Monday, March 22, 2010

email of 22 March 2010


It's true! It's true! It finally happened!!!!! Cindy got baptized yesterday! Everything went beautifully...strangely smoothly, which, of course, is what we were praying for, but baptism days are (almost) always a little crazy, with lots of last minute stuff happening to get in the way. I guess most of the opposition came before the day of. Anyways, it was lovely -- short, sweet, and simple, just like she wanted it! So yeah, I am a very happy missionary!

Now let's see...This week....

Oh! Transfers -- Sis. Stout and I both stayed together here in MdR, so we get another 6 weeks to do things right! We're both really happy, and it's been a good chance to reevaluate and make some good goals for this transfer!

I hope everything goes well with Grandma and her dental work today! Mom, I just can't help but laugh when you tell me about she keeps forgetting everything. I know it's terribly frustrating and hard for you, but seriously, from this distance, it's hilarious. But I know it's a struggle for you...I'll definitely keep praying for you and for her! The Lord is just helping you be ready for the Celestial Kingdom, that's all! I think maybe I'll send Gma a little card/letter this week with all sorts of good stories and things from my mission, so that whenever you're having a hard time, you can give it to her to read and she can tell you all about how great things are going for me...again!!! :)

Do you have any idea how talkative old Hispanic people can be??? OOOOOOOOOOH my goodness that can be frustrating when you're a missionary on a time limit and you can't get a word in edge-wise!!! We had two of them, back to back on Saturday...sweet older (60's, 70's) Mexican men, who just talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk...I don't know how they do it! And I'm terrible at interrupting, which is what you have to do if you're going to even attempt teaching them! I just always think, "Oh, he's right in the middle of a story...I'll just wait until he finishes his thought, and then I'll jump in." The problem is, they just go from thought to thought to thought without ever finishing! They are also children of God though, and I do love them, even if they drive me nuts. :) It's pretty funny too, I'm sure.

We had a lesson yesterday in the singles ward that we cover about tithing. As we were discussing, a letter that Joseph sent me a while back came to my mind, and I've really been thinking a lot about it. He talked about how a mission is your "life's tithe," and suggested/shared the counsel that'd he'd received to go to the temple following my mission, and take a good amount of time to sit in the Celestial room and go through my entire mission, really giving an accounting fo my "life's tithe" to the Lord. That has really struck me, and given me the desire to live each day in my mission with no regrets. I'm certainly not perfect at it, but I am trying; I really want to be able to give a full tithe of my life and to have no regrets! And even though y'all aren't on the same type of full-time missions as me, I think that's something we can all do! Live each day to the regrets!!!



Hermana Sallie

...who still loves being a missionary...more and more every day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

email of 15 March 2010

Hello my wonderful family!!!

How does your day be? I'm doing "SOOOOO GOOD!" and just livin' it up here in sunny southern California!

I would like you to know just how much I love being a missionary! God is real, and He really loves us, and I know it! This week has been a good one :) We had a dinner appointment on Tuesday with this sweet old hispanic lady, Hna Mendoza. She is somewhere in her 80's, I think, and is one of the most incredible examples of love, faith, and testimony! We went to her home, and she didn't have dinner for us because it's really difficult for her to do much cooking; she has arthritis terribly, and doesn't feel well much of the time. However, she faithfully comes to church every single week, and goes to the temple fairly regularly, I believe. Since she hadn't cooked, she kind of hobbled slowly over to her bookshelf and sweetly gave us a subway card as her dinner for us. We sat down and visited for a while, taking a little bit of time to teach the lesson we'd prepared, on the importance of prayer. She listened very intently and made some wonderful comments; we asked her to read a few times, and with her bent and crooked fingers that she could barely move, she would open and put on her glasses, then take the Book of Mormon and read carefully the verses we asked about. At the end, she told us (in Spanish), "Hermanitas, I didn't get a chance to bear my testimony in church on Sunday because it's just too difficult for me to get up to the stand, so I want to bear my testimony now to you." Then she proceeded to bear the sweetest, most sincere testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the strength that she receives from it, of the reality of the Lord and His love for us, and a few other things. It was amazing, and I felt the Spirit in a way that I haven't in quite a while. I just wanted to cry to see the faith and beauty of this tiny little Hispanic woman, to feel of her love and testimony, and to realize and learn from the incredible example that she and so many others are.

