Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"If O'er See Or Land I Roam Still I Think Of Happy Home And My Friends Among Those West Virginia Hills "


11/8/15


Hello my beautiful friends and family!

First of all, THIS HAPPENED! It's official, I AM IN AUSTRALIA!!!!!

Now the biggest news of all-
As many of you know, my knee has been giving me some trouble. It was recommended by the dotor and confirmed on Friday that I will be going home to recieve treatment. They have recommended at least 6 weeks of physical therapy and possibly surgery. I will leave a week from Wednesday, but THIS WILL BE MY FINAL EMAIL FOR NOW.
When my mission president told me, I was devastated. I knew that it could be an option, but I was hoping that I could stay in this great place with these beautiful people. I definitely cried but I also felt peace. "Learn of me, listen to my words, walk in the meekness of my Spirit and you shall have peace in me." That is what came to my mind. Over and over again.
While it pains me to leave Australia and this great work for a time, I wouldn't trade the last 7 months for a thing.
I want to thank each and every one of you for all of the love, prayers, encouragement and support.
Australia, God be with you till we meet again.

Sister A


P.S. Also, last night was the musical fireside that I had been putting together. It was BEAUTIFUL! Everyone did SO well and I felt the stronget Spirirt so far on my mission.
And- JACK IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS SATURDAY. He has asked me to sing and I feel so privileged to be able to do that. I am so excited for him and I know that Heavenly Father is SO proud of him for making this decision and step in his life.

"Oh This Would Never Happen In Idaho!"

11/1/15

Hello everyone!
Apologies for not writing last week. It has been the busiest and craziest week yet! ANd here is why:
My knee was playing up again last week and I was having a hard time getting around. So Sister Salts and I were given a third sister, Sister Toame. She's from Vanuatu, an island near Fiji and she is just darling! Wonderful missionary and the sweetest thing. We became a trio so that they could continue to teach and so that I could rest my knee with members. However, President and Sister Back (my mission president and his wife) decided that it would be better for me to be transfered into an area that had a car available. So I have now been emergency transfered- again- back to Liverpool 1st!!!! This was my first area that I was emergency transfered out of. If that weren't crazy enough, I am in a trio with Sister MacMillan, my MTC companion and Sister Tau, my third companion in Liverpool 1st before I got emergency transfered! Like I said, craziest week yet!!!
With all of these changes, I've been doing a lot of thinking. Mostly I've been thinking of how much God loves us. Each and every one of us. One of my favorite scriptures is 1 Nephi 11:16-17. Nephi is asked "Knowest thou the condescenion of God?" Or in other words "Do you know or understand God?" And Nephi answers by saying "I know that He loveth His children, nevertheless I do not know the meaning of all things." I also know that God loves His children. I know that we don't know or understand everything and we don't have to. If we cling to that eternal and unchanging truth that God loves evry single one of us, then we can find hope, comfort and peace in this life and in every circumstance, whatever it may be.
Thank you ALL for your continued love, prayers, support and encouragement.
Peace be your journey,
Sister A

"Shall We Not Go On In So Great A Cause?" Doctrine and Covenants 128:22

10/19/15
Hello everyone!
This week was a slow one. Although we set a goal to teach two lessons a day and were able to come very close to reaching that goal, we found many investigators and less actives unavailable. Many were either not home or did not have time to see us. Although we were saddened, we kept our chins up and were still able to teach those lessons. This week we are shooting for three lessons a day. Sister Salts and I are very excited to keep working and stretching ourselves.
We are also putting together a ward musical fireside and are extremely excited about it! It will be about the life of the Savior as told through scripture and song. We were struggling to get people involved at first, but things are picking up and we couldn't be happier! We are excited for this opportunity to have the ward involved and to invite members and non members alike to feel the Spirit and to learn of the Savior.
Each day I am learning more and more about the gospel and what The Lord wants for me. One of my FAVORITE scriptures is "for whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." I can't say that I have completely lost myself in this work, but I feel myself coming closer to that point everyday.
The gospel is great! It brings happiness, peace, comfort and direction in an ever changing world. It is true and I love it! For those members out there, keep living and loving it! For the non members, check it out at lds.org or mormon.org.
Peace be your journey,
Sister A

"Count Your Blessings More Than You Count Your Challenges" Larry R Lawrence


10/11/15
Hello everyone!
This week has been crazy . . . crazy awesome!
Sister Salts is still amazing and I'm learning SO much from her everyday. We got to watch General Conference this weekend and the Women's Session, too.
Our investigator, Jack was able to come to THREE sessions of conference AND took notes! We are so happy with all of the progress he is making.I absolutely LOVED conference! I had a few questions on my mind and conference was able to answer them all and more. I received answers to questions that I didn't even know that I had. Oh how blessed we all are to have living prophets, apostles and general authorities of the church. I think of the scripture in Hebrews that talks about how our leaders "Watch for our souls." I feel so blessed to have so many people watching for my individual soul.

