Friday, January 24, 2014

Mission Newsletter #15

Eating Sukiyaki for the first time at Sister Gunter's! Yum!
This week has been full of tracting! We are trying to find more people to teach. We are teaching a few (Katelyn: age 16 and Logan: age 8), but overall, we need a bigger teaching pool. Our days are becoming harder and harder to fill as we run out of people to see. But it's been good! We have found a really nice lady, Linda, who seems promising and a college-aged boy, Mike, who we will be passing on to the elders. We can tell he is also really interested; we just can't tell if he's interest in us or the gospel... Werr, weerrr, wweeeerrrrr.

The highlight of this week was definitely with Alisa and her family at fhe! We taught the family on missionary work! We made all the kids future missionary tags and we taught how they could start being a missionary now. I asked Alisa to share with her family why she has been feeling the need to share the gospel with her sisters and friends (since that is what she's been telling us she's been doing.) She then went off a completely different direction than I expected! She started telling us how amazing WE are for teaching her family and she wants to make sure we know that and that she loves us. So, I then tried to tie it back in, so we could make it work with the lesson, but instead, I ended up sounding completely conceded! I began, "Like you said Alisa, we're amazing... Wait! I didn't mean that!" Too late. The damage was done. The spirit was gone and roaring laughter filled the room. Oh well. What can you do?

Sister Kilgore's Birthday! (although you can tell
she isn't too pleased about the Sundae. hehe. So cute.)
Also, this week we were able to go out with Sister Kilgore to teach. It was her birthday! And she took US out to lunch! Shouldn't it be the other way around?! She is just so sweet! But, don't worry, we had them sing to her and she got a free Chocolate Sundae, which broke her diet. Because of this, we had to get a dessert too, so she wouldn't be eating it alone. Sister Senior got a Sundae as well and I got... fruit. Yep. Story of my life. haha. Also, this Sunday at church, she informed me that she bought a cook book for me that has recipes for people with allergies! She made a packet for the ward members of all the recipes I could eat so I don't get sick anymore. It was like 15 pages! How sweet! And she also are making egg replacer packets and carrying them around on Sundays for whenever people want it from her. She is such a sweetheart! It is incredible everything she has done for me. She has just taken such good care of me! I love her so much! And so, we heart attacked her and the Bishop as a big thank you!

The Kilgore's heart attack!
Fun Moment! Sister White always tells us that if they're not home, don't be afraid to come in and use theb athroom or whatever. We've never done it yet, but this week, we needed to and thought we'd do some service and clean her kitchen while we were at it! The funny thing is that later, we discovered she was home... Just in her room and couldn't hear us. Good thing we didn't scare her and she didn't mind! haha. I love Sister White!
Surprising Sister White with kitchen cleaning!
Also, this week we were able to sit down and talk to Tywanna. Can I say I just love her SOOOOO much! I have really missed visiting with her! She is been so amazing though. She hasn't stopped reading her scriptures and praying daily. You can tell the Holy Ghost really plays a major role in her life now. Good news! She is here to stay and will no longer be living in Birmingham! We are back to visiting with her at our regular times and she'll be back at church starting this next week! I know the Lord protects his children, even when they are far away and we don't know how they are doing, He does. He does. :)

Lastly, I just want to share a story Sister Senior shared with me of her friend's experience. His family owns a barn and there was a big fire! They tried to save all the animals they could, but most perished in the flames. Once the fire was put out, they had to go and collect the dead animals. With a wheelbarrow, his dad took care of the barn as he headed out to the chicken coop. He placed one dead chicken after another into the wheelbarrow. As he picked up one hen, with her wing extended, little baby chicks came running from out of her wing. They had survived the flames of the fire because they were protected by their mother. Like in 3 Nephi 10:4-6, the Savior is the hen and his wings are extended out to gather us as his chicks. If we turn to him and his sacrifice of His life he gave for us, we too will be protected from the fiery darts of the adversary. And He, like the hen, stands there calling us and we are the ones that must run to Him. We cannot hope that we can be saved from the flames if we do not run under His wings of the Atonement. I urge you all to turn to Jesus Christ, our Savior. He will be our protector and through him we can be saved and forgiven from all our sins and imperfections.

I love this gospel and I love serving a mission. It has been a huge blessing. I pray for you all everyday and I love you with all my heart! Keep writing (and if I haven't written you back from Christmas, I am sorry! You'll be getting one soon! I am still trying to play catch up!) I love you!

