right in front of my apt and a whole bunch of cranes majestically live there. They are so cutely ugly and awkward! Apparently they are normal here, but I freak out everytime I see them because I think they are so cool. They just walk right up to you!
*On the phone out here you never say “goodbye” before you hang up. It is so weird! Everyone just hangs up on me! I always have to force in a quick “bye” on the phone really fast before whoever I’m talking to hangs up.
So there are cockroaches in our apartment. YUCK. They are just in our kitchen luckily and not all over our apartment! We also have a complex gym, so at six every morning we all go work out there. It is really nice! We are so lucky, because even at six in the morning in Florida it is Humid and hot! I live with another companionship, Sister Klein (a friend from the MTC) and Sister Loveridge (who I love and hope will be a future companion!) The four of us have a ton of fun together.
My first day after the transfer meeting was an amazing day. I went to bed that night so happy and excited for missionary work 🙂 That same day, sister kunz and I met a man named Thomas. He was very interested in our church and we taught him a lesson on the Book of Mormon and then gave him one. We also uploaded the gospel library onto his phone. That night he texted us saying he watched elder Holland’s talk, and then one by elder Bednar, and one by Pres. Monson. He read all of 1st nephi that night until 2 am! We taught him over the last few days, and last night we ate dinner with him over at a member’s house. We taught him another lesson, and at the end I asked him to be baptized. HE SAID YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He will be baptized August 9th 🙂
We’ve been teaching a family named the Ripple family, and a few other people. I’m learning so much! Yesterday at church was so different for me. There are only like 100-150 ward members, 2/3 of them are converts. So there are a lot of tattoos, and piercings, and all that stuff that you don’t see so much in Utah. They were so strong, and loving and accepting though. It was awesome to see people from different backgrounds all coming together to worship. I felt the spirit very strong. I was asked to bear my testimony last minute! I luckily wasn’t too nervous and think I did ok 🙂
I have been a little homesick and have missed everyone. Thank you for the emails! I would love to hear from you! Also my address here in Florida is 2307 Burgundy Terrace, St. Petersburg 33714. LOVE YOU and MISS YOU!!!!