Tuesday, January 26, 2010

email of 25 January 2010

cual es la diferencia entre una pera y una novia de un misionero?
una es pera, y la otra no


That's my most recent favorite Spanish joke. It doesn't really translate into English very well, but if you're dying to know, ask someone who speaks Spanish and let them explain it to you :)

Well Happy January 25th!!! I surely hope that everything is going great in your neck of the woods! California is just great! This last week was really good for us here, rain and all! Yesterday, we had 6 investigators at Sacrament meeting! Actually, in total we had 12 people in church , but only 6 who are specifically investigators made it to sacrament meeting (so that's the 6 in Sacrament mtg, plus 3 children under the age of 8, and the neice of one of our investigators...we haven't taught her (the neice) yet, so she doesn't count as an investigator; two of our other investigators made it to church, just not quite in time for sacrament meeting). It was a miracle!!!

We actually went by around 9:30 in the morning for the Reyes family (the one's we were going to walk with), and when we got there, the house was still pretty dark, but Alejandro (the 10 year old that we're teaching) answered the door and told us that everyone was still asleep, except for his aunt (Alicia, investigator) and his grandma (Antonia, also an investigator). Jorge (the cousin - investigator) was asleep on the couch and wouldn't get up. Then Alicia's sister came out and told us that they weren't there...they'd left, but she didn't know where to. RRRGH! So we ran over to the laundromat to check and see if they were there...no dice. So we went back to their apartment to wait outside to see if we could catch them. Wait, wait, wait, nothin'. We called their house and talked to Teresa (the sister) again, who told us they still weren't there. Walked back to the laundromat to see if anyone there knew where they were. Nope. Went back to the apartment, and right as we got there (it's about 9:50 by this time -- church starts at 10), out came Teresa (the sister -- not an investigator) with Antonia (the grandma, one of the one's we were looking for) and several of the kids. Antonia just said that she was so sorry, but they weren't going to be able to make it this week because the had to go help their cousin with some food thing. Sorry! Come next week though, we'll come!


I can't tell you the feelings of frustration and disappointment that I was feeling as she told us that. I couldn't even really muster an understanding smile. Both my companion and I were pretty much about to cry. Maybe it seems silly, but OH! When you work with and love a family so much, and then they don't do the one thing that you've been really planning on the whole week -- the one thing that you know will help to strengthen and solidify their little growing testimonies, and will help them progress in the gospel -- never mind the fact that you got there with plenty of time and waited for nearly a 1/2 hour, when that happens, it can feel like a pretty crushing blow!

So anyways, we just sort of stood there, watching them leave, and listening to Antonia's apologies, not entirely sure what to do. So we asked if Alicia was going with them, or if she'd be able to make it to church. Antonia said that Alicia was going with them -- sorry, next week! -- and called in after her. We went in to just see and talk to Alicia for a second, and she came out crying. She said she was so sorry, but would for sure come next week, and would we still come by during the week. So we talked to her for a second -- almost all of us in tears -- and then left to walk to church by ourselves. Halfway down the street, our phone rang, and it was Alicia. "Will you wait for me? I want to go -- I'll hurry!"


It was kind of an Alma moment -- you know, the terrible sadness and disappointment that turned to great joy and rejoicing. We were two happy and excited sister missionaries, let me tell you!

So we ran back to the apartment, and waited while Alicia hurriedly got herself and her 4, 6, and 1-year old children ready. In the meantime, we woke Jorge up and told him to hurry and get ready because he was coming to church. Within about 7 minutes, we were all ready and out the door! So the 7 of us walked to church together and had a great Sunday!

So that was our big Sunday! And that's not to mention all the others that came and had great experiences as well! We actually tracted into a lady -- Danielle --on Saturday, who recognized us as a wake-up call from God that came at just the right time in her life. She came to church and brought her neice, and had a wonderful time! She was the most vocal and active participant there, as a matter of fact! We're teaching her later this week, and are so excited!

Also, Sister Dickson and I won the clean apartment award for this transfer (and that's out of the entire mission, thank you very much!), called the "Elder Gene" award, which includes a steak dinner with Pres and Sister Blackburn up at the mission home tonight!! I'll be sure to take and send pictures!

