Friday, May 29, 2015


Mom's Note -- Up to this point all names in Jessica's blog have been shortened to initials to protect the privacy of others. I've heard bad stories of investigators and inactive or less active members being harassed when their names were found on missionary blogs. However, since this can get to be very confusing to the reader, I've decided to shorten only the names of those investigators or less active/inactive members from now on and go ahead and use other names in full. I hope this helps a bit.

On another note, I'd like to ask for your prayers for Jessica. She had a lot of dental work done before her mission but has still been in pain ever since. She's going to a dentist in California, trying to get things figured out, but right now she wakes up almost every night in tears because of the pain. She could really use all of our prayers. Thank you.

I just realized I left my brain (my planner) in the truck, so this letter will be quite different than most. I'll write the highlights that I remember.

We had a great opportunity to go tracting on Tuesday. I just love meeting people & testifying as to what we believe. Even when they aren't interested, I still feel the Spirit as I testify. We did meet this really great girl who is a Junior in high school. She said she has a friend who's a member & said she'd be interested in learning more & accepted a Book of Mormon. I called her a few days after & she said she'll be busy until school is out so to call her in a couple weeks...we'll see where that goes!

Wednesday we had interviews with President Hobbs. This is the second one I've had since being in the field. I always get so nervous to talk to President & I don't know why. It was really great, though. He asked me what I wanted to talk about. I told him how something has been missing since I've been here in Phelan & I think I figured out what it is. The week before in zone meeting, one elder quoted President saying: "When you stop contacting, you stop being a missionary." THAT'S WHAT IT IS. Contacting! I hadn't done it much at all since being up here & I miss it a lot. But I told him about how we went tracting on Tuesday and he encouraged me to figure out ways to find. Because that is our purpose. It's great to help the members & less actives in your ward, but a missionary's purpose is to find those who are prepared to receive the gospel, teach them & baptize them. 

He said "Phelan is different". hahaha. It was funny how he said it. It really is different. We have to be creative in the ways we find here & lately we haven't been creative. So that is our challenge! All in all it was a great interview.

Wednesday night we had a lesson with C. We planned to teach her the Plan of Salvation, but only got to the Fall of Adam & Eve & she had sooo many questions. We gave her 2Nephi 2 to read. 

One thing we've been working a lot on this past week is asking EVERYONE for referrals--member, less active, non member, investigator, grumpy men, etc. We've been doing pretty great with it. We take turns asking. Working through members is how missionary work is supposed to be done. In a perfect world missionaries wouldn't do the finding, the members would! but no one's perfect, so we're trying to work on that. 

Sunday morning before Sacrament meeting we got a text from C saying "Not for me. I don't want to be Mormon anymore. Blessed to know you"  NOOOOO, C!!!!  We wanted to scream. We tried asking her what happened & if we could come over & talk with her, she said "no".  But we're not giving up that easily. But as of now, there is no baptism for June 6.  I think I'm cursed. Every investigator I've had that's close to baptism cancels. I might go my whole mission without a baptism. Luckily, I don't gauge success on the number of baptisms....but still! 
Sunday was one of those days..... C cancelled her baptism, awkward lunch/dinner with a couple of families, appointments cancelled, etc. We spent 50+ miles with nothing to show for it. We decided to visit the H family at night & even they weren't home!  So we decided to visit their horses & ended up teaching their horse the Message of the Restoration. At least he accepted a return appointment! hahaha.  I recorded the lesson on my camera ;)

So yesterday was a really great day. We had a ward Memorial Day breakfast combined with another ward. We also played softball. It was fun. I got a little sunburned. Then we took a little nap at home. Then we did some shopping and went to the zone activity at 2:00.  The zone activity was super fun! We played ultimate ball, which is like ultimate frisbee but with a small football & you shoot it into the basketball hoop. Then we played savage ball, which I'm not to good at, but I can keep up with the elders...kinda. 

Here's an interesting experience we had with tracting last week...

We knocked on this lady's door who had a few crosses in her yard. Usually that's a sign of a great Christian home & you'd expect whoever opens the door to be friendly & nice. But this lady was the total opposite. She opened the door & we said "hi" & told her who we were & told her we have a special message about Jesus Christ. We told her that His church has been restored to the earth today through a living prophet & through him we have more of God's word to His children in another book of holy scripture called The Book of Mormon. She proceeded to tell us what we believed in. It's funny how other people tell us what WE believe & it's never correct. 

Lady: "You believe you gain salvation through Joseph Smith. HE WAS A MAN!" 
Our response: "No ma'am. We do not believe that. We believe that ONLY through Jesus Christ we can gain salvation. We believe Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet in these last days just as Abraham, Moses, & Noah were prophets."

