Monday, July 27, 2009

email of 27 July 2009 a missionary!

I'm almost 3 weeks in the field now; crazy, huh?

I don't have a ton of time, but I'll write as much as possible! . . . so on to life in the week of your missionary!

This week has been good. I feel like I'm getting more into the hang of things as a missionary! I've realized that part of that is just getting over my "need" to be normal. Like it or not, missionaries just AREN'T normal. Normalcy is taken away from you the moment you put on the tag, if not sooner. Things like wearing a skirt and nylons every day, knocking on random people's doors and asking if you can teach them about Jesus, riding a bike in a skirt and book bag, and (my favorite) standing in the middle of a public parking lot to back your companion out of her parking space, these things just aren't "normal"! However, now that I've realized that I'm not going to be "normal" for the next 15 1/2 months of my life, I'm at least coming to terms with it :) I still don't love tracting, but I don't loathe it quite like I did that first week; I really don't mind wearing a skirt everyday too bad, though I do sometimes miss jeans; I actually rather enjoy riding a bike, even in a skirt; and as for the backing thing, well, I'm at least grateful that we have a car!!!

We're toward the end of our miles, so we've been biking a little this last week. I really do enjoy it! It's hot, yes, but you at least get a nice breeze, and it tends to be a nice, somewhat solitary time to think. I like it way more than I expected. I makes me feel like a real missionary. My companion isn't such a fan (she tends to be a bit trepidatious on a bike), but she's getting better about it.

We had Zone conference this last week, which was really great! My comp and I sang "Consider the Lillies," and it was really nice! My companion graduated in vocal performance from BYU-Hawaii just before her mission, and she's really good. Our voices blend really nicely, and we love singing together! We've sung for quite a few people at their doors, which I really enjoy.

And now for my picture-perfect "making memories" mission moment (that's alliteration...) this week! Mom, prepare to be thoroughly grossed out. We went to dinner at a member's apartment earlier this week. They're very humble people, in very humble circumstances; slightly odd, but really nice. Picture, if you will, your daughter, sitting next to her companion, eating hot dogs and potato chips on a couch in a tiny, very crowded (with 20 years worth of stuff), and (here you go, Mom) roach-infested apartment. Yep, roach-infested. They were everywhere. They weren't big "Palmetto bug" roaches; they were the little and medium sized ones, but they were all over. I tried really hard just to focus on the people we were with, and not look around the room because I about died every time I did. Uuuuuuuh, it just makes me shudder thinking about it, but I did it.


We have a baptism coming up in two weeks!!! I'm so excited! He's a young man (~21) named Freddy, and he's getting baptized on the 9th of August! I'm really excited because except for his very first lesson, I've been there to teach him all the way. He's really, really great, and I'm sure excited!

We're also teaching a family that I'm really excited about! We met their son, Joshua when we were out delivering a Bible to a media referral about two weeks ago. After we introduced ourselves ("Hi, I'm Sister Wilson; Hi, I'm Sister Foutz"), he looked at us and said, "Hi, I'm Brother Joshua!" He's great! He's 16, has a younger brother, Angel, who's 8, and his parents. He also has two older brothers, but the oldest is married and lives somewhere else, and the other is actually in Juvenile detention right now. They're catholic, but Joshua doesn't really buy it, and has LOTS of questions that his priests and teachers could never answer, but the gospel does! After our first visit with them, he told us that he'd learned more that night than he had in his 2 years of confirmation in his church! His mom is a really sweet lady, and seems very interested, and his dad we just met at the end of our last visit. The dad is a little more skeptical, but seems really open. We left them "The Restoration" DVD, and will be visiting them again on Thursday this week. They're a great family, and I'm really excited about teaching them! Oh, and Angel is kind of a little ganster (there's lots of them around here). It was so funny last week3! After I told them about the first vision, I asked Angel "So Angel, what happened?!" He had been holding the picture as I spoke, and he turned it around to look at it and said (throwing his hands around like a gangster) "Well, I'm not really sure, but it looks like this dude (Joseph Smith) is talkin' or prayin' or something, and this one's (Heavenly Father) talkin' to him, but I don't really know what this dude's (Jesus) doin'. Yeah, I, I don't really know." It was SO funny!

