Monday, January 30, 2012

Elder Holland

Well everyone!!

 On January 27, 2012 I SHOOK THE HAND OF ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND!!!!!  He came to visit our mission because of the whole mission president fiasco and he wanted to see how our mission was holding up!  They welcomed him to our mission conference and said that he wanted to meet each of us individually!  So one by one, we met him and he asked where we were from.  I asked if he remembered my MTC song and he DID!  :)  Elder Holland has the most BEAUTIFUL BABY BLUE EYES IVE EVER SEEN that penetrate your soul.

After we all sat down, he stood up and said "I just interviewed all of you.  I wanted to look into each of your eyes to see how your spirits were."   He then explained that he needed to know if he should give an encouraging talk or rebuke us for goofing off when president left.  So!  He asked to meet us one by one and he told us that all of us "passed" that interview!  He was very happy with our efforts and he knew that all of us in this mission were continuing forward with the work!  And let me tell you!  What a relief to feel that nobody needed rebuking!  He said "if I had felt that some of you didnt understand what you were doing, I would have gone ballistic!"  We dont want to see a ballistic Holland....

Then.  He gave the most.  beautiful.  amazing.  sermon.  ever.  Here are my favorite quotes that I wanted to share with you:

"to walk away from all of this after your mission is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!!"  (Yes, he yelled it at us.  There is nothing better than being yelled at by an apostle.  I now understand why they call him Jeffrey "the Bulldog" Holland.  He sounds like a vicious bark when he yells.  I loved it.)

        "Sister Holland has got AVON LADIES more persistent than you guys!"

        "You are God's investigators.  He wants for you what you want for your investigators!"  

        "The road to salvation always goes THROUGH Gethsemane."

        "We won't be on the cross, but we ARE supposed to be at the foot of it!"
        "When you get home, you dont go "back to real life!"  THIS IS AS "REAL LIFE" AS IT GETS!!"  (Also yelled to us.  Loved it.  He explained that when we go home, we shouldnt go back to old habits/ pre-mission mistakes or be any less than the missionaries we are now.)  

 Its amazing how that man can speak and yell and boldly proclaim the gospel with so much love.  I felt SO MUCH LOVE from him.  Okay everybody, here's the best part.  As he was wrapping up his talk, he MADE A PROPHECY!!!  ABOUT OUR MISSION!!  He said that these next few months in the Sacramento mission will be LEGENDARY with missionary work!  He said the numbers we see in the next few months will make a dent in the HISTORY of the Sacramento mission, so much so that the missionaries in the next generation will STILL be talking about it far after we have left!!  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!   An apostle of the Lord just told all of us that in the next few months we will see more success than we have in a long time!  It was so amazing.  I cant even speak about it I just start geeking out.  Its hard to put into words.  

 I dont even know what else to write about it.  It was awesome.  I just stutter.  

Gladys Knight did four concerts here in Sacramento (that Holland attended) and our mission is going to get THOUSANDS of referrals.  People could write their names and addresses after the concert if they wanted missionaries or a Book of Mormon.  There is an excitement here that is like a powerful energy.  Like Aunt Arlene balled it up in her hands and blasted it to every missionary here.  We have to take things to the edge and boldly challenge people to accept the gospel!  I have to step it up.  We have to find these people and do our part to help that prophecy happen!!  

Other not-as-important news:

-I picked up a worm the other day that wasnt a worm.  it was a small snake.  go me.  

-We had a temple tour for all our recent converts and I love Anne more than anything.  She looked at me and said "Are all temples THIS beautiful!?"  Yes, Anne.  They are.  And they all have the same spirit, too.  She was in awe.  (Okay, that one was important!)

I love you all.  The Lord loves you all.  I am never again washing my right hand.  

 Sister Wilson

Monday, January 23, 2012

friends and family...

Its been a wonderful week of ups and downs.  First off, our mission president has been in the hospital the last few weeks and had to have 2 surgeries... they decided it would be best to let him heal at home (SLC) since he was having a hard time here.  He is NOT released as President of this mission!  He's just on "hold" until they can have kind of like a substitute.  Its a good thing the church is set up with assistants to the President and the President's two counselors!!  They've all taken on so much responsibility until we finally get his sub.  Things have been crazy but the work is still going forward.
It is now a moment for me to discuss bible bashers.  Haven't run into too many here.  Just a few.  But after those experiences, I left with many pondering.  The first one we met was a man who had read the whole Book of Mormon for part of his religious training and he wasn't convinced.  He's some kind of pastor.  I was baffled by the confusing question of "why didnt he feel the spirit when he read?"  and "how could he not clearly see that the Book of Mormon was the word of God?!"  I pondered for quite some time this question until it was later revealed to me after meeting another bible bashing man.  He was forced to attend BYU until he graduated and forced to attend a local ward every Sunday.  He was a ward of the state, and loathed every minute in Provo.  I thought it would be impossible to come to church so many times and never feel the spirit!!  Then, I realized Moroni's promise.  You have to have real intent.  When they read the Book of Mormon, they already lacked faith in it!!  They didnt even have a DESIRE to have faith in it.  Pure intent is so important and necessary to true conversion.  The reason I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God is because I first had faith in it.  You won't gain a testimony of that book if you read it with the wrong intent.  Okay, I'm off my soap box.  

