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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How Far Away is That Plane?

August 1st 2016:

What should you use to battle a T-Rex?
A Dino-sword.

The Riviera family. Wow. They have left me speechless. They are SO
prepared! It has been amazing to watch them. Every time we have gone
over Carlos has shared with us what he has learned in the Book of
Mormon, and Mercedes shares with us stories about her prayers being
answered. We finished there lessons Saturday evening, and afterwards
they thanked us for knocking on their door and finding them. They told
us that they didn't realize that this is something that they had been
praying for long before we knocked on their door, and they got
everything they were wanting and some. It was what every missionary
dreams of hearing. I love the Riviera family so much! They have said
multiple times that we were sent specifically to them, and we truly
were. In all my mission I have never felt so strongly to track a
certain neighborhood before, than I did two months ago when we found
this amazing family! I wish y'all could meet Carlos and Mercedes,
because my emails don't do them justice. I am so grateful that I have
the chance to watch them enter into the covenant of baptism the last
Saturday of my mission. They are set and ready for August 6th!


Well friends and family this is my last weekly email. Bare with me as
I try to share my thoughts and testimony with you, because I haven't
been able to find the words to express how I truly feel.

My first day in my first area my trainer, Sister Sackley pointed to an
airplane in the sky and asked me how far it was. I looked at her
confused and just said "how in the world am I suppose to know that?"
She then laughed and said eighteen months. Well folks it has been
eighteen months, and I am blown away by how fast it has gone by. It
seriously breaks my heart to think my time as a full time missionary
is coming to an end. I am very excited to see my wonderful family and
awesome friends. It is bittersweet, it really is.

The knowledge I've received on my mission is eternal knowledge. And I
couldn't have gotten this anywhere else. I will never regret the time
I have spent in Florida. I don't think anyone could ever regret going
on a mission. The truth you learn here is eternal. I needed these 18
months to come to know who my Savior is, I love him. I won't ever
forget this time, it is forever engraved upon my heart. Words can't
express my gratitude to those who have financially supported me and
who have supported me in prayers and letters. I am grateful for you
and I owe a lot to you. Thank you! I seriously couldn't thank you
enough. This has been the best 18 months for my life, it has prepared
me to have my own family one day...far far away. ;) I have put so much
into my mission and it has changed me for the better. And to think of
all that I have put into this work, I am still getting an even bigger
return. I'm sad to leave Tampa Florida, but my mission doesn't end
here. It's in my heart and will be with me for the rest of my life. I
was called by a prophet of God to serve in the Florida Tampa Mission
with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. And by loosing myself in
the work, I found my Savior Jesus Christ who in return helped me come
to know of my worth and purpose here in this life. I thought I knew
who Christ was before my mission, I didn't have the slightest idea and
I still don't, but I have a stronger understanding of who He is and
what He did for me. Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our
transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of
our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. I didn't
come to know this until I served him with my whole heart. When I first
came to Tampa I thought I was sent here to find someone, little did I
know I was sent to Florida to find myself. I am leaving Florida a
converted disciple of Jesus Christ. 3 Nephi 5:13 Behold, I am a
disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to
declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting
life.
I am leaving changed. And this is how I know that I fulfilled my
purpose here in Florida. I know our Savior lives today. I know he died
for me and you, so we could live again with our family and friends. I
know that Joseph Smith was called by God to bring back Christ's
original church.  There are no words to express the feelings I have
for my mission. 3 Nephi 5:8 And there had many things transpired
which, in the eyes of some, would be great and marvelous;
nevertheless, they cannot all be written in this book; yea, this book
cannot contain even a hundredth part of what was done among so many
people in the space of [eighteen months]. Ether 12:40 And only a few
have I written, because of my weakness in writing.

You know you are a sister missionary when, you have to remind yourself
every once and awhile your first name isn't sister.

  I love you all! And I'm so excited to see you. My mission report is
August 21st at 9 am. 1470 East 130 North Spanish Fork, Utah 84660-5699

I love Florida!

