Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Happy Christmas from Cali!

Honestly, missionary work has slowed down because of the holidays.  People tell us to come back "after the holidays" or that they're busy until January.  okay.  During the end of the world on Friday, the 21st, I was in the temple.  Talk about the best place to be for the apocalypse, right??  We had a temple conference with all the missionaries and got to do an endowment session, it was amazing.  I miss the temple so much.  I want to go all the time when I come home.  We live so close to the temples there and don't visit them often enough.  Now that I cant go as often as I'd like to, I wish I had gone more when I had the chance!  Santa Clause came on Saturday and passed out all of our packages from home.  Or...I mean from him.  He came early.  :)   I have had enough patience to let them sit under the tree though I've been very tempted to open them.  I'm being a good girl!

Well, there isn't much to say today.  And I will see you all tomorrow....so....here's a random fact: Sister Hudnor (the Deaf branch senior missionary) lived in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.  Literally. And she said the whole tv show is real.  Its really his house, he really lives there, they film it all in his neighborhood, and they visit the surrounding factories to see how stuff is made.  I was amazed and very excited to learn that.  Sister Hudnor is so much more cool now.  

My mother sent me two text messages on my phone this week.  I about had a heart attack.  (I have ideas about who gave her my phone number, but receiving texts from home is NOT a good idea for me!  I love you, Mom, but dont make me trunky!)

I was reflecting on my mission the other day and I am so blessed and grateful to have come on one.  I'm glad Heavenly Father waited patiently for me to agree to serve.  I love being a missionary!  I will see you all tomorrow around 1pm!!  

Love,
Sister Wilson

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

my birthday week


My birthday was great!  as great as a birthday can be on a mission, anyway!  This amazing friend of ours, Marsha, made us cupcakes and she gave me my favorite gift: a phone call telling me where RYLEE IS GOING ON HER MISSION!!  I'm sooo happy for my niece, Rylee!!  Houston Texas mission already has 2 of my friends and now it will have my niece.  I'm not sure, however, how I feel about missing her completely.  She enters the MTC 8 days before I get home.  erg.  Maybe they'll let me chat with her for an hour.  Or I'll just walk in with my name tag on and meet her.  I was hoping we could talk for hours before she left, but I guess not!  I also got tons of great presents and packages from home on the birthday, thanks all of you!!  Sister Oliphant made a banner and hung it over my desk!

We had a Deaf branch ASL Christmas dinner last Friday.  We had 34 Deaf nonmembers there!!  Holy cow!  Most of them are just friends of our members or they heard about free food or whatever, but we were so happy to have all of them come.  The dinner went really well and hopefully they were touched enough to be more curious about our church!  Our Deaf investigator Leon came, and he missed his bus home, so he sat outside at the bus stop after the Christmas party until midnight.  It was freezing cold, too.  We didnt know until the next morning but we felt bad!  Hopefully he will come to church soon.   

I spoke in Sacrament meeting with a 3 minute warning.  Our branch president doesnt really prepare people to give talks, we just all have to be ready each Sunday.  Its kind of annoying, but I did it anyway.  He just said "give a talk.  and relate it to Christmas."  okay.  So I did.  Yay for impromptu talks.  Speaking of Sunday in the Deaf branch, here are my two favorite quotes from our Sunday School lesson on the Milennium:  

"I dont care when Jesus comes, I'll already be dead."

"When the morning of the first resurrection happens, all the Deaf people wont hear the rooster crow, so we'll all sleep in!"

Sister Oliphant and I have discovered that we attended a party together in March of 2011.  haha.  Oh Provo is so small.  Even though she's from Wisconsin, she's spent the last 3 years in Utah county at BYU so we really feel that Utah is our home.  She knows people that I know and understands Utah county.  We talk about Provo all the time.  

We have a stinky Deaf investigator.  She has 13 animals that live with her.  One night, we went to go contact her and we couldn't even approach the door because we almost threw up.  She loves animals so much that she takes in all the strays.  She's only 20 years old.  Instead of being obsessed with animals, I wish that she could instead see how important Heavenly Father is in her life!  We'll keep working with her, but it's hard to even be in her apartment.  I heard that on the Hoarders tv show, the people put Vicks Vapo Rub under their noses and it helps them stand the stench.  Maybe we'll try that next time we go.  She's really nice, though!  You know whats funny?  She told us the other day that she has a "Deaf nose!"  She doesnt smell anything, so its hard to control your stink if you have no idea you're stinky!  Poor girl.

So...I may have mentioned the socials that we have here, but I'm not sure I explained them well enough, so I am going to do so again.  ASL missionaries have discovered that we can meet tons of Deaf people in concentrated places, like Deaf socials!  Starbucks is probably our best one.  So what do we do?  Go into Starbucks (I hate the smell of coffee.) and seriously just chat with people.  We invite all the ASL students to come to the branch and count it for a school assignment.  We try even HARDER, though, to meet Deaf people there and it's probably the most success we have in one night.  There's a pizza social twice a month, icecream once a month, and other random ones.  Its really fun to just go and show people that Mormons arent that weird.  Its not a great place to pray with people, but we always teach when we can and do our best to explain why we sign so well and what we do with our ASL.  This way, we aren't attacking Deaf people at their doors.  (Some of them flip out.  "How did you know I lived here!?? How do you know I'm Deaf?!?")  So...yeah.  We chill at Starbucks all the time.  No biggie.
This is Kathy, one of our Deaf investigators.  And this is an example of a "Deaf Doorbell" that the mission is always looking for.   The wire attaches to a light inside that blinks when you push it instead of making sound.  We have one other investigator who uses Ukranian sign language.  I dont know Ukranian sign language.  She doesnt know ASL.  Its interesting to communicate with her.  We're trying to teach her, but all she does is sign back all these weird signs that we dont know what they mean and she speaks in Russian.  So....I kinda wish I could speak Russian.  Oh well, pictures will have to do!  

To end, I call all of you who have procrastinated writing me to repentance using Alma 60:6  "and now behold, we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state."

I love you all!  

Sister Wilson

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kathy gets baptized!!


WOW!  What a week!!  Kathy got BAPAMATIZED!!!!  She was glowing like a glow worm.  Only out of her face.  It was amazing.  We got there about 15 minutes until the baptism started and looked at the font.  It had 2 inches of water in it.  The plug wasn't working.  So what did we do??  (yay for women of the church!)  We set up an assembly line.  We grabbed all of the kitchen pitchers and ran back and forth from the kitchen sinks to the font dumping in as much water as we could.  We even filled up the mop bucket and a garbage can with water to dump it in as fast as we could!  We even flooded the mop closet with a few inches of water because the garbage can had a hole in the bottom!  But you know what?  None of us cared.  We were so happy.  The baptism started about 20 minutes late but I was completely at peace.  Kathy cried through the whole thing.  She got into the font, gasped because it was so COLD, and then she covered her face in her hands as tears streamed down.  The spirit was so strong.  I love baptisms.  I love Kathy.  From praying to candles to Mormon.  amazing!!


