Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It’s a blustery day.–email from 05-28-12

Well....Where do I start with this week. It has been crazy and exciting. We started the week out sprinting. WE decided to do a few things different and it has been amazing the results we had this week. I love teaching so much and we were able to get a lot more of it in! We haven't been affected by the holiday weekend other than there weren't as many people in church. I think it's mostly because we're getting slammed by a tropical storm this weekend so not as many people traveled this year. The storm has been pretty exciting. Just think of those super windy days in Idaho and mix it with heavy rain! For three days straight! hahaha WE had our patio open all morning so we could listen to the wind and rain. And right as we were leaving to go send emails we got a text from the mission presidents wife saying a tornado had touched down in our county and we had to get in our closet and under a mattress. So that was fun. We apparently will be having warnings all day and have to try to stay under safe cover.

We have had a wild week in the teaching world. We were really pushing forward the first half of the week and then one of our recent convert families had a little bit of an emergency and we were helping them on Friday and Saturday to help them take care of some stuff. So we didn't get in as much teaching. And then on Sunday we got to teach my favorite family! Mariah and Clay. I love them so much. There was one point in our lesson that Mariah got this weird smile and Clay asked her what was going on and she said "You know if you get baptized and it's still while Sister McCracken is around this will probably be the most momentous baptism of her mission." And that is a true story. They are so sweet and are doing so well! I think I'm going to bring them back to Idaho with me when I'm done. :)

I forgot to tell you that last week I got to spend a little bit of the time spinning the cotton candy. Since I had some experience after doing 300 bags with Gracie one night for a student event. So we got volunteered to help. But I also discovered that a humid climate does not react with a cotton candy covered body as well as dry climate. You know how in Idaho we just get covered in pink fluff when you spin the cotton candy and you just pull it off and eat it. But on the other hand in Florida, it melts to you. And your covered in liquified sticky sugar. But I still enjoyed it!



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Happy Memorial day! I love y'all. Let's all remember and honor those men and women who understood what it means to be the change for other people and gave their very lives to show it. I am so grateful for everyone who serves in our armed forces and all that the past service men and women and the present and future as well!

Sister McCracken

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Best Part of Waking Up… email from 05-21-12

...is to a flood in your bathroom!!!!!

(you thought I was gonna say Folger's, but that's false doctrine anywho ;) )

(I'll explain this more later)

Today has been a rodeo. We have to use the public library computers to do our letters to the mission president and emails to y'all. We like to do it first thing just to know we have it done. Well when we came at 10 all the computers were full...so we went to the grocery store and got groceries. Then we tried to go to the car wash, but we couldn't get the bike rack off...And then we came back and the computers were still full. So it's just been crazy and my nerves are frazzled. I want to disillusion any and all who think P-day is play day and nap day...p-day is stressed out of your mind trying to get everything done day...and then feeling guilty because you didn't get to write mom day...wooh!

But we have had a crazy and wild week for sure. My favorite part was getting to spend a few hours Saturday volunteering on the Navy base at the USO's Military Appreciation Day event they had going on. It was basically a giant carnival for families of active duty military. It was really fun to get to serve them and see them just have a little fun together. We even saw a few ward members! Which is always exciting! I got a bit of a sunburn on my arms and legs so that was exciting. But I preserved my face with SPF 50 sunscreen. :)

My least favorite part of the week was waking up yesterday morning to a new water feature in my bathroom ceiling...There was a fast drip that was threatening to become a stream coming out from around the little vent fan. And then another part of the ceiling was just freely dripping. Oh and water was coming out around the lightswitch in the bedroom. AAAAAHHHH!!! So we started calling around trying to get a number for the emergency maintenance guy. He got there pretty quick, looked at it, and then ran to the apartment above us where no one is currently living. He had the joy of discovering that a pipe had broke up there and had been flooding that apartment for who knows how long, and it had now gotten so bad that it was coming down on us. YAY!!! So all in all the morning was a ridiculous rodeo that I can't even explain through writing.

But then Heavenly Father blessed us at Church. Our investigator was there with his family and then another few nonmembers came that we didn't even expect. It was fantastic to see! I love the Lord! As people 'round here say "Thank You Jesus!"

It sounds like it's finally getting warm there if you have hit planting season. It's harvest here. People can't get anything to grow in the summer. So they had fall, winter, and spring gardens. No summer gardens! crazy right?!

Something I've realized is that change is neverending. I have realized that I have to be reevaluating daily whether or not I'm making the changes I need to and considering if there is anything more I could or should change. So remember, the word BE is present tense. Change is never finished.


Sister McCracken

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day—email from 05-14-12


Hola! Como estas? haha just kidding! I don't know any spanish except for Missionaro La Iglesia de Jesu Cristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias, and then I had them the number for the Spanish missionaries. :D

It was crazy getting to Skype home. It felt so normal and like I had just done it last week even though it had been a minute longer than that... it looks like everyone is happy and healthy, and that's what matters. It's freaky I only have one call left...I try not to think about it too much...

So this past week was super fast. As we began the week and I saw all we had planned throughout it, I already knew that we were going to be able to do everything we needed/wanted. There is just as much time in the week as I wish there were. Then again maybe I just need to budget better. 

