Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mission Newsletter #19

We moved this week! Our New Address:
Sis. Heather Salmond
569 Flint Hill Trace #61
Bessemer, AL 35022

Or you can always reach me by writing to the Mission Home:
Sis. Heather Salmond
3100 Lorna Rd Ste 102,
Birmingham, AL 35216
Here's some photos of the move!
Old apartment emptied out!

Where's Waldo?

Dinner is served...couldn't get to anything, so cereal on the floor it is!

Working hard to clean things up!

So relieved we are all done!

Sister Senior is for sure being transferred this coming Wednesday. It'll be sad to see her go & weird at the same time! Besides the MTC, she has been my only companion. Bessemer won't be the same without her.
Valentine's Day! The Day of Love. Well, not for me, but I hope you all had a fabulous Valentine's Day. That'll maybe be something I can enjoy once again in a few years... So, Sister Senior and I took the liberty to celebrate it with each other by giving each other baskets! We bought them from a less active member in our ward who makes them. (They were sweet to give us a missionary discount.)
Valentine's Baskets

Elder Osiemo got me a Valentine! Well, really he just saw 1D stickers and thought of me. :) haha. He's like one of my favorite missionaries! Buds.

We also went out with an elderly lady in our ward, Sister Humphries. :) She is seriously the sweetest, cutest lady ever!  She was our Valentine and we spent that lunch with her at a Chinese Buffet. We love Sister Humphries. 
Our valentine, Sister Humphries :)
When we got out of our lunch with Sister Humphries, we had a missed call and message from one of the Senior couples in the mission office. We listened to the message and found out they were going to be at our apt in a half an hour cuz we'll be moving! We needed to move to a 2-bedroom apartment because we'll be sharing an apartment with the spanish-speaking sisters in our area. We raced to our next appt to inform them of the situation and then raced home to pack. We were throwing our clothes into our suitcases as the elders started removing our furniture and beds! It was utter chaos! Within an our we were cleared out and everything was left piled all over in our new apartment. What a disaster?! In my pictures, you will be able to see what I'm talking about. (Also, look carefully because I played a little bit of "Where's Waldo?" for ya! hehe.)
Gourmet lunch at the Kilgores - My massive hogi sandwich on my gluten free, egg free, dairy free bread! hehe!
The next day, we were informed by Bishop to come and pick up bikes from Alisa's 3 boys. They were donated by an anonymous individual. We then dropped off the bikes! They loved them! At first, they were confused. Not understanding that the bikes were for them, but then they hopped on and went crazy. I love that family! 

To conclude, I want to share Ether 3:4-6. Some people can have hearts of stone and cut us off or the message we share. As we pray and fast for those we care about, whose hearts may be hardened, can be touched by the Lord and be filled with light. I testify this is true. I love you all and sorry for the shorter email. There's just a lot going on right now. I love you and have a great week!

