The Final Entry!

It is 6:30 PM in Utah, and it is 8:30 PM in Pennsylvania. I am in my house; my mom and stepdad are behind me on the floor, doing career-related things. I am overwhelmed with love for you all, and I am overwhelmed in general. 
An hour and a half ago, I was released as a missionary. My stake president, President Carter, said the words... and I bawled like I sometimes do! It was one of those rare occasions when I lost my breath and I couldn't make eye contact with a single soul because I was feeling so many things inside. 
President Carter didn't tell me to take off my name tag... So an hour and a half later, I am still wearing my missionary tag. He called me "Sister Wall" and then corrected himself, saying, "You are Ariel now." It sounds "so drama," but my heart was heavy heavy heavy. I kept expecting him to tell me that it was time to remove my tag, but he never did. I think that he left it up to me because he knew this would have to be my decision. I will take off my missionary tag when I go to bed and in the morning, I won't put it back on. from the bottom of my goofy heart, I so so love you all. You have all helped me to grow and to love and to overcome. I am grateful for your testimonies of the Savior. I am grateful for your patience and gentle corrections. Thank you all for inviting me to Come unto Christ. 
This morning, I was praying that I could have one last missionary experience with my missionary tag. On my first flight heading home, I sat in the middle of two men. On the left, by the window, was a convert to the Church. I spoke to him, concluded that he was an active member, gave him missionary advice, and turned to my right. For the next hour and a half, I spoke with a non-member. Let me remind you of the Lord's precise awareness of each of us. He knows me. He knows what I need. This man opened up his life to me. Just like Preach My Gospel says, each thing he said outlined a principle of the Gospel. I could almost step outside myself and watch the conversation unfolding. I spoke to him about the Book of Mormon, telling him stories related to his experiences. I asked him how he felt he has grown from his past as an alcoholic. What he said inspired me that the Lord is preparing everyone everywhere. Even on a tiny little plane on its way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Lord sat me beside a man whose heart was an open vessel for the Spirit to enter. He told me that he feels like he is open and receptive to light. I shared with him Moroni's testimony that everything which inviteth and enticeth us to be good comes from God. I literally opened up my copy of the Book of Mormon and read scripture after scripture aloud with him. I asked him if I could share my favorite book with him, my copy of the Book of Mormon. He said he would be honored. I wrote a note and my testimony and left my email address. He promised to write me. He told me that he could feel my light and he knew that I was sincere. He promised me that he would read the Book of Mormon. 
I love the gospel. I will forever and always be a missionary because that is where my heart is. There is an overwhelming amount of significance in the missionary tag...but as I rode home in the backseat of my parent's van, crying into my knees, I heard a Sacred voice, whispering to me, "Peace, be still." I am in a difficult place, facing new and difficult things, but I KNOW, my dear sisters, my beloved best friends, that the Lord is with me. He is in your areas, he is with your companions... He is with you. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
As I strive to rely on the peace he gives me, remember that everybody needs some encouragement. I need your friendship. I love you all so much and I pray that you will stay in touch always.

All my love,
Sister Ariel Wall
Bro and Sis Johnson

Sis Summerhays

Matt, Mom, Me and Sis Summerhays!

Sis V

Sis Willis and Elder Simon, the new AP!

Elder Pokrovski

My zone leaders

Departing dinner with Zeinee 

Crying at the airport with mom

Still crying.. with Sis Young
No name tag....

Missionary for Life!

Ariel didn't label her pictures this week, so I don't really know what is what. But she sent 50 photos, and I will do the best I can!!

Good morning! Happy Monday. I have been so so nervous all transfer because time is zooming by, but I am enjoying every second of my mission. My companion is my best friend; we work hard and we have a blast together. I love the Holladay stake. I love these wonderful members. We are finding new investigators. My testimony is continuing to grow every day! I am growing in different ways each day.
I woke up around 4 AM this morning, concerned about home and visiting teaching. This might seem like a really random tangent, but I feel SO strongly about this. I remember at the beginning of my mission, thinking that missionary work would go SO much better if members were involved. We had a ton of people to contact, both non-members and less-actives, and I thought, if only we could have members keeping up with these less-actives... And then another thought... Home and visiting teaching!!... The Lord has established the PERFECT Church. We are imperfect, and I am okay with that! Buuuut, I think that we are living below our potential as member's of Christ's church. 
Last night, we went to a ward party and heard several members say that they don't want to be "pushy"... Two separate individuals were proud to tell us that they were making visits to non-members and less-active members every month without sharing a message... 
This cannot be what Nephi meant when he said that we "talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ" (2 Nephi 25:26). We talk of Christ...unless we are home teaching? We rejoice in Christ...but only when those we are talking to do as well? 
This cannot be what Abinadi had in mind when he came to the people of King Noah in disguise and then declared, "The Lord has commanded me, saying, 'Abinadi, go and prophesy' (Mosiah 12:1). Was he teaching us to preach of Christ, but only when it is convenient?
And what about Alma? When he said that the covenants we make at baptism include standing as a "witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places," did he mean in all places except the homes of those we love and want to come unto Christ (Mosiah 18:9)? 
Missionary work and the Work of Salvation are the SAME THING. We must INVITE others to come unto Christ by HELPING them receive the restored gospel. We have to invite them to act and keep commandments, or else they cannot repent-- they cannot change! If we are under the impression that we cannot share the gospel when under assignment from the Lord, then the devil is tricking us. Surely we are not "ministering" if we are merely visiting!
Tangent about home and visiting teaching over.

Monday: We had dinner with the Robertsons and with an old friend from the MTC, Sister Schneider! She is home from her mission and has a boyfriend living in my area! It was nice to get back together with her. 
We had a lesson with our friend in the carecenter, teaching her the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
and then we had a lesson with the sisters, where we challenged them to go to Sacrament, pray every day, and read the Book of Mormon, and promised them we could go to Temple Square on the 11th if they did. 

