Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Palatka - Homeward Bound


The Palatka District

 The Gourleys are a family that was in a wars that I was in over a year
ago, when I came to palatka. They just had moved here, they would have
us over for dinner twice a week.

Homeward Bound


Betty and Heather, Betty is a recent convert and Heather we have been teaching

The Taylor's are a family I served around over a year ago, yesterday
they cam down and took us out to eat for one last goodbye

Monday, April 6, 2015

Conversion Story

 Last week Jeremy sent me a beautiful email, a story, a conversion story, his conversion story.  I asked him if it was alright to share it on his mission blog, his reply was, it was up to me.  I had Dad read it and he agreed that it would be nice to share it with others.  Thank You Jeremy for sharing your Conversion Story, your Testimony, it is powerful and beautiful.  What a wonderful gift you have given your mother.  I love you.

March 30, 2015
So about five months ago we had a zone conference, now I don't remember much from it but during it it I felt an impression to write down somewhat of a conversion story, it took me about a month to finally to do it and once done I wasn't sure who to send it to so I sent it to Sister Craig, the mission presidents wife, I at first didn't want to send it to you since there was some things in there that I never shared with y'all, but I suppose now you might like to read it, so here it is. I love you more than you love me!!!!!

Conversion story

I once thought that a conversions story had to be something big, powerful, awesome, exciting. I doubted if I even had a conversion, but I believed everything I was taught, I knew it to be true, there was no doubt in my mind that the gospel was true, that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet, it just all made since to me. So why didn't I have some miraculous story to tell? I pondered on that one for a long time, years and years, until it finally dawned on me, I didn't need some one time experience to make me believe, I was blessed at a young age to have the understanding needed. And all throughout my life I had these little experience that strengthened my faith. It didn't really start until my high school years when my parents sent me to a catholic high school for better educations, for most of the time I was the only Mormon there. and yes my faith was tried on multiple occasions, but I was proud to be a Mormon and others could see it, soon they respected that and strong friendships were built. 

As the years went by my desire to serve a mission started to decrease. I still knew the gospel was true I was just not wanting to serve a mission. I kept this a secret, knowing that if I told people they would start to harass me about it. My plan was to graduate high school, work for a year saving up money and then take off for college. But a road block came to those plans, while I was working saving money, I decided that it was finally time to receive my patriarchal blessing. So in mid November I went to the patriarch and received my blessing, which became a major turning event in my plans, things were said and such a strong spirit surged through me, saying go on a mission. I knew better than to ignore those feeling, so still not wanting to go on a mission I decided to anyways cause I now knew that, that is what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. Paper work was put in and a call was received to leave in a month for the Florida Jacksonville Mission. Excitement and fear ran through my body, uncertain what to expect I enter the MTC, and that is where I started to grow like no other.

Before I left home my father had encourage me to search out Jesus Christ and make him my best friend, which became my biggest goal for my mission. He also challenged me to truly have heart felt prayers, staying on your knees praying until you finally feel his presence there with you. So my first night in the MTC I decided to try it, I had never prayed like this before, but low and behold I did feel something, I knew he was there and was listening to every word, a testimony of prayer was strengthened that night. Now as the days flew by in the MTC my prayers became stronger and stronger but I soon learned that I knew nothing about the gospel, which was a real humbling experience, seeing as how before I came out I thought I knew it all and now realizing that I was far from prepared to be a missionary let alone a representative of Jesus Christ. But I continued to press forward relying more and more upon the lord for strength.

Now here is where the story gets interesting, I finally enter the Florida Jacksonville Mission and get put with my trainer, whom I'm sure got frustrated with me so fast, being this new missionary that literally knew nothing about teaching the gospel. But as time went by things started to improve until one day I just broke down crying in front of my trainer. I was about ready to give up, I was saddened for I thought that I wasn't feeling the Holy Ghost, and as a missionary you kinda need that companion, but as I talked with my trainer my eyes were opened to how the Holy Ghost gives you guidance and I soon began to recognize it and fall in love with it, gaining a testimony of how the Holy Ghost touches our lives.

These were the first of many experience that tied into my conversion, soon I gained a testimony of repentance after having to clear some thing up with my mission presidents and went on to receive a greater understanding and love for the sacrament. All of this which took place in the first couple months of my mission, was shaping me into the missionary that I have become today. I have seen the Lords hand in my life as he's put me through the refiners fire, molding me Into what and who he needs me to be. My testimony of this gospel and all that it includes is now stronger than ever before. I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, he suffer something that only a perfect man could suffer. He took upon himself the sins of the entire world, he has become a light in my life, an example to me, he has become my best friend. I know that this church, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is his kingdom once again established on the earth and that the fullness of the gospel is found within it. I know it, I live it, I love it. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


One Full Week Left
Wow, to think this is my last full week as a missionary, my last week of doing missionary work too. Crazy...