After about a 10 minute discussion with her practically telling us we are terrible people & that we believe in a false religion, I said "we hope you have a great day" & walked away & she said "wish I could say the same to you..." It actually hurt me to see that this woman who claims to know Jesus Christ truly doesn't know Him at all... Jesus Christ is the perfect example of love, hope, gratitude, faith, obedience, charity, etc. Shouldn't we all strive to be more like Him each & every day? He is the only source of pure joy in this life & eternal life in the world to come.

His gospel is such a HAPPY message. That's why I love being a missionary. That's why I've never been happier in all my life. Even when you meet the rudest kinds of people. Being in the Lord's work brings so many blessings.

Quote of the Week: 
"Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice but a continuous commitment and way of life." - Dallin H. Oaks 

love you!!
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Hey mom (& everyone else who reads this)!

First off, I didn't get a root canal at the dentist. They filled some cavities & gave me a plate thing that I'm supposed to wear at night to prevent clenching & grinding, but it hurts to wear, so sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night & take it next appointment is May 29, Emmy's birthday! then the next one after that is June 12.
This week was good as always, but a little slower. We weren't able to meet with A at all this week. Since now we have to go through F to get to see her, it places another roadblock in her way of progression. 

Tuesday after zone meeting I was able to get a blessing from one of my zone leaders. It was great, it's been awhile since I'd had a blessing. I'd heard of a sister getting a blessing from her dad over that kosher? Wouldn't he need to put his hands on her head? idk.. haha, but anyway that would kinda be cool. Also, Sister O said she usually says a family prayer over the phone, which would've been cool, but I'd probably cry. haha. After zone meeting we went home to drop off groceries, then to visit a couple people before we had an early dinner at home. Then we had a lesson with the Ws, and then one with S A. 

Wednesday we had lunch with the sister training leaders. We got new ones this transfer, but they're not too new to me. One is my mom, Sister C & the other is Sister S's mom, Sister P! It was really fun to see them again & catch up.
It was great to see my "mom" again!
After lunch we hit up and then we had a lesson with C at the church & we watched the Restoration video. She still has a desire to be baptized, but doesn't know how much longer she can take all her trials. She's desperate for a job. We promised her that after baptism when she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost her problems won't go away, but they will be so much easier to deal with. We had dinner at the O's then saw the Hs. Sister H told us about her neighbor who is needing someone to help with her horses and she offers free rent/utilities. We think this would be perfect for C! So we texted her a little bit about it & she's super excited. 

Thursday after studies we were supposed to go help C A with cleaning her house, but she wasn't feeling well. So we went home for lunch then to S's to help her clean her house. After that we asked if we could go see C & tell her more about the job opportunity. We also had a lesson with her talking about the Prophet Joseph Smith. After that we went to the H's to help K with her spelling words, but she didn't need help, so we talked with Sister H and then shared a message. Then we had dinner with the Hs and then saw M. I'm teaching M how to play "falling slowly" on ukulele! It's so fun :)

Friday was my dentist appointment. It was seriously the most relaxing dentist appointment I'd ever experienced!! They gave me novocaine & were really gentle. It was awesome. EXCEPT the fact that I had to use the bathroom so very badly & it's seriously the longest I'd ever held my bladder in my life I thought I was going to explode. hahahaha. Luckily I wasn't feeling too bad afterwards so we were still able to do missionary work that day & I was only still numb for one lesson...hahaha.
My novocaine smile
We had dinner with the G family then went to do ward coordilation, but when we got there  they the Es hadn't had dinner yet, so we ended up helping them make dinner & eating with them. We didn't even have time to do ward coordilation....

Saturday we did some service for a less active woman & her nonmember husband, the Hs. They grow pretty much all their own food: vegetables, fruits, chicken, pigs, goats, etc. It's pretty neat. We helped out in the greenhouse & afterwards we were talking to Brother H about all the food he makes & he invited us to have dinner with them sometime soon! At the end they ended up giving us a tomato plant for us to grow, fresh beets, turnips, kale & carrots. I have pictures :) 

Then we went home & finished weekly planning that we didn't really have time for on Friday. We had dinner with B, a sweet young mom with 2 boys. I know I've talked about eating at the H's before. It's their daughter. She & her husband & boys live with the her parents. Then we went to see J & watched a video with her.  Oh, and on Saturday night we got a text from C saying her mom's in the hospital....great...just what she needs. :/