Tuesday: Sister Willis and I visited this very wonderful member, Sister Gloeckner, who told us all about her process in coming back into activity in the Church. She is so much happier and she is such a great rolemodel. She has the most beautiful home and it was such a lovely visit.
Then, Sister Willis and I got to go to the Jordan River Temple!!! We got to go with the rest of the departing missionaries and their companions. Sister Zeiner was there, as well as 2 other elders and their companions. I LOVE THE TEMPLE! 
That night, we went to the Youngs to correlate with Braden for our mission prep class, and to correlate with the Youngs about the ward. Afterwards, we went out for dessert... I love that family!

Wednesday: We switched drivers! Sister Willis started to learn the area and I started to get really car sick, but that's okay... because she needs to learn in the next week! 
We ate lunch with the Colemeres, our previous Ward Mission Leader and his wife. They are so so sweet! They were reminiscing about when I first came into the area.. Saying that they remember thinking, "Uh oh, we are in trouble.." haha. 
That night, we did Cupcake Wars with the Young Women! Sister Willis and I were the judges, so we had a lot of fun with it. There were a few non-members there, so we got to know them by name and let them meet us and see that we are not scary!! We went to all of the different houses, watching the girls be inventive and cute. In the end, we got to test 3 different kinds of cupcakes. There were some really delicious ones!

Thursday: We had home inspections. Then we had a district training and interviews with President Eberhardt. He just talked about me going home the whole time! Wahh! 
That night, we had dinner with our Stake Relief Society president, a couple from the ward, and a non-member neighbor. The neighbor is SO sweet. I've had the privilege of meeting her before, and she's very very polite and loves to be around members. We taught the first lesson after dinner, and she listened and participated. She still just isn't ready QUITE yet!! She did, however, invite us to eat dinner at her house later this week! So we will see! 
That night, we went to correlation with the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries. Our former-investigator, fully active in the Church, NON-member, came to our meeting with her active member husband!! She was even asking who she should tell about referrals... I cannot wait for her to be baptized, but she won't set a date!! She keeps saying that she wants me to come back for her baptism whenever she decides.. Urg! She was saying, though, that out of all her missionaries, I have helped her progress the most.. I can't wait until she's baptized! 

Friday: I looked at my White Handbook and said, "Oops! I'm expired!" ... I realized that my Ministerial Certificate expired on February 5, and it was February 7! I am still a missionary though! Maybe "best by" February 5, but not expired! 
We had a zone meeting. There was this activity where we had to trace our companions on this giant piece of paper and then write how different parts of the body (i.e. the HEAD, the HEART, the FEET) could relate to missionary work. I am probably the most terrible tracer in the whole world, so the image of Sister Willis turned out spectacular.

Then, we went to LDS Family Services and I waited in the lobby. So many people came in and out. This man and his 14-year-old son talked to me for a little bit. They told me their whole story about his wife dying and their activity in the Church and things. I felt like I was preparing them for their counseling session, a little bit! It was nice to relate everything back to the gospel. It's just such a blessing!
Later, Sister Willis and I visited our Recent Convert, Eva. I just love that lil lady!
That night, we went to an Addiction Recovery with a less-active member. It was very positive and uplifting. I'd never been to a meeting like that, other than the 15-step-program that we did with Eva to stop smoking. But a lot of the people who attended, seemed to have a testimony about the effectiveness of the program. The Atonement is so great!

Saturday: Miracle morning! Sister Willis and I were going to contact a less-active family. When we got out of the car, there was a woman and a young man clearing tree branches off their driveway. We decided to go talk to them. The woman said, "Hi sisters," indicating that she was a member. After a few minutes, the guy walked down the driveway and she said, "My grandson is not a member," (pointing to him), and we asked, "Can we teach him?" She said, "Let's ask him!" So when he came back over, she asked him if we could teach him, and he said yes!! There is this great chapter in Preach My Gospel about "Finding People to Teach." It talks about a time when Joseph Smith was traveling with a group of missionaries on the Missouri River, the Lord told them, "It is not needful for mine elders to be moving swiftly whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief" (D&C 61:3). This was a totally unplanned opportunity and the Lord had prepared his heart! We went back a few hours and taught him the first lesson and it went super well! We are meeting with him again this week! :)
and THEN. We drove by our other investigator's house, who we haven't been able to get a hold of. We opened our eyes from saying a prayer, and they pulled into the driveway!! This happens ALL THE TIME! It is still surprising! But, I remember when I was set apart as a missionary, the (now) MTC President, President Nally, promised me that I would know the very roads to go down, and the very homes to visit. That promise and blessing has DEFINITELY been fulfilled! We went in and had a great lesson with her. I hope we start to see her progress. 
Then, we had a gongshow lesson with our investigator, handing her over to the missionaries in her own area where she lives. There were 3 sets of missionaries!! Sister Willis and I, our senior couple, and the elders we were transitioning her to! 

Sunday: We went to Ward Council and sacrament. We participated in the Primary ward conference of the 10th ward and had a lot of fun talking about "Fishers of Men" and missionary work. Then we taught Mission Prep with Braden. The youth were pretty shy at first, but it was a lot of fun. We ended the class doing roleplays, which Braden likes to call "Role Parties". A few of the youth came up to us afterward and thanked us for the lesson.
Later, Sister Willis and I did a lesson with another one of our new investigators and then went to Temple Square with him and his member girlfriend. It was really great! He is kind of reserved and quiet, though, so we can't figure out what is holding him back from baptism! He believes that it is all true, and yet, will not set a date! Ahh! 

We visited Sister Johns, a member of the Stake Relief Society presidency, and had a wonderful visit! I love her to death. She and her daughter are so amazing. 
We finished off the night with a lesson with a less-active, who is just so in love with the missionaries. She is so sweet and really wants to go to church! She works two jobs, but she said that if she can just go to Sacrament and hear the opening prayer before work, that is better than nothing! 

