Monday, December 28, 2009

email of 28 December 2009

Hello hello once again!

It was SO good to talk to y'all on Friday! I hope the rest of your Christmas was great, and that Grandma's party went well also! The rest of my Christmas was really good, as was the day after, and the day after, and the day after THAT, which is today, is turning out to be pretty good too!

I can't say that anything TOO exciting or noteworthy has happened since I last talked to you, except that we had 5 investigators at church this yesterday!!! THAT is exciting, let me tell you! We have some great investigators right now, and the last week or two have been pretty miraculous in that area. We had some pretty cool experiences tracting, and were able to find about 3 people to teach, who are just ready! It's so awesome to see the light in their eyes and their countenances that just help you to see that these people truly are elect, and have been searching and are ready for the truth! One of them is Rosy, who is from Honduras. She actually took the missionary lessons there, and most of her family was baptized, but she never was. She recognized us right away when we knocked on her door, and we've been able to teach her once so far, plus having her at church this week. She's great, and really wants to be baptized, but DOES need to get married first, so we're working on that. There are several other people that live in her house who are interested as well, so we're working on teaching them as well, espeically her husband/boyfriend, Reymundo. We've met him a few times, but haven't actually taught him yet because he's always working.

We also tracted into a guy named Alberto, who is definitely one who has a "countenance". A good word to describe him would be "sober". Not in the alcoholic sense, but more along the lines of Alma 37:47 and 38:15. He's been so attentive and understanding when we've taught him, and has really felt the Spirit, especially when we asked him to pray in the first lesson. He's very humble, and we're really excited to see him progress!

One more -- Estela -- is the neighbor of a reactivated/recent convert family, who is the other one who we've really noticed a light and "elect-ness" about. She's expressed to us that she's really looking for the truth, and we can tell that she really is. She really felt the Spirit in our first lesson with her, and was so focused during the whole lesson. It was wonderful!!!

So, currently, those are our Spanish investigators, and I just love them! One of the best parts is feeling pretty able to understand and communicate with them in their own language! Not perfectly, mind you, but I think I get most of what they're saying, and they seem to understand me pretty well, so it works out great! And it's SUCH a blessing! I know that there's no way I could do this on my own, and it's really neat to be on the receiving end in this way of the gift of tongues.

Anyways, so the work is going well here! Actually, it seems to be going really exceptionally well, and we're just loving it! We have several investigators in english as well, which makes in total, 10 progressing investigators, 6 of whom have baptismal dates! Really and truly, we ought to have more with baptismal dates, but we'll be working on that this week.

Quick funny story about one of the families we're working with right now -- it's actually the recently reactivated/recent convert family who introduced Estela to the church. It's a single mom (Nicolasa) and her 5 kids, who live in the projects. We've been working with this family since we first got here; they'd become reactivated before us, and two of the kids were baptized, but they still have their struggles, and the older son was still really less active. Anyways, they've just recently started to really warm up to us (most specifically the oldest son, Juan, and the middle daughter, Rosa), which has been awesome. Anyways, so when we were over the other day, and were about to teach a lesson, we asked if Dom (the middle son) would demonstrate/teach how we pray so that everyone would know what to do. Well, he was holding the dog, Pallaso (clown in spanish), who is a pretty sad looking little one-eyed chihuahua. So he said, demonstrating using the dog, "you fold your legs, bow your head, and close your eye." SOOOO FUNNY!!!!! I know that my telling it probably doesn't give it justice, but it was hillarious!!!

alright, well, I love you all and hope you have a great week!

The church is TRUE!!!!!!!


Hermana Sallie



Monday, December 21, 2009

email of 21 December 2009


You'd best sit down for just a moment...because you're probably about to be excited out of your mind :)

You get TWO phone calls!!!

Ok, ok, so it's probably not a CRAZY super exciting deal, but still. I'll be calling sometime Thursday night to set up a time to call again on Friday. Now keep in mind that it will be a really quick call -- just long enough to set a time for Christmas day -- and may be fairly late but it's a phone call nonetheless :) We have to be in by 6pm on Christmas Eve and Day, so it'll probably be at least around 9-ish your time when I call on Thursday.