I know that God has called a living prophet on the earth to guide us today. I know that He has also called very single leader in the church; either a member of the seventy or a beehive president. I know that His hand is everything and that He is looking out for us.
Thank you all for the prayers, encouragement and support.
Peace be your journey,
Sister A

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lord Of All, To Thee We Raise This Our Hymn Of Grateful Praise

Hello everyone!
Yesterday was transfers and I have good news- I'm staying in Green Valley with Sister Salts!! Although, we moved out of the flat(apartment) that we were in and are now in a different flat by ourselves. It's a pretty nice one and slightly closer to those that we visit and teach.
Just some random thoughts I wanted to share:
- McDonald's here is the equivalent to a Starbucks in New York City. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. But they are REALLY nice! They have something called "Create Your Taste" where you basically create your own burger. Everyone, it is SO good I don't think I will ever go back. Haha They NEED these in the states! Attached below is what my meal looked like.
- right now it's spring and about 30/35 degrees Celsius. That's about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. And it feels more humid than West Virginia. This is spring in Australia. Not summer. Spring.
- On Thursday I will have been serving as a missionary for 6 MONTHS! I cannot believe that I will be a third done with my mission. Seriously, time FLIES when you're sharing the gospel!
- General Conference will air here this weekend and I am SO EXCITED! Of course we are inviting ALL of the investigators and less actives that we have been working with to watch it. It is going to be AMAZING!
And in other news, our investigator, Jack came to all three hours of church, a YSA fireside and has now made friends with our Stake President!! They are going to ride their bikes together sometime this week. Sister Salts and I are OVER THE MOON about the progress Jack is making.
Although I haven't seen it yet, here is a great quote I received from conference by Larry Lawrence "To him our direction is more important than our speed."
How reassuring and wonderful to know that the Lord is seeing our efforts, however small they may be. I know that it does not matter how fast or slow we are moving. As long as we are moving forward to Him.

Thank you all for your prayers, love, encouragement and support.
Peace be your journey,
Sister A

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Elder, You Probably Shouldn't Sleep In Your Suit

Hello everyone!
It's been yet another long, trying, wonderful and exhausting week down under!
Although many days were difficult, we saw many miracles as well.
Our investigator, Jack is doing really well. He keeps reading the Book of Mormon and is praying. We are extremely proud of him. We also got a call this morning from an investigator that we had not ben able to get a hold of. She called us and told us that she hasn't forgotten about us and that she wants to meet us tomorrow! Honestly, it's the little blessings and miracles of everyday that make all of this worth it.
I am constantly striving to remember that "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. . . therefore, HOLD ON . . . God shall be with you forever and ever." Doctrine and Covenants 122: 8-9
I know that the atonement has power to bless our lives every single day. I know that we can continually call upon the atonement to give us the strength and patience that we need to persevere. I know that The Lord keeps His promises to us. I know that there are people that are prepared to hear the gospel. I know that those people will receive it. I know that if we can "hold on" those miracles are truly just around the corner.
Thank you all for your love, prayers, encouragement and support!
Peace be your journey!
Sister A

God Our Strength Will Be; Press Forward Ever, Called To Serve Our King

(From 9/20/15)
Hello everyone!
It's been another long but good week!
Sister Salts and I are working hard and are still teaching some wonderful people.
One thing that I realized that I had failed to mention to you all is how incredibly international Sydney is! I mean people here are from ALL over. Vietnam, Cambodia, Serbia, Holland, Iraq, New Zealand, Syria, Samoa, Thailand, Africa, Russia - EVERYWHERE! It is so amazing to me. Sister Salts and I have to carry around more pamphlets in other languages than in English! It is always way more likely that we will run into someone who's first language is NOT English. And I am LOVING it! Meeting people from so many different places and cultures is such a great learning experience for me. And I still know that we are all brothers and sisters who were created in the similitude of our Heavenly Father.
Sister Salts is THE BEST! WE get along SO well and are working really well together. She loves music, plays piano like a boss and I think I might have already said she's from Hawaii. She was going to BYU-H and wants to be a teacher. She visa waited in SLC for a transfer before getting here. Is one of seven. Her dad is actually from Tennessee! and her mom is from Micronesia. wherever in the world that is. Seriously, SHE IS THE BEST.


We taught a less active of about 10 years on Saturday and she came to church yesterday!! The Lord really does prepare people to receive this gospel ALL.THE.TIME.
I just want to bear testimony that you NEVER know who the Lord prepares for you. You HAVE to talk with everyone you see. This gospel is true and blesses lives and families! Why not allow everyone the opportunity to find that truth and receive those blessings?!
I love this gospel SO much and am so grateful that I have the opportunity to share it with others.
Thank you ALL for your constant love, support and prayers!
Sister A