Other news...I got my flight plans in the mail.  ergheabfft.  Its exciting yet sickening.  Y know what's great about full Deaf work?  I never have to silence my cell phone.  Never.  (Unless we have a meeting with other missionaries)  During Sacrament meeting, people burp and groan and make all these noises and its no big deal.  Hope it doesn't rub off on me for when I come home!  Something else randomly funny about Sacrament meeting...because there are so few people, they tear the sacrament bread into GINORMOUS chunks.  I literally had to take two separate bites last week because I couldnt make it with only one.  Sister Oliphant and I have a hard time praying in English now.  When one of us is too tired to sign our prayer, we decide to do it in English, but what we've discovered is that we always end up staring at the person who is praying.  I can't close my eyes during prayers!!  Weird.

The Hudnors (senior couple) are doing amazing things.  Sister Hudnor can carry a basic conversation in ASL and she is the new RS 2nd councelor.  She only uses sign when we are at church or in our RS meetings.  Its so amazing how much those two help us.  They drive us everywhere, they feed us all the time, they can both pray in ASL now.  The Lord loves this Deaf branch.

I love you all!  The church is true!  (still!)  Oh, and its transfers.  I'm staying.  I'll probably end my mission here.  Also, I am now deeply in love with all Thrift Stores.  Why doesnt Utah have more Thrift Stores?!?  Goodwill is the greatest buys I've ever found in my LIFE!  Seriously, DI....your stuff is kinda crappy.  These Thrift Stores down here are awesomely filled with treasures and sales. I love it!!  

oh yeah!  I almost forgot its my birthday in 2 days!  For "our" birthday (Sister Oliphant's is on the 12th, I'm the 13th) one of the sister missionaries who works in the office took us out to this restaurant called the Elephant Bar.  It was really fun, and they brought both of us free dessert with candles to blow out.  Wow.  Cant believe I'm already 26!  I'm closer to 30 than I am 20!  strange.  We have one Deaf investigator, Molly, who is Hmong. She wanted to serve us Asian cake for our birthday.  Just if any of you were wondering, Asian cake tastes the same as American cake.  

Love,
Sister Wilson

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Lights

Oooh I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!  The lights are going up everywhere and you know whats funny?  People here hang up snowflakes.  Even though there's no snow.  Whats with that?  (Doesnt that just tell all of us that deep down, we know that Christmas should always have snow?)  My birthday is coming again, weird.  It doesn't even feel like my birthday.  I can't believe I'll be 26!! Sister Oliphant's birthday is on December 12th, day before mine!  We'll be sure to have a birthday party between the two of us! 

We went to the mall last week to return something and upon leaving the main hallway we hear "sisters!!  Sisters!"  I turn around to see a jolly Santa Clause.  He waves his hand at us, signaling that we should come talk to him and I shook my head no.  I'm sure all of you remember how uncomfortable I am around people in full-body costumes.  Ooooh no, I'm NOT going over there for Santa to make fun of the Mormons and make me sit on his lap.  Nope.  But then, he was so insistant "sisters, come here!!"  I didnt want to offend, and there were people all over the mall watching us, so we walked towards him and he met us half way.  He chatted with us and asked us how we were....he looked a little too "glowy" so I asked him if he was LDS.  We laughed at his reply all night: "Didn't you know Santa was a member of the CHURCH??"  haha.  So there you go.  Santa is real, and he's Mormon.  

This week, we had elder Porter of the Seventy come and train us as a mission.  It was really great, and I remembered that even just walking around with the spirit can sometimes touch people, when we don't even say anything!  We got to interpret for Sister Sellers, so we got to go to the meeting with elder Porter twice, which was cool.  I double felt the spirit.  haha.  We also had some crazy flooding lately down here.  The water has been pretty deep, and yesterday, there were a few wards who cancelled church because people needed to go home and take care of their houses.  The sisters we live with put on their jeans after sacrament meeting and went to go clear off tree branches and dry up all the water.  We're expecting more flooding this week, so we'll see how that goes!!  exciting stuff!

 Kathy is getting baptized this Saturday.  I'm pretty sure her conversion story is the craziest one I have for my whole mission.  I know I'll be friends with her for the rest of my life.  She was fired from her job last week, and isnt sure why she's having so many trials, but we all know why.  Darn satan.  BUT!  She is going forward with faith and getting baptized!!  (This is her 5th baptism, but the only one with authority!)  Dianne, on the other hand, is supposed to get baptized on December 9th.  Her family is extremely opposed to the LDS church, and they have given her a ton of crap about us.  They threatened Sister Sellers, and told us never to come back.  Some kind of crazy fight happened, and Dianne ended up stabbing her sister and some other guy.  Well....she went to jail.  So....we'll see when this baptism happens.  She only stayed in for a week, but I'm pretty sure she might need to postpone for a while.  At least she has a testimony to stand up for the church, but I'm not sure stabbing people is the best thing to do.  (The sister and the other guy are okay, I think they went to the hospital.  Just lots of blood.)

I love you all!!  Christmas is the best time ever!  

 Sister Wink

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Feast....

Kidding, we didnt get a Thanksgiving feast.  It was wonderful, though, and I loved being in my pajamas all day and writing a million letters.  Not much else has happened since I emailed on Thanksgiving, except we set up the Christmas tree.  (I still have the one Mom sent me from last year)   
We have a new Deaf investigator....who is a cross dresser.  kinda.  But she is wonderful and HUNGRY for truth about God.  The darn J-dubs snagged her for a few years, so she's really deep into their doctrine, but shes still willing to meet with us and she likes Mormons.  Come to find out, she was taught by ASL elders in San Diego, both of which were my MTC teachers!!  Other than that, the Deaf branch is basically the same.  Really small numbers on Sundays, and crazy Sunday School lessons.  

I've recently started doodling pictures on the letters I send people...missionary work is now in the marrow of my bones I guess. Also, a picture of my Christmas tree on the kitchen table and our Deaf map.  The map covers the wall from floor to ceiling, and all the little stickies are Deafies in the area.  I love having a ginormous area and lots of miles, its a blessing.   

 
I love you all!  The church is true!

Sister Wilson


Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey day

Happy Turkey Day!!

You know what I am doing today??  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  We made it our goal to not leave our apartment.  Other than for emailing.  We are literally going to sit on the couch all day long and write letters.  Don't cry that I am not having Thanksgiving dinner, in fact, we had literally 13 different invitations, we just turned them all down.  We bought pie, so we're good.  :)  Ironically, I've read several scriptures about Thanksgiving this week during personal study...as is my duty, I will share them with all ya'll.

D&C 78:19 "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."

2 Corinthians 9:11-12 "Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.  For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God."

Ephesians 5:20 "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  

Colossians 3:15 "and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."

This week was great.  Kathy (the Wiccan who lives in Stockton) is getting baptized on December 8th and I am SOOO HAPPY.  I went on my first exchanges as the exchange sister this week...the member dropped me off in Folsom with Sister Vaughan and sister Agavale.  Normally, I'm supposed to stay the night with them, watch them plan, watch them do the morning schedule, go out and work in their area all day and then I write up a transfer report and give it to the mission president.  Here's what happened instead: I got there and we planned, chatted and went to bed.  I tossed and turned all night with hot flashes, woke up at 5 am to worship the porcelain throne for a few hours.  The Sister woke up and watched me run to and from the bathroom until sister Oliphant came and picked me up to go back home.  Some exchange THAT was!  It was more like a sleepover...except it wasnt a fun one for me.  Pretty sure I had food poisoning.  I slept on the floor next to the vacuum when I came home.  For the next two days, I was super dehydrated and we didn't do any missionary work, and I lost 2 pounds.  Then, when I felt better on Wednesday, we got our new car and went out and today is Thursday.  Thats been my week thus far.  hah.  BUT!  I am much MUCH better.  and I'll be eating pie today, so I'm sure to gain those two lost pounds right back.

