Monday, October 27, 2014

Mission Newsletter #45

And I have to work with these guys!?!?! haha. Jk. They are great.

I just got news that I'm being transferred from Russellville!!! :'( I know bigger things are in store for me elsewhere, but it's always hard to leave. On Sunday, the Bishop had me bear my testimony and I bawled like a BABY! Holy Cow! Talk about water works! Normally I only cry or tear up a little bit, but every time I looked at Lynn or Joe, it was like a whole river would gush out of my eyeball! It was ridiculous. I really am sad I have to leave them. They are my family. I firmly feel and know that I was sent to Russellville for them. We needed each other. I know that we were friends in the life before. There is that spiritual, undeniable connection. We will be friends forever. That much I know. :) I hope and pray that wherever I go, I will get permission to go back to see them be baptized. That would mean the WORLD to me!

Goodbye, Russelville!
This week we were privileged to have Interviews with President Hanks. I just LOVE that man. He is
great! He is so nice, caring, but also genius! He is so conscious and aware of the Lord and His work. He can know just what to say to help it continue to move forward in vigor! That is a spiritual gift and I am so lucky to have him as my mission president to lead us in the field.

Exciting moment! AMBER WAS BAPTIZED!!! It took place on Saturday! What a great experience for her! You could tell she was happy. :) She said it was like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. It's been great to help her and show her what God has in store for her. This is a new start and God is so pleased. :)

This transfer, we've had a huge blessing that every companionship in our ward has had a baptism. 3 Baptisms! That's incredible! It was so great to work together to help with the work. We have a great ward and Sister Woodard and I have been blessed to work with some stellar elders! I'll miss this place!

I am excited for my new area and nervous at the same time. There'll be changes and much growth. I know I will grow a lot in my next area. God has a plan and watches over all of us. No matter where we are. Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." As long as we remember that and put our trust in Him, we can go in courage and say, "All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go." (Joshua 1:16) Wherever I am called, I will go. It's hard to say goodbye, but it's time for another new start! I will have faith, courage, and spunk and go!

I love you all! Take care and pray for me!
With Lots of Cuteness,
Sister Salmond ;)

P.S. Visiting the Home of Elvis for President Interviews! Hubba-hubba. I've been a Belieber, a Directioner, and you better believe that if I were alive during Elvis's reign, I would've been a Elvister!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mission Newsletter #44

On Monday night, after making Gumbo with Causey's for our P-day fun, a tornado came through! Touched down LITERALLY around the corner from our house. Kind of crazy cool! Wasn't a terribly bad one though. It was rated an F1, which F5 is the highest, so we were all ok. :) Kind of fun to be in though! Did the strict instructions we get as missionaries from President and partied in the tub. Fun stuff! 

So, this week, Sister Woodard and I have been trying to think outside the box to help find people who are ready to receive the gospel. By doing so, we actually found ourselves thinking inside the Box! In downtown, we came across a little Library box! Take one book and you give one! Genius! So we took the scandal book and got rid of it and replaced it with a Book of Mormon! All Sister Woodard's idea. :) We placed our card in there too, hoping that someone will call us about it down the road. We'll see!

The GORGEOUS Sunsets here!
We also did a bit of tracting. Not gonna lie, not my fave. I'm trying to find more joy in it though. It's one of my many weaknesses... Anywho, while tracting, we ran into a retired baptist preacher. Oh Joy! It was rough; however, once again, it only strengthens my testimony and the knowledge I have of the gospel. One of the many things he explained to us is that it's all by grace we are saved, and that once you are saved, you are always saved. By that logic, it doesn't matter what you do tomorrow: lie, steal, cheat, murder, etc. What a distorted truth. It saddens me. Yes, our works alone can't save us, and it is only through Jesus Christ, but there is so much more. Our works have a HUGE role in the midst of it. Why would Christ show and teach the way if it didn't matter if you followed the way? It just doesn't add up. Satan wants us to think that it doesn't matter what we do. He takes the plain and precious truths and makes them pleasing to the man. I know "it takes two baby." We must do all we can to live according to the way God would have us live and Christ is the one who has made it possible for us to be forgiven for those times when we do fall short and mess up. There is so much joy in following His commandments and I am so grateful He has given them to us and asked us to follow in his ways. I am so grateful to be a Mormon! 
The Nerd that I am
Outside of planting seeds and talking to everyone, we have been still teaching Amber and helping her prepare for baptism. Yes, BAPTISM! She has been interviewed and everything is squared away for her to be baptized this coming Saturday at 11am! Wahoo!! We are so excited for her. She's faced a little opposition, but she is holding strong. She is so sweet and ready to start a new chapter in her life, which is so good! I know she'll be so blessed by this experience.

