Thursday, January 29, 2015

News 5

        MY FAMILY!

        I can't believe it's only been a week since I got to e-mail you last. It feels like I've been away from home for an eternity. So much has happened in this last week that it doesn't even really seem real. So I'll try and tell you about it step by step to help myself remember and to try and get you all the information.
        Tuesday: I didn't get to bed until 11:30 the night before, and woke up at 2:00 in the morning. The reason we were up so late was because a girl 3 doors down from us either jumped or fell off the top bunk in her room and smashed her head into the wall. She was knocked out and her head was bleeding pretty good. Her room mates were screaming and crying, running up and down the halls screaming for help and knocking on doors. So I went over to see what I could do. We ended up having to call security into the building to help her. She ended up being okay, though they never clarified with us if she had done it on purpose or by accident. The MTC really effects you and a lot of people don't seem to be able to handle it. So many missionaries who came in at the same time as me ended up going home instead of going on their missions... sad.
        Our bus left the MTC at 3:30 in the morning. It was like being on a ship, it was rocking and swaying the whole time. The girl in front of me got sick and threw up a couple times on our way to the airport. I stood in line for the phone for over an hour waiting for my turn to call home, there were so many missionaries there! So when it was my turn and no one answered, I figured I would try and find time during my lay over. I did get a window seat on the way to Georgia, so that was cool. Then when we got to Georgia... I COULDN'T FIND A PHONE! They had removed their pay phones! So one of the workers there noticed how upset I was and offered to let me use his cell phone. So that was great. Even though I only got to talk to you for about 5 minutes I was super happy about that. It was crazy hard to say good bye though, because I knew it would be a very long time until I would get to hear your voice again.
        I had a seat next to the aisle from Georgia to Virginia. I got to watch Sister Lowry give the man next to her some of the missionary discussions... she's amazing. I was sitting next to all Elders, so I didn't have a chance to teach anyone. When we arrived at the airport my mission president and his wife were there waiting for us. We all gathered our luggage and right as we were starting to leave he says, "Oh I forgot to tell all of you to prepare an overnight bag, you will not be allowed to take your luggage to your hotel." So I had to hurry and threw some stuff together, and ended up forgetting my tooth brush and a fresh change of clothes, so that sucked. They fed us dinner at the church that night, and had some of their missionaries teach us lessons. No one listened to the lessons because we were far too overwhelmed and tired. We were so happy when we finally got to go to our hotel. The hotel beds were AMAZING!
        Wednesday: Getting out of those awesome beds that morning was super hard. I was still groggy from the day before. (You all know how I am with dramamine) We were picked up and taken back over to the church. The same missionaries from the night before taught us even more lessons (that we also didn't care about) and then finally we were taken to the chapel where we would be assigned an area and a companion. I was so nervous to find out where I would be going and who I would be with, that I paid no attention when my old companion and room mates were assigned to theirs. I ended up being assigned to the Smithfield VA area. My new companion's name is Sister Villegas. (The "L" are silent.)  She has been out for almost 5 months. I am the first missionary that she will be training, so she was super nervous.  She took me to our apartment and let me drop off my things. But we didn't stick around, she took me right out to meet and teach people.

        Honestly everything since then has been a crazy blur. I have not been adjusting well to missionary life at all. there has been some good things that have happened though. We went out to an apartment to knock on doors, and as we were walking past one, a big black guy (there are a lot of black people here) was chilling on his balcony three flights up. He yelled out to us, "HEY! Are you coming to my door!?" We decided to go knock on his door. He was super nice, and listened to us explain the Book of Mormon. He kept yelling stuff like "Praise the Lord" the whole time we were talking. He really liked us and told us to come back again and teach him more, then he gave us the names and addresses of three of his friends that he thought would like to hear from us too. We had time to visit one, and she was an older lady, she also liked what we had to say, and invited us to come back and teach her again.
        So that was all pretty cool. Not every one here is that nice though. We have some investigators that really don't seem that interested in learning from us, I think they are more interested in having company. Some of them don't even like letting us teach because they are so busy trying to convert us to their religion. So it's been weird. Almost every door that we knock on that we didn't have a scheduled appointment with will answer their door holding a gun, so that's pretty terrifying.

        The members here are pretty weird. They sign up to feed us dinner, but apparently they cancel a lot. And when they don't, the dinners are Super awkward. They will sit there quietly and stare at us. They will also whisper about us loud enough that we can hear, but they wont talk directly to us. One family even kept talking about how hard it is for her to make food for her family and she couldn't understand why her husband kept signing them up to feed us,,, so that was pretty weird. There was one family though that was more normal and was pretty nice. Their whole family have served missions, so they understand how weird it can be, and it was just so much more enjoyable to eat with them.
        My companion can't cook at all, so we have agreed that I will cook and she will wash dishes. So that was pretty cool.
        The missionaries have some weird sayings here though. Like my trainer is called my mom, and I am her baby. Then her trainer is called my grandma. And when a missionary goes home and that missionary is your companion they say that you are killing them, or if they've gone home then you say that you have killed them. Super weird.
        It is pretty muggy here. Everything is super green, so it looks like summer outside, but it isn't. The warmest it's been since I've been here was about 42 ish degrees. Mostly it's been in the mid 30s though. Today was the first time that it has rained since I've been here. And it made the air so thick that you swear your lungs are filling with water when you breath. My companion was laughing at me and told me to wait for summer, at that point in time I guess it will feel like we're swimming through the air... ugh.
        This area is crazy. The town I'm in is supposed to be the safest town in my mission, but they were telling me that just a few months ago two elders got shot about 30 minutes from where I live, and one of them died! Last night our neighbors got into a huge fight, people kept driving up to their door and screaming at them, and would eventually go away, but that went on for forever. So let's hope I don't get shot :).
        I love you all and hope you're all doing okay.
        Sister (Amanda) MacKay