Sister Salmond

P.S. As missionaries, we always have to back each other out as we drive in reverse. I was outside at night,
Demon dog!
after we heart attacked the Kilgores. I had my camera conveniently in my pocket from taking pictures of our heart attacking job.  As I got out to back Sister Senior out of the drive way, I suddenly noticed a vicious Pomeranian charging right at me! He was barking and ready to kill! I screamed to Sister Senior as I quickly took pictures of the attack! Thank goodness this last one was taken inside the safe vehicle! The Lord loves me! I am not meant to die yet! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mission Newsletter #14

This has been another slow week, although it's picking up a little bit; but don't worry the Lord is mindful of me! This was overwhelmingly evident on our slowest day on the mission thus far!

In our studies, we got a call that changed all our plans for the day. We suddenly went from a planned day to nothing. As we tried several finding techniques, the day kept creeping by slowly with boredom. But, the Lord provided a way of making my day a little more interesting. For this, I am oddly thankful that:

We walked into a jewelry parlor (thinking it was a knick knack store) to look so that we could run into someone to teach. We went in and it had like two people in it. We tried to talk to one lady working there, but no success. We could tell it wasn't going anywhere. With that, we left.

As we walked down the street and waited to cross, a lady who was in the store (a customer) raced over to us and to get our attention. She told us our skirt was tucked up in our underwear. Horror filled me at first as I quickly checked! I felt relief as I felt my skirt behind me.  Fewf! Sister Senior asked as she was checking if it was her. I was just grateful it wasn't me, but I guess I should've known since I have never done that before. Just then, I heard the lady reply to Sister Senior, "No, you!" as she pointed to me. What?! I never done this! I check and again, and sure enough, it was up there. How embarrassing?! I have been walking up and down the streets of downtown like that! "How much could you see?" I asked. Let me tell you, bad question, because she responded with chuckles, "Everything!" Oh wow! What a horrifying day! I just couldn't stop laughing with embarrassment.

I am grateful that the Lord cursed me with this tragedy because it definitely created a fun plot twist in our boring dead day. haha.

Later that day: After we made efforts to fill our day, with no where else to turn, we headed to Walmart and did service by pushing the shopping carts (or here known as "buggies") and putting them away. As ridiculous as it sounds, it is actually a great tool I learned because 1. you have fun 2. you're seen doing good as a representative of Jesus Christ 3. people approach you and thank you for doing it 4. it makes everyone happier! If you are ever looking for a good deed, check out Walmart! You'll see many people smile from it. :)

Random Note: Went out this week with a sister in our ward. She took us out to lunch at BBQ place. It was SO good! Some of the best bbq and quite inexpensive too. Family: that is definitely where I'll be taking you when you come out to visit. :) Everyone else, sorry, but you are missing out. Dun, dun, dun.

Good news! We got a hold of Tywanna once more! We called her and found out that she was back in the area due to a loss in the family and wanted us to come and comfort them and leave a prayer with the family. What a hard thing for them to be going through, but we were so happy to hear from her and get the opportunity to meet with her once more. She told us to come to her house an hour from then, which we did. No one seemed to be there. (That was soon verified by a man who told us that they had to leave about 5 minutes before to run more errands.) We were sad we missed them and got in the car and took off. As we got around the corner, there came Tywanna charging in her car going the opposite direction back to the house! She pointed at us as we saw her mouth to her friend, "There they are!" Wahoo! We did a big U-turn! With that, it seemed all too familiar to our last encounter with Tywanna, chasing her down her street (except this time, she wanted to see us!) Victory! We were enthused as we sang the classic song that is often used to portray horses racing (at least that's what I think of). We caught up to them at the house. It was so good to see her. It was evident she still had the Holy Ghost beaming from within her. The true testimony of this situation was to see her bear her testimony of the Plan of Salvation. She has truly found comfort amongst her trials. My testimony is strengthened through her.

