Wednesday, June 24, 2009

email of 24 June 2009

Hola Ustedes!

That's about the closest I can come in spanish to "hey y'all!"

Sorry this will be kinda short, but you've had some pretty good long emails the last few weeks! It was great hearing from everyone - thanks!!!

What a day! Today is Wednesday, so we got a bunch of new missionaries in, AND today all the new mission presidents and their wives arrive for the seminar this week! That's great, and crazy all at the same time. Great because, well 105 new mission presidents and their wives, plus tons of general authorities, with at least 1 apostle each day, and Pres Monson on Sunday, is GREAT! Especially because I get to sing for them everyday, including twice on Sunday (one for their am devotional, AND for their Sacrament mtg with Pres Monson)! Uncle Vernon, if I get a chance to talk to Pres Monson, I'll tell him hey for you! Now, the craziness is mostly because for this seminar, they've partitioned off half of the cafeteria, which means that the already insane amount of missionaries that eat in there together are now going to be totally crammed into half the space and available food lines. Trust me, it's going to be nuts (tonight is the first meal like that for us).

Choir is SO GREAT!!!! Absolutely Awesome!!! We are singing 5 times, plus once with the whole MTC choir for devo on Friday. We are singing "Jesus, Once of Humble Birth," "Come Thou Fount," "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," "This is the Christ," and a brand new, absolutely incredible arrangement of "Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer."!!! They're letting us record our singing (our dress rehearsal/warm-ups each morning), so I'll send you a recording! I'm SO EXCITED!!!!! Our first devotional is tomorrow morning at 8am, and Pres Eyring is going to be here! Friday is Pres. Uchtdorf, Sat. is Pres Packer, and Sunday is Pres Monson! Elder Christofferson is here today. Baaaaah!!! It's so awesome!

Today we got to clean the temple! It's closed for the next two weeks, and they assigned a bunch of MTC districts to help clean. So during our normal temple time (a little longer, actually, which is why this is later than I thought), we got to go clean! We took our tennis shoes, and they gave us white scrubs to wear. It was such a cool experience! We cleaned the lockers in the men's dressing room and the male ordinance worker's room, and the 4 of us Hermanas got to go upstairs and vacuum the Celestial room!!! I got to clean the temple in Rexburg once, but this was especially neat because it was the heavy duty cleaning that they do twice a year, so all the furniture was moved out of the celestial room. It was completely empty, except for a huge painting of Christ on the wall, the mirrors everywhere (of course), and us in our white scrubs and vacuums. It was really neat to just take a few minutes to stand in there and look. There is a mirror right underneath the picture of the Savior, so I could see myself, in my white scrubs, right underneath the Savior, with His outstretched arms. Wonderful! Missions are amazing, can I just tell you?!?!?!?!

Here's another little crazy something...exactly two weeks from today, I'll be in Los Angeles! AAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I'm super excited, but super nervous, and just trying to be ready! I feel like the Lord gave me a "vision" this week of my capacity to really do this work, and I'm so grateful!

By the way, can I just tell you that I love my companion?! 'Cause I do! She's such a great example to me, and it's been amazing how much we've grown together in the last 7 weeks. She's very driven in this work, and I love it!

I'm still running...1-2 miles everyday!

OH!!! Mom and Dad, I've been meaning to write about this for weeks, and I just always forget! When you go on your mission someday, Dad will be very pleased to know that the milk here is ice cold. :) We have cereal every Sunday morning, and I think of Dad and his cold milk every single time I have milk!

Will you please make sure that Durk gets this letter? I have a letter that I'll be finishing and sending to him next week that I started last week, but that I just haven't had time to finish! Lo Siento!!!! Durk, thank you SO much for your letters...dearelder or handwritten is all great - I just like hearing from you ;)

Joseph, thanks for writing me so faithfully every week - I love hearing from you! It's great to get such uplifting emails encouraging me in the work, and I love hearing about how your family is!

Melanie, thanks for your letters too! I'll try to write next week, but no promises! And hey, Mike gets home in less than a week, huh? Good luck with that - let me know how everything goes!!!

Mom, I got your package - thank you SO MUCH!!! I love the sweaters - the color is great, and the skirts are great too. I love pockets!!!

I love you all so much!!! The church is true - I know it more and more everyday!!!


Much Love,

Hermana Sallie Wilson

Thursday, June 18, 2009

email of 17 June 2009

Hola, Mi Familia y Amigos!!!

