Hello family and friends!
Well, I am finally in Florida! I've been here for a week actually :P I left the MTC on Monday, and my MTC P-days were Tuesdays and P-days here are Mondays, so this is my first P-day in two weeks. UFTAH! It's nice though to get some things done and run some errands today.
I'm serving in the Brooksville area. It's about an hour north of Tampa and is the most northern area of the mission. It's pretty typical of what you would expect from central FL. Some nice neighborhoods, some really ghetto neighborhoods, and a ton of Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses lol! But the people here are so nice and wonderful. This first week has been amazing. We've found 8 new investigators just this week and we have already set 3 or 4 baptism dates within the month. The Lord really has prepared the people here to receive His gospel!
My mission president is President Summerhays. He is amazing, and I couldn't ask for a better mission president! He's so kind and so in tune with the Spirit, and really wants to help the missionaries with anything they need. I've only met with him once, in my first night here which I spent in the mission home in Tampa, but just in the 15 minutes that we talked in his office, we really got to know each other and I received some great counsel! Sister Summerhays is also so amazing! And you would have to be to be a mission mom :P I'm just so glad I'm here, and I know that the Florida Tampa Mission is where the Lord wants and needs me. And I need it too.
So, I'm being trained in a tripanionship, which means there are three of us, not two. Trios definitely have their difficulties. Elder Scott and Elder Amadi were MTC companions and are really good friends so keeping focused and a mature attitude about the work is really hard some times. Teaching is also really hard with three instead of two. The missionary lessons are set up to work best with two people teaching, so I usually don't get to say much when we're teaching people since Elder Scott and Elder Amadi already have a great teaching chemistry and play off of each other so well. But we're working on that.
Now, to answer some frequently asked questions ;)
We wake up at 6:30, exercise, get ready and eat breakfast. Then we study from 8-11. This includes personal study and companionship study. Then we eat lunch and are out working and teaching until 9 at night. We prefer to already have teaching appointments set up during this time, but if we aren't teaching we're finding people to teach. Here in the Tampa Mission, we find people by offering, as representatives of Jesus Christ, to leave the Savior's peace and blessing of peoples homes. In the Book of Mormon, Alma does this for Amulek before they go out and teach the people of Ammonihah. There are so many Christians here, and none of them turn down a chance for blessings from God. And then after we do that, we ask if they're interesting in listening to our message. Most of them are because they can feel the peace of the Spirit. It's so wonderful!
We return home by 9, then plan our next day, and are in bed by 10:30. And I'm usually ready to go to bed by then!
Both of my companions have been sick this week, but not me! :D
Send all mail and packages to the mission home. Anything that is first class or priority mail through the post office will be same-day forwarded to my apartment here in Brooksville. If it's through a private carrier or parcel service, then it can take a lot longer for me to get it because it can't be forwarded and so I have to wait until I go to Tampa to pick it up. Care packages with food are much appreciated! We're poor and rely a lot on the church members here to feed us, which only happens sometimes lol :P
Well, I think that's about it for this week. The work is moving forward! I'm so excited to be here and I love the people so much! I know this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ, that the Book of Mormon is a true record of ancient prophets, and that Joseph Smith was called by God to be a prophet. Thomas S Monson is likewise called of God to be a prophet in our day and age. This coming weekend is General Conference, which is a wonderful opportunity to hear living prophets and apostles speak! Please watch it, listen to the words spoken, and let them enter your hearts. I promise you that if you do, you will find answers to questions that you wouldn't be able to find anywhere else, and they will be the RIGHT answers!
I love you all so much! Thank you for your love and support. May God bless you with all you stand in need of.
(P.S. Jarom wrote in his letter to me that he is also in a full car area, so they haven't had to ride their bikes yet. Also that the weather is humid but has been "cooling down" the locals say, although it's still in the 90's.)