Overall, my week has been incredible, but before I depart, I want to share a quick spiritual thought with you. In Alma 33, he has previously spoken of planting our faith like unto a seed and if we experiment on that faith, we will learn whether it is a good seed or a bad seed. He emphasizes prayer and then ends the chapter in verse 23 stating, "And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen." Notice the "if"? Everything God has created is evolved around this choice, the "if". We must choose to find faith. We must choose to be happy. We must choose to be forgiven. We must choose to love others. We must choose to work hard and succeed. It's all a choice, just like it is to be sad or mad. So, I want to challenge you, if you are having a hard time in your life, or aren't sure what road to take, rely on God in prayer and CHOOSE your path. With God by our side, our burdens can be made light... if we choose.

I love you all. Have a fabulous week!
Sister Salmond

p.s. We ate at the Kilgores this week. So good! Every meal is gormet! Chilled Carrot Soup as the appetizer and Grilled Salmon on Rice with Ratatouille. Yum! I can't wait to own her recipe book one day (she said she would put it on a flash drive for us. So you'll get the recipes too mom!)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mission Newsletter #13

It's a New Year! 2014 here we come! Oh how time flies! Also, Congrats to Alexa on her Wedding yesterday! Love ya Couz! 

Update: My letters from now on may not be as extravagant as they have been. We can no longer use the family history centers to email (allowing us to type as long as we want), but from now on must use our local library. We have been spoiled, but luckily it's been a slow week now that we baptized all our investigators last week and finding people have been difficult with the holidays. So there's not much to write anyways!

Good news! Sister Senior and I aren't being transferred!  We are both staying! This will be the longest Sister Senior has ever stayed in an area and I'm now her longest companion! Not trying to make her boyfriend jealous or anything, but me, right here, I am the LONGEST she has ever spend with someone outside her family. Boo ya Baby! We obviously have more people for us to find and teach together. There is so much more for me to learn from her. "She's got a life-time of knowledge." 

I relearned how to use an umbrella this week. Pathetic I know! It has been very rainy and last night it pouring! So, I pulled out the umbrella, but as I was getting soaked in the dark, I couldn't find the umbrella button to make it magically open!  Where was it!  I started trying to force it open, but that too didn't work! Finally, I found the easy button on the opposite side. It's about time I figured out how to use my umbrella. Maybe it would've been better to run for shelter than mess with my umbrella as I continued to become drenched. Whatever.

Miracles of the Week: 

1. Sister Senior's recent convert disappeared when I moved into the area about 3 months ago. She just picked up and moved without telling anyone where she went. We have searched for her with no success. About a month ago, we gave up. As we were driving, Sister Senior suggested that we try her one more time. It was so random I agreed. Don't mess with revelation! However, when we went to the house that we believed was her's, we were informed by a neighbor we were incorrect. We've tracted that whole street pretty much trying to find her. We decided to talk to her mother once more to get more direction of where she could be living. But low and behold, there she was outside! What a miracle?! She was their for her grandson's first birthday party! Sister Senior and her were reunited once again! The Lord wanted us to find us to find her. Talking to her went so well as we bore our testimony of prayer and the love of our Heavenly Father. We hope we can keep seeing her and bring her back unto Christ. There is no such thing as coincidences. 

2. We were leaving Meagan and Michael's house, when I felt that we should try to see Sherry. She is a neighbor of a less active that we met. We stopped by and the less went so smoothly. We left a Book of Mormon with her along with the new My Family packet. She has a large interest of family history work. I know that the Lord has prepared her for us to visit because as we briefly taught her of the Spirit World, she told us that that is what she has always believed. No church that she has attended has told her that, but she has always felt that. She has also stopped attending her church recently, so it's like the Lord planned the timing just right. We have such high hopes for her as it was so evident that the Spirit was present.

Lastly, before I go, I wanted to share something I learned this week. As you guys probably know, I love being people's favorite. I have worked so hard to be my mom's favorite. She doesn't like to admit it, but I know where I lie. ;) But this is something I have always wondered when it comes to God. How can I be highly favored like Nephi states? I want to be one of God's favorites and this week, I found out how! In Alma 27: 27, it spoke of the people that they were (a) perfectly honest (b) upright in all things (c) firm in their faith of Christ. The equation continues in verse 30: (d) zealous and then (e) become a highly favored and beloved people of the Lord. a+b+c+d=e. This is how we can all become a favored people of the Lord. I promise you that as you become this type of people, you too will be favored.

