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18 months is a long time for any missionary to be away from friends and family. Sierra - and any other missionary in YOUR life - would love to hear from you from time to time. Letters, packages, or whatever else intended for Sierra may be sent to the Florida Jacksonville Mission office which will get the parcels safely into her hands

Sister Sierra Heller

Florida Jacksonville Mission

8663 Baypine Rd # 102

Jacksonville, FL 32256

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Provo MTC --> Jacksonville Florida --> Waycross Georgia

It's been two weeks now since the last update to this blog.  Sierra left the MTC early in the morning on March 22.  Her flight left the Salt Lake International airport and arrived in Atlanta for a short layover before a second flight took her the rest of the way to Jacksonville, Florida.  Her flights were on time and the weather was cooperative.  

It's probably always a challenge for parents and family to send their children throughout the world to serve church missions.  A certain amount of trust in the child is required, a bit of hope that as parents they did the best that they could have in preparing their child, and a whole lot of trust is placed in the Lord to watch over the missionary child is also requisite. On the same day Sierra had a quiet, peaceful flight to Florida, hundreds of people were injured and 32 people lost their lives in two Belgium bombings.  Included among the injured, were four LDS missionaries.

Sierra's first assignment is in southern Georgia (Is there really any other kind of Georgia than southern Georgia?) in the township of Waycross, about 70 miles north of Jacksonville.  The town has a population of less than 15,000, but at least it has a Walmart.  Within her first week, little Waycross experienced some strong spring thunderstorms and even saw a small tornado on the ground. Yikes!  

Sierra did receive her bike thanks to FedEx, but (as far as we know) it is still in box, only partially assembled.  Her current mission is primarily a car-based mission.  Unless she and her companion use up their allotted mileage, they won't be needing their bikes in the near term.

Sierra and her new companion, Sister Hansen, have their own apartment in the northwest sideof
Waycross.  Sierra thought her new companion was Christmas obsessed, but it turned out Sister Hansen and her previous companion have been so busy doing their own mission work, that they hadn't yet removed the Christmas decor.  Maybe Christmas isn't so bad; with the thought of summer heat and humidity around the corner, Sierra is already missing Utah snow.

We received a text from an unknown Waycross member who hosted Sierra and Sister Hansen in their home to watch the spring session of General Conference.  It's nice to know they're already being welcomed into peoples' homes. 

From Sierra:

Hey ya'll!
I know, look at me all Southern now. I am now in Waycross, Georgia as part of the FL, Jacksonville mission. 

So this place is basically made up of two families, the Bennett's and the Musgroves. If your last name is not one of the former, you are somehow directly related to one of them. Oh, the dating potential for those who live here. 

The people here love to talk about Jesus! It doesn't matter who they are, how old they are, or where they are--if you mention Jesus, there will be a following conversation. It's actually really neat. There are churches EVERYWHERE!! 

My new companion is Sister Hansen. She is from Salt Lake City, Utah and she has been out on her mission for about 9 months. She is super fun and fantastic and knows doctrine really well--which is something I think I need to work on. One of her words that she says is "golden" so I get to hear that a lot.

Something else that President Craig (my Mission President) has instituted is called Golden Hour. It's an hour where we get to focus on going out and finding people who would like us to teach them, offer them service, give us referrals, share a message about Christ, etc. We do it every single day and so far, it's the hour that I most dread. I am still really nervous about approaching someone and striking up a conversation that could lead to us sharing a message about the Restored Gospel. I know though that through Christ, I can do anything and that if I open my mouth, am living right, and am doing my part in studying, that He will fill my mouth and help my words to reach people's ears, hearts, and minds. I am working on having a better attitude as well and I know that I can do that through Christ too.

On our very first night (which we got to spend at the Mission Home in Jax), President told me that one of the very first things I should get would be bug spray because the bugs here are vicious and will eat us alive! Amen to that! Though there really are a ton of butterfly's (butterflies?) so it kind of makes up for the mosquitoes. 

 Banana spider (golden silk orb-weaver)
That is not okay!!!

So, obviously I have that to look forward to and I am super terrified of when that day comes. EEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!
I'll cross that Banana Spider web bridge when I get to it though (LITERALLY!!!!)

I have been missing my District from the MTC, but the people here just have such big hearts that I feel like I've been adopted into the Ward family especially. Their love just flows over me and it feels so nice. And! Everybody hugs here in the South which is great! The men though, are teaching me how to improve my handshake so it is firm and impressive!

We've been able to teach so many lessons and it's so wonderful to be able to see the light of Christ in people and how it can prompt so much change!

I LOVE Y'ALL SO MUCH!! Thank you for all the letters and support!
Sister Heller


Sister Heller

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