Monday, December 19, 2016

'Tis the Season to Serve

This week feels like I have spent more time in service clothes than in proselyting clothes.  All I remember is all the service we did because we had service everyday this week besides on our P-Day and Sunday.  This has probably been one of the longest weeks on the mission, but it always feels like that your first week in a new area.  For P-Day we went shopping last week. Soldotna is like a little Anchorage but more expensive.  We changed into P-Day clothes for sports afterwards.
Tuesday for our district meeting our District Leader brought donuts for an activity we were to do.  We had a couple of elders blindfolded and I was the guide to guide them to the donuts.  One of the elders rolled across the high council table and bolted for the donuts when they said go so I helped the other one at that point.  There were two others meant to be the adversary to lead him astray but we came out victorious and all got donuts.  After lunch we went to do service helping people cut the thorns off of roses.  I managed to only prick myself a few times and only bled twice.  Hopefully doing this every week I'll master the art in no time.
Wednesday we helped out with another service opportunity that our whole district was apart of.  We each were helping to clean out the green house to prepare for Spring.  We got fed pizza and our District presented an idea to do for P-Day that required us to make cookies for members of each of our wards we are over like a Secret Santa that is to be passed on by doing it to others in the neighborhood.  We felt that it would be best to do that on a Saturday and do something else for our P-Day. The lady we help to do the service offered to pay for us doing it and her friend who helps with the green house as well offered to help us make them at her house and that she had a lot of stuff to make them already.  That was so nice of them to do that for us.
Thursday we did more service helping out at the food bank.  The guy giving us tasks to do said we were working ourselves out of a job by how fast we were getting the work accomplished.  Later that day we had our exchange.  Because of the slick roads and the fact that we live three hours away from Anchorage, we had our exchange happen over FaceTime.  It was a bit awkward.  This happened at my week mark being in Soldotna so there wasn't much to talk about.  Both Sister Williams and I were chatting with the STLs in Anchorage so it was like a virtual hangout.  One of our zone Leaders walked in while we were at the church and saw us.  After we told him what we were doing I hope he doesn't still think we are piles (the term "Pile" in this mission means you are a missionary doing things you shouldn't be doing).  Our dinner for that night was probably one of the weirdest dinners ever.  The member gave us our own vegetable trays each with bell pepper, celery, broccoli, and this weird cold salmon thing.  I eventually had the courage to ask her what the salmon thing was and if it was meant to be cold.  She said it was like a salmon jerky skin and all.  I ate it and it wasn't actually that bad.  Then we were brought more fish but you could taste that they were canned.  There were little things of cheese that we ate too.  After we said that we were full she said, "oh we're not done".  She then brought out dessert which consisted of chilled canned apricots still in the syrup.  This was all we ate while she was telling us about her abusive childhood and crazy stories of how she became converted to the gospel.
Friday we did service at another farm.  This farm tasks involved us moving stuff from one storage-like place to another.  After we were done they gave us hot chocolate. Before we left they asked if we had some more time and if we would be willing to help them slaughter some rabbits.  UH...SLAUGHTER RABBITS !?!  Yeah, so just for that day we watched the husband hit the bunny on the head to stun it as he then slit the rabbit's throat and then observed the whole process of how to take the hide off and take the guts out.  The whole time my face was plastered with disgust. The craziest part is that next week we are to do it!
Saturday we spent all day doing the service activity of making cookies, brownies, and no bake cookies.  The house was in so much activity that at times I didn't know what to look at.  After about a few hours we each took a couple of bags to deliver to members' homes in different areas.  We ding-dong ditched and left the cookies with the note to pass it on.  

Later that night we were told of a member slaughtering a pig for for us to come watch.  I took some videos of that but thank goodness we showed up after they had already killed the pig and it was already hanging upside down.  With these two slaughterings this week I had nightmares the following night that I survived a human slaughtering and was able to escape with minimal blood loss.  Man, the crazy things people do in Alaska 

Sunday was chill enough and we watched, "17 Miracles" with one of the recent converts. We are still trying to find people to teach in this area so hopefully we will be blessed with investigators soon.  With all these service activities we stay pretty busy.