Monday, September 14, 2015

(From 8/11/15)
Hello everyone!!
It's been a crazy week but things are great!
Each day we go from feeling great to feeling tired to feeling anxious to feeling exhausted to feeling great again! WOW. So Sister Morgan and Sister Chaipinit taught a girl just before I came and she got baptized on Sunday!! It was a beautiufl baptism and all four of us sang, "Come Follow Me."
Our investigator, Daniel came to church on Sunday AND he brought his friend, Matthew!!! We also have an investigator, Diana who is unbelievable! We have had one lesson with her and she already wants to be baptized! The blessings are just flowing from heaven right now! We have also spent a TON of time trying to find more peopel to teach. We've spent lots of time outside of the library and at train station trying to spread the word but even when we get lots of potentials, ultimately none of them are interested. Honestly, finding is HARD! I'm really not very comfortable with it and although my attitude is a little bit better about it each time, I still end up tired and extremely frustrated. Sister Morgan always seems so optimistic about it all and makes it look SO easy. I don't know HOW she does it! Anyway, I'm praying really hard for assurance and guidance as we try harder each day to find those that The Lord has prepared for us.
The temple was AMAZING of course. I decided to go in with a very specific question with faith that the Lord would answer that question- and He did. I have such a testimony of the temple. It truly is The Lord's house and I am so honored to have been able to spend time there to feel closer to Him and learn more of His plan for me.
Thank you ALL for your continual love and prayers!
Sister A
P.S. I PROMISE that pictures are coming soon!
P.P.S. Also, I did not get to go to Time Out For Women. We had some appointments that day. BUT something kind of amazing happened! A bunch of other sisters got to go and afterwards, some sisters called us and they said, "Your sister says hi." I had NO idea what they meant because I knew there was no way any of my sisters were in Australia at Time Out For Women. They said "well she said something sister something says hi. she looked like she worked there." FINALLY, I realized it had to have been David Archuleta's manager!!! Ali must have told her that I was here and to say Hi to me!! So that was exciting!

(From 8/16/15)
Hello everyone!
It has been a good and productive week. Sister Morgan and I are still working really well together and have several great investigators and less-actives that we are working with. One investigator, Eddie now has a baptismal date! He is 14 and SUCH a great kid. We are still teaching Daniel and his friend, Matthew now would like the lessons! Matthew sat in on the last one and is interested in learning more. I have really gained a testimony that The Lord is preparing His children to hear the gospel. So many of these people are SO ready for the gospel and it is making me SO HAPPY!
As companions, Sister Morgan and I have been reading "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary." EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS TALK. Even if you're nt a missionary yet! WHAT A TALK! Initially, I finished reading the talk thinking, "Boy, I have SO much to work on!" But after further reading and studying my thoughts have changed to "Boy, I get to improve myself!" I am grateful that The Lord allows us the opportunites in this life to learn and grow and reach our full and divine potential. Life is hard but the gospel makes it just that much easier. I know that. I am grateful to know that this gospel helps us in that improvement. It gives us the tools we need to reach that potential.
Thank you all for your continuing love, prayers and support!
Sister A
Zone (Missionaries in the area) Picture

(From 8/30/15)
Hello everyone!
It has been an extremely eventful week this week filled with excitement, tears and tender mercies!
BIG NEWS- I have been emergency transferred to a new area with a new companion! I am in an area called Green Valley and my new companion is Sister Salts. She is 22 and from Hawaii. She is SUPER sweet and an awesome missionary. We are getting along well and the area is good. We also split the ward with a set of Elders. I will miss my Liverpool 1st Ward but I am happy to be here!
And MORE NEWS- I got here Wednesday night and was told that I would be driving! Super nervous but calm, I cautiously drove all day Thursday. Unfortunately, Thursday night we had an accident. WE ARE OKAY. I was at a stop light with my right signal on to turn. The light turned green, I didn't see anything coming and I began to turn. We were hit on the front left corner. The impact turned us around and we hit a pole head on. The driver of the other car was an older man. Maybe 70. When I saw the other driver I for sure thought, "Oh no, I've caused a heart attack and this man is going to go right here, right now." I was in shock and petrified. It was also freezing outside. Apparently, his seatbelt caused him to have difficulty breathing but HE IS OKAY. Again, WE ARE OKAY. Some bruises but it's not too bad. I think I hit my chest on the steering wheel. It's been SUPER sore but other than that I'm feeling fine. The good news is we gave the cops who interviewed us copies of the Book of Mormon! Take advantage of every opportunity, right?!
We did have an investigator, Jack come to church yesterday! We honestly were not sure if he would show! It was extremely exciting for us to see.
Honestly, everything else is great and Australia is getting prettier everyday! We are slowly but surely moving into spring and summer, so warmer weather is just around the corner for us! They've been talking about how people here celebrate Christmas by going to the beach!
I am so grateful to be here as the Lord's instrument. I know that missionary work is about bringing others, and ourselves, closer to Christ. I know that He loves us individually and that He is in charge. I know that His will is far more important than ours. While He loves us and wants good things for us, He knows best. Let's all trust in Him in all that we do. I know that as we place that trust in Him, all will be well.
I love you and miss you all and continually thank you for your prayers, love and support!
Sister A

(From 9/6/15)
Hello Everyone!
This week was . . SOMETHING!
I've been doing fine. My chest is still really bruised. Turning from side to side hurts a TON but everything else is fine. Sister Salts had a huge bruise on her chest from the seatbelt but it's all healed up now. She and I are getting along super well! This week was hard though. We had a bunch of appointments set up but so many cancelled. Sister Salts and I were really down about it, BUT the miracle is always right around the corner. We finally got the chance to meet with a potential investigator, Julius, last night. He is from Sierra Leone, Africa. Sister Salts felt inspired to start the lesson by singing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." It made SUCH a difference in the lesson! The Spirit was so strong and really testified to me of the power and importance of music and The Spirit in a lesson.
Even though days are difficult, I do know that the miracles of the Lord truly are right around the corner. We just have to make it to that corner! Days are long and tiring but if we truly give our all to the Lord, I know that we will be blessed.
I am grateful to be a missionary at this place and at this time. I am grateful to be in the Green Valley ward and I am grateful to have Sister Salts as my companion.
Thank you all for your continued support, love, prayers and encouragement!
Sister A