We also went this week and contacted a former investigator in our area. Her name is Melissa, and she's 18. Also amazing. She really felt the Spirit as we visited her, and she's excited to start meeting with missionaries again. She said that they really made a big impact on her life before when they were teaching her, and at one point in our talking with her (especially relating the 1st vision to her and telling her that she's a daughter of God, and the He really does know and love her perfectly) said, "Wow, I just don't know how to say what I feel right now." It was such a good experience. Her parents are very devout Catholics though, and wouldn't let her go to church before, which is probably why the missionaries had to drop her. We're hoping and praying for a miracle that she can come to church and really progress. We sang "Grand Eres Tu" ("How Great Thou Art") for her and her parents before we left, which was a great experience. I think her parents really felt the Spirit too.

So yeah, I'm doing really well. This is definitely still the hardest thing I've ever done, but it really is worth it!

I hope you're all doing well - I love and pray for you every day!

I love being a missionary!!!


Hermana Sallie :)

ps My comp and I stopped into a Heath Food store today (we were waiting for our car at Pep Boys...1 - 1 1/2 hours actually turned out to be 3...), and it smelled like childhood to me. I also heard some James Taylor song in the grocery store (something about Philadelphia and the Mason-Dixon Line), which reminded me of home and family reunions and such. It was a happy memory :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

email of 20 July 2009

Hello family and friends!!!!!

So I've been feeling a little bad about my email last week because I felt like it was super negative and complain-y, but then I reread it today and realized that it wasn't terrible...I just felt terrible. I'm feeling much better today.

The mission is still hard, but it's ok. There are moments when the next 15 1/2 months stretches out in front of me and seems like forever, but I'm finding that when I just focus on the Lord and His work, it doesn't really matter. Something I'm learning--it really dawned on me this morning, and I've been thinking about it a lot today--is that I don't think a mission is really so much about preaching the gospel as it is a personal process of sacrifice and sanctification within the missionary. Don't get me wrong - we're definitely here to find and baptize and bring people to the Savior, but I really feel like so much of it is really what I've mentioned before: completely losing yourself in the work of the Lord; sacrificing yourself and your will - your "natural man" - so that you can really become an instrument in the hands of the Lord. And it's really a great sanctifying process.

I'm trying to be better about focusing on the work; really serving with ALL of my heart, ALL of my might, All of my mind, and ALL of my strength. The strength part I think I'm the closest to...I am more exhausted every single night than I ever have been in my entire life. And I thought I was tired in the MTC! Class all day doesn't even begin to compare to going all day, teaching, tracting, walking, etc, in the hot L.A. sun. It's HOT here. But guess what?! I already have a killer farmers' tan :) ...and I thought my skin didn't change color.

We have a car, but a lot of the time we'll drive to our appointment or a certain area, park, and then be outside walking for a while. The other day we were street contacting and walked with a guy as he walked (we just walked with him and taught as we walked), and then walked BACK to where we were originally planning to be. It was probably a good 3 or 4 miles total. Honestly though, I'd almost rather be outside talking and contacting because there you at least have a breeze. Most of the people here don't have A/C in their homes, so you get inside and the hot air is just trapped all around you. Blech.

So yeah, I'm pretty much completely exhausted every night. It's really hot in our apt too, especially when we go to bed at night (we have a small A/C unit in the front room, but not in the bedroom). I sometimes sleep with my sheet on me, but usually I don't sleep with any covering at all.

Here's a fun little tidbit - the other night just as we were getting to sleep, we heard two gun shots outside! It was ever so slightly unnerving, but it wasn't RIGHT outside, and it was just those two, so we just tried to not worry about it and go to sleep. We never did hear any sirens...

