Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mission Newsletter #9

So much happened this week so I hope I can write you about it all!  Here we go!

First of all, AWKWARD MOMENT! Yesterday we were driving from an investigator's home. As Sister Senior was setting up the GPS at the stop sign and as I was playing with the AC/Heater (as the driver), Sister Senior says to me, "Sister Salmond!" I look up and she is pointing to my window. I whip my head around. Ah! There's a man there! My face was terrified and looked slightly disgusted. As he bent down to signal to me to roll down my window, I leaned back and pushed the lock button! I rolled down the window down, but it went farther than I wanted (like 3 inches), so as he asked me for a direction, I rolled it up a little, then a little more. Oops! Too much! I closed it on him.  Rolled it back down so it was barely opened an inch. Quickly answered his question, rolled back up the window, and then turned to Sister Senior with a huge, dramatic sigh of relief. She started busting!! She told me how stupid and funny it looked to the poor guy who was trying to ask me a question and I just kept rolling up the window. Wow! I really need to gain a better trust of strangers...

Also, so this week Sister Senior and I got asked (let me correct myself, told) to sing at a funeral!!! What?!  We do NOT sing well in the Slightest!!! So we did it. As a missionary, the word "no" does not exist.  We had a duet of "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." However, they sounded AWFUL! So, we dragged the Elders under the bus with us. :) They only sang "God Be With You..." with us, but hey, that one was sad. We really needed the help since we were both incapable of doing parts. Overall, we survived... People tried to tell us we did well, but we all know that that is an act of courtesy, not honesty. Plus, I know the tears I saw were from the sorrow they felt for us, as they could tell we were trying so very hard, but obviously not gifted. They were sweet.

Practicing right before the funeral... at least trying. We had to capture the moment because it was funny how terrible we sounded. haha.
One last Traumatic Moment: I RAN OVER A CAT!!! I was so sad!!! It was a black cat. She looked at me scared and then dashed in front of me. I felt it under the car with the thud as I braked with all my might! No use. I hit her. I started hyperventilating and repeating over and over again, "I ran over a cat. I just ran over a cat." After a minute of shock, I began to bawl. Sister Senior tried to comfort me with little to no success. I still felt bad for that poor cat.  We pulled up to the member's home we would be eating dinner at and of course, the elders arrived at the exact same time. Elder Osiemo came up to my window to scare me, which only lead to a harder, more hysterical cry. He then realized something was wrong. I told them what had happened, while trying to calm myself down. It was not a pretty scene. I wiped my tears and marched into the home like nothing happened. (Thank goodness the members couldn't tell.) It broke my heart to have killed that cat, but the Lord forgives me. I didn't mean it. I know the cat's in a better place anyways. :'(

Quick Update: Sister Senior's health has been getting better. Not nearly as much pain. We found out results. Nothing. He said she looks normal. He doesn't see a need to do more tests or doesn't even know where he'd look. If anything changes, then she should let him know.

This week we made Baptismal Calendars for our investigators who will be getting baptized on the 28th. They are moving forward great! We should have 3 baptisms on that date as of now, and hope for 5 if Alisa's two boys who are old enough get baptized too. It's looking promising and it is so exciting seeing all of them move forward! Also, with Megan & Mike, the other two with this date, are starting to get things ready for their wedding. We are so excited for them and I can't wait to witness such a sweet and sacred thing. :)

On Friday, Sister Senior and I went on exchanges. Really she stayed home and I left. Where did I go? To Lorna, near Birmingham, but don't worry it was only in a SPANISH SPEAKING AREA!!! Yeah, no biggie. So, I smiled and nodded my head in those lessons and then bore my testimony when Sister Child told me to. I am good at the smiling part, so I am sure I looked great! Overall, though, not everyone we taught was Spanish speaking and it was a great experience for me. I love Sister Child. When she speaks, it's like you can feel the love of Lord in her. It's truly incredible. She's just so gentle and sweet, yet so happy. She has an amazing spirit.