In conclusion, I am not sure if this will be my last email, but I am just so eternally grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary. I LOVE the Book of Mormon. I LOVE the Savior. I sincerely want to dedicate my life to Him. I Live to keep my Temple covenants. 
Before my mission, I knew how to live by crawling. Now that I have been a missionary, I can run! ...and I would never ever go back to crawling. My testimony is giant; it is infinite. I will always be an advocate for the Lord. I will always be a missionary. 

All my love,
Sister Wall

 Miscellaneous pictures!

 I believe all the rest are from a pancake making activity they went to!

2 weeks left!

I want to start by sharing my favorite part of me -- and that is my testimony. I have a testimony of so many things, but my foundation is Jesus Christ. I love the Savior! He is my brother; He is my very best friend. I know that the Light of His Atonement can reach even the darkest corners. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I testify that the Book of Mormon is an honest and pure record. I love this Book! I have received many, many confirmations from the Holy Ghost, witnessing the divine truthfulness of the words of Christ. I know that Joseph Smith, as a 14-year-old boy, truly saw a pillar of light in the Sacred Grove. He saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ -- this is something that I know! I testify that the Priesthood was restored to the earth as Joseph was called to be a prophet. We are a Church and we are Saints, who are literally led by Jesus Christ through a prophet today. I support and sustain Thomas S. Monson as an imperfect man who speaks for a completely perfect God. I love this gospel. I love my mission. I, like Nephi, "glory in my Jesus" (2 Nephi 33:6). I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His true Church on Earth today.

We started the week with a text from Elder Christiansen, our district leader. He texted Sister Willis and I and asked, "How was your day today?" We said, "...Well, we are best friends, so every day is perfect." 
Here we go.

Monday: Busy day. Running errands. We went to the doctors and while Sister Willis was being seen, so many missionaries came in.. A few of which were my daughters! Sister Villoso and Sister Talbert! I just love my companions. They and their current companions were there, along with a few elders. The sisters all sat on the couch and laughed and I really had a feeling that was a glimpse of Heaven.
That night, we did a Family Home Evening with the Fox family... It was so nice! I kept thinking, and maybe even saying out loud, "You are all just so righteous!" ..We started by singing a Hymn, then we prayed, then they read through a few verses of the Book of Mormon together and discussed what they had read. The kids even asked questions! We then read part of Elder Bednar's talk from the General Conference edition of the Ensign. It was just so lovely. And then, they asked Sister Willis and I to share our experiences being missionaries. It was a great Family Home Evening. Before we were leaving, their teenage boy asked a question about how to share the gospel with his friend and the Spirit was so strong.. I love Youth! And I love member missionaries!
Afterwards, we had a lesson with our sisters. They are keeping their commitments and they were so proud to report! As a reward, we played Plan of Salvation charades at the end of the lesson, and they loved it :)

Tuesday: I realized how often Heavenly Father really does put me in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. We are constantly standing on someone's doorstep when they pull into the driveway!! Sister Willis says that the Lord picks favorites... haha. Well, anyway, we were walking up the driveway of the 1st ward Primary President when she pulled in.. She was so excited. She said, "I can't believe you are here! I was JUST thinking about you, Sister Wall!" (because she hadn't met Sister Willis yet.) She had just arranged for the missionaries in Pennsylvania to visit her former neighbors, and she kept saying, "I just hope that they are as good as you sisters!"
That day, we had a very simple conversation with a woman and her husband who are from Greece.. There is just something about slowing down, feeling the Spirit, and expressing the joys that come from the gospel in the most simple form of language. 
In the evening, we had dinner with the Diederich family, who I loveeee!! Sister Diederich is a ward missionary and she is so so wonderful. We are actually going to her house today to get our nails done! 

:Commercial: We just got a text from a Young Women's president, Sister Aldous, who I LOVEEEE! She said, "Not a day goes by that we don't pray for you -- Have a great day sisters!!" 

Wednesday: We had morning studies with President and Sister Banks. They are in the mission presidency. They took us out to brunch at I-Hop and we got to know them a little bit. 
All day long, it seemed like no one was home! So we didn't have too many exciting things. 
Sister Willis and I went on splits. I went with Sister Diederich and Sister Willis went with Sister Young. Sister Diederich and I went to a lesson with Eva and she was so sweet! She is so sad that I am leaving soon. I really want to help find her friends in the ward so that she can transition! 
That night, Sister Willis and I went to a Youth activity. The youth in the whole stake split up into 3 or 4 groups. The activity was "Iron Chef"... Each of them were given a bag with "secret ingredients" that they had to incorporate into their dishes... It was SO FUN! One of the girls was SO into it! She even asked Sister Powell (whose house we were cooking at,) "Do you have any bourbon?" hahah. Sister Powell is like, No sweetheart, sorry.

Thursday: Pretty uneventful day. Weekly planning. Getting a cold. Reading the Book of Mormon with our recent convert, Mallory and the family. 