Sunday was great. Unfortunately we didn't have any investigators at church, but it was great nonetheless. We had a really great speaker in Sacrament from the high council. He addressed his talk to the young men & young women who would serve missions in the future. He told about an experience he had on his mission. He was an incredible speaker. 
After church we went to the linger longer at the T's home. Then we went to help Sister H & her mom load bags of clothes into our truck to bring to the D.I. box at church. Sister H's husband passed away recently & she's getting ready to move, so she's getting rid of tons of things. Then went to visit some people before we had dinner with the Ds @ 3. We didn't originally have dinner with anyone & we were okay with it, but Sister D saw us at church & said "we're having breakfast for dinner tonight & I said 'aww we don't have the sisters!' do you have dinner tonight?" "well, no..." "do you want to come over?" Sister O & I look at eachother..."okay!" So we had a delicious meal, as always at the D home. Afterwards we were able to visit C L who is an active member but she has been immobile recently due to back problems, so we had a nice visit with her. Then we went to see the Cs, then home to do our studies & go to bed. :)

So this week seemed less eventful as far as lessons went...we haven't been reaching our member present goal or our other lesson goal. (member present is the lessons we teach an investigator with a member & other lesson is just a lesson with an investigator)

I can't believe this transfer is almost half over already! This week we have President interviews....ahh. I don't know why I get nervous. President Hobbs is really sweet & an inspiring man. I'll be sure to write next week about that. 

I love you & thank you for all your support & prayers. They strengthen me. Hope you have a WONDERFUL week. LOVE YOU!
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, May 14, 2015


It was fun seeing you all yesterday (Skype). Before we know it it will be Christmas & we'll be doing that again! So I don't really have much to write this week...hahaha.

Well, Tuesday we had dinner with C & afterward we taught her the Restoration.  It started out kinda weird by her saying "aren't you prophets?" "uhh, not the kind we're talking about" But it ended up being a really good lesson! Then we had a lesson with S & we watched a really old video called "Our Heavenly Father's Plan" & it was super funny haha. Then we had a lesson with Sister H. 

Wednesday we had a lesson about prayer with B & M. We were planning on doing service for D & V, but they cancelled, so we ended up doing and  then visiting some people until dinner with the Es. After dinner we went to see A, our 10yo investigator. Note: earlier in the day we texted/called F asking if we could come see A, but he never answered us. We got there & F started yelling at us saying "you need to call before you come over, people don't just come over without permission." & stuff like that. MAN did I have to bite my tongue. I would've said more if I knew he wouldn't hurt V, but I don't want to cause any trouble with V. She came up to us & you could see on her face how embarrassed & bad she felt, but she had to say something to us in front of him. 

Thursday morning we went to a less active family, the Cs, to do service for them after they fed us a yummy lunch! Then we went home to shower & went out to see people and had dinner with the P. (President P is President Hobbs' 1st counselor in the mission presidency; President Moran in Carbon Canyon was his 2nd counselor) President P made lime ice cream, which was DELISH.

Friday morning we finally were able to have a lesson with a referral we got 2 weeks ago, C M. We walked into her home & it was a MESS. Things everywhere & it reeked of smoke. It was hard to stand at first but luckily you kinda get used to it....while simultaneously getting lung cancer. We taught her half of the plan of salvation because she's had a lot of family members die (twin sister, son, husband, & father). We asked her if she'd be baptized & she accepted. We'll have to do a lot of work with her. She has a lot of issues, but everyone needs the gospel! So she became our new investigator. Woooooo! Then we went home & weekly planned until our dinner with the Ss, a cute young family who makes really good cookies.....ugh. Then we went to visit D & V. :)

Saturday we went to the Ms to do service. Service at the Ms usually consists of going out to their farm & doing yard work, but this time it consisted of playing with their kids while Sis. M did her laundry. It was cool at first, but it dragged on a little long, haha. When we got out of there we visited C S. When we first got there she was really upset we were there. It was super awkward, but as we were talking she warmed up & we ended up leaving with a blanket that she crocheted! Then we had dinner at the D's and then went to the A's so Sister O could call home for Mother's Day. It was already Mother's Day in Tonga!

Sunday was great! You know why???? because A came to church! haha. Oh, and also that I got to talk to my wonderful family that I miss dearly. After we were done talking we went to visit some people, including C M. She was outside & all over the place. As we were talking to her (or she was talking to us mostly) she almost fell over a few times & passed out. We don't know what's up with her, but we helped her stand up to go inside and then we left.

We had dinner with the Ss and then visited the Hs. We had a miracle lesson with them. We've been praying for a long time to figure out what their problem is & why they don't come to church. Beforehand we didn't really know what we were going to share with them, but I chose the Bible Video of Peter walking on water to Jesus. It really was by the spirit because that led Brother H into telling us his concerns. He really misses coming to church but has issues he needs to clear up first. It was really, really good. Sister O was really bold & loving with them, saying no matter what anybody in the church might do to you, your foundation must be in Jesus Christ & His gospel. 