And if there's anyway do a 3-way for at least a few minutes with Joseph and his fam on Friday, that would be great. He wrote and asked if they could have 5 of my 45 minutes so that his boys could say hi and hear their Aunt Hermana Sallie's testimony, but we only get to do direct phone calls to parents; my District Leader DID say that a 3-way would be fine though.

We'll be getting mail again on Christmas Eve, so I should get your package then! I DID get a little box with some goodies from Rilda this week!!! Please make sure that she gets this little message:

Thank you SO MUCH! It was really great to get a little something from you, and to hear how your family is doing! I love the handkerchief, and the wrapped present is sitting "under" (more acurate would be "next to")our tree, just waiting to be opened up on Christmas! Thanks again for all you've done for me while I was at school, and for storing all my stuff while I'm out here on a mission! Oh yeah, and for helping me make it into the world in general :) You're really a wonderful and remarkable person, and have been such a great friend to me and our family!

It's kind of weird that Christmas is almost here. Of course the weather here is a little different -- not exactly what most people would think of as "Christmas-y," but what can you really expect in southern California? I think the main thing that really makes it feel like Christmas for us is the lights and the music. Living up at the temple apartments, there are several companionships of young sisters, as well as all the Senior missionaries that live up here, and we've been borrowing some of their Christmas music for the last week or two :)

Sis Dickson and I are really looking forward to this week! Tomorrow is packed full of appointments, then on Wednesday we're going to go caroling to a bunch of our investigators and ward members, and we also have some little gift bags to take around to several of the widows and shut-ins in our ward. Wednesday is also transfer day (and Mom's birthday :), but we're really hoping that we both get to stay together here in Marina del Rey for another transfer, though we won't find out until tomorrow night.

I'm sure you're wondering what my Christmas day will be looking like. Well, we'll probably get up around 6:15 am, go running, come back and get ready for the day (down to the shoes, just like FlyLady says!), have personal study at 8am, companionship study at 9am, and depending on our service, maybe language study at 10am. We have some sort of zone service project at a convalescent home at some point Christmas day, possibly another service opportunity at the UCLA hospital where one of our members works as a nurse, at least on visit to make to a member of our ward who will be having nonmember family members over, then Christmas dinner at our family ward RS president's home at 4pm. We'll be in at 6pm, and have the evening to study, open presents, call our families, and whatever else we decide to do. Then at 9pm we'll have our "Sacred 30" nightly planning session, then bed by 10:30!

I'm hoping to get my little package to y'all off today...totally ran out of time last week. I'll just send it to Sam and Suzan's house, and hopefully you'll get it in time for Christmas! If not, well, sorry! It's hard to plan ahead for this kinda stuff as a missionary, not to mention working it into the schedule! I know, I know, you probably don't think I should even worry about it, being a missionary and all, but it IS something I want to do :) It's nothing big -- just a few little things, as well as my latest camera memory card, so whatever I end up getting in there, enjoy!

We were talking to one of the counselors in our singles ward bishopbric yesterday, and he said something that really struck me. He just told us to really enjoy this Christmas on the mission, because (for me anyway) it's the only one I'll ever have like it! He mentioned how yeah, it's kinda sad that you're away from family and friends and all that, but we'll have how many more of those after the mission -- probably at least 50 or 60 or so! This Christmas can be extra special because it's just me, my companion, and the Savior. So I really want to make it extra special like that! This week, I've decided to study the Christmas story a little each day, and to study by characters. So today was Zacharias and Elisabeth (and John), then there's Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and Wise Men, The Star, the Angels, and of course, Jesus. I'm excited to do this, and make it a little different and special :)

OH, and a quick little update about this last week! Sasha didn't get baptized yesterday...she backed out on the day of her interview. She's just not quite ready yet, but hopefully in a few more weeks or so! We DID have a young lady come up to us after RS on Suday and say, "So, do I have to take my lessons in order to get baptized?" JHDGKSAH;TEIWHOALKGJKLA;FOE8WYAOT4WAKFL;DSI;AYFAJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She's a girl who has had all the lessons before and is a really strong and active (non)member of the church. Basically a "dry mormon," but she's finally ready to take the lessons again and get baptized!!!! IT'S A MIRACLE!!!!!!!

Well, that's all until Thursday night!!!





Hermana Sallie

Thursday, December 17, 2009

email of 15 December 2009

Buenos Dias, mi familia y amigos!

