I feel like I say this every time I type up an email, but WHAT A WEEK!
This past week was definitely a fun one with a lot of fun stories! I
can honestly say that I am enjoying my mission, and having a good time
serving the Lord. Elder Chidester and I are getting along really well,
and we feel like we're brothers. I love this kid. One of the most
patient people I know! As Christmas approaches, is definitely doesn't
feel like it! We sat down in the car one day this week, and the
thermometer on the car said 89 degrees. Welcome to Florida.
To get after it, this week we had a couple of exchanges! The first was
with the Elders in Minneola! We had a great day and we were able to
find some new people to teach using the new Christmas Video the church
put out. Story time: So it's been a good 4 and a half transfers (over
25 weeks) since I've been on a bike, and the Minneola area has some of
the highest altitudes in all of the state of Florida. I was in
trouble. 4:30 in the afternoon comes around and my legs have turned
into jello and my lungs about to burst like a balloon after what felt
like a long day of biking. I was not ready! We had a few extra minutes
before our dinner appointment, so my companion for the day asked me if
I wanted to go try to ride up "The Sister Slayer" hill right outside
their apartment complex. On the inside I wanted to say no, but the
competitive man inside of me took over and the words "of course"
stumble out of my mouth before I could think. I was done for. It's
called the "Sister Slayer" because not many sister missionaries are
able to bike up the "peak"' without having to walk their bike. It's a
challenge for every elder that comes into that area. After some
serious suffering and panting like a dog, I found myself at the top of
the hill. It was an awesome sight! (Pictures below) I asked about some
of the other hills they have named of the years in Minneola and her
replied, "the atonement, the battle at Bunker hill, and Judas
Iscariot. Lol. It was a fun day!
The other Exchange this week was with the Apopka Elders! Elder
Chidester served in Apopka for 5 transfers so it was fun for him to go
back and see some of those people he had previously taught and served
with. The night ended with the baptism of a man named Rodger Elder
Chidester found. It was pretty awesome! My hope is that one day I am
able to serve close to an area I've been in and catch up on some of
the people I have met out here.
Our investigator Sherry is doing really good! She is at the point
where she knows the Book of Mormon is true, and she loves reading it.
Her and her mother that is a member, both sit down and read it
together throughout the week. Sherry keeps telling us that each time
they read, she just feels something she doesn't feel anywhere else.
Reading from the scriptures with investigators is one of my favorite
things to do! Every time, without fail the spirit is there. I've grown
to love and appreciate the scriptures so much more than I had before I
left for my mission.
Another funny story this week: While on our 2nd exchange for the week,
I was with Elder Hale (serving in Apopka) and we were previously
assigned to try to get in contact with some members who just moved
into the Ward. After trying to call them a couple of times last week,
we move forward to the good old door approach because it seems like
that is what missionaries do! As we pulled into this circle, we see
that the driveway is a good 60 yards long down a foresty looking path.
We parked the car in the circle and walked through the jungle down the
driveway. We saw multiple "beware of dog" signs but decided to ignore
them because it seems like everyone has those in Florida!! We
continued on until we were about 10 yards away from the house, when we
notice big old boxer dog laying down on the side of the driveway. We
went to go pet it and it was a friendly dog for about .5 seconds after
I had touched it and it tried snapping for my hand! It's begins to
growl and stand up so Elder Hale and I speed walk ourselves back down
the driveway with the dog barking it's head off while we go. After
returning to the car and the dog stops barking, we decide to head back
in and just not approach the dog thinking he'd be sleeping again. We
get about to the same place on the drive way as before, and notice the
dog. This time it was awake and ready for us. Before you could say
"want a treat" that dog was chasing us like there was no other. I
think that was the fastest I've ever ran. I'm pretty sure If someone
would have timed me, I would have held the new record for the 40 yard
dash. Luckily, the dog stopped after we got a ways off of the
property, but it was definitely a track meet! It was a funny memory
now looking back at it, but at the time, we were scared for our lives.
We decided to just stick to calling those guys from now on.
There were a lot of pretty funny stories this week, but we had some
pretty spiritual experiences as well. We had our ZTM (Zone Training
Meeting) on Thursday, and it was great! With both of us being football
players, and both being a little nervous we needed something to help
calm us down a little bit. We woke up a little early Thursday morning
to drive over to Eustis High School and exercise on their football
field. It was the most relaxed I'd been all week! It's always pretty
stressful planning and preparing for a big meeting, so that was a nice
stress reliever. Once the show got on the road, I was totally calm. I
noticed this happens quite a bit and I'm now recognizing it as the
spirit, am grateful for it. I like public speaking, and I think it's
fun, but I seem to always get those butterflies. The meeting went
well, and we had a nice dunk afterwards! (Video below)
It was the Ward Christmas party Friday night, and that's always a good
time. Our Investigator Artie and his family came and brought a friend of his wife from work! Artie was pretty pumped to be doing some
missionary work. When we were walking out of the chapel after the
party, he said he wants to be baptized once all of the commotion and
chaos of the holidays calms down! Woohoo!
It was a busy week and I wish I had the time to share some more, but
it's a busy day! I'm grateful for this chance to be serving a mission
and to strengthen my testimony of Heavenly Father, and our savior
Jesus Christ. I can't imagine what my world would be like if I didn't
serve a mission. I'll be eternally grateful for this decision. Happy
Holidays! With Love,