I love you all. Have a happy week!
Sister Salmond

p.s. Sorry, no exciting pictures this week. :(

Mission Newsletter #12

Before I get started in my happy, miracle-filled week, I want to take a moment to address a hard moment for my family and I this week: our elderly dog of 16 years, Sophie, died on Christmas Day. The family discovered her after my skype call to them. We all knew her time was short and death was imminent, but we didn't expect her to die the way she did. The way she was found broke our hearts and could've been potentially avoided, but I know this happened for a reason. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin validates this by saying, "You may feel singled out when adversity enters your life. You shake your head and wonder, 'Why me?' But the dial on the wheel of sorrow eventually points to each of us. At one time or another, everyone must experience sorrow. No one is exempt." He then goes on to say, "Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and our compassion for others. Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others." This is a growing time for each of us. This trial will increase our understanding and compassion for others. Dad and Jeffrey: what you two did for Sophie and the family makes me think of what the handcart companies did and had to go through. As I read Mom's letter describing the experience, the scripture, 1 Peter 4:8 came to mind: "And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover a multitude of sins." I know the service you two did that day is one of these acts of charity described in this verse. And to everyone else in the family:  if this burden is still weighing and you have yet to see the growth, compassion and understanding you will receive from this trial, as Wirthlin promised, turn to the one who does understand: our Savior. I promise that through Him our burdens can be made light (Matt 11: 28-30). I love you all!

Now, on to the newsletter! This week has been overall a very high week, so sorry for the personality change, but I rather get the sorrowful stuff over-with first and end on a good note. So here we go!

Wow! This week has flown by! There has been so much joy! Maybe it's from all the turkey and leftovers in the fridge, but I'd like to think otherwise. ;)

Merry Christmas!
On Christmas Eve, we got to play Santa. :) We brought Alisa the gifts that had been donated by people, who would like to stay anonymous. The kids had barely crawled in bed when we arrived, so we tried to be as quiet as possible as we dropped off the gifts. Alisa was delighted, but had no clue what was coming!

Christmas Eve after setting up at Alisa's (sorry it's dark)
The next morning was Christmas! We arrived at Alisa's at the designated time of 7 am! But, when we arrived, the kids had already started opening the gifts. She chuckled as she told us she couldn't hold them down any more. Never to fear, the Lord was looking out for us because it just happens that they didn't touch the big gifts we really wanted to see them open! When they arrived, they started opening one X-box game after another. The suspense grew. Alisa caught on as she instructed them to run and grab the box shaped like it could potentially be an X-box from under the tree. She was right! Cheers of excitement came from all the boys. They clung to it and didn't want to let go! They then went on to the next, biggest box of all. IT WAS A FLAT SCREEN TV! Everyone screamed, clapped, and jumped for joy! It was the most incredible reaction ever! Not everyone gets to witness a Christmas like this one. But this wasn't the end. As they started to settle down, but still overcome with excitement, Alisa finally grabbed her stocking. She opened up the card with $200 inside. Silence and shock showed across her face! The kids caught on and ran up to her to see what it was. Yells of "It's two Ben Franks!" echoed, along with, "Yes!" This is just what Alisa needed, money to put towards her bills. This was a huge miracle for her. It was beautiful being able to watch these miracles unwrap for this family, but for me, the biggest miracle of all, was to see their great understanding of God as the orchestrator of all these blessings, their enormous gratitude, and their understanding that after all of that, the presents mean nothing without your family. I have never heard such a grateful family in my entire life, especially with as young as they are.

After Christmas with Alisa, we were able to have breakfast at Sister Ali's and skype our families!  That was such an amazing highlight to my day and entire week! Of course, I cried when I first said hello to everyone and then again when it was time to say goodbye. Now on the mission, I have become so much more emotional when it comes to family. Don't ask me why. But seriously, every letter becomes gold and p-day is always a day to look forward to. Tip: Keep your friends close and your family closer. You'll never regret it.

The Christmas Feast
Christmas Evening finally came along and we had the opportunity to spend it at our Bishop's house! They prepared a feast for us of Turkey and Ham and then everyone else's food on one counter and my special needs food on the other. haha. I am such a freak! But I am so grateful for everyone being so sweet and good to me with my difficult diet. I know it's not the easiest to prepare a meal with all my allergies. Yet, she did amazing! (and I got to make our Christmas Salsa! They loved it and has already made it for their family parties!) Our evening ending with watching "Ephraim's Rescue," which as a really good movie, and opening up the gifts from my family!