So good to hear how well everyone's doing! Thanks for the great emails, as well as the little messages from friends -- it's a fun little treat!

Dad, thanks for being amazing. I so appreciate your letters, especially in the last couple of weeks. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to get those kinds of letters from you!

Well, have a fabulous week and remember how much your missionary loves you all!!!!!!!!

I Love you TONS!!!!!!!

Hermana Sallie


I Love Being a Missionary!!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

email of 19 January 2009

Well Hello!!!

Darn Monday holidays...they wreck everything! Just kidding...it's all good! It doesn't bother me so much as it did at the beginning of my mission -- which is a good thing. No offence, because I love you all SO MUCH and I LOVE hearing from you, but I feel like I'm finally getting to the place where I ought to be...where I don't really miss you all that much, and where things not directly pertaining to the mission don't matter as much to me. Don't get me wrong!!! I really love having an inbox full of letters each week, with updates on all that's going on at home, i.e. bathroom remodels, births, weddings, school, etc. It's just that I don't so much just live for my one hour of email time every monday anymore. More than anything, I live for our lessons with the Reyes family, and with Patricia, and with Gavino; I live for the chance to go to the projects and teach Estela and the Topete's; I live for my personal study time each morning; I LIVE for my almost 8 hours of sleep each night :); I live for driving up to the lit-up L.A. temple each night feeling completely beat from a long, totally satisfying day of work; I really live for missionary work!!! And it's the most wonderful feeling!!!!! So I love the highlight of hearing from some of my favorite people in the whole world, and all that's going on in their lives once a week, but I LOVE being a missionary!!!!!!!

I've decided that I want to live my mission as if I was running on a moving sidewalk; so that by the end, when I run right off the end of it, onto solid ground, it really is a total shock, and I just about trip and fall before adjusting to the difference of the pace. The only problem with that is that the faster you run on a moving sidewalk, the sooner you're at the end of it...which ISN'T so much what I'm going for, but will probably be a natural reaction. So if, in a little over 9 months, when I walk off the plane (run off the sidewalk), don't worry if I'm just a little bit shell-shocked, and struggle at least a little bit when re-adjusting (aka: if I'm totally post-mission awkward); that's kind of my goal at this point.

OK, so on to this last week!

The weather here is crazy right now! It's pouring down rain outside, as it did yesterday, and is forcasted to for the rest of the week. Also, I saw lightning and heard the first clap of thunder that I've heard since arriving here in LA! Something about "el nino"...sure makes tracting fun :)

Corina got baptized on Sunday!!!! It was a great baptism, and we're so thrilled for her! It's kind of funny because it's not like this is a huge change for her; really it just makes the changes that she's been undergoing/making for the last few years "official". She sure seemed happy though, and so are we! It's the first baptism that Sis Dickson and I have had that was really "ours" (meaning we taught her from start to finish...except that she'd already had all the lessons about 1 1/2 years ago), so it was pretty exciting, especially for my darling companion :) We sang "Consider the Lillies," which turned out really nicely; she and I both love singing, especially together, which is so fun to be able to do! She carries a beautiful melody, which gives me a chance to have fun with harmony underneath (and sometimes over top) her. Anyways, it was great! We won't be having a baptism this Sunday because our investigators just aren't QUITE ready yet, but the 31st should be a big day for baptisms!

We're teaching a family (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) right now...the Reyes family that I mentioned earlier. They were actually former investigators that were taught before we came into the area, and who we started teaching about 2 weeks ago. I LOVE this family so much!!! It's a great little (well, actually not-so-little) family from Mexico; Antonia is the Grandma, who makes and vends tamales at the local laundromat 3-4 days a week, Alicia is her daughter (who has 3 children of her own -- Jose, Juan, and Sara...who Antonia calls Sarita), Jorge is her cousin...I think (we're still figuring out the exact relationship there with Jorge), and Alejandro is her 10 year old grandson (the son of one of her other daughters). There's actually a lot more people than that who live there in the house, but those are the ones that we're teaching and that have baptismal dates. Anyways, it's so great to teach them! They all come in and sit down to listen when we come, they love learning and participating, Jorge loves reading any BofM verses we need read (and is a great reader), and they're all really excited to get baptized!!! Alicia came to church with her two little boys and Alejandro this Sunday! It was an 88-stake stake conference (which was wonderful), and those little boys were the best-behaved kids there! We're going to go over and walk with them to church this next Sunday because none of them have a car, and I'm really excited! My favorite part of everytime we go over is the closing prayer. It's such an awesome experience to kneel down on the wood floor of their little apartment -- all of us, adults and kids -- and to hear their sweet, humble prayers in spanish. I love being a missionary so much; I just can't even tell you!

