Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mission Newsletter #33

Soaking our feetsies in the bath tub because of all the walking we do here in Sylacauga. Love me some spa time. :)

Once upon a Tuesday, Sis. Shattuck and I were walking home from an appointment (that went later then expected) in the dark. In other areas of Alabama this would be considered normal; however, in blessed Sylacauga, we are supposed to be in a car at night for safety purposes. Therefore, we decided to take a very ingenious short cut through town on the railroad tracks. With every leap from one board panel to the next, we were filled with girlish delight. As we giggled and pranced, we suddenly heard a warning blow from a Choo-Choo Train! Freezing, we looked up. Sure enough, there were lights coming around the corner heading our way. "Book It!" Sister Shattuck yelled. We went from giddy little school girls to professional male athletes (at least I like to think so) as we turned around and raced to escape the train coming our way! We were filled with anticipation as the main road came closer and closer. Almost there.... Fewf! We made it safe and sound! We finally had a chance to look back. As we did, we noticed the train had come up to that point (where we saw) and STOPPED! We ran for nothing! We were grateful we made it home that night in one piece, although poor Sis. Shattuck tweaked her back in the process, with a pinched disk. But don't worry, all is well. Every night I pamper her and treat her like a princess with massages on her back. :)

Also, this week during weekly planning, I called a woman that we met the day before on Broadway Rd to see if we could go see her. As we called, it led us to a directory of people who all shared that number. It asked for the first 3 letters of the last name or their extension number, but since we didn't have either, we had to go through the WHOLE directory. "[Recorded name] If this is the person you want, press 1 or press 2 for the next name." I sat there pressing button after button waiting for the name of the woman we met. After about 10-15 minutes the recorded voice said, "You've reached the end of the directory. If you know your party's extension, please enter it now..." Needless to say, I had minor rage as I gave a monster roar and said, "You've got to be kidding me!" We dropped her.

The rest of the week has seriously gone great! We are still teaching the men we met at the Half-way house and 3-4 of them are progressing very nicely (and there are a couple others we teach in that group as well.) One, Walter, came to church. All by himself too! The other progressing guys had work or were gone for the weekend. We were so happy to see him there and it seemed like he really liked church too. Justin was so good and very welcoming to him. I think that really helped to have someone he could relate with. Man! Justin is just amazing!

Lastly, I want to share with you something that gave me the warm and fuzzies in my readings the other day. It was in 3 Nephi 19:25, while Jesus was visiting in the Americas. He has taught them already and is now praying with them. It says, "And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing on earth so white as the whiteness thereof." As they continued to pray, Christ prayed unto the Father for them. It then goes on to say in verse 30, "And when Jesus had spoken these words he came again unto his disciples; and behold they did pray steadfastly, without ceasing, unto him; and he did smile upon them again; and behold they were white, even as Jesus."  This is an example of Christ's ultimate love for us. Did it give you the warm and fuzzies as you read it too? I think that as we pray unto the Father and recognize Christ as we turn unto Him, He smiles down at us in love. One day, when we'll get to see Christ face to face as see that smile in person, I know that those of us who lived righteously, will also receive Christ's glory and whiteness in our countenance which exceeds all whiteness. Wow! What a glorious day?! I am so grateful for our Savior and the love He has for us and knowledge I have of it.

I love the mission. Thank you everyone for all your support. I love you!


Sister Heather Salmond

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mission Newsletter #32

The Zone before transfers

This week I had my last few days with Sister Butterfield and had some last few fun goodbyes with people. I am going to miss that LOON! She is so sweet and I loved being her companion. :) (This is a pic of Justin giving us a thank you/goodbye gift. He is so great! Seriously.)

With Sister Butterfield leaving, in came Sister Shattuck! She and I were both trained by the same person:
Another fun goodbye with Sis. Butterfield :)
Sister Senior! Which makes us Sisters! (If you don't know missionary lingo, here you go. Your first area on your mission is known as your birthing area. Your trainer is your mother (or father if you’re an elder.) This creates a missionary family of grandmas, cousins, etc.) Sis. Shattuck and I are lucky enough to be sisters! So fun!

Studying at the Laundromat

Funny story: Saturday we had a big yard sale at our branch for our young women girl’s camp. There we had a lemonade/goodies stand so we could talk to people! Great finding activity! We met 20 new people that day that we were able to ask if we could teach or not. While there, an older man in our ward came to get some goodies for himself. We offered it to him. He said, "I'm trying to watch my weight!" while looking down at his stomach he said, "I sure can see it good!" I started busting! How funny is that?! Love that old man!