Just so you know, this email is REALLY long. Just wanted to prepare you now. You're printing these off so that I can have a letter journal after the mission, right? :) I rearranged what I actually wrote so that you get the most important, spiritual, exciting stuff first.

Ok, so now for the SUPER AMAZING, AWESOME, CRAZY-EXCITING news of the week!!!! No really, this is big!

So each June, they have the New Mission Presidents' Seminar, where all the incoming mission presidents come and are trained by the Bretheren here at the MTC, over a 4-day period. So that's exciting in and of itself, because it means that next week the entire first presidency and quorum of the 12, along with various other General Authorities will be here! But wait, there's more! ("It's a NEW CAR!!!" just kidding, just kidding :) Each morning they have a devotional, and they have a small choir of missionaries do a special musical number for said devotional. Small as in 36 missionaries small. 36 out of 2500 in the whole MTC. And guess who was chosen to be in this small choir of 36 (8 missionaries per part)? ME!!!! AND my companion!!! AND 2 elders from our district!!!!! BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!! That means that next Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun (possibly twice on Sunday), I get to sing for all the new mission presidents, and at least some of the bretheren (Pres. Monson is coming on Sunday) EVERY DAY!!! I am SO EXCITED!!!!! Keep in mind that this only happens once a year, and I'm here for it!

Sis. Ann M. Dibb came and spoke to us this week for RS. She's in the YW general presidency, and is Pres. Monson's daughter! She spoke about the importance of virtue, sharing some thoughts from Jane Eyre, and Ruth in the Bible. I read the book of Ruth (4 short chapters) this week, and it's really great! My favorite verses are 1:16, 2:12 & 20, and 3:11.

The Sunday night fireside was really good too. The speaker shared this quote from Elder Scott that I just love!

"You cannot today remotely imagine what that decision to be unwaveringly obedient to the Lord will allow you to accomplish in life. Your quiet, uncompromising determination to live a righteous life will couple you to inspiration and power beyond your capacity now to understand."

It reminded me of the quote that you sent me on valiance, which I love, by the way! And I love especially that it's never too late! You can ALWAYS make the decision to be valiant and obedient, and the Lord will love and help and bless you! Like the parable of the workers in the vineyard; "His arm is stretched out still!"Ok, to start off real quick, Mom, I can't open the pictures you emailed - something with the MTC server restricts it...which is kinda weird, because I could see the picture you sent last week of you and Dad. In any case, I can't see the pictures, but the clothes sound great! If you do send them, I wouldn't mind getting my pink sweater too, but it's not crucial, if it's put away and you'd rather not dig it out. :)

Wow, what a week, may I just tell you? Today is my 6 week mark in the MTC/mission (day 45 as a missionary...Dad, I officially passed my "Noah mark" here this last week. Send the punch line in your next letter :)! That means that I only have 3 weeks left until I'm off to L.A.!!!!! That also means that I'll be leaving at the same time as all the English-speaking missionaries that come in today...which is weird. We started a new planner this week too, which means that it will have REAL investigator's names and info in it, REAL areas in L.A., and a different companion! It's so crazy!

THANK YOU!!!!! for the package! I got it Friday, and am SO grateful! I love having jeans to wear on P-day, I love my new curling iron, I love everything else, and I especially love the M&Ms! Whenever I open a package from you, I think, "Peanut butter M&M's!!! yep, Mom knows me for sure!" I want you to know though, that I make those suckers last! The first two packages lasted me 3 1/2 weeks, and I still have about 2/3 of my second package that you just sent! I just stick them in the back of one of my drawers and eat one or two every day :) Not because I can't get them here, but because they were sent with love from my Mom.

My district is officially the oldest district in the zone, with just a few more elders from past districts waiting for their visas to head off to Mexico. How could it be so?! It's so crazy to think that we're the "older, wiser, 'experienced' " missionaries in the zone now. I definitely don't feel like it! I feel like I still have soooooo far to go, especially with learning Spanish! It's coming, but I need to do some serious dedicating of myself in the next 3 weeks! We started teaching in Spanish this past week, which went fairly well. It's definitely a humbling experience to try to express all that I know and feel and want to say in another language. It's especially hard when I don't know/can't think of simple little words and phrases, and all I'm trying to do is introduce the First Vision or something! AAAAAAH!! It'll come, I know, but it can be a little frustrating sometimes, and again, definitely humbling. I'm really coming to realize and feel my dependence on the Lord, because I sure can't do this myself!

