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!