This week, I have had a couple things I have read in my studies I would love to share with you:
       I was reading and came across Alma 17:11. It states, "And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among [replace with where   you are right now], thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls." I have never read in the scriptures a time before (or at least I never realized it) where the Lord commanded them to be good examples so they could be an instrument for the Lord. Remember, the Lord needs us to be good examples so we can represent the Lord. People watch us and it is what we do that will impress people and draw them unto us to learn of the gospel and knowledge we have. Remember that when you are interacting with people you come in contact with in the street or at the store.
        Also, we talked about Adam and Eve during correlation meeting. Often in college, I have heard people say, that they don't believe that God would give Adam and Eve conflicting commandments. "That doesn't seem right. That's not the God I know."  I have always believed God did give them conflicting commandments, but I never knew how to explain it or what to say, but how our ward mission leader put it, made it so clear. He asked, "Do we have conflicting commandments today?" Silence. "Well, I know I do." He continued, "As the provider, I have to have a job and that takes up a lot of my time, and then there's time I'm supposed to spend with my family, home-teaching, my calling, serving the poor and needy, daily prayers and scripture study, education, church and church activities, and the list goes on and on. Do we not all have conflicting commandments?  We are commanded to do so many things, but it is not humanly possible to have enough time to do them all." He explained that it's about prioritizing. This life is a test and a preparation time to meet God and prioritizing is a skill we will need in the next life when we too become Gods. It made so much sense to me when he put it that way. As I continued to think on this on my own, I became so grateful for these conflicting commandments. What if all that God asked of us WAS achievable? Would people become bored in the gospel kind of like passing a level on a video game?  I would hate to be complete, done. That would seem so empty. I am so grateful the Lord has made it impossible, so I will always have something to work and improve on. What an incredible blessing we have to continually learn and grow!
At Zone Training (too much to write I couldn't touch on it, but also great) with Sister Leifson, Sister Senior, and Sister Sheri Millard (yes, from our Glenwood ward!) 
Our apt Christmas tree and Nativity a member in our ward bought us! So sweet!
Anyways, that was my spiritual a-ha's this week. I hope you learned something new too. :)  I love the gospel and I know this church is true. I am learning so much out here in the mission. Although, I can't be there for Christmas to spend with all of you down there, know I am there in Spirit. I love you all and hope you are all having fun with the holiday (or wedding, for those who apply) hustle and bustle! Until next week, I love you!

Sister Salmond

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mission Newsletter #8

After lessons, many times Sister Senior and I smell like smoke, so when we came to the White's right after teaching; we got the spray of shame. haha.
As you all know, this last week was Thanksgiving!!! So I just want to take a moment to say thank you!

Thank you to my parents. They are absolutely amazing for all they do. They have raised me amazingly and it's because of them, I am who I am today.
Thank you to my family. I love you all. Know that.
Thank you to everyone sacrificing for me to be here on the mission, either directly or indirectly. I can't tell you how much it means to me.
Thank you to all my family and friends supporting me while I am out here. I love every one of your letters. They are better than candy!
Thank you for everyone who has been a part of my life and impacted me every step of the way.
Thank you for the humor moments that put smiles on my face.
Thank you to those at the Charleston: employees and residents. I have so many fond memories and lessons I have learned there. You have completely changed my life for the better.

       There is much more I am thankful for, but this is a good mini summary that applies to those of you who are reading this. Overall, thanksgiving was very good. We mainly spent our time with the Bush family and then visited a few other members as well. It was wonderful to have so much familiarity on the holiday. The food was very similar. The things that are different include Deep Fried Turkey! Wow! This is incredible! I don't know if I can go back to regular baked turkey again. It's makes it more moist and flavorful. And then, instead of Stuffing, they have Corn Bread "Dressing" or Stuffing, and then Sweet Potato Pie instead of Pumpkin Pie. I could try these last two, but from what I've heard from the other missionaries, stick to stuffing and pumpkin pie. haha.

Also, Zone Conference took place right before Thanksgiving. It was Spiritual and uplifting. They asked us to come with a question and they promised we would receive an answer. I took their challenge and wrote down the question. I can testify that the Lord loves us and hers our prayers. He is mindful of us and our questions and concerns and if we ask, we shall receive.

This week's HUGE miracle! Alisa surprised us and came to church! She works every Sunday and by her coming to church, she just gave up her job. She is very poor and struggles to pay her bills and support her four dear children. WOW! What incredible faith and trust she has to give up all she has for the Lord. She reminds me of the Widow's Mite. She gave only a little, but it was all she had, so it was much more in the Lord's eyes because of her sacrifice. Although we have had other families we are teaching come to church, it was her attendance that was the true miracle.
Visiting with Bro. Tubbs
As for the investigators in last week's miracles, they are still progressing incredibly. God knew they were ready to receive the Gospel. It's truly not us doing the work, God is. Megan & Mike are still set for Dec 28th for their baptism. They are planning to be wed before then and they asked Sister Senior and I to come! They will have a small ceremony and committed to obey the Law of Chastity before then. What a joyous experience! It was seriously one of the sweetest, most powerful moments I have seen on my mission thus far.