I forgot to mention last week that I've been asked to serve as the new Coordinating Sister in our zone! I'm responsible to "Lift, encourage, inspire and bless the sisters in the branch" [zone], encourage them to "live a high standard of obedience", I now attend and participate in branch council each week, and attend another short meeting each Tuesday to discuss any concerns or ideas. It's been good so far. We have started a little nightly tradition to help build unity and prepare for bed, where we take just a very quick moment to go around and share a tender mercy that we had that day. Then we all pray together, and then split off for companionship prayer. It's really a nice way to come together and end the day, and I think we're all enjoying it!

They started something new here this week, which is definitely an answer to prayer! They've started opening the gym from 6-6:30am for sisters only, and it's FABULOUS!!! It definitely helps in the MTC battle of the bulge, and most especially gives us a great start to our day! I've started running too...I know, I know, it's pretty unbelievable, but it's true!!! I ran 2 miles on Monday, 2 yesterday, and 1 today (I didn't have as much time as the last two days). That's 5 MILES in the last 3 days. For those of you who don't realize, that's a pretty stinking big deal for me. I'm so sore, but it's SO worth it, and feels SO GOOD!!! More than anything else, it's kind of a goal thing for me. I have a whole analogy that goes with that, but I'll spare you, since this is already so long.

Almost done!

Please let the Rock Hill people (esp. the Spurlins and the Cramers) know that there's an Elder in my zone named Elder Nathan Stanford. He knows them/their sons, and I was super excited to meet someone who knows people that I know!!! Could someone get on facebook and get me Mike Smyth's address? He's a good friend, and I never called him just before I left, and I want to write him. While you're on there, could you also send Amy (Ward) a "Happy Birthday!!!" from me? Thanks!

Thank you so much for your love and letters! Dad, it really means so much to me to get your letters every week...I'm especially entertained by the way you addresses it each week (empty sea...), and I love hearing your thoughts and insights and the goings-on of the week.

Mom, I love and miss you too; I never realized what a friend you are, besides being my mom, until now.

And David, for goodness' sake, you sound so grown-up and mature in your emails! It's great, but kinda weird, I'm not going to lie. :) I'm glad life is going so well for you right now ;) tell Dierdra hola for me.

Joseph, thank's for writing so faithfully each week. I love hearing from you, and hope everything continues going well for you, Wendy and the boys! Tell Benjamin fdaj klf;hds a; I gh aLOVE hbtrYOU fh TOOfjkd sa!! for me!

And Sam and Suz, thanks again for the package!

Sorry this is such a novel, but I just have so much to say! Life here is absolutely wonderful!!! I still don't know exactly why I'm supposed to be on this mission, but I know that I am, and I love it, and what I time to be here! "Who knoweth whether [I am] come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14).

I love my life, I love the Lord, I love serving my mission, I love all of you, and I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!


Hermana Sallie Wilson

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

email of 10 June 2009


I finally got a computer without a timer!!! Not that I'm trying to be disobedient or go way over time or anything, it's just nice to not have the crazy pressure of the flashing red timer in the upper right corner of my screen!

I'm guessing that maybe you're wondering what the subject of this email means...and I'm going to tell you (aren't you excited :) )!

38 - days that I've been a missionary now, from the night I was set apart until today! I keep a count up in my journal; each entry has a heading like this (this is what tonight's will be):

Day 38: 10 June 2009

And then I write whatever I write for the day.

28 - days that I have until L.A.!!!!! That's right, Brothers and Sisters, if the flight plans hold true to my original departure date, I'll be in Los Angeles, California, preaching the gospel in exactly 28 days from now! THAT'S LESS THAN 1 MONTH AWAY!!!!!!!!! Crazy, huh? I won't actually know for sure what time or day I leave until probably two Fridays before I leave. That's when outbound missionaries get their flight plans, telling them what time to be at the travel office, what time their flight is, who's in their travel party, etc. So I won't know what time I'll be able to call from the airport until then, but I'll let you know as soon as I can!