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Message from the Mission President

         Dear Brother and Sister MacKay,
         Sister Baker and I were delighted to welcome Sister MacKay to the Virginia Chesapeake mission yesterday.  She arrived in good spirits and has been assigned to her first proselyting area.  She is assigned to labor in the Smthfield Ward of the Chesapeake Virginia Stake, and her trainer is Sister Isabelle Villegas.  I have attached two photos of Sister MacKay: one with her trainer, and one with Sister Baker and me.
        Sister MacKay’s address is:
        Sister Amanda MacKay
        966 John Rolfe Drive #D
        Smithfield, VA
        Thank you for sending us such a fine missionary,
        President Baker

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Photos 3

Photos 2

News 4

        Dear Family, 
        Today is my last day in Utah! Super weird. The first two weeks here seemed to last for an eternity but this last week has gone by so fast, it doesn't seem real. I'm still crazy nervous about flying, but my entire district is also going to Virginia, so we will all be flying together. 
        They do have a scale here for us to weigh our bags, and I'm really hoping everything fits and works with the weight limit because I have no idea of what to leave behind if it doesn't. Most of the candy that was sent to me has been eaten, so I wont have to worry about the weight from that... it's all on me now. :/ 
        The MTC really does make people fat. I don't even like wearing my button up shirts now because there is now a bit a stretch and strain look to them. I thought with all the running I have been doing that it would help keep off the weight, but I guess when you have donuts with breakfast, cookies for lunch, and cake with dinner served that way every day, it would be too much for the running to keep up with. But with today being my last day here I should be able to loose some weight... I hope.
        I'm so glad you finally got snow! We still have a ton of snow here. I love it so much, even though we aren't allowed to have snow ball fights. It's been in the low teens here, but we don't have to walk very far between buildings so it isn't too bad. 
        I'm glad you found a good home for my birds. I'm also glad I wasn't there to see them go. Even though they were annoying I think I would have had a hard time getting rid of them.
        I'm now taking a pill called Melatonin??? I think that's what it is. It is supposed to help me sleep but isn't like a hard core sleeping pill. I hope to get myself off that soon also, but right now I'm more concerned about getting the sleep I need, life here has been way to crazy to be missing ANY sleep. 
        Last Monday my district and I got to go clean the Provo temple! The sisters and I were in charge of cleaning the sealing rooms... I like it :). We were there for several hours though, so by the time we finished we were all VERY ready to go back home. And April, I know it's your favorite temple and I was looking at it and thinking about you and what you would think of it... I think you would absolutely love it. I think I will take you there in 18 months :). I also got to do endowments there today. We stayed in the Celestial room for a while so I was able to do a lot of thinking, that was pretty nice.
        I also saw Michelle this week! That was pretty cool. And she did get me the present that Todd and Rebecca sent, and I loved it. Thanks you two!!
        Almost everyone here at the MTC is sick. At every meeting and devotional, they stress to us the importance of washing our hands and constantly using hand sanitizer. But as you can, imagine that doesn't stop sickness from spreading like wild fire. One of the girls from my zone got so sick, she was throwing up almost constantly. Our elders had to give her a priesthood blessing and we had to move her into a different room that was closer to the health center so she could be monitored. But two days later she was fine.   
        Everyone else in my district has been sick, but with minor colds, so it hasn't been too bad. I think I may have caught something though, I have that awful achy feeling in my skin. So that sucks. I am maintaining a happy attitude though! 
        I never did find my jeans, so I'm thinking I left them at home. Sister Johnson was super thoughtful though and surprised me with a gift... she bought me a pair of MTC sweats! They're huge and super warm.. I like them :). She and I are bestest buds. We are always laughing and joking about stuff. As a matter of fact, all of us sisters in my district get along super great. We have not had a single argument with each other the entire time we have been here. I'm going to be super sad about leaving them tomorrow. 
        Even the Elders from our district are all friends with us too! We all sit together at meal times and we spend our P-days together, and the Elders always walk us back to our residence at the end of the day. The elders are super crazy though. They always have these really weird competitions like; they tie each other up with slinkies and the first to break free wins. Or how many pull ups and push ups can they do. The best one so far has been who can eat the most ice cream sandwiches. The two finalists ate 6 and decided the last one to throw up was the winner... neither of them threw up but they were both pretty sick for the rest of the evening :). 
        Tomorrow morning (1/6/2015) I have to report to the bus at 3:30 in the morning. My flight leaves at 7:10 and then we have a lay over at Atlanta Georgia at 12:51. We leave there at 1:50 and then we should arrive at Norfolk Virginia at 3:40 p.m. I will be allowed to call home either at the Salt Lake City airport early in the morning or to call at the Atlanta Georgia airport during our lay over. I don't know when exactly I'll be calling, so just be ready for me when ever I guess.
        Also my new mailing address is...
        Virginia Chesapeake Mission
        1115 Cherokee Rd.
        Portsmouth, VA 23701
        Well, I have survived the first three weeks of my mission. Now I only have to survive another 528 days. Approximately.   
        I love you all a bunch and have loved reading your letters and e-mails. I'm sorry if I didn't get around to answering some of the e-mails, but I will respond to each of the letters... that's how I use my "free time."
        Wish me luck!!!
        Your favorite daughter/missionary
         Sister (Amanda) MacKay