The Rivieras!!

Sister J

A Flooding Apartment

July 18th 2016:

Why did the train engineer choke?
He forgot to "choo-choo" his food.

Our apartment started flooding this morning because some tube in the washer came out. So we did what any missionary would do- we prayed! and the water stopped! 

Well family and friends I don't have too much to update you on this
week. At least you'll get a joke. ;)Sister Alder has had really bad
back pain and it has prevented us from working. I've had a really hard
time staying in the apartment, while knowing I only have a couple of
weeks left on my mission. But, if there is anything I have learned on
my mission it is that God is in every detail of our lives, and he has
a reason for everything. I'm just trying to figure out what it is.
Pleas keep Sister Alder in your prayers, so we can return to work!

Carlos and Mercedes Riviera are progressing really well! I love them.
We taught the Plan of Salvation and Mercedes made the comment, "I have
known this all along, and the lesson just put it into words." I just
wanted to jump on the couch and shout "YES, YES YOU HAVE!" They are so
prepared, and if everything goes as planned they will be baptized on
the the 6th of August. We have taken a couple of members with us to
their lessons, and after the lesson one of the members told us she had
a dream about Carlos and Mercedes and in the dream they even had the
same name. She said they looked so familiar when she met them, and the
Rivieras even mentioned they recognized the member. But, neither of
them could figure out why they looked familiar. While the member was
telling us about her dream, I was getting the cold chills. Ah the
gospel is true. That's all I have to say!

You know you are a sister missionary when.... Everything between your
shoulders and knees hasn't seen the sun since you left home. :)

Hope y'all have a fabulous week :)

Diligence.

I cheated on Rita's :(

Well family and friends the time is coming. Thank you for all the love and support you have given me. It really means a lot to me. I would love it if you could be at the airport when I get home. I fly in on August 9th at 12:45. I will be in terminal 2. 

I think that is all the info you will need. Just email me if you have any questions. :)

I love you all!

Sister J


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Teeny-boppers

July 11th 2016:

 Yes, someone called us Teeny-Boppers because we are 19 and 20 year
olds. Oh Florida.

Where do bees go when they're sick?
To the wasp-ital.

Um. Wow. I am speechless. I have seen SO many miracles these past
couple of weeks, that I have been left speechless. We have been
working so hard, and we are being blessed beyond belief. Let me just
tell you missionary work is AWESOME! It is really hard, but very
rewarding. Where do I even begin? Oh I know! WE FOUND A FAMILY. Carlos
and Mercedes. They are what we call a golden investigator. We tracted
into Carlos a couple of weeks ago, and later met his wife Mercedes. It
has been hard to get in contact with them, because they don't have a
cell phone and they have 3 kids so they are a little busy. We had
invited them to church, but we were given the usual excuse "we are too
busy". We invited them to church again and this time the kids were
going to their grandmas, and this was their only weekend to spend
together without the kids, so they of course said they wouldn't be
able to make it. Well I looked them in the eye and promised them
blessings for coming! I promised them protection for their family,
strengthened relationships, and more peace. Sister Alder and I both
felt kind of down when we left, because we can just tell how ready
they are, but they can't get baptized if they don't come to church.
Well Sunday rolls around, we were planning on calling to invite them
again, but we were busy with meetings and some of our other
investigators that came. We didn't see them their, which made us sad
because we thought we were going to have to drop them. We show up for
our next lesson, and Mercedes starts to tell us that they actually did
go to church, we thought she meant a different one at first, but then
she started to tell us it was a little different but they really liked
it. That's when I knew she was talking about our church! They came!
And we had no idea. They told us they want to come to church a couple
more times and learn more about our church, before they are baptized.
Which is exactly what we were going to talk to them about. They are
set to be baptized on August 6th! The Saturday before I leave. Please
pray that everything will go as planned.