The message we've been sharing with our less actives & at some dinner appointments this week has been about the Book of Mormon. A quote from President Marion G. Romney: 

“I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly,both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence willincrease; mutual respect and consideration for eachother will grow. The spirit of contention will depart.Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents.Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness”

I love this quote & I'm seeing the truth that is in here. I know that the Book of Mormon was preserved for hundreds of years for US in our day, for our profit & learning. I'm excited to read the Book of Mormon with my family back home & my future family. 

Thanks for being the best! Love you!!!
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tender Mercies (May 4 Email)

I'm a firm believer in tender mercies & if we are observant, we can notice tender mercies every day of our lives. The Lord is waiting to bless us & He does.

Yes, tomorrow indeed marks 6 months since I went into the MTC. I counted out where transfers fall & if my calculations are correct, on May 16th I'll have 1 year left. May 16, 2016 is probably the day I come home, which is just 1 week after Mother's Day. So I think I'll skip next Mother's day calling home so I don't run out of things to say when I get home. Okay? Okay. ;)  But anywho, I'm getting way ahead of myself. I still got TONS of time out here in California spreading this wonderful gospel! :)

This week was pretty special. Every week is special, but this was just a great week.
(heads up: I left my brain (my planner) at home today, because it is the start of a new transfer so I forgot to bring last transfers brain, so I'm borrowing Sister 'O's brain)

Monday we had dinner with the B family. J B is our investigator; her husband is a member and they live with his parents. After dinner we watched "Finding Faith in Christ". We're trying to help her find greater faith so that she will be baptized! She lives like a member but isn't baptized. We call these kinds of people "dry mormons". We haven't quite figured out what's holding her back yet, besides the fear of telling her family. We need to be more bold with her & that's what we're planning on doing this week.

Tuesday we had our last district meeting of the transfer. Afterwards we did our weekly routine of heading to Walmart on the way back home. After lunch we visited a less active, L. She's very talkative. And I mean VERY. The message we were planning on sharing was Alma 18:24-35 talking about our testimonies, but she was talking so much that it was almost dinner time & I was thinking "I really don't want to share this long message with her..." So I turned to Ether 12:27, to share that, but couldn't relay that to Sister 'O. Luckily L went to the other room to grab something & quickly Sis. 'O & I were able to discuss the changes in our message & we shared Ether 12:27 with her...tender mercy #1. 
We had dinner with the cute S family. They're the family we had dinner with my first night in Phelan. Super cute kids, esp 4yr old Q. If you know me, you know I have a thing for blond haired, blue eyed little boys...NOT CREEPY. Then we had a lesson with S and we watched the mormon message, "bear up our burdens with hope" or something similar to that. then we had a lesson with Sister H.

Wednesday we drove to our stake center in Victorville where R picked us up for my dentist appointment in Hesperia. Turns out I'm probably going to need a root canal. The Lord is blessing me & my family because they're not charging us for a thing. HUGE tender mercy #2. 
Afterwards we did our studies, then went to visit Sister M. We had a nice conversation with her. She was holding her baby, T, & got a phone call so she put him on my lap. Not totally legal, but I couldn't do a thing about it. A baby was placed in my lap! So I took advantage of this opportunity & took pictures. because CUTEST BABY EVER. When we were leaving Sis. M said "hey I just went to Costco & got too much. I have stuff for you." After all was said & done we were walking out of their house with bags of groceries like we just went shopping...frozen pizza, pork chops, frozen chicken, fresh green beans, cheez its, cereal, butter, & much more! tender mercy #3.  
We had dinner with the Os and then a lesson with E and G W. We watched a film called "Together Forever", a really cheesy old film about eternal families. It really is a funny one haha. Then we went to visit our investigator A (10). Her mom was sick so we just talked with her. We shared "the hope of God's light". 

Thursday we had a lesson with B & M. Talked about obedience! A few old ladies from Sister 'O's first ward came to Phelan & took us out to lunch at KFC. It was nice. Then we tried to visit our referral, C. She wasn't home. So we did until our dinner with the Hs. After dinner we were heading to see A again, but we passed by V & D's house & they were outside! tender mercy #4. We had a really nice time with them looking at old photo albums & sharing about prayer. We're gonna go back this week & do service for them. V, who is 88 with dementia absolutely loves us. She kissed me about 20 times, no joke. 

Friday morning we pulled weeds at Kim E's. Then she made us lunch. Afterwards we went home to do some weekly planning until our dinner appointment with the N family. They're a young family with 3 kids. They invited a nonmember family over for dinner too. This family isn't interested in the gospel yet, but they're super nice & fun. We had a really nice conversation with them & got to share a bit about our missions. tender mercy #5. Then we had our ward coordilation. In the afternoon, K took A, our investigator, shopping to get church clothes. She got her like 3 outfits & shoes. SUCH A BLESSING. 

