Thursday, June 1, 2017

RM updates

Hello my sweet friends!

I can't believe I have been home from Florida for seven whole weeks now. What a roller coaster it's been. I thought it was about time I gave y'all an update on what's been going on with my life. So here are my updates.

Update #1: Recently I decided I wanted to get into better shape. But then I had a piece of cake for breakfast this morning so that's obviously going well.

Update #2: I've updated my MISSIONARY BLOG (Citrus Fruit Sister) for probably the last time. You can check that out! I've also updated my PORTFOLIO WEBSITE so you can check that out too!

Update #3 Since I've been home I've gone back to coaching tumbling at the gym I've loved since I was eleven. I've just been substituting classes here and there, but I have absolutely loved seeing all my athletes and how much they've progressed.

Update #4 Since it's summer I've just been job hunting and spending a lot of time with friends.... and boys.... but we won't talk about that. Boys still freak me out. My handshaking days were simpler times. haha

Update #5: Last week I got to attend the wedding of one of my best friend's in the entire world! Lauren and I have been best friends since we were in diapers and I can't believe she's actually married! They were sealed in the Bountiful, Utah temple and I couldn't be happier for them! Congrats Lauren and Chris! I love you guys!

Lauren and I as babies






Update #6: One of my favorite mission companions returned home last week! I was so incredibly excited to be reunited with her! Welcome home Sister Glover... Aka "Gloves".... aka "Kathy."

It was also a blast to be reunited with these cute sisters who also served in the Florida Orlando Mission. Nothing beats partying with my Florida friends!



Shout out to our "gang" the 4ZHomzies!




Update #7: In the fall I'm going to move down to Provo to attend Utah Valley University. My plan is to go into Graphic Design. I'm rooming with a bunch of missionary companions that I LOVE and when I told my Mission President which sisters I was going to room with in college he just laughed and shook his head and said "Oh there's no hope for that school is there?!?!" and I'm sure he's right! So stay tuned because I'm sure I'll have some really good stories to share come fall.

Update #8: Like I mentioned earlier, I'm in the process of jumping back into the Digital Media world. It's a goal of mine to keep this blog more up to date so if you don't see a post on here for a while feel free to send me angry texts demanding more blog posts. I'm also working on getting back into Photography so if anyone needs Mission pictures or any other photography feel free to give me a call! I recently updated my DIGITAL MEDIA PORTFOLIO that you can check out to see all my latest Photography, Graphic Design, and Web Design projects! I'm also in the process of opening a new Etsy shop so stay tuned for that!

That's about it! Thanks for all loving I've gotten since I've been home! There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wish I was still in Florida, but being back in Utah has been pretty great thanks to all the cool cats that have kept me company!

Y'all are the greatest!

Whit

Monday, May 8, 2017

"Two Unibrows--One Forehead" by Elder Breeden

Hello my friends! As you all know I just got home from my mission in Florida a couple weeks ago. When I was in Florida I met some pretty cool cats that I became good friends with. Last week I got an email from one of those friends named Elder Breeden. Elder Breeden and I served around each other near the end of my mission and he's a pretty funny missionary. I liked the story he shared so much that I asked him if I could share it with y'all. Enjoy!

-Whit


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I want to tell you a story that I was reminded of this morning. You've all heard it at one point or another, but I believe it'd be fitting to illustrate what's happening in Minneola this week. The was I was reminded of it was because of this old picture of me that Elder Carver found.

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Most of you have seen that unibrow in real life. Some of you have not. I won't go into details on the brow itself, but I will tell you what it did for me. It drew teasing when it first emerged from my forehead in middle school, and it still turned heads all the way into my missionary service. It was a source of pride in high school. It was essentially a brown hairy mormon birdie to the world, and the world responded with a thumbs up. All the world, that is, except Florida. Elder Husbands, if any of you remember him, wisely said "That is the ugliest thing I have ever seen on anybody's forehead! If you do what was that thing today you will never baptize anyone, and you will fail at your mission!" He and many other missionaries begged me to tear the two caterpillars apart, but I would not, until the gentle nudging of Elder Hawkins persuaded me to try it out, and grow it back if I didn't like it. 

