Monday, October 26, 2009

email from 26 October 2009

GOOOOOOOOOD MORNIN'!!!!!!!!! It's the Sister Wilson Show on the email!!!!

(Ok, ok, so it doesn't work quite as well as JB&B, but ya know...)

I'd like to thank el Rolo y su familia por finalmente esciribiendo a mi ;)

As much as I'd LOVE to listen to the sound clips, I'd have to use headphones, and can't because that's against mission rules...I'll just use my imagination, I guess...

This week has been really good! I've been feeling like our work is slowing down a bit, but I think it's picking back up, which is good! We had 4 investigators at church yesterday -- FOUR!!!!!!!!! Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but with the way the last while has been, that's huge for us! First of all, our WML and his wife brought a couple to church last week, and they came again this week. They're a wonderful couple, and we're really hoping that they'll progress! They speak spanish, and since our english ward only has gospel doctrine in spanish, we just taught them a L1 (la Restauracion) during SS, and it was really really good! We're going to try to take them up to the information center (our temporary visitor's center) to see the JS movie next week, and they seemed pretty excited about that!

Next, we have Vilma. Vilma is a former investigator that we started teaching, and she's amazing! She loves the BofM, she LOVES church, she loves having us come teach, she's making friends with the members, she's getting baptized on the 8th of November!!! She also has two incredible grandkids - Belen y Gustavo (who are 9 and 11), who also love when we come to teach, and love church and everything! AND they really seem to get what we're teaching. Belen even told us this week that she wants to be baptized! We just got permission to officially teach the kids, and are hoping that they'll be able to get baptized with their grandma on the 8th as well!

And last, but not least, we have Ron. IF I had a favorite investigator -- which I don't -- but if I DID, Ron would probably of them :) We found Ron as a referral that came in from an Elder serving in WV. Ron is a lifelong best friend of a member who lives not to far away, and is also really great friends with his son (the Elder who sent us the referral). Ron is one of the reasons that the world needs Sister missionaries. Several years ago he had Elders who were trying to teach him, but he scared them away. However, he has a real soft spot for sisters, and can't tell us no. He (like pretty much everyone we meet and teach) has had a really rough life - both of his parents died when he was young, his sister died recently, he had and barely survived throat cancer (and as a result of the radiation can't eat solid foods and has a speech impediment), he was a hard drug user and smoker/drinker for most of his life (has been sober for a few years now, but still smokes...we're working on that) and when we met him, was pretty bitter towards, well, everything. He was pretty much atheist, and figured that if there was a God, He was punishing him (Ron) for living.

It has been the most amazing experience to teach him and see the little changes that he's making, to see the light coming into his eyes, to hear him pray, and talk about feeling the Spirit, just everything! And yesterday he came to church!!!!! AND he enjoyed it!!!! AND HE TOLD THE BISHOP THAT HE'S GOING TO KEEP COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!! I can't tell you the joy that that brings to a missionary's soul! The gospel is A-mazing, and SO TRUE!!!!
My current favorite scripture (and one that I share a lot) is 3 Nephi 9:13-14.

13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine carm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.

I would just like to bear testimony that that is true! He loves us -- ALL of us, and he's always there, with His arms outstretched to us, if we'll just COME. I've experienced it in my life personally, and, as a missionary, I've had the incredible experience to see it work in other's lives as well. Don't believe me? I dare you to try it yourself.

A few others that I also especially love lately are : Jacob 3:1, Proverbs 3:5-6, and Matt. 11:28-30 AND, you should try a little comparison between 1 Nep 8 and Psalm 119:105.

The church is true!!!
I love and miss you all!!!



Hermana Sallie


Monday, October 19, 2009

email of 19 October 2009

Dearest, Darlingest Mumsy and Popsickle,

FIRST of all, someone needs to tell my big, older, slacker of a brother, who, to protect his identity I'll refer to simply as "the Rolo", that I would like to hear from him more often than once every 3 months, and would be willing to accept his apology in an email next Monday afternoon :)

...Because I LOVE and miss and want to hear from and all about Sam and Suz and Buster and their lives!!!!!

That's all.

Now on to the rest of the email :)

This is going to be a little on the short side because I read and wrote a few other emails first, and only have 17 minutes left.


I just needed to say that.

I've had a pretty good week here in Downey, CA. The weather has been really weird though - it was really nice -- sunny and hot as usual, then got downright chilly! And I was thinking, "how nice -- some real FALL weather!" It even rained and everything! And THEN, two days later, it was almost 100 degrees again! Ick. Oh well, it's all good; the work continues on! Appointments, lessons, study, referrals, Spanish struggles, tracting, splits, dinner appointments, planning, finding and teaching God's children that He loves them and has a plan for them...Yep, that's the life of a missionary. I need to take better advantage of my time with a native Spanish speaker, in an area with a fair amount of Spanish. It's hard though, and I know that I tend to get a bit lazy. Learning Spanish in the US is hard because there's just too darn much English! We hear and have a lot of lessons in Spanglish, which is pretty funny, and I definitely need to work harder at getting out of my comfort zone and speaking more Spanish. It's coming, but not as quickly as it could.

