Monday, January 22, 2018

"Bye Felicia!!”

My last weekly email on my mission. I never thought this day would come and now that it’s here it is hard to believe I’m almost finished.  It will be hard going home because this mission might seem to fade like a dream but I know I’ll think about something pertaining to my mission everyday for the rest of my life. Here are the highlights for this past week: 

District Meeting: I was asked to give a training Monday night for Tuesday morning... yeah, I know. The ZLs wanted me to train one last time as a missionary on whatever topic I wanted. Makes it even harder when I have to come up with my own direction last minute. I decided to talk about trunkiness (term in the mission where a missionary is wanting to go home and has his bags or “trunk” packed and ready to go in his/her mind). I wanted to train on this mainly on how to overcome it. I drew upon my experience as an EFY (“especially for youth” youth camp centered on the gospel) counselor. I compared the youths’ experience of what I call “spiritual roller coaster” (where they come home after a week being on a spiritual high to come crashing back down a short time later and then repeating this process) to a missionaries' spiritual roller coaster battling trunkiness. I had a lot of fun training on this and then had the opportunity to give my departing missionary testimony. 
Live Chapel Tour: We are trying to be creative with our Facebook proselyting so we came up with the idea to do a chapel tour video. We can’t record in the chapel so we thought to just video the paintings in the building and teach principles of the gospel. Neither of us had done a live video on Facebook before and felt it would be cool to try. We did some practices the day before but once you start a live video there are no redos or cuts; whatever is filmed is filmed. So we finally had the courage to do it and the first time Sister Jewel accidentally swiped off the app while handing me the iPad which took us off of our video. We had a little panic with this. We didn’t realize that it was still recording us so when I got back onto Facebook it showed we were still live. I said something to Sister Jewel and she popped right back up and continued on like a pro. We deleted this video and then redid it so no one will ever know...except those 16  lucky people. 
Tracting: The sun was finally out on Wednesday so we did almost two hours of Tracting. We parked the car and just walked. The houses were all on one side of the street and we tracted until the very end. That was such a trek getting back to our car after we were done. This guy named Fernando let us share our message. His eyes had light to them and he was so accepting of the Book of Mormon. We set up an appointment with him but that fell through later as he got called into work. Hopefully the missionaries will still be able to teach him in the future.
Lessons: Had our lesson with Cole finally. We tracted into him forever ago and our appointment kept getting rescheduled. We brought Brother Holt and Brother Farnsworth to our lesson we had at the church and it went great. He is so open to learning more which is phenomenal and truly a breath of fresh air. We had another lesson with Leah and that went well too. The Spirit was so strong when her aunt was testifying to her that it is her choice to be baptized and how much this gospel will change her life if she choices it. She is great and she even said she felt comfortable around us which she normally wouldn’t in that situation. We had a lesson with Nicole on the Word of Wisdom (law of health) and that was very rocky. We knew she was battling with some Word of Wisdom struggles so we think we were a little fearful to have this lesson. We scheduled a lesson for the next day which we brought over her neighbor this time and we helped to clarify some things which went a lot better. We seriously love teaching her. 
Dinner with the Goldbergs: They are like a super member-missionary couple in our ward. Everyone knows them and Brother Goldberg hands out copies of the Book of Mormon like they are candy. We asked about their conversion stories which Sister Goldberg said we have already heard. In April 2017, Elder Rasband gave a talk in General Conference about a missionary experience he had while serving in New Jersey. He felt prompted by the Spirit to put his foot inside the door to ask if there was anybody else in their household who had a question. I reread the talk and he didn’t go much into her conversion story so she expanded on that which was really cool. (We learned that animals will be in heaven! [Revelation 5:11-14; Doctrine and Covenants 77:3]) She told us that in order for Elder Rasband to use her story she had to sign all this paperwork for legal rights and protection which was interesting. The Church is very good at covering all of it’s basis. 