Friday: We had our district meeting at the Carlston's house. Afterwards, we had this great activity making pancakes.. but not just regular pancakes.. SHAPED and COLORED pancakes! I wish Sister Willis brought her camera today, because we made pancakes shaped like all kinds of things: the Temple, CTR, I made a fox, someone made a horse, a Christmas tree, etc. We had a lot of fun.
Later that day, we had a wonderful experience with prayer!! Again, Sister Willis says that God chooses favorites, but anyone could have had this experience! We visited this less-active woman who lost her foot a few months ago. As we were talking with her, I asked if there was anything we could do for her. She explained that she had crawled up the stairs that morning, to look for these albums full of antique postcards. She explained that they are very expensive and she was so worried that they'd been lost or stolen. We asked if we could go up and look. She said that she'd already looked everywhere, but that we could try if we wanted to. So we went up and searched. There were books and photo albums all over the floor, but we couldn't find the postcards. Sister Willis suggested that we look in the basement, but I felt like we needed to say a prayer before we kept looking. We prayed and when I opened my eyes, I noticed a small closet with a little curtain hanging over the opening. I pulled back the curtain and found a closet full of clothes. I almost let it be, but decided to turned on the light to investigate a little bit more. I pulled back the clothes, and there on the shelf, were 3 or 4 albums full of her postcards! Instant answer to prayer! The woman was so excited! She then explained she had been praying to "Archangel, Michael, all morning, and he hadn't answered her prayers!" 
That night, we didn't have a dinner appointment, so we asked Sister Allen to feed us and she said Yes! She was so sweet. She is becoming a vegan, so I knew we could ask her last minute and not worry about someone having to go out and buy a whole new meal. Well, she is brilliant. We talked about English and Vegetarianism and the Word of Wisdom and had a wonderful time. 
Then, we stopped by this girl's house, who we've tried to contact before but she is never home. She and her friend were there, and they were SO open to learning about the gospel. They even said that they had been thinking about being baptized! We are going back tonight for the first lesson.
Before we went in for the night, we visited another less-active woman and she said she wanted to do a "Reading" on us.. Sister Willis and I keep laughing and laughing and laughing because the woman went on and on about all of these things she could "sense" about me. And then she turns to Sister Willis and says, "And you.. You're interesting."... hahah. She told her a few other things about her, but it was such a funny contrast.

Saturday: An amazing dayyyy!! We got to go to a baptism for an investigator that I taught in Cottonwood! My Amish friend, Abe, got baptized, finally!!!! There were so many sister missionaries there! We had all played a small part in teaching him, so it was wonderful to come together and see the end result.. And he finally did it! He went under water and was baptized.. What a miracle. 

Ahhh! I am running out of time!!! Many other wonderful things happened but we have to go. Love you!

When members get involved, miracles happen!

Ohhh my goodness! This email will be a complete gongshow. I can already tell! Becauseeee, to start... This has been a crazy, unexpected, miraculous, wonderful week! 
First things first... I have a new companion!! I can't wait until the end of the email to tell you, but I will wait to explain it all... Well, Sister Willis is currently sitting beside me, emailing! So that is the main miracle right now!
So... with the end being the beginning, I will try to align my thoughts to start again.

Monday: Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. day!! Sister Brown and I drank chocolate MLK to celebrate. Also, I bought a fox sweater from the children's section. That night, we met with the sisters & came up with a goal calendar. They set their own goals for reading, attending church, and praying. We promised them a reward at the next lesson and they were super excited! They are still trying to be like Nephi.

Tuesday: Sister Brown and I went on splits. Ahhh, it was wonderful!! I went with the beautiful Sister Young, a ward missionary, and Sister Brown went with Sister Anderson, the Relief Society President. I LOVE when members get involved!! It's the best. So, Sister Brown had wonderful adventures and I had a great time with Sister Young. We went to some set appointments, and then went back to her house and frosted cinnamon rolls and talked. I just love her. 
That night, we went on visits with Sister Root, another Relief Society president.. Seriously, these women are amazing. 

Wednesday: We visited the Berry family, and they were wonderful. They are active members, and they just waved to us when we were walking, so we stopped in to get to know them better. They had all of these Harry Potter movies and books on the shelves, so we became best friends immediately. And then the little boy came out of his room in a Harry Potter cloak and showed us his wand, so I was just infatuated. He has an old soul and just the cutest personality. Ahh!
Also, visited the Walkers... They are possibly my favorite people I have ever met. Sister Walker is possibly an angel... She was so excited when we showed up and said that we needed to be there, because she was planning on asking her non-member friend to go to church with her, and she needed our support!! Well, we found out that that night, she did ask her friend, but not just to go to church, but to meet with the missionaries!! And her friend said yes!! YAYY! Miracles happen when members get involved!

Thursday: We visited this elderly woman in a healthcare center. Her service aid was there and hasn't shown any interest, but she sat in for our song and message. While we were talking to the elderly woman, her assistant was writing in a notebook, basically not paying attention. I felt prompted to ask her if she liked to write in her journal... Well, I love the Spirit more than anything, because she opened up SO much and told us all about searching for revelation, and all these things! 
That night, we had a missionary meeting with the Stake President and our new senior couple, the Carlstons, who I LOVEE! And then, one of the counselors asked us if we could stay after the meeting, to talk about Missionary Prep. So we stayed and Brother Walker, the stake Young Men's president, and Brother Bickel were there. The Young's Return Missionary son was also there, and we found out that we will teaching the Mission Prep class together... I never had that class before my mission, so I'm a little bit nervous! I am so super excited that they asked us though!

Friday: We had district meeting with our new senior couple and the other senior couple in the elder's stake. I love the light and knowledge and wisdom that they bring! What a blessing! 
Afterwards, we went to Zupas (my favorite!). 
Later, we went to do service. These members were moving out of their house, so we helped them pack. 
Later, I was feeling super anxious. I don't know if it was because I am nervous every day about the count-down of my mission, or what, but I felt like I needed a Priesthood blessing. Our district leader and his companion met us at the Carlstons (the senior couple) and Elder Carlston gave me a blessing.. It was so special. The Spirit was so strong. I found a lot of comfort through his words. 