(From 9/13/15)
Hello everyone!
So much happened this week, it's not even funny.
Two men on the street asked us out, told us they thought our prophet was a fake and that the Free Mason's were the ones who crashed the planes into the Twin Towers. YEP.
A man in the store asked me if I had a boyfriend. When I said no he responded, in his Serbian accent with, "No boyfriend, no life!"
We had Zone Conference which was great! I was actually asked to sing, which went well and managed to snag a recording. I'll see if I can get it to send. it may be too big. It was a wonderful conference. We learned how to become better teachers and how to better teach by the Spirit. We also learned to become a baptizing mission. Baptism truly is the goal for Heavenly Father's children. Baptism is that beautiful covenant that we all have an opportunity to make with Him
and I am so blessed that I have the opportunity to let people know that as a missionary.
Our investigator, Jack came to Saturday's session of Stake Conference!!!! We'll see him tonightand get a better idea of what he thought about it, but he said he really liked "the vibe."
We also have a couple on date! We met an Iraqi man, Ayad at the bus stop last week and gave him a restoration pamphlet. After calling, we set up an appointment with his family. His wife is Mary and they have three beautiful children. Before going into the lesson, we wanted to put them on date for baptism, but were unsure of what date specifically. After praying, we both felt thatOctober 24th was the day. After extending the invitation, they accepted! We are very excited to work with this family and prepare them to make these sacred covenants with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
We also had Stake Conference on Saturday and Sunday. It was amazing! The theme was missionary work. Two members talked about missionary work. An RM talked about his mission. A mother of 3 current missionaries (bless her whole soul!) gave a beautiful talk on making her home a "mini MTC" and how to raise your children to become missionaries. A recent convert of a few months spoke. President and Sister Back spoke and Elder Cummings of the Area Seventy gave a fantastic talk. He talked about three parables. The parable of the lost sheep, the parable of the woman who losses her silver coin and the prodigal son. He talked about how in all three parables something was lost for whatever reason but the important thing was that they were all found. When he talked about the lost sheep parable, I couldn't help myself from remembering something that I was told before I left. "Missionaries find the lost sheep."
I know that that is true. I know that Heavenly Father wants His children to return to Him. I know that He loves His children. And I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to tell His children, my brothers and sisters, that they have a Savior in Jesus Christ. That they have that opportunity to return to His presence.
Thank you all for your love, prayers and encouragement!
LOVE AND MISS YOU ALL HEAPS! (that's the Australian way of saying "love you lots" or "love you tons")
Sister A

Thursday, August 6, 2015

(Email from 7/26/15)
Hi everyone!
It has been another wonderfully crazy week!
Some details I failed to mention last week:
- words Australians use that we don't
heaps (a lot)
mate (friend, buddy)
petrol (gas)
yous (you all, y'all, you guys)
- My area is called Liverpool
- My companion and I share an apartment with two other sisters that we are splitting the ward with. Sister Jacobsen is San Diego and Sister Chaipinit is from Thailand. They are wonderful!


We had a goal to teach a total of twenty lessons and last night we were one lesson away from that goal. We thought and prayed to know who The Lord needed us to teach and visit and decided on a less active woman who had not been able to meet with us recently. She was home and invited us in! We were able to teach her and her sister about the importance of prayer and its role in our lives. There was a very strong spirit there and I believe we all learned something. We invited her to say the closing prayer. Although initially reluctant, this less active woman offered the most genuine and humble prayer I have ever heard. She began to cry as she felt the spirit. Earlier in the week, I had read a scripture in my personal studies and had been sharing it with those we were teaching. That scripture repeated itself in my mind during that prayer. "The Lord will remember the prayers of the righteous." (Mormon 5:21)
Everyone, I am SO grateful for this gospel in my life. I am grateful for the guidance and peace that it gives me and I am grateful for this opportunity to share this gospel with others.
I love and miss every single one of you and thank you for your love, prayters, encouragement and support!
Sister A

(Email from 8/3/15)
Hello everyone!
It has been another wonderful week.
- Sister Morgan and I, without realizing it, were able to teach a ton of lessons this week! I love her so much and am so very grateful to have her as my companion at this time. We are getting along great and teaching together really well.
- We have one progressing investigator, Alisha. She's 15 and reading the Book of Mormon. She is already up to Enos!! We are super excited for her!! Daniel is another investigator who we have high hopes for. He hasn't made it to church yet, but he has invited his friend to come to his next lesson!!
Oh also, we will get to go tot the temple next week! Apparently, only certain zone's ever get to go and we are one of them! We'll be there TUESDAY August 11th and THAT WILL BE OUR P DAY. So you won't hear from me until then!
- We had interviews with President and Sister Back last week. They are GREAT. Sister Back actually reminds of me of you! She is really loving and easy to talk to. President Back is awesome. You can really feel the genuine love that he has for you from the second you meet him.
I personally have had so many learning opportunities this week that if I mentioned all of them this would be a VERY long email!
Big thing that I learned this week- I have a testimony of personal study and receiving personal revelation through that study. I have been able to not just gain a deeper knowledge of the doctrine but I have also had many opportunities to share what I have learned in lessons with others and help those people. I know that The Spirit truly is THE teacher and that our personal study time is not just for us but for those that we meet and teach.
I am already learning so much and cannot wait to see what the rest of my mission will teach me. Although I have questioned if I should be here more than once, I can say now that I am glad to be here learning the things that I am learning. I know that I am getting stonger and stronger everyday and that The Lord is preparing me to find those people who are ready to recieve the gospel here at this time.
I am glad to be here and glad to be serving as a missionary.
Thank you all SO much for your love, prayers and encouragement.
Sister A