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I can be a missionary when I am two weeks

Well this winter really has been very dangerous. We had freezing rain again and of course we are now pro ice skaters! A stake near by cancelled church but not our stake. I don’t think Alaskans know what bad is. They will tough out everything and anything; so different coming from a state that has “snow days” and cancels school. 

P-day: I am glad we are branching out and not spending all our time in the church playing sports. We went bowling on Monday. It was a lot of fun. We played in teams for ice cream. We had played a couple of games before we played for competition so my arm started to get fatigued. I normally start off really good for the first two games of bowling and then drastically decline because my arm gets too tired to hold the bowling ball. I have learned that that is when I need to switch to a lighter ball. By the end of the competition game we were neck and neck with our scores. I was the last one to bowl and all I had to knock down was 4 pins. 4 pins would be nothing but there is a lot riding on you when you are the last person who could make or break this and you aren’t playing your best game because of physical exhaustion. Lo and behold I got a strike!!!! That was the best reaction ever! So fun and our team won ice cream. Later that evening we had a lesson with Patrick and taught the Plan of Salvation. There is still something that we aren’t sure of on what his hold up is. He tells us one thing but I feel deep down there is something else. 

Chapel Tour: We accidentally tracted into members last week for exchanges. We got a referral from them to try by their friend Lynette. She said she was having company over then and we scheduled a time for us to come back. Later she texted us and said she couldn’t meet then either and then rescheduled. We turned our appointment into a chapel tour and a lesson! Her thought process with a lot of things matches a lot of what the Church teaches which was cool to see. We had Sister DeKay come with us which was beneficial. She was suppose to come to church yesterday but texted us saying something came up. Hopefully we can still teach her because she is so prepared at this time for the gospel. 
Nicole: We had a lesson with her this week which went well and we offered to have her receive a blessing. We set up for the bishop and one of her member neighbors to come and give her a blessing. They wanted to get to know her a little bit before but that then took over an hour which it should have been just half that time. It went well though and I am so grateful we are able to teach her. She is so prepared for this Gospel and I can truly see her thirsting after it. It is a true blessing to be an “instrument in the Lord’s hands” to be apart of someone else’s conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Danica: We finally had our first lesson with Danica, the 10 year-old who wants to be baptized. She doesn’t have much religion background so we definitely need to make sure she understands what she is getting herself into. Getting baptized is a commitment. That doesn’t mean you need to know everything there is about the Gospel; just the basics for your salvation. You still need to be aware of the promises you are making to God, though, so you can actively keep your promises. We have children at the age of 8 get baptized because we believe that is an age where you are accountable to make your own decisions. Even attending the children’s baptism a few weeks back made me realize that the kids didn’t know everything as they were still acting in faith. If you don’t know everything, you know enough. There are more promises we make with God later in the temple but that comes later on in life allowing us time to gain more understanding of still just the basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Have faith but also have an understanding of what promises you are making with God. 
Facebook: We spent a lot of time talking about different ideas we can do with Facebook now that we have the ability to proselyte online. The ideas are endless and it is cool that we are given the ability to be creative with spreading the Gospel. We drove down this street and saw that someone drew an inappropriate image on the frosty fence. We thought to change the negative image into something that could be positive. It was a day later that we did this and we are sure many people have driven by this fence and had seen what was on it before we changed it. It was cool to be doing something like this; something that would have never crossed my mind prior to serving a mission. I like that I am learning how to spread the gospel online because that is something I can keep doing when I go home. This allows me to be a better member missionary when I am no longer a full-time missionary.

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

President Monson passed away...and it is almost my turn

In the mission we have terminology that equate mission life to real life. We say your first area in the mission is your “birthplace”, your trainer is your “mom”, your trainee is your “daughter”, and so on. So we are born into the mission and we die leaving the mission. Eagle River and Mount Baldy is where I come to “die”. It’s just something funny we, missionaries, do. As most of you know, President Monson, our prophet, passed away this week. It has been a cool teaching moment to explain to people how a prophet is called and how Jesus Christ is still the head of this Church. There is order to our religion and that is because it is the same Church that Jesus Christ established almost 2 centuries earlier, and now has been restored. We continue to see miracles happen in the area and it makes me not want to leave. Here are the highlights:

P-day: We went hiking at Thunderbird Falls again. We went with just the sisters in the area. It was us, the sisters of Colony, Lazy Mountain, and Cottonwood. Wasilla couldn't come. This is my fourth time hiking the trail but this time was the most fun by far. The waterfall was iced over!! The falls were still flooding down water but we were able to walk up to sit on top of it because of all the ice. Later that evening after dinner we walked out and I slid down the stairs because of the frozen rain that left its wonderful gift for us. (Can you hear the sarcasm?) I liked the ice on the hike but not when we have to walk in it for our day to day activities. That fall came with another gift: a ginormous bruise on my backside. At least it only hurt for the first two days and is on in the process of healing. 

Zone Conference and Interviews: We had our zone conference this week. We were told at 9:30pm the night before that Sister Jewel and I are to give a training on the language of prayer. Our zone conference started at 8:30am in the morning. You can see why someone might be a little frustrated, but we did it and President Toone was in the back fist pumping basically saying we nailed our training :). That made me happy! It was Sister Jewel’s 21st birthday that day so she even prayed before we left how thankful she was that the zone was coming out for her birthday celebration and them just calling it “zone conference”!!! :D. Her birthday present was getting a smartphone! 162 missions are getting smartphones this transfer. In just a week we have seen how this tool can help further the work of the Lord. I was told the day before that I would be having my exit interview with President after zone conference as well. An exit interview is a departing missionary interview where we talk with our mission president about our mission and go over some logistical things in preparation for returning home. He began with a prayer and I started tearing up. We talked about all sorts of things and even about school when I go home. It took an hour and he had me give the closing prayer. I have done a good job at not being trunky (mission term where you basically have your bags packed [old term trunk] and are ready to go) but I got emotional during the prayer. It is hard to leave the mission where this has been your life for the last year and a half. Big changes are coming and it is hard to let go. I still have over two weeks left but I am just being reminded of the time coming to an end. It is crazy that at some moments in my mission I am so ready to go home and just want this to all be done and over with but my last transfer on the mission has been the busiest and now I don’t want to leave. 

Service: It snowed a lot on Wednesday of this week so we spent some proselyting time shoveling people’s driveways. We chose to shovel Nicole’s driveway before she wakes up and goes to work. We were just about done when she came out of her house. We don’t do service to receive recognition but it felt great to see her so thankful. We helped with her neighbor’s driveway who was out shoveling and then did a member’s while we were on their street. 

Returned Appointments: In our zone we are having a little competition to see who can give out the most copies of the Book of Mormon and have return[ed] appointments meaning that we don’t just have to receive a return appointment from a potential investigator, but we must actually follow up and have the returned appointment. We are in the lead for the latter. We have had so many lessons this week and it has been awesome. We had two lessons on Wednesday with dinner in between. We brought the Tovars with us to Patrick’s lesson which went great and they were a big help and had our first official lesson with Leah which was amazing. She teared up a bit talking about her relationship with her mom and we equated that to her relationship with her Heavenly Father. Oh she is so elect (meaning she is so prepared for the gospel at this time). We had a lesson with the Hinckleys (which doesn’t count for the competition since these are new member lessons, but I wanted to add it here because it went so well). We had Brother Stewart and his eldest son come as members present and they helped a lot as we read from the BOM teaching about prophets. We helped them understand about calling prophets with the example of how President Nelson is now our acting President of the Church. For exchanges Sister Fa’anunu and I taught this family that the elders tracted into and the mom was so much engaged and with conviction said she would read the BOM!!! The member we brought, her name is Dixie, is preparing to serve a mission and after we left she was like, “that was amazing! Are they always like that?” We didn’t have the heart to tell her no so we replied, “not always”. We were glad her first experience with teaching lessons went well and she now has more excitement to serve a mission. Nicole’s lesson, which also doesn’t count towards the returned appointments because she is a progressing investigator, went well though. We taught the Plan of Salvation and she loved it. Our last lesson was with Scott who is pretty devoted to his faith. We had tracted into him a couple weeks before and were just able to meet with him now. We brought Brother Walser with us and that lesson was amazing. He wrote down so many questions he had about the BOM, mainly scriptures he found online that were different to him. The Spirit was so strong as we were testifying of Joseph Smith and about the BOM. We hope we can still continue to teach him!! 

