May 26, 2014
Soooo..... Just like the hymn says, “Hold to the Rod,”.... I held fast onto the GOLDENROD...said goodbye... and I have now been blessed to make it to another AMAZING area in my mission!!!! I'm now serving in the Olympia ward back in the Orlando South Stake! You guys, I LOVE this area! I feel so spoiled to be here. Hahaha! First off, it's really weird to be back in the Orlando South Stake because that's where Winter Garden is! My first area! I have seen so many people and have already driven through the land of my “birth”! haha! The crazy thing is that it's almost been a whole YEAR since I've been here... and now I'm back!! So weird!!!
I don't even know where to begin to describe the Olympia Ward... but it's so awesome. To start things off... the Orlando Temple is in my area!!! What?! Ya! SPOILED. I pass it every single morning. :) It's so beautiful and just makes me so happy!! Every other week, my new companion, Sister Welch and I will be doing Temple Tours around the temple grounds :) Yay!! I will also be doing temple service again where I can go do yard work and clean the fountains again ;) hahaha !
The members in the Olympia Ward are so awesome. Everyone that I've met so far is great. This is the closest I have felt to being back in a Utah ward since I've been here. Everyone is just so actively involved in their callings and ready to make things happen here. It's so exciting! There are some cool people in the ward as well. Many of them are from Europe and other foreign countries which is cool :) Elder Scott's brother is the stake president and current and former temple presidents are in the ward!! It feels like home with all of the church leadership! Many of the members’ homes are gorgeous mansions with their backyards overlooking huge lakes with the temple glowing behind it... ya! It's AMAZING!! I wish that I could just take pictures all the time of everything that I'm seeing... but I can't really pull my camera out in the middle of a dinner…hahahaha! The area, is for the most part, very wealthy so I was worried about people not being as receptive to us... but so far, everyone has been very kind. Because the ward is pretty wealthy, the missionaries are very loved and spoiled. The members serve us meals every day. They have also furnished our apartment. It is the most furnished and CUTEST missionary apartment I've seen yet. Hahahaha! So sweet of them. I could just keep going on and on about all of this... I'm just so happy to be here :) I like Goldenrod and I miss the people there, but I'm very excited and ready to work here in this area and to see what the Lord has in store for us and these good people!!!
Yesterday was my first Sunday in the ward. Our church is right across the street from the temple :) Three other wards in the stake, including Winter Garden, gathered at the church building because they were realigning and creating a new ward.... So I got to see pretty much all of the Winter Garden Ward members!! Sadly, I couldn't remember all of their names.... but I was able to see the Couch's, Bishop Damewood, Brother Kampersheir (Ward Mission Leader), the Lee's, Sister Sharp, the Joseph's and all of these other people that I haven't seen in a year!!! Wow!!!! It’s so exciting and so fun :) I almost feel like I've gone back in time and that I'm back serving in the Winter Garden ward in the summer of 2013. It's crazy being back here. haha!
Sister Welch and I are getting along great! We love each other and she is super cute! We have several mutual friends from back home like Trevor Wilson and Dillon Despain! Kind of fun :) She came out into the mission field with me so it's been fun to be at the same page as my companion in that way as well. We saw a lot of miracles this past week. We had one baptism and two confirmations of investigators this past Sunday! Yay! Good way to start out the transfer ;) Because of the two confirmations though, we need to make sure that we keep our teaching pool up in numbers! The Lord blessed us a lot this week... We found 6 new investigators! Wow! I really feel like this ward is ready and prepared to receive people and the Lord is ready to pour out blessings on us as we follow the spirit and work hard. Once again, I'm excited to see what this transfer brings :) Some of these investigators that we found this week were SOOO excited to hear about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the church. I just feel like these people get it and they are just eating it all up! It was such a relief and faith building moment for me to be reminded why I'm out here: It's to find those that are willing and ready to come closer to our Savior and accept Him. It's so cool to see when the spirit touches someone and it all clicks.
Crazy side note... my first night here, we had dinner at a members home; the Rahters.. and guess what? Sister Elizabeth Rahter was my cousin, Liz Kirkham Mayberry's roommate in college! haha! Crazy! Kind of Fun :) I didn’t ask for her maiden name; sorry.
We are starting up exchanges again this next week! It's going to be super crazy busy.. we have Zone Conference (which Sister Welch and I are giving a 25-minute training session), Mission Leadership Conference, exchanges to Winter Garden, giving temple tours, and doing temple service... in addition to trying to teach up to 20 lessons and finding people. It's going to be a little crazy... but I know that the Lord will provide as we work diligently!
I hope that everything is going well! I sure love all of you and am so grateful for you!!!
P.S. I got Jane's wedding invitation... I cried a little. Give her a big hug and tell her that I love her. :)