Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mission Newsletter #6

Well, I am not going to lie. It's been the roughest week yet! I've had pretty smooth sailing leading up to now, so I knew it had to come sometime soon. So here it was! Satan has piled on one thing than the next. He's such a bully. Besides all the personal attacks, we have an overall slow, unsuccessful week WITHOUT A CELLPHONE! Why no phone? Yes, I lost it. I don't know what happened. The last place we used it was in the car, so I think it fell out when I got out of the car. We eventually got a new one, but we had to get quite creative at times. haha. That's ok though. It can only go up from here. I know that as we rely on the Lord, we will find those we need to find (and I get through my own personal problems laters.)

Using the church phone. Making life work without a phone!
Good things have come this week though! We finally got back in contact with Alisa, an investigator who only got the restoration lesson right before I came in the area. We've tried to catch her since, but her power and phone was cut off and she was always gone at work, so it was close to impossible to get her, but we finally ran into her!!! We set up an appt for the next day and came back. This time, she had her 4 little kids sit in (the oldest one is 9.) They brought such enthusiasm to the lessons and helped her with her learning! At the end of the lessons, they set up a date and time with us and then Alisa said, set it up with them and I'll just ask it off. It has been great! We have already come another time since and taught the family and have an appt forTuesday. I am so happy everything is working so great from them!  
An adorable card I made for our investigator, Carolyn, at our RS activity on Thurs. 
Embarrassing Moment! We ended up sitting in on a lesson with the elders since our appts fell through. It was with John. It was the end of the night, so I have to admit, my focus wasn't 100%, but I was trying hard to still contribute and pay attention. Let me clarify, I was definitely focused, just I was having a grand ole' blonde time. We were talking to him about feeling the Holy Ghost and he said he only can feel it sometimes. I then asked him if he would like to feel that all the time. He said yes. I then said, "You can if feel that happiness and joy all the time when you are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." "I have been baptized." John responded. AAAAHHHH!!!!! No way! Freakin Awkward! Yeah, remember what I said about being blonde, yeah! It totally didn't phase me that Elder Leali'ie'e had said he was a RECENT CONVERT and they hadn't taught him all the after baptismal discussions before we started! Oh My Embarrassing!!! That might be the worse embarrassing moment yet! I still get embarrassed and minor anxiety when I see him at church because of this. 

Went to a thrift store. Best $1.50 I have EVER spent!
This week was also full of aw-ha moments. I want to share one in particular. I was reading about the Kingdoms in D&C 76 because I was needed to mark them and identify the different kingdoms anyways with it being a new scripture set and all. As I began to read about the Terrestial Kingdom, I read in verse 74-75, "Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it. These are they who are honorable men of the earth..." It is OUR responsibility as missionaries and members to share the gospel and find these people! If we don't, who will! It is up to us to help others so we can have as many of our brothers and sisters there with us in the Celestial Kingdom as possible! That is so important! I can't believe I didn't know this before! What a great responsibility we have! And what a special blessing we have! God blessed us to give us the church. What an incredible thing! He gave us the knowledge and all we have to do is to stay faithful. How sad is it for those who do not have this knowledge, but is seeking for it? I encouraging all of you to open your mouth about the gospel even more! Be a missionary and an example. It's up to us to help those we love. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mission Newsletter #5

This week was my birthday! Everyone made it sooooo special for me!

Birthday miracles
         The beginning of the day, I woke up to my companion yelling "Happy Birthday!" Then after working out and hopping into the shower, I came out and my companion had made a Happy Birthday sign and put it up in the kitchen and wrapped my gift in construction paper, a paper bag, and used plastic bags as tissue paper. Cute and a classic missionary wrapping job. :) She got me a One Direction cup, earrings, chocolate, and mints. What every girl missionary wants! The day got only better when I opened the mailbox to find it stuffed with cards and letters! There was one card from my parents, my siblings, the DeLuca's, and a letter from Darren. :) It was the best gift ever! I can't express all the joy it gave me.