I havent been too serious today, have I?  Im kind of in a hyper/jolly-type mood right now.  On a more serious note I noticed something about myself...I am still afraid to knock on strangers doors.  This has puzzled me for quite some time.  I felt like that fear should leave me on my mission.  That I would be great and confident and happy even if people hated me.  nope.  It still hurts and I still cringe.  And I am still afraid of strangers.  HOWEVER!  Upon further pondering the topic I realized that although I am afraid of people, I fear my God more than I fear them.  Thats why I do it anyway.  So, although I still so far from being a perfect missionary, I know that Heavenly Father can see my sacrifices for Him and He knows that I love Him more.  I love Him more than myself, more than my fears, more than everything.  Thats why I am here, thats why I go out every day and do what I do.  I love being a missionary!

(I love you all too!)  love, Sister Wilson

Random otherness:

*We got a new car.  brand spankin'  2013 Chevy Cruz.  ooooh man.  its fun.

*Our mission gets 19 new sister missions in January.  Thats like.....16 more than we've ever had come in at once...good thing I'm outta here by the time all of this gets crazy!  haha

Monday, November 12, 2012

it's getting colder...

It got cold.  and rainy.  Now is the point that I stop caring about what I look like and simply throw on whatever will keep me warm and pull my hair into a bun because it doesnt stay nice and straight.  yay!!  

Not much to say today, just that everybody tells us "I voted for Mitt!"  and we just smile and say "thats great!  Our church is neutral."  However, be it known to the world that I DID vote using an absentee ballot (thanks mom!) like the good American citizen should.  

Elder Bassett of the Seventy is in town.  He's visiting all the stake presidents with our mission president to talk about my new favorite topic: MISSIONARY WORK.  All the Stake presidents are basically getting a chastisement and kick in the pants.  We are going to have 1 set of missionaries to EVERY ward, so there needs to be a LOT more people to teach or all these 18 and 19 year old missionaries who are on fire will be very sad!  So, he is holding these special meetings every week and they asked me to sing in a special musical number (in a trio with Elder Walker and Elder Tilley) for the meeting.  So...I'm traveling the mission to sing for a Seventy!  Its kind of fun!  We did our first one last week and I got to hear all about how the 12 apostles think about missionary work and its so exciting.  The field is truly white and I know that the world is being prepared for Jesus to come again!!  We have 2 more meetings to go to this week to sing for him and probably 6 more after that!  I'm also busy doing exchanges with other sister's companionships and my own deaf work!  Busy busy!!!

I need to explain our car situation, just for fun.  Because I got transferred back to Carmichael, I'm back in the old 2010 Corolla.  It has 53,000 miles on it.  SO!  We are going to get a new one soon!  Yay for my second new car on the mission!  We have an allotment of 1, 675 miles a month and we struggle to stay under that.  We usually drive an average of 50-70 a day.  I withdrew myself from being the driver so Sister Oliphant could continue to drive when I left her to do exchanges with other sisters.  So....I'm back to being the rediculous-looking backer-upper.  

I love you all, the church is STILL true.  muah!

Sister Wink

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oh the deaf branch....

Most importantly: daylight savings is Heavenly Father's greatest gift to missionaries. Alright, it may be ranked 2nd next to a baptism, but it was really quite amazing. I've been waiting for 6 months just to sleep in one more hour. It was another "interesting" week in the branch. Sister Oliphant and I have basically re-vamped everything that was being previously done here...the area needs a good kick in the pants. Halloween was fun, we watched a movie about the Life of President Monson. Sister Oliphant and I got a good laugh at dressing up and taking pictures of us being elders. Some of the elders thought it was funny.

I had a meeting on Friday that lasted from 9am until 4pm. Its the first time the exchange sisters have been invited to the Zone Leader council with the AP's and the President. I LOVED it. So...there we were in a group of all the leadership of the mission and the three coordinating sisters got to have our input shared and valued. We changed a few rules and discussed how we can best help the sisters of the mission. (Did I mention last week that with the new increase of missionaries, Salt Lake asked us to increase from a cap of 193 missionaries to 250 by this summer? 30 of those should be sisters!!) We will have 50 sister missionaries by summer, thats exactly double what we have now. So, part of my new calling is to prepare the sisters to be able to handle more sisters and to teach them proper principles of locking their hearts and going to the right source (me) with their troubles instead of to President or the elders. It should be amazing. With the new calling, however, the more I recognize how many darn weaknesses I have. I have so much to repent of and improve about myself. Being a missionary does that to you....its a good thing. This assignment is given to me because I need to grow and do better.

sister oliphant and I met a deaf lady
with a bird that likes kisses.
On a much happy note, Mike, my recent convert from last December called us on the phone the other day. "Is Sister Wilson there?? I need help! Sister Wilson?!?" He sounded panicked. I got on the phone and said "whats up, Mike? Do you need something?" He goes "Do you KNOW what today is?!" My brain was blank....uhhh....Sister Williams wedding? no....thats not until Saturday...what happens on November 1st?? I just answered with a "no?" He laughs and says "Today is the exact day I met you and Sister Williams!! It was one YEAR ago!" My heart jumped with joy. "Well, Mike, happy anniversary!" hahaha. He's so amazing. Mike was so great to call and remind me that I was able to help make a difference in his life a year ago. He kind of realized that it wasn't strange that I had forgotten the exact day we met, but he said "oh...I guess my baptism day is kind of the more important one we celebrate, huh?" Recent. Converts. Make. Me. So. Happy.

I love being here. Deaf work is hard, but its so specialized that the Lord knew I could handle it. I'm blessed to be here.

Love,
Sister Wink

Thursday, November 1, 2012

new calling...

Carmichael is wonderful, but our little Deaf branch is suffering!  Just a few updates:

*We are now allowed to go into the Roseville mission to find Deafies.  They don't have ASL sisters, and half our members in the branch live in Roseville anyway.  Its fun to cross mission borders when nobody else can.  I feel like I can break rules on purpose.  BUT!  Its just open for a trial period to see how it goes....fun.

*Sister Larson is flying home and I am going to miss serving with my COUSIN!  She's amazing.  BYE SISTER LARSON! 

*I decided to be an elder for Halloween, here's a sneak preview of my new nametag.

*Sister Williams, my trainer, is getting MARRIED this weekend and I am so sad I cant go.  But I publicly congratulate her.  

We have a new senior couple in the Deaf branch, here's a picture of them!

The Hudnors are the answer to many-a-prayer for the branch.  There is so little priesthood leaders that we don't have a 1st or 2nd councelor in the bishopric.  Or a financial clerk.  I'm pretty sure elder Hudnor is going to help out a lot.  They don't sign, so we do a lot more interpreting, but we are happy to have their support!  Sunday was the most exhausting day I've ever had.  We got to church and there wasn't anyone to teach any of the classes.  They asked if I would teach Relief Society, but I declined because we aren't supposed to be teaching classes.  Sister Hudnor ended up teaching in English and I signed for her (Which was probably more work than just teaching it myself...)  Then, the Sunday school teachers didn't show up, so we ended up winging it for Sunday school.  I taught about the holy ghost.  For Sacrament, the speakers on the printed program simply said "missionaries."  We didn't know.  So then we all stood up and gave talks for the Sacrament meeting.  When I wasn't voicing so the Hudnors could understand the signs, I was signing so the Deafies could understand.  I seriously don't know what this branch would do without us.  Actually, I do.  It would fall apart.

