Monday, May 24, 2010

email of May 24 2010

Hello Hello my wonderful family!!!!!

SO good to hear from you all this week! Looks like you're really having a great trip (even with all the driving and yucky weather :) -- Make sure you drive safe the rest of the way and just love every minute of it all! David, I'm super excited for you too! I can't believe you're all graduated and going to college and stuff -- it's nuts! But so exciting! You're going to LOVE living in your own apartment in SLC and going to school and everything. Do you know who your roommates are yet (I guess by the time you respond to this you will, of course!)? Dah, college is so fun, and that'll be a great place to go, especially for pre-mission. Sis Tittle keeps saying, "Oh, he's going to LOVE the business college!" She's really excited for you!

Here's something really fun that happened this last week: Our awesome investigator, Mohammed (Muslim from Iran) went on a trip to Utah (he works with NuSkin), so Sis Tittle gave him her parents info and he went to see them!!!!! It was so crazy to see the picture her parents sent today of their family with our investigator; also really funny to hear Mohammed talk about meeting her family :) Mohamed, by the way, is doing GREAT! He's set for baptism on June 6th, so pray that everything will keep going well!!! He's really incredible -- absolutely brilliant, and has an awesome testimony of the gospel, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, all of it! He was originally introduced to the gospel when he worked for a different church. He did their sound engineering kinda stuff, and one day some visiting pastor or special speaker or someone came, and preached a sermon that was something along the lines of how evil other religions (including ours) are. He had a BofM and threw it on the ground, saying that noone should ever read it because it was bad and evil and all kinds of balony like that. Well afterwards, Mohammed went up to the front and picked up the BofM, wondering how on earth it could be that this would be such a terrible thing. Anyways, after reading the first 50 pages, he knew it was true. When he heard about Joseph Smith and how we have a prophet on the earth today, he knew it was true! A while back, he met a lady at the grocery store (a cashier) who is a member of the Samoan ward here (which holds all meetings in Samoan), and she invited him to church with her. So he went. For 2 or 3 months.


His English isn't even all that great, but he felt the Spirit at that Samoan ward, so that's where he'd go. So then, a few months ago, he was flying to Utah for a business trip, and who happened to be sitting next to him on the plane but Sister Blackburn, our mission president's wife! She was realy excited to share the gospel with him, but (how funny is this?!) didn't even have a pass-along card with her! So she told him to go to temple square as soon as he could, and refer himself so that missionaries could come and teach him when he got home! So he did. And now he'd going to get baptized! Sis. Blackburn came with us a few weeks ago to teach him, and she was just so happy and excited! This is the only person in her entire time here on her mission that she found and has been able to see progress to baptism, so it's really special for her too; kind of a special little gift to her from Heavenly Father right before she goes home from her mission. He's had some really amazing spiritual experiences in his life that have led him to this point, and now he's getting baptized!!! Love it. I love it!

So anyways, I was just thinking -- since you'll be in Utah this weekend, you should go see the Tittle's too! That would be so fun, since your daughters are currently mission companions!!! Sis. Tittle is giving her parents your phone numbers, and I'll give you their info, so hopefully you can hook up. :)

(Note: Sis Tittle is Sallie's companion.)

Tonight we're going to do an FHE with a family from our ward, and I'm really excited because we came up with a really fun lesson/activity to do with them! When we stopped by to set up the appointment, we said we'd bring brownies or something; Sis K. mentioned that her youngest, who's 4 loves making brownies. He likes to do the stirring. So we decided to incorporate that into things. So we're re-labeling the brownie mix as "Happy Family Mix," and each component (mix, eggs, oil, water, bowl, spoon, etc) is going to be labeled as something that helps us to have a strong, happy family, as well as have a scripture ref/GA quote/Family Proclamation paragraph with it! I'm really really excited! Don't worry, I'm writing it all down for future'd better believe I'll be doing this again, on my mission and with my own family someday!

Life is good! I'm so glad that you got to go (and will go again) see the Joseph Smith movie at the visitor's center! It's amazing, huh? I feel so blessed that we have that available here in our mission! It's an amazing tool in the teaching/conversion process!

Have a great rest of your trip, and know that your missionary in LA loves you and misses you!!!