Though I wasn't instantly converted, I liked the attention. So I would let it grow back and then wax it each time I got a haircut. Although Elder Carver did have a big part in thinning back the hair on the bridge of my nose the real confirmation came after the trial of my faith. Only after I had declared to the world through a photo sent home that I had two eyebrows instead of one did I receive an email which brought me the satisfaction I needed and the giddiness I sought after. An old friend replied, and though I couldn't find the email itself today, I remember the words she wrote exactly. (Pay attention to the gender specific pronoun I used and to the fact that I like that gender a lot.) "Why are you hot now?" were the words, that joyous phrase! Not only did someone think I was hot, but a girl did! A girl who lived over 3,000 miles away, and had no reason to be anything less than honest with me! Through the gentle nudgings of friends, I had achieved what I had never even dreamed of achieving with my unibrow! Yes, it was good and beneficial at the time I had it, and it even propelled me forward at times, but it needed to be pruned back before it outgrew itself. Although I miss it some days I don't long for it, because as my dear old friend says, I am "hot now." And that hotness came from the beauty that change is, and that it brings.

Don't think this email is about my hotness, because if you've seen Jonny Bravo, you'd know I am far from being the hottest youngster on earth. The change I went through in that story is meant to reflect what has happened this week. Lots of changes have affected this area, and I'm anticipating a lot of growth and development in my missionary abilities. We had a zone conference on Thursday where I found out that I'm actually terrible teacher, and if I'm right everyone else in our mission did too. But Elder Dodson and I have studied up on goal setting and planning, and we hope that that will bring the discipline necessary to change. Our ward boundaries also got realigned. For those of you who don't know, a ward is what we call a congregation in our church, and its geographical boundaries are determined by serious study of the number of church members and the speed of the current growth and projected growth, and after serious consideration and a lot of prayer, the Spirit confirms to them whether their plans for are the Lord's will or not. So yesterday, the Clermont ward essentially annexed part of the Minneola ward. We lost a lot of strong members, including those who inspired last week's email that I made friends with. But with the strength that's left the Lord will prosper us as long as we work hard, trusting in His direction.

Even though change is difficult, and differences are scary, I know that we can change for the better and still be true to ourselves. Just like Dr. King said, "It's all good." Here's a video the church made in the '90s, it's pretty funny.


And another one you can actually take seriously that's related to change.



-Elder Clay Breeden

Friday, April 21, 2017

Confessions of an RM






























I returned home from my mission not even 10 days ago and I have a confession to make...

I'd rather be in Florida.

Coming home is something every missionary thinks about. Will there be a crowd at the airport? How many people will come to my homecoming? Will my younger siblings be taller than me? How am I going to adjust back to being a "normal human?"

Towards the end of my mission going home was something I began to look forward to. I was excited to experience the departing temple trip with my mission president and I heard the final testimony meeting in the mission home was a spiritual experience. Those experiences didn't disappoint.

At our departing temple trip we were sitting in one of the sealing rooms with our mission president and he directed our attention to a magnificent chandelier. He pointed out the ever so subtle movement of the chandelier and how it it was that subtle movement that caused the chandelier to sparkle. He talked about how each of us had created a little movement in Florida and had left a little sparkle all over the state.

Flash forward a couple weeks and now I'm back in Utah feeling a little less sparkly.

For the first week after coming home I felt like a celebrity. When people would see me for the first time they would scream and run to give me hugs. Everyone wanted to take pictures with me to put on social media. Quite a crowd gathered to hear me speak at my homecoming. I felt like I was on top of the world.






























But now the excitement has started to wear off and people are getting used to having me around again. My siblings are back in school during the day and my parents are back to work. My friends are busy with their jobs and school and some of them their new husbands. And I was left at home to try to navigate registering for school and looking for jobs. I would be lying to say it is easy to feel the same kind of fulfillment from day to day as I did when I was knocking doors and preaching the gospel in Florida.

And that's to be expected.

For eighteen months I wore the Savior's name on my chest and I did His work 24/7. I had thousands of people praying for me on a daily basis that I don't even know. I had purpose and I knew exactly what I was supposed to do every second of the day. In all reality it was easy to be successful. But the moment you take off that name tag and people stop calling you "sister" those prayers aren't for you anymore and your focus starts to shift a little.

As a returned missionary you are thrown right back into the environment you were in before you left. The world around you is basically the same as it was, but you're a little different. It's like trying to put on a pair of shoes that you used to wear in the eighth grade. They used to fit great, but now they make your toes curl and give you blisters when you walk. It's uncomfortable and awkward at first.

But if I've learned anything over these last ten days of being a returned missionary is that the Savior still loves me. I know that even though I don't wear His name on my chest anymore, He is still proud of me every time I do something for Him. Weather it's unloading the dishwasher for my mom or sending an uplifting email to my friend that's still on a mission. He's happy with the service I've already given to Him and He wants me to continue to seek opportunities to serve.

