Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm coming home...

As my last email home, I wanted to include the lyrics to one of my favorite missionary songs. 
Mostly because it perfectly explains how I am feeling today.  


"The hardest thing I ever had to do
was letting go of everything I ever knew.
19 years of dreams left in my room
as I buttoned up the jacket of my suit.

The hardest words I've ever loved to say,
was goodbye to my Mom and walk away.
Choking on my tie and on my tears,
as I walked down the hall into those years.

And the sweetest song I've ever loved to sing
filled the MTC on angels wings,
and the chorus filled my soul 5,000 strong, 
and I wished it would just go on and on.

The firmest hand I ever loved to shake,
was my trainer's with that big grin on his face.
He grabbed my bag and put his arm 'round me, and whispered 
"I'm gonna work those Mr. Mac's right off your feet!"

And the hardest words I ever anguished for
came just before some lady slammed the door.
And my trainer left me hangin' out to dry,
as a minute of painful silence rode right by.

But the hardest tears I ever loved to cry,
fell as I opened up my mouth and testified.
Between the tiny walls of a strangers living room
the spirit told their hearts my words were true.

And the most wonderful sound I've ever heard
is the sound of water running in the church!
As someone I've come to love got dressed in white,
my eyes saw their first glimpse of heaven's light.

The hardest thing I've ever come to see
is a man down on his knees in agony.
A drop of blood falls down on olives leaves,
and for a moment, He suffers there for me.

The hardest thing I ever loved to do
is getting on this plane, and commin' home to you.
In a million ways completely torn apart,
as a lands so far away still owns my heart.
In the most sincere prayer I've ever prayed,
I thank my God for each and every day
for the blessing of the man I've come to be 
as I walk up and kiss my Momma's cheek."

I am so blessed to have this mission.  Something I didn't know about missions before I came on one was how it expanded me as a person.  Sure, I knew that I would come home with a stronger testimony, maybe some awesome close companion friends.  But I never thought about other ways it would stretch me.  I've learned to be a better cook.  I completely changed my style of fashion.  I learned medical tips.  I increased my knowledge of myself and my personality.  I learned much more about what I want for my future family.  I suffered heartbreaks because of having Charity.  I learned to get along with others, despite our differences.  I've learned to keep myself accountable to my mistakes and repent.  I learned to love unconditionally. I have learned to be flexible when things don't go as planned!  I learned to let other people serve me, and many more things I'm sure I don't even realize.

I've added up a few totals for my whole mission. I do not say all of this to boast, but rather to give praise to my Heavenly Father for all of these experiences!!

Ive taught a total of 436 lessons to nonmembers
Ive taught a total of 142 lessons to less active members
I've added a total of 72 new investigators
I was blessed to see NINE baptisms happen

but I come home with ONE Savior, ONE testimony, ONE thankful heart, and NO regrets.

Signing off and getting on the airplane,
Sister Wilson

Yang and Sia's baptism.  Happened last night.  :)  Both Deaf.  Sia is so flippin' short!!  hahah  I'm a monster!

This is Dominick's marriage to Mickey and then her baptism.

Monday, February 11, 2013

my final days....

I got my final piece of "trunky mail."  Its 2 pages of goals that I need to fill out about coming home.  (Dating, career, school, work, how I will accomplish them all)   Its been....blegh to fill out.  I'm being forced to think about and accept that I'm coming home, and I need to start making plans for my future so I dont get stuck in post-mission depression.  I think I have a few ideas...I have my departing interview this week with President and I have to take that paper and discuss my future with him, so...we'll see how that goes!  AAHH!  DEPARTING INTERVIEW!   HOW DID I GET HERE??!!

One of the deaf guys we taught last week said "I cant tell if you're Deaf or hearing!"  What a compliment to me.  I hope my ASL has really improved since I've come here.  There are some Deaf people that I couldn't  understand at the beginning of my mission that I can now understand when they sign back to me.  Here's to a better ASL future!  Its a blessing to me that I can use this skill for the rest of my life.  (Why does all the family have to speak Spanish??  eh??  I'm a black sheep.)

This week we had a Valentines Day dinner for the branch.  It was small, like all our activities, but fun.  We drove and picked up Kelly Brown (my recent convert) and got her out of the house.  She's feeling better since her hospitalization last week and it was great to help her get out of the house.  

My favorite thing of this week was the Sacrament meeting benediction (given by brenda):  "Dear Heavenly Father, we will miss Sister Wilson.  We love Sister Wilson.  We hope she keeps contact.  With the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

The end.  I love you all!  I should be able to write next week...but I'm not sure.  



This is the gold plates that we made out of cardboard!!  I love making stuff and spray painting it.  We need to get better rings to hold it together but our Deafies LOVED it and really understood the gold plates!  yay for inspiration!  The other picture is all of my mission planners.  Wow.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2 Weeks!

