Monday, June 28, 2010

email for 28 June 2010

Dear Family!!!

I'm glad you got the card and pictures, and that you've enjoyed the pictures :) The videos of Saroj and Mohini are my favorite! I'm going to try to attach a few pictures onto this email from last week (it didn't work last week); some from the temple, and a couple from our district bowling last week.

Mom, thank you SO much for the little package you sent me! David, I now happily sport LDSBC every morning playing soccer with the Elders :) The article you sent was so great -- really what I've been needing. Something funny: when I first opened up and pulled out your letter(s), I was thinking, "Wow, Mom, that's a lot!" So I flipped through to the back really briefly to see if it was all letter, or if there was other stuff in there too. Well, the first end of a letter that I got to was your primary letter, only I didn't realize that and just thought that it was the last page of my letter! I was so confused because it was signed "Sister Wilson". I thought, "What? Why did she sign her letter 'Sister Wilson,' and nothing else -- not even a 'HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!'? Maybe it's because I'm Hermana Wilson, and she wanted to sign it Sister Wilson...?" I was so confused, and a little sad thinking that you hadn't even signed it, MOM! But then, after I actually read it, I figured it all out, and laughed at myself for the confusion! Thanks for being such a great mom, and for being in tune with the Spirit to help your little missionary in LA!

To share a little from my journal this week, as to why that article and your letters are such a blessing, "The article [Mom sent me] is exactly what I's about our short-sided, inadequate striving for perfection, and our great need for the Atonement. I have discovered since being on my mission that I am very much a perfectionist, and nowhere near perfect. The thing is though, before my mission, I knew I wasn't perfect, but I could fake it pretty well. However, here in the mission, my flaws and short-comings are ever before me, and being within sight and hearing of a companion 25/7, I've found that my short-comings and imperfections are in view of her too. I remember once, when I was with Sister Tavares, having a breakdown over her trying to practice Spanish door approaches with me; I don't remember all that happened or was said, but I do remember saying to her through my tears, "I guess it's because I'm not perfect." And then that loving mission- and life-changing phrase [from Hna T]: "Hermana, you don't have to be perfect in order for someone to love you." So here I am, almost a year later, having learned and grown so much since then, but still often struggling with feelings of weakness and inadequacy. Especially over the last transfer (#8), I have often felt bombarded and overwhelmed by my inadequacy. I cannot say how grateful I am to have had Sis Tittle as my companion! She was ever loving, encouraging, and complimentary of me -- who I am, what I do, etc -- Anyways, I haven't felt so down as of late, but I wanted to get this down because it's an experience that I've learned and grown much from." So yeah, Mom, the article was great for me! Thanks!!

Zone Conference this week -- Pres and Sister Blackburn's last one! It was wonderful -- bittersweet, but really, really wonderful! They had permission to hug all the missionaries, Elders and Sisters, which was soooo nice! When President announced it, he said "..and when you come back into the chapel from lunch, Sister Blackburn and I will be standing at the door, and we want to greet you all -- with a hug. Yes, Elders, you now have permission to hug Sis. Blackburn; you don't have to, if that's too uncomfortable or you just don't want to, but you can if you'd like; and Sisters, I'm going to hug each one of you, like it or not!" So I got to hug President!!! The whole ZC was wonderful; I found myself being taught some really great things by the Spirit that I needed; mostly about working with members, but also for my own sense and feeling of working hard enough/being good enough...I don't know if that makes sense or not to you, but it was just what I needed. Anyways, so today is the Blackburn's last full day in LA -- they leave tomorrow, and the Baker's come in! I'm excited for the change and to see what all happens; we'll have interviews with the new president next week, and I'm really looking forward to meeting and getting to know him.

I got Carrie's wedding announcement this week! Oh my goodness, I can't believe she's getting married!!!! I'm really happy for her, but good grief -- that announcement made me momentarily trunkier than I think anything else I've received during my mission! I'm so bummed that she's going to go off and get married WITHOUT ME THERE!!!!!, but then apparently life goes on, even when you're on a least she'll be able to be there when I get married! Love you tons Carrie -- best wishes!!!!

We're kind of in a "finding" phase right now...not a lot of progressing investigators we're working with right now, so any and all prayers you could offer in that regard would be GREAT!!! Thanks!!!

Oh, and one more thing -- a quote that has helped me a lot lately: "My dear brothers and sister, don't get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don't feel downcast or despair if you don't feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets, choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible, and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you." E. Uchtdorf

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

I ♥ being a missionary ☺

Love, Hermana Sallie


Monday, June 21, 2010

email of 21 June 2010

Hello Hello Hello!!!!!