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hi Everyone!
-Hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July! Our apartment actually faces the opposite direction of the fireworks at Disneyland and for safety reasons we needed to be in our apartments by 8 pm. So really we didn't get to do much of anything except sing "The Star Spangled Banner" in our apartment over and over again.
- So the big news- I GOT MY VISA!!!!! I will head down under on July 13th, the end of the transfer. Of course, I have mixed feelings about going. I am extremely excited to be there but I am extremely sad to be leaving! I've been taking pictures (soon to come) with practically everyone.
- Also, my knee is SO much better! I'm still wearing my stabilizer but it feels and looks much better. The couple days of rest really helped. And I'm convinced that it's healed up so quickly because of al of your prayers. Thank you!!!
- Today our zone got to do a session in the Newport temple! Of course, it was amazing.
- The last two weeks have been wonderful! Our recent convert, Christina is doing really well and we're still teaching our awesome investigators and less actives! On Sunday, we had our fast and testimony meeting. There was an incredible spirit there as many beautiful testimonies were given. A woman who was visiting the ward bore her testimony in Russian, I think. Although none of us knew what this woman was saying, the spirit was felt by many and even moved some, including myself, to tears. That reminded me of the power of the spirit. I've been learning more and more about the importance and power of testifying to others, by word and deed. I encourage everyone everywhere to continue to do so. Continue to be an example to those around you.
Thank you all for your love, encouragement, prayers and support!
I love and miss you all!
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister A

Thursday, July 2, 2015

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all of the pops out there!
Wonderful week and weekend.
- I've been recovering well and will meet with a doctor on Wednesday to make sure all will be well!
- I was pretty much on bed rest for a couple of days last week BUT we're getting right back on track and teaching some great people. We even invited another investigator to get baptized and he said yes!!! We are back in action and loving it!
And of course the big news- Christina was baptized Saturday and confirmed yesterday! It was a great experience and really gave me a chance to think about the importance of the gospel in my life and in the lives of my family and friends. Also, a less active that we have been teaching received the priesthood yesterday. Seriously, an awesome weekend! The gospel is so important to me. The knowledge of Jesus Christ and His atonement gives me such hope. I know that I can rely on Him and trust in Him. I know that He loves me individually and unconditionally. I also know that loves and knows each of us this way. I know that the atonement is not just a one time event. I know that the atonement has the power to bless our lives every single day.
Thank you all for your continued love, support, prayers and encouragement!
Sister A

 Hello my friends! It has been an extremely wonderful and eventful week.
- As we were leaving a neighborhood to continue visiting people we came upon some ducks in the middle of the road. Unfortunately, there weren't crossing the road. They were walking right in front of us. So Sister Fernandez decided to clear the way for us. 
- I found a cotton tree. 

- At the transfer, we got a different car with a bike rack on it. It previously belonged to the zone leaders. Here's Sister Fernandez trying to figure out how to put a member's bike on the bike rack.


- Sister Fernandez and I celebrated her year mark by getting ourselves some hot chocolate.

A member happened to have this book!! Of course, I HAD to take a picture with it. And Sister Fernandez photo bombing like a boss. #americanized 


-Unfortunately, my knee hasn't quite healed up yet, but it's not slowing us down too much. 



We're teaching some great investigators and we have a baptism coming up! Our wonderful investigator, Kristina is getting baptized Saturday and we are just over the moon about it! We are hoping that her family will soon follow her incredible example. We're teaching two others that are really progressing and several others that look very promising. 
- Something that I've been doing lately is choosing a scripture to memorize and then apply throughout my week. It has made a HUGE difference in my work as a missionary and a person. For example, this week I decided to memorize and apply doctrine and covenants 35:8. "For I am God and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name." I decided to pray for those miracles, signs and wonders and really look out for them each day. And I found them! Some were big and others were small but they were there. I would like to invite each of you to try it. I can promise you that by doing so you can learn more about yourself, others and the Savior. By studying even one scripture and applying the principles into your daily life, you can feel the presence of Christ and the Holy Ghost more in your life. I love the gospel, I love my Savior and I love this work. Let's all continue to do our best in moving it forward!
I love and miss you all and thank you for all of your continuous love, encouragement, prayers and support.
Sister A