Oh, and have I mentioned yet that one of my favorite things in the whole world is hearing little children speaking spanish? It is. I LOVE little hispanic children, especially when they get really excited and just go off in spanish (or the ocasional spanglish...:)!

This is really the greatest place ever -- I LOVE it!!!!!!!

I hope that you all have an AWESOME week, and that you see miracles and the Lord's hand in your life every day -- look for it, He's there!

Good luck with the bathroom remodel, and Dad, I sure hope your back gets better soon!!!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

I LOVE Being a Missionary!!!


Hermana Sallie

By the way, the church is SO true!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

email from 11 January 2010


Oh how I love my dear, sweet, wonderful family!!!

Thank you so, so much for all your love and support and your great letters each week!

Oh man...I just got the emails with pictures from Amy and Laura. I can't believe how stinking grown-up we all are! Mission, Marriage, and Mommy! It's really funny to see where we all are right now in our lives -- I never would have expected things to turn out quite the way they have so far, but how wonderful!

Well, MY exciting news for the week is that (just like the title says...) WE'RE GONNA HAVE A WEDDIN'!!!!!!!!! VAMOS A TENER UN CASAMIENTO!!!

That's right, our wonderful investigator, Rosy, decided that she's going to get married, which means that she can be baptized too!!!! It's such a blessing and a miracle and an answer to prayer, I really can't even tell you! She'd been really nervous/scared of actually committing to marriage with Reymundo, but she prayed a lot about it, and we prayed and encouraged her a lot about it, and now she's going to get married!!! We don't know exactly when yet, but hopefully it will be really soon so that she can still be baptized on the 24th!

It's been a neat experience because we've prayed a lot about and for Rosy, especially that her heart would be softened and opened to a willingness to marry Reymundo; he's really a wonderful "might-as-well-be" husband, and wants to marry Rosy, but she's been scared because of past experiences of unfaithfulness from her former "husband". Anyways, so this last Thursday, during our weekly planning session, we decided to have a special prayer right in the middle of it for her because we were looking over what all we have left to teach and do with her before she could be baptized, and obviously getting married was the biggest obstacle, since she and Reymundo are living together. Anyway, so we prayed especially for her, especially that things would come together so that she could still be baptized on the day we originally set with her (the 24th), and THE NEXT DAY, when we went over to teach her, we asked her again how she was feeling about marriage and everything, and she said that it felt right, and that she would be married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were two VERY EXCITED missionaries, let me tell you! I don't know if I've ever mentioned it before, but I have a very real, very definite testimony that the Lord hears and answers our prayers!

If all goes according to plan, we'll be having a baptism every Sunday for the next 4 weeks!!! And if everything goes BETTER than according to plan, we might even have 5 or 6 baptisms in the next 4 weeks!!! Corina's getting baptized this Sunday, then Rosy and hopefully Cindy on the 24th, then Patricia and Alicia on the 31st, and Estela on the 7th!!!!!

The Lord is really blessing us here in Marina del Rey, and we've especially noticed it as we've tried to find ways to stretch ourselves and put forth extra faith and effort. Thank you so much for all of your prayers on our behalf, especially those you pray especially for our investigators! I can't tell you how much it meant to me to read that you pray for them as well as for me! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I've been studying the Plan of Salvation a lot lately, and I really, really, really love it and am grateful for it! It's amazing just how simple and beautiful, yet complex and deep and completely all-encompassing it is! Heavenly Father didn't leave a single thing out (of course), and it's just so perfect! The gospel is so incredibly beautiful and perfect, and I can't tell you (that's my phrase of the day, can you tell?) how grateful I am for it, and for this amazing opportunity to be here on a mission, learning and studying in ways that I otherwise probably never would. I'm learning things and understanding and appreciating the gospel on an entirely different level than I ever have (and probably ever will again), and I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's just so wonderful and amazing and beautiful and perfect! God is real, and He loves us; this I know.