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Will you be baptized?...Of Course!

I have less than a month before I come home! I don’t know where all the time goes. It has been getting pretty cold lately so this week I wore double layers. That seemed to help a ton. Here are the highlights:
Last P-day with Sister Johnson: For her last p-day we went to take pictures at the Nature Center in Eagle River but it was very cold outside so we didn’t stay for too long. We did some shopping and later did her funeral. Sister Jewel and I changed the lyrics to White Winter Hymnal to words about Sister Johnson and sang it to her at her funeral. We each then wrote advice to her on pieces of paper. This is just something fun Missionaries do when missionaries are going home. One of the programs we made was accidentally left in the Relief Society room so some of the members happened to see it...oops. Once they understood what it was they were laughing but I can see how some people might actually think a missionary died. Sister Johnson, may she Rest In Peace in paradise of California. 

Bri: Some of the elders tracted into Bri during a zone/district tract Saturday and scheduled an appointment for us to come back to share the #Lighttheworld video with her after district meeting on Wednesday. We came back and she was super nice. We talked to her a little bit about eternal families and she seems interested in learning more and mainly having gospel conversations. She taught us a little about what Catholics believe. Hopefully we can teach her more in the future. 

Baptism: So on Thursday we saw on Facebook one of the members had posted a picture of their twins who were getting baptized on Saturday. We used that as an opportunity to invite Nicole, one of our investigators, to come. She came and it went great! Three kids ended up getting baptized which was cool for her to see and the talks given were directed towards the kids so it was definitely easy to comprehend and spoken very simply. We had a lesson with her right afterwards which we finished teaching the Restoration. When we asked her if she would be baptized, she said “of course”! Later that day we were trying by some of the part-member families after tracting and got in with the family that had moved in not too long away that we miraculously found. After we shared a video with them the mom brought up that her 10 year-old wants to be baptized! So we set up a lesson with them for this Wednesday!! So exciting!!!

5 Hours of Church: I don’t think I’ll ever complain about having 3 hours of church again. Because we are covering two wards we go to two hours of Eagle River Valley and 3 hours of Mount Baldy. After Gospel Principles class (which one of the part-member families stayed for!) this guy asked us to talk with him in the hallway. We just thought it was like a referral or something but he gave us $100. He said he was a missionary once too and knows how tight we are on money. When we asked him his name he said he better not give it. That was super sweet of him to do that! 

As happy as I am to be going home soon it is hard to leave when such wonderful miracles are happening in this area. I love teaching the gospel and seeing people’s desire to change their life  to follow the Savior, Jesus Christ, increase. Being an instrument in the Lord’s hands to further His work is a true blessing. We just get a taste of happiness of what our Heavenly Father feels for His children. 

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas miracles while beatboxing

So normally I go through our area book to see what had all happened this week and so much has been happening but I don’t have the time to write it all. I will try to condense it all but forewarning, this email will be long. 

Caroling: We did a lot of caroling this week. We went to a Relief Society activity in the Mount Baldy ward last Tuesday and had the opportunity to meet a lot of sisters in the Ward. And we had the opportunity to do some caroling there. We set up a time to do some caroling with the ward missionaries in the MB Ward (who are all Laurels in the Young Womens) and carol to some members of their ward. We were doing a lot of our own caroling as a form of tracting and found some people who have attended some activities with members of the Church in the past. We also have been caroling as our way of visiting part-member families that we want to stop by and visit once every other week. We had dinner with some members in the MB ward and they said they were going caroling that evening and invited us to join. Their son who was home for the holidays is a beatboxer which made caroling a lot more fun. We even caroled with some of the elders in our district when we tracted and gave out cookies. It was a lot of fun and was cool to see how music brought the Spirit so quickly to people’s homes. 