After the Christmas Feast

Full of Christmas Feast
Can I tell you, never before have the simplest things brought me so much joy! I LOVE MY NEW PJ'S! I don't know how you knew I needed those! I've been living off of two pairs of pj's: my winter flannel set (which is often too hot) and then my muumuu. I so needed another pair! And they match and are adorable. :) Also, I have loved the earrings. Already have worn two of the pairs and am currently wearing one right now. And I have loved and appreciated everything you have all sent me! Thank you! Wish I could list it all! (This includes packages I got from everyone during Christmas time!)

My new PJ'S!
Starting Thursday, a miracle happened. Meagan and Michael's wedding was set up in 2 days! And it looked great! It was all because of the wonderful members. We couldn't have done it without them. They had a beautiful wedding with the Bishop performing the ceremony, and Sister Senior and I were bridesmaids! How fun is that?! Everything worked out great though. It was so evident how much they love each other and how much they love their son, Brody. The next day, this beautiful couple entered the waters of baptism together and left for their honeymoon today. :)

Saturday was also the day of 1. Taylor and Richard's Wedding! Congrats! and 2. Alisa, Roscoe, and Camron's baptism as well. This family is so incredible. As the two boys were baptized, it was wonderful to stand with Alisa on the other side of the font. She covered her mouth tearing up and told us that she was so proud of them. She then went last as her two watched her smiling, soaked, and shivering. The baptism ended with a musical number from Roscoe and Camron singing "I'm a Child of God." They did a beautiful job and so many people were impressed with them.

And so the week ends with a Beautiful Christmas, Wedding, and 5 Baptisms. I am so blessed to have this week and to move forward helping these Children of God to continually learn and strive so that they can make it to the Temple. That is our goal with both of these families. I know they will be able to make it there. I have seen their growth and I know their desires and I know that through God, this is very possible.

One last thing, before I go, coming up in just a day or two is the New Year!  I want to challenge all of you to try to have something you can work on this coming year. In my readings, I was reading Matt 6 right before the Lord's prayer. In verse 7 it read, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions..." I thought, it's so clear right before the Lord's prayer that we not repeat prayers, so why is this prayer repeated so often in other religions? This then challenged me to think deeper. In verse 9 it then stated, "After this manner..." This was then clear to me that the Lord was giving us steps or processes in which to use in our prayer, not to repeat it! So step 1. Do personal asking, not repetition. Then I went on to read the Lord's prayer in verse 9. "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." 2. Praise the Father or in other words, thank Him "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." 3. Align our will with the Father's "Give us this day our daily bread." Who is the bread of life? Jesus Christ 4. Ask for us to have the spirit of Christ in our lives that day and/or help us better spiritual learn/feast on the words of Christ "And forgive us our debts," 5. Repent of any sins we need to that day "as we forgive our debtors." 6. Help us to forgive the person who may have done us wrong. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:" 7. Ask for strength to withstand temptation "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." 8. Be humble and recognize that God is all.  I encourage all of you as we start of this new year to analyze your prayers in this light. I challenge all of you to join me and choose one thing you can do to improve your prayers this year to be more like the Savior's.

I love you all and I know the church is true with all my heart and Happy New Year!
Sister Heather Salmond

The epitome of the south!

Mission Newsletter #11

Merry Christmas to Everyone!!! (And Feliz Navidad to a Special Someone. hehe.)

Christmas with the Bush Family
This week has been filled with Christmas Miracles! It's incredible watching the Lord play such an incredible role for those around us approaching this fabulous holiday!

Miracle 1: We had our Chirstmas Zone Conference this last Thursday.  Besides being able to do a fun skit as a district, our Mission President and his wife were able to speak to us. He asked us what we could give the Savior this Christmas while on our missions. He then shared with us these 5 things: 1. Our Knowledge of His Life (use that to share with others) 2. Our Testimony of Him 3. Our Gratitude to all He Gives Us 4. Our Very Best Effort 5. Our Service to our Brothers & Sisters. This devotional was a miracle to me because it was a big spiritual uplift for for the upcoming year. It helps give me specific drive and direction as I move forward in the mission.  However, I want to point out, that this is not only something missionaries can give. This is something all of you can give as well! I challenge you to think about how you can give this gift to Christ this year for Christmas. :)

Before our skit at Zone Conference

Our Skit 
Miracle 2: Alisa and her four kids are having Christmas this year! She has been stressed about what to do because she hasn't even had money to pay for her electric bill. We had the priveledge to tell her to fear not because God is watching out for her and her family because of their righteous decisions they have been making. Her miracle has been a witness to me about how much the Lord loves His children and is anxious to bless us as we turn to Him. They are yet to discover this this upcoming week, but until Christmas, Sister Senior and I can't forget it because their gifts that have been donated are taking over our room! You can't look at this and NOT know it's a miracle (and that's not even all of it.)