One valuable thing I've learned on my mission is how Satan attacks.
I've noticed he usually doesn't attack us with big things right at
first. He attacks us slowly, little by little, and before you know it
you have a bigger problem than you realized. The first thing he goes
for is our time. I can't tell you how many times we have met someone
really prepared, we see them frequently, and all of a sudden they have
no time to meet with us. There lives just get busy, they mix up their
priorities. And it is scary, it happens all of the time. How many
times have you said "Oh, I'll read my scriptures later I don't have
time right now?" Or "We will do family home evening next Monday, we
are too busy?" , heck you might even have a good excuse why you can't
do it right then, a lot of the time he will distract us with something
good so we can't have the best! I can not tell you how many times I've
seen it happen. I've watched it happen right in front of my face, and
I look back at my life and I can think of times when it has happen to
me. I guarantee its happen to you. Time is precious. I have literally
watched people fall away from the church all because they were too
busy. Satan crammed so much into their life that church and scripture
study seemed like the easiest thing to move around their schedule, and
then it was the easiest thing to take out of their schedule. They
stopped coming to church every Sunday, old temptations came back, and
they were gone just like that. Helaman 11:36-37 Everyone thinks "it
can't happen to me", but in all reality it can happen to any of us.
Look at your life. Who are you giving your time to?

I know this is truly the work of salvation. Every time I have
committed someone to be baptized, I have been able to see a glimpse of
what Christ's Atonement can do for them. I wouldn't change this time
for anything. Not even front row seats to the NCAA wrestling
tournament. ;) Although I will be home this year for the NCAA
tournament....Just a reminder Dad :)

Nothing like a nice southern brisket sandwich to celebrate the 4th.

It is tough being a missionary in Florida. ;)

If you are wondering what I really look like in the middle of the day in Florida. Here ya go! It is getting really hot.

This is why I don't bake.

Sister J

Its Good to Know America is Still Making Beautiful Women

July 4th 2016:

What do you call a 90-year-old woman who eats porridge?
Oldie-locks.

You meet the strangest people on your mission. We met one guy who just
went on and on about how he is glad to see that America is still
making beautiful girls. He of course went on about some other things,
it was another great story that made my journal this week. We also had
a lady invite us into her home to show us her dogs tricks. One of
those tricks was of her reciting the Lord's Prayer, while her dog
crouched down with his nose to the floor. Only in Florida do people
teach their dogs how to pray. There is something you must know about
Florida......EVERYONE HAS A DOG!

On Friday we met our new mission president. His name is President
Cooper and he is so nice, you could just see the love he already has
for the mission.  It was a little sad not seeing President Cusick
there. I'm going to miss him. But, I am excited to see what President
Cooper has to offer, I know the Lord has something in store. He always
does.

 A lot of the people here say really loud and kind of aggressive
prayers. It always catches them off guard when we pray with them
because its reverent and peaceful, the complete opposite of their
prayer. When we go tracting we offer prayers, one of my favorite
things is to watch their reaction after we just say a very quiet soft
spoken prayer. They almost always comment on the difference and how
good of a prayer it was. You can tell they felt something. You can see
it in their face! This happen with a guy we prayed with this week, we
closed the prayer he looked me in the eye and was just amazed by the
prayer. He told us we could come back, (This family was actually a
friend with the young women that came out with us) then he looks at
the young women and says contact them when my wife is in town so they
can pray with us again! Then said to her that his daughter and her
should be better friends and do more things together. So moral of the
story is; if you want to impress your friends parents, have the
missionaries pray with them. They will want you around their kids
24/7. :)


Sister Alder and I have been making a "you know you are a Sister
missionary when..." list. And this weeks is; you know you are a sister
missionary when you have been told in the nicest way possible you are
going to hell....multiple times. :)

Well it was another grand week in the mission field. I'm soaking up
every minute, even the crummy ones ;)
1. fail.

2.Happy 4th everyone! 

