Mandarin. Not the language, or the fruit, but the town.‏

So much love

So much love

Goodbye beach!

Goodbye beach!

The Mortensen's we would meet with them every week!!! They've got two sons on missions right now!

The Mortensen’s we would meet with them every week!!! They’ve got two sons on missions right now!

Lexi Zickella a youth from the ward! She has two siblings on missions right now!!

Lexi Zickella a youth from the ward! She has two siblings on missions right now!!

Rita's custard...the only thing worth eating dairy for.

Rita’s custard…the only thing worth eating dairy for.

I made it to Mandarin safely! Which isn’t too big of a deal, considering it’s like…20 minutes away from my last area. I already miss the breezy ocean air & Sister Jensen making fun of me. But mostly I miss eating dinner with Laura*. & every other single member there. Transfers was fun, especially because every single one of my O.G. emptysea district members were there. Of course we made time for a group photo. Six month mark! Sister Pasko will be half way training for the 4th time & going home next month, which is just a little too crazy for me.

I left Sister Jensen & Sister Francom with no miles (we are allotted a certain amount of miles for the month on our cars) because I had a feeling I would be leaving. Karma’s real because guess who else had no miles left for the month? That’s right! Me & Sister Clemens. & she also didn’t have a bike. So one day we walked for seriously 6 miles in the dead heat of the no sea breeze inland Florida only to get a text 5 minutes away from our appointment saying that they were canceling. We pretended we didn’t get it, & went anyway & it turned out to be a really good lesson. There is no way I am going to walk 6 miles in the heat of day in a skirt and blouse & not teach a lesson, dang it!

After we biked 2 million miles

After we biked 2 million miles

Cute Sister Clemens from La Grande, Oregon

Cute Sister Clemens from La Grande, Oregon

Because this is President Craig’s ward, it is also the Assistants to the President’s ward. We actually have THREE sets of missionaries in this ward. Two elders, one sister. I think it’s safe to assume I will not be eating with members as much as I used to. Anyway. So I’ve been here for like….5 days, right? I’ve been to TWO BAPTISMS FOR THE WARD ALREADY. and there’s another scheduled for next week. All three are the assistant’s. This is crazy. & incredibly intimidating. & also a great learning opportunity.

Emptysea district 6 month anniversary!! Elder Warner's tie is still always too short.

Emptysea district 6 month anniversary!! Elder Warner’s tie is still always too short.

Miracle of miracles, we got an old bike working for Sister Clemens & rode all the way across town to do some door to door contacting one day. We met this awesome 23 year old guy named Vilson. He’s Albanian & lived in Italy for 6 years. He normally goes to the Catholic Church next door to our church and never heard of Mormons before, so he agreed to come to church! He could only stay for sacrament, but he ended up knowing one of the members there that invited him to the YSA family home evening tomorrow which he said he was going to go to! We agreed to go to his catholic service next week (which I’m excited about because I’ve always wanted a reason to go to a catholic service)and he said that he’ll probably come next week so he can stay for all three hours. We’re excited about that.

My first morning here, I was praying before starting my studies. I asked Heavenly Father to help me understand what my purpose in Mandarin was going to be. I wanted to know what He wanted me to focus on. The first couple verses I read in the Book of Mormon were 2 Nephi 10:19-20. Paraphrased, it says, “…It is a choice land above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men who dwell thereon that they shall worship me….let us remember Him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off….but we have been led to a better land.”

I am here to preach His gospel. I am here to shed the skin of who I used to be. As long as we are following God’s commandments, we will always be exactly where we are supposed to be. I am here for a very specific purpose. Step by step that purpose will be revealed to me. Stay tuned as we figure out together just exactly what it is.

*i know you read this blog, Laura. Even though one time you sent me an email that said, “Thanks for sharing the link to your website. Loved the inspirational messages. Though, I mostly just skimmed your posts for all the parts about me. Too bad there won’t be any more of those.” Don’t tell me what there will & won’t be!

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