Lynn and Joe are still doing great! Love them. :)

This week we were privileged to see Mary be baptized as well. She has been taught by Elder Matson
Mary's Baptism
and Elder VanDyke. We've just helped with the fellowshipping process and such, but she was so happy. At the baptism, we went with her and a member into the bathroom that led into the font. Mary was a little nervous. (She didn't want to slip or anything.) So, we said a prayer with her. After closing, she took a deep breath and said, "I'm ready." We watched her as she went into and out of the water. It went beautifully, no tripping or falling or nothing. In the bathroom, as she changed out of the wet clothes, she giggled. She was so happy! She kept repeating "That was easy as pie!" and "I can't believe I did it! This is the best decision I have ever made.... next to marrying my husband." haha. She was so cute! She was glowing from head to toe. It was such a privilege to be part of that and to see her so happy and ready to be living with the Lord by her side.

That is what it is all about, coming unto Christ. We all have to be baptized in order to live with our Father in Heaven and Savior, Jesus Christ again. Christ didn't need to be baptized to remove sin, for he was sinless. Neither did He do it just as an example for us. It goes deeper than that. He did it to "fulfill all righteousness." We all have to be baptized in order to enter in the gates of heaven, and that was true for Christ too. By doing so, we can be so happy, receive so many blessings and live with our Heavenly Family in the eternities. I know this is so true and I want everyone I can be up there in heaven with me. The More the Merrier! :) I love the gospel. I love all the truths found within it and I love the joy it brings. Can't get any greater warm and fuzzies than that!

I love you all and thank you for all you do for me. I love you! (again)
Join the Cause! Spread the Gospel!
Love ya!

Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #43

Well, this week, there was an amazing "Mascarade" sale at the hospital that went towards some cause. Everything was five dollars!!! Ok. We went there just to contact, but being the girl I am, I didn't leave empty handed... Oops. But hey! I have to show you what I got! There were some really fun funky pants that are uber comfortable that I couldn't resist! When Sister Woodard saw them, she wanted a pair too! So we now have our matching companion item! Yay!

This week, we had Family Home Evening in Lynn and Joe's home. We brought a super cute, young couple from our ward, Emma and Danny Perkins. They recently moved from Utah and both served their mission in Italy. They did the FHE with all the grandkids to kind of show what a typical night would look like. Emma did a cute little story about repentance and had them put together a puzzle that had the steps of repentance on it. Danny then did the activity called "Nickel, Nickel, who has the Nickel?" In this game, he put his hands flat, palms facing in with the nickel inside. Everyone had to put their hands the same way with a little hole at the top. He went around the whole circle and dropped the nickel in one person's hands. The guesser then had to figure out who had it. The kids went crazy and wanted to play it over and over again. The parents were laughing and Lynn and Joe were having a great time as all 4 generations got involved! We ended the night with dessert. Lynn and Joe loved it! You could tell it meant a lot to them to be able to have such a good time with the whole family. We will be helping them plan a month worth of lessons and activities! Lynn texted us after and said "Thank you ladies for a wonderful evening!!! I enjoyed it more than words can say. :)" That is very unusual for her. That night really strengthened my testimony of FHE. I have grown up with it and kind of took it for granted. It was great to see something so simple mean the world to this family. That is what all this is about. The gospel is here to bless families and help them grow in love and strength in Christ. Lynn and Joe will not be getting baptized this coming week like we had originally planned, but they will soon. :) The most important thing is that they feel ready. They take it seriously, which a huge blessing cuz once they join, they will be a strong force for good! They will be a big contribution to this ward! It is so evident. I love them so much! (Probably will get you pics of it next week...)

Besides that, we are still teaching Amber. Things are going well there. :) She probably won't get baptized as soon as she had hoped cuz Sister Woodard and I want to make sure she realizes the lifestyle changes she will be making and be solid in making them. It'll be a bigger change than we think she realizes right now. But that is the great thing about the gospel! We love all and invite all to come into His fold, but yet, God has order. He is never changing. So, it is required of all of us to find our faith in Him and align ourselves with His will in order to be baptized and be called "His people." God loves us all and wants us all to come back, but He does have a plan. Our job, as missionaries, is to help people discover this plan and the many joys that come along with that. Key word: "Joys." That is what this work is, a Joy! We have a privilege to bring joy into people's lives and in return, feel that joy ourselves! What a blessing! I love serving a mission and the joy you feel as you serve the Lord.

