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 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.
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