I've also learned that I'm not expected to be perfect. When I first got home I expected myself to be perfect. And I was shocked when I made mistakes. But I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is still applicable for Returned Missionaries. And if anything, we, as returned missionaries should understand the need for Jesus Christ's Atonement even more than we did before.

He wants us to keep trying. He wants us to improve ourselves.

So that's where I'm at now. I'm in a slightly less sunny state trying to learn how to sparkle again.

And He's never left my side.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

I'M HOME!!!



"I'M GONNA MAKE THIS PLACE YOU'RE HOME"

Hello my lovely friends! 

HAPPY EASTER!!!

I know my blog is a little behind with my mission stuff, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I'M BACK HOME IN UTAH!!!!

My new email is whitneysue96[at]gmail.com and my new phone number is 385-424-5359 for anyone that wants to get a hold of me. I also lost all of my contacts so if y'all could shoot me a text and tell me who you are then that would be AWESOME SAUCE! 

Many of you have commented telling me you'll miss my weekly emails. I'll do my best to keep the blog updated for those of you who want to follow along with my crazy life! 


WELLLLLLL 

I just wanted to send one last email letting everyone know I made it home safely and fill you in on all the fun adventures that have happened this week. What a marvelous roller coaster it's been! THIS EMAIL IS GOING TO BE LONG SO IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ ALL OF IT THEN AT LEAST SKIP DOWN TO THE END AND READ THAT!!

SUNDAYYY was my last Sunday in the field. We had church and our sweet investigator Nelly came. 

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[Nelly!]

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[Me saying goodbye to Lilly and Sydney and their Grandma, Sister Torres]

We met with John, Rachel, and Arturo and had a nice little lesson with them. I sure do love that family a whole bunch.

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After that we went over to the Baerga's for dinner. They are just the sweetest family. That evening we also met a guy named Frank that we taught a little bit. Then we came home and I started packing.

MONDAYYY was my last P-day. I spent the morning packing and the rest of the day hanging out with my mission buddies. In the evening we had FHE and dinner with the Mackey family and they are just a hoot! I love them! And just like that my regular proselyting days were over. That hurt me right in the chest.

TUESDAYYY I woke up and finished some last minute packing. We loaded everything up in the car and ran to the mission office to get a paper. God sent me a tender mercy and I got to say goodbye to my best friend Sister Glover. 

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Then we went over to David's World Cycle to drop off my bike (that I may or may not have ever actually ridden in Florida... haha) Then Sister Yance dropped me off at the Wetherbee building and I had to say goodbye to one of the sweetest humans I have ever associated with. I love youuuuuuuuuu!!!

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I got to say hi to my girl Sister Stratton. Sister Stratton and I went to the same high school and she is pretty good friends with my little sister and a lot of the people I know back home. She got to the mission the day before I left so I passed my Layton baton on to her. Good luck my friend! You are going to do incredible things!! Take care of Florida for me!

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I took my last Polaroid with Sister Glover.

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THEN THEN THEN 

we sat at the church for eeeeeeeetttttttttttttttttteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnnnniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttttttttyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

We were all starving and stranded with no car and no phones so we gave your money to the group of elders that were at the church too and those blessed elders drove to Chick-Fil-A and got us some grub. They are going to get so many blessings. SO MANY.

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Then we waited some more...

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Then we had a good meeting with President about all the challenges of going home. While we were in our meeting the sweet Assistants weighed all of our bags for us and when we came out we helped the Elders and Sisters re-adjust their bags that were over the weight limit. Then we trecked on down to the mission home in the big white whale and the truck.

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At the mission home we had dinner. Several of the Senior couples came so they could say goodbye to us. They had all of us departing missionaries sit at the table in the dining room and it felt like we were at the kids table. It was a party. I sure do love these crazy kids a lot! They always make me laugh so hard.

After dinner we had one of the most tender testimony meetings I have ever been to. My friends, I sure have loved these last 18 months. The Lord has been so good to me. He's been so good to all of us. At the end we stood and sang Called to Serve one last time. I was filled with so much gratitude for my Savior for this opportunity He gave me to serve. Then we all knelt in a circle and said a prayer. It was such a sweet experience.

Then we took the traditional stair picture.

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I can honestly say I don't think any of us slept that night. At one point I rolled over in my bed and Sister Mohenoa said "Sister Reid...are you awake?" and I just said "ya...." and she said "I can't go to sleep." haha from that point on I didn't sleep much for the rest of the week either.