"Tuesday?", you ask? Yes, this week I'm writing on a Tuesday. We had our big Christmas Zone Conference yesterday, so our P-Day was moved to today for this week. As far as I know, next week will be on Monday, as usual.Zone Conference was great, as usual, with some great training and counsel from President and Sister Blackburn, as well as the APs and some of the Zone Leaders. The four of us sisters in my zone (the Marina zone, for those of you who were or were not wondering...) did a special musical number, and it turned out really nicely. It was a Sally DeFord arrangement of "What Child is This?", and is really a beautiful arrangement! The Christmas ZC is a little longer than usual, with a big group picture taken at the beginning, and a fun little Christmas program at the end, after dinner. "Santa" (Pres. Blackburn) came and read us all "The Grinch," which was SO fun!!! After he read to us, we each had a chance to come up, and the Elders got to sit on Santa's lap for a picture and a little gift, while the Sisters got to go and stand by Santa...also for a picture and a gift. :) It was really fun! I'm actually really enjoying Christmas on the mission, and almost wish that I got two! But that's fine...I'm reallly trying to live it up all I can, especially now that I have less than a year left! AAAAAAH.

We have a little tiny (as in maybe 6 inches tall) Christmas tree up in our apartment, a little wreath on our door, and the Senior couple who live next door put lights up along the railing out front :) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I'll take some pictures of everything and send it home so that you can see what our little L.A. Christmas looks like :) Maybe I'll try to get some pictures of the temple all decorated too!

By way of mission business, we were asked yesterday to please write home and ask our families to please NOT call the mission office unless it's something really urgent. The office is really busy, and I guess they've gotten a few calls along the lines of "Did Elder...get his package yet?" or, "Do you know if my son needs more socks?" or, "I didn't hear from my missionary last week - is everything ok?" So yeah... I'm not terribly worried about y'all calling, but thought I'd mention it anyway. They told us to tell our families to just think, "If my son/daughter was on a mission in Mongolia, would I make this phone call?" and judge by that.

ANYWAYS... We have a baptism coming up this Sunday!!! And Grandma Lynes, guess what? She's Russian!!! She's actually from Uzbekistan, but is and speaks Russian. Her name is Sasha Rubini, and she's just great! She actually just moved to the US back in October, and married a brother in our ward, which was her connection to learning about the church. She doesn't speak very much English (though she IS learning very quickly, and no, her husband doesn't speak Russian...and no, I don't really know how that works either), so we've taught her through a translator this whole time. It's been such a cool experience, and a really good opportunity for the brother in our ward who translates to brush up on his Russian! Bro James (our translator) actually mentioned last night how really awesome this has been! He said it's been really neat to see Sasha, and to see how completely open and prepared she was to receive the gospel. She reads everything we give her in her Russian BofM, she prays, she has a testimony of Joseph Smith, and is willing to keep all of the commandments, no problem! Last night we taught the WoW, and although she's a coffee drinker, she said she'd give it up! It's been a little bit challenging because between the language barrier and the fact that she tends to be fairly shy, it was kind of hard to tell exactly where she was testimony-wise at first, but she's since opened up a lot more, and really is SO GREAT!!! We watched "The Restoration" with her in Russian last night, which was really cool too! So yeah, we're really excited for her baptism this Sunday! Keep us in your prayers!!!

WELCOME HOME, ALEX!!!!! Don't worry, I'll hold down the missionary work for ya out here in the field if you'll help me readjust when my time comes! Hope you had an amazing mission, and that your "transistion" goes well! God Speed, Elder, I know the Lord is proud of you for all that you've done in serving an honorable mission!

Alright, well I'm about out of time again. Please know that I love you and that I'm doing well. I really do love it out here, ups and downs and all!

The church is true, and so is the Book of Mormon!

"Be good, and no more sadness!"


I <3 Being a missionary!


Hermana Sallie

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

email of 09 December 2009

Questions first, then I'll talk :)

Any suggestions on packaging your Christmas box? Has everything arrived OK so far? (Halloween box OK?)

So far, everything has arrived just fine, so whatever you've done before will probably work great again.

What will your schedule be like for Christmas Eve and Day?

I have no idea yet...we should find out either this week at interviews or next week at Zone Conf.