Thanks again for the pictures -- you'd better believe that I show those off to everyone I can!!!

I Love you all SO MUCH!!!!!!!!
The Church is TRUE!!!!!

I LOVE being a missionary!!!!!!!!!!!

Hermana Sallie

(aka: Aunt Sallieonamission)


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

email of 19 May 2010

Happy Temple P-day!!!

Sorry I didn't give you any warning ahead of time...I just didn't think about it. How is everyone doing today? It was great to hear from ALL of you this week! What a pleasant surprise! I'm glad to hear that the road trip/firefighter training/electrical test passing is all going so well...and that my prayers are working! Yey!

I got my birthday package this past Friday - Thank you SO MUCH!!! I love everything! David, thanks again for your sweet note and gift, and Mom for the pearls and shirt. I LOVE them! I wasn't totally sure about the shirt at first, but turns out it looks better on than off :) And I really do love the pearls...I couldn't believe it when I opened them! Thank you so much. It all reminded me very much of you, but in a good way -- the pearls especially are just very classy and feminine, and I just feel so special and loved!

And THANK YOU for the granola!!!!!!!!!! That's the best part of all, and I've been enjoying it all week! I just had to laugh when I saw the pretzel m&ms because I actually bought a little package of those at the store a few weeks ago, and thought, "oh boy -- salty, sweet, crunchy -- when Mom finds out about these...!"
And of course, thanks for the PB M&Ms!

So today was temple P-day!!! I know I've said this before (i.e. every time I have a temple pday), but I LOVE the temple! Today was interesting because we had the 7:30am session, and it was almost entirely made up of missionaries...and by that I mean that only 3 of the people going through the session weren't missionaries. And with Sis Tittle and I being the only 2 sisters in our whole zone, we were 2 of 3 sisters in the session, with about 25 brothers! That was different! Wonderful though, just wonderful!

Just after our session, our zone helped in putting together/organizing the mission 72-hour kits, which one of the sr. couples in the mission is taking around to all the missionaries to make sure we're all ready and prepared! Following that, we hit up the distribution center -- I got a gospel art book (a must as a missionary), and a mini Children's songbook.

Highlight of the week:

Patricia got baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, May 16th finally rolled around, and Patricia (one of my favorite investigators from Marina del Rey) got baptized!!! The service was really nice -- Patricia was really nervous, but really happy too! Right after she came up out of the water, she said "oh my gosh!" in sort of a "I can't believe I actually did it...I'm a Mormon now" way :) It was cute -- It's always funny to see/hear people's reaction right after their baptism.

Let's see...we also had Zone Conference this last week, which is always great! There's a lot of changes taking places right now in our mission, the most noteable of which is that we are no longer a bi-lingual mission. For the last several years (since 2006 or so), all the clam missionaries were bi-lingual (Spanish, Korean, or ASL), but recently the brethren have decided to change us back to a Spanish-English mission, and we'll be getting some of our first English-only missionaries in this next transfer. Now, what does that mean for those of us who are here now and are bi-lingual? Well, that's what we'd all like to know too! We won't really know though, until our new president gets here in June/July. Pres. Blackburn says he doesn't think it'll really make much of a difference for a while though. Meanwhile, we still study Spanish most everyday, and try to speak it as much as possible!

Dear family of mine, life is wonderful! Challenging, but wonderful! So often I look around myself and just wonder why and how in the world I ended up being so blessed! Thanks for being the best family ever! The church is true!!!!!

I Love you all!
I Love Being a Missionary!


Hermana Sallie

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dearest Family of Mine,

I can't tell you how good it was to talk to you yesterday!!! I really surprised myself by being a lot more emotional than I was strange because at Christmas, I figured I'd probably cry or be homesick or something, but wasn't, and so this time around I didn't think it'd be a problem, but I definitely surprised myself by crying when I bore my testimony to you in spanish, and again right as we were getting off the phone. I'm really not homesick, but I do miss you and love you so much, I really can't express it.

Hopefully it's just one of those little worries you have when you're away for an extended period of time, but sometimes I have that little worry of "what if something happens before I come home, and there's someone I won't get to see again?" It's terrible, I know, and hopefully it's nothing, but that little thought just nags at me sometimes, and I just want to make sure that you all know how much I love you, and how grateful I am that we're a forever family.

