Monday, December 8, 2014

Missionary Newsletter #50

This week, I noticed a few things I need to improve on. It seems like lately, there's been a pattern where those I teach struggle to recognize the spirit and in turn, their answer. It's not like they are purposely ignoring it, it's just not coming to them as easily as others I have taught in the past. Therefore, I am having to dig a little deeper. I love these people so much and want them too to have the blessings and spirit I know in my own life. The question is how... I have come to the conclusion that it has to start with me. I need to recognize the spirit more in my own life and make it a priority to feel it more strongly in the lessons we teach. It's not that the spirit isn't there; it just needs to be there more. Goodbye Sister Salmond! I am not the teacher. I need to let the spirit do all the work. I hope by studying and trying to focus on this more, those we are teaching, can feel it too and come to know of the truthfulness of this church. I have the faith, so I hope we can see miracles come rolling forward with this effort!

Outside of Spirituality, we have seen some BIG Thanksgiving Miracles! The first starts at the beginning of my Huntsville Days... There was a family that was taught previously and have been dropped for a few transfers now. (The mother found the missionaries after watching the Restoration video online and being touched by the spirit. How cool is that?) We have texted them every once in a while, but nothing really happened. Finally, just a little bit before thanksgiving, we heard back from the mother, Veronica! She told us to stop by on Thanksgiving day. There'll be there the whole day! Success!
I made myself Gluten, Dairy, Egg Free Pumpkin Pie and Cornbread Dressing (Southern-styled stuffing) And they turned out really good! Hooray! Victory!
We stopped by at noon, before all our many dinner appointments. They let us in and it was perfect timing cuz they were cutting the turkey to eat! No way! We made it time to eat there too. haha. (Let's just say that I legitimately gained 2 lbs and have yet to lose it from that Glorious Holiday. haha) Anyways, after feasting, we played Scategories, Thanksgiving Style! After a few laughs, we were
Their boy started eating straight from the fudge plate
 and he was set on doing it!
 There was no stopping him and it was soooo funny
able to bring in the spirit of gratitude and how they say "Thank You" back to God. In doing so, we asked how they still felt about baptism and THEY WANT TO BE BAPTIZED ASAP! Ok... I am jumping ahead... The mother, Veronica, and the youngest of their two sons, Kevin (14), loves it and is so on board! The eldest son, Wes Jr. (18) is open to the idea, but is standing back a little bit to do more research on what we believe, which is totally understandable and great! The father, Wes Sr., is not very interested at the time being. Veronica originally wanted them to get into church as a family, but can no longer wait for him to come around. Therefore, Veronica and Kevin are on for baptism on the 9th!

The next day, Veronica took us out for lunch. There, we were able to talk to her more one on one and answer some of her questions about the church, specifically about our current prophet, Pres. Thomas S. Monson. After explaining it she felt much better understanding the role of a prophet. She had so many good question, but overall, what impressed us most as we sat with her at lunch, was her incredible faith and testimony. She really is an incredible woman and God trusted her to seek out the church on her own. There's no doubt. After lunch, being Black Friday, she felt the need to take us shopping! We each got a few shirts, a pair of shoes and house slippers. The talk at lunch was great by herself, but the shopping was the icing on the cake. She seriously is too good to us.

It was great to see Veronica and Kevin at church. The topic was eternal families and having peace in the home. It was perfect for them! God is so aware. Everything is working perfectly, it's like a dream. The church is so true and is aware of each of us. Sister Millard and I are so grateful for this miracle we have been able to see and their baptism will be the best way for Millie to end her mission. :)

Lastly, we had Zone Conference this week. If you haven't heard, the church is doing a Christmas Initiative with the Christmas video, "He Is The Gift." We have all been given pass-along cards to promote it. In addition to missionary efforts, it'll be on the big home page of youtube starting Dec. 7th, allowing 220 million people to see it! And it will be a billboard in Time Square! Wow! It makes me think of the verse in Moses 7:62, "And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to beat testimony of mine Only Begotten;....and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth..." We're spreading the good news with the whole world! Because, He truly is the Gift that just keeps giving and if the whole world knew that, it would be a different place. Y'all should have gotten some pass-along cards in your December Ensign. Take them out and give them to someone you care about, who can use this message! Let us spread this truth to the world like a flood!

I love this church and I am so grateful to be on the mission for such a momentous thing as this. I know miracles will come all over the world from this initiative. I know this work is truly inspired. I love you all and hope you have a wonderful holiday season as the crazy begins. ;) Happy Holidays!