The toys for Alisa and her family (at least the first part)
Miracle 3: We finished up helping this morning sort food and prepare the Christmas roasts. After spending a few hours there, we had the privilege to drop it off at her house with the Kilton family. There was at least 100 meals per person. As we brought in the food, Alisa cried with amazement and joy. We told her it was from an anonymous person. You can see the gratitude she had. She will never be one who will ever become prideful. She is always so grateful and instills that in her children as well. It is truly amazing to watch and learn from her. 

Finishing up sorting food
Miracle 4: On Tuesday, Meagan and Michael informed us by text that they no longer wanted to see us. We could not "add or subtract from the bible" and we can't disregard any scripture. It was clear they had talked to an Anti. I suggested that maybe we write a letter to them, but Sister Senior didn't think it would help. She told me that she has never had an investigator who has listen to Anti come back and be baptized. 
       We went to district meeting sorrowful. We were lost and distraught at what we were to do. At district meeting we asked for advice. Elder Ojelade gave a second witness and advised us to write a letter. He testified that there is great power in letters, which I 100% agree with. We were also given some great scriptures to use- John 20:30-31 & John21:25
       After the meeting, we headed home with me being sick and Sister Senior being sick the day before. There, I was able to take a 45 minute nap. I woke up alert. I still didn't feel good, but couldn't stay still any longer. I had to get to work. With that, Sister Senior and I wrote the letter for Megan and Mike. We polished it until it was where we felt it should be. Leaving the apartment, we gave a sincere, heat-felt prayer to soften their hearts. Our plan: Go, Drop off the letter on the front porch, leave without disturbing them (since they didn't feel comfortable meeting with us again), and from there, leave the rest up to the Lord. However, as we pulled up to the house, Meagan stepped out and began to smoke. Fear entered since we didn't know how to approach the awkward situation at hand. We walked up, handing her the letter and apologizing for bothering her. Her body language was cold and stand-off-ish. I had felt up to this point very strongly that this wasn't the end for the two of them. God made that clear to me; yet, seeing her and knowing what Sister Senior has experienced in the past, it began to hit me that maybe this was the end. I asked to give a final hug. With emotions running high from illness, I began to cry. Instantly, when she saw my tears, her heart softened. "Don't cry. Here. Come inside. I don't want it to end like this," she said. I tried to wipe my tears as we entered the house, joining the rest of the family. 
        We sat down as she began to explain all the Anti they had received. The Spirit was able to enter as we explained the misunderstandings and taught them of the Atonement and the worth of souls. This was a miracle! The Spirit was truly in charge of this situation. By the end of the lesson, Meagan and Michael were back on for baptism and their wedding. They will be getting married this coming Friday at 5 pm by our Bishop and then baptized Saturday at 3 pm. What a miracle?! This couldn't be the end of them! I just knew it!

Miracle 5: Alisa has been hesitant to have her two oldest kids baptized because they have been recently baptized in a different church and wanted to make sure they knew the difference. This week we were able to address her concerns and ask them if they would like to be baptized along side of their mother. They both accepted. They have been wanting to get baptized as well for a while now. :) All three of them will now be baptized on Saturday at 6 pm! 

Miracle 6: WE ARE WITNESSING A WEDDING AND 5 BAPTISMS THIS COMING UP WEEKEND! But with that, we have a lot to do, since we are planning all of it. haha. 

As you can tell, this week has been full of miracles. However, before I go, I want to encourage all of you to remember the true meaning of Christmas, the Savior's birth, and to read Luke 2. I know with all my hear, that it is because of Him all these miracles are taking place. As you make Him a greater part of your life, I promise miracles will happen for you as well!

I love you all and have a Merry Christmas!