WEDNESDAYYY we woke up at the CRACK OF DAWN.... Actually..... WELL BEFORE THE CRACK OF DAWN. We were awake by 3:30 to start getting ready to go. Around 5:00 Elder Dummer and Elder Lyon (the assistants) came by and had breakfast with Sister Olsen and I and President Clark. Then we loaded up our stuff. Said goodbye to Sister Magno, Sister Mohenoa, and President and Sister Clark and the Assistants took us to the airport. They dropped us off at the curb, shook our hands, and we were off! 

OKAY OKAY OKAY ARE YOU READY FOR THIS...

So we get in and see the longest line of my life. I about died because we were already running slightly behind schedule. We see the Elders that had gotten there earlier and they are already through baggage and were looking at us like "hope you make it Sisters..." ahhhh so Sister Olsen and I said a prayer right there in the middle of the baggage line. The line went pretty fast. The guy that checked my bags was a member. Then we got through security in a good amount of time. I had forgotten to take my liquids out, but they didn't stop me to check it so that was a #HASHTAGBLESSING. Then we start to make our way towards our gate and after we get off the little tram thing we see Elder Greenwood and Reyes running towards us. The said "SISTERS YOUR FLIGHT IS ALREADY BOARDING! GIVE US YOUR BAGS!" So they grabbed our bags and ran us to our gate. We said goodbye to them (they were both flying to different states) and we walked right onto our plane and before I knew it we were in the air!

The flight was good. We all kept checking the clock every three minutes so that made it feel extremely long. We watched all the Mormon Messages on my iPad.... nothing like watching Chastity, what are the limits? With your mission buds on an airplane.... ahhahaha

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We finally landed in Utah. We had landed a little early so we had to stall a little bit to make sure our families had enough time to be there. 

Then the long-awaited moment happened! I hugged my family! I felt more like a celebrity than I ever have in my life. haha And let me tell you. Every lonely moment in the mission was all worth it when I finally got to hug my army of people that supported me for the last 18 months.

MY SWEET FRIEND HANNAH MADE ME THE CUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTEST VIDEO OF ME AT THE AIRPORT





Then I got some Cafe Rio. #BLESSED

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Then I spent the day visiting with friends and family and I just had a grand ole time! In the evening I went to meet with my Stake President to get released. He had my littlest sister Mikall (she's 12) take off my name tag. She then handed it to my other Sister Danielle who is 18 and will start her mission papers in the next couple weeks. That was sweet, but it was oh so hard. And just like that I became Whitney again. 

THURSDAYYY I took my littlest sister "tracting" in my neighborhood to deliver invitations to my homecoming. It was the best tracting I have ever done in my life! haha every door I knocked on swung open and I was greeted with screams and hugs and I can honestly say I never received that kind of response when I knocked on doors in Florida. haha I also got a phone and had a bunch more people come see me. Then in the evening I went to institute with my friend Kenna. I accidentally introduced myself to the class as "Sister Reid"

*face palm*  

During class Kenna slipped me this note and said "here.... this is practice for when boys try to flirt with you." haha

FRIDAYYY I ran errands and in the evening I had my open house. I got to see so many friends and a bunch of family. I played with my cousins who are so big. Around 11:00 at night my best friend Lauren and Lexi and their family came to hang out and didn't leave until after 1:00 and I didn't go to bed until after 2:00. Just like the good old days!

SATURDAYYY I went to my Sister's State Theater competition. High schools are a worldly place. haha I was NOT prepared for the music and performances at this competition. It made me feel like I needed to go read my scriptures for a few hours. haha But my sister did great and that was fun to watch her compete. In the evening I went to Kenna's house and I watched my first movie. I made everyone stay rated G and we watched Zootopia. All my friends decided that I was Kathy. The whole time I watched the movie I was just looking for gospel analogies in the movie. Then we watched a couple episodes of Bob Ross..... don't ask.... my friends are weird. 

TODAYYYY IS EASTER SUNDAY! This morning I got up early and went to go help teach mission prep. I role-played in front of the class with my friend Jordan who got home a few months ago. That was fun. I was told I would be given an official calling as a mission prep teacher. I was pretty pumped about that!! 

So now it's 10:00. I have church at 1:00 and will give my homecoming talk. 

I included this in my email last week, but for those of you who didn't get it, I wanted to include it again... 

SAPPY THANK YOUS COMIN' ATCHYA!!!!


