Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Email of 27 May 2009

Hola mi familia y amigos!!!

Another week, come and gone, and here I am, back in the MTC laundry room, listening to the Mo-Tab and BYU Men's choir as I email you on a beautiful Wednesday at the MTC! I love P-days! I love getting to go to the temple, I love having a chance to write home, I LOVE seeing all the new missionaries coming in all day! Last week, one of my really good friends (Davon Larsen) from BYU-Idaho got here, and it's been so fun to see him as a missionary! Also, as we were walking to lunch last week, out of the total blue I heard someone "SALLIE!?!" And when I looked up, it was Krista Garbett! Her fiance's younger brother was coming into the MTC, and she was there with their family to drop him off. How random, but how fun to see her and talk for a few minutes! I think Heavenly Father knew that I needed a familiar face that comp, being from Provo, seems to know EVERYONE! She has several friends who work here as teachers and such, so she's always seeing someone she knows and loves, which has occasionally been a little tough for me. But it's ok! Don't even worry about me--I am here doing the Lord's work, and I'm happy and doing great! I can't tell you how excited I was yesterday evening to get 6 - SIX!!!! - Dearelders!!! And then two new emails this morning! Thank you all so much for your love and support!

It's absolutely amazing to me how incredibly spiritually fed I am here! I've been reading the conference Ensign lately, and just love reading the words of our Prophet and apostles! One that I read this week was Pres Uchtdorf's talk in the Sun. am session - " The Way of the Disciple." SO GOOD! I have highlighting all the way through it, but I want to share a few of my favorite quotes. The section "The Path of Patience" is an awesome part; great for any who are struggling to "taste the fruit" despite doing the right thing. Elder Uchtdof also says, "Now is the time" several times throughout; I love when he says, "One of the great blessings of living the gospel is that it refines us and helps us learn from our mistakes. We 'all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,' yet the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to make us whole when we repent." Then he quotes Elder Wirthlin in saying, "Oh, it is wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father loves us--even with all our flaws!"

That actually reminds us of the Sunday night fireside, and devotional last night that we had. Brother Stephen Allen, the managing director of the church's missionary dept came on Sunday and spoke to us. He's been a mission pres before, and shared some of the insights that's he's had into the Lord's love for His children in that calling. He expressed that the Lord absolutely LOVES all of His children far more than we can even begin to comprehend, even the disobedient ones!

Then last night, Elder Douglas L. Callister came for devotional and spoke about the Savior and His Atonement. It was incredible! He had no notes, no teleprompters, NOTHING! But he spoke with such power and fluidity, quoting prophets and scriptures word for word. It was so powerful and just wonderful. He reminded us of our purpose, which is to invite and help others come unto Christ. He, Jesus Christ is the center of our church, gospel, and message to the world. Who He is is the most important thing that we can come to learn, understand, and testify of in this life! He said that the great message of the Atonement is that we can truly be completely clean through it! Through the Atonement, there is no hole left in the board, and it's as if, spiritually at least, time itself has been reversed. Through the Atonement, we are clean! What an amazing, powerful message!

I've also had the opportunity to see two talks from Elder Holland this week, and may I just tell you, that man is POWERFUL when he talks to/about missionaries and missionary work! The first talk was entitled "The Miracle of a Mission," or "Don't You Dare Go Home," and was given here a few years ago. The second was "A Mission is Forever," and was equally as powerful and incredible! They both give me such motivation to "pledge heroic effort" in this work, and to be and become the absolute, very best that I can! A-MAZING!!

Well, time's about gone...I'll be sending at least one snail mail letter this week, hopefully even with pictures in it!

I Love you all so much!!!


Hermana Sallie Wilson

Monday, May 25, 2009

Email letter of 20 May 2009

20 May 2009

Well, today I begin my 3rd full week at the MTC!!! What a ride it has been so far! I'm still loving it though!!! It's still challenging, and I still have some ups and downs, but they're mostly ups now!

I'm getting more into the swing of things now, with the schedule and all, and that really helps. I LOVE the schedule! It's very demanding, but so good! Sometimes it does feel like all we do is sit and eat, and sit and eat, but it's ok. I've learned to really cherish my gym time, especially since finding out that foreign language missionaries get an extra day of gym each week!!! They're resurfacing the gym floor right now, and won't be done until next week, so we're outside for gym. Thankfully the weather has been nice! My companion loves to run (she LOVES gym--getting her "endorphinas"), and since the rest of us (the 4 hmas in my district) aren't really big runners, Hna Gregersen runs the whole time, and we switch off running laps with her; the rest of the time I usually play frisbee with a bunch of other missionaries -- SO fun! We can't play ultimate, but it's fun to just throw the frisbee around.