I love you all so much! I pray for you and think of you oft! Write me! ;)

Sister Salmond             

Mission Newsletter #42

Ok. Look at this HUGE spider outside of our church building!!! It's the biggest I have EVER SEEN! Of course I discovered it. Seems like it's just my luck. But look at the comparison to the rocks! And next to Becky's thumb (it's the size of the smooshed abdomen) Gross!!! I can't do spiders! I just Can't!

Ok. I just LOVE conference! I was so lucky to start my mission with Conference at the MTC 1 Year Ago. YES! It's been a Year! Crazy. To be honest, I don't know how to feel about it, so don't ask. I just don't think about it. However, I do love celebrations, sooo... I couldn't help but do something special. :) I made me an Everything-Free Chocolate Cake and celebrated like any one year old child would! I got down and dirty! I couldn't help it! A girl's got to do, what a girls got to do. *shrug* (But don't worry, I paid for it later with a whopping stomach ache! I don't think I'm used to eating that much cake/chocolate anymore. haha. Next time I better "take it easy!" -Nacho. It was all well-worth it though.)

Conference Weekend brought more than just my one year mark, but many miracles too. :)
Lynn & Joe went to Conference. Joe LOVED hearing the prophet speak and said that the spirit is so much stronger hearing it from them (aka prophets and apostles.) It is so true! Lynn went with a specific question/concern in mind (don't know what it was), but by the third session, it was answered! I love putting the Lord and His love to us specifically to the test, and seeing Him always pull through! It's incredible! The two are still pulling strong and doing great things! We are going to do a sample FHE with their family this coming week cuz Lynn wants us to help her prepare for a month's worth of FHE. (She's so organized and a huge planner!) We are so excited to help her do that! This family is incredible and driving into the gospel. I have been so blessed to work with them!   
Also, last Sunday, we met a girl named Amber. We set up an appt to see her that coming Tuesday night. When we got there, it couldn't have been better timing. She had just gotten in a fight with her boyfriend. We were there to comfort her and give her comfort through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We went and saw her just a few days later and we taught her the Restoration. We were on an exchange and Sister Wittwer asked, "if you could hear God tell you anything right now, what would it be?" She said, "Come Home." The spirit was strong throughout the whole lesson. She knows it is true and wanted to come to all the Conference Sessions if she could. We only were able to find her a ride to the Sunday ones since she lives so far out, but she loved both of them. She went with the question, "Is there hope for me?" It was answered when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang, "Softly and Tenderly." She buried her face in her hands and balled as they repeated "Come Home." She now has a baptismal date set for October 25th! We will do everything in our power to help teach her and to give her that new start and life we can find in Christ. :)

Lastly, Conference was another testimony builder for me. I went to Conference with 3 questions to bring to the Lord and He answered all 5! Yes, 5! There were a few other things I didn't think about going into Conference and He gave me answers to the concerns and questions I went with and He also took care of the ones I didn't really think of. THAT is how much He loves us. He will take care of our basic needs and then some. He loves to bless us and give us more and more. How lucky are we to have a Heavenly Father who loves us SOOO Much! I am so grateful that He took the time to think of me specifically and answered all my concerns and more. This is the God we know and love. I promise that if you bring all your questions and concerns to the Lord, He will answer them and give you even more than you had hoped for. He loves you. :)  Isn't that incredible?! I love it! Don't you feel like a spoiled little princess? (Or if you are a boy, a spoiled Prince.) Allow God to show His love to you and spoil you a little bit. All you have to do is go to Him. :)

I love this gospel! We are so lucky! And I love being a missionary! I wish it'd never end!

I love you all!!!

Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #41

There was a can of oysters in our apt that Sister Crandall's mom sent in a fun Alaskan package. She left them behind though, and let's be honest, we all know why. haha. Sister Woodard got them out and thought we should try them just for the heck of it! We opened it. Yep, it stunk!! Didn't look very pleasant either... Sister Woodard backed out. Being the little Dare Devil I am, I couldn't not try it, so I did. Uh! Not Worth It! Pretty gross and overly fishy to be honest! But hey, now I can say I've tried canned oysters! And I can promise you this, it will the last time too!

So, my toilet started making angry noises one morning. At first, it seemed like all the Randalls (nasty bugs we keep finding and killing) I flushed down the toilet were joining together to come get revenge on me! It was like Godzilla was about to emerge or something! Like Hercules, I decided to slay this beast! I got down and dirty (ok, let's be honest, it wasn't that bad) and fixed the darn thing! Yep! I fixed the toilet! Thank you Dad for always being a handyman and allowing/making me learn from you! It comes in handy!

