Monday, April 13, 2015

Missionary Newsletter #69 (Apr 13)

Hilarious sign!
So, this week is starting to get crazy cuz I am starting to feel the mission come to a close and it's been heartbreaking. Sister Warren and I had our exit interviews with President Hanks already. I bawled the whole time. I couldn't keep it together! The mission has become a huge part of me and I am so sad to see it go! However, I am grateful we have had such a big week to keep me distracted on the tasks at hand, cuz if I think about going home, I cry.

Last District Photo
The week started off with Missionary Leadership Council. We received AMAZING council from President Hanks on prayer. He told us to never give up in the hard times and keep praying. I have such a testimony of that and I needed to hear that and be reminded of that. It answered my prayers. Sister Hanks also helped us with our little irritations, which is such a real thing, not only on the mission, but back home as well. It is such a privilege and blessing to go to these meetings and learn from such amazing people. They have become some of the people I look up to the most in this world. They are like my personal heroes.

Sis. Mason with little Sariah playing with her hair. :)
We then, as leaders, had the responsibility to prepare the trainings we were taught and present them to our zone. After a day of preparation, we were able to do that. :) It went quite well! So, MLC was all day Tuesday, preparation was most of Wednesday and then Thursday was the Zone Training. We went straight into an exchange right after! I was with Sister Mason in Columbus for that. I took her to meet Minnie and DeDe. The grandkids LOVED Sis. Mason, especially Sariah. She played with her hair the whole lesson. :) haha. After a fabulous Friday we switched back. The week was already gone!!! Where did time go?! So Saturday we did a day of tracting! Yay! Had to enjoy these last few days doing things we won't be able to do when we get home!

This Sunday was Stake Conference with Elder Tony Parker. He was on the movie Meet the Mormons apparently. haha. But he was a great speaker! He had a little bit of the preacher still in him, which was so fun to see! Minnie and DeDe were able to come and LOVED IT! After Conference that day, we were able to experience the best thing of all: Minnie & DeDe's baptism!! They were baptized! The spirit was so strong when they received the Holy Ghost! It was definitely a baptism I'll never forget! A chance in a life time! I wouldn't want to end my mission any other way!

​Although it's sad to have my mission come to a close, I'm sure not done yet! Another day! I'm still kickin' and then I still will be able to see a few people from my areas with the family since they will be picking me up. What a blessing! I look forward to these next few days! Wish me luck!

Lots of Love,
Sister Salmond


Saying goodbye to Kenneth! He is an incredible man, who is SO knowledgeable about the Bible. So much so, our church supports all he believes. He feels the spirit so strong and I know he'll come to the church one day. :) 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Missionary Newsletter #68 (Apr 6)

On Friday before Easter, this was up in front of a church. Then on Sunday, the cross had a white, silk, scarf looped on it with flowers. It's cool to see so many recognize this holiday of our Savior's gift, but just a little too gory for me...
This week was Conference Weekend! I love Conference! It is such a great opportunity to hear our prophet and apostles speak! It always is such a joy to hear them and it always goes by way too fast!!! Some of my favorite quotes are: "Saints are sinners who keep trying."-Nelson Mandela & "Never tire from discovering and rediscovering the truths of the gospel."-Bishop Gerald Causse. What a great weekend! I am so sad it's over though... It's been neat to start and end my mission with Conference. Couldn't have it be any better!

We went tracting the other day. We knocked on a glass screen door and the main door was open. As we looked inside, we saw a dog start coming up to a door: a bigger pitbull. We then realized, that dog was not inside, BUT RIGHT BEHIND US!!! (fyi, pitbulls in the south can be really scary and dangerous!) We cautiously, about to pee our pants, turn around to see if he was really there.... IT was! Ah! He saw us look back and started jumping all over us with excitement ALL covered in Mud! Ugh! We brushed it off the best we could and went to the next house. Dog started following us and as we came from one door to go to the next, he would start charging at us, jump and get another part of our body dirty! All we could do is prepare ourselves to be trampled!! It was crazy, funny and quite an intense and unique experience. haha. Thank goodness God was looking over us and allowed the doggy to be a nice one rather than a vicious one! Miracles happen. :)