Saturday our zone had a zone service project at El Mirage. You can probably look up what it is, because I'm not entirely sure. I know people ride quads on a dry lake bed though. So we were supposed to be there at 6am-1pm they would feed us breakfast & lunch & we'd get a free tshirt. Our zone was planning on meeting at 5:40 on the corner of a road so we could drive there together. But Sister O & I woke up at 6am....whoops. We woke up to numerous calls/texts from the elders asking us where we were & telling us to wake up hahaha. We hurried & got ready. We got there around 6:40 & made it in plenty of time for breakfast. It was pretty nice for us, but not so much for the other missionaries who woke up at 4:30am hahaha. tender mercy #6. They definitely did not let us forget that small fact the rest of the day. 
After breakfast we headed out to the dry lake bed & picked up trash for 4.5 hrs. It was actually pretty fun, we just hung out with the other missionaries while picking up trash. Then we ate lunch around 12:30 & got our tshirts. Took a couple zone pictures last time as a zone & went home to do studies. After studies we tried a couple people, then went home for dinner. 
After dinner we stopped by C's. Hopefully you remember what happened last week with her. If not, go back & read last weeks email...Anyway, in our lesson with her last week, everything she was telling us reminded me of President Uchtdorf's talk from October 2013 GC, "Come, Join With Us". We printed out that talk & brought it to read with C. From the get go when we walked in the door, she was in a much better mood than the last time we talked to her. She had time to think about what happened last week & to cool off. We started reading the talk with her & she kept saying "really guys?! did you write this?" The talk was literally perfect for her. I didn't even realize HOW perfect it was until we read it with her. Every point he makes in it, she brought up last week. Such a miracle. She viewed it as "divine intervention" tender mercy #7. 
Then we went to visit A, but she was sick. The stomach flu was going around their house. We went in & talked to her grandma & her mom, V. V really wants to come to church & hopefully F will let her. Pray that his heart may be softened! But neither A or V were able to come this week because A was siiiiick.

Sunday..C came to church! tender mercy #8. She cried. tender mercy #9. hahaha, but she must've felt the spirit during testimony meeting. She wasn't able to stay for the rest of the meetings, but at least she came to sacrament meeting! After church & studies we had dinner with the Ds! Steak, baked potatoes, & broccoli. yummmm. & of course the famous D cookies! After that we were able to have 3 lessons with less actives. tender mercy #10 because we were able to meet our goal for less active lessons for the week! And sister H gave us eggs from their chickens :) tender mercy #11.

Today before we came to email is the last tender mercy I can think of for this week's email...I got to take a nap. tender mercy #12. 

It sure was a great week & I'm excited to be starting this new transfer still in Phelan with Sister 'O! It's gonna be way different in our zone though because no companionship stayed the same except for us! Ahhh. There's just not as many missionaries anymore, so they're closing some areas that have had 2 sets of missionaries & just putting one. We were hoping to cover Phelan & Wrightwood so we can be super busy, but I guess not ;) hahaha. That's okay. We've got enough work to do here & more to find!
YOU HAD AN EARTHQUAKE??? I"m so jealous. I've never felt one & I'm in CALIFORNIA for goodness' sake. Anyway, I think that's about it. I think this letter is one of the best I've written so you're welcome :)
love you so much & I'll talk to you on Sunday!!!
Sister Viraldo

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I'm Phelan Good! (April 27 email)

This may be my last time emailing from Phelan....who knows. The zone leaders told us that there will probably be a LOT of changes happening. 9 elders are going home & only 1 is coming out. That probably means they'll be closing down areas & combining some. Sister 'O & I think we're both staying, but we'll find out on Saturday...

Monday we didn't have zone activity so we had  a pretty chill day. After emailing we went to MAUI WAUI!! then did a little shopping at Stater Bros. We had dinner at the G's then went to visit our investigators V & A. A is 10 years old & she is our main focus. Her mom, V, is really awesome & wants to learn & wants to be baptized but she lives with her boyfriend. (on the down low, it's not a good relationship, he is SUPER controlling & she can't do anything or go anywhere by's super sad). We watched Finding Faith in Christ with them. V has seen it a few times because she LOVES it. As we were talking afterwards the Spirit directed me to commit them (A mainly) to baptism. A wants to be baptized & come to church! (again, really sad. V wants to come to church too, but she knows F won't let her go, so we said we'd get A a ride)

Tuesday we had district meeting, went to Walmart, home for lunch, Sis 'O took her language study, then we went to try people. We were given a name from the ward council to go check & see if she lives there. A woman opens the door quite rudely & I said "Hello, how are you?" "fine." "Does so-and-so live here?" "Not for 2 1/2 years!" But we're skeptical & think that that was probably her. haha. Then we met a less active lady, L. We had a nice visit with her & she wants us to come back, so YAY we added another to our teaching pool (people we are specifically working with & trying to see weekly). We had dinner with a semi-active couple, the Gs. Really awesome people. Then we went to the E's to talk with them about their friends who we're trying to meet with.