Love you All!
Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #49

So this week has been kind of dull. We haven't seen many crazy miracles right now. We've just both been sick. Sister Millard with Bronchitis and me with a sinus infection. We had such faith that we'd get over it last week, but sadly didn't. haha. We were on strict orders from the doctor, ward members, and the mission nurse to rest. Rest?! That's like crazy talk for a missionary! We sat in our apartment, looking out the window, watching the elect walk by! After a few hours of nervous twitches and longing to get out, we decided to sneak out. We are such rebels. (evil snickers) and let me tell you with was no easy task! Everyone and their dog was checking on us! But, somehow, we were able to do it!  With much medication, finally, these illnesses are getting kicked to the curb!

Went back to Sandra's to say thank you and when we came, she was preparing Chitlins! For those of you who don't know (which I didn't until I got to the south), that's pig intestine. Yuck! I haven't had to eat it yet and praise the heavens for that! Welcome to Alabama! :)
As far as updates, there aren't much. We are still teaching Ryan though! He is really awesome! He has such a hunger to learn and grow! He set goals to receive an answer and to be baptized! He is really cool to meet up with! We were teaching him the plan of Salvation this week and he related the path we have to make our way home to heaven to the Iron Rod, which he read in his Book of Mormon reading (1 Nephi 8) How cool is that? He perfectly applied the scriptures to our lesson!

With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to say some thank you's. :) (In no particular order)
I am thankful for:
1. Shoes
2. Health
3. Toilet Paper
4. Tissues
5. Food
6. Money
7. Support
8. Friendships
10. Family! Parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, etc.
11. Letters
12. My Charleston Peeps
13. Cars
14. Coats
15. Small Dogs
16. Sunny days
17. Trees (especially in the fall)
18. The Church Families
19. The Gospel
20. Our Savior
21. Music
22. Cooking
23. Our Brains to keep learning with
24. Games
25. Books
26. The Scriptures
27. The mission
28. Miracles
29. Prophets
30. Flowers
31. Windows down
32. Sleep
33. Cute Clothes
34. Water
35. Technology (Hallelujah for that one!)
36. Bug Spray
37. Cleaning wipes
38. Tights (to keep warm with)
39. My voice
40. Air
41. Medications
42. Bags/ Backpacks
43. Make up
44. Junk food
45. Time
46. Warm showers
47. Good smelling stuff
48. Beds & Pillows
49. Jewelry
50. Colors!!! That make this world a beautiful place.

Let us all remember to be grateful, especially during this time of year. "And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more." Doctrine & Covenants 78:19 What a great promise!?! If we just take a moment to say thank you, God will bless us even more. I encourage all of y'all to take a moment on this Thanksgiving and remember all the simple pleasures God has blessed you with throughout your life.

I love you all! Take care and Happy Thanksgiving!
Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #48

So this week has been an interesting one. The weather has really taken a turn... FOR THE WORSE!
It's fReEzInG! and I'm a wimp and can't handle it! Ok... maybe I can, I just don't like to. haha. Unfortunately, with the change of weather, everyone is getting sick! Over half our zone has caught a gnarly cold, including my companion and I! Mine is not bad at all. Very livable. A little sore throat, sneezing and a runny nose, here and there, but nothing bad. Millie on the other hand is dying and going to her grave. She has hacked up a couple of lungs, completely lost her voice and looks overall very sad. Poor thing!  So, we've been indoors quite a bit these last few days. Some may fake being sick, but trust me, this girl is a trooper, and REALLY sick. No worries though, the ward is taking good care of us and we got her some prescription medications this morning finally, so things should be turning around in no time! Hallelujah!

Also, I finally gave in to mission life and got myself some good old granny shoes. ;) They have the nice support on the inside, nice style, and HEIGHT! Talk about groovy, man! Gotta love 'em!
Granny Shoes :) Look at that support & the tassels are boss. ;)

This week, even with the sickness, we had some fun activities! We went to Sandra's house on Saturday and got some good "soul food!" Soul food, for those who may not know, is true southern cookin'. Yes, this sweet lady who we met, offered to show us how it was done. And let me tell ya, we dun it! It was good, although my plate looked a little different from everyone else's. haha.
Everyone had these action shots of making food. All of it I couldn't eat so I was only in charge of the salad. Ta-da! That is one nice salad! ;)

Everyone else's plate

My plate

Lastly, we've been teaching a guy named Ryan. We met him at the mall when he was out on his break. He is a proclaimed agnostic, not because of a lack of faith, but because he has yet to find a religion that he believes is true or right for him. After meeting him, we met up with him the next day. It was so cool meeting and talking with him. It's like God lined everything up for him to receive the gospel. When we gave him the Book of Mormon, he was excited to get started. Since then, he has read 8 chapters and come to church! He loves everything so far and things are going well with him. It's cool to hear everything that comes out of his mouth. It's like he is thinking what I am and says it before I even have a chance to express it! Talk about the spirit! ("[the Holy Ghost] shall teach you all things" John 14:26) It's seriously great to be teaching with him. :)

Well, I love you all. Take care!

