Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mission Newsletter #36

Tom got Baptized this week in Russellville! We are so happy for him! We all wore the Indian items he gave us to the baptism. Sister Crandall- Dream-catcher beaded earrings, Sister Platt (the Sister who was there before me teaching him)- Jean painted shirt of the famous Trail of Tears picture, and Me- Buffalo Necklace. So fun!

Tom's gifts to All of us! (Also, Sister Lewis was down for the day so he gave her a necklace too with Indian beads.) Love it!
So, I love picking up pennies off the floor. Always have. :) They are a simple way to make your day! While being on the mission, I've kind of turned them into my little symbol that a miracle is just around the corner. When you are out walking and tracting, it helps give that extra needed motivation.

This week, we decided to tract a neighborhood we hadn't before. A sweet Shaved Ice truck stopped and gave us a free cone. How sweet! However, as we finished our cones, we had a problem. Our hands were super sticky! We didn't have any place to wash them. We decided to eat the TOAST (a phrase in our mission that represents: Thrive On Awkward Situations with an awkward T at the end), and go up to one of the doors and ask to wash our hands and have that smoothly introduce what we are doing out here and our message. Let me make this clear to you: It. Was. NOT. Smooth.

I got a Hair Cut! The Bangs are Back! (I just couldn't do it anymore. Love them too much.)

Knock, knock. An older man with a cane answers. I explained the situation and asked the man if we could wash our hands. The man looked dumbfounded and like we were idiots as he asked, "Are you kidding me?" "...No?" I responded. He then just walked away from the door. The wife came. Sheepishly, I had re-explain our situation. She cocked her head and gave us that look again. After a few moments of awkward silence with our hands out and questionable cheesy smiles, she pointed to her bathroom door and walked away.

We were given two Teddy Bears, which we needed to donate to the Salvation Army. They were stinking up our car a little bit so we put them on our front porch. When we came back at the end of the day, the bears died from the heat. haha. Was too funny to pass up! 

Yep, it was one of "those" tracting days. We were a little defeated to say the least. haha. We were just like, let's just go down this way, see if there's anyone and then call it good. As we walked to this next area, I saw a penny. "Oo! A Penny Sister! It's a sign!" I exclaimed. But then there was another penny and another! There were 6 pennies! I then told Sis. Crandall, "Sister, this means the Lord is going to lead us to 6 people. Maybe it's a family or something! All I know is that there'll be 6!" Sis. Crandall just kind of chuckled at my ridiculousness and we crossed the street. As we went around the corner, there were indeed 6 Hispanic Construction workers! Normally, we wouldn't do much but wave, since we don't speak the other's language, but there were 6! I couldn't ignore the sign God just gave me! We marched up to them and discovered only one of them could speak broken English. He said he knew us and the church. He joined last year in Texas and moved to Decatur just a few months ago. He doesn't know where the was church here! We got his number and have passed it along to the missionaries there. I know the Lord leads us to him to help him find his way back to church. Our God is a God of signs and wonders. Just look for His hand and you'll see it, even in the simplest things (such as pennies.) "Seek and ye shall find."

I love you all and hope y'all have a fantastic week!
Remember, Every Penny Counts!
Lots of Love,
Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #35

Matching "Blessed Girl" Shirts! (Our Companionship Matching Item)
First off, I love y'all! Just thought you should know.

Secondly, this week has been awesome! Sister Crandall and I made a goal that we would invite 70 people to learn more about the gospel, outside of tracting. We worked sooooo hard and really pushed to talk to everyone and include the gospel in it to ask them if they'd be interested to learn more. We Made Our Goal!!! Wahoo!! Today we are totally going to get a treat to celebrate!

Helping Tom Clean out His Garage (almost spelled Garbage... That would've been bad. haha)
Sadly, not many accepted our invitation to learn more. (In fact, only 3 people did.) However, we gave that many more people the opportunity and if we hadn't, we may not have gotten those 3 people to say "Yes." We hope to be able to continue to do this the upcoming weeks to meet and invite as many as we can to come into the Lord's fold.

