Gainesville is awesome! It is rather large. We have many many neighborhoods of which we have jurisdiction and responsibility. We have a car to use and have 1000 miles each month. (We live out of our area, so we have to travel a bit more, hence the number of miles.) We try to save miles as much as possible, so we will drive to the church each day and have a lunch and dinner packed. Then walk to our destination, contacting people on the street on the way. We go back to the church to have meals. We do have bikes to use, but one has flat tire, well tube, so we need to get a new tube to replace it. Then we can do more biking. Hmm, biking in a skirt. I've yet to see how this could be an easy thing haha! I need to get biking shorts.
I have not been to the mission home and I probably won't make it there. We had a mission Zone Conference. It was AMAZING. The spirit of missionary work is strong here. The AP's that we have are incredible. They with President Riggs got together to pray about where to put me and who with. They put me with someone else at first and said they hit a brick wall and that it wasn't right. Then they put me with Sister Hanson and it felt right. President Riggs shared that experience in Zone Conf. His wife is also amazing. This meeting went from 9am to 4pm. We had a lunch provided by the local RS sisters. I think these happen once a transfer.
I actually serve in the Northern Virginia area. I have still not been to DC. The Temple is in the Northern DC mission and I think also the White House and all the famous museums and most monuments. It's about a 45 min drive there, unless you have traffic. Which most of the time there is traffic. From some of the cities in our mission, you can see the White House. My companion served in the same city as the Pentagon before coming south to Gainesville. So it just depends on which part of the mission whether or not you can see into DC much. We can take investigators to the Visitor Center in DC. I REALLY want to do that and see how their VC is run. Plus that would be an amazing experience for the investigator to feel the spirit there.
We have a recent convert, converted before I arrived, who is awesome. He's 18 and super gungho about the gospel. He is trying his best to teach his family, who argue with him, have disowned him and say he is now part of a cult. We stop by occasionally to keep his spirits up and help strengthen his testimony. He has received the Aaronic Priesthood and in 9 days will have an interview with the stake President to receive the Melchizedek. He is on fire and the Stake President has sought special permission to allow him to get the Melchizedek Priesthood so early on. Usually a recent convert must wait a year for that. He was just baptized on Sept 26th. He wants to go into the military after his mission. He's in the Army reserves currently. He can always tell who in the ward is part of the FBI, CIA or Secret Services. It's pretty funny. :) He always tells us.
We have been tracting a lot. It seems almost like that is all we do! Which is fine, but hard sometimes. Many people think we are part of a political campaign for Romney. We then explain we are missionaries for our church and they say they "already have a church or religion". Or they are "already Christian and are saved". Oh boy. The thing is, they are right. They are "saved". Jesus Christ overcame death so that we all will do the same; resurrection. We will all live again, whether we accept him as our Savior or not. The thing they don't understand is that we must accept him as our REDEEMER. He redeemed us from sin, pain, sorrow and doubt. The way we accept Him as our Redeemer is to obey His commandments and live his Gospel the way He set it up: exercise faith in Christ's Atonement, change our ways and repent, be baptized with approval from God by using God's Priesthood power, receiving the Holy Ghost as a gift from God and enduring to the end of our lives; enjoying it too.
So it is hard to get in the door. We've placed a couple copies of the Book of Mormon and almost always give a mormon.org card with our number on it. We do get a couple of return appointments which is awesome!
The thing for me is, I DO NOT want to baptize anyone who does not have a testimony and is not planning on staying in the church. That would be a destruction to their salvation. I don't care about numbers. It's quality not quantity that matters to me. 2 Ne 31:14. Read that and it'll make sense. I've talked to way too many less actives on the phone to let that happen. But whatever God's will is, I want it to be done. If it is baptism, then so be it, and that is the goal as a missionary.
This time on a mission is consecrated time, not a sacrifice of time. There is a difference you see. A sacrifice means you give something or all up. Consecration means you give something or all to. That is what I want to do on my mission. Give everything I have: my heart, might, mind and strength to the building up of God's kingdom on earth. It is not always easy. But that is how the Savior of the world did it, and I represent Him now, so I must follow and do the things which I have seen Him do.
Things are so great! Tough but great. And that is how it should be. One of my favorite quotes is by Elder Neal A. Maxwell "The spirit is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." If I am comfortable, then I am not growing.