Well, you want to hear how my week went, hmm probably not but you get to anyway. Not much to exciting happened. We did find quite a few new people to teach this week, we've been going through all the former investigators that were taught over a year ago and we've started teaching some of them as well as others we've been finding along the way. Lots of seeds being planted. One lady who was a former investigator we went by to go see, as we walked up to the door she came out and said she was crazy, in a joking manner. She was loading some things into her car so we volunteered to help which she greatly accepted, she wasn't to interested in being taughtn though, but the best part was when she gave us a call a couple days latter and wanted to come by and drop off a cake to us for helping, she's a pretty awesome lady, just for doing that. Then this week we did more service, these past 6 weeks we've seemed to be doing a lot of it, this week we helped a couple in the ward move furniture around in their house, then for another couple we painter their shed out back. Then this weekend was just wonderful. Conference was amazing. My favorite was probably the priesthood session, there was some really good talks in there, but when the Sunday afternoon session came around I was so spiritually drained that I just couldn't keep focus anymore, but I did enjoy it. Then for the rest of Easter our ward mission leader had us over for a nice turkey dinner, and boy was it good. Hmm I don't know what else there is. Well I do love you all and hope you have a fantastic week.
(Jeremy's Birthday is the day after he gets home, April 18th, I had asked him what he wanted or needed.)
Birthday Dinner(you shouldn't even had to ask 😃)
Main Dish - chicken wings of course!!!
Salad - Caesar salad 
Side Dish - funeral potatoes
Other - some kind of veggie, corn or carrots
Drink - Hawaiian fruit drink
Dessert - normal birthday cake, white frosting
If you choose ice-cream, what flavor? Tin roof, or moose tracks

Gifts, hmm the only birthday gift that really matters to me is being with my family!!! But there is a couple of things that I do need

GARMENTS(I need all new ones): large mesh tops, cotton/polyester bottoms(size 36)
Drivers license- mine expires on my birthday
Deodorant( old spice-wolfthorn)
Lufa(shower sponge)

Oh and here is a pic of my companion, don't think I ever sent one


I love getting you letters, each one is different and unique. Tell everyone that I am so thankful and grateful for all y'all working so hard with my new room. As for the color I really can't say, it's hard to imagine it, I trust your decision. As for my birthday I really am just looking forward to spending time with y'all, hope you know we will be playing lots of "settlers of catan". 
                                Love You

Monday, March 30, 2015

Time is Flying By

March 30, 2015
Wow time sure is flying by, it crazy, most of my mission finding and teaching has always been so easy but for some reason these past few weeks, everything seems to just fall through, and no one seems to want to talk with us. But we are still working hard and getting out there. hopefully things will pick up for us these last two weeks. And it seems everyone in the ward here is starting to find out. I haven't really told anyone but yesterday at church people started making comments, and boy with everyone talking to you about how you only have 2 weeks left it hard not to think about it. So anyway as for this past week, well there are three part member families that we are working with and all are coming along really well, for one of them the mom doesn't want to come to church, but her 9 year old son does, another is a 14 year old girl where her mom was baptized almost a year ago but she is still uneasy about it, but she loves the missionaries now. I feel that she will be baptized soon, she has a testimony and loves everything about the church, she just made a promise to her dad that she would wait. then the last family is a less active member who i told you about last week. We had a tri-stake devotional yesterday called "why i believe" with conversion stories and music, and two of the three part member families came, it was really a powerful meeting and the spirit was strong. Also this week it rained a lot and we were stuck on bikes the whole time, one day we were waking for about 5 hours in the rain, wasn't to bad, just shoes filled with water. well I'm not sure what else to say, time is running short and soon i will see y'all again.

love ya

Monday, March 23, 2015

25 Days - My Bike Died

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Final 6 Weeks

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Palatka, Did you know?

Palatka, Florida

Did You Know!!!!

**Palatka sits on a bend in the St. Johns River, Northeast Florida.  About  50 miles south of  Jacksonville. Potato, cabbage, fern and blueberry farms surround the town of 10,000, where the main industry is the Georgia-Pacific paper mill.

**During the 1850s, Palatka gained a reputation as a haven for invalids escaping northern winters.  Amusements included "sailing, fishing, rowing, walking, riding in buggy and on horseback, whist, enchre, backgammon and hunting."


**Has a humid subtropical climate, with mild weather during winters and hot weather during summers. High temperatures average 64 to 91 °F.  It is common for daily thunderstorms to erupt during a standard summer afternoon.  Rainfall averages around 50 inches a year.


-------Ravine Gardens State Park – home of the Florida Azalea Festival, in March.

-------Palatka has the Blue Crab Festival which kicks off every year during Memorial Day Weekend. 

**Rice Creek Conservation Area:  rice plantation during the 18th century. 
1780s, British loyalists Thomas Forbes and William Panton fled from the American Revolution in Georgia to Florida, then a British colony. Applying for a land grant, they received acreage west of modern-day Palatka. Using servants to ditch dikes and build drainage canals, they established fields of rice and indigo (a native plant from which dyes are extracted) and tapped pine trees for naval stores such as turpentine. Eventually, the area was abandoned and returned to forest.  The site has a variety of natural communities, including floodplain swamp, flatwoods, dome swamp, floodplain forest and upland mixed forest. 
Cypress trees grow to incredible sizes. Just off the trail is the 
7th largest cypress in Florida.
Florida Trail, Rice Creek

 Palatka is known as a City of Murals
"Battle of Horse Landing"
"Mug Race"  (mom loves the sailboats)

Angel's Diner
Florida's Oldest Diner, in Palatka
"Jeremy have you eaten here?"