Sister J

Being Friendly is Nice

June 20th 2016:

Happy Fathers Day to all you fathers out there. But, a special Happy Father's Day to the best Dad ever! I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for you Dad. You are my best friend and I love you so much! Thanks for putting up with me for all these years. You know you have it pretty lucky when you would rather be with your Dad on the weekends at a wrestling tournament, than be with your friends on a Friday night. My Dad is fun, selfless, hard working, funny, caring, and charitable! I don't know how I have been so blessed with such a great Dad and Mom. I thank my Father in Heaven everyday for them! Okay, I'll stop with all this mushy gooshy stuff. I just wanted you all to know that my Dad is the best and I love him! 

This last week Sister Alder and I were about to get into the car, when this lady comes to a screeching stop on her bike, almost taking me out. I'll have to admit it was nice being on the other end this time. The first thing she said was "Hi", then she precedes to tell us that the Lord has been so good to her, so she goes around all day on her bike saying Hi to people (and yes every person that past us she waved to until they said hi back), and giving out cards that say:
BEING FRIENDLY IS FREE
Brothers and Sisters meant to be
the creator of the universe is working with me
Just say, Hi! 
She said she has handed out 47,000 cards! She has been wanting to write a book about her life, but hasn't been able to. One day she got on the computer and found a document called "Melissa's life", and apparently the whole things is about her life story, and she didn't write any of it. We gave her our our card with our number, and the next day she called us because she wanted to know what she should call her book. She wanted a good name, because one day it's going to be made into a movie... Haha some people in Florida kill me. 

Sister Alder and I got kicked out of our first apartment complex. :) That was a fun experience, it resulted in us crying on some random nice ladies porch. But hey! It's all part of the experience! We were tracting this apartment complex when this lady approached us and started to tell us to leave. We told her we were just saying prayers, and then it was like she unleashed the dogs or something. She was saying awful things, things that I can't repeat, she was getting in our face and at one point I even thought she was going to hit Sister Alder.  I have never been told such horrible things before. We stood our ground though, she continued to threaten to call the cops. The spirit was gone, so we knew we no longer could be there. We decided to leave, not because she told us to, but because the spirit was gone. She of course followed us out as she continued to tear us down. We were resilient though, and kept tracting in a different neighborhood, which is when we met a really nice lady named Karen. God gave us a tender mercy that's for sure! She was so nice, we both started to cry. We told her what had happen, and thanked her for her kindest. I'll be honest I don't have Christ like feelings towards that mean lady. I had a lot more I wanted to say to her, but I had to hold my self back, because I'm here representing Christ and he wouldn't have said the things I wanted to. And to think that I didn't even get a taste of the persecution that Christ faced. It was a humbling experience to think that Christ faced even worse than that, and yet he still loved them perfectly.  I love my Savior with all my heart. I have felt him very near me these last couple of weeks, and it has strengthened my testimony of the love he has for us. 

Well on a happy note, I hope y'all have a fantastic week!

I also want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my brother Sam! I love you Sam and I hope you have an amazing day! 

Our stake had a mini mission for all the laurels and priests. We helped the young women teach the restoration to families in the stake. It was awesome! I love working with the youth. 
President and Sister Cusick. They leave next week and I am really sad about it!
Yes I went to Ritas and it made me happy! It also made me miss all my Ritas friends.

This picture is for my Dad! Look at this huge smoker.

I realized that I forgot my joke of the week. I am awful! So here it is! 
How does a bullfighter enter a room?
Through the mata-door. haha

Have a good week!

Sister J

Mormon Bucks

May 30th 2016:

Why should you never invite an aardvark to your family reunion?
Because it will eat all your "aunts". 