Will you just stay in or is it prime teaching time?

I'm fairly sure that ON Christmas day we stay in, but I'm not sure on the details or on either of the days surrounding Christmas. Holidays are kind of tough though for missionary work...on the one hand, everyone's home and with their families (or out of town), but on the other hand, no one wants to be bothered. So we'll see.

Will you be having a zone/district party or anything like that?

I don't know, but I think that's a GREAT idea! Again, we'll probably find out this week.

Any idea what time you will be calling? (Y A Y !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CAN'T WAIT TO TALK TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!)

Sorry, I'm also not sure on this one, though I am pretty sure that I'll just call you from the cell phone that we have -- nights, weekends, and holidays are free, so I think that that will be the arrangement. I'll let you know for sure when I find out. What time would be best, and what number should I call? Dad mentioned in his last snail mail (which was the only snail mail I got this week -- thanks Dad!) that if I can call before 12 EST, SSs will be there, but we'll see how it all goes down :)
I DO know that I'll have 45 minutes, so be ready for that.

Do you have a CD player? I assume this is the best way to get you music--make a CD and send it to you.

Yep! And that would be great...make me a couple of cds if you want :) I DID actually buy 2 CDs today at the dist. store...just the primary songs in spanish and a MoTab CD...Sounds of Glory or something like that. So I'm still wide open for anything else you'd like to send! OH, and in addition to our normal "acceptable" music, for Christmas we are also allowed to listen to "tradition carols by LDS artists" as well, so anything Christmas you want to send my way would be fabulous!

Is there anything you need me to send to you?

Hmmm...not especially, though if you happen to run across any other cute sweaters from the houses you clean, I certainly wouldn't be opposed to that :) It's actually pretty cold (highs barely in the 60s, lows in the 40s...hey, temperature is relative!) here, so that would be fine. If you feel the urge to include panty hose (I know most elders get socks, etc...), I like jet black or suntan, with reinforced toes.


I got emails from Bro. Tustian and Bishop Tolman this week -- Thank you thank you thank you so much!!! It was GREAT to hear from both of you! ...however, due to mission rules, I need to have any/all emails from anyone outside of my immediate family come THROUGH my immediate family. So if anyone who wants to email me could just send the emails to you (mom or dad or any of the boys), then you can forward them on to me, and that'd be great! I know it seems like a little bit of overkill, but rules are rules, and there are blessings for obedience!

This week was great! We had a baptism this past Saturday for an incredible girl named Karen. She was actually almost completely taught by the previous sisters, so all we did was get the service organized, etc, but it was great! Hopefully we'll have a few more coming up here soon, but it all depends on how they're progressing. It's so great to be a missionary though, and to see all these different people and their different lives and their progression in the gospel! Sometimes when we're out (mostly as we're driving from our apartment to our area each day), I just look at all the people we pass by, and just wonder about them. What are they thinking? Where are they going? What do they do for work, and what is their family like? What big joy or tragedy just happened in their lives or with their families? What kinds of questions do they have? Do they know that there's a God who knows and loves them? There are SO MANY people in this world, and all of them SO DIFFERENT! And Heavenly Father somehow knows and loves them all!!! It's amazing.

Today we got to go to the temple, and boy did I need it!!! I haven't been to do an endowment session since my first transfer (last time we went I did initiatories), and it was so good to just go and sit and listen and feel and remember! Oh, to go and escape from this crazy city and commune with God was so wonderful! If you haven't gone lately, GO!!! And if you can't go right now, GET THERE!!!

I have a quick question in the way of needing advice. Especially from those of you who have served missions, but also from anyone else who has any thoughts, how can I respond to those people who pull the "We all worship the same God" line? It's so hard to figure out how to help them understand that this is SO MUCH MORE than that! YES we all worship the same God, and that's the most important thing, but why don't people get the importance of the apostasy and the restoration and the real, true Priesthood authority, and that it DOES matter?!?! Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated :)

Well, my little 5 minute warning just popped up, so I'll finish up here. The church is true, the Lord lives and has called a living prophet in our day! The Book of Mormon and the Bible are the word of God to lead us and guide us and help us truly know His will. We CAN all return and live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and our families FOR-E-VER!!!!!


I LOVE YOU!!!!!!


Mucho Amor,
Hermana Sallie