Thursday, May 30, 2013

It’s a sunny day! email from 05-27-13


Well, sorry this is going to be brief. We are going to Saint Augustine with a member today. It's just outside of Jacksonville. Yes, I lived in Jax for over a year, and moved to Georgia and NOW I am going to see this place. Haha

We had our baptism yesterday! The two girls got baptized without a hitch! The family asked me to speak at the baptism, so that was a fun privilege. It made me laugh though, because in the last week I have: talked in sacrament, taught young women's, talked at zone conference, and talked at a baptism. I should start charging people. No, just kidding, because then I would probably get crappy at what I do. So I'll stick with the charge of free. 

Well, I am off to play! I love you! 


Love y'all! 

Sister McCracken

Monday, May 20, 2013

summer lovin’ -- email from 05-20-2013

It got real warm here last week! It was up into the 90s the latter part of the week, which of course was the days we planned to walk around. :) Good thing I brought lots of outfit changes. ;) 

Oh boy has it been a week. We started it out working to get the two young girls we are working with ready to be baptized. That was our sole focus. They had their interviews and everything was on the homestretch. I spent time Friday making a program for the baptism and getting all the people we needed to help. Saturday came and we got to go to a missionaries farewell party at the church. And then the unthinkable happened...The little girls great grandma came up to me and said "The baptism is cancelled." My heart fell to the floor. Her parents had been at the Tough Mudder race in St Augustine that day. It's a huge race that happens all over the country that is an obstacle course. At one point they were moving some logs I guess and the people in front of them threw down a log that hit and flipped up another log into the face of these girls mom... ugh... The same tooth I broke in half as a child, well hers is back a quarter inch and no longer has any gums holding it in. So we very definitely had to cancel the baptism. But we are hoping to be able to have it this coming Sunday. Pray no one else gets hit in the face with a log. :)

We also met the sweetest mama every. We call her Miss Betty and she is amazing! She joined the church 20 years ago but recently went less active because of life. The first time we went by just to find out if she still lived there she was just starting to make dinner. She was doin fried fish. I was really intrigued and asked if we could just watch, and suddenly she said she would send some fish with us! So she fried a few fish for us and boxed them up. WOW! How kind is that?!?! And we have gone for a few visits since then and she is just so sweet. She is letting us come over this week to plant some flowers for her. I am so excited. And she said she'll teach me how to do some of her delicious southern recipes. Yay!

We have just been having a great week getting around and getting to know the people here. We also discovered a local dive that is delicious! It's so great! They have they best food! And it's super cheap. So we may be there to eat a lot. :) and try and convert them! haha 

Well, that's all I can think of! love you crazy folks! 

So change... I have been completely revolutionizing the way I see and do the work since I moved to the country. And the other day my companion said "you don't like change do you?" Well, no not really. But I am working to LOVE IT! :)

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

we get to go play with these today! yay for hangin out on people's giant properties! :)



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I often go walking. . . email from 05-13-13

on country roads!!! Trick's on you to all those people who thought I would say "meadows of clover". Who does that anyway??? The primary kids sang that yesterday and I thought, do you even know what those are? Because I think your tune would go a little different if you did. :)

Well Happy Mother's Day to everyone I didn't get to say it to yesterday. I hope your day was filled with love! We got to teach Relief Society yesterday and show those sisters oodles of love. It was super fun. 


Last Monday we went to the Okefenokee Swamp Park as I told y'all. And boy was it fun! It's just a giant swamp area and in the middle they have a little gift shop and sign in area that you can then go through to ride a little train around the swamp, or a boat, and go to a little nature presentation on the wildlife here. It was oober fun. All the animals are free and wild just like Yellowstone. So anytime you are near water, which is the whole time, you have to watch to make sure a gator isn't too close! That had me on my toes and nervous part of the time. 



We are getting lost a lot. So that is fun. But hey, you can't find yourself until you're lost right?!

Oh, funny missionary antics. So we share a ward with Elders and one of them is English (as in from Britain). The other night a family had us over and we had grilled pork chops. Halfway through dinner he pipes up "This is delicious steak!" We all busted up laughing and said "That's pork!" And he said "Oh I haven't had either before!" Do they not eat meat over in the good ol' mother country? I guess not. This family is just great though and loves us missionaries. So luckily they are brave enough to let all four of us come teach sometimes. It's been a fun dynamic doing it that way. 