My companion's B-day decor
        We went out, having a normal day visiting and knocking on doors. We ended this day with dinner at our Bishop's house. :) They made me a spectacular birthday dinner! Pork chops stuffed with apples and bacon, mashed potatoes, baked asparagus and tomatoes, and rolls (or homemade gf bread for me.) It was
The Birthday Meal
delicious! SO much food, but worth every bite! They also made me a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, chocolate/ German chocolate cake. They lit the candles, sang to me, I made a wish (a WAY good one), only to be disappointed with my lacking ability to blow out more than 3 candles at a time. It took me a WHOLE blow to just get out one blasted candle! They weren't trick candles, but they sure were tricky. Anyways, the cake was amazing! I don't know how his wife did it!  First completely normal tasting dessert I've had since I have gotten on this diet! It was so good! Not only that, she made a normal German Chocolate cake for everyone else, so we took the rest of my cake home. She also sent me home with the gf bread, rice crispy treats!, and a box of ginger bread cookies that work with my special needs. How nice?!

The Elder's Gift
The birthday celebrations ended with meeting Elder Leali'ie'e and Elder Osiemo at the church. First
off, they totally scared me (on accident, but I jumped hard core.) They had Martinelli's set up, a Happy Birthday balloon and gift for me! They gave me the most hilarious card ever with the pic of all four of us on the front and then a silly pen with a cute journal. The journal is SO me! They were so sweet and chose everything out perfectly! We seriously have the best elders/ zone leaders ever! So overall, my birthday was amazing! THANK YOU EVERYONE!

This week we went out with a college-aged girl in the ward who goes out with us to teach. She sent off her missionary this last week. :'( Sis. Senior and I both know how hard that is. She plans to go on a mission as soon as she turns 19 in September. She'll be a great missionary. She's incredible.

Btw, everyone has been asking me about the weather. It's overall warm here. It's starting to get a little bit more chilly, but not bad at all. It's the wind that's cold, so no wind= perfect weather. It gets light way early here. The sun starts rising at like 5:30 and it starts getting dark between 5 or 5:30 at night. Weird! The pic of our apt complex I attach is taken the second we woke up at 6:30! Doesn't it look like noon? Crazy!
6:30 a.m.

We had Zone Conference this week and have a Zone Goal of 16 baptisms for November. Crossing our fingers! That would be doubling our baptisms from last month! Pray for us!

Also, Sister Senior has been sick. She has bad kidneys and they have been acting up a lot. We've gotten some testing done, but there will be more, so you could keep her in mind too, that would be great. Good came out of these appts though! I had extra study time. I had some doctrinal questions on my mind that had been boggling me. It's amazing how the Lord will answer our prayers and answers if we just put in the work and time. I encourage you that if you have questions or concerns about anything in life, if you put in the work, the Lord will follow through.

We also had Stake Conference this week. I just want to pass on one thought: "We must abandon sin and become comfortable with God, not abandon God and be comfortable with sin." We must be different from the world. Love this thought. So true.

We visited Tywanna as the first time since she has become a member. The Holy Ghost is so prominent and glows inside her! She was beaming when we came to see her. She says that she loves having the Holy Ghost and just wants to talk to everyone about God. How incredible? She has grown more and more and I know the Lord is so proud of her at this time. She will do so much good for the Lord.

Well, this week has been great as usual. I love you all. Have a great week! Pray for me! I could use it! ;)

-Sister Heather Salmond

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mission Newsletter #4

So much happened this week! Where do I even start?

First off, our mission president required all of us to memorize D&C 4. It's a short chapter, but an amazing one for missionary work! Family (and anyone else who wants extra blessings), I encourage you to check it out and maybe do it for fhe or something. I have really come to love it.

Also, Exciting moment! I'm getting better with scriptures! I can open them up and turn to a scripture to help someone more and more on demand. It's coming better and better each day as we teach and study. It's a great feeling to have the Lord speak instead of trying to say it yourself. So much more powerful.