Well that didn't last long. I was shipped off to a different area this last week. In missionary terms it's called emergency transfer. I am now companions with Sister Alder, she is from Mesa Arizona. She has been out about 3 months, and I have 3 months left. I remember being at that month mark, I feel like it was just yesterday. It is crazy how times flies. On Tuesday I received a call from President Cusick telling me they needed help in another area, because they received a lot of request cards from the Gladys Knight fireside (I talked about it in my previous email). On Wednesday I was told I was being put with Sister Alder, and on Thursday Sisters Shirley and Clement dropped me off. It wasn't a smooth drop off or course, there had to be some sort of complication, which happen to be a flat tire, it was an adventure and a great journal entry. Sister Alder and I loaded our car and headed to the Palm Harbor ward, area that neither of us have been to. Yay for white washing experience #2. ( if you don't remember my previous explanation of the missionary term white wash, it means when two missionaries go to a new area that neither missionary has  been too.) so with that being said my new address is; 7215 Columns Circle #308 Trinity Florida. I'm expecting heaps of mail now! :)

Let's just say people thing the weirdest things about Mormons. We tracted into this guy, and he asked if we have Mormon dollars or Mormon bucks. Haha so weird. We also had this lady tell us she was thinking about moving to Utah but didn't want to because of the Mormons. She had no idea we were Mormons, so we told her and she said  "Don't you have multiple wives?" We cleared that one up real fast! 
I wish I had more to report, but I don't. This week has been crazy and we have just been trying to figure our way around.  We are in the finding process because we opened an area, which pretty much means that we don't have anyone to teach :) We will change that though. So to be continued :) 

I know the Lord is trying to stretch me so I can become the person he desires me to be. I had a feeling these next couple of months would be a little challenging, and gosh was I right. Haha but hey! There is no comfort in a growth zone, and no growth in a comfort zone. :) 

Hope y'all have a fabulous week! 

  1. Enjoy this awkward pic of me in my new area. Ps check out my foot tan lines. 
  2. Sister Alder! 
Sister J

Gladys Knight

May 23rd 2016:

Hello Family and Friends, 
 What does Tinkerbell sit on?
Her fairy tail. 

Well transfers came and went and I got the boot once again. I am currently in Sarasota, and the exact location so y'all can write me letters is 3259 Huntington Place Dr. Sarasota, FL. I am in a trio companionship with Sister Shirley from Alaska, and Sister Clement from California. It was really hard saying bye to Sister Morgan, I love that women!  These last couple of weeks have been interesting to say the least. I'm sorry that I am awful at sending weekly emails, I am still alive don't worry. We had interviews with President Cusick and I got my return date, I leave the land of bugs and humidity on August 9th. It freaks me out how fast my mission has flown by. You know what they say, time flies when you are having fun. ;) it's been hard, but fun! 

I want you all to know that I know that this is The Gospel of Jesus Christ, restored through the prophet Jospeh Smith. I thought I knew my Savior before I came on my mission, and I didn't come to truly know him until I served him. I wouldn't have gotten this anywhere else. One thing I have been working on and studying is prayer. I have no idea where I would be without it! It truly is a direct connection with our Heavenly Father and it has taken me time to feel that way, and there are times I still feel like I'm praying to a wall. But the more sincere I am, the more I feel him listening. In Preach My Gospel it says "Effective prayer requires great effort." The more effort you put into it, the more you'll get out of it. Just like anything else you do! I know prayer works! When we faithfully do it, it will produce the miracles we need! 

We had the coolest missionary event EVER! First of all did you know Gladys Knight is a Mormon? She is, and she came to FLORIDA! She directs a Grammy award winning choir called the saints unified voices. They travel around and perform gospel music, they came to Tampa for a fireside. There was a catch though, in order to go you had to bring a non-member friend. Her and her choir performed, and she shared her testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ and her conversion story. Everyone was given a chance to fill out a card requesting missionaries to come deliver a Saints Unified Voices CD, a Book of Mormon, and a restoration video. At the fireside they had the day before they received around 350 requests for missionaries. You could not deny the spirit that was felt there, there were people in tears. Definitely a moment I won't forget. 

I hope y'all have a splendid week. DON'T FORGET TO WRITE ME A LETTER :) I mean....please write me a letter. :) and just in case you forgot my address already it's:



Sister J