I've been writing a few individual emails today, so this big one won't be quite as big as usual...but I'm only kind of sorry about that :)

Yesterday was a good Sunday! A little disappointing because most of the people we'd hoped would come didn't, but as President put it, "That's a sad part of the job" sometimes. On the plus side, Mohammad was confirmed, and it was wonderful! Pres and Sis Blackburn came (they weren't able to come to his baptism, which killed Sis B), and President even stood in the circle!!! How special is that?!

We had a wonderful experience this week! We had the opportunity to go to the temple for a chapel session and an endowment session -- as an ENTIRE mission!! President and Sister Blackburn are going home, and this was a sort of special "goodbye party". It was wonderful, just wonderful to be in the temple with our mission -- about 200 missionaries total!! The session was great, and it was really wonderful to be able to go into the Celstial room and be greeted by Pres and Sis Blackburn, and then to see all of my dear missionary friends and companions! THAT is what heaven is going to be like...only better!

I've been learning a lot about faith this week. Sometimes my faith is really weak and lacking, but the Lord is really strenthening and blessing me, as I go to Him and humbly ask. I shared with Dad my recent favorite scripture/story. It's in Alma 14, and is Alma and Amulek. Please read it -- especially verse 26! I wish I had the time and ability to express my love and testimony for and of the Lord, His Gospel, and my faith. Faith (along with all other Christlike attributes) is a gift you know! It comes, says PMG, as we exercise our agency righteously.

I love you all! Have a WONDERFUL week!!!!!

Hermana Sallie

who LOVES being a missionary!!!!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

email from 14 June 2010

NOTE: sorry this was late fault. ALSO...I finally learned how to insert photos in the letters!!!! Thanks Wendy!!!
Sallie's Dad


Oh, life is good! I love baptisms -- they are truly the joy of missionary work -- but can I just tell you that they are the most stressful things as well?! They are.

Things actually went very well yesterday though; most of our opposition came the week before, so really, things were good. I was getting a little nervous when our baptizee wasn't there until 5:50 (the baptism started at 6), and the baptizer was even later! But, nonetheless (sin embargo!) everything went wonderfully! There was a great turn-out, the talks and testimonies were great -- really just perfect -- our missionary moment (the missionaries always stand up and share a brief gospel lesson while the person is changing, and Sis Tittle and I did it for this one), Mohammad was so happy; it just was a really great day! Oh someday I hope that you can come and meet all these people here! I just love them so much! It's really amazing what happens as a missionary -- the kind of love that you experience for others, especially those you teach and baptize! I also had a very nice compliment after the baptism, which I want to share by way of future remembrance for myself, and also because I thought you'd enjoy hearing, but not at all in a prideful way. You really don't need to include it on the blog, I mostly just wanted to share with my family :)

There's a man in our ward -- Bro. Christmas -- who looks like Santa Clause, and is a really funny old man. He's always making smart-alec remarks through Gospel Principles, and doesn't go to any conferences (stake, or general) because he says they repeat themselves too much. I know, I know -- it's just what he says!
Anyways, just after the baptism, Bro Christmas came up to me, shook my hand, and said (something to the effect of), "I really enjoyed your comments up there; I appreciated the things you said, and I felt the Spirit. Oh, and your eye contact is impeccable!"

I just thought that was so nice! It's always nice to hear a "good job!" when you do things like that, and I just especially appreciated that he noticed and commented on something specific; I guess I feel like that means he really meant it! Anyways, it was just nice -- I really try to be personal and meaningful when I teach, which includes looking people in the eyes. It's not something I really even think about too much, but I do it, and I'm grateful that he noticed :)

By the way -- we taught a short version of the 3rd lesson (PMG ch. 3), just in case you were curious :)

Guess what?! I felt and Earthquake!!!!!!!!!!!! It was actually last Monday, at about 2 in the morning. I woke up because my bed was shaking, and I laid there for just a second, then it stopped. My companion slept right through it, but I definitely felt it! Then, for the rest of the night I dreamt about earthquakes...weird dreams. Anyways, when I woke up the next morning, I wasn't 100% sure if I had jsut been dreaming, or what, but I was pretty sure, because I distinctly remembered waking up and looking at the clock and all that. So later that day when we ran into our WML's wife and son at Target, she asked us if we'd felt it. YES!!! There really was an earthquake, and I felt it! Apparently it was pretty close by -- just in Hermosa beach, but nothing else has really happened since then. Don't worry though -- I'm safe, everything is just fine; it's just part of living in California.

Sorry Mom, I hope I didn't worry you too much; I was just excited to have finally felt an earthquake. I'm over it now, and would be fine with no more earthquakes :)

It was great to hear from mom and dad this week -- I love getting letters full of Spiritual insights and happiness! Thank you!!!