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hello everyone! I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the start of summer! Things here have been great! Well, mostly. Haha
I'm sorry this one is a little shorter than normal, but I promise I'm doing great, loving the work and am really happy!
- Sister Fernandez caught a cold and I sprained my knee. We'll be fine but it made this week . . . interesting. Haha
-I sang "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" last night at seminary graduation with an elder on piano and an elder on violin. Went really well!
- We're teaching tons of people now that we cover the entire area of the ward. So we now have six, count em, SIX investigators with a baptismal date of June 20th!! We've got John and Kristina, a married couple, Vanessa, a young mom of three, Mario, a new investigator and Francisco and Alexis, two young men that the elders had been teaching. We are SO incredibly happy! If you'd like, we would appreciate any good vibes and prayers you could send our way to help strengthen these amazing people as they move forward.
- So one of our investigators, Kristina had set a baptismal date for June 20th but we were all a little unsure if she would take that step forward. Two days ago we found out- SHE WILL!! We went over the baptismal interview questions with her just to make sure that she understood everything and boy, does she have an understanding of this gospel! She bore testimony to us that she knows the gospel will bless her life. She said, "I would wake up in the morning and I could feel that something was missing. It was this. This is what will make me whole." I also know that this gospel can and will make us whole. I know that this gospel is true. I know that it can bless our lives. It can strengthen us as individuals and as families. I know that we have a Savior. I know that He lives and that He loves us.
Thank you all so much for your prayers, encouragement, love and support to me and to my family.
Sister A

Thursday, June 4, 2015

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, CALLI!
And ONE TRANSFER DOWN.
It has been quite a roller coaster ride but it has been great. My trainer and I are staying the our same ward but the elders are being transferred. So Sister Fernandez and I will cover both areas in our ward and will be the only missionaries here. It sounds a little daunting right now but we are excited!

- "You're Talkin' Jibberish!"
A crowning moment of my life- eating at the diner, Watson's, where "That Thing You Do" was filmed!!!
Not sure which scenes were filmed there but it was really fun being there. My other Sister Training Leader, Sister Fulton, took me there for dinner on a short exchange.
"Those guys don't know squat about service!"

- had some lemonade after a baptism that reminded me A LOT of my Dad's lemonade. Those of you who have had Dad's lemonade know exactly what I'm talking about!

- So my companion and I went to visit a woman my companion had taught just before I came in. We rang the doorbell and knocked twice but no one was answering. For some reason I thought that somebody was there but we turned around and started to leave. Just as we did, we hear the door open. In the doorway, we see this young man in a wheelchair. We talk with him for a little bit and find out that the woman we were wanting to see was his mother. As we kept talking I felt a very distinct prompting to ask him how he ended up in a wheelchair. I thought, "No way! I don't need to know that. It's something personal and he might feel too uncomfortable talking about it with a total stranger." But I made a promise to myself recently to not ignore spiritual promptings, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient. So I asked, "do you mind if I ask you what happened?" This twenty year old told us how a year and a half ago he was being robbed and got shot in the spine paralyzingly him from the waist down. I felt so much empathy for him. My companion shared a video with him entitled, "Mountains to Climb." The video, which I recommend highly to everyone, explains that even in the most difficult times, we can rely on our Savior Jesus Christ.
After the video I asked "How do you feel right now?" "I can't really explain it. I think I feel good." We were able to share with him the unique message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Before we had a chance to ask he said, "When can you come back?"
This gospel is true. The Lord knows us and loves us. That does not mean that trials and difficulties don't exist. It means that we can rely on the mercy and grace of Christ in those trials and difficulties.
Thank you ALL for your love, encouragement and support.
Sister A
Micah would kill me for posting this. But I love it.
Not only is it one of my favorite Micah faces, I think it shows an aspect of being a missionary that is often overlooked:
it's so hard and stressful! But it's the best. Plus Micah has her animal crackers in this one. Heavens.


HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BENSON!
- got an email letting me know that they are still working on my visa and that if I'm in Anaheim 9 months without it then I will finish my mission here. So we will see! But two other sisters going to my mission just got their visa's after two transfers, so there's still a chance I'll have it within the next six weeks!
- I've been asked to sing "Oh How Lovely Was The Morning" for a stake musical fireside next Sunday the 31st. I'll sing with an Elder on piano and another Elder on the cello. So excited!
- I'm also speaking next Sunday in the ward I'm serving in about the Holy Ghost.
- my companion and I drew this board for an investigator so that he could better understand the doctrine of Christ. As we were taking it back to our apartment I asked my companion, "what if I just stood on the street corner with this sign like some of those people who hold advertisements and danced around?!"

We had been inviting two of our investigators, a married couple, to church for a few weeks. While they had both been maybe two or three times within the last several months, only she had been able to come lately. But yesterday, THEY BOTH CAME! And what a wonderful day it was for them to come! The talks given were about covenants and temples. It was such a great meeting with an awesome spirit. Afterward, we asked them how they felt about the meeting. Kristina, our investigator said that John, her husband, wants to go to the temple and she wants them to be sealed! They are still investigating but it was SO nice to hear her say that. She even said, "we both want to keep moving forward." I nearly cried happy tears! I just want to say that no matter what happens after today on my mission, I will remember what Kristina said and the feelings I had from the Spirit and it will make it all worth it. That is exactly why I am here; so that others can have the opportunity to experience the wonderful blessings of this gospel. I am so glad that they know and understand the importance of the temple and making covenants with Heavenly Father. I love this gospel and the light and blessings it brings to so many people, including myself and my family.
Love and miss you all!
Sister A

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hello my wonderful friends and family! 
It has been yet another great week and I'm SO excited to tell you about it! 
- I got to participate in a little jam session with a few people from the ward and their musician friends. (Great missionary opportunity). They were sweet enough to include a familiar tune in the set list just for me! Not gonna lie, I got a little choked up while singing this one. Enjoy!! 
video