Besides toilet slaying, Mission life has been good! Nothing too exciting this week. We dropped a few people, talked to many, many people, and taught lessons. The usual. :) We are still teaching Lynn and Joe and things are going REALLY well there. They are still progressing to baptism and Lynn is so excited for General Conference that she wants to watch every session and not just at home, but at the church! So awesome! Joe will be attending lots of them too, but will probably have to go home after one session cuz of his hip problems, which is totally understandable. Joe is such a rock in the family and it is evident that his testimony keeps growing. He found a diagram on the role of fathers on facebook the other day that works hand in hand with the gospel. He was really excited to find it and show it to us. They have bought their own manuals online and are so zealous in their learning. It has been such a blessing to teach them and let's be honest, just know them! I love that family sooooo much! When we have dinner at that house, they have the whole big family come. It is warm, fun, full of love and I feel right at home! I hope my family can be as close and have as much love as that home does! I wish I never have to leave!

Recently, our President pointed something out to us in Preach My Gospel on page 146, that I wanted to share with y'all. It's the way we can measure our success as a missionary: "The ultimate measure of success is not in achieving goals alone but in the service you render and the progress of others." So, Ultimate Success = Achieving goals + Service + Progress. That is so true! This life is all about serving others, our personal progression and the progression of others around us (the children we raise, our spouses, people we meet/interact with etc.), and achieving that ultimate goal of the Celestial Kingdom. :) As we all strive to do these things throughout our life, we will be successful in returning to our Heavenly Father's presence to live with Him again. I so look forward to that! And we all should look forward to that as we strive and thrive each day.

I love you all and keep y'all in my prayers. Remember, life is a Roller Coaster. Learn to enjoy the ride. :) Have a fantastic week!

Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #40

Life is so good in Russellville! Like really. My new companion is Sister Woodard! She's been out two transfers so far and let's just say, we are working HARD! Maybe too much. haha, We're exhausted and she's not quite used to my "full speed ahead!"ness. She is being so positive about it though! That's the crazy thing about missionary work: the harder you work, the more you love it! She's opening up quick and loving it! She said this is more what she expected a mission to be like, (so that was good to hear.) So here we are, in the middle of the South, working our tails off and having a grand ole time doing it! Love Missionary Work!

Saying goodbye! Elder Gale and Sister Senior going home! Crazy!

My most recent goal is to start picking up the word, "fixin." I think I have the "y'all" down quite nicely. It's easy and flows right off my tongue without even thinking about it. However, not the same with "fixin." (For those who don't know, the South says "fixin to" rather than "about to.") I personally think "fixin" is absolutely adorable! So hope y'all can start noticing me slowly, but surely turn into a Sweet, Southern Bell. :) That's the goal!

On Saturday, the State Fair was in town! Sister Woodard and I went and talked to 40 different people and asked them if they'd be interested in us sharing a message later with them and their family or if they knew anyone who would. Not everyone accepted, naturally, but we worked really hard trying to find those who may be interested. We'll see what miracles will come from those we visited with! (Also, for everyone's info, the beautiful woman with a snake body doesn't exist! Don't do it! It will indeed burst your bubble! Just thought you should know.)

Also, we are still working with Joe and Lynn! I don't if I told y'all last time, but we are now also teaching Coy, Lynn's dad. Things are going so well! We had dinner with their whole family this last week: parents, kids, and grandkids! So Fun! There was about 20 or so of us! I felt right at home! That is what family is all about. Enjoying one another's company and having that love in the home. It was seriously so fun and great to spend the evening with them! I am starting to get so attached to this family. They have great desires to do good and really think. They ask really deep questions and it is such a pleasure to teach them and watch it click! They are so funny and cute seeing their excitement
Deep fried Apples with Cinnamon on Top 
"That's what I call Nutrition!" -Bill Cosby
of the gospel. The fullness we have in this church really is an incredible thing and a huge blessing! It's easy to overlook sometimes when we are used to having it. I am so grateful I was raised with this knowledge and now have the privilege to pass it on to others. Life couldn't be better as a missionary!
Heard from Alisa from Bessemer this last week! Things are going so well for her. I love her family and her so much! I am so glad I was able to come out and build love and friendships like this!
Lastly, this week on Sunday was the primary program. I love that time of year so much. The kids are so cute, sweet, and so HONEST! haha. They say the Darnedest Things! And I love watching them. I can't wait to have kids of my own and be able to watch them up there. It'll be pretty cute AND funny, I'm sure. :) Something to look forward to in my next life, after the mission. But until then, I will do all I can to learn from them and become like them. They earnestly want to learn and know and feel loved. This is a few of the many reasons why I think Christ told us to "become as little children." (Matthew 18:3-4)