Also, y'all are probably wondering about the grandmother and her huge big family that came to church a few weeks back... Well, the grandmother, Minnie, and her grandson, DeDee, will be baptized this Saturday! Some of the other family lives in Houston, MS so we are going to send the missionaries their way to help them be baptized, but we should expect good things from this family! Here's a picture of the little house that holds the family of grandkids. :)

This week, we had a few exchanges, which is always fun! For one of them, we had a Sister Training Leader exchange! These don't happen very often, but they are when STLs go on exchanges with other STLs to learn and get advice from another. What was fun is that I was with Sister Gibbs! I was her STL just in Madison 2 transfers ago and now we were REUNITED!!! It was so fun to be together again! While we were together, a lady we had met in Walmart wanted to know more about what we believed! We jumped at the opportunity and came to her house! When we got there, it was not what we had expected. She was a sweet baptist lady, who was once again, concerned for our souls... There are many similarities and differences between our two religions, but as we talked to her, it saddened me to think about how they picture the start of life. We believe in a pre-earth, where we lived in God's presence as spirit children before we came to this life. In my readings lately, it is very clear in the bible that this spirit life existed before we came.

6th day: "God created man after his own image" (Gen. 1:27)
7th day: He rested
and then, after "God formed man of the dust" & put Adam into the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:7,15)

It's clear that we were created as spirits by God first, and then in the flesh. This pre-earth life existed. And there, God loved us and we were His children. It makes so much sense to me that we lived with Him before. That is how He knows us so clearly and intimately. It's not just cuz he knew what we'd be like (like Baptist believe), but rather, He raised us and loves us. He loved us enough to let us go, so we could have a chance to learn and become great like him.

In addition, Baptist believe, that as babies, we are born in sin. We are sinners at birth (at least to my understanding after this meeting). How sad to think that we come to this earth in filth. We have no chance to be clean at any point. But, it's the very opposite of we hold dear. When children are born, they come straight from heaven, the presence of our Father. They are pure, sweet, and the closest thing on this earth to God. (Moses 6:54) Bringing children into this earth is a beautiful and gift from God. We do know, they cannot stay pure and as they go throughout life they make mistakes, sin, etc. and become filthy through the experiences of life. That is when Christ's Atonement becomes so key. I am so grateful to understand God's plan for us. He loves us so much and He has set up this life so we can succeed! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to speak with this woman and exchange our beliefs. It strengthens my testimony so much in God's plan for us. This church is so true! And no matter how much people try to tear down the church or my beliefs, it only makes me stronger. I love this gospel and the opportunity I have to serve and share my beliefs with others.  I love you all! Have a fantastic week!

Lots of Love,
Sister Salmond

This pic makes me look like I'm up to no good. Crime show!

We found the strangest Ice Cube! How did that happen?! Talk about Defying Gravity?! p.s. Don't judge how strange I look in the photo... Not a good day. haha!

Sister Maxwell knows a trick to make dandelions curl!

Exchange with Sister Gibbs!!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Missionary Newsletter #67 (Mar 30)

First of All, Happy Easter for all of y'all! It's just around the corner now! Can you believe it?! Insane how time flies! But it's also such a good time of year too, with the flowers starting to bloom and the weather starting to warm up! It's becoming so beautiful outside!  It's also great as a missionary to share the Easter Message! This Easter, the church came out with a new video called, "Because He Lives." If you haven't watched it yet, I would recommend it! The link for it is:

This week has been full of miracles! Outside of continuing to teach or investigators I mentioned last time, Sister Warren and I have been able to do several cool things together this week!

Julia's baptism!!
First of all, both of us got to go back to our previous area and see a baptism! Sister Warren was able to see Stephanie in the Tuscaloosa YSA ward be baptized. Stephanie had such a sweet testimony and will be a strong member in the church! As for me, I got to see Julia be baptized! She is 10 years old, but the coolest part about it was her and her father, Leland, were learning together. He was Less Active and he came back into activation! Through the months we taught them, his countenance grew brighter and brighter and it was a miracle to be able to see him be able to perform that ordinance for her!