One of the tools to our success was at Watermelon festival in Russellville! So fun! We got to go meet people
Our Fresh Squeezed Lemonade!
and talk to them there. There was also a Jehovah's Witness booth with two guys with white shirts & ties, AND NAME TAGS! No wonder why people always confuse us for them! haha. I had to take a double take! We talked to them and it was quite pleasant. They were nice to us and we exchanged teaching material. The best part of the festival was the fresh squeezed Lemonade! ;) Sister Crandall and I couldn't resist and each enjoyed having one. It was a good time and beautiful weather!

Remember the big shenanigan of biking in the rain last week? Well, after all that craziness, we met a sweet girl, April, on her front porch. This last week we were able to go back and see her. It was great! She is in a ‘Joseph Smith period’ herself, trying to find the path that is right for her. She also believes that the First Vision could have definitely happened. The lesson was really good with her and the spirit was there. She promised to pray on the message we left and said the closing prayer, her first time praying out loud. I pray for her and know the Lord is watching over her. She has great potential! She is a Beautiful Daughter of God and beyond sweet! (Her mannerisms kind of remind me of Alexa too, which is kind of fun/weird.) I am excited to see what is in store in her future as she accepts the Gospel into her life.

Outfit Swapping! 
Also, Dextiny was baptized last week in Sylacauga! Even though I couldn't go, I was so happy for her! She will be so blessed by making that decision!

Lastly, while in Russellville, I have come to hear about a Rodeo Church! They have rodeos and worship intermixed every week! There is also a Rocket ship church! What a Party! Anything you want, they have a church for you down here! The key word is YOU. They have anything YOU want. Sadly, people forget that ultimately, it's what GOD wants. He knows best and it is only by His way can we make it back to live with Him again. We have His gospel on the earth, where He can guide us and lead this church. No matter where you go, that will never change. "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever" and so is His doctrine and church. I am so grateful to be a part of that church and have a knowledge of that. When I move, there is no need to "church shop" for the place I like best. I will always have The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wherever I go and it will never change. This is the God we know. One who loves and guides us. He is not one of confusion. We are so blessed to have a testimony and membership in this church. Always cherish that and show your gratitude to Heavenly Father for that gift. It's a rarity down here.

I love y'all and hope y'all have a Fantastic Week Without Me! ;) hehe. I know y'all miss me. Write me!

Lots of Love,
Sister Salmond

Spices Here in the South

The freakiest bug we found in our apartment! It's like Randall on Monsters, Inc. Just not purple and less cute. (We flushed him down the toilet.)

A Squirrel Tail!?! There is no doubt I'm in the Country! haha.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mission Newsletter #34

Me and my new companion, Sis. Crandall.
So I'm now safe and sound in Russellville, AL! It's north of Birmingham, close to Mississippi. My new companion is Sister Crandall. She is great! (Bytheway, we have a huge new apartment! I am going to be sooooo spoiled. hehehe.)

My new address:
Sis. Heather Salmond
109 Frost Circle Apt Z101
Sheffield, AL 35661

Saying Goodbye to Sylacauga and the people I love there is always hard. I never want to leave my newly acquired family! However, I know it's a good thing, full of new opportunities of growth. Before I left though, we were able to do a few fun things as a final Hoorah! Monday, after emailing, Justin took us on a hike with the Elders! The four of us hiked around and along the way we came across a huge Rattlesnake! Ah! Justin shot the snake several times until finally he was down. It was a heart racer, let me tell ya! We all came out safe though. The Lord (and Justin) definitely protected us. :)

Also, Tuesday, we had my last mutual with the girls! Taylor is back in town from the whole summer and was able to join us. Sis. Shattuck and I taught a lesson on modesty and then all of us piled in the car and headed to a thrift store! (Thrift stores are huge here and you can find real gems!) We had the girls find clothes for school that could be modest. I found a real gem in the kid's section, ironically. I couldn't help but try it on! It was so GIRLY! It would've been a keeper, except that it wouldn't zip all the way. (Pretty good though considering it was a kid size...) I still flaunted it, as long as my back was to the wall. Pretty soon all the girls wanted to try on a fun dress. They all picked one out and put them on in the dressing room. We all took a picture together. Funny enough, everyone ended up being in an immodest dress (in at least some small way), which was opposite to our original purpose. Either way, we posed, had lots of fun and not one of us left with any of those dresses. haha.