Because we dont really have counselors for the branch president, he ends up counseling with the missionary team.  Which....honestly....isn't very appropriate. Its hard, but we are all just doing everything we can to keep the branch together.  Its probably on the risk of closing down soon, its too tiny.  We only had 9 at sacrament on Sunday.  It might be better if the branch shut down and combined with another ward...that way they could be trained in the way things are supposed to be.    

I also sent pictures of  our"weekly planning."

Weekly planning is every Friday morning for like 5 hours.  You sit and schedule every minute of every day and pray about your investigators to see what they need to be taught.  Make phone calls, call dinner appointments and such.  You can tell by the look on my face how much I love it.  The other picture is the Folsom bridge!  (Folsom is where all the rich people live.  There's only like 3 Deaf people out there)

Also, President called me the other night...Drum Roll please.....BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR........COORDINATING SISTER!!!!  I'm the new Coordinating sister for the north half of the mission.  They also call us "exchange sisters."  I'm basically like a Sister Zone-leader.  So, I go to all the zone leader training and other leadership training.  I get to go on exchanges with some of the other sisters and provide some counsel for them!!  I'm really excited, and it should be fun to end my mission this way.  Sister Oliphant has to find another companion for the day and I go sleep in other apartments and watch the companionships and I report back to president how they are doing!  I feel under-qualified for the position, and I was honestly hoping I never had to deal with the stress, but when the Lord calls...too bad for me!  haha.  It will be great.  I am thankful for the chance to shake things up a bit and get to work with many many sister missionaries in their areas!!  
I love all of you!!!  The church is true!  Go read your scriptures!

Love, Sister Wink

Monday, October 22, 2012

Carmichael again!


SURPRISE FROM HEAVENLY FATHER!!  I have been transferred to Carmichael back in the Deaf branch, 2 weeks before transfers!!  The new Sign Language sister came from the MTC and sister sellers is training her in Stockton, so they kicked me out!!  My heart broke a little.  or a lot.  but guess what else???  KATHY IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!  SHE CONVERTED FROM WICCAN TO MORMONISM!  December 1st is her baptism date and I am sooo excited for her!!  She feels the gospel and even though we haven't been able to teach her everything, she FEELS like its true.  I love the Holy Ghost.  

Dianne, on the other hand...has been postponed in her baptism.  It will happen soon, but we just dont know when.  Her family came into town and freaked out that she was going to be baptized Mormon.  She told them she liked us but they are purposely staying another week to make sure she DOESNT get baptized.  So, we'll just wait til after they leave back to Louisiana and we'll baptize her!!  

Sister Larson, Sister Oliphant and I are in a trio until Sister Larson flies home next week.  boooo.  We carved pumpkins today as a district.  Mine was supposed to be the angel moroni....We had a tour at the temple last weekend and it was interesting.  Kathy came up from Stockton so I was able to see her again.  Its only been 4 days and I miss her already so much.  We interpreted the tour for the Deafies and the spirit was felt.  I miss the temple.

 I finished the D&C and then I whipped through the Pearl of Great Price.  The only book I havent read on my mission is the Old Testament.  I might put that one off until after my mission, and take it as an institute class.  The Deaf branch gets a new senior couple tomorrow to help us.  YAY!  Im actually really excited.  Hopefully they can help our little branch.  Last Sunday, we only had 10 Deafies...its threatening to be shut down.  We're trying to be positive, but its hard to have so little support in a group that needs a TON of help.  

I love all of you!!

Love,

Sister Wilson

Thursday, October 18, 2012

baptism!

I love being a missionary.  I am beginning to feel an overall sadness that my mission will soon be over and I'll never be able to be the same again.  I have learned some amazing things here, thats for sure.  Things I will cherish for the rest of my life. 

 DIANNE IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY!!!!!  She came back into town this week and she called us.  We were on the road and the interpreter told us (for Dianne) that she was considering suicide.  She got robbed AGAIN and she was going to be kicked out of her apartment and be homeless.  She said she would prefer death than living on the streets again.  (Shes done it before.)  Dianne did years and years of hard-core drugs.  Then, she did 13 years of prison to pay for it, but she has been clean 7 years and never wants to go back.  We drove STRAIGHT to her apartment to talk to her.  She just sat there and cried.  "Wilson, Wilson, I missed you.  I miss you so much, I love you."  She basically has no family because they all cut her off because of her addictions and the rest of them live in Louisiana.  I just held her as she cried and cried.  She said she wants to be baptized and we talked about suicide and explained that its not a better option.   I had some crackers in the car and I gave them all to her because she only had one can of soup left.  Lucky for us, bishop approved her for some church funds, and so everything should work out for her financially. 

 We had to make sure that she wasn't just taking advantage of the church's money, but she promised the bishop that she would never again ask for help, it was just this one time.  She is so excited to get baptized, its all she talks about.  We explained the sacrament to her and she said "I know!  Thats why I didnt take it on sunday because I get to take it AFTER I am baptized!"  Her brain surgery was a success and her seizures have stopped!  The only problem is...we cant get her stitches wet.  Problem solved: she is going to wear a swimming cap.  I am so excited.  My 3rd Deaf baptism!!  She loves church and she keeps telling us "I will NEVER miss another Sunday!  I missed 3 months! I love Jesus!" 

 Kathy is still doing well, she knows now that Heavenly Father loves her and she is asking questions about baptism.  The church is true!!
 

Love, Sister Wink

 P.S. I cut sister sellers hair.  Hmm....maybe I should start doing this more often, eh?  (it was just a perfectly straight line and then some higher layers for her)  With her curly hair, you dont even have to cut straight because it doesnt matter.  It was still fun, though. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conference news

Yes, I DID freak out at the new missionary ages.  Its so exciting.  Especially since it will mean MORE SISTER MISSIONARIES!!!!  YA!  You know whats amazing about conference?  Its always about whatever is going on in your life.  For me, it was all about missionary work.  Everything related to my life and the wards participating in missionary work.  Then, sister Sellers looked at me and said "gosh!  This whole conference is about Family!"  haha.  I am thankful that the Holy Ghost can whisper to each of us the exact words we need to hear!  Its just like the Book of Mormon.  Every time you read, it applies to your life and you learn something new!

This week was basically amazing.  We added 3 new Deaf investigators, two of which are a married couple who dont use ASL, but rather, Spanish sign.  Its going to be interesting to teach them!  We had 2 days last week in the 100's but now its cooled down much to around 75-80, which is sooo much better.  I love it.