Saturday: We had a lesson with our investigator at the Carlstons. She lives out of the stake, so we are trying to transition her to her own ward, but she is having a rough time with it. Sometimes, she feels like we are kicking her out, and so we invited her home-ward bishop to the lesson. It went SO well!! We read through 1 Nephi chapter 2, and had her start the study with a Question and a Prayer to have that question answered. We honestly got through about 7 verses, but by the end of the discussion, she had received so much revelation and help from the senior couple and her bishop. It was so great.
Later, we went to a lesson with our less-actives, who we are preparing to go to the temple. Miraculously, 2 women from the primary presidency came over at the exact same time, with cookies!! We all had this amazing discussion! One of the women had past experience being inactive, and had just been sealed with her family in the temple within the past couple of years. She related her experience and was so understanding and encouraging. It was perfect.. Again.. The members helped us experience a miracle!! There is SUCH a pattern! We cannot do this work without these wonderful members!
That evening, we went to a lesson with Tshering, our recent convert, and the Carlstons. They were able to practice their teaching on her. They are so good! A little while into the lesson, I saw the phone vibrating and it was the Assistant to the President (the AP) calling. They are the elders that work closely with the Mission President, so we always answer the phone when they call. I went to the bathroom to answer it, and the AP said, "Sister Wall. There is going to be an Emergency Transfer," and my heart sank! I asked who was being transferred, and he said that it was Sister Brown, and that she needed to be packed and at the mission office by 2 pm the next day. So I went back out and sat down, completely shocked and taken aback. And then the phone rang again. It was the AP's again. So I went to the bathroom a second time to answer it. "Sister Wall, I need to give you more information about the transfers tomorrow." I said, Ok... And he said, "Your companion will be Sister Willis..." and I just about died! I thought he was playing a prank... So I said, "Are you joking?" and he asked, "Is that okay?" And I said, "OF COURSE THAT IS OKAY!" but it still wasn't real yet. So he told me that I could call the mission president if I didn't believe him. When we left the lesson, I told Sister Brown and she was upset, and so I suggested we call the mission president to be sure. We did and sure enough, he told us that Sister Brown and Sister Willis were switching places, and that Sister Willis would be my companion and Sister Brown was going to Wyoming! I could even believe it! But, I really didn't think that the mission president would play a prank on us, so I just tried to believe him!

Sunday: Sister Brown and I went to our less-active's house and rode with them to church. They were all ready to go and I was so proud! Later, we spoke in the 26th ward and it was so great. I looked into the congregation and saw so many wonderful people who I love so much, and I just wanted them to know how much I cared about them, and how deeply I wanted to help them share the gospel! Afterwards, the Stake President came up to me and was tearing up, telling me that he could tell how much I cared about the people in his stake. I do!! I do!!
So then, we went to the mission office. I tried not to be too excited, because I do love Sister Brown, but I was SO looking forward to being companions with my best friend!!
Well, we got there and Sister Willis was just as beautiful as can be and I realized that it was real and we would be companions and I just hugged and hugged her! 
After transfers, we went to a baptismal preview for the upcoming 8-year-olds who are preparing for baptism. Then, we went to dinner, and then we had a lesson with a non-member who has been going to church for about 4 months!! It was SUCH a miracle! He is SO prepared! And I loved teaching with Sister Willis and feeling her Spirit. I am so excited to serve with her! So, we picked him up as a new investigator, and he said that we could see him next Saturday, and text him throughout the week, and see him at church on Sunday! Woo hoo!
We were running all around, busy as bees, and so we ran to the Mission Prep Fireside. President Boyer, our stake president, did an amazing job! I absolutely love these leaders! 

Welll... What an amazing week full of changes and fun and love. I am positive that these next three weeks will be completely perfect and maybe a little bit wild, but I am sure that Sister Willis will help me "sprint to the end." Also, I am SO super excited, because Abe's baptism (my Amish friend) is this next weekend, and I get to go!! It is a miracle that he came around and I am so glad that he made this decision! So many wonderful missionaries have played a part in his conversion, so I will get to see them there, too!! I get to go with my bestfriend, Sister Willis, and see our other third who we can hardly live without, Sister Summerhays!!!! 
I don't know how to reiterate this, week after week, without just saying it: I LOVE MY MISSION. I Love the Lord. I love my family; my bestfriends; my investigators. I love this gospel. I KNOW that the Lord is 100% aware of ME and my needs. He sends me miracles when I don't deserve them, and He even sends me tender mercies when I feel like I do. 

Love you all!! Have a wonderful week!

4 more weeks!!

Sis Wall and Sis Brown!
Ohhh brother. What a week. I can see how the Lord is testing my faith and how the devil is trying my patience! I am grateful to build character, but it's pretty exhausting! 

Monday: Sister Brown and I went to Daniel's Chocolate Shop (Brother Smith's shop), and it was so good to see him! I introduced him to Sister Brown and we talked a little bit. Of course he gave us samples and I was reminded of how much I miss serving in Cottonwood Stake with Sister Summerhays and then Sister Kiser.
Also, we went to this store called Paisley Pomegranate (and if this were Facebook, I would "tag" Sister Talbert, because I was obsessed with this store when we were together. It's this cute little shop full of perfect things. But, it is super expensive and so they haven't got much business, and they were having a Closing Sale. Sister Brown and I bought a few cute little things, but mostly everything was gone.
That evening, after Pday, we went to some members for Family Home Evening. They invited a less-active family over, and I was so proud of them! We played gospel charades, choosing words and phrases from the Book of Mormon to act out. It was a lot of fun. When we were finished, the kids kept asking if we could play another round! It was a success.
After that, we went to a lesson with the sisters. We read through 1 Nephi 17. We each made 2 columns on a piece of paper, dividing Nephi from Laman and Lemuel. We went through the chapter, writing down things that happened to Nephi, his brothers, or Both, and then we wrote who reacted in what way. By the end, we had this very clear list of attributes. We asked the girls who they felt that they identified with, and being completely honest, they said, "I think we're like Laman and Lemuel..." !! Buuut, it was good because they made the resolve to become more like Nephi! When we saw one of the girls later in the week, she said, "I'm still trying to be like Nephi!"