I really excited because this week we'll be going to the temple for a special mission-wide devotional with Pres. Blackburn in the temple!!!!!!! Bah -- I can hardly wait!!!

I'm also sending a few pictures with this email :) One is of most of my zone last transfer, and the others are from Mohammad's baptism yesterday. The picture with just two sisters and Mohammad is Sis. Tittle and I; the other (with 3) is Sister Nef, who was Sis Tittle's companion when they very first started teaching Mohammad. Enjoy!

I want you to know that I really do love being a missionary! I know that the church it true -- the Book of Mormon is true, and no one can convince me otherwise!!! I'm SO grateful for the gospel in my life! Thanks for raising me in a good, righteous, gospel-centered home. I am forever indebted to you for that.

Just so you know, I'm walking in truth :)

I Love All of You SO MUCH, and I LOVE being a missionary!!!!!!!


Hermana Sallie


Monday, June 7, 2010

email of 07 June 2010

7 June 2010

Oh Family!

I just love you all so much, can I just tell you that?! Your vacation sounds like it was so much fun -- a lot, and plenty to wear you way out, but really great too! Thanks for the pictures too! I can't believe how grown up those little boys are getting!

Funny little note -- as I was reading Mom's travelogue, I read the part where Dad went to bed early one night, so Mom went out to shop and browse a little by herself. My initial/instinct reaction was "wait --you can't go by yourself! You have to stay together!" Sometimes I forget that married couples don't always have to stay within sight and hearing of each other...You know you're a missionary when...

Life here is just great!

Today, for our Zone P-day activity, we had a cook-off! It's always fun for me when I have an excuse to cook; there's not usually much time at all, so I really enjoy it when I get a chance. One of our ZLs is from Alabama, and is actually going home on Wednesday (yep, transfer time again!), so I decided to make BBQ and macaroni and cheese. I mostly just wanted to make it. It all turned out really good! They didn't have the meat I was looking for, so I ended up just getting a cheap beef pot roast, but it turned out really well, as did the mac and cheese, especially considering that I don't have the recipes out here! The elders didn't know the difference -- most of them were just impressed that I brought something in a crock pot :)

8 ingredients, Elders -- 8.
...and that includes salt and pepper.

Anyways, so that's my fun food story for the day/week/transfer.

Speaking of transfers, I just happen to know (at least part of) what's happening on Wednesday! My companion -- my darling little Sister Tittle will be leaving. :( I'm sad because I'll really miss her -- she's been an awesome companion, and we've had a great transfer together! She is going to be flush training, but we don't know where yet; President said he wanted to leave something a surprise for transfer calls Tuesday night :)

I'll be staying here in North Torrance, which will officially be an english-speaking area (unofficially it might as well be an Arabic/Vietnamese/Japanese/Chinese/English area), and my new companion will be Sister Molina, from El Salvador! The funny thing about that is that she's my "granddaughter" in the mission! Sister Dickson (my first trainee -- "daughter") trained her last transfer, and now she'll be coming here to be my companion! I'm really excited! I've had the chance to meet Sis. Molina a couple of times, and she's really sweet; Sis Dickson says she's a dynamite missionary too, so I'm really excited! It'll be nice to have a native-speaking companion again so that I can really work on my language abilities and accent!

There are a LOT of changes this transfer in the mission! With the change to being a Spanish-English mission, plus prepping for the Visitor's Center (which is scheduled to open sometime this or next month!), PLUS getting our new mission president, it's going to be ca-razy!!! The President change will happen on the 29th; our new mission president is Pres Baker, from somewhere in Utah. That's about all I know about him. I'm really going to miss the Blackburns, but I'm excited for a new president too!

I don't remember if I told you last week or not, but Mohammad was supposed to be getting baptized yesterday. Due to some unexpected opposition, his baptism has been moved to next week at 6 o'clock. I've decided that the more significant the person/baptism, the more the opposition. Mohammad is incredible though, and so solid! He has an amazing testimony of the gospel, especially of living prophets. Our bishop yesterday said, "I'm pretty sure he's going to be the first Iranian Apostle!" Wouldn't that be awesome? He'll for sure help with the Farsi translation of the BofM!!! It's so awesome to be able to be one of the missionaries that helped to teach him! He's so funny -- he rarely calls us by our actual names; usually he calls us "Sister-Sister!", or his latest, "Double-sister!" It's the best when you can hear it in his accent! He's always coming up with funny little things to say and call us. Daaaaah I just love him!!! I'm so excited for his baptism on Sunday -- I'll be sure to send pictures!!! Pray for everything to go well, and especially that he'll be protected from whatever more opposition may come this week!!!

As for me, I'm doing well! I really do love being a missionary, and I'm learning and growing so much! I know I'm very different than I was just over a year ago, and that I'll probably change a good bit more before I see you again. It's kind of strange, actually, because I know that I've changed, but I really can't tell you exactly how; I still just feel like me, but I know that the me now is different from the me that left last May.