To my sweet friends Mayra, Cassie, Will, Cedar, Junior, Josh, Patrick, and Robbie who I've watched enter the waters of baptism while I've been here I want you to know I'm so proud of each of you. I'm glad I got to watch you come closer to your Savior. I'm glad I got to play a tiny part in you journey to the Celestial Kingdom. Stay faithful my friends. We are going to rejoice together in Heaven someday.


To all my investigators I've taught over the last year and a half and the hundreds of people I've met in the streets or knocked on your doors, I want to say thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my testimony with you. Because every time you let me share my testimony, my testimony became a little stronger. I want you to know that I do know these things that I've taught you are true. I pray that y'all will be able to continue to learn and grow and I can't wait to see you again someday and see how far you've come.

To all my sweet ward members. Everyone from Leesburg, to Daytona Beach, to Buena Vista, to Deland, to New Smyrna Beach, to Lake Nona. Thank you so much for all you've done for me. Because of you home has felt a little closer. To the active members, and those who come to church less frequently, I don't know how I would have done the last eighteen months without all of your sweet smiles. Thank you for your righteous examples. Thank you for all the meals. Thank you for being such good member missionaries and for sharing the things you know and love with your friends. 

To all my deer companions. Sister Ives, Sister Brown, Sister Guynn, Sister Mohenoa, Sister Nelsen, Sister Lewis, Sister Duran, Sister Muhlestein, Sister Hart, Sister Larsen, Sister Simpson, Hermana Jones, Sister Glover, and Sister Yance thank you so much for all you've taught me. Y'all have become some of my closest friends and will forever be people that I think about with joy. I'm glad God allowed us to spend so much time together. I want each of you to know how much I love you and how much I appreciate each of you. I hope we are able to stay in contact and I know that these friendships we've grown won't just last in this life, but will extend into the eternities. 

To my mission leaders. To President and Sister Berry, President and Sister Clark, to President and Sister Wood, and President Humphrey's, to all the elders that have served as Assistants to the President, to all my Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and District Leaders, and to my sweet sweet trainers Sister Guynn, and Sister Nelsen. Thank you for your righteous examples. Thank you for teaching me how I can be the best missionary I can be. I don't now if you realize the impact your small acts have influenced me as a missionary and as a person. I have strived to emulate the love you've shown me with those I've been able to serve and my heart has swollen with joy in the process. Thank you for your trainings. Thank you for your love. Thank you for every time you've served me. Thank you for helping me be better. 

To my fellow FOMers. Especially the sweet sisters I've been able to learn from as I've served as a Sister Training Leader. I've probably learned more from y'all than I've ever been able to teach you. Thank you for becoming my friends. Thank you for helping this time I've spent in Florida become such a joyful time of my life.

To my fan club back at home. To my sweet family, to my friends, to my home ward, and everyone else who cheered me on as I've been out here serving. Your prayers have carried me. I know that angels were sent to assist me in this work because of the prayers y'all have said in my behalf. Thank you for the financial support, for every letter you've sent, for every email you've typed, and for every prayer you've said. I feel so grateful to have such an army behind me supporting me. I wouldn't have been able to do the things that I have if it wasn't for you.

And last but not least, thank you to my Father in Heaven for this time I've been given to serve here in the Sunshine state. I echo Ammon's words again when I say "Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12)


THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THAT Y'ALL HAVE DONE FOR ME THESE LAST 19 MONTHS AND MORE THAN THAT, THESE LAST 20 YEARS. I COULDN'T HAVE DONE ANY OF IT WITHOUT YOU, AND WITHOUT THE HELP OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN, AND HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST. I WILL FOREVER PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD FOR THE TIME I WAS GIVEN TO SERVE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA. IT WILL FOREVER BE AN EXPERIENCE I WILL CHERISH. 

I LOVE Y'ALL MORE THAN RMs LOVE TELLING MISSION STORIES.

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UNTIL NEXT TIME,
WHIT.

"We know who Sister Reid's new companion is.... he's a hunk!"

Wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow wow WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD EVER WRITE THIS EMAIL... 


This was my last week as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

I have so many feelings.


Lemmmmmme tell y'all about my week first... then I'll get sappy in a sec....


Ok so... MONDAYYY we had P-Day. Always a good time. After P-Day we had dinner with Sister Pokipala who is my favorite lady. Then we took Sister Pokipala to visit #MiracleRyan. Do y'all remember that guy that called us out of the blue last week when we accidentally left a note on his door? WELL RYAN IS SO SOLID IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY. He let us right in and told us he watched the Easter video we told him to watch... he also told us he watched some of Conference and asked us what a seventy was... and he tried to make light conversation by saying "So I heard the age for missionaries to leave has recently been changed." 

