Tuesday, June 26, 2012

another great week

Just one more week passing by!  Can I just say something?  Ive never been more stood up in my entire life!  Being a missionary can be disappointing at times when people don't show up like they say they will.  But I get over it, I think I've become numb to people keeping their commitments.  Transfer calls were last night.  Sister Konou has been transferred to serve in Folsom and (of course) I'm staying in Stockton!  My new companion is from a very small island called Kiribati!!  (that's pronounced Kiribus, by the way.  dont ask me why...) 

Her name is Sister Teerime, and for once, she's not super short, shes just average height.  She's HILARIOUS and bold.  She is a wonderful missionary and I am so excited to have her as my other half in this work.  I lived with her for 2 transfers in Carmichael!
 The work is really picking up here and I'm more than happy to stay.  Just found out that Roseville has been opened up to the Carmichael ASL sisters, and there are Deaf people there that they are going to be able to teach!  Its exciting.  The took away the Carmichael 1st ward (the hearing one) and now those sisters only work in the Deaf branch.  It was really hard for Sister Sellers to do hearing work.  We woke up at 4:30am today to go to the temple.  I was able to go get some garments and go to the mission office and do errands.

Dan came to church last week!!  The sisters have been teaching him for 6 months and he finally came!!  (He couldn't before because of his parole officer) and he loved it!!  Don't worry, for some STRANGE reason unbenownst to me, they used tortillas instead of bread for the sacrament.  Good thing we had just explained that anything can be used for the sacrament, it didn't have to be bread and wine.  haha.  tortillas.  Dan is doing great, but he cant be baptized until he's done with parole, which is in November.  He's wonderful, though.  He has been through some enormous changes in his life with drugs and prison and crazy stuff.  The other day during our lesson, he was kind of rambling on about how much he liked us teaching him.  He was talking about our lessons and how the sisters have always shown him love and support through his hard times.  We never gave up on him.  He was kind of going around in circles, repeating himself when he had this light bulb go off in his eyes.  He paused, looked at us, and said "I just...I see Christ in you guys."  wow.  What a compliment.  I knew that people would recognize us as Christ's disciples, but Ive never been told it face to face before.  It was so overwhelming to hear. 

Later, we had an appointment with our favorite Lynda.  We taught her the plan of salvation and I was just in awe of the fact that she trusts everything we say.  Here we are, two girls in our 20's, teaching her stuff she's never heard before, and she just accepts it as truth.  She looked at us and said "I like having you two girls in my home.  You...you kind of glow."  ANOTHER WOW!!  I glow?  Cool!!  I think I am finally starting to understand what people mean by that Mormon Glow.  There is a very real darkness out there that can be felt and physically seen.  I know that the Savior supports us as we serve missions and that He is always on our side no matter who we talk to.  People notice it.  Dan and Lynda both did.  I know other people have, too.  I am making a difference.  I love being a missionary. 

I had a weird dream last week that I got to do an exchange with Ellen DeGeneres.  Super strange.  but she was really nice in my dream, and she even had a boyfriend!  I taught her some basic gospel principles so she could understand Mormons better and she gave me a free dress from India.  I love weird dreams. 

The preacher of the Deaf Jehovahs Witnesses does drugs.  I'm sad that he does drugs, but honestly, I'm happy that Dianne saw it and decided never to go again.  She's very angry that he's a "false preacher" who is stealing money from people.  I am glad she has found the truth and respects bishop completely as a man of God.  Which he totally is. 

We had a fireside that was specially for recent converts, less actives, and investigators.  The missionaries did all the music.  I was able to sing Cassidy Ellis's arrangement of "Be Still My Soul" and the spirit was really strong. I love being able to invite the spirit through music!!  We did some choir numbers, and we did our mens quartet again.  It was a really great fireside.  Zina came to the fireside and they wanted some recent converts to share their testimony, so because she's so AMAZING, they asked her.  However, when she walked into the chapel in jeans and a t-shirt, I was a bit confused.  Later found out that she thought a fireside was all of us standing by a fire.  hahaha.   My bad, I shoulda explained that a little better I guess.  No worries, though, she stood and boldly bore witness of our Savior to that audience and even sang an acapella song.  She's so great. 

Love ya!!
this is a pic of all the ASL sisters in the mission
Sister Wilson

what a week!

Stockton, California is the best place a missionary could ever be.  ever.  ( except Carmichael, of course!  )  We had a BOMB AWESOME week and taught 11 lessons!  On Tuesday, Sister Lewis came out with us to do some teaching, it was fun to show her the Deaf work.  Dianne is still learning and she wants to be baptized in August!  Kelly, the paralyzed Deafie in Carmichael, however, had to postpone baptism until a few weeks.  Hopefully I will see it happen soon for her!!