Wednesday we had a lesson with M & B.  We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which if you don't know what that's faith, repentance, baptism, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end & repeat. But instead of baptism, partaking of the sacrament weekly, and instead of receiving the Holy Ghost, being worthy to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. :) After lunch, we headed over to the P's so Sister P could practice my song with me & help Sister 'O with her essay. She helped me really well, but not so much Sis 'O, so we headed a couple houses down to Sister T. We were there until our lesson with our investigator, C.  Sis. S met us at the church for our lesson. We watched Finding Faith in Christ, really good lesson. We then had dinner with the Ws (less active recent converts) & then we watched Elder Holland's talk from General Conference.

Thursday after studies we went again to Sis T's so she could help with the essay. Meanwhile, I washed their dishes in the kitchen. haha. Then we had a lesson with a referral we got. BACK UP. Wednesday morning Sister Schweider from the mission office called us giving us a referral of a lady in Phelan. She actually lives just outside our area boundary, but we were told to go anyway. We went Wednesday & set up a time on Thursday to have a lesson with her....Well, we went by on Thursday, but she cancelled.. :/  Hopefully this week we'll be able to see her. Then we did and then went to the H's to help K with her spelling words.  We had dinner at the C's, and then we picked up Sister H for a lesson with A. We got to her house & her mom wasn't there, but we were able to get in with her & start teaching the plan of salvation. And BOY did she have crazy questions. Usually we LOVE when investigators have questions, but she had about 20 questions & most of them didn't relate or were irrelevant for investigators to know. We straight up told her to stop asking questions & let us teach haha. She still asked some questions & we were there for about 30 minutes & all we taught was the pre-earth life & the fall. We told her we'd come back when her mom was there. 

Friday...WEEKLY PLANNING FOR WEEK....SIX?!? craziness.  After that, we yet again went to Sister T's to finish Sis 'O's essay.  We didn't have dinner that night, so we decided to try out a Mexican restaurant in town. It was pretty authentic, so authentic that it burned my taste buds & made me cry.  haha not really, but it was very spicy!  I got horchata & couldn't stop singing "In December drinking Horchata, I'd look psychotic in a balaclava. Winter's cold is too much to handle....." Jordan & Jonathan will know exactly what I'm talking about  ;)  After dinner we had a lesson with S & J.  We watched Elder Holland's talk from General Conference (yes, again. it's THAT good.) Then we had a lesson with M!

Saturday was a stake service project at Mojave Narrows Park in Victorville. It was SO windy & very cold! It wouldn't have been so cold if it wasn't so windy. We did various things, planted flowers, painted lines in the parking lot, built a fence, put up barbed wire, etc... I guess there was a pretty good turnout, with the Phelan ward represented by a grand total of THREE members (excluding us). haha so lame.  The wards that were there had a picnic afterwards, but since our ward wasn't there, we got invited to all the other ward picnics. We joined the Tongan ward. I've heard they feed you well there, but I had no idea. They bbqd their chicken & it was AMAZING. I was walking by to go sit down & someone placed two hot dogs on my plate. So I had a large piece of chicken & 2 hot dogs! but of course I also grabbed some rice & macaroni salad. I didn't think I'd be able to eat it all, but somehow because I was sooo cold my body didn't get full as fast...weird, right? So after that we drove home & I took a HOT shower and then we visited J & watched The Restoration video with her, then visited Sister H, whose husband recently passed away. We had dinner at the E's again and then had our ward coordination. Then went home to write our talks for sacrament meeting!

Sunday was crazyyyy. After ward council we drove to A's because we were going to meet Sis E there so she could drive A to church. We got there at 8:30 & A had JUST woken up when we got there. She hurried & got dressed and we ended up leaving her house at 8:55. We got to church at about 9:05, but luckily our ward always starts late.......yeah..I know. haha. 

Anyway, we get there & go sit up front because Sister 'O & I were both speaking! Sister A turned around & told us Cheryl was there, but she left....what?? We were confused. Sacrament meeting went really really well, though. Sister 'O & I spoke about missionary work & finding the lost sheep. I also sang "His Hands". I prayed specifically that that song would allow people to feel the spirit strongly. After church a couple people came up to me & told me how strong they felt the Spirit. Brother C even said "I wasn't feeling physically well & that song not only made me feel the Spirit so strong, but I even started feeling physically better. That's a great compliment! Your voice has healing power!" hahah He was being funny, but serious at the same time. It was pretty cool to hear that from people.