Got to stop and see Lynn and Joe after Julia's Baptism!
On the way home, we started driving past Lynn and Joe's street! What?! I was in complete shock! I couldn't resist and look a quick turn into the street and we pulled up to their house. Joe answered the door and in a shocked silence, he looks to Lynn, who is on the couch. She peaks forward and sees me. She jumped up and we all embraced, crying! I miss that family SO much! I would give anything to be there with them. It was such a miracle for both of us that God directed our paths to be able to pass by there house so I could see them one time. I was so grateful they were there and we could we connect! I love that family!

Temple Trip! Sister Warren and I with President Hanks!
Also, we had the privilege to go to the Temple! In the Temple, I got to talk to President Hanks about some questions I had. We are so lucky to have such a knowledgeable man to lead us here in Alabama! However, as we talked, we LOVED to poke his finger and start making fun that I am going home soon. Funny. NOT! haha. He had the nerve to try to start setting me up! (He's determined to have his missionaries marry each other so there's less of us to keep up with. haha.) Just a little too soon President. haha.
Look at the group! We have so many less sisters now! We use to have 50/50, but now we are out numbered! That's ok. Elders are great! But if you are female and thinking about serving, stop thinking and do it! The mission needs you! 
Sylacauga Reunion! (What is left of us...)

Well, miracles are happening here in Columbus! It is such a blessing to be here to serve! I look forward to everyday! I pray that I can continue to work harder and harder to the end! I love the opportunities I have had here to be taught by the amazing people I have met throughout the mission and the many experiences God has allowed me to have. May that learning never end!

Hope everyone enjoys LDS General Conference this weekend! And Happy Easter!
Lots of Love,
Sister Salmond

A wonderful Southern BBQ Truck we found! SO GOOD! and cheap!  a Rack of Ribs for $5! Incredible! (Sadly we didn't have that in cash, so we got a cheaper item.) We sampled the ribs and they are TO DIE FOR! Love Southern BBQ! Nothing like it!

The weather here is bipolar! We thought it was a beautiful day (sunny with a mild breeze) to bike. So, we did. We ended up biking home in the rain, and fierce wind with no coats! Bad mistake!
We tracted some BEAUTIFUL colonial homes yesterday! What a gem!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Missionary Newsletter #66 (Mar 23)

We saw chickens blocking the road. Sis. Warren parked
the car and went chasing!!! So funny!
Then we also found an hobbling bird. We
picked it up and helped him to safety
so he wouldn't get run over.
Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day Everyone! Hope y'all had the best of Luck! ;) (My St. Patty's Day Treat! Lucky Charms! I just realized that they are full of Jesus fish! Look carefully at the cereal shapes. You'll find them too! Love little tender mercies!)

Yesterday we experienced the biggest miracle here in Columbus! However, the story began a week ago, last Sunday. We had hours to tract. (What you do when you are new to an area and have no one to see.) We normally went left or right at the intersection by our apt, but this time we decided to explore and go straight. As we went straight, after a long bit of nothing, we found the hidden GHETTO!!! Yes! It had been too long since I had spent some good time there! We parked our car, prayed to see if this is where we needed to be, and then embarked on to find the elect!

The coolest thing about the black culture, is that they are so loving and friendly! They were just all outside, sitting on their porches, visiting, laughing, dancing, and having a good time together! As we walked down the streets, it wasn't hard to start talking and making friends with all the people! The other thing is that they all have a love for God! They are so quick to want to talk about Him! We met one family outside braiding hair. We started teaching them. Then, we continued on down the road. A trailblazer drove past us slow with the windows down, waving at us with a grandmother, daughter and LOTS of grandkids. I challenged Sister Warren, "Dare you to contact them!" But it came out of my mouth too late cuz they had already passed us. But, when that happened, the pulled in the house just two houses behind us. OoOoOo. So, it wasn't too late! We started heading back their way. They waved to us. We talked to them and they totally welcomed us in. We talked with them and set up a time to come back and teach them. And that we did! We asked them to come to church and they were on board! We knew it would be an orchestrated event because there are 21 grandchildren and 5 adults sharing one bathroom in a tiny house. We came early Sunday morning and helped them get ready! With the help of a member's van, we got 16 of them to church! We walked into church with a row of little ones trailing behind us along with Minnie, the grandmother, and Paula (her daughter) & her boyfriend.  We felt like herders at church leading the way and keeping the children quiet.