I loved Sylacauga and it was always have a dear place in my heart. I pray for everyone there and in Bessemer. It's amazing how you get so attached to everyone in each place. Take care everyone! I love you and will be back to visit soon!

Now I am serving in Russellville and overall, it is great! We have an amazing ward with incredible missionary support system. We are kind of starting from scratch, since there haven’t been sisters in the area last transfer full-time. It is kind of a weird situation... We have only one investigator, Tom, who is scheduled to be baptized on Aug. 23rd! Besides that, we have a clean slate! There is much work here for us to do!

Really quickly: Tom totally reminds me of Paul Theodore! He loves Native American stuff and told me the story why bunnies have short tails! I told him briefly the story of the skunk and why it has the white stripe. It was so fun! I felt like I was 6 or 7 again!

The other day, Sister Crandall and I saw a man playing catch with his girl outside. We spoke with him and asked if we could come back and share a message with him and his family. He agreed and told us we could come back Sunday afternoon.

Sunday afternoon rolls around and we gear up and get on our bicycles. The weather is beautiful with a mild breeze. A little toasty, but good biking conditions. Little did I know, in just a matter of minutes, I would once again discover God's beautiful sense of humor. haha.

We bike down the road on the sidewalk. It seemed like everything was torn up and having construction done. SO hard to bike on! I just told myself, it's ok. After this road, things will be a piece of cake. Turned left at the railroad tracks. Kept going. A guy in a car pulled up to me and asked if I had Christian literature that he could read. I told him sure and to pull up ahead. My companion warned, "Be Careful Sister!" Not gonna lie, we were in a sketchy part of town and he looked a little sketchy, but I can't turn down an opportunity or God may not be so quick to give me another one. So I took her advice and was cautious, but pursued on. I gave him a Restoration pamphlet. He asked if I could read the word with him. It was quite apparent he was more interested in me than the doctrine we shared. I gave him the number and told if he called, we would have someone come teach him more (aka. the Elders). Just then, a crack of thunder and a few sprinkles began to come down. Of course! My hitter then asked if he could give me a ride. "No way buddy!" At least that is what I was thinking, but instead I politely smiled and said, "No thank you, it's just down the street." We got back on our bikes and booked it! As we proceeded, the road did not look familiar. Did we go too far? Did we turn at the wrong place? We turned around. The rain was coming down in sheets. We pedaled hardly being able to see in front of us and hysterically laughing. This would happen to us!

A few minutes later, my dear friend pulled up again. Dang it! He found us! "Do you want a ride? We can go to my house right there and read the word?" Normally this would be very sweet and a great missionary opportunity; however, his intentions were clear as he looked me up and down. Once again, I denied him with water dripping down my face and rain pouring around me. Probably wasn't very convincing, but better safe than sorry!

We got back onto the main road to make the correct left turn over the train tracks. Oops! That was my mistake! Randomly, the rain stopped! Yippee! It became clear skies and the sun was beating on us once again. It was hot now! (This Alabama weather is crazy!) Only five to ten minutes later, we felt another drip. Uh-oh Sister! Here it comes! The rain dumped on us AGAIN! We arrived at the house as it poured. We were drenched with some NICE helmet hair, makeup running down our face, and mud all over our legs and skirt. I can assure you, we smelled great. ;)

We knocked. A dog barked and then nothing. THERE IS NO WAY! I knocked again. No response. We totally got stood up! After all that! haha. Life is hard. ;) We didn't come all this way for nothing! The Lord sent us here for nothing and it's our job to find out why. We contacted people all up the street and finally came across a sweet girl, April. She has a friend that's Mormon! We sat and talked with her, sharing back and forth a few basics of what we believe. She said we could come back and share more!

The whole situation, leading up to this man's house seemed like a big joke. We actually laughed a ton because of the irony of it all. Yet, the Lord blessed us to find April cuz we trekked through it and had the faith to find the one.

The Lord, regardless how ridiculous situations may seem, will support us in our righteous desires! I love being on a mission and hope y'all are having a great week! Take care!

I love y'all lots! Send me letters! ;)
Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #33

Goodbye to the District
This week is transfers and I am leaving Sylacauga! :'( I don't know my new area or companion yet, but pretty soon here, we'll see! I always love change and new adventures; however it is always so hard to say goodbye.