I spoke a little too soon about the swine flu avoiding my district here...the day after I sent that email (last Thursday), TWO missionaries in my district got quarantined, one of which was one of the sisters in my room. That meant that on Friday, our whole district got to go in for a special "health meeting," where they gave all of us a preventative medication called Relenza. All districts who have missionaries go into quarantine get it, in the hopes that it will prevent the rest of us from getting the flu. I wasn't too crazy about the idea, but I decided that it's for the best, and that I needed to be obedient. So I'm taking it...4 days left! Right after that meeting, MY companion went and got sick, though apparently not with the flu. She was in bed for most of that night, and pretty much the whole next day. We finally took her back to the clinic Saturday night (we'd taken her on Friday and they just sent her away with some Sudafed), to find out for sure what was wrong. Since it was Saturday night, that meant that the MTC clinic was closed, so we got to go to the local clinic here in Provo. Yep, I left the mission boundaries on my one-month mark. It wasn't terribly exciting, but it was nice to have a little change of scenery! A little weird to sit in a waiting room where Batman was on TV though. . . She tested negative for the flu, but the Dr. did mention that the Relenza that we're all on could have masked it and made the test come back wrong...fabulous! She's been pretty much out of it until today, which means that I've been inside on my residence floor for several days. Got some good personal study in though, and it wasn't too bad. I'm still fine, as is the other Hermana in our room. The most I ever got was a slight runny nose, so I'm very grateful!

Ok, ok, ok, on to something else!

We're supposed to teach our first lesson in Spanish tonight! I am SOOOO not ready! The Spanish is coming, but I definitely still have a ways to go! I'm reading the Book of Mormon out loud in Spanish everyday, which is really helping (I'm a lot better and faster than I was before I left!), but again, a long ways to go still. I do love singing the hymns in Spanish! We sing to open every class, and of course in our sacrament meeting and other district meetings, and I just love it!

Can I just say (again...) that I LOVE the MTC and the mission?!?!?! I do. I love it!

The most exciting news (I know, I know, about time, huh? I'm a little long winded, I know) is/was our devotional last night! As we were singing the prelude music (all the missionaries are lead in 3 hymns prior to large's kinda cool to sing our own prelude!), they paused us for a moment and made this little announcement: "Elders and Sisters, as you all know, we don't stand for the hymns of Zion, but we DO stand if a member of the 1st Presidency or an Apostle enters the room. So, if that should happen to happen tonight, please do so."

Gee, I wonder what THAT means?!

Sure enough, about 2 minutes later, in walks Elder and Sister Bednar!!! That man has a power and a love and a spirit about him that is almost tangible, let me just tell you! Devotional was incredible! Elder Bednar spoke about recognizing the Spirit; specifically answering the question, "How do I know if it's the Holy Ghost, or just me?"

Here's the answer he gave: "Quit worrying about it!!! Quit fussing, quit stewing, quit stressing about it, quit worrying about it! If you're living a good life, if you're doing what you're supposed to, if you're being a good boy, if you're being a good girl, honoring and keeping your covenants, and keeping the commandments, then you are following the Spirit!" He said that about 6 different times during his talk.

He said, "90% of the time, if you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, you ARE following the Spirit, but are/will be unaware of it." He then shared several stories from his own life where that happened. He did something, not really thinking about it, or even questioning it, only to find out 6 months, or 20 years down the road that it was absolutely inspired by the Spirit. He told us, "If you are good, then every good thought that you have is inspired of God." He specifically emphasized ACTING; not just sitting back waiting for some big, dramatic answer to come. The Lord told us to Press Forward, not Sit Still! "You get going You get busy and do everything that you are supposed to do, and you WILL become and instrument in the hands of the Lord." SO POWERFUL!!! He share D/C 80 with us, and left us with this promise and blessing:

"If you will be a good boy, if you will be a good girl, if you will remember and keep your covenants, if you will keep the commandments, then as you press forward with faith in the Savior, your steps will be guided, your utterances will be inspired, and you cannot go amiss."

Wow. WOW! It was so powerful, and just so great to be able to sit at his feet and be taught! Especially this principle, which I have thought and wondered about SO MUCH! Really, I cannot express to you how incredible it was! One of the funniest things was getting to see and hear his sense of humor. You didn't think he had one, did you? Oh, he does! It was great! He even talked about that for a few minutes, and said (so funny!!!), "Brothers and Sisters, General Conference is not the place to pop off! We're standing, expressing the mind and will of the Lord there, and it's not the place." But then he went on to tell about E. Oak's favorite joke and how his shoulders just shake every time he tells it. It was so great!

Ok, so this is a waaaaaaaaay long email, but I'm glad I finally got to say more of what I actually wanted! Life is great, it really is! I'm so glad to hear how well things are going with the move and the yard sale and everything at home. I hope and pray that things are happy and smooth in this transition time for y'all. I Love you SOOOOO much, and miss you tons! Never fear though, I am about the Lord's work, and He IS blessing me!

Love you!

I Love Being a Missionary!!!!