Throughout church, it was evident that Minnie and Paula were loving the services. They were so actively involved asking questions and smiling. During introductions, Minnie decided to bare her testimony and thank us for coming into their lives. She was so grateful to see all her kids and grandkids in church together. She had never had that before. :) Minnie and Paula told us after church that they felt really good there, which we identified as the Holy Ghost. They told us that they didn't learn in the black churches like they did at ours, but just shouted praises and such. They were so grateful for all they learned and felt a sense of relief in their life. They are excited to continue meeting with us and come to church! This family really needs the joy and blessings of the gospel and it's amazing to see how the Lord is using us to gather His Sheep into His Fold. I love the miracles we saw this last week and there will be many more to come. This is the joys of missionary work! We are so blessed!

I love you all and hope things are going good! It couldn't be better over here! I love this work!

Sister Salmond

Monday, March 16, 2015

Missionary Newsletter #65 (Mar 16)

Exchange with Sister Thompson

This week, I changed food groups as I was announced over the pulpit as Sister Almond for the opening prayer! haha. I may have made an unusual face since it definitely surprised me! But it made my day! haha!

an owl at our apt
Also, this week, Sister Warren and I gained a testimony of Hymns. We were tracting Saturday afternoon. As we worked our way down the street, a vicious, big dog was chained to the front porch of one of the house down the way. Every time we started to walk from a house, he barked and barked at us. However, we knew it was Satan trying to keep us from the elect! So, as we began to head to this house, we quietly sang, "The Spirit of God." This time, the dog didn't bark. It just looked at us as we slowly walked to the house. We made it safe to the door and was able to speak with the family and then sing our way back to the street in safety! Miracles happen and it was cool to see how animals can feel and recognize the spirit. :)

One lady we are teaching right now is Miss Sally. She is a sweet older lady, in her 70s-80s and is originally from England. She has the cutest little accent and personality. She is very in tune with the spirit and believes in the message we share. The hardest thing that will be for her is church attendance. With her age, it will be hard to be able to make it out of the house. But we love working with her and hope she'll be able to make it to keep studying with us and be able to make it to church!

This week, we had our Mission Leadership Council and we did a training in return to our zone. We worked with the Zone Leaders to do a good training and the whole thing turned out Excellent! We focused a lot on obedience in the mission and we had everyone modge podge a card with their personal commitment on it. Everyone was on board and left uplifted and from what we heard, it went really well! What a blessing!

Lastly, yesterday, we found our GHETTO!! I love going and talking to all the people in these areas. They are just really good, humble black people. Those are the people I just naturally love. It's like they are born with a love of God which is so cool and I love being around that! While we walked around and spoke with people, there was a car that passed with a big family that waved at us. I dared Sister Warren to contact them through the window, but I said it to late. Drats! Then the car pulled in, just two houses over from us. oOoOo! That's convenient! So, we headed their way. We went to talk to them and they hoped we would come over. They had a tragic accident happen to them the night before.
        They went to the club Saturday night for the first time. While they were there, there was a shooting! The guy who had the gun was right by them. We know one girl at least died and many were injured. People were trampled as they tried to squeeze out of the only little exit. The mom and the daughters got out safe, but one of the daughters got her arm dislocated in the process and their purse, phones and one of the shoes were lost. They were grateful to make it out alive.
        The whole family was distraught by it, which I don't blame them. We comforted them, shared some scriptures and prayed with them. We have an appt to go back. I don't know how fast this family will progress in the gospel, but I know that they really need the gospel at this time. We are grateful we got to run into them yesterday.

