Monday, March 25, 2013

Another Blustery Week- email from 03-25-13

Florida welcomed spring in with a temperature drop and a whole lot of rain!!! Sister Neibaur and I were so cold on Friday we decided to get hot chocolate at the gas station on our way home. We then checked the car thermometer to see what temperature it really was outside... 63 degrees... Yup, I am officially a Floridian wuss. haha But that's okay. I'll eventually readjust to the west once I'm back...I hope.

I keep hoping all the rain we get will kill the allergens a little bit. But no such luck. So now I just have permanent puffy eyes and a stuffy nose. Even when I am taking allergy medicine. Who knew that Florida would have so much pollen?! It's like it's green year round or something...

The week just kind of disappeared out from under me. I'm trying to remember the highlights for y'all but I'm struggling. Here's a funny highlight though. Saturday was our district blitz. It's where all the missionaries in the district go to one companionships area and work in their area for a couple hours to help them out. We have been going to the names of all the people on the records that they don't know anything about to figure out if they even still live there. Well, it was pouring down rain on Saturday. I finally understand the phrase "sheets of rain" because it looks like it literally has these sheets that fall instead of drops. It was so crazy! We did it without umbrellas even! We were weirding people out! When we got back to our area we decided we needed to do a bunch of walking and we would need our umbrellas for that. So we were walking around one apartment complex knocking and a van pulls up and says "sisters where are you going?!" I figured he was a member of the church since he called us sisters so I said "to find people to teach of course!" He then told us he was in the bishopric but we had somehow not met...oops...embarrassing! He then said, well I'll let you get back to finding then! I wanted to say! "how about offering to help us out or something?! But hey, he probably had places to be. It just made me laugh. No one could believe we were out and working in the downpour. But I say, hey what's a little rain gonna hurt? especially when it's warm out! haha 

anyway! gotta go! 

change change change! Do it!

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More Holiness Give Me- email from 03-19-13


Boy is that my mantra. I have been extremely humbled this past week. It's never fun to realize that just when you thought you were humble, nope you have more pride than Boise fans during football season. So I have been taking some time to repent and figure out how to turn my Ego Titanic around. That's always a fun experience. 


This week has been wild. Now that the event is over I can tell the entire internet world what I was doing this past week. I got to see Mrs Gladys Knight McDowell (her husband won't let us forget her new last name) in person. To my (and many others') surprise, she is a mormon. And proud of it. Her husband is as well. So she has a choir called the Saints Unified Voices that she directs and tours around the country with. And no, they aren't concerts they do. They come and the night starts with an opening prayer. They sing a bunch of gospel songs and Gladys tells us some about herself. Then her husband shares how/why he became a Mormon, and to finish it off, Gladys shares her experience and why she joined the church. Holy Wow! Celebrity Mormons that are proud practicing members of the church. They are actually set apart as missionaries for the church because they are so amazing! But here is the fun role I got to play in all this. At the end they tell you that if you would like to receive a special gift of a sampler cd of the music, a Book of Mormon  and a restoration dvd all you have to do is fill out a card and hand it to an usher on the way out. Those ushers then came to me. :) I got put in charge of the request center. We took all those cards, sorted them, assigned them to the closest missionaries, put them into a database, and then sent the packages off to those missionaries. All of the people who requested a visit will have received their gift by tonight. :) How amazing is that?!?!?! I felt so lucky to be in charge of organizing and running that little department. Luckily my daddy passed down his computer genius skills to a point and made it a whole lot easier for me to do this. 

It was an amazing weekend! And I learned so much from their testimonies. We even got to pull late hours and not get in until 1230. But I learned that a missionary life is not conducive to late nights, because I am wiped out now! haha 

This week is transfer week! It got moved up a week because of the shortening of new missionaries MTC stays. It's a strange and bittersweet week for me. The sisters I came out with are headed home. I got to hear their final testimonies last night. I can't believe that is has already been a year and a half since this journey began. At first I never thought this day would come. Now it's here and I am lucky enough to be here for a few more months. Life is definitely an unexpected journey. 

Changity change...

hmm... I don't feel like I can really tell y'all much about change this week other than I became prideful for being the change and now I've got some back tracking to do. So I guess my thought for this week is that we must never think the race is finished and our change is accomplished, there is always more to go. 