I realized I haven't told y'all what a normal-ish day here is like (thanks Buh for that reminder). So here we go. We get up every morning at 6:15 to exercise and we either do strength or stretching and then walking or jump roping. After we get our little workout we get ready from 7 to 8 and do fun things like shower, do makeup and hair, search through our clothes trying to come up with an original outfit, and then fight the roaches for our breakfast...jk...sort of...there was one in the applejacks last week :(. Then we have studies from 8-10 am. An our by ourselves and an hour together. I love that time!!! I love just cranking through the Book of Mormon, and I'll be finishing it for the 4th time out here in a couple weeks. I love that book!!! Then we go out and teach!!!! All day until 9 pm. We take breaks for lunch and dinner, but otherwise we're out visiting potential investigators, current investigators, less-active members, active members, and former investigators. And all throughout we're talking to every person we see hoping that they are elect and ready for this message. It's crazy, but it's our life! And I love it. Our relief society president is really good and goes out with us for 4 or 5 hours every thursday to visit people with us. And it saves us oodles on miles! Yay!

Yesterday our little friend Jacob got baptized! His mom is a member, his dad is taking the lessons, and Jacob turned 8 on Saturday so he was excited to get in the waters of baptism and be able to say "I'm a Mormon!" like all of those fun commercials and videos. I sure do love that boy and can't wait to see him and his brothers as missionaries someday. They are so silly and crack me up. Their mom and dad are sure they are the worst children ever with some of the embarrassing things they say, but I say they are just silly little country boys stuck in the city. haha

Oh and to show you how pathetic I have become we had a funny experience yesterday. President and Sister Barry suddenly appeared in our chapel right before church. Which thoroughly freaked me out when I saw them I immediately began wracking my brain for what I possibly could have forgotten that we were doing that day. Or wondering if no one had told me they were speaking in our ward. So we went over to them and I nervously asked why they were there. They said they wanted to go somewhere that felt like family for mother's day, and one of the sisters in their ward grew up with their kids and was friends with the family, so they came. I sighed with relief and told them I was scared I had forgotten something. Sister Barry just laughed and hugged me. I love them!

So that's what I've got this week. oh, and this too...BE THE CHANGE! :D

love y'all,

Sister McCracken


So the pics are of my legs after getting chewed alive, and Sister Gneiting and I being bored...yeah.


Monday, May 7, 2012

It’s MAY?!?!?!—email from 05-07-12

Ok, I'm sorry, but I'm still a little bit in shock that it is May. And that today is my 8 month mark in the mission. It does not feel like I have been here more than a month. But then again I'm starting to have a hard time remembering any life other than the life I'm living now. It's just coming natural now. (It's about time!)

This week has been another week in the wild Beaches of Jacksonville. We had so much fun. We had a young woman who is working on her mission papers come with us for a day to see if missionary work really was her thing. And at the end of the day she said she was excited! So I guess we didn't scare her off too bad!

Thursday our Relief Society President went out and worked with us. She tries to go out for a few hours every week with us to some of the Less-Active families homes that we know a bit better so that she can start getting to know them as well. She has discovered just how hilarious mission life really is by going out with us. She is always saying things like "this is really how you do this? This is really what you're doing every day? I'm scared!!!" We just laugh and tell her it's going to be great and to get out of the car now. :D But she always buys us lunch too. So don't worry mom, I'm getting at least one good-ish meal a week. It usually includes a chocolate malt. :)

My opinion is that the first week with a new companion is like a blind-date that you can't just get a fake phone call during and leave. You are stuck with your date so better start getting to know them. And boy have we had a funny week. I was scared that she was going to think I was weird or pathetic or who knows what. But guess what? She's weird too. So we can be weird together. One hilarious experience we had this week was when we were driving to our apartment one night and I was driving through the complex. And suddenly Sister Gneiting keeps saying "You're gonna hit it! You're gonna hit it! Stop! Stop!!" I had no idea what she was seeing. The only thing I could see ahead of me was the grate in the the pavement that I drive over multiple times a day. So I had no idea why she was freaking out. Finally I saw something moving just past the grate and realized that it was a turtle!!!! We have a pond in the middle of our apartment complex where a turtle colony dwells. Sister Gneiting was so excited she had no idea what words to use to say "turtle". haha So I stopped and she saved the turtle. And for some reason some people walking through the parking lot just stopped and stared at us the whole time like we were a couple of crazies. When really we were just being kind to the poor turtle and saving his life. I loved it.

We had a trade-off and our Sister Leader came here. So I got to have a crazy loud Samoan companion for a day. It was really fun :) I love Sister Fitu. I learned so much from her. But it sure was crazy having all those extra people, because their companionship is a trio. So we went from two people at our apartment to 5. CRAZY!!! But when you get 5 women in their 20s together...you can only imagine that we have some fun! :)

I have a little quote I got off a cereal box that said "What are YOU doing to create change today?" And I have it sitting next to my picture of the Orlando temple. That's my thought today. BE THE CHANGE!!!

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

The first pic is an Elder trying to look like a body at a crime scene...Pretty accurate don't you think?


And the next...well Hannah got a hold of my camera. That's me looking scared to play sports!