Remember Hector? The one with the awful house that we cleaned about 2 months ago, who stole the scriptures and was meeting with the missionaries? HE GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!! I so wish I could have been there, but we never actually served in the area, even though we helped teach him a few times, so we couldn't go. I was talking to the sisters though, and they said that it was beautiful! He's been going to church pretty steadily for the last 2 months or so, and finally got baptized! And it really is amazing what a different person he is now. He even painted their house! In the words of one of the sisters there, "It's downright cozy!" now :) The Gospel is AMAZING!!!

I've been thinking a little bit over the last few days...just some questions that have crossed my mind that I don't totally have answers to yet, just that I've been thinking about. And for no particular reason, here is a piece of the inside of my head:

What lack I yet?
What motivates people?
Why here, why now? Why am I here seeing what I'm seeing, meeting who I'm meeting, learning what I'm learning, having the experiences that I'm having? What's the purpose in it? Just what is the Lord trying to teach me and prepare me for? What is it that I need to learn and do?

Missions make you think.

I LOVE hearing from you every week! Mom, congrats on the sunbeams--that'll be so great, and I know you'll love it!
Keep up everything good, and leave behind all the bad!
Heavenly Father is real, and He loves us all!!!!!!!!

I love you!!!

I love being a missionary!!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

email of 13 October 2009

Holy Hannah, 10 New emails!!!!! THAT was fun to see when I got on today! Thank you so much - I LOVE YOU!!!!!

Clearly someone wasn't thinking about missionaries and their P-days when they made half of our federal holidays on Mondays! It's ok though--I'm grateful that I at least don't have to wait an entire week before hearing from and writing to you!

This week....
WE HAD A BAPTISM!!!!!!! We've been teaching this particular young woman for just over 6 weeks, and she was finally able to get baptized on Sunday! I realize that 6 weeks is not all that terribly long, but the interesting thing with Elizabeth is that she'd been pushing US to get baptized. When we first met her, we were watching the Restoration DVD with her dad, and she asked us if our church did baptisms, and if so, could she be baptized? ...Uh, yeah! She had some pretty big personal obstacles she had to overcome though, and so it took a little while longer than she wanted to be able to be baptized. She has some mental/psychological problems that make it difficult for her to totally understand or comprehend things very quickly. She's very sweet and sincere though, and had been SO anxious to be baptized! So anxious, in fact, that she actually got pretty mad when we told her we needed to postpone it a few weeks. But it all worked out! I tell you what though, Satan sure tried to get in the way! The DAY BEFORE the baptism, she had her wisdom teeth taken out. THE DAY BEFORE!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAHH!!! So then she was a little late for church, and wanted to go home part way through Sunday school to get her pain medication from her dad. She said she'd be right back...

So we went on to Sacrament mtg (church is a reversed block here, with PH/RS first, then SS, then SM), Elizabeth. They went to announce the baptism from the pulpit, and...still no Elizabeth. I was DYING!!! The bishop was kind of looking at me like "What's going on and why isn't she here?" from the pulpit, and all I could do was mouth, "She's Coming!!!" and want to just shrink away. Sacrament came and Elizabeth.

I really don't know if I can adequately describe a missionary's thoughts and feelings when something like this happens.

So finally, I grabbed the sister who was my companion for church (we were on splits since we cover two wards), and we went to Elizabeth's house to find out what the heck was going on. When we got there, she said, "Oh, sorry - my dad's still not back yet with the medicine." After taking a deep semi-calming breath, I said, "Elizabeth. You're getting baptized TODAY. You HAVE to come to church!!! Why don't you just call your dad and have him bring your medicine to the church when he gets here? You can sit at home and wait, or you can sit at church and wait, and if you're going to be baptized today, you need to be a church." She said ok, and we took her back to church. After that, everything went off pretty smoothly, and it actually ended up being a beautiful baptismal service! When she came up out of the water, she kind of laughed and exclaimed, "That was fun!" And at the end of the service, the bishop invited her to come up and bear her testimony. My companion and I were a little nervous because we hadn't talked to her or gone over any of this kind of thing with her, and we weren't sure what she was going to say. She was actually really sweet and sincere though, and talked about how happy she was, and how grateful she was to have the church in her life, that she was glad that we'd taught her about "the Mormon book" - that it had brought a lot of peace and happiness, and then she ended with "And just, God is good. ...Thank you." and sat down. It was so good! And really, it's moments like these that make it all worth it!

Something kind of fun that I've been meaning to write about, but keep forgetting is a fun little song that my trainer wrote about sister missionaries. We call it the "Missionariettes" song. It's sung to the tune of a Mary Poppins song (the one that the mom and the maids sing, marching around in their women's rights stuff towards the beginning of the movie...I hope you know which one I'm talking about), and goes like this:

(Note: This is the Sister Suffragette song . . . Google it–it’s on youtube and you can hear the song.)