Met a new lady we're going to teach on Tuesday because she had the cutest little kittens bouncing around on
Meet the Kittens! And Sis. Shattuck!
her front porch. Next time I would challenge all of you to "Consider the [little kitties] in the field." ;) It may be the way God may just place someone in your path that you are supposed to meet.

Miracle story! On Friday, we exchanged with our sister training leaders. I stayed and Sister Shattuck went to the other area. When we arrived at one of our appts, however, they were talking with someone and asked if we could come back in a few minutes. So we decided to do some tracting around the corner. I felt impressed to go up a street and knock on the first house. So we did. Sadly no one was there. So we moved on. We came across a sweet couple. We prayed with them and had a return visit with them on Sunday.

Sunday came and Sister Shattuck and I went back for the appt. Their sister answered and told us they were sleeping and to come back later. As we headed back down the street, Sister Shattuck stopped at the first house and suggested we knock there. At first I responded, "Already tried that house. No one was home." But as I was saying that I realized, what are you thinking Heather?! This is a second witness that we need to go here! I quickly corrected my faulty human brain and we knocked. A guy answered the door. We asked if he lived with his family there. Nope! He responded that he lived there with 10 others guys. It was a half-way house (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's a rehab house.) Suddenly, it got awkward, as we realized this might not be the best situation for two small defenseless girls. (Also, we couldn't even go inside the house to teach since there would be no woman inside- Mission rules.) However, as we got talking to him and three other guys, they were all really nice and have been clean for a little while. They want to start their life over so they can see their kids, make a life for themselves, etc. There would be no better timing for them to find and accept Christ than now. They told us we could come and teach them. We have an appt set for this next Tuesday. We are so excited and know that the Lord lead us to their door, even though it took a couple of tries. The Lord has a plan. I am just so grateful that as missionaries, I can see His hand so prevalently in the work.
Cutest girl ever! Kimberly is a recent convert that we just adore!

Deuteronomy 5:32 "Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left." I know that if we do as what the Lord would have us do, He will be by our side and we will be about to see His hand and role all along the way. I love that the Lord knows and loves each of us personally and is actively engaged in our lives. It's just our choice if we choose to see it.

I love you all so much. I hope you all this week try to see God's hand in your life.

Love you lots,
Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #31

Ok. Maybe I'm a little over dramatic... but seriously, it was a great week with so many highlights!

1. I GOT CHIGGERS! Probably shouldn't be excited about this, but hey, I got a good ole classic Southern initiation! It had to happen sometime. So right now I have bugs inside of me eating my insides! Gross! Totally nasty to think about, especially being the total girl that I am, but oh well. haha. But take a peek and see for yourself! (And yes, I totally stuck my leg up in the air to show my family when we SKYPED yesterday!!! Love them!)

2. I found the cutest little colony of baby grasshoppers! They are so tiny! There were about 15 of them when we were walking the other day on the side walk. They were so cute that I wish I could adopt them, but I would probably kill them cuz I don't know the first thing about taking care of baby bugs...

3. We got to scrub down a house of an elderly couple in our ward. Here in the south, because of the
humidity, moss grows on the houses. At first I didn't know why we were going to go wash down a house and it seemed so weird, but now I understand why. These things don't happen in the west so I had no clue. I kind of felt like Tom Sawyer white washing. "Gratification, Gratifying!" Love being able to do serve so often in Sylacauga. It is truly such a blessing!

4. I got a package this week from a mom of one of the sisters in my mission! This Sister is also Gluten Free and I guess told her mom about me! So Sweet! I got Cookies in the mail for Easter from an Alternative Baking Company! They are so good! Best Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Cookies I have had yet! It's been a long 9 months waiting for a moment like this! My life is now complete. :) A girl’s got to have her cookies. :)
Cookie Easter Package!

5. Got to try a tiny, good BBQ place the other day! Only shared a small side of baked beans cuz we're poor missionaries, but they were so good! We've been wanting to eat at a classic country BBQ. Loved it.
Big Daddy BBQ. So good!
6. Got to also Skye my family! We all know that was a treat! I love them all so much!

7. Justin got baptized this last Saturday! After a weekend away, stepping back, he was ready to make that step! He was baptized in a creek only minutes away. It was such an amazing experience. Seeing him in the water was so picturesque. It was almost like the painting of Christ being baptized by John the Baptist. The experience was indescribable. I feel so blessed that everything worked out and I was able to witness this beautiful event. (Matt 3:16)

Remember how much I love you all! Hope you all had a wonderful mother's day week! And I hope you all left them with a big hug and a kiss on the cheek!