Elizabeth: We got invited to a dinner group happening at the Pearch’s home. While we were there we were introduced to a lady named Elizabeth who wasn’t a member. Her and I just clicked. A lot of things she is going through right now I have gone through while on my mission so we bonded over a lot of similarities. I sat with her through the dinner and got to know her. She is Seventh Day Adventist but said she wants to learn more about our beliefs to see “the path we walk”. She is up here to do some custody things and is moving to Oklahoma shortly but mentioned she has to clean her house the following day. We offered to help and it was so amazing that all the people who were there helping her clean her house were members of the Church, a church she doesn’t even belong to. It is great to see people having positive experiences with members that pull them to want to know the truth of the gospel. The gospel can allow them true happiness and enable them to have their families be together forever. Elizabeth came to church on Sunday which was fantastic. 

Christmas: On Sunday we attended our two wards’ Christmas programs. Eagle River Valley was packed to listen to all the wonderful music. Sister Galloway played the violin beautifully. An investigator in the Westchester boundaries who attends our ward because he is dating a member got baptized on Saturday in Anchorage but got confirmed in our ward. The Westchester elders (all four of them) came to our sacrament meeting. We got roped into singing with the choir in Mount Baldy so in between the two services we practiced the songs. We did pretty well considering we got the music two days prior to the performance. The Mount Baldy ward had a balance of music and talks given. We tried our best to say hi to people who weren’t members after each service. We had lunch with some members in the Eagle River Valley ward after church which was great. I talked to the husband who is the bishop of one of the YSA wards and teaches institute. Later we visited with the Watson family and was able to talk to Leah, one of the potential investigators the elders were working with, and set up a time to come back to talk more about the gospel with her. The next day on Christmas we got up and opened all our presents at 6:30am. My mom was very crafty with the gifts this year making them all about missionary work. It was great to FaceTime with my parents. As much as it may seem to make a missionary trunky for home, it helps motivate me to finish strong. I get the information I need when I talk to them and then I can move on and focus on missionary work. 

Tracting Miracles: We went tracting Saturday during our district tract in our area and had decided that we were going to tract a street that didn’t get finished when we had our mega tract in the beginning of the month. We had knocked on 6 doors and of those 4 answered. The first house we went to was trying by a potential the elders had tracted into during the mega tract that we have yet to get a hold of since. She and her husband were finally home packing up their house to move soon. We talked to them a bit and found they have a lot of family members who are members of the Church. They didn’t seem interested in wanting to be taught the gospel so instead we offered to help them clean their house for their move. We set up an appointment for this Firday. Hopefully that will help a little for us to be able to have a gospel conversation. Also the best part is that they are moving from the the Eagle River Valley boundaries to the Mount Baldy ward boundaries which we now cover as well which is amazing. The next house that answered was this lady who seemed to have just gotten out of the shower. Surprisingly, she let us come in to share with her the #LightTheWorld video and her and her mom watched it. We told her about the BOM and she accepted a copy and we set up a return appointment for this Thursday! The next house that answered was this military guy who also agreed to watch the video. He did mention he attended a different church which just makes it even more amazing that he accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. We got a return appointment with him for later this week! The last house we tracted into was another military guy. He was wearing a Texas Rangers shirt which made for an easy ice breaker conversation. He watched the video, accepted a copy of the BOM and made a return appointment!! Afterwards I was so elated that I found a patch of snow for me to make my first snow angel in Alaska. I normally don’t do that because I don’t want to get wet but I was too happy to care. Such a wonderful experience. Tracting does work if you are following the Spirit. 