Sent from ALASKA!!!

Sister Shelley Willden

Monday, December 12, 2016

I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord

So this week by far has been the craziest!  Monday we had a sub-par P-Day because, while it took us what seemed to be a year to put up the volleyball net, hardly anyone wanted to play, but rather talk in separate groups.  Finally someone brought out a game that the majority of us began playing, but when more people showed up then people started a game of volleyball.  Monday night though we had a tender mercy happen to us.  Sister Jewel and I were emailing and doing laundry at the STL's (Sister Training Leader) apartment and thought they had clothes in the washer, but once we realized they didn't, it was about time for our emailing to be over. So long story short, we didn't get our laundry done in the allotted time. We planned on coming back but when we did it was really close to curfew. We asked the Mayhue's (office couple missionaries) for their key and found out the STLs already switched our laundry out for us :)

It has taken me a week but I finally began understanding the area and how to drive it. Tuesday was a very long day of just driving around trying to talk to less actives and former investigators.  Not much success.  Dinner was awesome because Sister Best made noodles with zucchini which made it healthy and delicious still.  
Wednesday we spent most of the day inside because Sister Jewel was so sick, so I spent a lot of time making Plan of Salvation, Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Temple cut outs.

Thursday was the craziest !!  I get out of the shower at 7:30am and Sister Jewel said President Robinson called and wants to speak to me.  President Robinson usually only calls when there is a problem. I took my time getting dressed thinking of all the scenarios of why President was calling.  The worse has happened:  I was getting emergency transferred (ET).  I had two and a half hours to pack up all my stuff and get to the church to take the 3-hour drive down to Soldotna.  Something went wrong in Soldotna where they needed missionaries ET so I was asked to go and serve with
Sister Williams. (her name is Shellie Rae Williams - very similar to me, Shelley Renae Willden).  Sister Jewel is to finish training Sister Anderson.  I was in Anchorage for a week and now to spend at least a transfer or two here in Soldotna. I've heard so much about Soldotna from my trainer and other missionaries who have served there. It has been two of my companions' favorite area. I've heard it is better in the summer but the white snow in the winter time doesn't make it really pretty, just cold. All of our investigators are now baptized so we are in the finding stage which is not that fun, but it's necessary.  It is so much easier to have members give us people to teach, but being a member missionary is harder than it sounds.  I will go anywhere The Lord will send me, and this I believe, is to help me grow.  "There is no growth in your comfort zone."  This is so true and I'm going to be living proof of this throughout my time here in Soldotna. 
Zone meeting the second day I was in Soldotna. 

Sent from ALASKA!

Sister Shelley Willden
The red thing on the ice is a person ice fishing in a tent. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Life in the frozen tundra !

Last pic with Palmer
District Sisters
Transfers happened this week.  The time leading up to Wednesday was just very weird. We went around to a lot of the members to say goodbye and have them sign my transfer journal.  Packing in our apartment was chaotic, but was able to get it all done in a timely manner.  For our last p-day in our zone we played Headbands and Apples to Apples Disney version and of course signed journals.  The next day we had zone lunch eating Taco Bell one last time.  Our transfer logistics had us leaving at 1pm from President La Voie's house in a spare truck. Looking at the truck we were not going to fit four sister missionaries' stuff all in the bed of the truck, but we managed.  We left a little late, well a lot late to the point where we just dropped off Sister Gardner at the temple to run inside before the session started and we took care of her luggage. It was freezing cold on Wednesday.

