Tuesday, February 23, 2010

email of 22 February 2010


Oh wait...

Well, it was news to ME, anyways...I have no idea what's going on in the world right now. Found out the olympics last night...the week before I found out that Ted Kennedy had died...a while ago, apparently. You know what though, I really don't feel as though I'm missing out on anything -- it's pretty freeing to not have to worry about that kind of stuff at all right now.

David, congrats on being so close with your Eagle project! I've been praying a lot for you and will keep doing so, especially that you can have nice weather this weekend to finish things off!

Tell Auntie JuJu that I'll be praying for her too. I'm so glad that she's doing better and know she'll continue to improve.

So remember back to my first email from the field where I talked about Christine, who was supposed to get baptized that week, but then didn't? Well yesterday she finally got baptized!!!!! That was sure exciting, let me tell you! We got to go down to Downey for the baptism, which was really good. It was a little weird being back in my old area and seeing the members and people there, but it was good :)

I was SO EXCITED to read about David's friend, Kami! How awesome that she's going to be baptized, and especially that y'all get to be part of the process! It's such a great experience and feeling to be part of this incredible missionary work, isn't it? I just love it! And what a great privilege it will be for you, David, to baptize her! I hope things continue to go well with that, and will add Kami and all of you to my prayers this week! Make sure to be great members for her and the missionaries -- bear your testimonies frequently, comment and participate in the lessons, but be sure to keep things simple and remember not to overload her with too much! And love her!

Mom, you asked me last week abuot how my spanish is coming; very well, thank you! It actually has improved leaps and bounds since coming to Marina del Rey, where I have had less spanish, and 2 non-native speakers...go figure. Actually, President told me that that's fairly common; since I don't so much have a more experienced/able companion to lean on, I've really had to work and improve myself. So although I still wouldn't consider myself fully fluent, and definitely have days where I struggle to get the words out, my ability to speak and understand spanish has improved greatly!

I'm sorry that I don't always write a whole lot of spiritual things...insights and such (at least I don't feel like I do)...I'm going to really work on that, because I'm realizing that the spiritual growth and development that I'm receiving here are far greater and of more importance than some of my silly little stories. I'm working on improving that in my journal as well -- I tend to get caught up in the "I only have 5 minutes to write something quick, so here's what happened today..." rather than share my thoughts and feelings and impressions from the day, which are far more valuable...though the stories can be pretty good :)

So I wanted to share a little something with you this week; something that I refer to as "the parable of the soy milk," (It's really not a parable...more of an analogy, but "parable" sounds better :) and it has to do with change.
I don't really have time though, but I promise to share it next week! Here's the first part of it though!

I've never been a huge milk drinker. I'd have it with cereal now and then, and definitely need milk with cookies, but to just drink a glass of milk really isn't my thing. However, I've discovered that I really like soy milk. I'm not into it because of any health reasons or anything, I just like the taste better. So since making that discovery, breakfast is much faster because I usually eat cereal (with soy milk), AND I tend to enjoy it more. Most of my companions on the mission are more into regular cow's milk -- which is totally fine! --

The church is true!!!


I love being a missionary!

Hermana Sallie


ps Just a little FYI: next week is our temple p-day, so I won't be emailing until Wednesday...don't procrastinate the day of your writing though! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

email of 17 February 2010

Hello, hello, hello!!!

How are all of you this week? Doing well, I hope! I just read Joseph's letter and was thinking, hey, Wendy's due in about another transfer! ...oh how time is measured on the mission...

This week has been good! I got to go on splits with my sister trainer (kind of a Zone Leader for the sisters...) this week, which was so great! I love my companion, and the awesome opportunity I've had now to train twice, but it was really nice to work with a more experienced sister in the mission, to be able to feel and learn from her experience and spiritual strength! Sometimes as a trainer you have to pull a lot of the weight yourself, as you're teaching and helping your new missionary to learn and do as well, so getting a little break was nice. I will say this: training has really given me such a deeper appreciation for my trainer . . . it's also made me feel really bad for what I probably put her through during that first transfer . . . I'm sorry Sister Foutz...thanks for putting up with me.

Anyways, so we had a great day together, Sister Mosher (my sister trainer) and I! Just a little highlight: As we were tracting a little bit in the morning, we tracted into this guy named Justin, who was nice, but told us up front that he was an Atheist, but recognized the good in the world. Well, we kept talking to him, and felt impressed to share Moroni 10:6, which talks about how all good things testify of Christ. Afterwards, he said, "I have kind of a secret...I know it sounds funny to be coming from an atheist, but sometimes I pray. ...Sometimes I ask Him for things, but mostly I just say thanks; and you know, it feels really good when I do that." YAY!!!!!!!