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

12 Days of Christmas...actually it’s in 7 now. What?!?!

Well I think I have broken records now of the many areas I have served in with the amount of companions. This past week we have transfers and the elders who were serving in Mount Baldy both went home. We then took over their area and now have two wards at once. What are we a Utah mission? Here’s my final record: 8 areas, 4 companionships (two repeats with Sister Williams and Sister Jewel), and 4 pink-washes (replace elders). No one in this mission can say they have those statistics.  Here are the highlights for this week:

P-day: We made our own Christmas cards to send out. Fun! We had funerals for Elder Barney and Elder Smith. It was fun and just something silly we can do to say goodbye to departing missionaries. We did journal signing a bit and some more the next day and said our goodbyes. After p-day fun we went to a dinner group’s white elephant gift exchange. I re-gifted a gift I was given and it was the first present chosen and the first gift to be frozen! I ended up with a game called Switcharoo! We played it a little, my companions and I, right before bed and it was fun but challenging. 

Transfer day: We had to get our oil changed so while we were driving to Anchorage we set up an appointment to do it there. The worker at Big Mike’s named Kevin started talking to us about the Church. I feel like I know how to be a missionary now when I’m about to go home. I was like, “what’s your hold up?” He kept saying that someday he will go inside the Church. Someday is not today. We told him about chapel tours and he was interested in that wanting to do that to help with his fear and anxiety. We switch companions at the Brayton chapel and we got Sister Jewel. We had a chapel tour scheduled later that day with Nicole. That went so well and she said she feels like this is where she is supposed to be. We talked about baptism and she brought up some concerns about her husband. She is amazing though! We had Sister Betz come as our member present which she said a lot of things that Nicole has expressed in the past and Sister Betz had no idea. Oh the Spirit!! Because we found out like the day prior we were getting Mount Baldy so we cancelled our dinner appointment because the elders had scheduled a dinner with this part-member family which was awesome! Later that evening we met with our other ward mission leader Brother Kammer and got the low down on the ward and missionary efforts. 
Saturday: We started the day off with a ward Christmas brunch which a lot of members came to. Our stake’s goal is to flood Eagle River with the Book of Mormon. They ordered 12 cases of the Book of Mormon (which is 40 copies of the Book of Mormon each) to give to the wards to spread the BOM. Later that day we were trying by a potential investigator and saw some people with a moving trailer so we walked by offering to help. We saw it was one of our members and that they were almost done. We came back after trying the potential and wanted to ask the members if they would fellowship Nicole who lives right across the street. We didn’t realize until later but it was our members who were helping their neighbors move in. Sister Jewel doesn’t know too many people yet, let alone faces to the names of people, so she walks up to the neighbor and asks her if she would fellowship our investigator... Sister Johnson, for the win, goes up and saves her by saying “friend”. I had no idea about any of this happening because I saw the member we needed to talk to and went to ask her while all this was going down. Afterwards I go back with them and introduce myself to the neighbor. My companions had already invited her to church for the next day and used the reason of us singing to invite. That evening we had dinner with the Burrups (I love the Burrups) and we helped them deliver their 12 days of Christmas gift to a family in the ward. We think they totally know who it is. That evening the Burrups hosted a gingerbread house making party. We decorated ours as the temple! With a lot of members there we used that as an opportunity to tell them about chapel tours and inviting them to pray about a friend they could bring to do a chapel tour with us.

Sunday:  We sang, "O Little Town of Bethlehem", which the piano sounded amazing.  The accompaniment changed it into a more eerie sound; very mysterious, which I love.  We had a church marathon because we had back to back church meetings.  Eagle River Valley starts at 9am and Mount Baldy is at 11am.  We had a meeting with Brother Kammer and some Laurels who are ward missionaries right after church.  By the time we got home to eat, it was 3pm.  Our tender mercy for that day was one of the member in MB gave us some muffins and cupcakes.  That tied us over until we actually had lunch.  We had to do some switching around with the dinner calendar because we don't want to have double dinners for two weeks straight.  We found out we have our P-Day next week on Tuesday because of Christmas.  After Christmas shopping ?!  Oh yeah!!!

