Monday, July 15, 2013

Murphy’s Law—email from 07-15-13

definition: anything that can go wrong will go wrong. 

Today being my last regular P-day we planned to get everything done quick in the morning and then go to a park/playground with the elders and play sports outside and stuff. So what happens? Event 1: Lightning storm in Blackshear so the librarians boot us off the computers 2. Rainstorm in Waycross so going to the park is no longer an option. I almost started crying at one point because every plan we've set today keeps going wrong. ugh... 

But anyway! We had a great week! We found 2 new investigators! Yay! One of them is another unbaptized child!!! The family has been reactivated for a while and the Bishop talked to them and said that they need to get their 9 year old baptized. So they had us over and we have started teaching him. Who knew that I would spend my entire mission teaching children. Perhaps this is a sign? Maybe I'll get to be in Primary for the rest of forever?

Sister Divis was called as a trainer so we get to go to Jacksonville this week for her to get training for that. I am excited to see good ol' JAX and have some fun down there. And by fun I mean sit in a church and listen to trainings and then drive home. Yippee!!! haha

And yea, that's it! that's the week!

I've been forced to embrace the coming changes for me and it's not fun when every day someone is asking if I am excited to go home. Not especially. But I am sure excited to see you people!!! I think I am just getting to practice my preaching of change every day of my mission. But I love it. 

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

Monday, July 8, 2013

‘Merica—email from 07-08-13

Celebrating the 4th in the south is fun!!! I had a steak that was bigger than my head for supper that day! The only bummer was the pouring rain in the afternoon and evening.

The weeks are just disappearing out from under me now. We had zone meeting on Wednesday and met the mission president. They gave a little presentation on themselves so that we could get to know more about them. They are a lot of fun. You can definitely tell they just came from a singles ward. They kept giving us dating and future marriage advice.hahaha Not quite the same venue... But then he gave us further information on the upcoming changes in missionary work. OH boy are things about to change in a big way. Tracting is being phased out (about time!!!) and will now be replaced with online work, which will be accomplished by...drumroll...Every companionship of missionaries having a tablet and a smartphone!!!! WHAT??!?!?! So exciting!!! Since our mission is already online we will be transitioning to technology in the coming months. This now means there are no boundaries on who we teach, if someone has a friend or family member that lives in Virginia, Germany, California, whatever, we can now teach them via Skype and once they are progressing we will transition them to their local missionaries. It is going to be crazy! Sadly none of these changes will happen soon enough for me. But that's ok. Tomorrow we have one on one interviews with the mission president, I am excited for a chance to get to know him before he has to decide whether I was an honorable missionary haha

We have set a goal for this week and next to knock every door on our roster and try to make contact with every person who has ever been a member that lives inside our boundaries. It is going to be 2 long hard weeks, but we are really excited to do it!

We are doing our darndest to find people to teach and I am starting to see some glimmers of hope with the ward members as far as getting their help in sharing the gospel is concerned. Just like all my other areas, it gets going just before/after I leave. There's a lesson to be learned here I think. I've realized that this is the Lord's great plan and we each play a different part at a different time. So we mustn't be discouraged when it seems like our part is nothing, because there are greater things at play that we cannot see.

Missionary work is undergoing some of the most revolutionary changes ever and I am proud to say that I was one of the missionaries that was being the change that showed it was possible to do it. You never know what you being the change can do to help others.

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Got Mud?—email from 07-01-13