The food here is actually very good! I haven't had any 'problems' with it so far, but then I don't drink the OJ :) The OJ is actually fine, I just prefer water. But yeah, it's just a big cafeteria with lots of mostly good options at every meal. My body is really getting used to the schedule -- 7am - breakfast, 1130 - lunch, 430 dinner. It's good.
My clothes and shoes are all working out just fine. Remember how Justin mentioned the alterations shop here at the MTC and how they're "very reasonable"? Yeah, that was the understatement of the century. Alterations are a grand total of 50 cents per item!!! It's funny how the MTC is really it's own little community; food, "apartments", stores, a hair salon, a copy center, etc. It's all here, and all within about 1 city block! 1 city block that I won't leave at all (other than walking to the next block for gym or the temple) until JULY. Esta bien.

Thanks to everyone who has written me! So far I've gotten letters from Mom, Dad, Joseph, Durk, Elder Brooks (Mike), and Andy! Yep, cousin Andy - the little sweetie wrote to me this week! I love hearing from all of you! Thanks for all of your love and support and prayers (especially Aaron! I know Heavenly Father especially listens to prayers from children!) - I couldn't do it without you!

Please, please, PLEASE send me addresses for people, especially Joseph and Sam (and anyone else :) I just don't have time online to write each week, but I can do snail mail! And I'm pretty sure that is one of the best things to ever happen to MTC missionaries!
This week has been good. I sang in Sacrament meeting this week, and it went really well! My comp love to accompany people, and our ZL's asked if we'd do something, so we did! I sang Rob Gardner's arrangement of the hymn "Come Ye Disconsolate". It's on either the Joseph Smith or Saints and Pioneers CD from when my BYU-I choir did it. SO PRETTY!!!

Our Sunday night Fireside was great this week! It really brought home to me the importance of my purpose as a missionary. I am here to invite others to Come unto Christ! It's SO important!!!

We get to watch films every Sunday night as well, and this week we watched "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration". It's SO amazing!! Those people went through so much so that we could have what we have. It made me so grateful for them! A big focus here at the MTC is on having "Quiet Dignity" as missionaries, and watching that movie made me realize that Joseph Smith was really the epitome of quiet dignity! A few quotes that I loved from it:

"Happiness is what God intends for us."

Emma: "Do you ever wonder if He [God] asks too much?"
Joseph: "I do not let myself"

"Any losses will be made up, if we are faithful."

"We will do the best we can, and go on."

So good!

Elder Neuenschwander from the 70 came for last night's devotional. Also so good! I really wish I had more time to write and tell you about it all! I'm finding my purpose as a missionary though, and it's great! Such a refiner's fire, but SO worth it!

Here's a little of what I studied this last week: PMG p10, Helaman 10, and D/C 84:85 & 100:6. I had a really good answer come to me in studying and teaching those verses in D/C. Heavenly Father loves me!

And guess what? He loves you too!

Good luck with the move! I love your new peaceful wheat theme! I know this will be good for all of you! Good job following the Spirit.

Thanks for always being such an example of that for me!

45 seconds left!

I'm going to do sealings today at the temple! I love P-day!!!


I love you all!

Hermana Sallie Wilson

Snail mail letter of 13 May 2009

13 May 2009


So here’s the rest of what I wanted to tell you in the email but either forgot or ran out of time to say! So apparently we can wear jeans here. If you have a chance or can find it in your hearts to send me a pair that I left (I know they’re probably totally packed away by now) I would LOVE it. If not, that’s OK–I’ll survive. : ) My first two days here (Thurs & Fri) I got mail!!! Liahona (of all people) sent me a box of cinnamon rolls on Thurs & then on Friday I got a letter from Elder Mike Richards! What a little sweetie-head, huh? He wrote on my bday, so it was a happy birthday/welcome to the mission letter. So great! He also sent me a bunch of missionary quotes. The best part about both of those was that they were such a total surprise! I understand now why missionaries all love & want mail so much! It’s hard to be away from your family, especially when you’re so used to calling al the time & suddenly you can’t anymore (in case you couldn’t tell, I’m referring to myself here . . .) So I guess what I’m trying to say is PLEASE WRITE!!! Share the love! I love all of you! (I know you’ve been gone and busy–no worries! Just write me lots during my whole mission is all!)