 For Mom's birthday on Saturday, I thought about her all day!  I looked at Sister Konou in the morning and said "Sister Konou!  For my mom's birthday, I need to get a new investigator!"  We tried to get one all day, but to no avail.  Our last stop of the night was this lady named Cynthia who we have never met, she's just a potential in our book.  So we decided to go see her until I realized it said that Sundays were best for her, not Saturdays.  I had written her down on the wrong day.  I was tempted to choose a different person but the spirit told me to go see her.  So we got in the car and plugged her address into the GPS.  Our GPS wouldnt connect to the sattelite.  We tried and tried but it refused, I think it was overheating...so we took a deep breath and looked at our map.  Started driving over and I only got lost like 7 times but we eventually made it to her apartment!  Satan tried to stop us, with an emphasis on TRIED.  It took us a good 30 minutes just to get there and I was so frustrated because I cant read maps well and Sister Konou's even worse than I am, but we parked and said a prayer.  We went to Cynthia's apartment and her door was open.  She's the cutest black lady in her mid 50's.  She's recently had 3 strokes and she has been wondering for a long time what the Mormons believe!!  She was really excited to learn and to read the book of mormon we gave her!  She's so legit!!!  So, mom, your birthday wish came true.  kinda.  haha. 

So because Mom's birthday wish went that well, I decided to do the same thing for Fathers Day!  I want a new investigator!!  One of the Spanish elders contacted me saying he'd been teaching a Deaf Mexican for a long time, but he doesnt really sign.  We decided to go check out the situation to see if we could help him learn faster.  So on Sunday night we went to his house in the Ghetto, dirt floors and all that fun jazz.  He went deaf because he was hit by a car and he spoke Spanish and read lips in Spanish.  So, the elders talked to him but he didnt understand much.  I tried to sign, but that was even LESS effective.  He's been going to the Catholic church and just sitting there, understanding nothing.  I told him he could learn ASL and then come to ours, so we'll see what happens.  I asked him if he wanted to learn how to sign and he started writing on a piece of paper.  The whole night, he'd been reading what the elders would write to him if he didnt understand their lips, but he didnt much respond to me.  I was so excited that he was actually wanting to ask me a question and he asked the elders if I read spanish.  They told him it would have to be in English.  So he writes on this paper and I'm all excited to see what he's going to be asking me about the gospel.  He hands it to me and I read "Are you married?"  PAA-HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  That was his one question to me?!  Oh man.  Why does he know how to say that in English?!  The elders laughed a lot and I did too.  I told him I wasnt married, but not sure he understood that we cant really date.  We'll see if I go back to teach him more.  hahah.  So sorry Dad, I didnt get a new Deaf investigator for you for Fathers Day.  I think the elders are doing a better job at communicating with him, he doesnt sign AT ALL. 

It was an amazing week.  We are starting to see Elder Holland's apostolic promise come true.  Everywhere around the mission, we are teaching more lessons than ever before, we are adding more people to teach and we just need our baptism numbers to increase!  Its so exciting!!  I love being a missionary with all my heart!!!

Love all of you!!

Sister Wilson

Monday, June 11, 2012

summer days

I wrote an email, but I accidentally sent it (I think) and now its gone.  Here's to starting all over!!

Ankle is healed!  No biggie.  Got a new Chiro, he's great.  He's also working with my muscles doing therapy and breaking up scar tissue.

We'll see in a few weeks if its improving me or not.  He used this new technology that measures which vertibre are out of place.  In my back,

13 out of 24 are out.  Joy.  Then they did a muscle spasm test to see how stressed my muscles are.  They tested them one by one and as it turns out I am 98% spazmed.  So Brett was right all those years when he called me a spaz.  My muscles are cah-rAYzee tight and until we loosen 'em up, the bones wont stay in place.  Yay for missionaries being treated for free by members!  One more blessing.  This chiropractor serves as a high councelman so I trust he's a pretty good guy.  We had Stake Conference on Saturday and Sunday and I was able to interpret for another 4 hours or so.  Hope I'm getting better...President Lewis came down for a the stake conference in our area and he asked if he could take me and Sister Konou out to lunch!

We picked Olive Garden, and that was fun.  So we ate lunch with the mission president, that was kinda fun.  Its hard to get a lot of time with him because hes so busy and has 200 of us to watch over.  I am thankful for President and his sacrifice.  He is truly an inspired man of God.

Deaf pizza night was meh.  Deaf COFFEE night, however, was great.  No, I didnt buy any.  But we chatted with various deaf and non deaf people.  I asked the Jehovahs Witnesses all about what they offer and they told me about their services for the Deaf.   Dang.  They have like 30 Deaf people going weekly.  I kind of wish our church would offer better services for Deaf people.  They have all KINDS of ASL DVDs and bible stories and interpreting provided. We're just barely getting closed captioned offered on all of our websites.  Its sad.

