I'm not really sure where to begin! There's just so much to say! I guess I'll start with my first day (since I know mom will ask about it anyway).
As soon as I got off the flight, I met the mission president and his wife. Of course we got pictures (which I'm aware that you've seen by now), picked up our bags... yada yada and then separated into cars to go to our new areas. My first area is called Douglasville. *Cue Dad's dorky laugh. Yes, Dad, it must have been named after you... and yes Dad, good thing you refrained from naming me Dougina. That would have been odd. And so...it was about a 40 minute drive until I met my trainer and companion at a church building. To make things more clear, I'm in a trio companionship with Sister Pribyl (from Utah-my trainer) and Sister Walsh (from Eastbourne England). Sister Walsh is actually a missionary at Temple Square in Utah but for 4.5 months they serve somewhere else in the states. She leaves and then it'll just be me and Sister Pribyl. Anyways, we then made a stop at Walmart and dropped off my bags at the apartment. Finally, we were off to a dinner appointment with a less active church member.
And what an interesting first impression it was! First off, let me explain that I never quite expected Georgia to be so um..... southern. Yeah duh, I know it's in the South but I didn't realize that it's the BUCKLE TO THE BIBLE BELT. This past week has been quite the culture shock to say the least...
Anyways back to my first impression. First, I've realized that Southerners talk. Like really talk. They talk a lot. Our appointments for dinner should only be an hour, but at most of our appointments we are there for 2.5 hours. Most of the time we're trying to leave for at least 2 of those hours. Don't get me wrong, I love going to these appointments. Maybe Heavenly Father is trying to teach me how to be more bold or how to manage my time. I don't know.
Second, the food. My first thoughts were "This would be better if there wasn't so much butter all over it. Can't even cut this, it's so slippery!" and "Why? Why is this fried? Do we all own deep fryers??? What's the point of this?" It's interesting because that first meal we had on my first day was almost completely home-grown and home-made. I think they had the intent of being healthy, but honestly they could have just fed us fried butter. I don't mean to be rude about people here. Not all of them are this way! I'm just not used to a lot of butter. And fried food. But I can't exactly complain in any case since the food is a good step up from the MTC!
Over these past few days I've come to know that Georgia is a pretty religious place. I guess it was then that I realized I was in the middle of the Bible belt haha I'm so dumb. Most people are Baptist but there are a lot of Methodists, Pentecostalists, Non-Denominationalists, Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholics. You could say that the word "God" is a lot less feared here in public as opposed to up north in PA. Religion is part of normal conversation and practically everyone has a church they go to. It makes life as a missionary quite interesting!
For example, the other day, my companions and I went knocking on doors. We walked up to one house and as Sister Pribyl went to ring the doorbell, it opened swiftly. It just about scared the living daylights out of Sister Pribyl! We introduced ourselves and began to get to know the small, middle-aged woman in the doorframe. When she told us her name, she said with a booming voice, "I'm Prophetess Lucas" She continued to say that she could hear, smell and sense things that others cannot. At this point, my companions and I were a little baffled. We continued to talk and finally she had to go as she was on her way to the movies with her husband. As we turned and walked back to the driveway, she insisted to pray for us. Before we could respond, she plunged her hands in ours and stood in a circle in the middle of her front yard. She nearly roared the prayer as she cried, "Lord God, Oh bless these sisters! Lord God bless them from the tops of deya heads, to da souls of deya feet. Lord God, cuvah dem wit da blood of Jesus!" And so, friends and family, this marks my very first encounter with a prophetess! To sum my feelings up, I would say that it was quite an unforgettable experience.
All in all, it has been great getting accustomed to missionary life. Keeping up with my Portuguese will be a little difficult as I only have an hour of study time a day. Luckily some of the members in my ward served in Brazil and will speak with me on Sundays! It's way different in the mission field compared to the MTC. In the MTC, they schedule everything for you but now, we have to schedule things from . Some times it's challenging. I usually feel like there aren't enough hours in a day. Then again, I also feel that there aren't enough hours in the night! Still, life is great and I can't help but be happy every single day. Thanks for the prayers!
LOVE YOU ALL!
|New Year's Eve arrivals! (snagged from the Atlanta mission fb page)|