Hugs & Kisses!
Sister Salmond

Mission Newsletter #47

Lots of Fun Stories to share this week, so here we go! Btw, Sister Millard and I have come up with cute nicknames: Sammi and Millie! Isn't that adorable? Ok. So, just realize I may be using these nicknames in my emails and such. :)

So first of all, it was Birthday week! Thank you everyone for making my birthday a blast! It was great having Millie's birthday first on the 7th, followed by mine on the 8th! Double whammy! Party central!

November 8th: Waking up and choosing an outfit was difficult. I felt like wearing pink. I wanted to be a Princess for my birthday! So, I started going through all my outfits, then my companion's
outfits... I had made a wreck and didn't find much success. I settled with combining one of her items and one of mine. Wasn't exactly what I was feeling, but it would work. Got ready for the day and then OPEN PACKAGE TIME! Right before Personal Study time. :) I opened up my package from the family and you would not believe what I got?! It was an adorable soft pink and black lace-ish dress! The exact color I was looking for! Perfect style too! It was perfect! I quickly changed and all was right with the world. :)

The rest of my birthday we spent at our Stake's Women's Conference! It was so good! The speaker was Wendy Ulrich and she spoke on the "Habits of Happiness." Sister Ulrich wrote the Adjusting to Missionary Life book and works a lot with missionaries and so she had a special lunch with the Sister Missionaries in our stake. We were able to talk as a group about different problems we face on the mission and it was such a blessing to hear what she and the other sisters had to say about mission life. She also told us that there is a new White Handbook that they are working on that will allow missionaries to have more flexibility and control over their schedule. That seems so strange to me, but I am curious to see what they end up doing. So look forward to that Victoria!

Lastly, for my Birthday, we made my cake! (Thank you family for the means to do so.) GERMAN CHOCOLATE! My favorite! We ate like half of it that night after making it! Yum! So good warm! We've been eating tons of it every day. Will we get fat from it? Heck no! Faith! We have faith that that cake won't make us fat so therefore, we are safe to eat as much of it as we want. :)

The other night we were out and there were coyotes WAY close to where we were! I could hear them howl! Eek! Let's just say, I'm a chicken and jumped in the car! They are scary down here. They come into the neighborhoods at night and we have been warned that they hide and sneak in the bushes. There are accounts of them attacking people and of course cats. I'm paranoid! But crazy! You can tell we are in the country!

Missionary Wise: This week we dropped all our previous investigators and started from scratch! Booya Baby! So we started tracting all over. As we bicycled down a country road, we passed a little house that looked abandoned, so we kept biking. I hollered Millie to a stop when I saw toes in the window! She turned around and saw the toes too! Someone was in there! We knocked on the door and started talking to the woman. As we talked to her, a bug flew down Millie's shirt! AH! It was orange and we were afraid it was a red wasp! I untucked her shirts to find it was a little baby lady bug that I peeled off her back. fewf! Sister Millard then asked to use her bathroom! Yay! Great way to get in the door! We went in and it smelled mildewing, but it's doable. I started talking and teaching the woman as Millie went. We then hear toilet struggles. The lady says to me, "She won't be able to get the toilet to flush. It's broken." I tried not to laugh as Millie peaked outside of the blanket (since there was no door) and said, "Um... I can't get your toilet to flush..." The lady told her it was fine and she would take care of it. Millie was humiliated, which I can't blame her. The Lady ended up not going anywhere, but man! It was an experience to remember! I couldn't help, but laugh SO HARD! I could hardly bike. Man! The adventures as a missionary. :)
Prank from the Elders after coming out of MLC. Elder Collins broke it when he was leaning back! We laughed so hard and then found it on our car thanks to the Assistants. haha! 
Well, with dropping investigators and seeking for more, the Lord has blessed us with 3 new people we have met and are starting to teach. Each one has just started their journey and is uniquely different, but all are so great and it seem like there's a lot of potential. I'll give you more detes when we meet with them more. Also, a previous family that was dropped, we picked back up. It seems like the timing is right now for them! Before, they didn't make time for the missionaries, but now it seems like they really are ready to learn and have God play a larger role in their life! The Lord is blessing us time and time again with people as we work hard! As Sister Millard and I talked about it, it really is such a blessing. We were out of our area for half the week with exchanges, MLC (Missionary Leadership Council), and then Women's Conference, and yet, these big miracles were able to still come forth. I am so grateful for God's evident had in the work. He is so mindful of His missionaries and will bless us, no matter the circumstances as long as we do all we can to do His work. (Alma 26:28, 29:13 hehe.)

Well, I love you all. I hope you enjoyed the many stories this week! I'm praying for you! Take care!
Sister Salmond (Sammi)