Friday, August 24, 2012

Precision and Accuracy—email from 08-20-12


Oh gracious, all I hear about is how hot it is out west. And I can promise...I know how you feel! It is quite hot here too. But still as fun as usual. :)

We went to the zoo again Monday. It was fantastic! I got to see gators wrestle! And boy are those beasties vicious. They were both so bloodied by the end of it I couldn't believe they were still going at it. They tore each other apart on land, and when that got old they took it into the water. The kids around thought they were trying to drown each other. Which it did look a bit that way. On the way out Elder Draper went to the gate people and said "You have some pretty beat up gators in case that's a concern." It made me giggle. Gators are as frequent here as deer are there, I doubt they worry too much about beat up gators.


We had some interesting occurrences this week. We had this man that we had been talking to a little bit and had left a copy of the Book of Mormon with him. We went back to see what he thought. He came out and immediately started to tell us how it was horrible, evil, that the stuff we believe is terrible and that we are following the plans of Satan. He was coming at it from every direction. I was getting more and more anxious by the second. I tried to talk reason with him about some of the things he was saying but he wouldn't have it. So Sister Heckel too the better approach and bore simple testimony that she knew it was true, she knew for herself by the power of the Holy Spirit that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. And he paused for a moment and finally said "Well, I'll do this for ya, I'll read the whole thing, you can't believe it as passionately as you do and have it be a complete lie. So let's figure this out." It was amazing! I was so proud of my companion and so amazed that he decided to still read the book.

So Dad, you asked about precision and accuracy, we have actually talked about this a lot as a mission. President Barry uses two examples. Pole vaulting and landing a jet on a carrier. Now since I know you like planes better, we'll discuss it from this aspect. Think about how these jets have 85 feet to make a perfect trap. Drop too low too soon and they will fly right into the carrier. Don't drop low enough soon enough and they will got right off the other side of the ship to a watery grave. Now, landing an f-14 on an 85 foot runway is scary! One of the last things they do is fire their engines up to full throttle so that just in case they don't catch the wire they will have enough momentum and thrust to take back off again. We watched video after video of near misses and perfect "traps". Also this whole thing happens in a matter of seconds from when they make their last pass and start their final descent. A commercial pilot is accurate, he can land his planes on huge runways every time with slightly different results, but still success. A navy fighter pilot is precise or it means death. Interesting right?! So the questions posed is, are we living our lives with accuracy or precision? Accuracy allows for slight deviations and will still result in success. Precision on the other hand has no other options than to be exact every time. Mathematically accuracy is defined as a range of results that are not exactly the same (or are) but can be recreated enough times to show an "accurate" result. Also accuracy is used in "rounding" numbers. Precision on the other hand is a perfect result the first time. Not even the slightest deviation can be allowed. And also goes to the farthest decimal possible in mathematics. So as missionaries we have to ask ourselves, are we being exact and precise in following rules and such, or are we accurate. In living the gospel of Jesus Christ we should strive for precision over accuracy.

Which leads me to my final thought. If a lack of precision results in death for a fighter pilot, what possibly does a lack of precision mean for us? GO AND BE THE CHANGE!!!

love y'all!
Sister McCracken


Friday, August 17, 2012

I can’t believe the things I learn!—email from 08-13-12

I can't believe that July is the hottest month on record. It has been really uncomfortable but I have managed pretty well with lots of drinking water. People crack me up when they have only their swimsuit on and they are walking around complaining about how hot it is. I just want to say...try wearing all the layers I do ya sissy! :) But instead I tell them about Jesus. haha

We had a pretty slow week in the work. Our investigators just were all unavailable for one reason or another. So hopefully this week they are at home!!!

Yesterday was a pretty crazy experience though. We went to a member's home to have dinner with them and their children that were in town visiting. Their daughter-in-law sat down to eat with us and talk to us. She has a beautiful olive complexion and dark hair which meant Asian culture, Philipino, or Native American. So I asked where she was from and she said Cambodia. WHAT?!?! Then she told us her story. She was born in Cambodia when the country was being occupied by communists. She was the 6th of seven children. When she was two the military people came to her city and dragged her father into the streets and shot him. They were killing anyone with an education. They threatened to kill anyone in her family who cried for her father. She said how her mother could hear them patrolling around their house at night listening for crying. One day her mother had the feeling she needed to get out of there and right then. So she packed up her seven kids ranging between 13 and 1 and her elderly mother and disappeared into the jungle. They got word that an hour after they left the people had come to kill her family. They spent the next two years hiding in the jungles of Cambodia running from the Vietnamese and Cambodians trying to get to Thailand where they would be safe. She talked about eating dirt because there was nothing else and drinking out of puddles right next to dead bodies. She said one time her family was hiding in the bushes and a patrol when right in front of them and should have been able to see them but missed them. She lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for about 7 years. Her grandmother died from all that stress. At 11 they came to America and lived in the scariest of the ghettos in Philadelphia. One day when she was 20 two guys walked down the street as she sat on the porch, as she listened to them she said she didn't need what they had but her sister did. A few months later though she was baptized. And a year after that she served a mission. And she told us all of this without crying or trying to scare us, just to help us understand the life she had and how the Lord had protected her and brought her to the gospel. Amazing!!!!