Hello all!  
Wow, I cant believe I only have 2 more weeks.  Time flew by really fast these past 6 months.  It was a great week, though.  I'm fighting off the thoughts of coming home...but they still happen.  :)  Yesterday was my technical 18-month mark.  gah.  We went to one of our less actives to visit and finally caught her at home.  She opened the door, signed "go home." and shut it.  You'd think that this wouldn't bother me anymore.  Rejection.  But it does.  It still hurts.  I love these people and they won't accept the gospel or blessings into their lives.  

I've been teaching one of our Deaf investigators, Molly, for basically my whole mission.  She told us the other day that the J-Dubs stopped by.  They found her.  My heart hurts. She's going to their church on Sunday, but she really trusts us, which is good.  We will continue to teach right doctrine and correct any confusing information she may be given and thats all we can do!  I was released from my calling of being the exchange sister.  That was sad, but I loved it while it lasted.  We have too many new sister missionaries to be trained.  Everybody is in trios.  We had 13 new sisters come in last week and we only have 7 English sisters who can train them.  So they each got 2.  Wowza.  Its wonderful.  The mission field should be about half and half now with elders and sisters.  This is wonderful news to those of you who understand how amazing Sister missionaries are!  haha.

Its been a balmy 72 degrees here in Cali.  But honestly, I will enjoy playing in the snow for a bit when I get home.  Keep it there a little longer for me, okay??  Elder L. Tom Perry spoke to Northern California yesterday for a big "stake conference."  It was awesome.  We had it piped in with ASL for the branch.  My favorite thing he said was about the new age-change for missionaries.  "It caused an EARTHQUAKE at church headquarters!!  Instead of the usual 2 apostles needed to do missionary assignments, we've needed 6."  WOW!  6 apostles just for assigning out our mission calls!  Thats so cool.  Mom and Dad will get one of those soon.  (right Dad??  *wink wink*)

I've been a bit teary as of late.  One day, we were in the car and we started joyfully singing "Called To Serve" and I started crying.  yeah...dont think that song will ever be the same.  I ate dinner with my recent convert, Anne, and her best friend, Linda, who I am also very close to.  We went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant and near the end of it, Linda looked at me and started crying.  She thanked me for coming on a mission so that I could be the right missionary to baptize her best friend into the church.  That moment alone made my whole mission worth it.  

I have lost all my desires to do evil.

Sister Wink

p.s.  My birthday is in the Old Testament.  It was the assigned day that they appointed to kill all the Jews!  (Esther 3:13) I laughed during personal study.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trunky day!

Here are a few pictures from my Trunky Day!  All the departing missionaries get together and do what they call a "Trunky Day" where we go to the temple and spend all day doing trunky things.  (except at the end, I got to go back to work for 4 weeks but they all got on a plane the next day.  hee heee)  The temple was wonderful.  I sat in the celestial room for about 20 minutes with my eyes closed as I talked silently with Heavenly Father.  I havent been able to do that for a looooong time.  I've really missed it.  Since it was Trunky Day, I thought it would be alright to reminisce and remember the scripture that helped me decide to actually serve.  

D&C 4:3  "Therefore; if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work."  

I then decided to read my favorite scripture, the one I put on my missionary plaque:  

Mosiah 2: "I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants." 

Then, I decided to read the whole chapter because I love it so much.  I was again touched by verse 17:  "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellowbeings ye are only in the service of your God."  This mission hasnt been a service of my fellowbeings, its has been my service to the Lord.  After the temple, they gave us 2 hours of FREE TIME.  uhhh.....I dont know what to do with free time.  bad idea.  But I ended up just chatting to sister Sellers.  She's been with me since the MTC.  We've been through a lot together.  Soon after free time ended, we had a dinner and a testimony meeting.  It was a wonderful day.
  Especially since everyone else had to end their missions, but mine kept going.  I think its the only reason I made it through was because I could say "yeah...but I'm not done.  I'm not done yet.  I still have 4 weeks!"  

It was a really great week!!  Remember our Ukranian Deaf investigator??  Well, we gave her a Russian Book of Mormon and went to visit again.  SHE'S IN JACOB!!!!  She can read it just fine!!  I was soooo happy.  Deaf people rarely get to the point where they can actually READ the book of mormon here, and she loves it.  Now, we have the name of a guy who speaks Russian and we're going to take him to our lessons with her to communicate better.  

DOMINICK IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!  (after she gets married to her boyfriend who she lives with)  But I get to go to both the marriage and the baptism on Valentines day!  This will be the best Valentines Day I've ever had!!  I'm soo excited for her.  I taught her for 3 transfers in Stockton.  Baptisms are my favorite.