Meeting Jews can be awkward too... "Hi!  We're just out today inviting people to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized!"   They look at us like we're idiots.  "We don't believe in Jesus Christ, we're Jewish."   uhhhh......"Do you want a Book of Mormon?"  haha.  

I'm surprised how many people ask us how old we are.  People often comment that we are "very young to be doing what we're doing."  So I say "How old do you think I am?!"  "16?"  nope.  try 25, people.  Do I look 16?  really?  Do I look like I'm in high school?  I'm a college grad, thanks.  So weird.  I blame Sister Williams.  She DOES look young!  Speaking of my wonderful companion, she's doing a little better with her health.  We've spent some days home last week staying with Sister Whittaker and her bad knee, and the resting time has been good for Sister Williams.  

The rain has HIT US!  (Its like a month late, but I'm not complaining!)  We go tracting in the rain and singing songs, its great.  Sister Williams and I actually don't really have time to tract, we're so busy between the two wards, but we go on Sundays with the zone.  We are very excited about Frankie, a new Deaf investigator.  He's untouched by the JW's and the Deaf Bible Church!!  (the Deaf Bible Church teaches anti-mormon stuff to all the Deaf people in this valley.  Booooo!!)  Anyway, Frankie seems curious and excited to learn more.  His Mom died a few years ago and he wants to know what happened with her spirit and body so we are going to teach him!!  

The GOLDEN investigator who dropped us a few weeks back:Kristy.....her dad just died.  We did teach the plan of salvation but all I can do is hope some of it stuck with her and brings her peace.  She really felt the spirit during that lesson.  Maybe one day she will accept missionaries again.  Maybe I was just meant to plant a seed so it can grow in her.  She has Mormon friends, so I'm sure they'll keep that seed alive for a while!!  

That's about it, everyone.  The back is staying like the same.  It just remains a constant dull ache during most days but I hardly notice it anymore.  Dr. Armstrong is great and he is only seeing me every other week now.  With time, I should be able to avoid surgery, so that's always the better option.  I love you all!!  I love letters too!!  (Hint Hint)

Sister Wilson

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

sunday school...

Its been a great week!  Full of many emotions.  First off, I need to explain that picture of Sister Williams being pregnant.  Elders burn a tie on hump day, Sisters stuff their shirts and take a pregnant picture because our hump day is at 9 months!  :)   Also, I'm not a greenie anymore!!!  Our zone has 2 other greenies, and so I'm happy to be amongst the normal missionaries.

We added 5 new investigators this week!  (One of which is named Marci.  haha)  Its been so busy!  

Something else Ive realized while being here...the Lord is blessing my memory!  I am AMAZED at how Ive suddenly been able to know all these people in the ward and the deaf branch.  I know all of their names, their children's ages, their personalities.  The Lord helps me to remember all this stuff so that I can be an effective missionary and its so great. I dont think I've EVER known all the names of the people in the Lindon 6th ward and their children.  But then again, it wasn't ever a priority for me to know all of them so Im sure that makes a difference too.  I love our ward so much.  They are willing to help, drive missionaries, feed us every day.  They embrace new investigators and make visits to those struggling with problems.  

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to being a missionary.  When your golden investigator says they dont want to meet with you anymore.  That's heart breaking.  We had been teaching this girl named Kristy and she was eating up the gospel so much.  She even said she wanted to be baptized but she went home for Christmas and when she came back she told us no more lessons.  We are so confused and it just makes me so sad that there are all these joys and blessings she will miss out on.  We are still trying to contact her to see if we can correct some concerns she may have had.  Its also very sad when people dont keep their commitments.  Come on people.  All I'm asking you to do is read like 3 pages out of a book!  And you have 7 days to do so until we come back!  Its not that hard!!  I just need more patience for my investigators I guess.  The gospel makes so much sense to me.  It's easy.  Its happy and restful and brings us joy and peace.  I am sad that people can't see that or when the DO see it, but still walk away.  It leaves me bewildered.  I just want so badly to bring all of these people the blessings I have experienced in this gospel.  One of our new investigators didnt show up to church like she said she would.  We'll get her next week, though!  :)  She cant hide for long!!  