Tuesday: Ahhh, ALL of our plans and appointments for the day fell through. I decided that the Lord must have needed us to be other places. Well, throughout the day, we had some great great experiences and tender mercies. The Lord guided us to a Less-Active woman, who can't go to church on Sundays because she and her husband both work. She told us about concerns for her children, who are being bullied in school. I told her about Mosiah 24:14, and how the Lord will ease our burdens. After we said a prayer with her, we opened our eyes and she was crying. It was wonderful for us to know that she needed the comfort of the Lord and we were able to bring that to her.
For dinner, we ate with this wonderful member and her 11-year-old daughter. Her daughter had a friend over to join us. As we talked, I realized that the girl wasn't a member. We talked to her about things like Activity Days and going to church. Before we left, I asked if she would want to meet with us and her friend and learn more. Very grown-up-like, she said, "I'm actually really interested in that!" We challenged the members to talk with the girl and her mother. The friend came to church on Sunday, too, so we will see what happens!
That night, we were contacting a referral for a Part-Member-Family. We knocked on the door and no one answered, but as we turned to leave, they pulled in the driveway. Sister Brown said, "Well this is awkward," and laughed, but I was so excited! We went to their car and they told us they'd let us in through the front door. So they opened up and let us come in, as if they had been expecting us.. It was actually kind of weird.. They were telling us how this guy was coming over and he should be there shortly, but they weren't saying it in a way that would make us need to leave... So then we found out that the guy coming over was their sons friend, who had just returned from his mission.. And THEN, we realized that they thought we had come over to see this Return Missionary! Ohhh my goodness. How completely perfect!! haha! We told them we had no idea who he was and that we didn't realize that he was coming over. By that time, he had come in and we were laughing about how "coincidental" (but actually "miraculous") it was that we had come! We sang "How Great Thou Art" with the RM and shared a message, and invited them to learn more. They were polite and said we could come back anytime, but wouldn't set an exact time or anything. Still! It was a miracle, and maybe we just set the scene for the RM to bring them to the gospel! 
Then, we had correlation at the Youngs and their RM son was there (there are a TON of Return Missionaries in our stake). They were asking how to be better Ward Missionaries, and we told the son that he had a responsibility to teach them!

Ohh bother, this is going to be a long email! "Commercial break" if you need it..

Okay, Wednesday: We did a lot of contacting. We'd been given a few Less-Active and Non-member names, so we took the day to visit them. Again, we knocked on a door, noone was home, and then a car pulled up.. This happened SEVERAL times this week! (Tender mercies). Well, the man got out of his car and said that we wouldn't want him to talk to us about Darwin and evolution and all of these things, and we said, You're right, but we'd love to talk to you about what we believe! :) Well, he was kind of a snob, but he was kind, and eventually I just told him that I felt good about the conversation because angels in Heaven were recording the things we were saying.
Also, we visited this semi-less active woman and her daughter. Her daughter is the chorister of the ward and so we sang a song for them, and she was so excited!
That night, we went to the Young Women activity which was "New Beginnings". All of the 11-year-old girls who will be turning 12 that year get to go and check out the Young Women program. We thought our 11-year-old non-member might come, but she wasn't able to. We saw one of our sisters there, though! That's when she told us she was still trying to be like Nephi. 

Thursday: Weekly planning. Then we visited this Less-Active man and he was being so silly. The day before, he told us to come back and then when we came back, he said he had been talking with his wife and they decided they didn't need us to come... We told him that the Spirit prompted him to let us come back, but he was a stubborn one! He told us about how he had committed too many sins for us to teach him. We said that the Savior didn't consider anyone too far away. He said that if he could be forgiven of sins by Jesus, then he didn't need to come back... And then I cried repentance!!
We had dinner with this lovely member family. They were very scared of missionary work. It was hard, because I loved them so much, but I was so sad that they refused to share the gospel!
Later, we went to the family's house, who we've been teaching. A member family from the ward came with us. We read through a chapter of the Book of Mormon. The little member boy was so cute! He is the same age as the non-member boy. He was so intelligent and profound in his understanding of the scriptures! Unfortunately, the family fell off of date for baptism because the husband works two jobs and is never able to meet with us or go to church. He has a desire to learn, but the family is kind of struggling financially, and he has to work. I just absolutely love them and cannot wait for them to be baptized as a family some day. We are trying to arrange to go to Temple Square with them so that they can feel the Spirit as a family. 
That night, we got into the home of a Less-Active woman, her Less-Active fiance, and their 4 non-member boys. They were so sweet and sat quietly while we sang "I Believe in Christ" (We sing a lot because Sister Brown is very talented. I am NOT a singer, but I just sing quietly and everything goes okay!). Well, I guess that members of the ward haven't been able to get into that home in years! The dad said that he wasn't interested in coming back to church, but that they would talk as a family and decide if they want us to come back or not. So.. there's hope.

Friday: We had district meeting. We went out to eat as a district at "The Egg and I" and the elders knew the owners, so we got free food! 
Afterwards, we went to this sweet little Less-Active old lady and read a chapter in the Book of Mormon with her. 

Saturday: Saturday was the 18th, and it marked my "ONE MORE MONTH ON MY MISSION".
More unfortunate things with our investigators.. Sad! Satan is very obnoxious and I don't want to be friends with him. 
Then, we went to a Less-Active. Her furnace broke and so she had her oven turned on and open. We showed up and her whole house was so smokey and I could barely see or breathe! Ahh, it was terrible. And also, she had 6 dogs, who, I will admit, were kind of cute.
This lady had 2 dogs and those 2 dogs had 4 puppies. 6 dogs! Also, her furnace broke and her entire house was smokey because she was using her open oven as a heater. So... We smelled like smoke and dogs for the rest of the day.
That night, the Eberhardts came over. Sister Eberhardt visited with Sister Brown about some things, so President talked to me... "So it's getting close to the end..." he said. I replied, "President.. You have 2 and a half more years!" Pk pk!

Woo! We're approaching the end! Almost done, I promise...

Sunday: Many ward councils. President Boyer, our stake president, offered for you (Mom) to stay in their family's house and said it could be your personal Bed and Breakfast! So.. Consider that ;)
We had a lovely dinner with the Rideouts. They ordered so much Chinese food the night before. Brother Rideout kept calling me "bones" because he knew from the past at Apollo Burger that I am vegetarian. 
That night, we went to a Baptism Preview for the 7-year-old primary children. It was absolutely adorable. 