There are a lot of apartment complexes here - a LOT. And for the most part, they look pretty dumpy on the outside. But what's cool is that with most of them, you go inside the complex and there is a nice little courtyard of sorts, and the apartments themselves are really pretty nice! I'm learning not to judge things or people by their outward appearances, because so often what's inside is so completely different than what you'd expect! 1 Samuel 16:7, anyone??? (the seminary kids should know this one)

Spanish is good, but I'm still a bit timid in using it when I don't know the person...what am I saying? I'm timid using it when I DO know the person! My companion usually does the talking when we meet a Spanish person on the street, but she always tries to get me to contribute something. I feel like I can write ok, and if I have time to really think out and plan what I'd like to say I can do fine, but when it's just right there on the spot I freeze up and would rather not say anything. That and I'm usually just trying to figure out what they're saying, and it still takes a little while to process things in my poor little brain. Yesterday my companion "dared" me/set a goal for me to be confident to the point of error. She told me she wants me to make at least one "colossal" mistake in Spanish this week because I was being so overly confident/bold in speaking. I don't know how I really feel about that...I really don't WANT to make a colossal Spanish mistake. It's good though, and the only way I'm really going to learn and become fluent (which is one of my mission goals) is to open my mouth and try, without looking to my companion every time I'm not totally sure of a conjugation or something. We went to the Spanish branch yesterday, which was really great. The Spanish people are so loving and welcoming! I played the piano for sacrament meeting, and my companion and I helped them in their ward choir. I understand now what Sam and Joseph were talking about with Hispanic singing...they sing loud and strong and with all their hearts, whether or not they can sing well, and I'll just leave it at that :) I really do love it though! One of the teachers at the MTC told me and my companion about how her first few weeks in the field she just had a perpetual headache because of the language (she served in Portugal). I don't have a perpetual headache, but I sure had one last night! My biggest problem is trying to focus on what's actually going on in the Spanish meetings. I find my mind really wandering a lot because I can't understand, and it hurts my head to try to understand for the full 3 hours. It'll get better though, I'm sure!

We didn't have a baptism this week, but we're really hoping for this coming Sunday! Christine (she's the one I mentioned last week) is close, but she's had quite a few obstacles pop up in the last week. We're working through it though, and are very hopeful! I actually committed one of our investigators to baptism last week! Our mission president wants us to do a "hard" baptismal commitment (setting a date, not just a "when you know these things are true...") in the first lesson with people. The mission has seen a lot of success from that, and not just random "low-quality" baptisms either. More than anything else, it helps us find the elect much quicker, and weed out those who are just being nice. That doesn't mean that we drop someone just because they don't accept, but we try to get a hard commitment as soon as we can. Anyways, Freddy is the young man I committed to baptism; he's the boyfriend of a girl in our ward, and he's really great. He tends to be kind of quiet and shy, but he really wants to know, and he's doing the right stuff!

So yeah, life here in Downey is good. Still hard, but good.

Thank you SO much for all your continued love and support in all that I do, especially here in the mission. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!!!!!

I Love you , and I love being a missionary :)

Hermana Sallie Wilson

Tell Bro. Tuckfield thanks :) it's nice to hear things from someone who really knows this mission

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

email of 15 July 2009

15 July 2009

Hola Hola Hola!!!!!!!

So today I find myself in the Downey Public Library, writing to my family (and friends ;) for the first time in 2 weeks!

So here's a quick run down of basic info, then I'll tell you about this last week. My P-day is usually on Monday, but once a transfer (until Sept.) we have temple P-day, which means that P-day is Wednesday, and we get to go up to Santa Monica and go to the temple, then do all our other p-day stuff. I can only send and receive email from immediate family (parents, siblings, siblings-in-law, grandparents), so unless you're in that category, please don't email me! I get snail mail once a week at our District or Zone meeting, and then email once a week as well. So any snail mail (which I love getting too...), just send to the mission home (1591 E. Temple Way, L.A. Ca. 90024).