We got to go to primary!!! It was awesome :) During 3rd hour we got a text from C saying "before church Sis T (who she's renting her house from) gave me notice to move, so I left. I won't be coming back to church anymore. Thank you for bringing me closer to Christ." We were in shock... Just a couple days ago she had texted us telling us that she is ready, she wants to study more, & feels that June 6 is the right date for her baptism. She's got a long way to go, but she wants it. After church driving home, a thought came into my mind to go to her home. We went over there, really not knowing what to say at all, but knowing we had to. She ended up telling us how she was really hurt by what happened. Mixing business into church was not appropriate & how she can't be part of a church that does that. We tried telling her that the A's business & the church are completely separate things & yes, it was inappropriate for her to talk about that before church. She told us she doesn't want to come to church anymore, but she was just so upset & hurt. We just listened to her & spoke when the Spirit moved us to do so. It was really a great lesson, one of the best we've had with her. We told her & she acknowledged that Satan is working so hard on her right now. Especially that day when she had woke up, got dressed, & drove to church, which is HUGE for her. Satan did all he could to bring her down, even by making her get offended & blaming the church, because it's TRUE!
We left with a  "maybe" on meeting with her this week. We think she'll come around. We're not ready to give up on her yet. We're gonna give her Pres Uchtdorf's talk "Come, Join With Us" because it is perfect! 

After that we went to the A's to tell them what C was feeling so they could decide if they wanted to talk to her & apologize or explain things better. Then we had dinner/early lunch with the Ds! Shrimp & Steak! Then we went to visit the Hs, but they were just leaving, & sister H gave us frozen pork chops & other food for dinner.

This morning we went up to Wrightwood as a zone & roasted hot dogs by a fire then did a little hike...  Now usually when you think of hikes you think of on a trail, but no. Elder F just started climbing this really steep hill with loose rocks & dirt, so we all thought it was a good idea to follow. Most of the elders got pretty high up, but I stopped when I thought "how am I going to get down?" It was kinda scary, but fun. hahaha.  Then we drove to a place called Inspiration Point, which is just an outlook on the mountains & on a clear day you can see the ocean. Super pretty! 

So Mother's Day is in, what, 2 weeks? Wow! We're not sure what we'll be doing yet. I'll let you know when I know, but yeah I should be skyping. We'll have to find a family that has that. Unlike Chino Hills, not every family here has computers & internet. There's a good mix of both kinds of people. Some people live here because it's cheap & they don't have much money & some people live here because it's cheap & they have lots of money so they can build a nice house & have multiple acres of land. 

Well, that's about all I got for this week. Transfer doctrine comes on Saturday, so you'll find out on Monday where I am & who I'm with. I better still be here in Phelan with Sister 'O, but you neverrrr knowwwww!

I LOVE you & will talk to you next week!
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Monday, May 4, 2015

Another Week in Phelan Has FLOWN By! (Email from 4-20)

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how time is going so stinkin' fast. Here I am, at the library at the beginning of week 5, writing to you about week 4 of transfer 4. I better just accept the fact that life as a missionary goes about 2.7x faster than non-missionary life. Maybe part of it has to do with living our lives on a 6 week schedule, yup, that's it. 

Well, this week was pretty awesome. Monday we had zone activity where we played savage ball (free for all dodgeball) & volleyball. The only thing bad about having zone activity is that the stake center is 30 minutes from our house, so if we want to go home & shower before we have dinner at 6, we have to leave by 5 at the latest! Way different than in Chino Hills because we lived 5 minutes from the stake center... So we left the stake center around 5:10 & figured we didn't have enough time to go home, shower then go to dinner all the way across our area from where we live, so we'd just drive to their house & change our clothes there. We get to their house about 20 minutes before dinner, so we sit back & relax in our truck.....then I realize.. "Sister 'O, we left our clothes at the church!" uhhhh. We decided we'd just tell Sister B that we were gonna run home to get new clothes, but come to find out, dinner is pretty much ready & if we go home the pancakes, banana & COCONUT pancakes that is, will be cold! So she said "I won't tell!" So we ended up having a very casual dinner with Brother & Sister B. It was weird, but way comfortable. hahah  After dinner we went home to change and we had a lesson with M, a recent convert. 