Deaf people kinda throw that in our faces and there isnt much we can do to defend it.

Deaf Dianne (low ed black lady):  Dianne got robbed of $800.  She had just left the bank and she didnt hear the guy behind her because shes deaf--he beat her up pretty good and stole all the money she had in cash.  She got 16 stitches and now she's facing a possible evitction because she didnt pay rent.  We are praying she doesnt get evicted because then we'll lose her!  I really want to keep teaching her, she's so ready for the gospel.  Dianne is probably the most prepared Deaf person for this gospel that Ive met thus far.  We taught her about Jesus Christ this week and she didnt know that Jesus was Heavenly Father's Son, or that Mary was a virgin.  I signed "Mary was just pregnant all of a sudden.  She did not have sex." (Yay Deaf people!  Gotta be straight up with them or they dont get it!  I love that I dont have to sugar coat anything when I'm teaching Deaf.) Dianne loved learning about all the miracles and power of Jesus Christ and she cant wait to learn more!  She came to church on Sunday, too, and loved it.  I think we can teach her everything in time for maybe an August baptism.

Dan.  Dan is wonderful.  He just needs to be baptized.  He had neck surgery on Friday where they fused two of his vertibre together so we are hoping he can come to church next week!!  We went to see him in the hospital but he was sent home early so we will see him next week!

Lynda Perkins: I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!!  Lynda is so spicy.  She's really great and we were finally able to get her a Book of Mormon and explain it all.  We showed her the Mormon.org website and she looked at us confused.  "Yall are Mormons?  I thought Mormons didn't believe in God!"  I just said "Well, Lynda!  YOU'RE the one who's been to our church meetings twice.  What do YOU think?"  She laughed and said "Yeah!  You do!"  There ya go.  Of course we believe in God.  She's still surprised that the LDS people are Mormon.  haha.  But she's already hooked!  She came to stake conference as well and loved it.  I love Lynda.  She's like a new best friend.  We laugh and cry together.

I am surprised at the number of illiterate people we meet.  There are so many people who can't read very well.  You hand them a bible or a book of mormon and they struggle.  Even the ones who claim that they are comfortable with Bible language or study.  What a blessing we have to be well-read citizens who are comfortable with our ability to read and comprehend!!  There are also a lot of homeless people.  Such a huge problem here...

Well loved ones, I LOVE YOU!  Thanks for the letters and emails and prayers.  The summer is HOT, but Im doing my best!!

Sister Wilson

better week

Hello everybody! 

 This was a better week than last one.  We are finding more people and have appointments with people (LINDA is who I am most excited for!)  We are teaching a Deaf lady named Dianne.  She's black and from New Orleans and she's wonderful.  She wants to come to church, so she had me write a note she could give to her boss to ask for the time off.  Missionaries taught her 2 years ago and then lost contact, but she found us again and wants to start coming to church.  Her sign language accent is very different than I'm used to and she signs really fast, but it will be good for me.

Dan is another investigator we have.  He's been taught by missionaries for about 2 months but he cant come to church  because he's on parole.  We are just barely getting the parole officer to feel better about letting Dan come to a church that isnt Catholic.  Anyway, Dan is AMAZING.  He glows with a lightness in his eyes.  He's a single guy who was in jail for 15 years, found God in jail and changed his life.  He's already committed to the word of wisdom, law of chastity, and tithing.  We just need to get him a solid testimony of Joseph Smith and get him to church and we can baptize him!  Last lesson we had with him he handed us the "Book of Mormon Ensign" and he said "How do I sign up to get these?!  This is great!"  He wants the Ensign in the mail.  How much more golden can a person be??  He loves the Book of Mormon, but his progression is slower than most.  I have faith he can be baptized, though. 

The other day in Gospel Principles class, our class was on the "work and personal responsibility" lesson.  We were all talking about awful jobs we've had to bear though in our lives.  The teacher talked about this awful job where he had to dig out plastic bottles and ripped up soda cans from a machine when they got stuck.  I talked about bridezillas.  Zina talked about being a prostitute.  uhhh.....talk about a bunch of uncomfortable Mormons.  hahhaa.  It was very interesting.  She's so open about her past.  I had to laugh at the teacher's face, he was so awkward.  Haha.  But it was wonderful because then Zina bore testimony that now she can do other jobs than selling her body.  Now she can respect herself and she was thankful to God that she "didnt catch any diseases."   She's now living the law of chastity.  Wonderful. 