We had another Deaf branch fast and testimony meeting.  I guarentee there are no other testimony meetings like the ones in the Sacramento Deaf branch.  We have everyone come up and give travel logs and whatever else they want to say.  (We're working on it!)  My favorite testimony came from Stuart, a severely mentally handicapped Deaf man who sneaks into the nursery and steals the snacks when nobody knows where he went.  He stood up in front and said "Jesus.  Jesus Christ.  You friend, church church church, church, church, I love you. Amen."  He's going straight to the Celestial Kingdom.  

We added a new investigator this week, her name is Laura.  She's Deaf and shes also schizophrenic.  She called us one night on our VP and she was very concerned that her Dad was going to hell because he killed a cat.  We explained forgiveness and that her Father, in his anger, could be forgiven of Heavenly Father.  Oh, how the gospel brings peace to people who dont understand such simple concepts like Heavenly Father's love.  The church is true!!

Time is passing by quickly!  AAAAHHH!

Sister Wilson

*I got asked if I was a nun again.  pah.

*I'm reading the Old Testament cover to cover and I officially reached the halfway mark.  lets hope I can actually accomplish this goal of mine.  halfway mark took FOREVER to get to...

*So, I forgot to tell you a crazy story from last week!  As were driving in the car, I pulled into the suicide lane ready to turn left.  There weren't any cars coming, but there were 2 men crossing the street, so I had to wait.  They noticed that I couldn't turn until they crossed the street, so they started jogging to get across a little quicker.  I thought it was a very nice gesture, so I gave them the Utah "thank-you" wave.  Well, apparently, the Utah "thank-you" wave means "Take me, I'm YOURS!" in California.  I drove down the street and they both turned around and started following my car, waving and smiling at me!!  I was confused for a second, until I realized that they thought I had flagged them down!  They thought I was hitting on them!  I started screaming because I didn't know what to do!  "Sister Acker!!  They're following us!  They're following us, Sister!!  What do we do?!?"  I didn't want them to follow us into the apartment complex!  Then, I realized that they were on foot and I was in a car.  And I could drive away really quickly with no harm done.  So I did.  Oh my.  No more "thank you" waves will come from THIS arm for the next month!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Love Sacramento!!

What a great week!!  Sister Acker and I have been truckin along and I'm doing really well at NOT being trunky!  :)  She's keeping me hard at work!  The weather has been really nice, in the 50's to 60's all week, I walk around without my coat most the time.  This January has been really warm and dry, but I'm not complaining especially since I keep hearing about Utah being in the single digits!  Whoo cold!  Brrrrr!  We went to breakfast this morning with the zone, here's a picture of  me and my comp!

I woke up the other day with a bad migraine and during our morning workout, I started to go blind.  I blame my mother's genetics for getting migraines. I chugged a mountain dew for breakfast and went back to bed.  It knocked me out for the whole day.  But I was up and running again the next day and back to normal.  Wow, I feel like I've been sick a lot this past transfer!  Then, on Sunday, our branch president was sick.  And he has no counselors   Which meant that nobody had the authority to run a Sacrament Meeting.  hahaha.  We all sat there for a long time while until the stake president finally answered his phone and approved another man to hold the meeting.  I hope the branch can get more priesthood soon.

As for my recent convert, Kelly Brown (The paralyzed one), she was driving along a road the other night in her wheelchair and didn't quite catch the curb.  She fell of the side of the curb into the road, and if that weren't enough, into a DITCH.  It was dark, and she had a 5 year old girl with her who was holding a flashlight.  Kelly obviously couldnt do anything to stop herself and her 200 pound wheelchair from falling into the ditch, and she hit her head against the cement wall.  The little girl with the flashlight, Crissa, waved it in circles and circles and yelled for help until a car pulled over and called 911.  We went to visit Kelly in the hospital and she got a blessing from elder Hudnor and Walter Price.  She was happy to see us, and she was smiling, but she has bleeding in between her skull and her brain, and might need surgery.  We'll see. (*sidenote* THEY DIDNT PROVIDE AN INTERPRETER FOR HER IN THE ICU.  Frustrated sister wilson!)

On a more positive note, I get to go to the temple tomorrow!!  (because I'm going home.  Its my departing temple trip with all the other people who are going home)  The whole day is just going to the temple, eating with the mission president and his wife, and chillin' with all the other people who go home.  Except, they all leave on Thursday, and I stay another 4 weeks.  :)  I'm actually really happy that I wont be sobbing yet.  I can thoroughly enjoy this last party and remain emotionally in tact because I still have a month.  haha.

I love you all, thanks for the encouragement of helping me endure to the end, it helps. Don't stop writing me!