I'm currently serving in Downey, Ca, which is in southeastern LA county. It's a good sized town, with LOTS of people. LA in general has LOTS of people! I was amazed as I looked out over LA from the airplane last week at just how many people there are crammed into this place! There are houses and apartments everywhere, and they're all really close together. Hence, there are approximately 5 million people just within the boundaries of my mission! In Downey alone there are something like 110,000 people!

My companion is fabulous - her name is Sis. Foutz, from Boise Idaho, and she has the patience of a saint! This first week hasn't been easy, but she's very patient and loving with me. This is actually the last transfer of her mission, which means that I'm "killing" her in the mission. She's great though, and I'm SO grateful for her!

My mission president and his wife are also great. I wasn't sure what to expect from the picture, but Pres and Sis Blackburn are wonderful.

Sister Blackburn especially cracks me up! She has very classy and sophisticated style, with her red high heels and spiky hair, but she's just great.

Downey is a good area, and I'm grateful that it's my first. Our mission is a bilingual mission, which means that all the missionaries can speak both English and Spanish (well, eventually anyways), unless they're called to Korean or ASL. In our area, we cover both the Downey 4th ward, as well as the Santa Fe Springs Spanish branch. So we have a pretty good mix of both English and Spanish here, though a lot of the people in my area are 2nd generation Hispanics, so they speak mostly English.

There are a lot of pretty poor people here, but it's not a totally ghetto area (they take care to keep the sisters in good areas). It's definitely not Beverly Hills! BH is actually where my MTC comp is at, and they do a lot of tracting to call boxes there. Not the most successful, for sure. I'm grateful to be where I am!
The field is way harder than I expected...I feel like I'm starting all over again. I suppose I AM starting all over again. There are really good people here, and they've actually been having great success, so I've "inherited" a number of recent converts and investigators. That's nice, but there's always more finding to do. I've come to learn that I hate tracting. No really, I do. Street contacting is ok - I actually kind of enjoy that, but I hate knocking doors. I didn't realize how hard the rejection factor would be for me. And it's not that we're getting doors slammed in our faces all the time - that's only kind of happened once or twice. I'd almost RATHER people just shut the door without listening if they really don't want to hear us. For me, it's the worst when they just stand there at the door looking somewhat bothered that we're there, but trying to be polite, so they listen and kind of nod until they can gently convince us that they aren't interested and close the door. Honestly, the quicker we could move through those who don't want to hear it, the better. I know we need to give everyone the chance to hear the gospel because everyone needs it - this IS their salvation, and you never know what one little thing you might say will pique their interest and make them want to listen, but sometimes it feels like we stand there talking with someone for a good 5 or 10 minutes, just spinning our wheels. I like street contacting better because they're already out, and what's the worst they can do? Run away? I just want to find the elect, who will "hear mine voice," and not turn me away like I'm not even a real person. I guess it's just been tough being brand new in a town, knowing no one but your companion, and having most of the people you kindly say hello to resent that you're even there. Does that make sense? Am I at least semi-normal for feeling that way?

That's all just so that you know, in all honesty, how I've been feeling a lot this last week. OK, I'm done complaining.

Really, I have no room to complain - the Savior went through WAY more than I'll ever go through, and it's His errand that I'm on. What can I expect? In the words of Elder Holland, missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. How can I expect sunshine and roses all the time (though there IS sunshine here all the time) when Jesus Christ suffered and was rejected beyond anything I'll ever experience here in LA? I can't. But just so that you know, missionary work is not easy.

The End.

So now that I'm really done with all that, are you ready for my fun and happy stories from this week? I've got some pretty good ones already!

First of all, Mom, I think of you a lot just because of the Sheryl Crow song that we always sing about LA. The temple overlooks Santa Monica Boulevard, and today we were out (just behind the mission home...just off SMB) washing our car "hosing and scrubbing as best we could in skirts and suits." Yep, we washed AND waxed our car today, all in our normal proselytizing (sp?) clothes. It was fabulous. And going to the temple was wonderful! It weird to come out of the temple and look right out over LA, with the smog, and the buildings and the cars and the billboards...oh the humanity! You want to talk about Babylon? That's where I am! I love it.