We added 2 new Deaf investigators this week!  I'll keep you updated on them.  Its hard to get the Deaf ones all the way to church because they cant afford the travel costs.  And of course, if they cant get to church, they cant be baptized!  Its a big problem we have here.  Wow.  I sound like I'm complaining a lot today!  Its honestly been a pretty good week, and we are positive and happy.  Sister Williams makes me laugh every day and I cherish the moments I have with her because I know some day she wont be my companion anymore.  I will absorb these next 5 weeks that I have with her.  I love this work!!  I want to tell everyone to serve a mission!  

My back is still...meh.  Slowly improving, and I love that doctor Armstrong, he's a good man.  

Finally, I will leave you all with a great funny story.  This is what Sundays are like in the Deaf Branch...I wont use full names.
(Sunday School---We are discussing the tree of life) 
Teacher:"The fruit was WHITE!"
KF: "Musta been a pear.  Pears are white."
P: "Fruit?  Grapes!  Apples!  White fruit?  White fruit is sour..."
Teacher: "No, no, this white fruit was SWEET.  Has anyone had a dream like Lehi?  One that hit them really hard?"
VF: "My mom had a dream once!!  At exactly the same time as my brother was shot, my mom's tooth exploded!"  (Sits down)
VF's Mother: "Yeah!  I remember that!!"
Teacher: "oh.  wow.  The other day, my husband asked me if it was that time of the month.  I wish husbands had those too!"
R: "Husbands DO have mood swings!!  When my husband is moody, he needs an insulin shot.  So I just leave for one hour to go shopping and he gets lonely and realizes that he has been mean and he gives himself a shot and I come home!" (Sits down)

This is a normal Sunday School discussion....A little A.D.D. but we laugh a lot.  Its Deaf culture!!  I love it.  

Bye all!!

Sister Wilson

Friday, January 13, 2012

random pics

this is my favoite place to be.  On a swing in a bamboo forest!!

this forest is at the home of the ward mission leader.  Sooo cool. 

"L" "D" "S".

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

survived the transfer!!

Hello loved ones!!

I am doing FANTASTICALLY!!!! SISTER WILLIAMS AND I GET TO STAY COMPANIONS FOR 6 MORE WEEKS AND IM SOOOO HAPPY!!!  I cannot think of a greater companion and I just love her so much that I begged Heavenly Father to keep her here with me and He allowed it.  Here's to a new transfer!  Its great to be a missionary here in the Sacramento mission.  Its a wonderful mission.
 Anne gave us some warm socks for Christmas so we could be warm when we study in the mornings.

 The Deaf branch is now at the same time as our Carmichael 1st ward. instead of 6 straight hours of church, we leave one sacrament meeting to make it to ward council and then we go back, skip relief society of one to go to gospel principles, then skip the other relief society to go to the deaf sunday school.  Sundays are crazy.  I love it.
Dr. Armstrong told me that I might be a little taller when he's finished with me....6 foot here I come!  haha.  jk!  But I'm already sitting and standing straighter, which is good!  I've been sleeping on the floor on a mattress for a while now because I cant quite climb up to the top bunk.  Its great because we have to clean our floor every night to have room for me to pull out my bed!  :)  

We used a can of "fake snow" a couple of days after Christmas and the Islander sisters we live with thought it was really cool.  Not quite as cool as real snow, I was sad I couldnt eat it, but it smelled funny...  Speaking of snow, one of my amazing friends sent me REAL SNOW on her letter, so no worries, family.  I got some!  Everyone here is still wondering where the rain is.  Guess its a warm year, but I cant complain because the weather has been awesome!!  

Im having a hard time closing my eyes during prayers now.  Since I leave them open all the time during ASL prayers (every time me and Sister Williams pray, we do it in ASL, and we say like 12 prayers a day). When someone actually prays in English its strange to me.  

I got a belated Christmas package yesterday.  My favorite item was a pillowcase that my family sent me with words of love and support.  I was so overwhelmed that I teared up at the thought of how many people I have praying for me every day and who want me to succeed here.  I feel so much love from my family and friends.  Thanks, all of you.  The ward also sent me some notes of support and encouragement, they were nice to read. I know that as missionaries we are so blessed and loved by people we leave behind.  Its hard, but completely worth it. 
Its funny sometimes when we meet people who have yet to see sister missionaries before.  For some reason, everyone seems a bit shocked at first, but always pleased.  Almost like they've discovered an awesome secret.  "Girl missionaries?!  But, I thought your church only had those boys on bikes!  Its great to see girl missionaries!!"  Its so funny.    

I love all of you, my loved ones!  I am doing swell!!

love, Sister Wilson