We taught him really quickly about the light of Christ, and how no matter who you are, or what you believe, as long as you're moving toward that light that is inherently within all of us, you're going to receive more and more of it in your life, to which he replied, "Yeah...I really want to move toward the light." DOUBLE YAY -- THAT'S WHAT WE DO!!!!!!!!!

So anyways, we set up an appointment for the next day, went over and taught him about the plan of salvation, and committed him to baptism on March 21st!!!

I love being a missionary!

Well, I have another new responsibility in the mission! We have here what's called the "Information Center," which is kind of an interim visitor's center, since the actual visitor's center is still under construction...as it has been for about the last 2 1/2 years. The latest we've heard, it's scheduled to open the first part of June -- espero que si! So anyways, the Info Center...since the VC is currently out of commission, there's a big room in the mission home that they open up on a limited schedule each week to show the church's current VC movie, "Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration". It works pretty much like a VC in that there are sister missionaries who work different shifts at the IC doing things like introducing, starting, and leading discussions about the movie, or give temple tours, etc. It's been an awesome resource because we can schedule it and bring people we're working with to come see the movie (or any other church movies that we have), but the senior couple who got it (the I.C.) up and running finished their mission and went home just before Christmas, so the IC closed for a while. However, a few weeks ago, the first VC senior couple arrived, and have taken the assignment/opportunity to re-open the IC and be over it until the VC opens back up.

Now, all that said to tell you that I've been asked to be the sister who does the scheduling and coordinating of all the other sister missionaries' schedules to work in the info center. Thankfully the Larsens (the senior couple who are over the IC) will be the one's worrying about scheduling the actual appointments, so all I have to worry about is the Sisters' schedules. Anyways, it's pretty cool...a little stressful, but not too bad, and I'm so excited to be able to be involved in this way!

Things are going well with my new trainee, Sister Stout -- we're getting more used to each other, and the work is starting to pick back up some more! It's really the awesomest thing in the world to be a missionary and to literally watch the changes in people's lives! I love it!

Not much time left . . .remind me next week to share with you my parable/analogy of the soy milk. :)

Oh, and David, I just want you to know that I love you and am praying for you and your Eagle project -- don't give up! You CAN finish it in time! Just work your little tail off and pray like crazy!

I Love you all SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hermana Sallie

. . . and yes, I LOVE being a missionary!!!!


ps I discovered a new favorite cereal...Quaker Oatmeal Bites...touch of brown sugar flavor

Oh, and is there any music on the way? I would reeeeeeeeeeeeeaalllly love some!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

email of 8 February 2010

Well hello!

Another week, come and gone on the mission...and I'm still alive and kickin' it! I have a great new companion, Sister Stout, from Hurricane Utah! Things are going really well for us still here, and I'm enjoying working with my new companion. I DO miss having Sister Dickson, but that's just because we had really gotten close, and I'm still adjusting to a new, different companion; she's really good though! Like I said last week though, I'm really trying to remember how I felt when I first got out, and am praying like crazy and working hard to be the best trainer for Sis. Stout that I can be!

Yesterday wa had the baptism of Estela Chavolla! It was so beautiful, and I just love how great the spanish ward is at taking care of each other in the little details that busy missionaries sometimes forget. Forgot to ask one of the sisters to be at the side of the font waiting with the towel? No worries, the WML's wife just went right in with her to help. Didn't think to arrange for/ask about refreshments? Oh, they're all over that with homemade cupcakes and hot chocolate (mmmmm....). And Estela was so happy! All three of her daughters came, and they seemed to really enjoy/appreciate it. They are a very close, loving and supportive family, and Estela is really hoping that they will see the blessings and changes in her life and want to be part of the church as well! If you'll recall, Alicia was also supposed to be baptized, but due to a few circumstances that arose last minute, her baptism is being postponed for just a little while, we hope. It sure broke my heart though, and I cried for the first time in a while. I'm not really much of a crier anymore...I think I may just be pretty cried out from the MTC and my first several transfers; although, maybe not because it sure was relieving to be able to just cry and let it out for a couple of minutes yesterday...minus the headache that accompanied afterwards. Anyways, everything is ok now, and we're going to keep working with Alicia and her family; they just HAVE to get baptized!!!

Hmmmmmm, what's something funny that has happened in the last little while that I can share? hmmmmm...well, we're teaching english to these two cute little old Indian women, Mohini and Saroj. They're so funny! Everytime we come over, when we first see them and say hi, they always respond with, "Oh fine, and you?" in this cute little accent and in the exact same tone of voice. It's really much better in person, trust me. Something kind of fun with that though, is that a few weeks ago they took a picture with us to send to their family in India. So, somewhere across the world in some family's little apartment in India there's a picture of me!