I'm learning just what a blessed, sheltered life I've lived. We meet people everyday who are living on welfare, people who have known nothing but the street their entire lives, people who have seen and experienced more in their life than I ever will, and more than I even imagined was possible. We have a recent convert who grew up in the streets of San Diego. His entire life, since his very earliest memory was drugs and gangs. And hard core too. He's amazing though! The coolest thing is to see the miracles that the Lord works in people. Mario (our gang-banger friend) is a changed man. As he put it in his talk Sunday, conversion is a "quiet miracle". He is a spiritual powerhouse, and funny too! Another sister that we're teaching right now is going through that change as well. She's 19 years old, but when she was 13, she ran away from home and lived on the streets for a while. She did street racing, lived with her boyfriend for about 4 years, was in and out of jail, was a bit of an alcoholic, just lived an all-around messed up life. Like I said, she's lived and seen more of the world in her 19 years than I'll ever even begin to imagine. However, she came back home and is turning around. She's got a ways to go yet, but to see the changes she's had already is just amazing. She's scheduled to get baptized this Sunday!

We had a total missionary moment earlier this week teaching someone! There's a cute little Korean lady who's dry cleaning place is just down the street from us. Her name is Esther, and we're teaching her English. The picture-perfect moment dawned on me when I realized that here we were, sitting in the back of a little tiny dry-cleaning shop in a Los Angeles suburb, eating plums and teaching English. It was great.

Mom, you'd be shocked by some of the people that we meet and talk to here - I'm shocked half the time - but they're wonderful. I'm learning that most of the roughest looking people are the best investigators, because they're the one's who've seen the world and want something better.
This is such a ride.

The church is true, the Lord loves ALL of His children!!!

Ok, well I have 1 minute left, so I'll go. I love and miss you all TONS, and look forward to hearing from you!!!

I (usually) LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hermana Sallie Wilson

Thursday, July 2, 2009

email of 1 July 2009

...I met the Prophet :)

No, seriously, I MET THE PROPHET!!!!!!!!!

So here's the run down of the last week, since I know that you're DYING to hear!

So Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, we sang for the NMP seminar devotionals. That's pretty much all we got to do - we'd file in, sing, then file out and be on our way for the day. And every single day I was just dying to be able to stay and listen!!! But we couldn't. But it was still amazing! Apparently this has been the best small MTC choir they've ever had - Bro Brenchley (our director) told us that several times, and also told us on Sunday morning that E. Holland told him the same thing: that we were the best sounding, most professional/missionary looking group they've ever heard. In fact, he (E. Holland) said that our rendition of Pres. Faust's "This Is the Christ" was the best he'd ever heard, and they requested the recording from the devotional!!! Holy cow!