I was reading the Ensign the other day and I got caught up in the Statistical Report.  I looked at the number of missionaries.  55, 410.  If I weren't here, that number would be 55,409.  Kind of a cool thought.  Also, converts baptized during 2011: 281,312.  If I hadn't been able to teach and help in the conversion of those three in december, that number would be 281, 309.  My service alone is changing our church's statistics.  I guess I'm making a difference one person at a time.  Its a tedious process, but it's wonderful at the same time.  I finished the Book of Mormon again.  Loved it.  Cant wait to start it again. 

Flubber and Indiana Jones were made in Stockton.  Also, there's a Linden in my area.  I tell people I'm from Lindon and they get confused.  Did you know there's a Stockton, Utah??  crazy.  I've decided Utah freeways are ugly.  Mom always told me that but I didn't believe/understand her until now.  The freeways here are so pretty with flowers and plants.  Come ON, Utah!  Catch up!

Lani, our only active Deaf member here, took us out to Manteca on Sunday to find more Deaf people.  Nobody was home, but it was fun.  Lani is very excited about missionary work.  She is the only convert in her family, she also served an ASL mission in the 80's.  She comes faithfully every Sunday even with interpreters who are far behind any certified interpreters.  (But she loves Relief Society because thats the one I interpret and she understands the most.  Its good practice for me, too.) 

The work is looking more positive, I hope to be getting more investigators soon!  Love all of you!!

Sister Wilson

from the Ghettos

From the Ghettos of Stockton I send my love!!  (and boy are these the ghettos!) 

I may or may not have sprained my ankle.  okay I did.  but I'm fine.  Its like a mini-sprain.  Not a big deal really...I just thank the Lord that I over-prepare and I happened to have an ace bandage with me that I've been carrying from place to place for 10 months.  Still walking, just a small limp.  I'm sure to be healed in a few days.  Not even sure HOW I sprained it, it just started hurting...weird.

The work here is picking up and we added a new Deaf lady here but she's looooooow education.  Its so hard to teach concepts to people like that, but we are doing our best!  I gave her the childrens DVD so we'll see if she likes it!  We had zone conference last week and I was in a men's quartet.  That was fun!  We sang "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" and I did the high tenor part.  We talked about sacrifice as a mission and I decided I needed to give up a few things.  My blonde streak being one of them.  I'm very sad about this, a silly thing to be sad about you might think, but Ive become attatched. I told the Lord that I would give it up to look more like a disciple of Jesus Christ so I am telling all of you to keep myself accountable.  I am giving up a few other things as well and striving to be better.  We also got touch phones at Zone Conference which I'm not really fond of.  I've decided I just dont like technology that much.  I hate having to slide and hit with my finger because half the time it doesnt work.  Anyway, guess thats the way the world is going and we have to keep up!  They're not iPhones, just the Sprint Rumor ones. 

I've found another Chiropractor down here because my hip is out again.  He's LDS and says he will treat me for free so we'll see how that goes.  I'm honestly in need of one, I can't slide all the way back to where I was and I can feel the difference between good and bad spine health.  The Lord is watching over me though and I know He loves His missionaries!!

I was on an episode of "Hoarders" this week.  not really.  But we DID clean a house of a lady who hoards way more stuff than she should.  She had drawers full of plastic bags and her son has so many toys its rediculous.   She even wanted to keep a broken plate.  Watching the TV Show actually helped me know how to better organize her house and help her throw away stuff.  We found our weekly service for the next 2 months.  :)  We spent 3 hours in her kitchen and it still needs another 3, but its better.  Once again I am thankful for my Mother who taught me to clean and organize even though I'm not perfect at it.  This lady's life is going to change and be better with our help of teaching her how to clean.  She wants to be better too, knows that it got out of hand so its good she's willing to change. 

Remember that Deaf investigator in Carmichael who was so depressed because she was paralyzed and bed-ridden?  She's decided to be baptized!!  YAAAAAAYYY!!!!!!  June 24th.  I will get to drive up to see it, too, so I'll send pictures in a few weeks.  I am so happy for her and hope she will not be my last Deaf baptism here! 

I was really struck by specific scriptures this week.  Ether 12:12,16,18:

"For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.  Yea, and even all they who wrought miracles wrought them by faith, even those who were before Christ and also those who were after.  And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God."  The reason I survived my struggles at birth was because of the faith of my parents and family.  I am a living miracle.  I'm not supposed to be alive, and the only reason I am living is because of the Priesthood held by my Father who blessed me.  Thank you family for having enough faith to create the miracle that is my life.  I am grateful for the Priesthood and the blessings I see in our family because of it.  I am happy to have had a chance to live and be tested with this body and spirit.  I love the joy and pain that I can experience here on earth.  Because I wasn't capable of having faith as a baby, I know that the reason I'm alive is because of all of you.  Thank you.

Onward ever onward!
love, Sister Wilson

Random: Sister Konou's bed was rediculously squEEEEaky.  I sprayed it with Pam.  Problem solved.