Sister Salmond 

Mission Newsletter #18

Bucking up to go trekking in the snow!
This week was full of miracles! Last week, being sick, Sis. Senior and I felt so cooped up, so this week we worked extra hard to be good missionaries! I promised that we would become the best missionaries last week and we did our best to do that! Here was the result:
Well, first, we have been teaching Katelyn, which I think I have mentioned her before. She's 16 and a sweetie. This last week, we read Alma 32 with her and talked on faith. She said she feels her seed growing, she just doesn't feel that strong desire to feel baptized yet. That is our biggest focus with her, is helping her recognize her answer and feel the Holy Ghost. We have high hopes for her and knows that the Young Women's program has been a great thing for her.
            This week we had Zone Conference! It was a great Zone Conference for sure! I left feeling so pumped and ready to do missionary work! The Conference focused on two things: Planning and Finding. What stood out to me was the Finding. I have been really focusing on trying to speak to people more and reach outside of my comfort zone, along with planning more tracting. This is what I have felt we have been needing to do better as a companionship, so this definitely gave us both the enthusiasm to get the ball rolling!
            With this new vigor, one day at the library, we were doing our mormonchannel/Mormon.org time that we do each week. It was time for the library to close, so all the computers closed off. I started talking to the lady next to me. She asked, "Are you two sisters?" (We get that A LOT!) I responded, "No, but we're sister missionaries!" as I grabbed my nametag, showing her. As she leaned forward to read it, I asked, "Have you heard of our church before?"  She quickly looked down, mumbled "yes," as she began to grab her things. I could tell I was receiving every negative vibe from her, so of course, in my very Heather way, I hollered as she ran away, "Hopefully all good things!" Sis. Senior was laughing so hard. But once again, I did a beautiful job of making a fool of myself. haha. This will be a pattern I think will continue throughout my whole life. It's just another "Funny Heather Moment."
Boiled peanuts at the grocery store. I am SO in the south!
            IT SNOWED AGAIN! That means, no driving! So, we walked to WalMart to do some contacting. However, as we walked, we got picked up by a nice lady, Andraea. We secretly hope to start her. (Snicker, snicker.) As we arrived to WalMart, HOLY COW! It was like Black Friday! Everyone was in a panic getting food because of the snow! Thank goodness the church encourages food storage! This is a testimony why! (The funny thing is that it was such a light snow. It didn't even stick and people were panicking over that. :])
       While we were there, we ended up talking to a man, Corey. He has surprisingly enough been taught a couple lessons once before from some elders about a year ago. After that, he never saw them again. Weird! Regardless, he would like us to start coming and teaching him. He may not have been ready for the message then, but it seems as though the Lord prepared him to receive it now.
Also, this week, we got a Mormon.org referral. Many missionaries see these referrals as pointless, since most of the time they just want a free bible, but Sis. Senior and I try to take them seriously, especially with things being slower recently. We try to see it as we were given these names for a reason. With that attitude, our most recent referral, LaVonda, we went to go see. We had been informed that she wanted the free bible, so we weren't sure if it was going to go anywhere, but we went prepared to teach anyways.
        We came in and gave her the bible. Instantly, she asked, "So what makes your church different from other churches? What is it you believe that isn't the same as everyone else?" It was the perfect question and we found out that she explores many religions and is curious about ours. (She has yet to find one that she wants to stick with. She feels like there are a lot of the churches that are led by "false prophets.") So, we began to teach her about the Restoration of our church. When we taught her about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, they weren't strange concepts to her, but made perfect sense. She was so open and prepared to receive this message. Her family is truly amazing and her 14 year old daughter has wanted to serve a mission since she was little. We really look forward to teaching them and know that they will find great joy in this gospel as they continue to learn and grow in it!
            Lastly, I wanted to share something I learned this week in Zone Conference. If we read Abraham 4 chapter heading, it states, "The Gods plan the creation of the earth and all life thereon-- Their plans for the six days of creation are set forth." And then if we read Abraham 5 chapter heading, it then states, "The Gods finish Their planning of the creation of all things-- They bring to pass the Creation according to Their plans..." Here we see that the Gods make plans too! This isn't something we only do here on earth, but something we must learn here as a skill to become more like our Heavenly Father. Planning is essential and we all must plan in our lives. I would like to encourage all of you, no matter what stage you are in in your life, to make plans for the future: who you want to be, what you want to accomplish this year, what career or college path you want to take, what you want to do as a couple in your marriage, etc. The list goes on and on. But make these plans, and when you do, plan on how you will go about accomplishing them. I promise that as you do this, you will find you will accomplish more by making these plans, and by doing so, you will become more like our Father in Heaven.

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!

Sister Heather Salmond

Sis. Hanks teaching us to set the table. She is the spoon, President Hanks is the knife, and so on. haha, pretty funny! Love Sis. Hanks!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mission Newsletter #17

This week on Tuesday, there was snow in Alabama! We were grounded to our apartments with the snow falling down. Snow is common in Utah, so this little snow seemed ridiculous at first to stay indoors for. Sister Senior and I were surprised, but we decided to embrace it! We had the BEST SNOW DAY EVER!

