Called to Serve

I'm Alicia Garver, and I'm a Mormon. I'm currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. I love what I'm doing, and I'm excited to be sharing His message and His love with the people in Georgia.

Come for a ride with me as I share my bicycle and walking shoes!

Monday, September 22, 2014

9/22/14 Where Are You From? Uhhh....

Sorry I didn't write last week! We flew in on what was my P-Day at the MTC and missed the one out here. 
Georgia is fantastic! Its warm and sunny and everyone is so nice! We actually still tract a ton out here, because people are so friendly and listen. We plan on tracting at least 2 hours every day. And I love it. The only problem with tracting is the mosquitoes. At the moment I have around 37 bites, mostly on my legs :(
My first day was exhausting. It was like the first day at the MTC all over again. I was tired, didn't know what I was doing, and didn't know what was going to happen next. But it was so cool at the same time.

We got off the plane, met  President Bennion and his wife, who handed us a Book of Mormon and pushed us on a train called the Marta. We had about a half hour to talk to people and teach them about the gospel. By ourselves. No companions.

But it was awesome! I was surprised to find I wasn't really scared at all. It was fun! I talked to two people (the first man was a real talker) and the second woman was really interested and said she wanted to learn more, so I got her in contact with the missionaries in that zone. So cool. We then got off the train and drove to President Bennion's house where we had food waiting for us. After eating, I think half of us dozed through the meeting where we got our assignments and companions. I'm now serving in Kennesaw, Georgia, with Sister Stout.

I love it here! We don't have as many investigators as I'd like, but we're going to work hard and make the Lord's church grow! We've already ran into some potentials this past week and we hope to get in contact with them again this week. I have high hopes. Sister Stout and I are going to make Kennesaw bloom!
As for the actual work out here, I have been blessed to be serving a car mission. It can be pretty hot and humid down here. Everything is still green and wet, but the heat can get pretty bad in the middle of the day. And still Sister Stout and I go running every other morning.  :P  I love air conditioning! I do have a bike though, so if we're ever short on miles, we will have to use them.

I went to my ward for the first time yesterday. We taught two classes! I'm working on everyone's names, but I think I'm getting along alright. And yes, the hardest question is "where are you from?" Um....America? I've been telling most people that I'm from New Jersey. Sort of. And then if they ask further, well its a long story. It began in 1994, in the small state of Utah...

I love you all!
Sister Garver 

9/16/14 I Made It!

Hey everyone!

I made it to Georgia safe and sound! The flight was nice and almost everyone fell asleep. Getting up at 2:40 a.m. does that to a person. I can't fall asleep sitting up though, so I read and wrote in my journal. I called Nuna and Papa, and Rachel, before I got on the plane, but no one picked up, so I left messages just saying I love you!

When we got off the plane, the mission president and his wife, the Bennions, were waiting for us. They took our luggage, handed us a Book of Mormon, and pushed us on a train to begin. And we had to work by ourselves. No Sister Hanks. It was actually really cool! I didn't feel nervous at all! The first guy I talked to was convinced there was no God and that He was just a figment of less educated and sharp minds. But he also loved to talk, so I listened and got in a few words and gave him a card.

The woman I talked to was amazing! She knew and loved God and Christ and actually asked me questions and was interested in what I had to say. I told her about prophets, about Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon, and she told me she wanted to know more! It was awesome!

We ate at President Bennion's house and are just starting to nod off (even though we still have 3 hours before bed). We meet our new companions and get our new bikes tomorrow. I'm so excited!

I love you all tons!

Sister Garver

9/14/14 Today Was Amazing!

Hello again!

Today was amazing! Sister Hanks and I taught our district during district meeting, about the Atonement. For an hour. I was rather worried about it as you can imagine, especially as Sister Hanks doesn't really believe in planning, and she's senior companion this week. But she was amazing! And I was amazing! The Spirit was so strong and my own testimony was reaffirmed and strengthened. I admit my voice was trembling the entire time and my throat still hurts 6 hours later from the strain of trying not to cry. 

It was a miracle! I had only planned for 15 minutes, but ended up with a half hour. But for some reason, I wasn't nervous at all once I began teaching. I guess I just knew what to say, what stories to tell, and what scriptures to share. I wasn't the only one sniffing during the closing prayer. If that's how I'm going to teach in Georgia, I can't wait to go! I want others to know the same truth I know, to feel the joy that comes from the gospel, or, as we have been taught, from faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I can't wait to go. I know the Lord needs me to help bring His children back to Him.

I've come to love everyone here, and I'm going to miss them all a lot. Especially Elder Lowman, Elder Hodson, and Sister Hanks. We've all become really close and I'll miss the Elders most because I won't really be able to see them again after tomorrow. But I got everyone's emails, so I can email them once I get home.

Please don't be mad at me. I'm allowed to call right after we land in Georgia, but I don't have your numbers memorized, so I'm going to call Nuna and Papa. If they pick up. They sent their number with the cinnamon rolls. Sorry! I'm going to call Rachel's cell (because I remember that one) and leave a message. Just remember I love all of you so much and I think of you guys every day.

I'll email everyone on my next P-day and send pictures, but I'm not sure when that will be. But I'd love emails back, so write anyway, so I can look forward to opening my mail.

I love you all sooooo much!

Sister Garver

9/13/14 Missing Pockets

Hello everyone!

Tomorrow is my second, and last, Sunday here at the MTC, and I'm ready to go. We report to the Travel Office Tuesday at 3:30 a.m. I hope I can sleep on the plane. It's early, but I'm so ready to go. I've learned a ton and I've grown a lot, and I know I still have so far to go, but I can't wait to get to Georgia. I feel like there's not much more I can learn in here; I need to actually get out there and get to work.