I met Sister Jewel there and we bonded fairly quickly.  We had a lesson to get to soon afterwards so there was no time to mess around.  I met Amanda and Mike, a couple with two kids.  Amanda has been investigating the church for quite a while. We extended the baptismal challenge and they accepted!!!  We then committed them to pray about a date they can work towards getting baptized.
The next day it snowed.  We were making sure to drive extra careful.  We went to the mission office to drop off our mileage report.  Elder Mayhue gave me an update on my broken IPad.  He said it was still under warranty so he had us go to Downtown Anchorage to the Apple Store to have them replace it.  While there we told them what the problem was and they were able to fix it not having to erase any of the memory ! Such a blessing.  Later that day Sister Jewel had me meet the members of the ward council. Shortly after talking with the Young Women's President, we went back to Amanda's house to help her with a cake she was making for a birthday party.  We were cutting out fondant snowflakes to make a Frozen birthday cake.  It was very fun but fondant really is not good to eat.
On Friday we had weekly planning which seemed to take all day since there is just so much stuff I need to get filled in on.  We had lunch with the Oceanview Sisters.  We did French Toast Friday.  Later that day we had French dipped sandwiches so it worked out perfectly as apparently that was our theme for the day.  In the past the Huffman Sisters (us) have lunch with the Oceanview Sisters at their place so that should be fun.  One of the less active ladies we visit on Friday's goes off on long rants about experiences she has had.  Even though they weren't necessarily problems she was having I have just learned for myself that I don't want to be a counselor.
Saturday was one of our busiest days.  We were just so productive and doing a lot of things that by the end of the night we are just exhausted.  We helped out with the decorations for the ward's Christmas party before lunch.  Afterwards we had district tracting in our area.  There is ice under the snow so I stepped in one wrong place and it seemed as if I just sat down really quickly. :)  At least I'm not hurt.  One of the ward council members asked if we could make desserts for the party that night since they were afraid there weren't going to be enough.  We made these delicious cookies but it turned out there was no need.  There was dessert for days.  The party was a success. We spent the time introducing myself to many members of the ward including less-active members who come only to social events.
Sunday we went to church at 9am.  It was fast and testimony meeting so I bore my testimony and introduced myself to the ward as a whole.  After church Sister Jewel and I hit the sack; we were so tired.  Our dinner appointment couldn't do dinner so they made us lunch instead.  The member found out that I sang so she asked if I would sing the solo part in "Oh, Holy Night" for the Christmas program at church.  It turned out that the whole song is basically a solo with choir accompaniment.  I sang it for her and told her I could do it.  We had practice later that day before the Christmas Devotional.  I have been out of practice but I think it sounds okay.  We perform the song in Church on the 18th.  The Christmas Devotional was great.  We came home and had a late dinner before having a brainstorm session about ideas for finding people to teach.

Sister Jewel and I are getting along so great and the members in the ward are fantastic!  I am so excited to be here serving and hopefully I can contribute something to this work with the Lord's help.
Members of our ward stocked us up on food !!

Sent from ALASKA !

Sister Shelley Willden
Nativity at the Alaska Temple

Monday, November 28, 2016

Anchorage Bound - Let the Greenie Breaking begin !!!

Thanks for the flowers
Mom & Dad

My birthday was on P-day last Monday, which made it extra fun! We went on a nature walk supposedly to a frozen waterfall, but surprisingly it is not that cold enough here for us to walk on the river yet.  The water was half frozen but not enough for us to cross.  So we just took a bunch of pictures.

On Wednesday we had lunch with some recent converts from the Eagle River area where Sister Gardner recently served. They are super nice and funny.  We did service which lasted 30 minutes.  Elder Rogers threw a piece of wood and accidental hit Sister Gardner in the arm.  No damage done - thank goodness.  That evening we had a lesson with some less actives and drew on the iPad while teaching.  It was pretty cool.