We're merely Elders in pantyhose,
Fearless crusaders for human souls!
Though we'll adore L.A. eternally,
We admit that as a whole,
They're ra-ther sin-ful...
SO! Cast off rejection from yesterday!
Crying repentance throughout L.A.!
Our recent converts will adore us,
And the'll sing in grateful chorus:
WELL DONE! Missionariettes!

I LOVE it! Make sure to sing it wil a strong British accent, and harmonize on "and they'll sing in grateful chorus:" :)

Now, for something on a more spiritual note...

I'm trying to read the Book of Mormon this transfer (which translates to 12 pages a day, if you're wondering), and although I'm behind, I LOVE it! It's just so amazing to me, and I can't help but think and feel and know as I read it just how true it is! We had an experience a few weeks ago that I've thought a lot about; we were tracting, and we met a lady who was nice to us, but absolutely NOT interested. She'd had a bad experience with members in the past, and just didn't like "our ways" very much. As we visited briefly with her and tried to share something, she said, "Well you see, you've got a problem here - see, I don't believe in the Joseph Smith seeing angels, and Mormon book stuff. In fact, I'm pretty sure that we had taken a little too much acid, and that's what happened." We talked for a few more minutes and then moved on, but as I've reflected on that, it just kills me! It was during my personal study the next morning that it really hit me. ACID?!?! He'd taken too much acid?!?!?! AAAAUGH!!! As I opened up the Book of Mormon and began to read, I was really struck with how true it is, and how utterly impossible it was that it was written in any other way than by inspiration and the gift and power of God! OH, if people only knew! If they would just READ the Book of Mormon and see the power and truth that is there, they would know!!! Actually, I do know and understand that people can and do read the Book of Mormon and don't realize that (because they don't want to, and they don't have or invite the Spirit as they do), but I wish that everyone did! I love the scriptures!!! As I read (sang) in 2 Nephi 4:15-16 this morning, "For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them..."

Thank you so much, Dad and Mom, for raising us with and teaching us of the scriptures! I know that they're true, and I'm SO grateful for the knowledge that I have!!!
The church is true!!!!!!!!

I Love Being a missionary!!!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Hermana Sallie


Monday, October 5, 2009

email of 04 October 2009

My dearly beloved family,

Well, another week come and gone in the mission field -- they go by so fast! It really is so true what they say - the days are long, but the weeks fly by!

Conference was WONDERFUL!!! You remember that clip of missionaries that they showed during one of the talks? That's from a series of DVD's we refer to here in the mission field as the "Preach My Gospel DVDs," aka "The District." They're training dvds that they show in the MTC and in the mission field -- and they're real missionaries and investigators and experiences and everything, so that was pretty cool to see at conference :) There was SO MUCH that I loved at conference, but I don't have my notes with me...I'll share something specific maybe next week...

Elder Holland's testimony was incredible. I'm pretty sure that that's the most powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon that I've ever heard in my life! And I loved Sis. Dibb's talk...and all of them!

I was thinking too how it was this time exactly a year ago that I felt the prompting to serve a mission. Lo and behold, here I am. It was also fun to think about how we were all doing this "together" -- that even being a whole country apart, we were watching conference at the same time! It was great! Oh, and good job on taking care of the missionaries and their investigators/recent converts - that's HUGE, and just warms my little missionary heart and soul :)

This transfer so far is really great. I'm still in Downey, and still with Hermana Tavares. We've decided that this transfer is going to be our "Transfer of Miracles"! We're working hard, praying hard, and expecting miracles! And SEEING miracles! It's awesome to see the miracles, big and small, every single day (kind of like the gratitude thing - the more you find things to be grateful for, the more you find things to be grateful for!). Sometimes a miracle one day can end up being a complete dud later on (i.e. golden investigators who don't progress, or amazing door contacts who are no-shows at their appointments), but for that day, it was truly a miracle that the Lord blessed you with.

It interesting (well, perhaps maddening would be a better word choice there) too, to see how hard Satan works to bring people down the closer they come to the truth, and how frustrated, confused and sad he tries to get them when they're just on the verge of incredible joy. And believe you me, he does all he can to get missionaries discouraged at seeing that.

AAAAGH!!! I can't tell you how frustrating and sad it is sometimes!!! You know what though, it's hard. I DO understand that. And we can't always see the reasons for everything. It's possible though. Oh SO possible because He'll be with you every step of the way, if you'll let Him! It's one of those places where I take great comfort in the words of Nephi: "I know that [God] loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."

I hope that makes sense...sometimes with my limited time on here I just "think" onto the page (screen), and I don't know if my thoughts are always and coherently connected as I'd like. Hopefully you at least get the idea!

If all goes well, we'll be having a baptism on Sunday!

That's about all I can think of at the moment, and I'm about out of time. I'll try to send a more fun email with lots of "missionary adventures" next week.

I love you all, more than you know!!!
I Love Being a Missionary!!!

Hermana Sallie