In the spirit of Halloween, I have a scary story: We were sitting during companionship study when our doorbell rang.  I heard men's voices and we were confused who was at our door.  We live across from a kind of freaky park, so we are cautious who we open the door for and who watches us.  Sister Sellers looked through the peephole and she whispered "they covered the peephole!"  uhhh....NOT. ANSWERING.  So, a few seconds later, they knock on the door again.  Sister Estrada ran to another room to see if she could see who it was out her bedroom window, but she couldnt see.  Then, the knocking turned into POUNDING on the door!!  My heart was racing and I was so scared I just kept saying "dont open the door!  Dont open it!"  Sister Sellers opened the door.  There, we see 3 elders standing innocently with a stack of ASL cards for us.  I was so mad.  I yelled at them.  "DONT YOU EVER DO THAT TO SISTER MISSIONARIES IN STOCKTON!!"   augheaghh.  Elders.  They laughed and appologized, apparently they didnt mean to scare us, they were just teasing by covering the peephole because they thought it would be funny.  We all had a good laugh. 

I have another halloween story.  We went to see some Deaf people who live in Galt, CA.  (Galt is the very tip top of my area, about 30 minutes in the car)  It was the first time I've ever been to Galt, and Ive been here for 4 transfers.  Come to find out, Galt is all farmland.  There is nothin out there, and its so dark and far from the city lights.  So we went one night to find these two deaf people.  They first one was a confused hearing lady, not sure why we had her name because shes not deaf, and the second one was a struggle to find.  There was a road where we were supposed to find the 2nd Deafie, but we had to drive by again and again because there were literally NO houses on the road.  The GPS took us to a random place in a field with nothing.  We drove up to a dirt road thinking that maybe it would take us to the house if we followed it, but it dead-ended at a field of hay.  Upon driving back to the paved road, we realized that we drove OVER the foundation of a used-to-exist house.  There it was, a cement slab where a house was long before.  Weird.  Needless to say, we assumed that the Deafie had moved and we took the name off our map.  That night was a waste of time, but it reminded me of Halloween because there were creepy fields and it was pitch black.  Then, there was a random mystery house that disappeared.  hmmm....

I got chased by dogs for the first time on Friday.  I got out of the car to knock a specific door, and there were these two scroungy dogs waiting for me, growling.  One of them had a limp and they were probably filled with immense amounts of disease.  They barked and barked and I was sure to keep my face to them.  When we walked down the sidewalk, they started chasing us and I didnt know what else to do other than RUN!  (which, I later realized, is the dumbest possible thing to do)  Good thing they were both little tiny, so I outran them and made it to the door.  I guess I needed to have this happen at least once on my mission, right?  ;) 

This email is all super random...oh, and I saw my first-ever real live prostitute.

 Kathy is doing well.  She watched conference on Saturday morning with us and cried.  I think she'll be baptized.  Still waiting for Lynda, she needs about a month to recover from some personal stuff, but she does want to be baptized as well!  Dan has to wait until January, he's been in and out of the hospital.  We are so overdue on a baptism its rediculous!!  I will see baptisms happen soon!!!
 
 This morning I had a struggle.  We woke up early to go grocery shopping and as I stood at the ATM to withdraw money, a homeless lady approached me and asked if I'd watched the news the night before.  I answered that no, I hadn't.  She seemed bothered because Im sure that was her usual opening line to her explain how she needs money.  I told her I dont watch the news, then I told her it was depressing.  "Dont you care about starving children?  Do you donate money??" she asked.  I explained that I donate through my church, yes.  She then made a bad decision to then offend me and say a few blankity-blanks about church.  I would like to now make a comment to all the homeless people who read my blog:  IF YOU WANT SOMEONE TO GIVE YOU MONEY, DONT OFFEND THEM BEFORE YOU ASK.  I just started ignoring her as she asked me more questions and I simply didn't answer.  She continued "Do I have to go to church to get money?!"  I thought for a moment, realizing that only those who obey commandments will get the blessings.  She obviously isnt obeying the commandments.  So, I told her "yes. you need to come to church to get money."  She just yelled at me.  "GO TO CHURCH!!!"  Then she left.   Thanks, I think I will.  Church makes me a lot more happy than you are, right now. 

I was quite offended by that woman and it was at the beginning of my day.  Sister sellers was confused at what happened, but I didnt want to talk about it, I was so frustrated and offended.  I prayed in my heart to Heavenly Father for peace and comfort.  He whispered to me "Its okay, she's just mad at Me."  Then, I read D&C 95:6 and 12.  Its funny, because D&C 95 is basically a boring yet necessary section about how to build the churches and what dimensions they need to be.  Yet, the spirit spoke to me as I read the verses.  "They who are not chosen have sinned a very greivous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noon-day"  Verse 12: "If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness."  Its sad that the woman was walking in darkness.  And though I was troubled for a time, Heavenly Father gave me peace and joy again soon thereafter.  I love the gospel.  I was a bit afraid to leave the store for fear she would be waiting for me outside but she was gone. 

I love you all.  I love conference.  I love my Savior. 

Sister Wilson

Monday, October 1, 2012

oh wow

Its been a Cah-ray-zee time here in Stockton.  But good.  I got my "depressing mail" this week in the mail and I was shocked.  (Missionaries call "depressing mail" the one that says when you go home.  The next one to come has my flight information and everything.)  I got the first of 3 to come.  Boooo.

Dan was in the hospital so we havent taught him for like a month!  He called us and we asked if he needed anything.  His reply?  "Tithing slips.  I cant go to church, but I HAVE to tithe!!"  Talk about true conversion!!  I cant wait to baptize him in January.  He's so ready.  Lynda is still struggling with smoking, but I know deep inside that she WILL  be baptized.  She will.  She wants it so bad. 
 Now I wish to talk (more) about Kathy.  I have never seen anyone change themselves and their faith so quickly.  She has gone from praying to some goddess of the night to praying to Heavenly Father who she didnt even believe in 2 months ago.  She LOVES the Book of Mormon and she loves church.  She hasnt stepped foot into any kind of church for 16 years.  We went to teach her the other night and she shared an amazing story.  Kathy said that every time we are set to teach her, or she is scheduled to come to church with us, she gets sick.  EVERY. TIME.  She says its quite strange but we just told her its satan.  (and no, satan, I dont capitzalize the first letter, even if it is a name.)  Anyway, so she said that day when we were coming to teach her, she woke up with a terrrible headache.  She was considering calling us and cancelling, but she prayed (to God) that He would help her headache go away.  She got out of bed and by the time she took 5 steps to the bathroom, her headache was gone.   A small miracle, but it made us so happy!  She is beginning to see God answer her prayers!!  Kathy came to Womens conference and she felt the spirit.  I love that woman so much.  I love EVERYONE so much.   Part of being a missionary, I guess!  Guess what else?!  Kathy just set up a scholarship called the "Kathy's Just-Because-You-Deserve-It scholarship that pays for all of your college books.  She decided that Sister Sellers was her first recipiant of the scholarship and she is now in the process of writing a contract that will stand up in a court of law to prove that she really means it!  Too bad I'm graduated, eh?  haha.

Womens Conference was AMAZING beyond all reason.  I sat by Kathy and I clang to every word, hoping she felt it.  She did.  She does every time.  During the intermediate song when all of us stood and sang, I was listening to the loud woman behind me.  She had a pretty voice, and she slid on her notes up and down, just like Mom does sometimes.  The spirit overwhelmed me and I cried because I realized that at that exact moment, my Mother was in Utah, listening to the same broadcast, and singing the same song.  The spirit reminded me that Mom always went to Womens conference.  Mom always taught me right things and showed me good examples.  I have a mother who loves me, unlike Kathy had.  I had a bout of missing my Mom, but yet I felt joy and thankfulness in my heart. 