Being with someone 24/7 is harder than I thought it would be. I love everyone in my district so much, but there are times I just want to be alone and study. That's something that I'm working on, but I have to pray for patience more than once a day. But by the time you get this, I'll probably be in Georgia with my new companion and I'll be starting fresh once again.

Papa just sent me cinnamon rolls! It was so nice to get something small and random like that and I felt so loved! Even if I only ate a few and shared the rest. (They have dessert available for every meal!) I've been trying to be good and stay away from the sugar, but I had to eat some cinnamon rolls. :)

I don't have my new address for the Georgia mission home (you might) but I do need a few things. Sorry. I need more contacts please. I only have the one pair and I think I'm going to need new ones pretty soon.  I also need more shirts and cardigans but I don't know if I should just try to buy those in Georgia. I also need your phone numbers! I was lazy and didn't memorize them and am now regretting it. :(  Oh, and maybe some more socks for my tennis shoes. I only brought two pairs and I use them to work out every morning. Ew.

Of everything I left behind, I miss pockets most. More than phones, books, movies, or jeans, I miss pockets. None of you have ever appreciated them as much as you should. Oh! That and jackets. I'm sure it'll be different in Georgia, but I'm constantly cold here. There will be 10 of us in the room, the air conditioning will be blasting, and literally everyone but me is fine. Full blast air and I'm huddling as far from the vents as possible, in my thickest cardigan, dying. And at night I often wake up around 3:00 because I'm so stinking cold! But everyone else is fine. Why? I can't wait for Georgia heat. Of course it'll be fall, so I'm not sure that'll help too much.

Andrew said it before and I'm saying it again: I really wish I had been better in Seminary. Scripture Masteries would have helped a TON! I can sometimes remember what one was and how perfect it would be to share but I can't remember really how it goes or where it is. It's so frustrating! Rachel, Sydney, pay attention. They seem pointless now, but someday you'll thank me. Even if you girls don't end up going on missions.

I love my lessons here. I love my teachers. I love my district. I love my elders and sisters I spend my days with. I love the Book of Mormon. I love everyone back home. I love my Father in Heaven and His Son.

I love you all!

Sister Garver

P.S. A brown belt might be nice too. But if you want me to get that in Georgia, I can.

9/10/14, part 2 But Wait, There's More!

Thanks for the two letters you sent me. This first week started off super slow but by the end its been going by really fast! Im loving my times here! My whole zone is from Utah, and now I see what people mean when they talk about Utah Mormons being a bit different. They are still really fun and awesome though! My whole district has become good friends and we have a blast together in class. 

The food here is almost identical to what they serve at BYU, so its pretty good. Meaning I have to work at not eating dessert with every meal! Im doing pretty good at it though. The spirit here is amazing and I can feel myself growing so much! I feel like a totally different person than I was last week. And I know by Tuesday when I leave I'll be that much more than I am now. People here constantly talk about how hard it is and how much they miss their family and how they all thought at one time about going home, but I have never felt that way. Yes, it was exhausting the first few days, but it was also so much fun! I never thought it was hard, just tiring. But it was so worth it, I didn't want to change anything. Why would anyone want to leave this amazing Spirit? Im having a blast!

I do admit though that I was a bit sad today. I opened up my mailbox, and the only thing in it was a letter from Rachael from California. I miss you guys! Email me! Mom, I know you just missed me, but I wouldn't mind emails from the girls too. Oh, and can you send Nuna and Papa, Andrew, and Kevin's emails? Oh, and Grandma's too? That would be fantastic. 
I love you so much Mom!
Sister Alicia Garver

9/10/14 One week in!

One week into the MTC and six days to go! I have an awesome district and zone! I'm in a class with three pairs of elders and me and my companion, Sister Hanks. The other district in our zone has five more sisters going to our same mission, but we only see them at meal times and at night. My teachers are all so amazing here! Both are Sisters and seem to know just how to teach us and just what we need to know. Now its gotten to the point that they start us off and we can almost teach ourselves. My testimony has just skyrocketed here, and I can see the hand of the Lord directing the MTC wherever I go. The Spirit is so strong here and I know that He has been accompanying me ever since I arrived. 

There are two things I discovered I love here that I never knew I loved before. I love praying and I love reading the Book of Mormon. I knew that they were important before, but now I find myself getting so excited to read or to talk to my Father. I always knew God heard my prayers and answered them, but now every time I close my eyes and reach out to Him, I can feel Him standing right in front of me and I can feel His love. Every time I've just been exhausted or needed peace or guidance or strength, all I have to do is ask and within a half hour I am wide awake, energetic and so excited about whatever we're learning. Its so cool! I recommend before you start talking to God, take a few seconds to just breathe and focus your thoughts on Him. Its His time. 

I still have a lot to learn though. I am not a natural teacher like I thought I was. I need so much help from Christ whenever I teach. Plus, I still haven't learned how to keep everything short and simple. I also have a hard time asking the right questions. I talk too much. But I like to think I'm getting a bit better. Sister Hanks is really good at knowing what questions to ask so she has helped me out a ton. We're doing quite a bit of teaching; each other, our progressing investigators (our teachers), and our TRC (a person who we don't know if they're a member pretending or a real investigator) who are quite a bit harder. It's not as nerve-wracking as before, and I always calm down right after we pray before we go in. But I still have a long way to go.

I leave for Georgia Tuesday at 7 in the morning, so I think im going to miss P-Day next week seeing as its probably going to be on a Monday out in the field. Sorry!

Thanks for the box Mom! Im not sure what the little blue dog ball thing is, but the brush and letter were really nice. And the letter through Dear Elder was awesome to get. I hope Andrew and Emily had an good reception. 

I love you all so much! Don't forget to write! 
Sister Alicia Garver