I was going to tell you too, one of the reasons it’s been hard is because there is SO much to learn here & it can get a little overwhelming–like trying to drink from a firehose! No, really!

It’s really fun to do laundry & write letters to church music : ) They play MoTab, BYU Choirs, random instrumentalist stuff, etc. It’s great!

Well, I think that’s about it for not. I’ll write again next week!

I love you!

I love being a missionary!

Hermana Sallie

PS (yes, again) Se que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial. Jesucristo es Sus Hijo, y es mi Salvador y Redentor. Se que Dios ama nuestro! Jose Smith fue un profeta, y Thomas S. Monson es la profeta vivente. El Libro de Mormon es verdadero y es la palabra de Dios. Se que la iglesia es verdadero. El evangelio es verdadero!

(My testimony in Spanish)

Email letter of 13 May 2009

13 May 2009

Hola mi Familia!!!

Well, here I am at the MTC! Right now I'm in the laundry room, emailing while I wait for my laundry. As of about 1pm this afternoon, I will have officially and successfully made it through my first full week in the MTC!!!

The MTC is really great. It's also ridiculously hard. The first week, especially. I knew it would be, but I really had no idea. I've been amazed at the extreme highs and lows that I have here. One day is terrible, and I don't know if I can make it, and then the next day is like the best day ever! The struggles and emotions are very, very real. Yesterday was kinda tough, but it occured to me that maybe it was like the saying that "it's always darkest just before dawn," because last night was my first MTC Devotional, and it was Elder and Sis Nelson!!!! And today is P-day, so I get to go to the temple!!! So yeah, dark before dawn. Overall, I'm really doing great here though! On the one hand, I think a lot of the struggle is the Lord teaching me, refining me, and helping me learn to "lose myself" in the work. On the other hand, I also know that a lot of it is Satan trying to get me to be discouraged and give up. I not going to though! I don't mean to scare or discourage anyone from going, especially David and any other young men who are preparing to go, but just know that it's hard. Hard, but good, and totally worth it!
I have a great compañera! Her name is Hermana Gregersen, and she´s from Provo. And yes, David, she is hot ;) No really, she's completely adorable, and really great! She works really hard, and definitely likes to be on time! Needless to say, I'm getting MUCH better at being on time! I've never taken such fast showers, or gotten ready so quickly in my life, I think. It's good. And it really does feel good to be on time for everything. I know, I know, what you've tried to teach/get me to do for the last 23 years, and within a week here, I finally get it!
Our district is really great too! Hermana Gregersen and I, and one other companionship of sisters (Hnas McBride and Westover) are the only hermanas in our entire zone, and we're all in the same district! We have 9 Elders, 8 of which are going to L.A. with Hna G and I!!! The other two hermanas, and one other elder are going elsewhere. We actually had 10 Elders, but one of them left yesterday. We were all so sad! He was really struggling with homesickness and such, and finally just decided to go home. Hopefully he comes back in not too long though! But yeah, our elders are awesome! I really admire them already - for the most part, they are very mature, and hard-working! Everyone is jealous that they have hermanas--EVERYONE (at least leader/teacher-wise) wants sisters!

The Spanish is coming right along! I can bear a basic testimony, and can kinda pray (VERY simple and basic prayer!), so it's coming! The hardest thing for me is just remembering all the new vocab. One of the other Hermanas on our floor last night told us that the trick is that as soon as you learn a new word, throw out the English one (from your mind), and completely replace it with the Spanish word. I'm going to start trying that, and hopefully it helps.
My P-Day here is Wednesday, so if you want to email me, try to do so by Tuesday night. I'll probably be on here by about 730 Wednesday mornings, and I only have a half hour. I can print out emails, but with only 30 minutes, I probably won't have much time to read AND write, so if you have any big questions you want me to answer right away, write me on a day or two before. You can email through them, then they print it out and deliver it to the MTC. Pretty cool!

I've never been so excited for 10:30 every night! The schedule and planning here is rigorous, but SO GOOD!!!

Well, I have 2 minutes before this kicks me off, so I need to wrap up. The MTC is awesome. I've never worked or struggled so much in my life, but it's SO worth it! The Spirit is so strong here! The church is true! Heavenly Father loves us!