I have begun to read the D&C cover to cover, just because I never have.  I'm on 78 right now.  WOW!  I realized the other day how important that little book of scripture is!  I can now proudly say that I have a testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants.  It took me 78 sections to get it, but I have one.  Joseph Smith needed all the help he could get from Heaven to organize this church and preach the gospel.  Its so amazing. 

 I love you all!  Go share your testimony with someone!

Sister Wink

Random:

Sister Seller's hearing aid has a bluetooth that connects to our car when someone calls us on the phone.  She can kind of hear them.  Cool.  We also play "name that tune" because she's memorized some of the hymns so she can recognize some of the words when we listen to the CD in the car.  Who'd a thunk I would be playing "name that tune" with a Deafie, eh?  haha.  She has lost more hearing recently, even more than she lost in the MTC, so now she only hears 20%. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

hola!

Its been a cah-RAY-zee week!!  First off, the day after transfers, sister Sellers and I got approval to go to Sacramento (1 hour north) to do a BOOTH for our church with the other ASL sisters!!!  It was really fun for the 4 of us to work together.  There was an ASL convention at the capitol building, which turned out to kind of be a protest, but we got approval to go so...I dont feel bad.  The Deaf people were all taking a stand because California is trying to take out all foreign languages from the school system, and ASL will be first to go.

  Anyway, we spent the day on the front lawn of the capitol talking to Deafies about the gospel.  I had a bunch of UVU flashbacks and my fire against hearing people came back.  I started to remind myself again about how passionate I am when it comes to Audism.  I love Deaf people so much and I have such strong opinions about the politics of it all, I had to calm myself down a few times.  haha.  Its a good thing we refrain from things like that in the mission.  My favorite quote that I saw said "Stop noise pollution, use ASL." 

 We cant seem to contact Lynda.  She was supposed to get baptized on Saturday but she still hasnt quit smoking.  The last time we taught her, she went to a member's home with us for a FHE. These members live in a fancy part of Stockton, and to get inside, you have to go through a special toll-booth to get a parking pass.  Lynda accidentally drove her car through one of those crossing-arm things to get in and broke it off completely.  The members later told us that they were going to have to pay $500 because she was their guest, and they DIDNT tell her.  Lynda asked over and over if she had to pay for it, but they just kept saying "oh no, Lynda, its fine.  Really.  You wont have to pay a thing!"  But what they didnt tell her was that even though SHE didnt have to pay, they DID. Talk about sacrifice.  I was so overwhelmed with love for that couple I wanted to cry.  They did it all for her. 

We had a ward party on Saturday night.  The whole thing was basically organized by our mission team.  We had the idea of having a dinner and a movie night, and we watched 17 miracles, it was really fun.  The whole night was a terrible mess.  Come to find out, there were 2 baptisms scheduled during our activity (even though we reserved the building) but dont get me wrong, I am NOT going to stop convert baptisms!  They were in the other room, while we had the cultural hall.  Brother Kroff, our bishopric member, set up his projector and we had the big screen set up with popcorn and licorice.  We even stole the couches and soft chairs from the foyers.   Our only problem was people.  Nobody came.  The elders quorum was supposed to set up at 4:30.  None of them came.  We did it all ourselves, all the round tables and chairs, tablecloths...ect.  We picked up the couches and hauled them in and set up more chairs.  I was really disappointed in our ward.  I love this ward a lot, but the members are struggling to be missionary-minded.
  My one success from the night was our beloved Kathy.  Kathy came late, but she was able to watch the whole movie.  Afterwards, we asked her what she thought and she replied simply "I cant imagine being in love with someone THAT much like that pioneer couple!"  Its all about love with Kathy.  She wants to be loved.  She was amazed that they were able to be sealed together in the temple a hundred years after they both died.  She wants to see the temple. 

 I interpreted for 3 hours at church yesterday.  3 hours of interpreting will always cause a 3 hour nap aftewards.  Its amazing how exhausting it is.  I couldnt even think straight, and by the time we got home I ate lunch and fell over.  It doesnt help that I have a cold, too.  Nevertheless, its been a good week.  Me and Sister Sellers did our best to be happy and make it through all these crazy days.  We have been sooo busy we didnt even have time to think! 

 these are my cool tan lines.....
Love all of you!

 Sister Wilson

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

transfers

I'm staying here in my beloved town of Stockton!!  I love it here!  BUT!  I get a new companion.  My MTC companion, Sister Sellers (shes the Deaf one)!  Its going to be a really....interesting transfer.  Especially since she is going to be teaching all the hearing investigators we have, but maybe she can help the Deaf work pick up down here!  I am very sad my baby Sister Oliphant is leaving me and going up to the Deaf branch, but I know it will be great for her.  I'm just a little stressed about having to interpret EVERYTHING we do.  Now I will have to sign all the hymns I sing, all of my companionship studies and all the district meetings.  I have to sign the correlations we have with the ward and the Wednesday night meetings.  I'm going to be signing all the time.  Which will be good for me, but really stressful.  Hopefully I can just keep getting better and better at ASL I guess!  

 You know what's crazy about Deaf people?  Lots of them dont understand anything about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They don't understand how to pray.  Most of them think that because Heavenly Father is "hearing," He doesn't know ASL, so He cant understand them!  We have to explain over and over that God knows and understands ALL languages, even ASL.  Its hard for them to comprehend since they can't SEE Him watching their sign language.  Most of the time we dont even get to the Restoration lessons because they mean nothing unless these people understand who God is and what He set up for the commandments and prayer.  Some Deaf people don't even know that Jesus was born of Mary, a virgin.  

I sang a musical number on Sunday.  The whole 3rd row clapped for me at the end.  oops.  Dominick, Mickey, Zina, and one of the less actives were all on that row.  I think the black people want to change our quiet LDS culture and spice our services up a bit.  It was definitely funny and I laughed for 10 minutes after I sat down.  I think it will be the only time I'll get applause during a sacrament musical number!  We went to the temple today.  Its the first time Ive been since December and I really miss it.  I think that's what I'll do when I get home.  I'll just go to the temple every day and catch up for lost time.  (lost time that is not really "lost" by any means! Totally worth it!!)  We took pictures of the four roommates for this transfer, so I'll send those.  

Ooooh!!!  One of our less actives owns a Book of Mormon that was a 3rd publication!  Its from 1891!!!  I got to hold it and take a picture of my favorite scripture!  Soo cool.  Speaking about the Book of Mormon, Kathy is really enjoying reading from it!  She's slowly progressing and she can recognize the peace and joy that comes from reading and learning with us!  Apparently, Wiccans and Mormons believe a lot of the same things!  (wierd?) but she agrees to most everything we teach and says "well yeah, I already knew that!"  Its amazing just to watch the gospel take root in her and to have it make sense.  She told us last week that she has basically never had anybody love her before.  Not even her own Mother.  In fact, on her Mom's death-bed letter, her first sentence was "Sorry I never loved you..."  Kathy thinks that we have a "glow" about us and she says our auras are bright.  Man, I wish I could see auras.  Its trippy to think about, though, but hey!  Whatever floats her boat and keeps her learning, I'm fine with it.   

Love you all!!