I love you all! It has been a blessing to be here in Russellville and I love my new companion, Sister Woodard. She and I will see great things happen together! I just know it!
Love you all!
Sister Salmond

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mission Newsletter #39

Reunited with Sister Senior FINALLY at the Zone Conference! She is such a babe!
We washed Bebe so Nancy wouldn't have to do it. 
Things are still going so well in Russellville! Lynn is still taking the lessons and this week Lynn and her husband Joe came with two of their grandkids to church! They even got there before we did! So exciting! When I went up to them Lynn said, "There's my girl!" She is so sweet. I am seriously falling in love with this family and feeling myself getting attached. Joe also got really involved in church and participated several times! He loves it and is really getting it. They are a great couple and fit right in. We are so blessed to be teaching them!

Good ole South :) Love seeing religion everywhere expressed in everyone's own way!

Visiting Della
Funny Story! So, we met a lady at Walmart, Melissa, and we asked her if she knew anyone who could use a visit, service, or message of Christ. She referred us to an older lady in a rehab facility. To be completely honest, I didn't think the lady in rehab would go anywhere. Older people here can be really stuck in their ways and in their beliefs. However, I knew she would be a key into getting into Melissa's home. So, we called the elderly lady, Della, to report to Melissa we had seen her. Della told us to come on over. When we arrived, her son and his wife was there with her. Sister Crandall and I tagged teamed it. She visited with Della as I spoke with the Maxwell and Marilyn. They are Holiness, which is different than Della (she's Apostolic.) I talked to them about their beliefs and ours and how we believe in a modern day prophet. We had a good conversation and set up an appointment to see them the next day to teach them more. As Sister Crandall and I left, she asked me if I heard why she was in the rehab. "She broke her hip?" That's all I had heard... "But do you know how?" I didn't. She then went on to tell me that Della was in church and was "caught up in the Holy Ghost." It had flown her across the room where she hit her head on a pew and then broke her hip, but "by the grace of God" she lived. She didn't even have a
headache! Wow! What an aggressive Holy Ghost?! It made me chuckle. I am so grateful that we understand the true nature of God: submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love and long-suffering. He is not a God of shows, ruckus, and chaos. He loves us and we can feel it though that peace, burning in our bosom, and the still small voice.

Rockin with Elvis! (a statue in the middle of our area)
Since then, we have gone back and started teaching Marilyn and Maxwell. They are open to what we have taught thus far and have committed to start reading the Book of Mormon. We really prepped them for Anti cuz they will probably get it since they go to a Holiness church, but we pray that they can stay strong and receive the blessings of this gospel.

Lastly, we had an amazing opportunity to have a Zone Conference with Elder Zwick from the Seventy. We found out that we'll be receiving iPads in January. Pretty cool! Also, there is a new movie coming out, which I am sure y'all already know about called "Meet the Mormons." We'll have
Miami Ice! They have things named after celebrities too! haha
an opportunity to see it in October when it comes out and it'll open many doors to the work, I am sure! He talked to us a lot about the growth in technology and how it can help impact the missionary work for good. One thing he said that really impacted me is that "there'll be a big miracle here in this mission coming soon and it's up to your personal wisdom, dedication, and virtue to help it come forth." Wow! I hope I can see this miracle unfold while I am still on my mission. If not, I at least want to be able to know that I did everything I could to help that miracle unfold. I am thrilled to have these wonderful tools soon to help the Lord's work move forth. I strive to be a missionary and daughter God is proud of and knows He can use for good. I love this gospel and I am so grateful to be part of this work here in Alabama. Good things are soon to come. Now is the time we prepare for the coming of our Lord! The time is at hand!
Saying goodbye to the Foursome here in Russellville! Sister Crandall is being transferred and Elder Gale is going home to Nevada!! Crazy! His mission is over! He is a great missionary. No joke. His testimony is so strong and he has had an amazing conversion. I look up to him a lot. Have a great time with Your Fam Elder Gale!!!

I love y'all so much and hope y'all have another grand week! Remember, we have great tools in our hands to move forward the work. Don't be afraid to share it with uplifting messages on facebook or with friends. Our opportunities are limitless!

Love y'all!
Sister Salmond