Miracles are happening everyday in Columbus! I am so grateful to be serving here! Hope y'all had a week of miracles and will have good things happen this week! Take care!
Sister Salmond
Pi Day! 3-14-15 :) With some GF Pear/Apple pie!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Missionary Newsletter #64 (Mar 9)

So, Sister Warren and I have been double transferred into Columbus, Mississippi! The second I stepped foot into Mississippi, I have had the song, "Mississippi Girl" by Faith Hill stuck in my head! haha. Love it!! So, far things are going well for being transferred! Our first few days, we got to witness the baptism of Amanda!

Besides that, we have been doing a lot of tracting and meeting the previous sisters' people they were teaching. Lots of meeting and learning the basics of Columbus! Definitely a bit of a challenge! But the thing that is really cool, is that Sister Warren and I go home together, so we are united in our goals and want to run to the finish of our missions!! That is a huge blessing! Personally, I have a desire to witness 3 more people be taught and decide to enter into the waters of baptism. That is such a wonderful experience to be able to be apart of. Sister Warren is thrilled with that goal and so together, with the help of God, we will work hard to try to find the 3 that are ready to make that commitment and covenant to God!

Great things will be happening here in Columbus! I am sure of it! There is no other reason why God would have our mission president double transfer us in and out! It makes no other sense besides it was God's will. :) Please keep us in your prayers that we can obtain these hopes for such a wonderful area!

With much love,
Sister Salmond
A "SIGN" of Hope. haha. Get it? ;)
Brianna and her little girl, Bailey. The miracle tracting story I will never forget! #lastdoor #last15minutes
Sis. Tracy (the member who helped us with the quilt) and the quilt for President and Sister Hanks. There are still a few more finishing touches, but it's practically done! :)
A canvas Sister Zackrison and I painted as a thank you to the Jones family for all they do for us and the ward regarding the missionary work. They are an incredible family!
Saying goodbye to Christina's family! Little Michael gave me a sweet little kiss on the cheek! So adorable! Love that family!!!
Saying Goodbye to Marcia & her family (Josh & little Trey)! I will miss them so much! Love her! (Also, excuse her pale face. She was super sick with the flu but was so sweet and let me come by and say goodbye anyways.)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Missionary Newsletter #63 (Mar 2)

The Snow blizzard that came and stayed for 3 days!
Making Snow Ice Cream
 So, I don't know about Utah, but it has been snowing like CRAZY down here in Alabama! We are now on round 3 and we are expected to have more snow in a couple days too! It's been insane! On the third time it snowed, we had 6 inches and it stayed around for 3 days! That is NOT usual here in the South! It was definitely fun to walk around in the snow. :) It felt like we were back home a little bit. Plus, it was good when people had sympathy for us and let us in. hehe. :)

Joseito ate his diaper rash cream... So funny! He was SO caught!

We had a huge miracle happen this week!!! We were over at Christina's teaching her a lesson on Tuesday. We personally have felt like she is ready for baptism, but she wanted to go to church 10x first to make sure she liked it. She has already gone 5x and wasn't about to budge. It wasn't looking like I was going to be able to see Christina be baptized. However, when we went there Tuesday, Sister Zackrison asked her if when she was in the shower next (where she receives her revelation, since it's her quite time from the kids), if she would consider being baptized this coming weekend. If that was something she was ready for and God wanted her to do. Later, that night, she informed us that she got in the shower after we left and received the answer YES! Christina was baptized on Saturday and it was an exciting experience to have before I left Madison!

By my last comment, you could probably tell that I am leaving Madison. We got transfer calls on Saturday night and I am leaving to start a new adventure. I'll be starting a special assignment opening and then closing an area for that one transfer. I'll be remaining a Sister Training Leader and will be with another sister who will be leaving to go home with me. It's a very strange and unique assignment, but I know that obviously, there is something God needs us to do there, especially since it's only a temporary location. So wish me and my new companion luck as we go into this next transfer! We are going to need it!

Lots of Love,
Sister Salmond
Trying Southern Fried Frog Legs! People LOVE them down here. They were ok, but not my fave... If you haven't tried them, it's a must have, just for the experience. ;)
Visiting the Space & Rocket Center!