Thursday morning, President Eyring and Elders Holland, Oaks, Perry, Cook, Christofferson, and Anderson were all there. Friday morning we had Pres. Uchtdorf and Elders Holland, Perry, Oaks, Bednar, Christofferson, Anderson, Scott and Cook. Saturday morning it was Pres. Packer and Elders Holland, Oaks, Perry, Ballard, Scott, Bednar, Cook, Christofferson and Anderson. And then, yes, on Sunday (not the morning devotional, but the special 1st presidency sacrament mtg), all the 1st Presidency and quorum of the 12 were there except for Pres. Packer. Apparently he was scheduled to be there, but had to do a stake conf. broadcast from SLC. Is that not INCREDIBLE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! My companion and I were talking to Pres. Clegg (a counselor in the MTC presidency that we've become good friends with), and he said that this was really an unprecedented event, to have that many of the presiding brethren (not to mention LOTS of seventy and other general aux. leaders) here at once like that. AND I GOT TO SING TO THEM EVERY MORNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not to mention all of the incredible new mission presidents and their beautiful wives - you want to talk about spiritual priesthood power in a room? That's what I felt every morning. It was wonderful! The neatest thing though, was that it wasn't all about THEM. It was actually all about US - the missionaries. It was interesting to be there, with the tables kind of turned - THEY were all watching US come in, THEY listened to OUR message and testimonies (through song), THEY were so happy, excited and overjoyed to feel of OUR spirits, and then THEY watched in quiet reverence as WE left. I could really feel their love and appreciation and respect for us as I participated. And each morning, as we would file back out, I always looked over to the Apostles on the stand (we sang just in front of the stand - maybe 5 feet away from right where they were sitting), and tried to make eye contact and smile. And I did! Elder Cook and Christofferson both looked and smiled right at me a few of the mornings as I left! It was really amazing! Then, on Sunday morning, after we sang in Sacrament meeting, they made special arrangements for us to watch Pres. Monson speak from another room (they just broadcasted it into the room we were in - there was no room in the actual room)! We stayed for most of it, but then had to go for our other meetings. It was so neat to hear him speak to all the new mission presidents! I felt so much overwhelming gratitude as we began to watch, just because it was such a privilege and a tender mercy to even be in the choir in the first place, and then to get to hear the prophet speak - even from another room - was wonderful!

So when did I actually meet the prophet??? ...I know, I know, I'm getting there! Sunday morning we sang "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" for the special Sacrament Meeting. Afterwards, we went back for our regular Sunday meetings, but had a break for lunch and study time before OUR sacrament meeting. Since we had seen the 1st Pres. cars' parked up on the sidewalk (and security was TIGHT, let me just tell you! It took us 3 tries just to get anywhere close to the doors of that building, and we were the CHOIR!), we decided to go sit on the benches outside the building and study, hoping that maybe, just maybe we'd get to see them when they left. We waited out there for a good 45 or so minutes, and then FINALLY they came! Pres and Sis Uchtdorf came out first, and left pretty quickly, but they waved to all of us (there were probably about 15 or 20 of us out there waiting...) and told us we were wonderful and that they loved us, then left. Quick side not, can I just tell you what an incredibly beautiful couple they are? Really, they are just stunning people!
Anyways, a few minutes later President Monson and President Eyring and their wives came out! There was a bigger crowd by now, and it definitely continued to grow! As they came out, we were all standing, and began to sing "We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet". After a moment, Pres. Monson came over and just stood and looked at all of us. He just stood there, not 10 feet away from me (I was right at the front of the group), and just watched us. I barely finished the verse because I couldn't help but cry as I stood there, as a missionary of the Lord, looking right at His chosen prophet, seer, and revelator, and sang "We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter-days! We thank thee for sending the gospel to lighten our minds with it's rays! We thank thee for every blessing, bestowed by thy bounteous hand, we feel it a pleasure to serve thee, and love to obey thy command." It was really funny though, because as we got to the end of the verse, Pres Monson smiled really big, and lifted up his arms to direct the last line or two! It was just wonderful! Then he stood and talked to all of us for a good 10 minutes or so, asking about where we were going, and telling us stories (of course!). He even sang some funny little song to us in Spanish! He didn't shake our hands because 1)there were too many of us, and 2) the whole swine flu thing. Stupid swine flu...

Speaking of which, it's pretty much taken care of here...there are still some sick missionaries, including a few in sick bay/quarantine, but the best news of all with this is that THEY'VE LIFTED THE HANDSHAKING/HUGS BAN!!!!!!! It's been against the rules to shake hands or hug anyone since before I got here, but Pres. and Sis. Clegg told us last night that they've officially lifted it! Our elders were all really excited to shake our hands today after we told them, and our teacher hugged us all (hermanas) twice! :)

Anyways...after Pres Monson talked to us for a little bit, he moved around to the other side and talked to all the other missionaries who had gathered by that time; then, as he went to go to his car, we all sang "We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet" again, and he turned to all of us, and directed our singing! He really just waved his arms - he doesn't actually know how to direct music - and smiled, chuckling to himself a little bit, but I can now say that I've sung in a choir directed by the prophet!

