Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fernandina Beach, FL Letter #1 June 15 2009

Hi Everyone,

So yeah, I didn’t get the chance to call from the JAX airport, but anyways, President Newman is so amazing! He like..walks with God or something! He is a spiritual beast! His wife is really nice; she made us some dinner with “real” food since we have been having MTC food all the time. Yeah it’s so, so, so, humid down here. When I get out of the car, or apartment my glasses fog up. So I always walk with the glass cloth in my pocket. My first companion is Elder See. He is a really nice guy, and is from Idaho. He has been out a year and one month.

We went shopping today, I hated it. There were too many options and we get a card with $ 140 a month on it. We figure $30 bucks a week for food, plus other personal needs and things; which is not a lot. But we will deal. The area I am in right now is the Fernandina Beach mission. Beautiful area, really nice, lots of trees, and we are set up in a small town.

The ocean is really close and we tracked into a guy that just caught a shark out fishing! Anyways, my apartment is on the second floor and not much to look at, but I don't care, we are not in it a lot anyway. We tract a lot! I bring a hankie with me all the time, so I can wipe the sweat off my face, before I knock on a door.

The APs and the Mission Pres picked us up from the airport. We stayed at the Ap’s home which was very crowded. Elder Perez was switched to Spanish speaking in his meeting with the Mission Pres. Which, I am so glad it was not me! I love English-speaking mission. It is pretty sweet, cause that way I can come home and cry repentance to people in my language (ha), but meals are ok. We have a lot of meals with eggs cause, we can get eggs for cheap, but I don't mind that.

Well the Sunday before I got here it was fast Sunday. My companion Elder See was fasting to either find someone or for them to find him. That Sunday, Jason and Debbie walk into the church (book of Mormon and Bible in hand) and he found out that the way they heard about the church was when Jason just wanted a free Bible. So he looked online and he eventually found the Mormon web site and ordered a free bible. Then he found himself speaking online with the missionaries and they sent him a book of Mormon too. By accident, they sent him two bibles and two book of Mormons, which was perfect because Debbie needed one as well.

Then they researched the church, he saw that the closest one was in walking distance to his home. So he and Debbie walked to church. Now Elder See and his other companion taught them Monday after church, and right on, the spot told them they needed to stop smoking, drinking, and they had to get married, and then baptized! So Jason gave up everything Monday, and has not touched anything since. Debbie had a bit of struggle with smoking, but she has now been 4 days (today) without one, because Jason refuses to buy her smokes. They are getting married this Friday, then baptized Saturday then confirmed Sunday in the branch. Yeah, just like that boom. Me and Elder See gave him some ties and stuff, so that he could have something better to wear to church.

So yeah, pretty wild for my first week! I have noticed that when we have tracked, cause we do that a lot, but anyways we usually park then just start tracking, but I have noticed that animals recognize us. They get all barky and growly at first, but we just keep walking up to the house. People have all these signs that say “beware of dog” but we go anyways. The dogs usually quite down and want to play, and lick us and stuff. But this one lady opened the door, rejected our message; and then she told us about her dog, “to watch out for him, cause he will attack us”. (He was on a chain in the front yard.) lol He didn't pay us no mind, just sniffed us, licked our hands and that was it. It’s pretty sweet.

A few days I forgot to bring my water bottle with me, and I get really thirsty, but I don't want to go back to the car and get it. I just want to keep tracting. I get really, really, really, thirsty. Then I think, “well maybe the Lord might help me out”, Boom! The next house, the guy gave us water bottles!

I was in shock, there are so many small miracles that happen out here, and then of course Elder See's miracle where people just walk into church!

It’s totally sweet out here! I love Florida! We also got a 14-year-old kid named John that wants to come to church! He is pretty cool, his sister is a recent convert, but she is trying to get him baptized as well. He seems like a nice kid, plays lots of video games, has a 360. Um so trying to think what else happened this week... a lot happened!

Oh, this guy on the airplane, he was pretty nice. Talked to him for a while, he was interested about our church, so I gave him a pass along card. First teaching experience! I will have many more soon! This week we are going to dominate!

It’s really fun here. Meeting another guy we contacted this week, his name is Mike. He seems like a real nice guy, meeting with him Tuesday. Elder Olsen (from the MTC) is in my District. Oh and Elder See is the District Leader. But other than that, I don't know. We are just a two-man apartment. My first district meeting is Tuesday.

There is a different way we go about approaching people here. It is way different then the MTC approach. We go up and we have a picture of Joseph Smith in the grove, and we say, “How are you?” Then after they answer we say, “We are Representatives of Jesus Christ come to share a message of hope and happiness. And if they don't close the door, or tell us to screw off…(in a nice way) then we tell them about Joseph Smith and the first vision and we show them that picture. Then we show them the picture of Christ amongst the Nephites and talk about that. Then we talk to them about the BOM and say that “if they read and pray they will know this to be true.” Then right there we commit them to baptism; saying, “Once you know this is true, will you be baptized in Christ’s true church?” Because the president said, “That angels are preparing people for us to teach and we are here to find the elect, so the elect will recognize this message and want to know more and will be willing to be baptized.

It’s a pretty cool process, a little different, but cool! As President Newman told me in our interview; “That every battleground is different, but from what this general has observed; this is the tactic for this battleground. And I have been sent from God, to serve as a soldier for God in this area. I have been prepared as well, for this area.

He said, that you shouldn't have to worry; he will send me home a man lol. We shall see… there is still a lot of kid in me yet! But maybe if anyone could do it; it would be President Newman.

Well I love you guys at home! Hope all is well. Write to me! Tell me how are things; and all that! If you would like to send peanut butter chunky, that would be oh so nice; because I forgot to get some today! Well have fun, be safe, and stay healthy!