Missionary Newsletter #62 (Feb 23)

the scary snow we had heard about for days!!! (Not so much)
The Snow Came!!! And I had to drive in it with a poor new missionary on an exchange! So nerve-racking!!! No Salt. Good news, we survived!
We have had LOTS of Snow this week! Two Snow Days! Holy Cow! This is Very Unusual for Alabama! Last year, we had one big snow, but here it had a whimpy snow on Tuesday and then a big snow on Friday! It's also has a 80% chance of snowing next week too. Let me tell ya, it's weird. It's like we brought Utah with us! On Friday, we were in Decatur's District Meeting when it began to snow. I had to bring Sister Layton back to Madison for our exchange. The roads were slick and it was raining pretty hard. I called the Zone Leaders to ask what to do because we can't drive our car when it snows. They told me I had to drive now or I'd be suck overnight. So, we headed off! For your information, it is not NEARLY as scary driving in Utah! I'm invincible there! But here, I had a sister's life in my hands, the church's vehicle, which is paid for with sacred tithing money, and inexperienced snow drivers all around me! I have to admit, it was a bit stressful. By the grace of God, we made it safely home. The second I parked, I collapsed into a sigh of relief! So glad that was over! We then went tracting in the snow! It was a beautiful thing!
Snow in Alabama!
There were tons of birds in our backyard. It was cold and started to snow, so we made them a shelter and put some nuts outside. There were LOTS of birds though! Most we've ever had, but only a few took the bait. :(

Mally's grandson- a cancer survivor party!
One of the miracles this week is that Brianna came to church!!! (She was the sweet mother we tracted into on an exchange about a week back in the last 5 minutes of our time!) She came in late, squeezing next to us with her little girl, Baylee. It was really neat because Baylee and Christina's little boy (the other girl we are teaching), Michael, started playing together in Sacrament Meeting. We were all sitting in the same long, row. These two toddlers had a grand ole time! Also, Baylee and Michael both have diabetes. Christina and Brianna really connected since they had the same doctor and similar struggles trying to learn the ropes of diabetes. Plus, they are both learning the gospel, which I think helps them really feel comfortable with one another. It was neat seeing them bond and we just had to stand and watch. :)

In addition, when we visited with Marcia the other day, she informed us that she has had some stresses with finances and such. She also told us that her boss pulled her aside and told her she needed to wear nicer shirts to work, but she doesn't have any. Being sister missionaries, lots of clothes get left in the apartments, especially here in Madison since we live in a sister graveyard (mission lingo meaning a lot of sisters end their missions in our area). A few days later, we brought the old clothes from our apartment to see if there was anything that would work for her. As she went through it, she was thrilled! Things we never would've thought was stellar or great were very cute clothes to her. It was actually quite humbling to see her love these clothes we would've thought nothing of. There is so much I take for granted and I am grateful for moments like this to see the joy and twirls that one has over something so little. She found a lot of use out of shirts many sisters have overlooked. Josh, playing the perfect boyfriend role, assured Marcia that she looked good in the outfits. She told her, "You look good in everything you wear." That is a true man. Every guy should say that to his girlfriend/wife. They were so grateful and we left with a huge smile on our face. It feels so good to serve others. It was such a blessing to be part of that!

Madison is still doing great! We love it here and I love being here with Sister Zackrison! We are trying to find a place in Provo right now so we can be roommates in school. :) Wish us luck! It's coming to the end of the transfer though, so we are sad because we will know that we will be split up since we both go home in April. We will receive transfer instructions by the end of this week, so I'll let y'all know what happens! It's a bit nerve-racking since this will determine how we will end our missions, but at least we can go through it together! I love you all and pray for you! Know that God loves you and is always by your side. :)

Making President & Sister Hanks' goodbye gift from our going home group! (an Alabama quilt with a piece of all our skirts and ties in it)

Take care!
Lots of Luck, ;)
Sister Salmond

Also, some pics for Valentine's week:
Story of my Life!
Sweet Joseito (Christina's little boy) fell asleep in our lesson. So cute!
Cutest Valentine's Companionship Ever! :)
With Julia, a 10 year old we've been teaching :)