The thing that hit me more than anything else was his genuine love and joy. He and Pres Eyring both just radiated that joy that the gospel brings, as well as the love of the Savior. What an awesome thing, I really can't even begin to tell you, to be a missionary, taking this incredible gospel message to the world, and to see it, up close and personal - the living prophet, called of God to lead and guide us; to sing and learn and teach, feel everyday these amazing truths! And the best thing about it is that I'm not the only one who gets to have it!!! That's why I'm going out to serve - so that EVERYONE can know, and feel and follow the Savior! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, now in the last few minutes that I have, here's a little more. We got our flight plans this past Friday!!!!! I fly out at 8:30 am next Wednesday morning - which is in 6 DAYS, for those of you who are wondering - have a short, hour long flight, and then off I go into L.A.!!! That means that the next email/letter you'll get from me will be from Los Angeles!!!

We have to be at the MTC travel office at 5am to check out and get our tickets, and then we're off to the airport. So, Wednesday morning, sometime between probably 8 and 10 am your time, I'll be calling you from the SLC airport!!! I'm not sure how exactly to work all that yet, but I'll see about maybe getting a calling card from the bookstore. If you'd rather send me one, and/or if you plan on sending any more snail mail to me here, please do so by tomorrow or Friday at the latest! Saturday is the 4th, so no mail, and then I'm gone Wednesday before the mail gets here. So at this point, dearelder is your best bet till I get to L.A. Anyways, that's the deal! I'm SO EXCITED!!! Still a little nervous, but more excited than anything else - we all are! Everyone in my district going to L.A. is leaving on the same flight, along with a bunch of other missionaries, which is nice.

I'm so glad that David had such a good time at EFY, and a successful wisdom-teeth surgery - Thanks for writing from your iPod in bed, David! I love you tons, and love hearing from you!

I hope that y'all have a great family reunion this weekend!!! They've got something planned for us for the 4th of July, though I'm not totally sure what just yet, but I hope that the reunion is fantastic! Know that I love and miss everyone, and tell them all hey for me! I miss you all, but this is seriously the greatest thing ever - the gospel is true, and brings happiness that people just can't understand who don't have it. I love it! And yes Mom, I am SO glad that I came! I am accomplishing so many things that I can't do! I really can't, but "nothing's too hard for the Lord!"

One more quick thing - since it's our last week in the MTC, our district is really focusing on teaching, so we've planned a "servicio bautismal" ("baptismal service") for this Friday, and are all working to have at least 5 investigators (for the whole district) ready for baptism. My comp and I are currently teaching 6 people - 5 missionaries, 1 teacher, and one real investigator (we call her from the Referral Center; she ordered a BofM, and we've been following up with her). Yesterday we invited two of our "investigators" (a companionship of sisters)to be baptized and they committed!!! And just so you know, it's taken several tries, but they finally accepted and are really excited!

I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but really, it's so cool, and such a cool experience, even just in practice. Because, really, all of us ARE investigators on some level or another, and Heavenly Father knows us and our needs, and He works through each one of us to help and bless each other.

By the way, all of our teaching is in Spanish (except for our RC investigator) - albeit broken Spanish that definitely has room for improvement, but Spanish nonetheless!

I think that's about it for now...I'll talk to you from the airport in just less than a week, and will write again soon-ish!!!

I love the Lord, I love this gospel, I love the scriptures, and the chance to study them everyday, I love my companion, I love my family, and all of my friends who love and support me so much in this! I am forever indebted to the Lord for allowing me to have this experience.



Hermana Sallie Wilson :) (the happiest missionary on earth :)

ps - By the way, sorry Uncle Vern, but there were a lot of people, and I didn't really get a chance to say much to Pres. Monson, so I wasn't able to tell him hey for you...maybe next time :)