What? Yes... yes it has. 

TUESDAYYY we stopped by the Keller's so I could say goodbye to them. Here's a picture of me with them and their cats. 

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I LOVE THIS FAMILY MORE THAN ANYTHING!

Then we had lunch and then visited Krista. Krista dropped us hard... she even gave me the Book of Mormon back... OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH 😬🤕 but she did say a really sweet prayer at the end of the lesson asking God to bless me and keep me safe in my travels home. After Krista we knocked a whole hekka lot of doors. We met a cool lady named Giselle who we picked up as a new investigator! 

Then we knocked some more doors. 🚪🚪🚪 I never thought I'd say this... but I'm gonna miss this. 

Then we had dinner with Bishop and Sister Northcutt. That was fun. Then we had the BEST LESSON OF MY LIFE WITH MY GOOD FRIEND KATHY. Kathy has been taking the discussions from the missionaries for like a thousand years. We were looking through her teaching record and it dawned on us that NOBODY HAS EVER INVITED HER TO BE BAPTIZED...

🙄🙄🙄

We had this awesome lesson where we talked about how Jesus Christ is inviting her to be baptized. The Spirit was so strong it's not even funny. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and she watched quite a bit of conference and loved it. Her heart really is being prepared. She said she couldn't give us an answer yet, because it's something she still needs to pray about, but she did say "that doesn't mean I'm saying no." I LOVE KATHY SO MUCH! 💛

After our bomb lesson with Kathy we ran on over to Nelly's for another bomb lesson. She is just the sweetest thing. We showed her her baptism timeline and she was ecstatic. Oh I love her. She just does everything we ask her to and she asks all the right questions and she is just.... ahhhhh I love her. 

WEDNESDAYYY we did service at A Place For Grace. My buddy Caleb made a special trip into the store so he could see me before I left. After we were done working we all ate "ceremonial cookies" because I was leaving. I really do love those people so much! 

For lunch we went to this cute little place we've been hearing about called Jimmy Bears. It was there that I tasted the best BBQ of my life.

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After service we went and taught the Pastor family. They are just so much fun. Then we had dinner with the Rodriguez's. They gave me a cute "I ❤ Orlando" keychain. People are so good to me. Then we went over to the Clarke's. Gary and Jasmine weren't home so we had an awesome Book of Mormon read with Ashley. We read 3 Nephi 11 where Christ comes and it was great. After we were done with the lesson Gary and Jasmine came home so we got to talk to them for a while. I love this family more than anything. 💛💛

THURSDAYYY we had my last District Meeting of my mission. It was interesting... 

We tried to take some nice pictures but this is what we got...

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Sorry Elder Reyes...

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This is my favorite picture because it's totally candid and I have no idea what we are all looking at.... haha I love these sisters.

After DM we taught Sister Johnson. THEN THE BEST THING OF MY LIFE HAPPENED.... my bestie Sarah Swerdfeger from the Buena Vista YSA ward drove down to our area to take us to get frozen yogurt so I could see her before I go home!

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#Blessed

Then we went and had dinner with Sister Torres who is always so much fun. After dinner we went to visit one of our investigators, but they weren't home so we knocked their neighbors and met the cutest lady named Maria. She let us right in and we showed her the Easter video. After the video she said in her cute little Spanish accent "ahhh... that's nice... WANT SOME JUICE?!" Haha she gave us some orange juice and then we taught her about the restoration. 

After our lesson with Maria we had another bomb lesson with Nelly. We taught her about prophets. I'm telling ya... that girl is on fire.

FRIDAYYYY WE WOKE UP AT THE CRACK OF DAWN AND WENT ON OVER TO THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH! Friday was my departing temple trip. We got to do a session in the Orlando temple. When I was sitting in the celestial room I opened up the Book of Mormon to Alma 26 which is where Ammon reflects on his mission to the Lamanites and rejoices about the time he's spent as a missionary. He talkes about how good God has been to him and one of my favorite lines that he says is "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." 