For Thanksgiving we visited a lot of members in the ward. One of my favorite families was putting up their Christmas tree on Thanksgiving.  We ate at our Bishop's home and I taught some of their daughters the Tongan shuffle.  It is a weird move/dance that my Tongan friends did to create more room in their bellies for food. Surprisingly, it works.  I had room for seconds and a huge piece of pie.  I was worried that we would get over fed but we weren't.  So thankful for that. 
So my Ipad broke Monday evening so I had to go a few days without one, but then my Mission President came up to conduct an exit interview with one of my companions who is going home.  He brought me a loaner Ipad while mine is getting fixed. Apparently that hasn't happened to many missionaries, so I am grateful that I am blessed to receive a loaner.

Saturday one of the members in our ward cut my hair.  She went to beauty school for over a year.  I am just so grateful that I was able to get it cut.  I have had so many split and dead ends.  It feels so much healthier now.

Yesterday was my last Sunday in this ward.  I am getting transferred to Anchorage in the Huffman Ward on Wednesday.  I will be "greenie breaking" Sister Jewel, who came out a transfer after me.  I will be in the Anchorage Zone - not to be confused with the North Anchorage Zone.  Two of our investigators came to church and Sister Gardner and I bore our farewell testimonies for the ward.

Our new convert Timothy
 and his son, Ritchie 
Nick and his daugher Kia,
our two investigators
I am so thankful for this time that I have spent in the Lazy Mountain Ward in Palmer.  I have been so blessed to have served my time in this area and spoiled to have this place as my first area.  I will forever remember these members, but I am excited for the new adventures and the opportunity to serve the people in Anchorage.

Our Ward Mission Leader, Bro. Miner vacuuming his bear skin

Christmas lights get turned on at 3pm each day
due to the decrease of sunlight each day.

Sent from Palmer, AK !!!

Sister Shelley Willden

Monday, November 21, 2016

We had a cool experience this week.  Not that anything amazing happened, but we know the Lord guides us to who we need to see.  We had one of our ward missionaries out with us and both back-to-back lessons cancelled on us so we decided to go visit other investigators.  It is rare that both NIck and his daughter Kia are home at the same time.  Either she has the car for work and Nick is stuck at home or she is home from work and Nick can use the car for errands.  But this time both were home and we had a member present (Normally when we have a member scheduled to come with us the investigator cancels and they don't even know the member is coming.  (That Adversary - He is the worst!)  During the lesson when we were teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Nick was basically testifying to Kia that what we are teaching is true and that he is reading the Book of Mormon to gain a testimony that Joseph Smith is the man whom Jesus Christ told his ancestors would come.  We all just had chills the entire time and it was a lot more meaningful for the father to testify the truthfulness to his daughter.  The thought came to my mind that once he is baptized and fully coming to church regularly, he will never leave this church.  I don't know if that will be true but it brought peace to my mind.

Well, another investigator dropped us this week, meaning he no longer wants us to teach him, but oddly enough, even though I was a little sad, both my companions and I were at peace with it.  They say we are cleaning out our area book for the elect.

We had dinner with this lady in our ward who has recently moved into the ward.  It is normally awkward eating with her but she was telling us a story of a friend and he knows where she is to be married.  I jokingly said, "well if you find out our futures let us know"  and then all of a sudden she went off telling us about our futures.  I found this very exciting and just fun.  Do I actually believe all this stuff, I'm not sure, but it is just fun to dream.  She said that I would be married in 2 years (I still have a little over 13 months left of my mission meaning that I am to be married then in 11 months of me getting home).  She went on about more stuff, even about a specific moment in time with me on a mountain but the most out-there idea was that I am to have 3 sets of twins.  Well twins don't run in my family so we'll see if my future spouse has that trait in his.:)
For one of our investigators we do a lot of object lessons.  Last time we did the Apostasy cups and he hardly remembered what the principles were so we reviewed them before we did another activity.  We wanted to then move on to the importance of the Book of Mormon so we acted out the story where Nephi and his brothers go get the Brass Plates.  This definitely keep him and his brother engaged and having fun. We decided we are going to do another one this coming week.