Love you!
Sister Salmond

p.s! I hope everyone notices the week of PINK!!! Totally coincidence, but the only day I am not wearing pink in on Justin's baptism. Should've planned better! Dang it! haha. I love being a girl!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mission Newsletter #30

Finally braided my hair for the first time! Wahoo! (Sis. Butterfield had to redo it half way through the day cuz it came out, but not bad!!)

This next week is Mother's Day! Everyone treat your moms extra special! They deserve it! I love you Mom! I hope you know that! You are my best friend. :) Muwah!

Got in the paper!
Fun Facts about Sylacauga:
        1. There are over 200 registered churches (not including people's small worship services that they hold in their homes and aren't registered) within this small town of Sylacauga! Holy Cow!
        2. The Sylacauga Branch is the longest surviving branch in the country! (Most either become a ward or are shut down. We have been in limbo for at least 40 years!) We will get it moving. :)

Funny sign! Love it! (Outside of a different churches parking lot--they see it as they exit)
Now, I am sure everyone's wondering, what happened since last week with the tornado?!

The Tornadoes that hit Bessemer! Yikes!
Well, after emailing, we packed up our things and headed to the church. For the first time, I had to take the things that mattered most to me. I reflected on it later. Here are the items: scriptures, patriarchal blessing, journals, photos, a little angel statue, and some letters I cherish. Everything was the unreplaceable things: family memorabilia, God's words, and my personal writings. These are the things that matter most in my life: God, Family, and Journal Writing. Just interesting.

Anyways, after an hour or so at the church (our safe house for the storm), we got BORED OUT of our MINDS!  We were running out of things to do. This pic is a good example: Elder Miklich is drawing Rhinos which he pulled up pictures of on the Computer and Elder McGee is listening to an old recording of Porter Rockwell. This is reaching an all-time low for our level of boredom.

Sister Butterfield and I finally decided to make a fort. Best decision ever! Only lasted like a
half an hour though and then we got the news that the Watch had been cancelled for our county and we could go back to our apartments. Let me tell you, never spend 7 hours at a Church Building! It is not meant to be done and you will go crazy cuz you will run out of things to do! haha.

My new (soon-to-be) tan!
Also, just so everyone knows, I am going to get the most attractive tan out here in Sylacauga during the summer. It's happening already! And let me tell you, this is no ordinary Farmer's Tan... It's the Lord's Tan cuz it's his work I'm doing! ;) So watch out! I am going to get so HOT out here in Sylacauga! (and yes, I mean that both ways. oh baby.)

Sad news: To our disappointment, Justin has taken a step back. There have been some things that have come up that have caused him to doubt a bit. We don't know if the baptism is off or just postponed. He has spent the weekend away in the wilderness to figure things out. We should find out tomorrow what will happen. Pray for him!

Sonic Happy Hour with Sister Training Leaders
This week I've had the blessing to have a wonderful exchange with our dear Sister Training

Religious discussion with all different faith
Leaders, go to a religious discussion at one of our only restaurants in Sylacauga, and have interviews with our Mission President, President Hanks. All of these experiences have been blessings. They were all short little experiences that added up to help me feel my Savior's love for me. In return, I have felt my love grow as well for my Father in Heaven, my Savior, and those I have met in this mission. It's been such a blessing. I am so grateful for these tender mercies and evidences God gives us daily; we just have to recognize them.

Lastly, I want to leave a special note from Elder Matthew Cowley for the mothers (or soon-to-be mothers) reading this, especially to my mom: "You [sisters] belong to the great sorority of Saviorhood. You may not hold the priesthood. Men are different, men have to have something given to them to make them saviors of men, but not mothers, not women. You are born with an inherent right, an inherent authority, to be the saviors of human souls. You are co-creators with God of his children. Therefore, it is expected of you by the right divine that you will be the saviors and the regenerating force in the lives of God's children here upon the earth." Mom, I love you. You have always meant so much to me and played such an amazing role in my life. I am so grateful for our close relationship and your role in the family. We may not have had a lot of members born into our family, but they were our family all along. You truly are incredible and a co-creator with God (and a good one at that. For heaven's sakes, look at me! ;) Oh yeah, you did good. haha.) But for reals mom, I love you and thank you for everything you have done for me and the family and continue to do. I love you so much and miss you a lot. But don't worry, we'll catch up when I get home. You'll probably want me to shut up after a little bit, but I have 18 months to catch you up on so good luck with that one! haha. Love you mommy!

I love you all you women out there too, who have truly impacted me for good. You make a greater difference than you know. Happy Mother's Day!

Sister Salmond