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

Monday, March 11, 2013

oh how strange was the morning. . . email from 03-11-13

So I got to spend my morning in a Doctors office and blood lab. Yay me! They say it's possible that I have a thyroid problem and that may be contributing to my depression and tiredness. Let's hope they figure out the issue and I can stop falling asleep everywhere! 

But otherwise it has been a great week. There has been a huge policy change in emails. I am now allowed to email friends at home, all family, and priesthood leaders at home. So you can now give out my email if people would like to contact me that way. Email time has been extended to an hour and a half to accommodate that change. :) 

We had someone take us to Olive Garden last week, so that was basically the highlight of excitement for the week. haha 

Then I got to give a training in zone meeting on "Charity, Love everyone in the mission" I told the zone leaders they were being funny since I am the cranky one who is always stirring things up. haha But really, I just found it funny since Mom had been telling me I should study charity. It was a really big learning experience. WE have been getting pounded about having love for each other, but not falling in love with each other. So I researched a lot and discovered something. In the Bible Christ says "By this shall men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." So he straight up told 12 Galilean fisherman that if they didn't have love for each other that people wouldn't recognize them as his disciples! That struck me hard. If he expected them to have love for each other I am pretty sure that he is expecting that out of the 150 of us in this mission with no excuses. That taught me a lot about needed to respect and love everyone I serve around. Sister Neibaur came up with the phrase "respect them like disciples, treat them like apostles". And if we're doing that, then we can be sure that we are being appropriate in our relationships with each other. I think they are really driving this home with our mission right now because by the end of the year there will be a set of elders and a set of sisters sharing every ward. Which means two things, we have to play nicely, and not start "falling in love". I'm glad I won't be here for that! 

So my dear father sent me this amazing quote on change that is hanging up in now what I will jokingly call the "family gym" since we all have personal trainers there. (I'm just on hiatus till I come home. ;) ) I love it! 

"We need discomfort and challenge, and change.
Discomfort in the service of change is no accident.
It’s necessary and normal.
Without discomfort, we would stay the same..

And who wants to stay the same forever?! That sounds like the worst life ever!
Well, gots to go buy some groceries so we don't starve!
love y'all,
Sister McCracken

Brrrrrrr IT’S SO COLD! email from 03-04-13

So it has been ridiculously cold here the past weekish. And neither of us have coats. So we have not been enjoying it too much. People are really funny though. They still just make us stand on their porch and tell us how cold it is and we shouldn't be out in the cold so they should let us go so we can go home and get warm...oh if only it were that easy. So I may be making the investment of buying a jacket to keep me warm.

It has been a busy busy week. I started my blog. This will be completely me teaching and bearing my testimony based off of experiences I have here as I do the work. I hope y'all will read that one too. Share it with people! That can be your way of spreading the message that Jesus loves us! :)

I have gotten really busy over the weekend with a few added responsibilities. But I am excited to have them. It's a sign that I am doing well enough mentally and emotionally that people are willing to add to my load in the mission. I think the Lord is just trying to add a little bit at a time so that I can adjust to the load and not overwhelm myself. 

And Change. First of all, my blog post last week was about it. So if you didn't read it, go read it. And second I wanted to tell you all about a goal I set. I decided to start running. Out of the blue last Thursday morning I decided to jog a little bit on the treadmill at our gym. After going a half mile I suddenly decided I should do a full mile. and I did! That is the first full mile I have ran in 10 years! I was so proud of myself. It was painful a bit. But I did it! I was using it for a lesson about enduring to the end later that day and the mom said to the kids "And tomorrow when she runs a mile again it will get a bit easier, enduring to the end gets better with practice" That stopped me in my tracks. I had no intention of running another mile the next morning. I hate running! That was just a once in a blue moon experience. But then I decided I needed to make a change. So I made a deal with the girls that we were teaching that if they worked on enduring to the end in following Jesus' commandments, that I would continue working on running. So I have now ran a mile every morning since then, except Sunday. I feel a little less dead afterward every morning and think I will step it up to 1.5 miles later this week. I had a thought that it would be really exciting if I could run a 5k when I got off my mission. So that is now the goal I am working toward. I am becoming a runner. And now that I have told the internet, I have no choice but to give it my best. I may fall short quite a few times. So encouragement is welcome. :) But that is my change that I have decided to work on. I am excited to see what it will do for my mental and physical health. 

love y'all,

Sister McCracken