We all got awards at the end of our district meeting.
         Mine- Where is the Love? (For always giving Love)
         Sis. Shattuck's- Sassy Sister (For her sassy humor. haha. Love her.)
Since my last week in the branch was fast and testimony meeting, there was no way I could not get up and bear my testimony and these wonderful people for my experiences here. As I got up and spoke, I started to get a little teary. I tried to put on my big boy pants, suck in the tears, and take it like a man, but as much as I tried, I couldn't hold them back. The tears came and the little autistic girl in the branch yelled, "She's crying! Stop crying!" I tried to comfort her by assuring her over the pulpit, "It's okay honey." I don't think it helped much because she made a whiny noise and then left the room upset. She is so cute. It is sweet of her to always be concerned about me. I'm going to miss her and the liveliness she brings. :)

Before I always leave an area, it seems like the Lord always gives me a gift, telling me that the people I love are taken care of. This time, for my last Sunday, I was able to see Walter bring his boys to church. He has twin boys who are 10 years old that he's been wanting to have come with him, but have been having problems getting them with the X. It was so great to see him so happy there with his boys in church. Walter is a great man and father. That is the scene that makes our Father in Heaven (and I) so happy to see: us, in our families, enjoying the blessings that come from his gospel. I know that God softened Walter's x-wife's heart to allow his boys to come to church that last Sunday of mine. I couldn't have asked for a greater gift or blessing as I leave such a wonderful place.

Recooping from a lesson gone awry.
Also, this last week, we visited with a sweet Christian family we tracted into. What we thought was potentially a great family to strengthen the branch prepared to receive the full gospel, was actually quite the opposite. They were trying to preach to us and save our souls. They believe we have a false prophet and that the Bible is complete and therefore, we don't need the Book of Mormon. They also believe in the Trinity. The wife desired the Trinity as something that you can't really explain because He is an almighty, powerful God, but more something she can just feel and know with all her heart. By the end of the meeting, she teared up as she feared we were going to hell. I felt love from her, as I know that is how she truly feels. I thanked her for loving us enough to open her mouth and share her beliefs. Not many do now days, I know that took a lot for her to share that, even though we feel differently. After leaving that night, it strengthened my testimony in this gospel. I am so grateful that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where I know that God loves all His children and speaks to them in the Bible and Book of Mormon, as well as today, through a modern-day prophet. I am also grateful to have that clear understanding and relationship with God, knowing that the Godhead is three distinct people who all work together out of their love for us. There is so much love that comes from that one basic principle. Lastly, besides the many evidences I have seen in my life over and over again, I know the church is true because of how it impacts me. It shows me my potential to become everything my Father in Heaven is and helps me become the best person I can be. In that, I know our Heavenly Father loves us all and desires that all of us see our potential and reach to become it. I love this gospel and am grateful for the knowledge and fullness we have in these latter-days. There just is no other way.

I love y'all and hope y'all the best! You are in my prayers! Wish me luck at Transfers! haha.
Sister Salmond

p.s. Dextiny will be getting baptized next week because sadly she got Strep just a couple days before her baptismal date. :'( However, she's feeling better now. I hope I'll be able to come back for it, since she asked me to speak at it. Either way, I'll give y'all an update. Love ya!

Mission Newsletter #32

This week, we had so much fun at Mutual! We had for the first time (since I've been here), a combined activity! Esse's cousins are in town from Wyoming, so we had a bigger group to work with. We were able to split into two groups, boys against girls (with the help of the elders) and do skits with the items in the bags. They ended up turning out really funny and a great activity for everyone! One day I hope all of y'all can see the video. I make a pretty good man! haha.

This Sunday, we were excited to have Dextiny at church! She's a sweet 9 year old, who is the daughter of a
less active. She's been wanting to be baptized for a while and we've been able to work the family and bring her to church. This has been her second week! We hope to see her get baptized this coming Saturday and to keep working with the family to see them come back too! She is such a light and will be an example for the family to look up to! She is so sweet. We are excited for her!

The other day, we had a lesson with Justin. We posted him by the church phone and gave him strict instructions to answer the phone every time it rung. We went into a separate room and started making calls. One call after another we complained, asked for something, etc. When we got back together to discuss, we related it to prayer. We asked how he felt as he got those calls. "Frustrated!" he responded. That, we expected. Except, the reason was different then we expected. We thought he'd say it has hard to listen to all negative things, but instead he was frustrated that we'd hang up before he could respond! Never thought of that one. So many times when we pray, we hang up on our end before God can answer us and help us with our predicament. Let us all watch and be cautious of that as we go to our knees in prayer.