One of the members in our ward had an Apples to Apples game, but a Disney version. We played that one night before bed, and this just proves how well we know each other.  Sister Christian always talks about not wanting to get married anytime soon. She chose mine which was the date card.:)

Some of the people we visit go off on personal experiences they have had in the past.  Two people this week told us stories of their near-death experiences and how much peace they felt being given the choice of whether or not to come back to this life. I know that there is more after this life when we die and there is nothing to be afraid of if we are being righteous.

Another holiday I'll be spending on my mission comes this week and we have already started with the big meals.  A family in our ward was celebrating Thanksgiving with their extended family yesterday that we were invited to, and let me just tell you that I am going to have to work extra hard this week !!!

Sent from ALASKA !
Sister Shelley Willden

Monday, November 14, 2016

Last Monday seemed to be months ago.  We planned on having a bonfire by the Knik River again.  We made s'mores with Reese's and roasted starbursts.  It was cold outside so we were huddled around the fire for way too long.  My hair took a couple of washes to finally get the smell of campfire out of it.
Our temple trip was happening on Wednesday and we needed President LaVoie, our vehicle coordinator, to check out one of our tires while we were in Anchorage. Because he was to do that we couldn't let him see how filthy our car was.  This car, which we named Filthy Animal, has not been washed the entire time I have been in Palmer, so we had to wash it, but the bad part was that we realized this is the Tuesday before.  I know this is breaking rules, but we went to a car wash that day. We had about 20 minutes before our next lesson - plenty of time to get the car washed. Everything was going fine but then all of a sudden the water was just going back and forth behind the car stalled in one position.  Naturally we would call the phone number to get them to fix it but the number on the side of the wall was faded off.  We were contemplating on calling anyone in our district but then we would have to explain why we were getting our car washed on a non P-Day.  It took about 5 to 10 minutes for a worker to come shut it off.  He had us go to the next lane to start over which he paid for.  We were a little late to our appointment and couldn't stay too long because we had our quarterly interviews with our Mission President, which went well.

Wednesday we went to the temple and normally because Satan knows you are going to the temple there is a lot of opposition leading up to that moment but that day everything seemed to be going well.  It was a good session and I spent some time just reading the scriptures in the Celestial room.

Thursday we had exchanges with the STL and her trainee.  Sister Richards came with me and Sister Gardner in Lazy Mountain and Sister Christian went with Sister Grieve in Beach Lake.  It was a good exchange but it happened all too quickly.  Before I knew it we were exchanging back.

Friday night we were teaching Chrisian, an autistic child in our ward, about the apostasy.  In order to help him stay focused on the lesson we do a lot of object lessons.  This time we took 6 cups and stacked them to make a pyramid.  We said this represents Christ's Church He established while ministering on Earth.  We taught about the Priesthood and how it was taken away once Christ and all of the apostles were no longer alive on earth.  This meant that no one was able to be in charge to run the church "we knock the pyramid down".  Each one of us took a cup and said what piece of truth we had.  For example, Sister Gardner took the piece of baptism, Sister Christian took the piece of salvation, and I took the piece of repentance.  Christian had the piece of faith and his brother Kellen had the piece representing Jesus. We all had pieces of truth established by Christ but none of us had the whole puzzle.  This is the period we call the Great Apostasy.  Then we taught about the need for a restoration of truth. This was done through a new prophet named Joseph Smith who restored the Church back to how Christ first established it "we put the pyramid back together."  This allowed him to see that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the same church that Jesus Christ built while He was on Earth.  Christian was able to stay focused for the majority of the lesson and we think he was able to retain the information better.

Yesterday Nick and Kia, his daughter, came to church and stayed the entire three hours.  Our lesson in Gospel Principles taught about how the Book of Mormon is a sign of the Second Coming preached about in Ezekiel.  Relief Society went well, too, and even Kia was participating.  We finally saw Timothy who had lost his phone in Anchorage.  He is going through a hard time keeping the Word of Wisdom which is heart breaking.  Pray for him that he is able to quit.  I know that Christ's gospel is able to help us overcome any mistakes we have made and have yet to make.  His grace is sufficient for all of us no matter how many times we mess up.