I hope you enjoy all the pics from the Okefenokee adventure!!!


So this week I had a big eye opener in regards to being the change. I thought I had really cured my perfectionism and was doing much better. But after a conversation with the mission president's wife, she said I should look over the perfectionism documents again. And I didn't. And I was amazed to see how bad I was. I realized that I had gotten really complacent on controlling my perfectionism and it had crept back in until it was in full swing again. So my thoughts to you today are this, never stop working on things that you've already changed, because if you aren't careful, they come right back.


love y'all,

Sister McCracken

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

in the country again—email from 05-06-13

I think the Lord knew I would need a transition back to country life after serving 14 months in Jacksonville (the largest city in the country). So here I am in Waycross, Georgia. And I actually live in a small town 10 miles out of Waycross. Does that sound familiar or what?! The only difference is the 25 minute drive to the church. 


My gps has saved our bacon out here. How I love modern technology. We were given a partial address and told "off you go!" And I thanked Heavenly Father for the man who invented the gps. And an elder found a smooth trick last transfer that downloads the ward roster onto your gps, so I now have the entire roster at my fingertips and "know" where everyone lives. The only problem is Georgia is not laid out quite how the gps thinks, so it usually just gets us close and we have to hunt from there. Luckily I have 15 months of experience hunting down houses and addresses. Missionaries would make great Private Investigator's. DSCN0086

The ward here just got a new Bishop on Sunday so we arrived in the midst of a big change here, but what better timing right?? The people here are so wonderful and have such thick southern accents I feel just as happy as a clam. I am just so happy I got to come to the true South even if it is just for a short bit of my mission. The people really are sweet and want to do just everything for you. 



And for Mom and Dad, our neighbor that we share the duplex with has two vehicles that will bring you comfort...One is a state trooper car and the other is a Sherriff's K9 unit SUV. So yes, I am well protected. :) DSCN0081


Well, time to go play. We are off to the Okefenokee Swamp today. Look it up. :) 

well, all i have to say about being the change is that it is exhausting, but worthwhile, so keep pushin'  y'all!

love y'all!

Sister McCracken

Thursday, May 2, 2013

oh how struggly was the from April 30

There was a new word coined in our zone... "struggly" to define a scenario that is filled with struggle or whatever really. Boy does that describe my week. We have gotten so many calls saying that "plans have been changed" again and again... Oh my goodness. At one point Sister Barry told us "President and I are depending a lot on you right now." AAAAAHHH!!! I don't want to be depended upon! Save me! But luckily we are both pretty strong and kept each other going. We were dead tired every night as we collapsed into our beds. But that was a fun adventure, we live on the third floor and have a screened in patio so we drug our beds onto the patio and slept out there all week. camping!!!
Last night we had the mission conference call for transfers!!! I am headed to waycross, georgia!!! The ward there is bigger than the entire stake I am in now. Oh goodness. We will be sharing it with Elders though so that will save us. We drive out there tomorrow night and will hit the ground running. I can't wait to tell my new companion she gets to help open an area to sisters. Speaking of new missionaries, for all who have asked, we are getting 26 new missonaries this week. We traditionally get between 3 and 10. And 14 of those are sisters!!!! It is insane! Only one sister companionship was not affected by this transfer!
I just want to tell you all how much I know the priesthood is real. I was having a horrible weekend with my depression which summed into a complete shutdown Sunday afternoon. My poor companion just let me sleep for 2 1/2 hours and cleaned. At that point I knew I needed an intervention. So we called the Drapers (the senior military missionaries here) and asked if he could give me a blessing because I just wasn't functioning and I needed to get back in the game quick before transfers. And WOW!!!!! The Spirit was so strong and I was given so much comfort and strength. I don't know what I would do without the gospel. As soon as the blessing was over I felt like my old self again and was ready to conquer the world. Because of this experience I know two things: 1. Satan is real. (No other power could drag me to such misery so quickly) 2. Jesus Christ LIVES!!!! (because no power could save me so quickly) And I am so grateful to have the priesthood in my life to bless and strengthen me! I don't know what I would do without it.

Like I said earlier, change has been the word of the week round these parts. And boy has it been fun. I've learned the key to resiliency is being able to change yourself as your situation changes so that you are equipped to handle. Oh change. I just love it!!!
love y'all!
Sister McCracken