Hermana Sallie Wilson

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Email of 3 June 2009


So the computers here randomly do and don't have timers on them...try as I may, I can't get one without, which I would really love. Oh Well...

Well, I don't know if you've heard or not, but the swine flu has hit the MTC. There's a write-up about it on LDS newsroom, if you want to read it. We're on a partial "lock-down" right now; mostly it's just the flu that's going around (the MTC of course is prime breeding ground for it!), but we have had 3 confirmed cases of the swine flu (or as our elders refer to it, "Puerco Muerto"). All missionaries scheduled to leave in the last week or two are on at least a one week delay. They're letting new missionaries in, but no family can come in with them today - bummer for a lot of families!!! I feel kinda bad for the new missionaries too - it's scary enough just coming into the MTC, let alone the MTC with a flu epidemic! Half of my zone has been sick, and at least two elders have been quarantined. There are signs and announcements everywhere that say "if you have any of the following symptoms, get checked at the health center immediately, and STAY IN YOUR ROOM!" One of the Hermanas in my room (not my comp, thankfully) is sick too...don't know what it is yet, but she's going to the clinic today. On the up side, I'm perfectly well! Not even a little bit sick, and not planning on getting that way! I've been taking my vit C and Elderberry Defense herbs, drinking lots of water, and washing and sanitizing my hands a ton. Oh, and praying too. So far, it's all working pretty well!

Ok, on to happier news!

Remember how I told you I'm getting a lot better at getting on time for things here? Well, it helps that almost nothing here starts on time...meetings almost always start about 5 minutes EARLY. It's so good! Mornings are still the hardest for me, just trying to get totally ready in about 30 minutes, but I'm working on it!

Mom, I must've said Mike Richards on accident - I haven't heard from him in years! It was Mike Brooks that wrote to me my fist week here!

And no worries about the clothes thing - I'll let you know when I get closer to heading out whether or not I'll need a little extra $, but I was already planning on buying a few things in L.A. But yeah, being here DEFINITELY gives me a better idea of what I want!

Guess who I saw here yesterday? Debbie Ryals!!! She just got in on Monday, and I ran into her on my way to dinner yesterday! She's only here for about a week (apparently the English-speaking Sr. missionaries are only here for about a week!) before she heads out to NY. She seemed to be doing really well! I little nervous and overwhelmed, I think, but that's pretty normal. Overall she seemed happy and excited to be here!

Also, I'm in the MTC choir, which is way cool! They didn't have it for the first 3 weeks I was here because they were refinishing the gym floor, so it was closed until about a week ago. We sang "Behold the Wounds in Jesus' Hands" yesterday for devo. It's amazing what they do with us here. We learned and were ready to sing the song in two 1-hour practices (Sunday and Tuesday), and it was actually really good! I'm excited to see what else we'll be doing! We're also trying to put together a quartet to do a special musical # for something while we're here. My comp and I and one of the companionships of elders in our district are trying to get some music, and we're going to audition as soon as we can. It's really exciting!

The weather here is AMAZING!!! It has been beautiful every day that I've been here! It's rained maybe twice during the day (a few more times at night), but even that is beautiful! It's just lovely though. This place is incredibly blessed, even if we are all dying from the swine flu (just kidding, just one is dying!).

Also, we've decided that the birds here are the happiest birds on earth! They are ALWAYS out, and just a chirping away! We joke about how they're always excited about everything, and that they're saying, "HEY! ISN'T THIS PLACE GREAT?! IT'S DINNER TIME, AREN'T YOU SO EXCITED?!?! WE LOVE IT HERE! WE'RE SO GLAD THAT YOU'RE ALL HERE! THE MTC SURE IS AWESOME, HUH?!?!?!" :) Seriously though, I love hearing and seeing them everywhere!

Life here is fantastic! I just really can't even tell you how great it is! I'm learning and growing so much! I love my companion, and am so grateful for her! We both learn a lot from each other, and definitely complement each other well in our strengths and weaknesses. The Lord has really blessed me with charity and love! There really are incredible blessings that come from being a missionary - I LOVE IT!

Thanks so much for all of the love and support you all give me! It's means more than you know!



Hermana Sallie Wilson

ps I'm snail-mailing some pictures today! I can't email them, so hopefully you can scan them in or something.

pps Will you ask the missionaries how/what ever happened with Carol, the lady that I met on the plane over here that lives in Woodside? I've been thinking a lot about her!

ppps tell Sis Novak thanks for the Letter!