You know how lady bugs and rolly pollies are my two favorite bugs? NOT ANYMORE! We tried to stop by and visit an inactive member's home and it was swarming with Lady Bugs!!! Let me tell you though, these are Devil Lady Bugs! There are fake devil lady bugs here that look like Lady Bugs, but they are orangey-
Ginormous rolly polley
yellow. These are also known as Pine Bugs. They are similar to Lady Bugs but they eat wood and BITE!  The covered this house and when we knocked, They swarmed like bees! Sister Senior and I screamed and
Rolly Polley-Zilla
ran! When they settled down, we headed back to the house to wait for them to answer. Good thing is no one was home. That could've been really awkward with our freak out. Now Rolly Pollies. They are deformed here! I didn't believe in evolution until now! They are enlarged and long here! They are known as Centipedes, but whatever! I know that it’s just Godzilla Rolly Pollies! They're disgusting!

 Charlotte at her finest.

Also, I have always hated spiders, but that has been magnified. There are Charelotte's Web spiders around here EVERYWHERE! And let me tell you, she is not nearly as cute as she was in the movie! See for yourself! (in the pics)

Last Friday,we went and knocked on Sabrina's door. She's in her 40s and has been inactive for over a year. When she opened the door, she was timid, but we just re-invited her to come to church. She accepted. We have started visiting her and she has been coming to church and ward activities since. She is glowing. What an AMAZING miracle? Just by one knock and invite, Sabrina has got a new energy for life and spirit about her.

Wednesday was our ward's Trunk or Treat activity! It was a lot of fun! It started with a chili dinner and then
Trunk or Treat!
Sister Senior and I ran off to run the games for the primary kids. Elder Leali'ie'e and Elder Osiemo was supposed to come too, but they came late. Food comes first with men. haha. Then it was the Trunk or Treat part and YM Haunted House. It's a big tradition. We were told we would get a lot of nonmembers there, so we were looking forward to getting new investigators, but it didn't end up happening. To be honest, there really wasn't really that many guests and those who were were related to someone and don't want to take the lessons. That's ok though. It was a good try. The whole night was still really fun!

Elder Leali'ie'e (From Texas and Samoa) and Elder Osiemo (from Kenya). We work with them like every day and I mentioned them above, so I thought I'd send a picture of them. This is the best shot I could find.

On Halloween, Sister Senior and I dressed really cute in orange and black. We were probably the cutest ones on the block. As we headed up to the library (on a special mission a-okayed by President), we were stopped by a sweet black lady who just checked out some books. She was so cheery and said she has talked to missionaries before. I perked up, thinking "NEW INVESTIGATOR! Whoot Whoot!" She then asked, "The first thing I noticed was that you two have something in common. Do know what that may be?" Me, being totally conceited and relying on past comments we have received a lot, I replied "Our smiles?" Smiling really big and bright at her. "No," she said, "you're both wearing Satanic clothing." I definitely didn't see that one coming. Needless to say, that contact didn't work out. Look at the picture though and judge for yourself. Do we really look like devil worshipers to you? I personally think we look adorable, but whatevers.
Halloween outfits. (Blogspot keeps flipping the picture, I'll try to fix it later - sorry!)

Saturday was Tywanna's baptism. She was interviewed by President the day before and everything was good to go. (Can I just say, he is the best Mission President ever?!) What a special day that was for Tywanna. She has been receiving such a hard, hard time from her family, but they ending up coming after all and supporting her. We asked them to, but didn't really expect it since they were yelling at her about it just the day before. We have prayed so hard for their hearts to be softened, and Heavenly Father softened them! The next day, Tywanna was confirmed in church. The spirit was SO strong when she received the Holy Ghost. Incredible enough, all three of her trials were directly mentioned in her blessing and the person giving it was not aware of them. That was a huge testimony builder to us and Tywanna. God knows us individually and loves each of us individually. No matter how hard life gets, if we turn to Him, he will extend out his arm to help and lift us up.  He is aware of you and me. Never forget that.

Well, That was my week for ya. I love you all and have a great week! Write me!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Mission Newsletter #3

Our zone after the zone meeting and activity, today!
Ok, I know you all have been waiting to hear from me ALL day! Sorry, we had a zone meeting today so our whole schedule is wack-O. But here I am!  I don't even know where to begin. Good thing I have my handy-dandy notebook! (I jotted down some things I wanted to make sure to tell you.)