Se que el evangelio y iglesia es verdad!

Te Amo,

Hermana Sallie Wilson

Snail mail letter of 6 May 2009

6 May 2009

My dear family,

Hello from the MTC! I can’t believe I’m finally here, but I am and I love it! It’s been a really awesome day today! It’s such a cool experience to be here–to be completely, and I mean completely surrounded by missionaries. Orientation & everything has been really good; in some ways I really wish that y’all could have been here to bring/drop me off, but at the same time, I’m kinda glad you weren’t. It cut down on the amount of crying on my end at least. It was definitely a bit overwhelming getting here as I’m sure you could tell from the picture/video I texted you (hopefully you got it!) I was really fine until my last goodbye on the phone with Mom sitting in the Tustian’s Surburban in front of the MTC. Then again when Bro. T. put my tag on me and a couple other times as well. And it wasn’t so much because I was scared or sad or homesick or anything like that, it’s just a really overwhelming feeling to get her and realize that this is it–it’s for real, I’m officially a missionary! I didn’t really cry with the final goodbye though, thank goodness.

OK so the fun details I’m sure you want to know. My companion is Sister/Hermana Amber Gregersen from Provo UT. Yes, David, she’s hot! Just terribly off limits! ; ) in all seriousness thought, she’s adorable, very sweet, very excited and seems to know everything about this place . . . well, at least an awful lot. We’re both going to LA Spanish, so that’s really cool. We have two other roommates (also a companionship, of course!)–Sis McBride & Sis Westover. Both are really sweet, & I’m excited to be sharing a room with them. Sis McBride is going to Mesa Arizona and Sister Westover is going to Tampa Florida. We’re all Spanish-speaking of course. Sis. Gregersen has been called as the Coordinating Sister for our district, which is kind of the female counterpart of a District Leader, but just for the Sisters, kinda. In all honesty, I’m really not totally sure yet, but hopefully by the time you get this, I’ll have things a little more figured out! I was assigned as Sr Companion, so I have a lot to figure out quick to understand what I’m supposed to do.

This seriously is such a great place! I know that I really have no idea yet, but from my first day at least, it’s great! Our neighboring Hermanas just stopped by to say hi, & they’re great! SUPER excited & peppy & encouraging! One of them is going to LA too! Maybe we;ll end up being companions someday. One of them shared a quote from Elder Holland & part of it went something like this – “Love your mission. Make it part of your soul. You will have struggles & challenges, but they only put you in league with Peter & Matthew.” Cool, huh? I’m sure I butchered that, but you get the idea, & if you really want, you can just look it up.
Well tomorrow is a full day (just like every mission day) & I need to get ready for bed, write in my journal & head off to sweet dream land!

I love you all so much & miss you, but I’m doing great! A few quick thoughts form some of the awesome counsel we received today:
My 4 main purposes here at the MTC are to:
1. Learn to work with the Spirit.
• We must be worthy, be willing & exercise our agency in order to do so.
• We must seek, ask & learn.
2. Master Preach My Gospel.
3. Learn the lessons I’ll teach.
• You set your own limits.
• You must work at it steadily and be dedicated.
4. Learn the language.
• You (I) can learn a new language because you (I) learned your (my) first.
• Go to work, be humble & keep trying!
• Seek & accept correction & just keep trying!

* Promise (from the 2nd Counselor in the Mission Presidency): if you will work hard & apply yourself, you will teach anything & everything you want to in your new language in 5 months. So cool, huh?!

Alright, for real this time! I love you! I love being here! The church is true! I love being a missionary!!!!


Hermana Sallie Wilson

PS There is currently a “no handshake” policy in place here because of the swine flu. It’s really weird to be a missionary & not shake hands.

PPS About half of the Elders in my district are also going to LA!

PPPS I can hear Sisters in the hallway & most of what I hear is “Hola Hermana!” & some other Spanish. It’s so cool! I can’t wait to be able to speak & understand it too!

PPPPS Sorry, I keep forgetting things! In our orientation, Pres. Smith (the Mission President) had us stand up & say where we were from (by area/state - not everyone spoke). When all the Utah missionaries stood (there were a ton!) He told them, “Stay humble. Remember Utah was the Lord’s Fifty choice for Zion! SO FUNNY!

Sallie at the Augusta GA Airport leaving for the MTC . . .