Anyways, on to happier, fun missionary stuff! We had a "cook-off" today for our district p-day activity, which was basically all of us getting together in the church kitchen and cooking/baking with whatever ingredients we had in our apartments. I decided to try the pioneer woman apple dumpling/turnover things (you know, with a can of soda and all that), but I've never actually made, or tried them, neither have I actually looked at the recipe. So I just kind of made it up; we had a can of pop-open crescent rolls, and a can of 7-up that a really sweet Pakistani man gave us last week (he was determined to give us something, so he gave us both a can of 7-up, saying "You cannot refuse" :). Well, there weren't any regular old 13x9 pans in the kitchen, and we don't have any either, so I ended up using a glass bowl that was about the size I wanted. They turned out pretty good, but I learned that apparently when you're baking with glass, you've got to use a pan specially made for that...yeah. Nothing too tragic happened, but the bowl did crack all the way around, and ended up in the garbage. I know, I know, I'm a little bit ridiculous. You'd think a culinary arts minor would know things like that...The apple things were safe though, glass-free, and pretty tasty! I also made some grits casserole, which I thought was delicious. My companion liked it too, but not too many of the Elders tried it. I'm attaching some pictures, and will hopefully get off another email with a few pictures as well (we can email pictures from the library in my new area :).

Here's a funny little something that happened this week: We ran into a lady who has had some really interesting experiences in her life, including being dead for almost 45 minutes once. She apparently was really into drugs and gang-type activity, but has since turned her life around, and tells everyone that they need to have a friendship with God. Well, she shared her experience of dying with us, and it was really interesting because she went to Spirit Prison. No really, she went to SPIRIT PRISON. She described to us the really weird sensation of seeing herself as a spirit (seeing herself, but being able to see right through herself), and being in an intense darkness, where she could her people crying all around her. She said it was cold there,"so cold it burned," and that she just kept going farther and farther into this thick darkness, until she saw a light and was told that she had to go back, which she did.

Hello Alma 40.

We actually pulled that out and read it to her (the description of spirit prison), and she just said, "yeah, yeah that's exactly what it was like!" Then my darling little companion told her, "Rosy, you went to spirit prison." The funny thing was that she completely agreed and told us that that was why she had since turned her life over to God. We went back to teach her the next day (on my birthday, actually), and had a really good lesson, until she decided to call her son who's a pastor for a really big Christian church aroudn here. He wasn't too happy that we were there, and we ended up sharing a basic lesson 1 with him. He stil disagreed in the end (not terribly surprising), and we got a phone call from Rosy the next day telling us that it would be better if we didn't come back anymore. Oh well...

Alright family, well, that's all I've got time for today, but just know that life is going SO well for me here, and that I love being a missionary, and I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Hermana Sallie


Monday, May 3, 2010

email of 03 May 2010

Hello, my dear family!!!

How are you on this fine spring day in May? Can you even believe it's MAY already?!?! I'm going to be 24 years old in 2 days. You know, I've always heard people say things like, "if you'd told me 3 months/6months/1 year/etc ago that I'd be here doing this, I would've said you were crazy!". I always thought that was kinda funny, but now, I think I understand it a little better. Turning 24 in LA, California, while serving as a full-time missionary, was NOT something I ever expected for myself. But here I am, and I am loving it!

As you can tell, my emailing today means that I won't be spending my birthday in the temple, but that's totally ok. I mean, honestly, it's way cooler that I'll spend my birthday working out in the field, knocking doors and teaching people about the gospel -- you know, really doing missionary-type things! I can go to the temple on my birthday any other time I want, but I'm only going to be a young full-time missionary for this one birthday!

Speaking of which, you may also note that the day just after my birthday marks my one-year mark on my mission! How could it be so?! (c'mon, say it with the voice, mom!) Man, when I was starting out, it felt like this would never come..that it was soooooooo far away. Yet here I am, and I can't believe how fast it's all gone!

You're probably wondering just where in Los Angeles and with whom I'll be spending my two "birth" days, since transfers were this past Wednesday...