I've definitely had the blessing of being able to sing a lot out here on my mission, and I really love it! Last night was one of our "President's Firesides" that Pres Blackburn does every month or so for investigators and recent converts, and I was asked to do the special musical number for it. I sang the Rob Gardner arrangement of "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul", ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aPtzR1svzU ) which I love! It was really nice, and I think that the Spirit was able to touch a few hearts through the music.

I just love being a missionary here!

Oh, and Dad -- I followed your little suggestion from last week and asked for a blessing yesterday from the AP's (they live right next door in the mission home), and it was really wonderful! I hadn't had one since the week I left the MTC, and it was just really good to have a personal blessing from the Lord to me. So thanks for that suggestion!

It was weird to be called by my first name though...

Well that's it for this week! I love you all -- be strong!

I love being a missionary!


Hermana Sallie


Monday, February 1, 2010

email of 1 February 2010

Happy February!!!

Too bad it's not tomorrow, huh? If it were, you could go crazy receiving this letter over and over and over again every day! :D

So today is my two hundred and seventy-second (I think...give or take a day or two because I didn't check my journal this morning) day as a missionary! That means that in a grand total of about 5 days, I will officially hit my halfway mark. Man, 9 months...somebody could've had a baby in that time !! Oh wait...at least one somebody DID have a baby in that time! It's weird, and yet strangely NOT weird to be halfway through my mission. I really like the way the family we ate dinner with yesterday put it: this is a great time of the mission because I've been in it long enough to really get a feel for things and feel like I more or less have a handle on this mission thing, and yet I still have plenty of time left to enjoy and improve in being a missionary! And it's true! Although I know and feel that I still have plenty left to learn and lots of growth ahead, I don't really feel "new" anymore, and am MUCH more confident than I was 6, 7, 8, or 9 month s ago!

And on to of it all, we're coming to the end of yet another transfer here in the CLAM...and the word has been spoken: I'll be training again next transfer! Thankfully I'll get to stay here in Marina del Rey, but I'm losing my beloved "daughter" companion, Sister Dickson! It's been such a blessing to be her trainer and companion, and I'm really going to miss her, but such is mission life, and I'm excited to see what happens next! There's always a good bit of nervousness around the time of transfers, but more especially with training and wondering what my brand new companion will be like, and wanting to be the trainer that she needs, but also really hoping that she'll feel up to the huge task that it is to be a missionary. I just have to keep in mind my own experience and feelings when I first arrived, and try to be sensitive to that while also teaching, training, and moving the work move forward. Speaking of moving the work forward, we're (planning on) having two baptisms this Sunday!!! Estela and Alicia are both scheduled to be baptized at 4:30 this Sunday, Feb 7th, and we're SO happy and excited for them!!! We walked to church with Alicia and her kids and Jorge (he's her cousin) again yesterday, only this time, they were all up and dressed and ready to go when we got there at 9:30! Well, all except for little Juan (the 4 year old)... pobrecito (poor little guy)...he hadn't eaten breakfast yet, and Alicia said that he eats really slow, so we left without him. Although we didn't find out that that's why he didn't come until we were halfway to church! Had we known, we would have totally waited for him! He really wanted to come to primary too... :( oh well. Alicia is doing great though! In one of our lessons earlier this week, she basically told us that she's more than willing to keep the commandments so that she can be baptized; she just needs to know what they all are so that she can keep them! She's awesome :) Estela is our other baptism on Sunday, and she's just the most incredible lady! She has SUCH a sweet spirit and countenance about her, and is so happy about getting baptized! One thing I love about her is that she always talks about God "illuminating" her with the gospel. I'm SO happy for her, and am SO grateful for her open heart and spirit, as well as her incredible patience through these lessons as we've struggled, but made it, through the english-spanish language barrier. Last night she just thanked us over and over, telling us what an impact and blessing we've been to her (because of the gospel!); she even called us her "angelitas" (little angels). I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this woman, and what a privilege it has been to be so involved in her conversion! She is truly an "elect" It's times and people like Estela and Alicia and Patricia and Cindy (the last two of whom are still working toward baptism, but aren't quite there yet) that make it all worth it. All the walking, all the tracting, all the rejection, all the early mornings and long days, all the strugglings are just made so sweet and joyful through people and experiences like these!

Speaking of tracting struggles, I have a quick question for Alex Dunlap...did you run into many Orthodox Christians there in Croatia, and if so, HOW DO YOU TEACH THEM?!?!?!?! We've been running into quite a few lately, and I'm pretty lost on how or what to say to get/keep their attention and teach them the restored gospel! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Well, that's all the time for today -- thanks for all your love and letters! Hope you all have a wonderful week! I'll definitely be praying for the condo sale and your trip out west with David (congrats!)!!!


I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Hermana Sallie