My friends... I echo his words. My time here in the Sunshine State has been so sweet. I don't know how to accuratly describe the gratitude I feel towards my Father in Heaven for allowing me this opportunity. "Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (Alma 26:16)

After that sweet time in the Celestial room all of the departing missionaries met with a member of the temple presidency and his wife and President and Sister Clark in one of the sealing rooms and they spoke to us. It was such a sweet and tender experience. One of my favorite things was when President Clark talked about the chandeliers. In the celestial room there is this magnificent crystal chandelier that is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen. President talked about how if you look closely you can see it move just slightly. The movement is subtle, but it is that little tiny movement is what makes it sparkle. He talked about how each of us have created a little movement here in Florida and left a little glitter here on the Sunshine State. 

We took some pictures outside with the group. I sure do love all these crazy kids.

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President Clark even took a selfie with us.... I'm telling you... I have the coolest mission president.

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After our temple trip SISTER MOHENOA INFORMED US THAT HER TONGAN COUSINS HAD DRIVEN THREE HOURS UP FROM TAMPA TO TAKE ALL OF THE SISTERS OUT TO LUNCH... 

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People are so good to us. Oh so good. ☀☀☀

Then we went with Sister Mohenoa and Sister Anderson to the Liahona Book Store....ok ok ok ok..... so MY GIRL SISTER MOHENOA GOT ME THIS CUTE LITTLE WILLOW TREE GIRL WITH A PINEAPPLE BECASUE I LOVE PINEAPPLES AND MY HEART JUST EXPLODED BECAUSE I LOVE SISTER MOHENOA SO MUCH.

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AHHHHH....PEOPLE ARE SO GOOD TO ME. #BLESSED 🍍🍍🍍

Then after a long drive home we weekly planned and I started packing. My friends.... packing is rough. My heart belongs to the Sunshine State and I don't know how I'm going to leave this place. 

We did a little bit of finding in the evening. We met a lady named Lara who happens to be the wife of our investigator Tony. That was cool. 

Then we went to dinner with the Pescia's. Brother Pescia is our ward mission leader and their family is from Hawaii. At the end of our little visit they busted out the ukulele and sang to Elder Reyes and I because we are leaving. They also gave us leis from Hawaii and it was the sweetest thing of my life. Ahhh I love these people. 🌴

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SATURDAYYY we woke up and the Peck's came and got us early in the morning and we headed to the Camping World Stadium for this huge service project. There was a big event this weekend called He Got Up. It is a resource fair that they bus in homeless people from all over and give them free haircuts and job training and food and all kinds of other things. We ended up writing numbers on cards. I did almost a thousand cards and my hand was real tired by the end of that. AND HERE IS THE BIGGEST TENDER MERCY OF MY LIFE..... my BESTIES LACEY BREWER AND SAM NEELEY FROM THE BUENA VISTA YSA WARD WERE BOTH THERE SO I GOT TO SEE THEM BEFORE I FLY HOME AND I JUST LOVE THEM LOTS. I also got to say goodbye to a bunch of other missionaries from other zones including my sweet Sister Larsen. 

After we left He Got Up we went with the Peck's to Chick-Fil-A. Then we ran with them to pick up some barbies and logos from this random lady.... haha. It was fun though. We got to play with their chickens and ended up showing them the Easter video and teaching them a little bit about the church. 

I really want a chicken.

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[Brynlee and I]

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[look how cute it is!]

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[chickens!!!]

Then we did some studies and headed to this cute little sub place to have dinner with the Wheelhouses. After dinner we visited Therma. She is the best.

SUNDAYYY was great. Nelly came for the first time and really liked it. I said goodbye to a lot of people. I really do love this ward a lot. 

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[Sister Torres, Sydney, and Lilly]

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[My sweet Nelly!]

After church we visited John and Rachel and their family. We had a nice firm discussion about how they aren't keeping commitments and if they don't start keeping them then they will never reach their goal of baptism. It was really good. I took some pictures with them. I sure do love this sweet family a lot!

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[Emma's like "what's this black think you have here?"]

Then we went to the Baerga's for my last dinner with them. They are the coolest people. 

After dinner we met a guy named Frank. We taught him about the Book of Mormon. 

And that wrapped up our week! 

MY FRIENDS... I only have two more days until I take off this little black name tag of mine. My heart hurts because it's become such a big part of me. I feel so much gratitude towards my Father in Heaven for this time He's given me to run around the Sunshine state bringing souls closer to Him. More than anything I thank Him for the opportunity I've had to meet so many of His children. I've come to love them all so much. 

To my sweet friends Mayra, Cassie, Will, Cedar, Junior, Josh, Patrick, and Robbie who I've watched enter the waters of baptism while I've been here I want you to know I'm so proud of each of you. I'm glad I got to watch you come closer to your Savior. I'm glad I got to play a tiny part in you journey to the Celestial Kingdom. Stay faithful my friends. We are going to rejoice together in Heaven someday.