Sister Wilson
 
We taught a super drunk guy named Craig last week.  He hasnt been sober for 30 years so we're gonna see if we can get him to come to the addict recovery class the church offers.  Drunk people are really funny.  

this is Ylang.  He is our deaf investigator and is learning how to pray.

 This is temple day with my roomies (sister missionaries)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

hola

So, the mission nurse decided I might benefit from some physical therapy since I dont have chiropractic here.  Lucky for me, alls I have to pay is a $10 co-pay.  We'll see if it helps the back!  According to the therapist, I have some "weakness."  (Whatever that means...)  So, my back muscles are really weak and so are my leg muscles.  I'm doing special exercizes to work on strengthening.  joy. 

This is a picture of my favorite street in Stockton, lined with palm trees.  So Cali.  Sister Landon told me the other day that I only have 3 transfers left, I about keeled over.  When it's put into transfers, it seems so soon!!  I hope all of you are bored with nothing to do when I come home so I can stay busy with friends and family lest I go crazy!!  No more spanish speaking this week.  But we did have some other crazy stuff. 



 
Crazy stuff: We had two stray tabby cats rip into our garbage out back last night.  One of them had her head stuck in an empty can of Campbell's soup so we named her Campbell.  It took a good minute to get it off her, but she let us.  We made the mistake of feeding them some extra chicken we had in the fridge and some warm milk and now they won't leave.  hmmm....so...we kind of have two cats. 

 Other crazy stuff: Remember how Dianne had her uncle and her daughter die last week?  Her Nephew was murdered on Friday.  Three deaths in her family within a 2-week period of time.  She was crying on the VP and my heart just breaks for her.  I cant wait to teach the plan of salvation again to remind her where these people are.  She still says she wants to be baptized, but I just hope she can come back soon.  She's flying away to attend her nephew's funeral and then she will be back in two weeks. 

More other crazy stuff: we found a less-active Deaf who should be coming to our ward, too!  Except, he's homosexual!  BUT...he was baptized knowing nothing about what was taught.  He was really young and nobody signed to him, so he just did what his family did.  Hopefully we can teach him more truth about the church and the Lord.  He has a boyfriend, so it will be interesting to deal with this issue since I never have on my mission.  Good thing the gospel is for everybody!

Our investigators are doing well!  Lynda is still going strong and she really wants to be baptized, so we hope she can keep away from the cigarettes until then!  Zina gave a talk in church for the first time ever in her life and the bishop had to move the podium up and down and up and down to tell her to stop talking.  We all laughed pretty hard.  Kathy, the Wiccan, actually really enjoyed church.  She was too scared to do more than 1 hour, but I saw her tear up sitting next to me.  I KNOW she felt the holy ghost.  She texted us that night and said that she was moved by the talks and that next week she'll come for two hours.  I love being a missionary.   

Sister Wink

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I love September

I love September, its my favorite month.  Except in California its too hot, so REALLY I'll love October here.  This week had ups and downs like they all do.  The downs: We went to stop in on our investigators, Dominick and Mickey.  He was really upset because we "just showed up" and didn't set up an appointment.  We knew why when we got blasted by the smell of Marijuana.  The strange thing is, we've always "just stopped by" and its never been a problem for them, they are flaky with appointments anyway.  I'm pretty sure he didn't want us to know he was doing illegal drugs because he knows its wrong even though we haven't taught the Word of Wisdom yet.  I now totally understand the Word of Wisdom.  You really CANT feel the spirit when there's drugs or any kind of substance being abused.  Its so offencive to God for us to abuse our bodies.  It wasn't even worth it for me and Sister Oliphant to try to teach anything, because I just felt so gross and dead when we sat down on the couch.  We stayed for a few minutes and tried to calm Mickey down before we left.  I had a headache for the rest of the day.  Anyone know if you can experience 2nd-hand Marijuana damage?  Would it be like 2nd-hand smoke? They didn't come to church yesterday, either... 

My light and joy: Lynda.  She's set to be baptized on September 22nd.  She's been WITHOUT CIGARETTES FOR 4 DAYS!!!!! She's doing SO well and she cant wait to be baptized!  Lynda told us last week in one of our lessons that she's so excited to pay her tithing.  She did it on Sunday, even though she doesn't have enough to make ends meet.  She said "I will NOT be ashamed to be a Mormon!  THIS is what I believe!!"  She's soooo converted and she has so much faith.  I love it. 

Kathy, the Wicca, showed us last week how she prays.  She doesn't pray, really.  She "casts."  To the Goddess of the Night, Diana.  She sets up 2 candles, one of them white and the other one red.  The white one was Diana and the red one was the Great-horned God.  She didn't light them, she just knelt down on the floor and prayed.  So okay, we need to teach a little more about Heavenly Father, but she is truly curious about our beliefs!  Actually, even though that prayer-cast was to the wrong God, it was one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard on my mission.  So sincere.  Kathy plead for Diana to help her become a better Kathy, she also asked Diana if she should keep learning from us missionaries.  By the end of the cast, she was crying.  Its strange, but the Holy Ghost was so strong during the whole lesson and her prayer. She's just a bit confused on some basic truths, but she has such a good heart and I feel a lot of peace in her home.  I think she is mistaking the holy ghost for a goddess.  She talks a lot about feeling peace and hours of meditation, trying to get answers.  Its close to what we encourage all people to do as they invite the spirit.  So, Kathy is basically praying to the Holy Ghost.  haha.  She is coming to Relief Society this Thursday and church on Sunday, so we'll see how she likes it!  (you know what else? I found the goddess Diana in the bible this morning while I was reading...crazy....If anyone is curious, just read Acts 19.  She's also in the bible dictionary! )

This week, because Sister Landon is the new coordinating sister, I got to do some work in espanol!  3 whole days!  And guess what?!  I said a whole prayer in Spanish!  Granted, it was a simple one, but a prayer nonetheless.  I am amazed how much I was able to remember from 7th grade Spanish class, I can understand about 30% of what the Mexicans said.  Pretty good for being terrible at Spanish.   I think the Lord blessed me with the ability to understand.  Anyway, it was cool.  We also did some service for a thrift store, I will send a picture of the before.  There is no after picture, its still a mess every time we sort through stuff.  But who bought a real cashmiere sweater for $2.14?  yup. Me.

Deafie Dianne called last night with the most sad news I've ever heard.  Her uncle died last week.  Then, her daughter died on Saturday, so she is taking custody of her grandchildren.  (Dianne is 54, so I think her daughter was in her 20's.)  Lani, our deaf member, called her on the VP and they talked and Lani later told me that she still wants to be baptized once she feels better.  Its just this whole crazy brain surgery thing, takes forever to heal from.  And now this.  She has to raise children again...I don't think they know ASL either.  I was so sad to hear that but I know the gospel can bless her and her current situation.  Hopefully she can be baptized in September or October! 

 I love all of you!  Keep up the testimonies!