What a marvelous work that is coming forth among these children of men. I promise all of you that the church is true. God truly loves His children. He wants them to find joy and will help them along the way. Don't ever forget that.

Sister Heather Salmond

p.s. If you plan to send me any letters for the holidays, please make sure to send them to my current address. The mission office will be too crazy.Thanks! I hope to hear from all of you! :)

569 Flint Hill Trace #82
Bessemer, AL 35022
No room for Homie Gs here, just Happy Gs. :)

Mission Newsletter #7

So, this week has been a week of miracles, like NO JOKE!  Last week was a homesick, tough, slow, dead week, but the amazing thing about the Lord is that he never leaves you alone. He watches us everyday and loves to bless us as long as we are seeking for it. And after a week of praying for a miracle, the Lord gave us one after another. I am getting a head of myself. Let me explain below step by step. 

Monday after emailing, as a district, we had a great time bOwLiNg! Sister Senior & I totally rocked the first round! (We just won't talk about the second round...) And Grandpa Salmond, if you are reading this, I totally pointed my thumb! Overall, bowling was really fun. Was just a great time to hang out and let loose. :) It was exactly what I needed. 

Bowling with Elder Galorath and Elder Wright in the background

Tuesday we began teaching a engaged couple, Megan & Mike. Mike is the son of a recent covert in our ward. When we went to teach them, they were so curious and asked lots of questions. They were so excited about the church. They have been looking for the true church and as we shared the story of Joseph Smith, they said they felt like that was right and knew it was true. Megan thought it was incredible. As we taught of prayer and how to pray, Megan asked if she could try it out and say the prayer. There is nothing more that a missionary would want to hear! They accepted our baptismal invitation and we set a date for Dec 28th. We came back and taught Megan another time about the Plan of Salvation. This time her grandma, Mimi, sat in. Mimi always wondered about the after life since her husband has passed on. The lesson was so powerful! The spirit was amazingly strong. I was crying! She knows it is true and loves the plan; however, she is afraid to change religions. She has been Baptist her whole life. Sister Senior and I know that she will turn around. She knows it's true; it just will take a leap of faith and we'll help her get there. 

Also, that same day we found Juliet! She was a mormon.org referral we taught the Restoration to, but haven't seen since. We have been trying to get a hold of her and catch her with no luck. But here we are! We found her and she wants us to still come! :) Yay! Huge victory and miracle!

On Thursday, we had a dinner appointment set up with the Thomas's. We called to see if the elders were invited to be denied because they had already invited the Perkins family and thought it would be too many people. We were fine with it. As we arrived to the appointment, Sis. Thomas told us that her husband just texted her that they were bringing a family of four for us to teach! How exciting?! We ran back to our car and grabbed four Book of Mormons. Just a minute or two later, they arrived. Bro Thomas and Bro Perkins work together selling alarms. Bro Perkins was trying to sell an alarm to a family. The man said, "If you put as much effort into preaching of God instead of selling alarms, then you would be getting somewhere." This opened the door. Next thing they knew, Bro Perkins was sobbing bearing his testimony. Bro Thomas came and joined them and invited the family over to dinner. We began teaching them and everyone was so involved. It was incredible! The parents both committed to baptism. The family we will have to pass on soon though because they are barely out of our area. Sad, but I know the Lord provided this miracle for them because what is the odds of them running into this family the day that we were supposed to come over for dinner, when that was planned 3 weeks before. Miracle! The Lord is preparing his people! 

There are so other incredible things that have happened this week! I wish I had time to share everything! And lastly, ALL FOUR OF US MISSIONARIES ARE NOT BEING TRANSFERRED!!! WE ARE STAYING! I am so excited! Best Christmas Gift ever!!! Elder Leali'ie'e and Elder Osiemo have become brothers to me and Sis. Senior and I have so much more to do together, especially with all these people we are just starting to teach! Our work isn't done. :) 

Besides that, hope everyone is doing fantastic! I love you all! Have a great week!

-Sister Heather Salmond

p.s. This morning we went to Denmore's farm to feed the chickens and milk the cow. :) It was so fun! Check out the pics!

Our victory pail of milk!

Elders with the chickens

Feeding the chickens and ducks

Milking a cow - bucket list item!

Elder Leali'ie'e with Evie the Goat

Elder Osiemo riding the goat

Calf Emma

We are so fly and gangsta!