Transfers are this week...again! I just can't believe it every time they come around! I at least know that I'm not training, but whether or not I or my companion will be transferred has yet to be determined...we'll find out for sure by Tuesday night! There are definitely pros and cons to staying or leaving, but I'd like to stay another transfer here -- I really love Marina del Rey! Sin embargo, "I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord!"

Our investigators are doing well...Cindy is scheduled to (finally!) be baptized this Sunday, but we're not totally sure if testimony-wise she's really quite ready. SO FRUSTRATING!!! I want so badly for her to know and feel this for herself, but this is the tough part of missionary work where you do all you can, while still respecting the agency of others... She's come a heckuva long way, but we'll see what happens. Pray for her!

Patricia is WONDERFUL!!! One of my favorites ever! She always has these little reservations when we first teach her a principle, but then goes off during the week and gains a testimony of it for herself. She's so great. Still not willing to set a hard baptismal date because she's still a little scared of the weight of the commitment, but she's SO READY!!! Pray for her too!

Michael and Justin still won't come to church...RRrrrrrrrgh. But they're coming along nonetheless!

I love my life! the mission is the greatest thing I ever decided to do!!!

Have a great week!!!!!!!!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!

I Love being a missionary!!!

Mucho amor from SoCal,

~Hermana Sallie


Monday, March 8, 2010

email of 08 March 2010

8 March 2010

Ok, so I finally wrote/finished my "parable of the soy milk":

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 generally just 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! -- but a couple have wanted to just try the soy milk to see what it's like. I always tell them first though, "Just don't expect it to taste like regular milk!" because that, inevitably, is what they expect, and that is NOT what you get! Despite the fact that soy milk looks similar, and even has almost the same name, it is not cow's milk! I would probably never drink a glass of soy milk with a warm chocolate cookie, because that's not the flavor or texture that I want with my cookie; however, I love it with cereal or just otherwise. So as long as you're not going into your first taste of soy milk expecting it to taste like regular milk, chances are, you may like it; however, if you go into it expecting a similarly-tasting replacement, you'll probably be really disappointed, and may think that soy milk is totally gross.
Now, for the parallel/metaphor/parable:

In life, we often go into new environments, situations, experiences, change, etc, and find ourselves really disappointed because things aren't quite the way they used to be, or they aren't exactly what we were expecting, which can leave sort of a "bad taste" in our mouths. Well of course things aren't going to be the same!! This is something different! Now of course this is a totally natural and understandable response, because we tend to compare things to what we already know, but we have to realize that change is just that -- it's not the same!

Real Life Application:

On the first day of this transfer, we were helping several of the new sister missionaries get moved into the temple apartments. One of them was coming from South Lynwood (Compton), and had now been assigned to Beverly Hills. Based on all the stereotypes and "mission-chisme (gossip)", she was understandably a bit aprehensive about what lie ahead; she was coming from one of the poorer, mostly-spanish areas of the mission to, well, the rich and famous. As I talked to her though, I tried to help her be excited and pumped-up about her new area, telling her all about how "it is what you make it," and "It'll be great! The Lord has elect people there too -- otherwise there wouldn't be any missionaries!" I even shared with her my little parable, basically saying, "Just don't expect it to be like South Lynwood, and you'll be fine; realize that this will be completely different, but it's still good, and you'll have great experiences here too!"

Now fast forward about 2 weeks: My new companion and I are still adjusting to each other, and I'm struggling just a little bit to find the balance in training and yet working as hard as we can, but working a lot on the smaller details of missionary work that I've kind of forgotten about because after a while things become habit and are just natural. Now, as this is happening, I often find myself comparing things to how it was last transfer, with my last companion, and my last experience training, etc...which was kind of a downer! But then I found myelf being reminded of the very words I spoke to the sister who was going to Beverly Hills: "You can't expect things to be exactly the way they were; just expect this experience to be different, but expect it to be great and it will be great!"

