Wow! I feel like it's been awhile since I've been able to email you. I'm sorry again about last week... I felt terrible about that! I'll try to not do that again. The P-day before transfers is always so crazy though.
I can't believe that it's been a whole week without being with Sister Pitts here in New Smyrna Beach. L I love her to death and miss her terribly. I'm now serving with Sister Damato from Hemet, California. She is cute! She got baptized 3 years ago but went inactive until about a year ago. I have so much respect for her courage to come out on a mission and to preach the gospel when she has only known and truly lived the restored gospel for about a year. Crazy! She has great insight though and a great take on many things. I'm learning a lot from her already. I was really nervous when the transfer first started out because I felt like I still was trying to get to know the area and some of the people, etc. This is my first OFFICIAL time being a Senior Companion (the first time I was senior companion with Sister Hoyt doesn't really count since we were both at the same stage of the mission.)
I look back on the week and I amazed to see the Lord's hand in my life every day. He has helped me so much to stay organized, calm and working hard. We had accounting this morning with my District Leader, Elder Flood, and he was very complimentary of our hard work from the past week. He told us that the Zone Leaders have commented on how the zone is really boosting in numbers and we are seeing so many miracles. Elder Flood said that in all seriousness he felt like the area that is helping lead the zone is our area... that's a lot to say and I don't know how much to really believe that but Sister Damato and I really have been working our tails off ! I don't want to come off as boasting, but it felt really good and helped motivate me more as he told us that he has noticed our hard work. Getting that reinforcement from my leaders and their acknowledgment of my hard work really does help me to keep working hard and motivates me to push myself even more. I know without a doubt that I wouldn't be able to do everything that we have been able to do or see the miracles that we have seen without the Lord's hand in our lives. My testimony grows stronger and more deep everyday as I realize that this truly is not MY work... but the LORD's work that I have the privilege of being a part of.
We have been teaching a 13-year old boy, Dakota. I can't remember if I’ve told you about him already, but his dad (not a member) refused to let him get baptized when he was 8. Sadly, his dad just died in a car accident a couple weeks ago so now, Dakota and Dakota's less active mom are taking the discussions from us. Dakota was worried about baptism at first because he thought that he would immediately have to pass the sacrament after he was baptized. We told him that wasn't true and to just focus on one step at a time. His faith is growing as is Judy’s, his mom. Judy came up to me the other night and told me that she feels like she has known me her whole life. It was really sweet. It's so sweet to think that I was probably super close with these people that I'm coming in contact with when we were all up in the Pre-Mortal world. Judy is probably right: we probably have known each other our whole lives! Judy also told me that she is using the rest of her vacation days to go to church on Sundays. We are seeing a lot of miracles with them as well. Hopefully we will see Dakota get baptized this next month!
Ed and Michele are the best as ever. I’ve come to love them more and more every time I'm with them. The ward had a Halloween/Fall Festival party this past week. Sister Damato and I went over to help Ed and Michele decorate the trunk of their truck with cobwebs and other Halloween decorations for the "trunk or treat.” If there was an award, Ed and Michele would have won. It looked AWESOME! We had a lot of fun spending time with them. The more I serve them and spend time with them, the more I don't want to leave them. I get so scared thinking that I'm going to miss Ed's baptism by a week if I get transferred..... ahh! :( :( :(
When we were at the Halloween party, I felt like I really got closer to many of the ward members. I was having a blast moving from person to person talking with people. I never thought that I would love this ward the way that I do now. They are all such great people! The bishop really opened up to us as well. I feel like he has always favored the elders, but he showed us quite a bit of attention that night. I was describing to him where my home was…by the Eaglewood Golf course and what the golf course looks like because he loves to golf. While I was describing it he realized that he had golfed there!! Long story short, years ago, he got a call from Elder Hales who had just flown to Florida and had heard that the bishop of the New Smyrna Beach ward was “big” into golf. So, Elder Hales called Bishop and asked if he wanted to golf with him! haha! A couple years later, Bishop flew out to Utah and played golf with Elder Hales on Elder Hales' golf course (Eaglewood!) Kind of fun! Such a small world in the world of Mormons!
We had Zone Conference yesterday at Lake Mary. Elder Walker from the 70s came and spoke to us. I learned a lot from him! He served a mission in Japan and kept speaking in Japanese throughout the conference. I picked little things here and there up which was fun :) there is an elder in our mission, Elder Nakatska, (I don't know how to spell it,) who is from Japan. He actually served ahead of me in Winter Garden. He is the CUTEST little Japanese elder EVER!!! Elder Walker kept calling him forward to speak to him in Japanese. Dad, you were on my mind a lot yesterday as they talked about Japan :) One thing that Elder Walker said that really stuck out to me was: "If you don't work hard for the Lord, then who are you ever going to work hard for?" I think that is a really profound question. It's so true.... if can't find the motivation to put my whole heart and soul to God and what He wants from me, then who will I ever be true to? Another thing that was brought up at Zone Conference was the Book of Mormon Musical. It is coming to Orlando the first part of November and they were preparing us missionaries to know what to say if the media starts asking us questions. The Church has handled the situation so well. They came out with a statement that said something along the lines of, "The Book of Mormon musical may entertain you for the night, but the Book of Mormon will bring you closer to God and change your life forever." haha I love it! Hopefully I don't have to be faced with any media that have questions, but if so, I will just bare my testimony of the blessing of the Book of Mormon!
The craziest thing that happened at Zone Conference yesterday BY FAR was that I got to see the one and only ELDER DANE PETERSON for the first time!!!!!!! It was soooo weird!! haha! I had been keeping an eye out for him all morning because I knew that he was supposed to be there but I hadn't been able to find him. I was talking with some other missionaries when all of a sudden Elder Peterson comes running up, grinning ear to ear with an outstretched hand for a handshake. Man. I can't tell you how weird it is to see old friends out on the mission. It's nuts. It was super fun to catch up a little with him and to see how much he has grown. He looks exactly the same… haha! I've heard that he is a great District Leader and missionary. So fun to see him! Hopefully I'll be able to see him more often now. I can't believe that it took 5 months for us to finally run into each other out on the mission. So fun :)
I got that package you sent me. I LOVED IT!!! Thank you sooo soo much!!! I love the CD's and piano music. I actually have been asked to play the hymns in sacrament meeting next week along with prelude... so I'll have to pull out some of that church music to play for the prelude:) thank you again so much! I was listening to one of the CD's you gave me one morning when having breakfast and "Savior, Redeemer" began to play. I literally choked on my breakfast as the song immediately took me back to when Angie and I use to sing that together. I could distinctly hear Angie's voice singing the song. Man... I miss you Angie. SO MUCH. I'm so very grateful that you sent me our little "Always Sisters, Forever Friends" necklace. I cried a little when I put it on hahaha! I wear it all the time now and don't want to ever take it off. I love all of you so so much and don't know what I would do without you and your support, prayers and love. I hope you know how much each one of you means to me. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!
I hope that I was able to make up for my lame letter home last week. You are always in my prayers and I’m so grateful for you! I hope that you guys have a fun Halloween. :) You should dress up for me ;) hahaha Until next week!!!!!