Sister Senior and I made up a game as our first activity after our extensive study session. In this game, we came up with goofy questions and things we didn't know about the other and then drew the questions out of a bowl. Sis. Senior's question that I drew said, "What is your craziest dance move? Demonstrate it." She told me I couldn't do my signature Indian dance move, since she's already seen that. All I could then think of was Shem and his dance moves at Zoe's Bachelorette Party. For all of you who were there and can picture this dance move, I laid on my back and kicked my legs up in the air. :) We had a party answering all the different, random questions in the bowl.
Our questionaire game

        After we finished with that game, we decided to bake! With making all my allergy substitutions, we
were pretty sure we could make Fudgy No Bake Cookies! So let the cooking begin! Cocoa Powder was the first ingredient! Uh oh. After Sister Senior searching for her cocoa powder, we discovered that the previous sister had taken with her when she left the apartment. That's ok! We'll make it work. 2 tablespoons of my Gluten Free Brownie Mix and 1 tablespoon of Chocolate Chips to replace the 3 tablespoons of Cocoa Powder missing. Genius! Next, we added the coconut oil, almond milk, sugar, and peanut butter.  The Peanut Butter was a little shy and honey flavored, so that would be a little milder than usual, but not bad. We stirred it all together and it looked perfect! Time to add the oats. Sister Senior grabbed the big container of oats. Oh No! We had half the amount we needed! It seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong as we tried to bake these cookies. But no way! I wasn't going to let this stop us! So, since we needed more oats to thicken it, we used my apple cinnamon oatmeal packets to top it off! They didn't look bad! However, I wish
I could say the same about the taste. They were far too sweet! With the honey in the peanut butter, 2 cups of sugar, AND the extra sugar in the oatmeal packets, it was just too much! It was one big carmelly apple slop. It looked chocolaty, but it was deceiving. Needless to say, after eating one each, they ended up in the trash.

         Overall, the small (or so it seemed) snow day, led to a day of companionship bonding and studies! But this wasn't the case for all Alabamians. It created quite a disaster for many others. Alabama is not equipped for this type of weather. No plows, no chains, no salt, etc. Therefore, this small layer of snow became a packed, thick layer of ice. It was very dangerous conditions on the roads. Many people had to abandon their cars or stay the night at work or school. There were many humanitarian and miracle stories that came from this day of horrendous weather. It truly was the worst winter in 30 years! Sister Senior and I were so blessed that the snow began before our studies were through. That way we didn't get stuck out there and instead lived in oblivious bliss. :)

As for the rest of our week, not much happened.... besides CABIN FEVER! After this fabulous snow day, followed another, and then, my cold came full on. It was a Double Whammy! I had a nasty cold/cough that turned into Pink Eye! It's apparently a virus that is going around. Yuck! I became literally, a walking germ! Washing, sanitizing, and studying became our life the rest of the week. We were only able to go out here and there for lessons because of my sickness, and Sister Senior had to do the talking or I would die with coughing fits. This week has made us SO anxious to get back to missionary work! You don't know what you got till it's gone! But I swear to you, with us being so excited to be back in the real world (today is our first day fully out) we are going to be the best missionaries you have ever seen this coming week!

Sick as a dog!

Eewy gooey eye

Yesterday, we did get out long enough to go to church and there, the teacher in Sunday school shared an analogy I never thought of before. It is with the story of the Wizard of Oz. In this story, Dorothy is on a journey with three friends: The Tin Man, The Scarecrow, and The Cowardly Lion. Each of them have a very identifiable weakness. The Tin Man needs a heart, The Scarecrow needs a brain, and The Cowardly Lion needs courage. Because they knew their weaknesses and focused on them, they were able to attain these things and they became their strengths. In Ether 12:27 it states that through God, our weakness can be made strong, like we see in these three famous characters. In Alma 48, we see Moroni apply this same principle. The Lamanites wanted to attack the Nephites. They tried to come into their city through their previous weak points, but because Moroni was a wise and righteous man, he had these areas of weakness built up and the Lamanites could not overthrow them. I know that as we identify our weakness and bring it to the Lord, through His help, it too can become our strength.