...I realized that I was drinking soy milk, and expecting/wanting it to taste like regular cow's milk.

That changed my outlook and helped IMMENSELY!

So, as changes happen in life, take them as they come, pray for strength and an open mind and heart to have the experience that the Lord wants you to have, no matter how different it may be from what you may have experienced in the past, and don't drink soy milk expecting it to taste like cow's milk -- because it doesn't!!! take from that what you will. Hopefully you enjoyed it and even learned a little something from it!

Now, on more of a newsie front, life here in Marina del Rey is great! There's been lots of talk about Chile and everything lately; I still feel super out of the loop, but I'm really ok with that. I feel like I know as much as I need to know, and that's just fine for me!

The work here keeps moving along. It's sort of slowed down some, which can be a little frustrating at times, but as I've taken to saying (especially when we're rejected at a door or something), "Press Forward Saints!" We've just got to keep going, keep trying and doing our best -- our very best -- and let the Lord work as we're constantly seeking to grow and improve! Keep praying for me -- those prayers mean more than you know!

I Love you all more than I could ever possibly say!!!

I love being a missionary!



Hermana Sallie

Thursday, March 4, 2010

email of 03 March 2010


...It's already March...I can't believe it!

Oh what a good week it's been! The temple today was wonderful -- it's such a blessing and privilege to serve in a mission where we can go to the temple every two transfers! It always seems to come at just the right time, and is an amazing spiritual boost for me! Ou session this morning was at 6:30am, and it was such a beautiful little walk down to the temple from our apartment, just before sunrise, with the crisp morning air and all the little birds just singing away happily! What an incredible blessing it is to be a part of this marvelous gospel! The thought crossed my mind this morning a few times, as I was changing into my white temple clothes and waiting for the session to begin, that so many people have no idea. They just have no idea what wonderful blessings the Lord has for them, and how much higher He can and will lift us out of the dreary, smoggy "mists of darkness" of this life, if we'll let Him!!! I was thinking about all the worldly, carnal things that this world has to offer, about all the actors and actresses and their big awards shows and things -- what a big to-do it is, and how much trouble they all go to to find just the perfect dress, ect, just to parade out in front of the world -- and how it all just pales in comparison to the incredible, beautiful simplicity of the temple and gospel blessings -- and they have NO IDEA!!! Not that they're all bad people or anything, just that there's so much more; we all have so much amazing, eternal, divine potential! We just have to be obedient and follow in the Lord's way!

We tracted into a young man this week, who was very openly and brazenly atheist. Unlike Justin, who just doesn't really understand the nature of God and how to believe in Him, this man was just out-and-out opposed to God and religion and our beliefs. We actually talked for a good little bit, and he kept making so many arguments about science and evolution and proof and things like that; he also kept talking about/bringing up things about our "history" as a church -- things that were super mixed up and twisted -- and really just arguing his point from whatever angle he could. It wasn't a heated argument or anything, but we were both very open and unmoved in our standpoints. Now this story doesn't have any sort of a "cool" ending about us being able to completely defend the truth and silence him and him wanting to be baptized or anything; none of that happened. We did our best, praying for help and direction to say the right things, but, in the end, we just bore our testimonies and left. But I can tell you that even though we couldn't "change his mind," my testimony was strengthened, because I know the truth! I know the truth, and I know that I know it, and I know that that young man has been blinded by the cunning craftiness of Satan...who is carefully leading him away; and yet, he is also a son of the most high God, one with incredible potential that will never be realized as long as he is unwilling to see and hear what is true. 2 Nephi 28...good heavens Nephi was right!!!

But OH! I know that God is real and that this is His church and gospel, and that it's true!!!

That's about it for today...sorry it's a little shorter than usual, but I had lots of emails to read, and that's the most important things that I want you to hear from me today -- that the church is true and I know it!!!!!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!
I Love being a missionary!

(Aunt) Hermana Sallie (on a missin!)