In my studies, I stumbled across a "happily ever after." Obviously, being the girl I am, it stopped me in my tracts! Who said we can't all live to have our own "happily ever after's"? We can! 2 Nephi 5, it outlines Eight Things that will give us that!

1.      Family (vs.6)
2.      Keeping the Commandments & Laws of God (vs.10)
3.      Reading the Scriptures (vs.12)
4.      Being Prepared- savings/no debt, food storage, etc. (vs.14)
5.      Temple Attendance (vs.16)
6.      Work! (vs.15,17)
7.      Remembering God & Hearkening unto Him (vs.25)
8.      Having the Priesthood in your Home, or Accessible (vs.26)

As we do this, ALL of us can have our happily ever after! I love the gospel and the joy it can bring to each of us. I love you all and challenge you to make all 8 of these things part of your life if it isn't already.

Hope y'all have a great week! Take care!

Sister Heather Salmond
The Elders gave us a block of smelly ice stuff. But there were coins inside. We're desperate for money at the end of the month, so... we "digged and digged and diggged and [we] digged" Name that song/movie!

Mission Newsletter #31

After several weeks of go, Go, GO, Sister Shattuck and I found it appropriate to have some relax time. So,
we did the classic girls night on Monday.  Face Masks! Oh Baby! You better believe it. Lots of fun and giggles. Work hard, come home, and play hard. ;) We took some crazy pictures. I love being a girl!

On Tuesday, we went to our appointment with Anna and Stephanie. They had mentioned a skating rink opening back up with us recently, but failed to mention that they were the ones opening it! What?! So, instead of teaching a full lesson, we ended up going home, getting on some
working clothes, and fetching the elders. We tore up the whole skating rink! I found a jack pot while sweeping up tiles! I found quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies! You name it, I found it! Most of you know how excited I get when I find a coin on the ground, can you imagine a whole cup full! This was every kid's dream! I didn't keep it, however. It is their rink, so I gave it to them for the cause. They said they were going to frame it as the first funds made by the skating rink (minus the quarters we already used to buy everyone drinks. haha.)  Either way, it was so much fun!

District Meeting on Friday ended up being a party! We surprised Elder McGee with a birthday party! Sister Shattuck & I made the cake. I wish you could've seen Sister Shattuck turn into Picasso as she launched the red sprinkles onto the sides of the cake. It was a beautiful sight.

Following the mini birthday celebration, we had our district meeting.  We a great object lesson! All of us
were paired up and taped together. Each in a different way, symbolizing different scenarios that can make mission life challenging. We had to go across the church, grab our object and make it back to our room first. Needless to say, Sister Shattuck and I won! We have it on video, which is pretty funny! There was a nice cat fight at the end with me getting dragged behind screaming. haha. Very fun activity and there was a lot I was able to learn from it at the end too. Those are the best kinds of lessons cuz you'll remember them forever.

After district meeting, we picked up kittens from a less active to give to Esse, who wanted them. However, we had to wash them first to get out fleas and dirt. They turned into devilish aliens as we washed them, as I swear they always do. Besides that, they are the cutest, sweetest kittens I have ever met. :) It was fun to be able to hold little kittens again!

This Sunday, Walter passed sacrament for the first time! He bought a new white shirt and tie for it. He looked so sharp! He is so incredible! I love being able to continue to see his progression and love for the gospel grow.

Lastly, in the south, we get asked a lot, "when where you saved?" or "have you been saved?" I am so grateful to be part of a gospel where being "saved" isn't a one-time event, but a continual process. In 1 Ne 22:31, we are told that it obedience to God's commandments and enduring to the end that will save us at the last day. Oh, how much more growth comes from us continually striving to meet God, then having it be a moment and then calling it done. That is so uncharacteristic of God. "He is the same yesterday, today, and forever." I am grateful that I have the opportunity to continually strive to meet Him once again one day. I want to be all His has in store for me and more. Lagniappe. Let's all strive for that.

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

Lots of Love,
Sister Salmond