Then one of the member's sons came in and said he had to get home to take care of the tiger. Yes, he said tiger. We both had our jaws hit the floor and said "what?!?!" He proceeded to explain that he works at a private preserve for wild animals like tigers, jaguars, deer, lions, gators, wolves, and basically everything but bears. They are these exotic animals that are bought by rich people and they get away or the people don't want them anymore, but since they aren't pure pedigree they can't go to zoos. So euthanization is the next option. So this reserve was created for these animals to live out the rest of their lives in peace. And he told us story after story of playing with the tigers and showed us pictures. They have a Siberian that is 10 feet tall when he goes up on his back legs. They are getting a 1600 pound liger soon that is like 12 feet tall. It's amazing.

So yeah, those are my stories for the week. Crazy right?!?! You only meet these kind of people on your mission. He said if we are ever in Saint Augustine he'll take us and introduce us to the animals. :) Hope I get transferred there sometime. hahaha

Change is something inevitable and we see that with the seasons. So the question I always wonder is why do we resist it so much? I don't know quite sure why as of yet. But I do know that we can overcome those hesitations and be the change if we try. So how 'bout we all go out and do it?

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I love my mission!–email from 08-06-12



What a week! It has been a fun-filled week! Lots has happened!

Monday was the best though! Elder and Sister Draper took us to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens!!!! It was so much fun! It was a little rainy so not many people were there and some of the animals were hiding, but not too bad. We got to see so many beautiful animals! And we only got halfway through it after 2 hours! We are going to go back again soon. I'm going to attach and send a bunch of pictures from that fun day!







As the week went on it was pretty uneventful from there other than the usual missionary stuff. Until Friday night! We have a record of people that missionaries have talked to that have said they are open to learning more. Well we went to one of those people Friday night. And I about passed out as we walked up the driveway and I saw in garage a giant plaque that insinuated that she is a Blue Angel. We knocked and she opened up and after talking for a few minutes I finally asked her. And yes! She never piloted herself, but she was part of the support crew that flew in Fat Albert! AAAAAHHHHH!!!! She is so amazing! I about passed out. She also showed us her office full of pictures and awards with her and the pilots and such. I couldn't believe! I love the people we get to meet as missionaries! :D

Then Sister Heckel got really sick and we spent Saturday evening and all day Sunday at home while she tried to sleep away/fight the flu. The poor thing was not doing well at all. So I got to do a lot of reading and studying that was very helpful! The only problem was that by the end of Sunday my mind was tired but my body wasn't because I had sat in one spot all day. I did not sleep well at all because of it! Being a missionary has trained me to pushing my body to the point of exhaustion every day. And I didn't get that yesterday! But luckily she is back and healthy today and we can go wear ourselves out for real.

Remember, we all like it when our towels, our sheets, and our clothes are why not ourselves?!?!

love y'all!

Sister McCracken

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Oh what a week. . .–email from 07-30-12

Oh what a week.

It started out with a sinus infection that has lasted since the middle of March getting the best of me and taking me out. I ended up sleeping most of the day Tuesday because I just couldn't fight to stay awake anymore. As much as I tried I failed. So I gave in and slept.

But that was a good thing because Wednesday we had a meeting with all of the missionaries that live in and around Jacksonville! Yay for Zone Conferences. President Barry taught us a lot! Just being around him is amazing. We rode with Elder and Sister Draper along with the Jax Beach ward Elders. I brought a cd Sister Surtees had sent me that has an acapella version of the eensy weensy spider. It's a hilarious version and Elder Wilcox did and interpretive dance in the back seat along with it. Oh how I love Elders. They know how to have fun.

Then we had a trade off and I got to work with Sister Knickerbocker again. It was crazy! We haven't been companions for 7 months and we had a lot of fun together. She and I just really enjoyed working together and seeing the changes in each other. I love her!

We spent Saturday mostly walking around door to door with not much success. Guess what, when it's really hot and humid and a Saturday, people in Florida go to the beach! Guess where missionaries aren't allowed?! The beach! So we didn't get as much done as we had hoped that day. Oh Florida. I love it though! We got to meet a really funny Scottish lady who is really good at hiding her accent. I was picking up traces of it and she admitted she was Scottish and hid her accent in public, and at that point just let free and let it come through. Oh how I love that accent! Her name was even Adele. I asked her what it was with UK women and that name and she just laughed. It was a good old time!

I can't believe people are mad at Chik-fil-A! That's a staple here! I read that part of Dad's email out loud to Sister Heckel and the guy at the computer next to us said "Yeah, are you coming Wednesday?!" And I having no idea what he was talking about said "In support or boycott of the place?" He said "In support!!! There are people that have never eaten there that plan to be there this Wednesday to support the chain." So the people that are mad aren't succeeding well. But that's what you get. People here are always thrown off that Chik-fil-A's are closed on Sunday, we just giggle and say yeah, well that's what you get when a Mormon owns the company...

Anyway, hope you had a great week too.

At zone conference one of the Elders said "How can we expect people to make all these changes in their lives if we aren't willing to make some too?" I just giggled to myself and thought..." the change!!!"


Sister McCracken