I love you all and hope you are all healthy and stay away from the cold weather. haha.
Sister Heather Salmond

Mission Newsletter #16

So last night was one of the scariest moments of my life! We were visiting a member family. The family is really awesome and all the kids are college-aged or a little older. We were all sitting down in the family room about to share a message, when we heard yelling and screaming coming from the mom and daughter in the backyard. Loud barking and dog fighting roared! The father and two sons jumped up and ran outside, knocking down everything in their path, as the women all looked at each other in shock. Their pit-bull, who was a newer addition to the family, was attacking their dog who was healing from surgery. They had let the sick one outside, not seeing the pit-bull. This was their first time encountering one another. The men couldn't get the pit-bull to stop attacking! Finally, they ran and grabbed their guns and shoot to scare him. The gun shots didn't work at first, but finally they got the dogs apart. The whole family was upset. There was a lot of blood lost and they weren't sure if the injured dog was going to live. The pit-bull was the daughter's dog and the men want the dog to go. (I have to say, I totally understand their point of view and feel the same.) She was so upset. She loves her dog. I really don't know what the final verdict will be: put the dog down, get rid of him, or keep him. Sister Senior and I left a little shaken up, but we prayed for the family. I can't imagine how hard this has had to be for them. Strangely enough, this situation strengthened my testimony of men. They truly are the protectors. When they heard danger, they ran to the rescue and put their own lives at stake for those that they love. As I described before, all of us women were in shock. We were not so quick to react and protect. This is why God has created men and women to have these separate roles. We are nurtures. We were there to comfort the toddler, who was upset by the ruckus, and to hug the mother and grandmother when they needed the comfort and support. I am grateful for men and their ability to act quickly and drop everything to protect their family. That is a gift God truly gave men.

On a completely different note, Sister Kilgore made me Cinnamon Raisin Bread! Sweet! I used to eat that for breakfast like everyday at the Charleston and once I got allergilicious, I haven't been able to enjoy that sweet goodness! Oh man. I love tender mercies. :)

For the last few weeks, we have been teaching a 16 year old, Katelyn. She is such a sweetie! We met her because her grandma is a less active member we come and visit. One day her grandma wasn't there and we started teaching her. She has been taking discussions from us and went to mutual and church this week! We hope to set a baptismal date with her tomorrow. I have high hopes for this girl. :) (Katelyn is the farthest one on the right.)

We are also teaching Erica. She is the daughter of a woman we've been teaching, but we were going to drop because she has been taught for a year and wasn't progressing. Needless to say, Erica took a history of religion class and loved it and wanted to know more about our church, so we have taught her the restoration. We are not sure if she's interested beyond that because church here is more of a social event, but she said she'd read the Book of Mormon. So we'll see!

A couple funny moments: At correlation meeting, Bro. Burdick took us out to Mexican restaurant. For 5 lunch specials, it ended up being a whopping $100! I don't think they did the math right....) Also, Camron drew Sister Senior and I a picture because he missed us. Too cute! I love that family!

This week has been full of good times. I have really come to love my companion this week. We had an exchange and I realized how much I love Sister Senior and missed her so much! I am so grateful to have such a good friend I can spend everyday with. :)

Lastly, yesterday was our ward conference. We spent the day going to the youth classes with Katelyn and there the Stake President spoke to them. He said some things that really stood out to me and I loved. He said there is two things we must do to have Eternal Life:

1. A Testimony
2. Conversion. A Testimony is something we know and declare, but conversion is becoming. There are 4 things we need to do to be converted:
3. Keep the Commandments
4. As Questions & Be Willing to Act
5. Give Service
6. Worthily Partake of the Sacrament Each Week to renew all of our covenants (not just
7. our baptismal.)

We can know when we are truly converted when we have a "mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2) I know this is so true. We must all gain our own testimony of this Gospel and of our Savior, but not just that, we much then become converted in order to live with our Father in Heaven and inherit Eternal Life.
I love the gospel and I love you all so much! Thank you for all your prayers! I hope you are all doing fabulous and have a great week ahead!  Oh! And Shout Out to Merrie and Michael Hess who were married this last week! I love you two! I wish you both the best!
Sister Heather Salmond