Sometimes that's all you can do !!

Someone said that God's love is 100%.  He will not love us more if we do things right nor will He love us less if we fall short. His love is unconditional and infinite. 

Aren't Alaska Husky's precious ???

Sent from  ALASKA !!!

Sister Shelley Willden

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fun week!!  If I didn't write down the highlights of the week, I don't think I would remember what had happened.  Our P-day was Halloween, which made it ten times better. We carved pumpkins.  I chose to make the CTR Shield, but when I started cutting it out it started to break.  A couple days later I smashed the pumpkin off our balcony for fun and let out some frustration we have had with some of our leaders. Because of the holiday we as missionaries had our curfew changed to 7pm that night. We went truck-or-treating at the church for 10 minutes and then headed home. My costume was the Holy Ghost!!   

We got a lot of logistical things taken care of like laundry, putting away groceries, cleaning a bit.  We watched Facet-to-Face with Studio C and then had a spiritual conversation about the Atonement until late into the evening.

We had another church tour but this one was for our investigator Harold.  He is another Alaskan native who likes the concept that the Book of Mormon is a record of the ancestors of the now Native Americans.  He didn't accept the invitation to be baptized, but he said, "Maybe" to coming to church.  Unfortunately he, nor Nick came to church this week.  Everyone seems to be sick, so the attendance was very slim this past Sunday.

So there is this lady in our ward that I have visited with Sister Nield almost every week.  She is now in the hospital.  The Ward Council has been deciding on what to do with her cat, Abbu, and who can take care of him.  Somehow we got volun-told to take care of the cat:  to feed him and clean his litter box daily.  We told our Bishop a couple days later that we didn't feel comfortable taking care of the cat as we are not allowed to have pets on our missions and we are gone 10 to 11 hours a day. Later we found out that the cat had a flesh eating disease and no one assumed to tell us that, which is why the lady in our ward is in the hospital.  He apparently had been cleaned but still, that is frightening to know after we had been petting him and he has been hugging on Sister Christian for the past few days.  Long story short, the cat is gone and from what we can tell neither of us have the disease for we are all still alive and well.

During Zone Meeting for one of the training's we played a game of telephone.  This version there were two stories being told on either side of the line and they were to cross paths and get from one side to the other.  The story that started closer to me was changed a lot but not as much as the other one.  The one that I got passed near the end went from Wasilla Zone celebrating a birthday at Red Robin to the Wasilla Zone breaking the law of Chastity.  We were all dying with laughter.  The training was on gossip and it put in perspective how much "mission drama" being spread around is a real thing and that it needs to stop.

We had an amazing lesson with Nick on Saturday.  We taught him the Plan of Salvation and after the lesson he basically quoted Moroni's challenge to us and he hadn't even read the Book of Mormon yet because it was just that day we gave him a large print copy of it.  He is so meant to be Mormon.  I can't wait for him to realize everything we are teaching him is true and for him to follow Christ by being baptized.

Yesterday was my 4 month click day.  Every 6th is my month mark of being on my mission.  I actually found out why our mission calls our month marks click days - it is because "click" is the sound our tags make when you put them on so it is a representation of the first day they clip your tag on you in the MTC.  So to celebrate my 4 month birthday in a way was to sleep in an extra hour due to daylight savings!

Sent from ALASKA !

Sister Shelley Willden

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween !!!