Okay. This is the end... But really, I have less than a month left on my mission and I am realizing more and more, it's not about the things that I have done as a missionary, but WHO those things help me become. More than ever, the Lord is helping me develop Christlike attributes, and it's definitely not by GIVING me those attributes, it is by nearly forcing me to be in situations that try my patience, my faith, my charity, etc. I love the Lord. I love you! I love the gospel. I love my mission. 
We went to a dinner appointment, and they had the best things. I love this chair! 

5 more weeks... but who's counting?

This week has been full of changes and anxiety and weird things and such wonderful things! haha. I know, don't say it.. Gong show.

Monday... Sister Talbert and I got the calls about Transfers.
Sister Talbert's last day.. Seeing Sister Evan's at Walmart!
 I started my application online to BYU! Ahh! That's where most of the anxiety is coming from! Trying to pretend that I am never leaving my mission, but still making sure that I am not homeless in a few weeks. I'd really love to get into BYU and of course I procrastinated, but let's just see what the Lord can do with me! Bless this mess.
After Pday, Sister Talbert and I went to a member's and did a lesson with her and her less-active 15-year-old daughter. It went really well and she is coming along! She's gone to church 2 Sundays in a row! Woo hoo! We ended the lesson with brownies and icecream.
That night, we stopped by the set of sisters that we dropped a few weeks ago (10-years and 15-years old). Sister Talbert wanted to say goodbye. Before the girls came out, their grandparents told us that the girls asked if we were coming to teach them; they told them No because they made it seem like they didn't want us to come; and the girls were like, "Whaattt, we never said that!" So then they came out and talked to us and we were firm about making sure that they were committed before we said we would teach them again. So they said they will keep commitments and let us prepare them for baptism. We have another lesson with them tonight, and we invited some Young Women, so we will see what happens! 

Tuesday: Transferss! Super long transfer meeting. Seeing almost every face that I love! Sisters Willis, Summerhays, Villoso, Allen, Simon, etc etc. I am so nervous that that was the last I will see my friends for a while! Sad! Buuut, I found out AFTER I got my companion, that I am training her! She is second-transfer, so she's not fresh from the MTC, but of course President would have me train during my last transfer! Anyhow.. My companion is Sister Brown! She is from Virginia. She is 21. She has been out for 6 weeks. She loves to talk... A Lot! And really quickly!! haha. Sometimes she is talking and I'm not listening, I'm just laughing because she is saying so many things so quickly that I can't even follow along! It's a lot of fun.
My new companion, Sister Brown, drying her hair during studies
In the evening, we had dinner with Sister Judy Anderson, the 1st ward Relief Society President, and the Young family. Brother Young is the very newly called Ward Mission Leader. Also, their son came and he JUST returned from his mission from the mission in... Pittsburgh! We had so much fun talking about Pittsburgh and he even knew some missionaries who served in Slippery Rock.
Then, we went to the stake president's, President Boyer, and Sister Brown got to meet him and talk about the senior couple that she previously served with in Monument Park... We are getting a new Senior Couple next week!! They are members of our stake already, but they are called to serve as missionaries WHERE THEY LIVE! I am so so excited to work with them. It is the Carlstons. They are so great. So we discussed some ideas to work effectively with them.

Wednesday: Sister Brown and I (I just realized that I might slip up and write "Sister Talbert" sometimes, but I am actually with Sister Brown now, so sorry!) .. Wednesday, Sister Brown and I set goals for the coming transfer. I am so excited! and nervous! Pretty much every day I wake up with knots in my tummy because somehow my body knows that I only have a few more weeks of this beautiful missionary life! But I am really grateful for the time I have left, and I want to work really diligently and faithfully, and sprint to the end! So.. I decided that these next few weeks, my motto will be: "Have ye inquired of the Lord?" ...If I am struggling, or confused, or tired, or even feeling perfectly content, I can ALWAYS inquire of the Lord as to what can I do better? Beg Him to help me focus and have energy and not be sad about the end! Together, Sister Brown and I set the goal to be 5 minutes early to each appointment. I feel like this is something that I SHOULD master by the time that I go home, but who knows!
Also, we made some visits and shoveled some snow off of driveways. We always catch this elderly sister, Sister Rice, shoveling her own snow. I'm like, "Sister Rice, you are so wild. Give me your shovel and go inside!" She was shoveling without a coat and then we took over and she came out to take pictures of us.. hahah. 
For dinner, we went to Quiznos with Moroni and Jerry! They are just the best. Moroni is this little Hispanic man who is hilarious, and Jerry is this old man who is so cute. They are roommates and best friends. I was laughing so much. They are such good missionaries, too! 

Thursday: We had a looong weekly planning, because I was trying to update Sister Brown on everybody. We made some carecenter visits and even had a lesson with a non-member. She was 7th-Day-Adventist, she was the aid of an old woman we visited, and she was completely uninterested. I invited her to be baptized anyway! Well, she said no.. But one of these days, someone will say Yes!
That night, we went to a lesson with my lovely less-active family, who we spent Christmas eve with. Bishop Jones came with us and committed the husband to prepare to baptize their daughter when she turns 8 in March. He said yes! Then he committed them to go to the temple to be sealed as a family. They said yes! Yaayyy! They are preparing for December 29, this year. I won't be on my mission, but I would definitely LOVE to be there when they are sealed! How special.

Friday: District Meeting. My companion and an elder left, so we had 2 new missionaries in our district, but everyone else is the same.
After lunch, we had a lesson with Eva and Charles. Their non-member roommate came in for our lesson! We were teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so it was perfect. We asked her about her baptism and she said she was baptized Catholic when she was a child and couldn't remember it. I asked her if she would want to make the decision to be baptized and then be able to remember it. She said that she might, and that she would talk to the Marshs about it. Woo hoo!
Friday, we tried contacting people all day. We got a lesson with Tshering and read a chapter in the Book of Mormon with her. I am so proud of her! Her testimony is growing every day! 
In the evening, just before we went in for the night, we tried contacting a less-active, who I didn't know exactly where she lived. We knocked on what I thought was the right door, and RayAnne, this very wonderful member, showed up at the door!! It was the wrong house, but we didn't tell her; she was so excited and invited us in! She has been coming back into activity this past year and said that Satan is really working on her! We talked with her and shared some experiences, and every time I said something, she would say, "I need to write that down," and would write it. I shared a scripture and she said, "I need to write that down."..haha. By the end of the lesson she said, "I would give almost anything to hear you give your homecoming talk!" It was so nice. I knew we needed to see her that night!