To all my investigators I've taught over the last year and a half and the hundreds of people I've met in the streets or knocked on your doors, I want to say thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my testimony with you. Because every time you let me share my testimony, my testimony became a little stronger. I want you to know that I do know these things that I've taught you are true. I pray that y'all will be able to continue to learn and grow and I can't wait to see you again someday and see how far you've come.

To all my sweet ward members. Everyone from Leesburg, to Daytona Beach, to Buena Vista, to Deland, to New Smyrna Beach, to Lake Nona. Thank you so much for all you've done for me. Because of you home has felt a little closer. To the active members, and those who come to church less frequently, I don't know how I would have done the last eighteen months without all of your sweet smiles. Thank you for your righteous examples. Thank you for all the meals. Thank you for being such good member missionaries and for sharing the things you know and love with your friends. 

To all my deer companions. Sister Ives, Sister Brown, Sister Guynn, Sister Mohenoa, Sister Nelsen, Sister Lewis, Sister Duran, Sister Muhlestein, Sister Hart, Sister Larsen, Sister Simpson, Hermana Jones, Sister Glover, and Sister Yance thank you so much for all you've taught me. Y'all have become some of my closest friends and will forever be people that I think about with joy. I'm glad God allowed us to spend so much time together. I want each of you to know how much I love you and how much I appreciate each of you. I hope we are able to stay in contact and I know that these friendships we've grown won't just last in this life, but will extend into the eternities. 

To my mission leaders. To President and Sister Berry, President and Sister Clark, to President and Sister Wood, and President Humphrey's, to all the elders that have served as Assistants to the President, to all my Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and District Leaders, and to my sweet sweet trainers Sister Guynn, and Sister Nelsen. Thank you for your righteous examples. Thank you for teaching me how I can be the best missionary I can be. I don't now if you realize the impact your small acts have influenced me as a missionary and as a person. I have strived to emulate the love you've shown me with those I've been able to serve and my heart has swollen with joy in the process. Thank you for your trainings. Thank you for your love. Thank you for every time you've served me. Thank you for helping me be better. 

To my fellow FOMers. Especially the sweet sisters I've been able to learn from as I've served as a Sister Training Leader. I've probably learned more from y'all than I've ever been able to teach you. Thank you for becoming my friends. Thank you for helping this time I've spent in Florida become such a joyful time of my life.

To my fan club back at home. To my sweet family, to my friends, to my home ward, and everyone else who cheered me on as I've been out here serving. Your prayers have carried me. I know that angels were sent to assist me in this work because of the prayers y'all have said in my behalf. Thank you for the financial support, for every letter you've sent, for every email you've typed, and for every prayer you've said. I feel so grateful to have such an army behind me supporting me. I wouldn't have been able to do the things that I have if it wasn't for you.

And last but not least, thank you to my Father in Heaven for this time I've been given to serve here in the Sunshine state. I echo Ammon's words again when I say "Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12)

I will praise his name forever. Blessed is the name of my God for the joy I've been able to feel here in the Sunshine State.

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MY FRIENDS. IT'S BEEN REAL. 🤘🏻☀

Out of context quotes:

"They would be excited to see me... all of me."

"Has Facebook come up with a level of friendship friend request? Like... is there a 'just friends' friend request?"

"I'm not shaving my mustache... he has to accept me the way I am!" 

"Girl... ain't nobody want to date a girl with a mustache!"

"And then he'll propose to you and all you'll hear is 'wa wa waaaaa'"

"But also... you're both attached to another man." 

"That was nice....YOU WANT SOME JUICE?!"

"Why couldn't the nephites eat dinner?"
"Because they were fasting."

"it's a good thing you live on an island!" 

"I can't eat again... I can only be fed by one Polynesian family a day..."

"Everyone knows you follow the Lord's heart"

"We know who Sister Reid's new companion is.... he's a hunk!"

"That's not Chico...that's Steve..." 

"I woke up in the middle of the night and you know what question I had in my head?...... 'Is it disso to sing I'm a Little Teapot?' You know... because like... the word of wisdom" (conversations at 6:45am)




I LOVE Y'ALL MORE THAN AMMON LOVES BEING A MISSIONARY. SEE Y'ALL IN A FEW DAYS.



P.S. HERE IS THIS FOR ANYONE THAT MISSED MY INVITATION TO MY OPEN HOUSE AND HOMECOMING.... HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!

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-Sister Reid