It has been a muddy and fun week! It has been raining here far far far more then normal this year. It has rained almost every day for the past few weeks. And the area was in a drought until this year. Because of that, the land soaked it up for the first bit, but then had nothing to do with it after that. So many a yard has deep standing water now. And that just can't do! Luckily one of the members we know is friends with a lot of older people that can't deflood themselves. So we got hired as the yard brigade for the week. It was so much fun! Check out the many pictures I've been tagged in on Facebook this last week and you'll see the mucky fun we had. One of the yards had a sidewalk in the middle that was stopping us from being able to drain the middle of the yard. But they said it used to have a little culvert under it that water drained through. So I reached down into the dark foreboding water to find that culvert. I found what felt like was possibly it and started to dig it out, and dig, and dig, and dig, I finally ended up on my stomach with my arm in all the way up to my shoulder digging mud out of this culvert. And then had to go to the other side of the culvert and repeat. And no luck! It still wasn't open. So after many different tricks we got water flowing through and all was well. But here is where the story goes sour...I learned a hard lesson. Mosquitoes here are the size of small birds. The bite even through your clothes, and especially through sweat pants...and when you are laying on your stomach there is some juicy flesh available...Yes...I got a mosquito bite...on my bum...ahahahaha boy has that been fun! Mosquitoes here are mean!!! But I earned major points with the men-folk with how dirty and into the work I got. I proved that us women folk really can work.

Saturday we went on a blitz of the 2nd ward and were visiting less-active members and inviting them to church. We each got split off with a member and started our search for these people. I thought I may die because of my partner's crazy driving. But to my surprise, I survived. We had a somewhat amusing experience at one home though. He was up on the roof working when we pulled up, so we just yelled up from the yard. After about 5 minutes of conversation he asked where I was from because I didn't sound like a Yankee. Much to his surprise I responded Idaho. Apparently when I get around all southern speakers I get sucked into their way of talkin. oh no!!! But luckily when I get around you yank's I can here myself speaking normally.

Tonight we are teaching at the Ward FHE. I am really excited. They gather on the first Monday of every month and have an FHE as a ward to give an example of what to do the rest of the month. It's a big pot luck dinner at a member's house and just a fun time. We are teaching on how to be a Mormon online and share your testimony through social media without ramming it down our friend's throats. I am really excited to teach it.

Yesterday we taught the combined lesson for the Young Men and Young Women on missionary work and the priesthood. It was a combined effort of Elders and Sisters so that they could get all the perspectives. Sister Divis and Elder Behymer shared why they chose to serve missions, Elder Burgan shared how his perspective of what missionary work was changed from before to now (being out 9 weeks), And I shared how my mission has changed me/what I've learned since I'm at the end. Then we opened up to questions and answers on anything they wanted. The questions were hilarious. The one that kept coming up was but what about missing out on these books, movies, friends, college, etc. Finally after that spinning around a bunch and them not taking our answers I responded with "Yeah, we miss out. My boyfriend got married while I was on my mission." All their jaws dropped, I smiled and said "yeah, life goes on." It gave us a whole new level of street cred with the youth. It was worth it.

Better get going! We have a fun shopping day ahead. I need new tennies for the family fun run. Mine were soaked in mud water for a week and aren't quite the same anymore.

I'm in the last weeks and changes that need to be made are still slapping me in the face, so my advice to you is that it's never to late to start. Just start!

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Time to Go To Work—email from 06-24-2013

Dearest Fans, :)

Glad to hear that so many of you watched the broadcast last night. It was exciting and inspiring. Something that was slightly surprising to us though is that there is no real changes for us. The goal last night was a training to teach us all how to apply what is already written in the Handbook. We are most excited to help members live up to the expectations that were given them. A lot is riding on you regular folk now. :)


(Pictures from St. Mary’s, Georgia)

Oh I am just so happy for Karen and Pamela and that they were able to attend the temple. I cannot wait to see them and congratulate them in person.


We have had a great week. We have been doing a lot of service here to try and soften up people's hearts. Mostly it's been for members of the church, but on Tuesday we got to go help an older couple that is lifelong friends with a member family that we work with. It was basically simple housework of dusting, sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming. But they appreciated it so much and she had a big spaghetti dinner to reward us at the end. :) I've learned the value of service though because it gave us opportunities to talk about our work and why we do it. Step by step hearts are being softened and people are getting more open to talking to us.