Love, Sister Wink

Bunches of random stuff:
*We were allowed to have a facebook presence for the deaf branch.  We already have 8 Deaf friends.  YAY!
*Its a little chilly, so the other day I decided to wear fuzzy socks under my black nylons.  I looked slightly like I had cankles, but I didnt care because my feet were warm.  Yeah....its time to come home and start caring about how I look again....
*Our investigator, Paula, had her window busted through with a rock.  yay for drunk men.
*We finally got our fireplace to work and burned a fire one morning.  No smoke billowed into our apartment because we remembered to open the flue.
*Story: the other day, we were sitting at an "enter" gate and waiting for another car to let us go into an apartment complex.  There was another car in front of us waiting as well.  One other car came out the "exit" gate and the car in front of us thought he could make it through, but as he floored it, he didn't quite clear the bar on the side and dented the whole side of his passenger door.  Ouch.  Probably no less than $1,000 worth of damage. 30 seconds later, another car let us in.  I'm glad for the Christlike attribute of patience!  :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Transfers! it turns out the closer I get to the end...the less I seem to have to say in my emails.  I dont know why.  We had a CRAZY surprise this week!!  Sister Oliphant was emergency transferred away from me.  :(  boooo.  But I got Sister Acker as my new companion!!!  She's been in Stockton, and now she joined me in the deaf branch!  Sister Acker is from West Jordan, UT.  She's the youngest in her family, too, and we love each other.  She wants to be an interpreter after her mission, and her sign is really good.  So, she will kill me off through these last few weeks I have.  *gasp*  Sister Acker is a bit more shy than I am used to my companions being, but shes very sweet and she is excited to work with our little deaf branch.  Sister Oliphant and Sister Sellers are now in a trio with the new MTC baby, Sister Repman!  (Sister Repman was born deaf, but she has a cochlear implant.)

I did exchanges this week with another Islander from Kiribati, Sister Angimarau.  She demanded that she braided my hair for the day, so I let her.  Pretty cool, eh?  I told her I liked French braids and she responded with "no Russian!!"  So, apparently, this is the way they braid in Russia.  Other than that, this week was pretty uneventful.  We taught the gospel, which is still AMAZINGLY AWESOME to do, and we bore testimony!  yay!  We currently have 5 Deaf investigators, but its so hard to get them to be able to come to church!!  

This is a picture of all the ASL sisters together and my beautiful roommates who just teach in English.  I love all these friendships I've been able to make on the mission.  

Sister Wink

Monday, January 7, 2013

No bones and sickness

Hello loved ones! A few crazy stories from this week:

-A few days ago, we were sitting on the floor and looking at the Deaf people on our wall that we could visit.  I saw a piece of lint on the ground and a few other large pieces of garbage and figured I'd pick them up and throw them away.  I picked up the black piece of lint and realized it was exceedingly wet.  Instinctively, I dropped it right away and watched it wither and die because it was really a spider.  Yup.  I popped open a spider with my two fingers.  He died.  I shuddered for the next hour and scrubbed my hands with soap and water.

-That same day, we left our apartment and saw a SNAKE!  I took pictures to show you, he was red and tiny and cute.  He wasnt moving very fast because it was cold outside...

-The elders play this RIDICULOUS game called "no bones."  One elder will walk up to another one and poke him with his finger and say "NO BONES!"  Instantly, the other elder has to fall to the ground as if his body has no bones.  The game usually breaks out with the office elders and AP's.  Its very entertaining to watch because they will fall on top of each other without mercy.  They tell us stories of how they play it at home in their apartment and when one elder is boneless, the other ones will do crazy stuff to him like rub toothpaste on his face and shove stuff in his mouth and he cant do anything about it because he has no bones.  You can only get bones if someone pokes you again and says "bones."  So on New Years eve, because the sisters were all in jeans for our zone activity, a crazy epic game of no bones broke out and all of us were falling to the floor.  Oh elders.  Normally, they avoid the sisters like we have leprosy, but we had a great time that night, within mission boundaries of course!  Little do they know that without bones, you would be DEAF. 

-All the sister missionaries in our zone were sick this week.  All 6 of us.  There's a really bad cold-bug going around all the missionaries and even our mission nurse has it.  I stayed in for 2 days coughing and sleeping a lot.  Bleagh.  Sister O and I did facials because one of the senior sisters gave us this expensive mud-clay stuff and said it was good for our skin.  I feel the same.  

I did exchanges with Sister Vaughan (picture).  She knows Marci and Aaron so its funny because we always talk about them when we see each other. She's a fairly young missionary here, and it's fun to see her grow and develop as a new missionary.  Its fun to do exchanges with different sister missionaries in our mission, I love it!!    

That was basically my week.  Not much else.  

Sister Wilson

P.S. for those who don't know, I officially fly home on February 19th.  So you can continue to write/email me until then.