Sister Salmond

P.S. Proof that I tried an anchovy! Not worth it

Mission Newsletter #10

So this week has been a slow one when it comes to lessons, but we have had countless service opportunities and miracles happen this week! (Including a very spiritual and uplifting session at the Temple with our mission president and his wife.)

Our dishwasher melted our black, plastic spoon in half! We smelt something burning and it led us to that!
This week, the Elders and us had the opportunity to be in a Christmas Parade! A member in our ward made our church a float and asked our Mission President for permission for us to be in it.  Ours was decorated with balloons and we had a clown. Don't know why that was the theme we had, but oh well. Hopefully people won't think Mormons just clown around. Haha. Wink. Get it?

Before the Parade
Starting the Parade!
The Elders following behind us at the Parade with our clown, Rockie
Also, later that day we had our Ward Christmas Party! The theme was Christmas Around the World. They
Trying to make the cake work better
encouraged everyone to bring different cultural and ethnic dishes they have. In preparation of this, Sister Senior and I attempted to make a Samoan dish Elder Leali'ie'e asked us to do. Yeah, it did NOT turn out right. The sugar we were suppose to brown and then cool became hard as rock! We continued to work with
It totally broke our spatula!
it until it became a super dense cake thing that tastes like dense bread with a spicy cinnamon kick, according to Sister Senior. Needless to say, we didn't end up bringing it to the party... But, we were able to go over to an Asian member in our ward's house to help her prepare Sushi. She made over 200 rolls for the party. When we arrived, it was exciting to see Alisa and her kids there hanging out and helping already! What amazing fellowshipping?! It was such a delight to see them all there without us having to initiate any of it! It brings you so much joy to see that happen as a missionary. :)

The Primary Nativity
We all arrived to the Christmas Party! It was such a success! The food was amazing and we had so many people came! A less active we invited came, along with two friends, and Lorenzo, our investigator we haven't seen in a long time due to his mother's health and recent passing, and his wife came. :) It was so great to have so many of the people we are working with come to such a fun event. The night ending with a fun program and nativity done by the Primary (which Alisa's kids were able to be part of.)

This week, I also had the opportunity to see a big miracle happen all from faith, action, and service. Over the last week or so, I have felt like Sister Senior and I need to serve more. I have expressed this to her and started praying to receive these service opportunities. On Wednesday, we were just finishing our last scheduled appointment when we got a call finding out that a less active in our ward needed our help with his Christmas service project he does each year. He buys packages and packages of food and we sort into families that need it. The goal is to give them a month worth of food! How incredible?!

All the Food we sorted
Away we went, sorting the food. There was so much! (and we only did the first half of sorting that day.) As we concluded serving, I wondered if it would maybe still be possible to get Alisa's family in this list so she could receive this miracle too. As I said a mini prayer, trying to figure out how to bring it up, the guy running everything turned to me and asked if we knew anyone who could need this service. I jumped for joy as Sister Senior and I explained Alisa's situation. A friend of his overheard and told us that she has a store house with four houses worth of furniture that she is trying to get rid of!  She was happy to give it to Alisa and her family!

At the Food Sorting Service Project with Elder Lott, Elder Wright, and Sister Senior
We drove away in shock and amazement as we had just witness only a small portion of God's love for her. Because of the choices she has made to come to church and follow God's commandments, she has been blessed enormously and she doesn't even know about the blessings that are to come. Even though she lost her job to come to church, God is taking care of her and her family. :) As of today, her house is now fully furnished except for one twin bed, just received some food and clothes, and will soon receive gifts from Santa (donated by a member), and a month worth of food. I Stand All Amazed. No song could describe this situation better.

I love the Lord and I know without a doubt that He loves us SO much. He is just waiting for us to follow Him so that he can shower us with blessings. I know that as we all follow our Savior, we will be blessed. Please read Jacob 2:18-19. It's perfect for this situation.

Know that I love you all and think of you often! Our Heavenly Father and Savior love you very much! Follow them and you'll see their hand more and more abundantly in your life. I promise.

Sister Salmond

P.S. For everyone who saw the address earlier for Christmas (569 Flint Hill Trace...) Note that that is only  for Christmas. Transfers will be happening Jan 8th? I believe so if I get moved I willl not receive the letter. So if it won't make it in time, please send it to the mission home address. Thank you and I love you all!

Alabama Birmingham Mission
3100 Lorna Rd Ste 102
Birmingham, AL 35216