Mom sent Halloween Treats 

So we we had a very fun week last week!! Me and my tripanionship bonded.  We have our inside jokes already.  We had some crazy things happen as well.  The first is we are working on bringing more members to lessons, so we brought one of our ward missionaries and she and the less-active 

member we were visiting do not necessarily get along. She told us this in the car right before we got there and during the lesson, the less-active said, "I have a bone to pick with you."  It was the most awkward lesson ever.  She looked over at us with a look in her eyes like "help", but what were we to do?  She ended up crying in our car afterwards and I felt so bad. The worst part is that we had two more lessons for her to accompany us. 
This week we were to go back and do more service for the scrap yard, but we got there and he didn't want us to get frost bitten so he didn't make us work.  The member is one crazy man.  He has a lazy eye and at one point while he was rambling he sees an eagle fly over head.  He says we all will have good luck for the rest of the day. The crazy part is that one eye was looking at the eagle and the other was looking at one of the Elders.  I could listen to him talk all day and laugh.  We took Nick, one of our investigators, on a church tour.  Nick sure can talk.  He will share stories from his past and they go on and on.  We had a member there to be with us for the tour and he wasn't use to Nick, so he was trying to cut him off to say things or help the tour move along.  It was funny, but we committed Nick to be baptized!   His tentative date is November 30th.  He even came to church for the first time Sunday and it was our ward's Primary program.  It was centered on the scriptures, Plan of Salvation, and Joseph Smith - all things we teach investigators, so that was a great experience for him.  

We had some extra miles to use before the end of the month, so we went on a mountain adventure.  We went up to the furthest part we could drive to and it ended up with a sign saying private property.  We hit a lot of pot holes on the way up and hitting them on the way down really made our car dirty.  I can't wait until we are allowed to go through an actual car wash during the winter time. 
Alaskan Husky
A ton of other funny stuff happened that i can't write out, but I am having so much fun with a trio that I couldn't have imagined.

 Sent from ALASKA !!!!

Sister Sister Willden

Last P-Day we played basketball and scatterball (a mix of dodgeball and tag).  I won a few games.  We did journal signing as well for those leaving the district.  Because Sister Nield is leaving to go serve in North Anchorage, we finally cleaned out the car. The outside is still dirty but the inside looks pretty good.
Wednesday morning we drove down to Anchorage for our transfer.  Because I am getting two companions we had to shove all their stuff into one car.  I felt like we were playing a game of Tetris.
Nonetheless, we got it all in there and with places for people to sit.  We were about to leave when I realized I didn't have the car keys. Sister Nield had driven away with the keys.  Some of the other sisters who are serving in Anchorage as well went to track them down and bring us the keys.  We waited at the mission office until they arrived back; not the best way to start off the transfer. We arrived back into Palmer with enough time to drop off the luggage and head over to DQ for a district lunch.  We met the newbies to the district and made plans for a district service opportunity that came up.  

We went to the service project the next day which required us to help clean a yard. Now when someone tells you you are cleaning a yard, you think of raking leaves, maybe mowing the lawn, and that kind of stuff.  This is no ordinary lawn.  This was a scrap yard owned by a member in the Pioneer Peak Ward.  We thought we'd be able to accomplish the task with just our district, but we wouldn't even come close to finishing it even if we had our whole zone.  They wanted this done before winter, but it snowed the next day.

It wasn't even that cold Thursday and overnight it turned Alaska into a Winter Wonderland.  When I pictured Alaska before coming here, this is what I pictured:

It has melted a little, but I think the snow will stay.  I don't mind snow when it stays on the sides of the road and I don't have to walk in it.

So Brother Werner is a Counselor in the Bishopric.  Normally we try to avoid these people or screen their calls as its inevitable one will be asked to give a talk. Well, what are you supposed to do when they text you what they want you to talk about?  So I now had to give a talk on Sunday.  Mind you that he told me Thursday afternoon and I had to give the talk Sunday morning.  "Ain't nobody got time for dat!" So for the next couple of days every spare moment I was preparing my talk.  It turned out I was the last speaker to speak Sunday, which normally means you take up the rest of the time.  Everything went find and I happened to plan more things to talk about than I had time.