- We had Zone Conference this last week which was great! I learned so much and have enjoyed applying those things into each day. One thing that we talked a lot about was faith. They emphasized it so much that I left the meeting thinking "I'm going to have more faith! I'm going to exercise more faith!" The next day my companion and I were visiting people and came to a cute little blue house. As we pulled up she said, "Oh we've tried to visit here several times but no one ever answers the door." Remembering that I was going to try to have more faith, I said "Well maybe this time will be different." We knocked on the door and not only were they home but they invited us in! This was an investigator couple that had met the missionaries only once before when they visited St George, Utah and visited the temple grounds about two or three years ago. It's also fairly uncommon for anyone to let us in, seeing as most just talk to us on the doorstep. We ended up having THE BEST conversation about temples and families. We got to share the Proclamation to the Family with them and discuss how families can be together not just for time but for eternity. It was one of the best and most spiritual experiences I have had on my mission so far. Once we left and throughout the day, I thought about my experience receiving my endowment with my family and then being able to see my mother get sealed for time and eternity to her parents all in the same day. I just want to tell you that I know that families really can be together for eternity. I know that this gospel is true and that with this gospel we can be better and happier as individuals and as families. I can also tell you that having faith AND exercising that faith is what can bring about true miracles in our lives. 
Love and miss you all! Sister A

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hello my friends!
First off- HAPPY BELATED MOTHER'S DAY to all of the mothers out there!
Second- I got to skype with the fam yesterday which was AWESOME! Loved seeing everyone.

Here are more random thoughts!

- I thought I lost our apartment keys but found them- in my purse. There was a hole in the pocket!

- Some fellow missionaries took me to Joe's Ice, an Italian ice place owned by a member. Missionaries eat free! Really good!!

- Went to visit some less actives and their cats loved us so much they followed us.

- And found Belmont Avenue. Go Bruins!

- We're still teaching some great investigators and they are really progressing!

- I told my trainer/companion that I would like to get better at door-to-door contacting. So we decided that some classic tracting would do the trick. We chose a street and knocked on each door. Although many were not home or weren't interested, I must say that the experience influenced me greatly. I was reminded yet again that this is work has nothing to do with me. Of all of those doors we knocked on, only one person seemed interested. But that doesn't mean that the Lord isn't preparing his children to hear the gospel. For all I know, more people could have learned something about the gospel that they didn't know before just by simply reading my name tag and seeing the name of the Church. I'm so glad that I am where The Lord wants me to be right now. Because even if I don't know it, others will come and are coming closer to Christ. I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us, His children. And I know that He wants us all to know of the joy that this gospel can bring to our lives.

I love and miss you all!!!

Sister A


Skyping on Mother's Day

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Hello my friends! I'm sorry but this email will be in bullet points. I've been jotting down my random thoughts as they come throughout the week.

-My area is called the Anaheim North area. It's a fun family ward. 

- Forgot to tell everyone that when I was in the Salt Lake City airport I saw Mitt Romney! He was just walking to his gate all by himself. Would have said hi but he looked like he was in a hurry.

- had exchanges (you switch companions with another set of sister missionaries for the day) yesterday with our sister training leaders. I went with Sister Kaitu. She's from an island near Fiji and wants to be a police officer. Yeah. She's kind of awesome. We had a bunch of service opportunities yesterday. We got to help clean the ward building and then do yard work for a nonmember. So fun! 

- we went to visit some less active girls late in the afternoon but when we got there they said that they were just leaving. So after we talked with them, Sister Kaitu said I had to see the next street over. When we got there, each tree along the street (a lot of trees) had been made into a fairy house! Pics below. SO cute I HAD to take pictures for mom! 

- teaching some awesome people. A couple, John and Kristina are committed to baptism at the end of this month! They've been investigating the church for almost a year! Let's pray that they continue to prepare themselves for that beautiful day. We're also teaching Juan who is golden!! He's diving right into the Book of Mormon and loves it! We've been visiting the Ramirez family, too. Their 14 year old son was diagnosed with cancer and is going through chemo right now. We went over and read some of the Book of Mormon with him which was great. He asked some great questions and really liked the stories we read. Wonderful kid. Wonderful family. 

- visited an older woman with Alzheimer's this past week. Turns out she likes music so we got to sing some songs for her which she loved. At first, it was hard for me to keep from getting too emotional. I kept thinking " this is hard. I can't keep singing. I'm gonna sound awful. I need to stop." Then the thought came,"this isn't about you." What a great reminder that it is always about others. Especially in missionary work. When we focus outward and help others we forget about ourselves. President Hinckley was told as a young missionary "forget yourself and go to work." Sometimes we think "but how can I help others when I can't help myself?" I learned in the MTC that when we help others, The Lord helps us. He will take care of us if we can take care for those around us. I hope we can all try our best to remember this! 

I love you all!
Sister A

P.S. When we asked Micah if she needed anything she just said, "SEND CHOCOLATE"

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hello my wonderful family and friends!

As you may have heard, I am in Anaheim, California! I've been temporarily reassigned here while I wait for my visa. To be honest- I am LOVING it!! The people here are great (missionaries, members and others) and it is a cool city. And yes, Disneyland is in Anaheim. Although I can't go there.