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Line Upon Line, Miracles Upon Miracles

What a week. I thought last week had all the miracles but this week had an overflow from last week. Though would you all pray for snow? I know that sounds ridiculous coming from someone living in Alaska but we need it. We have gone through a heat wave and the roads are just covered in ice. Sister Yeates has fallen a couple of times from the ice but she realizes the more you fall the easier it is to get up. What a life lesson we can learn from that. Here are some highlights:

Lessons: We had a lesson with Sheyla about temples with Sister Fitzpatrick as a member present. It went great because Sister Fitzpatrick works at the temple once a week and was able to share her testimony of how going to the temple gives her peace and enjoyment and helps her to have an eternal perspective to life. Since we found Sheyla’s records we are helping her to work towards going to the temple and she is very excited to do family history work. Later in the week we had a lesson with the Hinckleys. One of their sons and the husband are fairly recent converts so we are finishing the new member lessons. One of their other sons is not baptized so we are trying to work with him too. We forgot they had changed the time of our lesson with them so we were a bit late but were able to teach obedience in 15 minutes by using an analogy of a kite. The boys seemed to like it.

Tracting Miracles: Well we went back to Rhiannon and she told us that she is not wanting to explore other churches right now as she is just now attending a church since she was 7 years old. We will still keep in contact and hopefully can still teach her a little bit about how this gospel can improve the quality of her life. Right after having somewhat of sad news to not teach her automatically we went tracting and one of the first few houses we knocked on was this woman named Kim who let us come in to share the #LightTheWorld video. She cried. She was overcome with the Spirit and said her daughter who is 7 is asking questions and wants religion. We set up a time for her to come have a church tour. We practiced doing a chapel tour the next day with our ward mission leader which went really well. The day we scheduled to have the tour we got a text from her saying basically her husband is not for it which was really sad. Okay so these two tracting miracles ended in tracting blues but then there is Nicole. The elders tracted into her the same mega tract day and we went back and caught her at the perfect time when she was waking up before going to work for her graveyard shift. We set up an appointment to come back and we were beside ourselves. She said she wants to go to a church that is a community with each other and teaches about truth to help us in our lives and not go for the rock bands and that such. With my mouth dropped we told her that this is the Church she is looking for. We taught her the first half of the restoration and she was excited to read the Book of Mormon. It is like The Lord let her fall into our laps. What a tender mercy and miracle for us after so much hard work lately. 

Facebook Video: We were at dinner with the Palmers and we asked them what their ideas were of doing something with children that can be shared on social media. The Light the World scripture of the following day was Mark 10:14: “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” As missionaries we are limited on what we can do with children as it can turn into legal complexities if people want to take advantage of the Church. They came up with the idea to video children’s testimonies about Christ. We asked some members nearby who had kids if we could do this and post it on Facebook and it was awesome. The kids really enjoyed it and it was fun for us. It was a bit stressful having to work only in the bounds of our photos app’s video editing resources but it turned out the best a missionary could do. 

Double District Meeting: Okay this is just another way of saying zone meeting. Zone meetings use to be a thing in the past prior to having zone conferences and interviews every transfer. We had this meeting to talk about all the announcements being discussed in MLC and to come up with our goals for baptism in December.  It was needed and cool to have some input to what our zone goals will be. 

Transfer calls: Normally the sisters get our transfer calls on Thursday night but that didn’t happen this time. President Toone was up in Fairbanks for zone conference and then coming back they had to sleep in the airport and fly out the next morning. Long story short we got our calls Saturday afternoon. Sister Johnson and I are staying and Sister Yeates is going to be with SIster Vellinga in South Anchorage in the Jewel Lake and YSA wards. Guess who is coming here? Sister Jewel!!!! I was called to greenie break her after my first area but then emergency transferred to Soldotna after a week. I got to know Sister Jewell pretty fast and always wanted to serve with her again. Well now she gets to kill me! (“Kill me” means that she will be my companion right before I go home—like you die on a mission if we relate a mission life to real life). She is getting a double kill. We will kill off Sister Johnson who is going home a half a transfer early for school right after Christmas and I die at the end of January. It is gong to be so much fun. 

Sent from ALASKA!
Sister Shelley Willden