Saturday: We borrowed Sister Rice's shovels and spent the day doing random acts of kindness. We shoveled non-members driveways and then left notes, "Love, the sister missionaries," with our phone number. One of them actually called us to thank us! 
That evening, we had dinner with the Prestwich family and it was so so so wonderful. Brother Prestwich, is an institute and seminary teacher, and I realized that is EXACTLY what I want to do! I have never been fond of the idea of being a teacher, but if I were to teach the Gospel, it would be perfect! He said that I really should consider it. They have these classes you can take if you attend certain Universities with Institute.. I just HAVE to get into BYU! It is my dream job.
Later, we had a lesson with our investigator, who is progressing so well!! She is ward hopping around the stake, but she wants to be baptized. The only problem is that she still lives with this boyfriend who she isn't dating anymore.. She has some financial troubles, so she is letting him stay in her apartment to help her pay rent. We just need her to kick him out so that she can be baptized!! He is planning on moving out at the end of the month, so she is on date for February 8.. I pray pray pray that it will happen!

Sunday: Running all around! NOT a Day of Rest, but a Day to DO the Rest! We went to so many meetings, and we were with President Boyer ALL DAY! It was so good though. I love to be busy! We spoke in the 10th ward, along with our ward mission leader, Brother Carlston (the son of the couple who will be our Senior missionaries). He did SO WELL! I made him give me a copy of his talk. He was so inspiring and I actually think I teared up a little bit! The Spirit was so strong as he talked about his experiences with sheep and compared it to missionary work. In one instance, he came across a sheep stuck in this quicksand-like-mud. He thought, "Should I just walk away? Surely someone will find this sheep. It's not my responsibility." ..So parallel to sharing the Gospel! Wonderful wonderful wonderful.
Other things: we helped the 26th ward with their ward conference Primary sharing time. They did an activity revolving around "Fishers of Men" and had the kids "fish" for ways that they could be missionaries. It was fun.
Also, we went to the setting apart of the Carlstons!! It was at their house and the Spirit was so strong! I want to be set apart as a missionary over and over again!
That night, we had dinner with the Boyers. Full house!
Lastly, we went to a stake youth fireside and it was the best thing ever!!! 

Mostly, I love you all and I love the Lord!
Sister Brown got her fingers stuck in her hairband and I made her get out of the car and go into our dinner appointment anyway!

Last transfer!!

On the bright side, I will never have to endure an endless night's sleep, agonizing over where I am getting transferred! I cannot believe that this is my last transfer call. The Zone Leaders called before our studies were even over. I answered the phone and said, "You're not allowed to play pranks on us.. Just tell us the truth about transfers!" So they told us the truth. Sister Talbert is leaving the area, and I am staying in Holladay for my last 6 weeks! I am very very very happy to be here! There is still so much work to do. I love these members. I love our investigators. Thank you thank you thank you, Heavenly Father! 
I am sad to see Sister Talbert go, but honestly, I think that she is ready to move on from her trainer. Spread her wings and fly, ya know? We get along really well, but she's antsy to practice the things she's learned. 

Some wonderful things happened and some sad things happened! We have these wonderful wonderful investigators that we are teaching! They are progressing so well! Everything on the investigator front is great. In fact, Mallory was BAPTIZED!!! However, this week, I had the flu! So sad! 

But some perfect things: We had a font side lesson with Julia and she cried! She is always so early to our lessons, so open and honest, so willing to go to church!  We are praying for a miracle! She came to Mallory's baptism and also to her confirmation. We've had several lessons with her and she's just so great! 

Mallory and Cory
She was baptized! Woo hoo! I was so so sick, but I just ignored it and went to her baptism! Our landlady, Cecy, ordered me to stay in, but I snuck out and it was so worth it. Mallory was beaming and hugging everyone and so happy! Unfortunately, I missed her confirmation and her testimony during Fast & Testimony meeting, so sad! Our mission president's wife told me to stay in, so I went to the Walker's (the beautiful family!) But, I heard wonderful things about Mallory's testimony! I am so proud of her! She told us in our last lesson with her that she wants to serve a mission! She has come such a long way! From the first time that we met with her and she wouldn't get off her laptop, to now.. Ahh! The Lord is just perfect.

Something really cool: Sister Talbert went to the doctor and found out that she has been experiencing migraines, so I was trying to find someone to come to our appointment with a Part-Member family. The bishop has been trying for weeks to set this up, so I couldn't cancel it. I was praying so hard to find someone to go on splits with me and I thought of this family we ate dinner with a few months ago. The daughter is about 19 and isn't very active, but gave us a ride home and told us to call her anytime. So I texted her and said, "Help!!" and she asked what we needed. I explained and she said she had something to do, but that she would try to get out of it. A few minutes later, she texted back saying she was all good to go! 
So we went, and talked about Trek the whole time because the non-member dad went with his 2 active-member daughters. The Spirit was so strong! At the end, I talked to him about his previous experiences with missionaries and he told me he is on a "hiatus" but that he is reading the Book of Mormon!!! I was SO happy! I showed how happy I was and I grabbed my Book of Mormon and testified of the truthfulness of it's words and promised him that if he would read and pray about it, he will get an answer! I cannot wait to follow-up and see how it's going!

Shorter email than usual. I hardly slept at all last night, so I am in that weird mood where I think that I have a lot of energy, but I am bound to crash any second.. Ahh! I love you so much! Missions are the BEST! The Lord is wonderful. I am so excited to work hard and see miracles this transfer!