My companion and trainer is Sister Fernandez. She is Filipino and about 5'3. Seriously, the best, funniest and sassiest thing ever! We're getting along great and both working really hard. I am in a family ward that is amazing. We've had dinner with members every night so far and they are all so much fun. One couple, The Worley's are particularly great. They heard that I sing and went to school in Nashville and asked if I would sing for them. They love old folk music, play guitar and travel to Tennessee for festivals and things. After singing a couple of songs, per their request they said, "we're gonna pray that you don't get your visa!" Haha they have a jam session every month and they and I are hoping I'll still be here for the next one! (Which would be a great missionary opportunity). There are some videos posted below from our dinner last week.

My companion and I were driving to an appointment last Friday when all of a sudden a police officer on a motorcycle pulls up behind us. Naturally, I start freaking out wondering how fast I was going and why he would pull us over. He walks up, asks for my license and then says "are you a new sister missionary?" Turns out, he's in a local ward and just wanted to say hello. SCARIEST moment so far. I actually cried a little.

There are TWO missionaries here from West Virginia! Well, kind of. One missionary is from Franklin, WV which he said is right on the WV/ VA border so he's in a VA stake. And the other went to high school in Morgantown. He knows the Waldrons! Also, there are Waldrons (some relation) in my ward that we had dinner with last night!

Been teaching some great people, too. Taught a friend of a member who is a less active, Scott. Teaching him was GREAT! The Spirit was so strong AND he came to church! We taught him about a lot of things but he really understood scripture study and the priesthood. Seriously, amazing!

One night we were looking for some potential investigators and they either weren't home or they didn't live there anymore. Instead, we got to teach THREE new people and got an appointment with one! One woman initially did not want to talk to us, but after about two minutes opened up entirely and we got to testify of Jesus Christ, his love for us and his Atonement.

I love this gospel and I love all of you who continue to support me and my family.

Until next time!!
Sister A
President and Sister Taggart
Anaheim Mission President & Wife
Sister Fernandez
Companion and Trainer
video
video
Sister Atkinson singing 'Nearer My God to Thee' and 'Down By the Riverside'
with Sister Worley, a local member in her ward. 

Friday, April 17, 2015


GUESS WHO IS TEMPORARILY REASSIGNED?!

They don't have my visa yet so I am temporarily assigned to . . . the California Anaheim Mission while I wait!

I leave Monday morning at 3:35 AM... yuck. I will get a phone card and call you from the airport to let you know where and how I am. I'm super excited!!

Love you and thank you for all of the love and support!
Sister Atkinson 

p.s. be sure to spread the word!


Hi Everyone!

I am actually LOVING the MTC (Missionary Training Center)! I've really enjoyed classes and my teachers are really good. The Spirit at the MTC is so strong and I have absolutely loved my time here so far. It is certainly different but I already feel closer to Christ having been here only a few days and learned so much. I know that coming here was not a mistake. I know that I am meant to share the gospel with these people at this time. 

My companions and I are getting along really well. I'm in a trio! Sister MacMillan is from South Africa so she's got a really awesome accent! She's brilliant and an amazing example to me. And Sister Serdar is from Sandy, Utah. She's got such a sweet spirit and such a passion for sharing the gospel. We've been able to teach a few investigators already which was initially daunting but we're now getting a lot more comfortable with it. My district is great, too! The elders are all going to Detroit. 

The food is actually really good! We actually had all three meals on Sunday, so no starving in district 66 A! We had a really cool music fireside from the BYU Men's Chorus, which was amazing! They sang a bunch of songs having to do with deliverance. They even sang songs from "The Prince of Egypt." Seriously, AMAZING! 

The schedule is pretty standard i guess. Tuesday is my p-day (day to do laundry, email home, etc.). 

We're already teaching three investigators, so thats cool. (Investigators are what we call people who are interested in learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and are taking lessons from the missionaries). Every time i think of the word investigator or write it, I think of the alligator in a vest! haha (When Ali was on her mission, Mom sent her a stuffed animal alligator in a vest with the quote, "What do you call an alligator in a vest? An investigator!")

We went on a walk around the temple which was nice and we get to do a session at the temple this afternoon! CAN. NOT. WAIT. 

I'm so glad Ethel was at church and doing well!
I'm sorry to hear about Nancy. Please tell her that I will be praying for her!
Yay for Hong Kong!! Jefferson will do great! 

Thank you for all of your love, prayers and support. Thank you for teaching me to live and love the gospel as you do.
Love,
Sister Atkinson
Sister Atkinson with her two MTC companions!
(Sister Serdar and Sister MacMillan)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tomorrow I will enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to prepare to serve in the Australia Sydney South Mission. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I still can't believe it. Now might be a good time to come to that realization, huh?

I received my mission call back in November so I have had plenty of time to prepare. But I must say, I am still SO nervous! This is unlike anything I have ever done and will ever do. And in reality, I'm as prepared as I will ever be. But I am the kind of person that loves to plan and know exactly what I am getting into. So this unknown journey that I am going to take is about to rock my world! I know that what I am about to do is not a mistake. I know that this is a good thing that will strengthen me and bring me closer to Christ. I just hope that my nerves will take a chill pill and let me really soak it all in and learn all that I can to bring others closer to their Savior. I want to thank EVERY SINGLE SOUL that has loved and supported me in this endeavor. You have each truly made a difference in my life and the lives of my family members. While I am nervous, I am excited to get this show on the road! So stay tuned for the next one, folks!!