The ward is short on people who can play the piano and luckily Sister Divis plays!!! So we spent yesterday in primary with her playing the songs so the chorister could actually be the chorister. They called one person to be both the pianist and chorister for the primary here. Try wrapping your brain around how that is supposed to work. :) It was a fun change of pace to be there listening to the kids sing.


well, I'm still slowly working on my change of becoming a runner... and believe me progress is slow...I envy people who can just decide to pick up running and after a month can run miles on end. My limited time and weak body just aren't working with me on that goal. But that's ok. Change is slow, and as long as we are improving we will get where we want to go.

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's the Final Countdown

How many of you just had that song go through your head? I did...Too many years of pep band...haha

So, wow! Last week just flew by!!! I got Sister Divis early Wednesday morning and then we headed off to Girls Camp to teach. It was really fun. The most hilarious part was at the end. We were leaving and the director offered to show us the whole camp since we had just seen the one building we were in. Well, the had this giant inflatable that was a water slide. We went and stood at the bottom to watch the girls come down it, (feeling very envious) and not noticing the ground we were on was very wet....Then suddenly as one girl hit the small pool of water at the bottom, we understood. We were both soaked head to toe. It was hilarious, and I thought the girl who splashed us was going to die. She was so apologetic and thought somone was going to tan her hide. Instead we just stood there laughing and said "Do it again!!!!" You have to realize that with the heat index it was over 100 degrees and the water felt quite nice. :) 

The rest of the week just flew by. We ended up going back to Girls Camp Thursday evening for testimony night and it was so wonderful. I couldn't believe the difference we made with those girls. The leaders just kept saying "you have NO idea what you are doing for these girls." I hope they can make it a yearly tradition. I also said I wouldn't be opposed to being a leader here next year. ;) 

We did more service for Brother and Sister Crawford. Saturday we helped put up a fen next to the chicken coop so that the chickens can come out and wander but not worry about being eaten. 

I also got to save the most adorable little baby quail in their barn wendesday night. I named him Johnny. He was probably only a day or so old. We put him in a box outside hoping his mom would save him. He was gone the next morning. So I'm praying that it was his mom that saved him. haha

Yesterday was a fun Father's Day. Sister Divis and I got to really put our confidence to the test. Here's how. Sister Beazer was asked a few weeks ago to sing in sacrament meeting because she has the most amazing soprano voice. Well...she got transferred Wednesday. And Wednesday evening the person coordinating called to ask if everything was sorted!?!?! And she then said? Well, how are you going to fill that spot?! I wanted to say "that's your job!!!" But instead I turned Sister Divis and said "Do you sing?" She gave me the gesture of "sort of" and I said  "We will be doing a duet!" So with only a handful of days to practice and learn the piece while being missionaries we got to sing in sacrament meeting. AAAAHHH!!!! Luckily the Lord made it sound better than I thought it would be. Happy Day! Now let's hope I never do anything like that again....

We are gearing up for an exciting 6 weeks and Sister Divis has lots of amazing ideas for us to find me to teach and work with. I am so excited!!! 

Sometimes, we want someone to just change and do it now!!! But with this human experience we are taught to take things a bit slower and that change comes with time and patience. So give yourself and everyone else and break! Change will come with time!!!

love y'all,
Sister McCracken

On the road again!--email from 06-11-03

Hi all! I'm on the road as well! We are headed to st Mary's Georgia to a submarine museum. We had transfer calls last night and I had reached the point that I figured we were both staying. And then surprise! Sister Beazer is getting transferred! We are in shock. She is headed to palatka Florida. I am getting a sister that came out with sister Beazer. There wasn't enough sisters to train, so she was training herself along with another sister. So I will be second half training her. How wild is that? When I didn't get called to train again I didn't expect to have any big changes. But here we go! I am real excited to be staying here in blackshear for my last month. I love it too much. 

Tomorrow we have a fun adventure ahead of us. We were asked to attend girls camp for the day and teach a workshop tomorrow. And even better they said we could teach on whatever we want. As I've studied and pondered I have had lots of different ideas but came to this. Esther! The youth theme this year is Stand in Holy Places. So we are going to discuss the example of standing firm that Esther gave us. It was a really amazing example. I am excited to spend a day in the wilderness of Georgia with a bunch of wild teenage girls.