Well, I'm here in my new area of North Torrance with my wonderful companion, Sister Tittle! When I first got the call that I'd be coming here, I was initially slightly disappointed...I know, I know, that's terrible!!! I didn't mean to, but I was, ok? N. Torrance was an area that I never really wanted to serve in (I went on splits here a few times when I was with Sis. Tavares), BUT I got over that really quickly, and I LOVE it here! It actually reminds me a lot of home. I am, for the first time in my mission, serving in a "normal" church building -- just like the old Carmel stake center back home. That's significant because most of the church buildings here are pretty old and very unique; they're different from any I've ever seen before. I love them though; most of them are really cool, and have things like courtyards and pillars and pipe organs and stained glass, etc. This one though, the Artesia building, is what I was used to seeing before the mission. The people here are great too; our ward mission leader is SO on top of things and SO willing to bend over backwards to do anything we need, including memorize and give the baptismal prayer in Spanish...and trust me Dad, he doesn't speak Spanish either! He speaks fluent French, but not Spanish. He's also very good with and love bikes, so the day I came down, we dropped our bikes off at his house, and the next day we picked them up -- full tires, greased chain, fixed brakes and a new brake handle (my tires were completely flat, and I'd been storing it outside, so it was pretty rusty) -- SUCH a blessing! Torrance is a slightly wealthier area (it's right by Redondo Beach, which is really nice!), and there's not a lot of Spanish here, but there are plenty of White people, Asians, and middle-easterners! As a matter of fact, one of our investigators right now is a man named Mohammed, who is a Muslim from Iran.

Our apartment is really nice too; a long time ago they had two set of elders here, so it's very spacey, with two bedrooms (although we sleep in the same one) and a washer and dryer in the apartment! We have the only car in the district besides the DL, but we still ride bikes lots. We play ultimate frisbee every morning in a beautiful little park just down the street with a bunch of the elders in our zone, which, by the way, Dad, includes the deaf elders! Yep, we have the ASL elders in our zone, and the deaf ward/branch meets in our same building. The park we play frisbee in has a big pond with lots of ducks and geese, and the first morning we rode through it, I kept thinking of little Buster and how much he would LOVE it!!!

My companion, Sis. Tittle (like little, but with a T) is great! She's from Orem, Utah, and is super sweet. She reminds me a lot of Carrie, actually. She's been out about half as long as me, and this has been her only area so far. Something that I really love about Sis Tittle is that she's really good at recognizing and following the Spirit, and she's always looking for ways we can be better missionaries. I really love working with her, and I'm so happy about this area!

I'm really grateful that I'm not training again this transfer. I love training, but it's hard work, and really tiring/draining, and I was ready for a "normal" transfer, with a companion who has at least a little bit of experience. It's really great being able to have other ideas and experience to draw on, and not being quite so scrutinized (not bad scrutinized, it's just like being under a magnifying glass all the time) in everything I say and do.

So here's a quick little break down of my mission so far, in case you aren't keeping track of it (which you probably are...)

MTC: District 4C, Sis Gregersen comp
1st transfer: Downey, Sis Foutz trainer
2nd and 3rd: Downey, Sis Tavares
4th and 5th: Marina del Rey, training Sis Dickson
6th and 7th: Marina del Rey, training Sis Stout
8th: North Torrance, Sis Tittle comp

8th transfer. Holy cow.

A few weeks ago, I had a really good personal study that I've been wanting to share. I was reading through lesson 1 (PMG ch 3), and a line from "God reveals his gospel in every dispensation" really stood out to me. It says something to the effect of "Whenever people choose to disregard, disobey, or distort gospel principles, choose to reject the Lord's prophets, or whenever they fail to endure in faith, they distance themselves from God and begin to live in spiritual darkness." What stood out to me was the last "apostate" option: failing to endure in faith. It reminded me of another part in CH1 of PMG that says "do not get discouraged" because it will lead to lack of faith, decreased desire, lessened effectiveness, etc.

Ah, no time!

Anyways, it just made me think about how important it is for us to always endure in faith, no matter what, so that we can stay in the light!!!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

I Love Being a Missionary!!!!

Hermana Sallie