In the last few weeks, I've been studying the love of God (specifically from E. Uchtdorf's talk last Oct), and it's been amazing. I've also been struggling a lot with feeling really inadequate, but my companion and the Lord have helped me a lot with that, and I'm feeling way better about things. More than anything, I know that the Lord's love is real, that He is real, and that if we'll just try, just give it our very best, He'll make it enough, no matter how great or small our best is.
The Church is TRUE!!!!!

Thanks for being the greatest family ever! I Love You All SO MUCH!!!!!

I Love Being a Missionary!

Hermana Sallie


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

email of 1 June 2010

Happy Memorial Day!!! Oh, and Happy first day of June too!!!

June! Can you believe it?!

I sure can't. And like I told David, I also can't believe that he's out on his own, living in an apartment in SLC, right by temple square and the conf center, riding his bike around town, being all cool and grown up and stuff! Since when are kids allowed to grow up and do things like that?!?!?!

Oh wait...

Actually, ironically enough, because this last week also happened to be the last week of May, we didn't have very many miles left in our monthly allotment (we have 600), so we ended up biking a lot. It's actually great, and we really enjoy it -- makes you feel more like a real missionary! And it's really not that bad in a skirt, just so you know. :) So yeah, we biked for most of the week, except for the couple of times we had meetings or service or something that was too far away to bike, or when we had to pick up the Elders (there are only 2 cars in our district -- us and the DL -- so we give some of the elders was a little weird at first, but not so bad now). I think we had 3 days that were entirely car free.
I had a few funny moments this week, as we were riding along, when it would hit me that here I am, 24 years old, riding a bike in a skirt in L.A. What in the world?!?! It's an adventrue, you know, this whole mission thing, but I love it! And we sure enjoyed being on bike. I'm so grateful that my companion is so willing to do what it takes, and love it. This has been an awesome transfer together here in N Torrance; a huge blessing that I really needed.

It's so great to hear about your vacation -- speaking of adventure! I'm glad everything went well with getting David off, and that you've been able to have the awesome experiences you have. Isn't the Priesthood wonderful? The experience you shared of Dad getting a blessing while you were in SLC reminded me of Ether 12:27. How often we're given trials and challenges that are hard, yes, but give us such an opportunity to turn to the Lord!

We had a cool experience yesterday of being able to experience and recognize the Lord's guiding hand in this work, and what it's like to follow the Spirit. We had planned last night to have dinner at a member's home where one of our investigators lives, and we were planning on having an FHE with their family, but especially focusing on their son-in-law who isn't a memeber. Then we were going to do another little FHE with a recent convert at another member's home. Well, about 5:15pm we got a message that our dinner needed to cancel (it was scheduled for 6pm, which is why you make back up plans as a missionary!). Bummer, but ok. Then, as we were eating dinner at home, we got a phone call from the members who we were planning on having our second FHE with, and they needed to cancel too! The recent convert could still do it, we just needed to find another member's house to do it at. We called several different families, and were about out of ideas, but then thought of one other family we could try, and, it turned out, they were available!!! Then Herman (our investigator from the first cancelled appointment) called to say that they were home now, so we were stil able to go by to do a lesson.

Those two changes were exactly what needed to happen. When we went over to see Herman, Chris (the NM son-in-law) was there and decided to join in the lesson. The family as a whole wasn't up to FHE, so we decided to do some BofM reading with Herman and Chris. It was great though, because it gave us an opportunity to really talk to Chris in a way that we couldn't have, had it been an FHE with kids running around screaming, etc. It was a great lesson too. He really opened up to us like he never really has befor with th sisters, and we were able to testify of the blessings that the gospel brings individually and to a family, especially the PH. IT was awesome, and both Sis. Tittle and I felt very directed in the things that we said in that lesson. It was funny too, at the end, when we knelt for the closing prayer, because here we were, two little sister missionaries, kneeling with these three very large grown men (One big white guy with a shaved head and a beard, one big black guy with dread locks who is a bouncer on the weekends, and one big half Samoan who is also a bouncer) to pray. It was a really spiritual moment, and just very powerful to feel the Lord near in that prayer.
Then, when we went for our second lesson/FHE with Brenda (the recent convert), it was definitely the right thing. It wasn't so much that the lesson was amazing as it was that the members were exactly who she needed in that moment. It's so awesome to see the Lord guide His work!!!

I would like you to know that this church and Gospel is the Lord's, that it's true, and that He guides it. I know that He loves His children, and that we find more happiness than we can even imagine as we learn to love and serve Him!

I Love You, and I love being a missionary!!!!!

Hermana Sallie