So, I forgot to tell you in the last email, but last week at church something horrible happened! Like I am talking ABSOLUTELY horrible! Let me share. So, it was my first Sunday at church. I wanted to look cute because this is going to be first impressions for a lot of people. I wore my cute country dress that has all the fall colors spotted. I love that dress. For my hair, I wore my light dusty pink headband with the cloth flower. I looked adorbs. We got to church a half an hour early to greet the members as they arrived.  Things were going well until about 5 minutes before church when a cute older sister came in. I said hi, introducing myself. She then grabbed my face and said, as though I were a baby, "You look like an itty bitty little girl." There we go! Confidence shot! For the rest of the day I was 5 years old. 5 YEARS OLD! That's ok. It's whatever.
The scarves and hats Sister White made for us!
This week we said goodbye to one of our progressive investigators, Jose. He is moved to Washington. :( Don't worry, we passed on his name to church headquarters, so the missionaries there will get him! Anyways, after we ate and went out to say goodbye, he surprised us with a gift! Presents! (I love presents.) We took a pic, said our goodbyes and opened the big, heavy box.  We ripped the paper off to discover... Diapers?? That obviously can't be right. We dug further. Oh my goodness! It was everything we could ever need!  He got us:
      - 2 packs of 6 bars of Dove soap
Jose and the GIANT gift!
The present, about to open it!
      - 2 large dove body washes
      - 2 double packs of toothpaste
      - 2 mouth washes
      - 4 toothbrushes
      - 2 laundry soaps & softeners
      - 2 boxes of granola bars
Holy Cow, right?! I think he was maybe dropping a hint or something... Maybe we stink. Well, if so, I guess I am immune to our smells. Hallelujah to that! In all seriousness though, that was so sweet of him and we wish Jose the best of luck in Washington.

In the mission field, things are going great. I have my first baptism this week on Saturday!  It's Tywanna's. I only missed teaching her the first lesson, so I think it counts. At least, I count it! I love her though. She has been dealing with so much. Her family has been really hard on her. They don't want her to be baptized. They want her to come to the Methodist church with them, but she says that she doesn't want anyone to stop her. I felt prompted to ask her if she would like a priesthood blessing. (Love those) She accepted. A day later the elders came and gave her one. Everything worked out perfectly. She came to the church, so down. Worse than I have ever seen. Satan is really beating down on her. The elders were running late. That gave us time to talk to her. She opened up about everything she was feeling. I had her read Matt 11:28-30. Sister Senior gave her a CTR ring we just got a few of the day before. Everything fell into place and the blessing topped it all off. She said she felt peace. I hope this will give her the strength she needs to keep pushing and moving forward. Could you keep her in your prayers? The more the better.
Cool stairway in a member's home.
We got several new investigators this week! Juliet, who was a mormon.org referral. We taught her the restoration and got her to start reading the Book of Mormon. We hope to start teaching her husband soon, too. Also, there is Brandon: Amber's fiance. Amber was a convert about a year ago, but went inactive shortly after. She just started coming back to church. She wants to be married in the temple and Brandon is aware. He wants to learn for her because he knows it matters to her, but is hesitant because of his strong Baptist background. He has been told so many things, so I don't blame him. Sister Senior and I both agree that he is going to be a great investigator because of this skepticism. He really wants to know and therefore, he'll do the research and find his answer. We are really excited for the two of them. Also, Amber asked us to start teaching her. She wants to know more about the church. She feels like she is not as knowledgeable as she should be. Lastly, we ran into Antawn. He is a friend of Kenny and Essex. He wants us to start teaching him, so we'll probably have our first lesson this next week.
Religious Alabama
The beautiful Greenery out here
There is so much going on here. The work is rolling forward. I really love teaching people and seeing their good desires. I feel like I am learning so much every day. I really have the best companion/trainer. She and I make a good team. Everyone says it seems like I've been out for 8 months, including our Sister Training Leaders we had splits with this Friday, so I take that as a good sign. I still feel brand new though. There is so much to learn. I want to be the best missionary I can though cause this isn't my work, it's the Lord's. I need to get good at this fast for Him, to help the work move forward.
With our sister training leaders, after splits :)
Thank you everyone for all the support and sweet lovin'! I appreciate all the prayers I know that are heading my way. I love you all so, so much!

-Sister Salmond