A lot of our investigators are on hold for the time being, meaning they are busy until a certain time, which is not right now, so we have been doing a lot of finding.  We met this man named Art OYMing (open your mouth) and he had a polar bear looking dog. He said he lived on a certain street, so my plan was to track the street and find him. We didn't need to because we saw Gracie (the polar bear dog) outside his yard.  We talked to him and got an appointment to come back.  We brought Brother Miner with us and I am so glad we did.  We went there and his house was filled with women, a layer of smoke in the air, and he was half intoxicated.  We taught him anyway and he said he'd come to church only if he could bring Gracie.  Now we say Gracie is a polar bear dog because she looks like a polar bear, but also, she is close to the size of a polar bear!  Okay, not really, but she is a pretty big dog.  We looked at Brother Miner to give an answer to this.  He said it would be find if she sat in the back.  He didn't come to church on Sunday though.

On Saturday, our ward had a YW (Young Women) Auction.  The Elders (really their wives) cooked chili and corn bread.  A lot of people came and even some of the less actives we visit.  The auction held at the end of the event was the best.  Brother Morgan dressed up like some kind of gangster and was cracking jokes the whole way through.  I think of it wasn't for him being the MC/Auctioneer, I don't know if they would have raised $5,200.  They auctioned off desserts and services.  They even had a silent auction going during dinner as well.  All of the donations are going to the YW for their YW camp of rafting.  The decorations were coordinated really well.

Sent from ALASKA !

Sister Shelley Willden

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fun packed week!!  For P-Day last Monday we played a game called Spyfall.  This is where you have to guess who is the spy.  Our location which is hidden from the spy was the Beach.  I asked Sister Burdick what she would wear to this place.  She said a T-shirt and jeans.  From that I said, "I'd like to make a guess who the spy is.", and she laughed.

Monday turned out to be Columbus Day and we didn't realize it until dinner time.  I had just happened to be studying about the apostasy and the importance of certain people to help usher in the Restoration.  One of those people I was reading about was Christopher Columbus.  That is not a coincidence that I was studying about him on that day.

One of the members in our Ward, Sister Casagrande, wanted to send her missionary daughter a package to do Boo Bags to "Boo" some of her investigators (like heart attacking a house).  She got some extra stuff for us to do some people in the ward and it was so cool. We went to "Boo" Timothy and I had Sister Nield walk up to his door.  Before she could leave the bag and leave, his aunt opened the door.  Though she was still talking to Timothy so she was walking out backwards.  Sister Nield didn't know what to do so she just stood there.  The aunt turned around and almost punched Sister Nield out of fright.  It's a good thing she didn't.  Well we couldn't make this a secret anymore, so we just gave the bag to Timothy.  He really appreciated it for his son, Ritchie.  When we saw him I could already see the difference in him now having the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.  We received the following text from Timothy. Unfortunately, autocorrect changed "you two" to "youtube".

We went to the doctor's for Sister Neld's appointment and they said she can stay on her mission because her condition is not causing her any permanent damage.  We received our transfer calls later in the week and Sister Nield is being transferred to Jewel Lake, which is an area in Anchorage.  I, on the other hand, am receiving two new companions.  Making our apartment ready for a trio is very difficult when we don't really have the time.

Early Thursday morning, we got a call at 5:15 in the morning from a member in the ward calling us to have a look at the northern lights.  We went out and saw them, but they weren't like the other ones we have seen.  There weren't any color.  It was almost as if someone was shining a flashlight on the sky making them dance.  It was weird, but cool.  
We were able to visit one of our investigators who we thought might have dropped us through text, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  There was another lesson we had with one of our investigators and we had to do a soft drop with him.  We are constantly finding new people to teach and sometime we have to drop those who aren't quite ready at this time to commit to living the gospel.

The days are so long and the weeks go by so fast.  I'm afraid my mission will be over in a blink of an eye.

Sent from ALASKA !!

Sister Shelley Willden