Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Week 1 ~ February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014

I made it! What a day full of flying! 15 of us missionaries arrived in Jacksonville, FL at around 3:30 due to a slight flight delay! Florida is GORGEOUS! Trees everywhere and rivers....and crazy drivers. Humid weather and I don't even really have to wear a sweater. President and Sister Craig's mission home is beautiful and I will be staying here tonight with two other sister missionaries. They fed us a wonderful 'deep southern' dinner. Salad, pulled pork, pulled ribs, fruit, grits, biscuits, punch, YUM. I ate so much. Well tomorrow I will find out who my companion is and which area I will be serving in for the next three months or so. 

I gotta go I love you so much and I'm so glad I got to talk to you today! Next week I will be able to tell you my address.
Please forward to whoever!

Sister McCook

Sister McCook with President and Sister Craig

Week 1

February 24, 2014

Tuesday the 18th, I woke up at 2:00 in the morning to prepare to get on the plane which left to Atlanta at 7:10. The departing missionaries piled on a 45 minute bus ride to the Salt Lake City Airport. After baggage check-in and security, we had two hours to ourselves before the plane departed. I was so thankful to have been able to call my family and tell them more about my MTC experience and how excited I was to be finally flying to Florida! I was flying with many missionaries going to the Georgia Atlanta North mission and 15 of us were going to Jacksonville. After a long three hour plane ride, we had about forty minutes to get off the plane and get on the flight to Jacksonville. It was sad saying goodbye to some great life long friends but I'm so excited for them to serve in Georgia! Our plane left 40 minutes late due to a sudden notice of having to get a whole new air plane and captain/crew, causing all of our seats to be rearranged. I sat next to a nice man named David with his daughter Danielle who were on their way to St. Augustine. I got to know them a little bit and offered them to check out the mormon.org website but they kindly said no thanks. He told me all about Florida so it was fun. When we got off the plane at about 3:30, the mission president and his wife, President and Sister Craig, were waiting for us. Wow this is really happening! They went with us to pick up our luggage and we were off to the mission home! Due to the fact that I did not have a sister companion because my companions at the MTC went to a different mission, the 14 missionaries with me went with their companions in two vans and I went with President and Sister Craig in their car to the mission home! First thing I said when I walked outside was, 'Wow it is humid.' But it was beautiful. The mission home is right in the heart of Jacksonville and it is gorgeous and they really spoiled us with the dinner they had prepared for us when we got there. The really Deep Southern food: Pulled pork, pulled ribs, baked beans, biscuits, the best salad ever, fruit, and punch. It was SO GOOD! 
I spent the night in the mission home with two other sisters.

Wednesday was the BIG DAY. I found out who my sister trainer companion would be and where we would be serving for the next 6-12 weeks and I had to hold back the tears for how excited I was. Her name is Sister Call and she is such a huge example to me. I just love her! We have so many things in common. She has been out here in Florida for one year now and has helped me so much and trained me for this life changing experience. She is a hard worker, loves this gospel, has a sweet spirit, and just interacts with everyone so well. I'm so thankful for her. We are serving in Fleming Island which is in Western Jacksonville. More specifically in the Fleming Island 2nd Ward. It's a very small area with a small ward of about 100 people so it's definitely a whole new experience but the people here are great. We are trying to get to know as many of the ward members as we can and we just love them! Here's the catch. Our apartment is about 15 miles away from our area so it takes about 20-25 minutes to get there and back every day. It's a good thing we have a car, but we've been trying to walk a lot. This area is new for both Sister Call and I so we have a lot of work to do. 
I'm so grateful for prayer. I find myself and together with my companion, praying so much because we cannot do this work alone, we need our Heavenly Father through every step of the way.
This is an IPAD MINI mission. I kind of like it, but at the same time I'd rather write things down. We do all of our planning, and find resources on the Gospel Library, etc. on this iPad. The area is beautiful and all of the people are so kind. I think the southern accents are really starting to cause me to develop one. The homes here are all amazing, I've seen birds that I've never seen before in my life, when it rains it pours, so much green and trees and water, lots of cats that roam around. 

I have witnessed miracles happen every day but I will tell you a miracle that happened on Thursday. Elder Scribner, Elder Nielson, Sister Call, and I are the missionaries in the Fleming Island 2nd area. We were in a meeting with the Ward Missionary Leader at 2:00 that was only suppose to be one hour, but it ended up being two hours. So it kind of cut into our plans for the day so we decided to just continue with what we were suppose to do for that hour at 4:00. We went to go visit with Sister Chattin but she wasn't at home. So we went to the house next door and nobody answered. We went to the house after that and a girl named Lizzie answered the door. She invited us in and we taught her the first lesson which is the Restoration! I invited her to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized and she accepted! March 23 is the date! As we ended the lesson with a closing prayer, my heart was so full of happiness and I didn't want her to see I was crying. She said she just has to ask her mom if she is able to continue learning because she really wants to. We are going to see her tomorrow and I so can't wait to continue to teach her. I know that Heavenly Father directed us to her and that putting faith and trust in the Lord is so important.

I had my first dinner in a member's home which was Bishop Price's home. Bishop Price and his family are awesome! (Thank you for the proxy hug dad!) Again we had an amazing deep southern meal which was so good and after Sister Call and I shared a message about prayer with his children and grandchildren and the importance of praying as a family and individually.

Here's a little look at the daily schedule.
6:30 exercise at the apartment complex gym
7 get ready
8 personal study
9 companion study
10 training
11 lunch
11:30 drive
12 library
1-8:30 visit members, share the gospel, find people to teach
8:30 drive home
9 daily planning 
9:30 get ready to sleep
10:30 lights out

Again I feel scattered as I write and I promise I will try to do better. But I'm so excited and happy to be here. I LOVE YOU ALL!

Love, Sister McCook

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