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!!