Love,

Sister Wilson

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

summer is almost over

The heat is calming down, which has been soooo nice.  We had a crazy awesome week with funny stuff, and I still love being a missionary.  Sister Oliphant and I had to get a flu shot at our mission conference.  They make us do it.  She doesnt like needles.  She cried.  Y'know what Ive learned a lot more about on my mission??  Drugs.  Im becoming a drug professional.  Okay, not really, but we hear about them a LOT.  And they're like no big deal here, because everyone does them.  Drugs are causing so much damage to these people down here, I now have a better perspective on why they're so dumb to do.
We have one investigator named Joanna who is in a wheelchair because she weighs 600 pounds.  She cant really do much because her stomach is so big it hits her knees when she walks, so she's considered handicapped.  Anyway, we went to visit her the other day, and when we walked in we were blasted by the smell of urine.  She'd had an accident on the floor, and she was lying in her bed without clothes on under just a sheet.  There were a few times when we were talking with her that she twisted a bit too much and the sheet slipped off of her and we saw way more than we ever cared to see, but the poor lady must have just given up on having any dignity in herself because of her situation.  Its so sad to see people who live like that.  She doesnt really listen when we come over to teach, shes always asking us to clean something for her or take out her garbage full of diapers.  Joanna DOES have caregivers who come in everyday and help her, not sure why she wants us to help her too.  We will probably stop going by because her heart isn't in it.

 On the other hand, we added a new investigator last week, Kathy, who is a Wiccan!  She's really sweet and no, she doesn't call herself a "witch."  I'm very curious what the Wicca religion really believes, but it's apparently a very peaceful, loving culture and people really love it.  Kathy has already read like 20 pages from the book of mormon and she says she has a lot of questions for us.  We teach her again tomorrow, so it should be fun!!  

 Here in California, they have these terrible metal screen doors that you cant see though. They have itty bitty holes in the metal, but I hate it when someone opens the wood door but NOT the metal one because you don't know where to look!  You dont even know if they're really there because you cant see them.   Anyway, we just stand and present ourselves and try to not be awkward.  So the other day, sister Oliphant and I were at a door asking for a specific man who had met with missionaries before.  The lady opened up her screen door and we could see her figure vaguely, but not clearly.  She told us that the man wasnt home so we thanked her.  Then, out of the middle of nowhere, Sister Oliphant asks her "Are you a painter?"  I was so confused.  I looked at her, then at the lady, who replied "uhhh...no?" I tried to understand where sister Oliphant got that question and I asked her "does it smell like paint?"  She got really awkward and just said "no."  Then she looked up at the ceiling of their front porch at something and it was soo weird.  The poor lady was just bothered at us and all three of us kind of stood there for a second in confusion.  Then sister Oliphant explained "Well, isnt that a paintbrush in your hand?"  "No, this is a shishkabob skewer."  Stupid screen doors.  Sister O just said "oh, I thought you were holding a paintbrush.  Well, you have a good day!"  And we left.   hahaha.  We laughed our heads off when we got in the car and now I randomly ask sister Oliphant if she's a painter.  She's getting better at talking to people, but its still awkward for her at times.  It makes me realize how far I've really come on my mission, I remember all those awkward conversations I tried to start and all the times I didn't know what to do.  

 I had a spout of Sadness yesterday that lasted for a few hours.  I will explain: Lani went to to the Deaf branch on Sunday to give a talk up there, so I didnt have to interpret for Relief Society.  We had 5 people tell us they would be at church yesterday, but Dan was the only one to actually come.  So, we sit in the back of the Relief Society room, and for once, I could just sit there and enjoy the lesson.  I was very relieved that there was no stress of worrying about false doctrine being taught to my investigators or if they had friends, but I was also sad that they didn't make it.
 
We decided to sit near the back, which I havent done in a long long time, near a new lady.  Bad decision.  I remembered why I dont like sitting in the back row of church.  There were women in the back chatting and laughing in the middle of the lesson.  I couldn't focus!  Now, I can't judge those women, because there have been many weeks when I used to do that myself.  But I kind of became overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness.  I was sad my investigators didn't come.  I was sad that they women in the back weren't listening to a really good lesson.  I was sad as I looked around the room and half of them haven't made it through the temple yet.  I came home from church and my heart hurt.  A slight pain in my chest, for these people who I care about so much.

 I look forward to having Sundays when I don't have to be so worried about interpreting or false doctrine or everyone feeling welcomed.  I think when we're at church each week at home, we take advantage of what a wonderful opportunity it is to go and be overwhelmed by the spirit and personal revelation.  Sundays are a time when we can bask in the presence of the holy ghost.  I am reminded of two scriptures I read a month ago.  Ecclesiastes 1:18 "For in much wisdom, is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."  Ecclesiastes 7:3 "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better."  Sometimes when we love people so much, they hurt us more than if we didn't love them at all.  But I believe this to be a good thing, a Christlike thing.  I love being a missionary, it just definitely has its ups and downs.  Sister Oliphant is doing well, and I can see how much different I have become here in the past year.  

 I love all of you!

 Sister Wilson

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

progress

This was a pretty good week, no room for complaining.  Mostly because Lynda wants to BE BAPTIZED ON SEPTEMBER 22ND!!!  Well, she has to stop smoking, but she can totally do it.  I know she can, she quit on her own far before we ever met her, so she's already done it once!  Dominick and Mickey are thinking about getting married, too.  We'll see if we can get that goin!

 On Tuesday, we went to contact this single boy in his 20's and the wind was a bit rambunctious that day.  This guy just happened to be outside with his friend.  Yup.  You guessed it.  My skirt caught a current and I flashed both of them with my garments.  Then we left and I laughed hysterically.  Oh, life.
 You know what is crazy to me?  People switch churches a lot!  I think I grew up thinking that everyone had one church that their parents took them to and they stayed with it most their lives.  Nope.  Not here.  People go to whatever church is closest to them, which is really sad.  I often hear "oh yeah, we just started going to this other church 2 weeks ago" or "Ive just started going to the one down the street."  Lucky for me, these people are actually SEARCHING for a church to go to, so when we come along its easy to challenge them to try ours. 

 Here's a cool miracle that happened to us this week!  We had about 10 minutes so we decided to go down to the park and talk with people.  As we got out of the car, I felt prompted to grab a DVD from our trunk, so I did.  The park we went to was kind of far from our area, so it was kinda' risky to meet people there that actually live in our teaching boundaries, but we didnt car.  Park contacting is difficult at times because you have to pick your people.  You can walk in any direction and you just pray that you're not skipping the person you are supposed to find!  Sister Oliphant and I felt inspired to talk with the first woman we saw who was a young black mother watching her son play.  We walked over and the whole conversation was so natural with her.  She actually asked US which church we were from before we could bring it up.  She said she was looking for a church!  Come to find out, she actually lives across the street from our church building, like, she could walk there if she needed to.  We gave her the DVD and she was so excited!  Her name is Shatavia and we teach her again tomorrow.  YAY! 

Random:
My car has bluetooth to our phone, so when people call us, our radio shuts off and the people speak to us through the car system.  Ive never been this high-tech in my life.  Strange that it should happen on my mission!  Then again, the church just came out with some new Mormon.org cards that have the little scanny thing for the iPhones.  I'm happy our church is staying up with the times, I just wish they would focus more on the DEAF technology and translation that we need. 

We went to the Delta on Friday night to eat dinner and see the boats and docks.  I love boats and docks, I'll send pictures.


My favorite Zina quote from the week: "God said Adam and Eve, NOT STEVE AND STEVE AND EVE AND EVE!"  She understands well.  That Zina says some crazy funny stuff. 

I love all of you! 

 Sister Wilson