The church is true!


I Love Being a Missionary!!!


Hermana Sallie

Monday, January 4, 2010

email of 02 January 2010

2010 - - What in the world!?!?!?!?!?

Oh, dear family of mine, how are you doing?!

From the sounds of it, your week and your New Year has been pretty good; thankfully the world didn't come to an end or anything...not that we were expecting it to -- that's 2012, right? We actually get that question all the time: "So, what do you think about 2012?", or "So do you believe that the world is going to end in 2012?", or "How about 2012? Do you think that THAT'S when Jesus is coming?" etc. Gimme a break.

Remember that part in the scriptures where JESUS says that not even the angels in Heaven will know the time of His coming? If they don't even know, then I seriously doubt the probability that the ancient Mayans knew. They probably just got tired of making their calendar and figured, "2012 years...yeah, that seems like long enough." Or maybe some punk Mayan kid thought it'd be funny to see what would happen if he wrote something about "the end of the world" happening in 2000-some-odd years.
So yeah, that's kind of my take on 2012.


Sorry for the totally random tangent there...the week was really great for me! I just love being a missionary! I love just about everything about it. I love being in L.A., I love serving in Marina del Rey, I love the people we see and meet everyday, I love being able to study the scriptures for almost 3 hours on a daily basis, I love my companion, I love our investigators, I love waking up and seeing the beautiful LA temple every day, I love the Marina with all the boats and the ocean, I LOVE the Projects, I love seeing the sunrise coming up over Santa Monica Blvd each morning, I love wearing a tag with the name of Jesus Christ on it every day, I love teaching, and yes, I even love tracting. Who knew that this day would ever come. :) That doesn't mean that tracting is my favorite thing to do, and that I don't still on occasion have to fight back a little bit of fear and trepidation before walking up to someone on the street, or knocking that first door, but I have indeed grown to truly enjoy and love tracting. It's fascinating to get a little peek at the lives behind each door (though sometimes that comes in the form of a voice behind a closed door telling us to go away), and to really see and understand how much every single person in this world needs the gospel! It's funny how sometimes it still just kind of dawns on me: I'm a missionary! I'm actually ON A MISSION, living and serving in California, speaking spanish, for goodness' sake! It reminds me a little bit of how Joseph was right after Aaron was born. I remember that he had picked me up from my little apartment in Provo to go to his house for dinner a couple of days after Aaron was born, and as we were driving he just stared out the windshield in amazement and said, "I have a son. I have a red-headed son!!!" I still have those moments about being a missionary. How in the world did all this come to be?! We had a big mission-wide devotional on New Year's day, and President Blackburn pointed out that this isn't just the start of a new year, but of a new decade as well; one in which we will be making some of the most eternity-altering decisions of our lives (no pressure). One of the other speakers told us "as you look forward to a new year and a new decade, think back on the past decade, where you've come from and the decisions you've already made that got you here!" So, while I really just take it one step at a time, one day at a time, even sometimes one hour at a time, I'm also trying to look forward and do all that I can now to prepare myself for what's ahead...whatever that is.

Dad, before I forget, who was your mission president? I ran into someone here who served in (I think) the same mission as you, around the same time, and I'm just wondering if you would have served together! His name is Bro. Beasley, and his Miss. Pres. was Pres. Crandall. Also, could you send me your PH line of authority? I'd really like to have it to use as a visual aid in teaching.

Time's almost up, but I want you to know that I've had a wonderful week, with lots of teaching and tracting and learning and growing! I know that the Savior lives, and that He loves us. I know that He truly is the only way back to the Father, and that the Father's plan is perfectly made so that ALL of His children CAN return!

The Church is true.

I Love you all more than you know!!!

I LOVE being a missionary!!!


Hermana Sallie