I hope you know by now that Tuesdays are the craziest of days. Not in a bad way, just crazy. This Tuesday was no different. Before district meeting, we dropped off our truck at PepBoys to get an oil change & the Hermanas picked us up to go to district meeting. District meeting was awesome not only because of what I learned but I GOT A PACKAGE! After DM the hermanas dropped us off at PepBoys & our truck wasn't done so we sat & waited & I opened my package!!! SO MANY GOODIES. I knew the girls spent their own money. It was so sweet. Really touching. THANK YOU!
Luckily we were only waiting at PepBoys for maybe 30-40 minutes, then we drove home for lunch.

After lunch we took our truck to the H's so he could work on the scratch before zone conference on Thursday. It took him so long to get started on it, it was 15 minutes before we were supposed to have dinner, so we called the As & asked if they could pick us up so we could leave our truck there. So we went to the A's for dinner & they got us Chinese food. I don't remember the last time I had Chinese was delicious! After dinner, we worked off our food by jumping on the trampoline! 

After dinner, they took us back to the H's to wait for our car. He still wasn't done with it, so we went inside & talked with Sister H for awhile & drank some herb tea because it was abnormally cooooold outside. When Brother H was done we went home & Sister 'O packed her bags.

You may be wondering why my comp packed her bags, it's because we were going on exchanges with the STL's (Sister Training Leaders). Sister 'O went to Apple Valley with Sister W (England) & I stayed in Phelan with Sister F (Samoan from New Zealand/Australia). I was pretty nervous to be staying in Phelan when I'd only been here 3 weeks, but it turned out pretty awesome! Maybe cuz Sis F is awesome, especially her accent! 

In the morning we shampooed our truck because zone conference in the morning. I say shampoo because we didn't have any soap, so the only thing we could think of to use was my coconut shampoo hahaha. After that we had a lesson with a less active, B, who had a stroke in the past & forgot everything, so she wanted the missionaries to teach her the lessons. We taught the Plan of Salvation. Then we visited the Ms, but weren't able to have a lesson with them, then we went to visit V & her daughter D. We got there and they walked outside saying they weren't feeling well, so we didn't get a lesson with them either, but ended up talking with them outside for a good 40 minutes. Looking back Sister F & I were kicking ourselves for not sharing a scripture or something both with Sister M & V & D... 

From there we headed over to our appointment with C & we MADE SURE we were not late. We even got there before she was home. Sister S (member of the ward) came to the lesson. She and C can relate in past experiences & they have a good friendship, so good a friendship they would go off on their own conversation for about 10 minutes in the middle of when we were trying to share a lesson...the lesson was all over the place, but it was good for C to talk to sis S. We didn't have dinner with a member, so we were planning on taking dinner at 5, but the lesson with C went over, & we had another lesson at 6, so we went to visit J. Then we had a lesson with another couple and taught tithing & fast offerings. After that we went home & had dinner until we exchanged back. Sister F was awesome but I missed my companion!! 

Thursday we had to wake up at 6am, so that tells you how my day was... ;) ...kidding. it was great! we had zone conference in Apple Valley at 8am, we were supposed to be there at 7:45 & we got there at gps (Sister 'O) told me to turn left down a road I was supposed to turn right on & we went for at least 10 miles before we realized it.... but it turned out fine. We talked a lot about how there are different areas in the mission field: planting, watering, and harvesting. Each is important. Just because you may not see the results of your labor, does not mean you can't find joy in the work. You should be able to find joy in ALL aspects of missionary work. President showed a few clips from past general conferences that were HILARIOUS. One in particular was President Hinckley & he said something along the lines of "It's warm in here. I know you're warm, but you're not as warm as you will be if you don't repent." hahahaha too funny.

After zone conference they fed us lunch. I got to see Sister M, but she was mainly the only person I knew there besides those in my zone. A couple other elders from my first zone were there too. After lunch, we drove back to Phelan. We went over to the H's because I told them I would help her granddaughter K with spelling because you practically have to pull her teeth to do her spelling words. I had some success with getting her to do it, but still not much. Oh well, I tried. haha. Then we had dinner with the Es/ward coordination.

Friday morning we drove to the stake center where a member from Sis 'O's first area/lady who works in the dentist office picked us up. Sister S, who was Sis 'O's trainer & who went home  a couple months ago was there to surprise her. It was fun. It was also pretty cool for me because my first day in the mission field after we got off the plane & went to the mission office, we went out tracting with missionaries in Rancho & Sister S was one of the sisters I went out with. Anyway, sorry, I get stuck sometimes on unimportant details. We got breakfast at Panera then went to the dentist for Sister O's appointment. After that, we went home to weekly plan/bake cookies. We had dinner at the H's & then had a lesson with S.

Saturday we went to a funeral of a member of the ward. I never met him. He was only about 64 years old, and he died from cancer. After, we helped serve at the luncheon. Then we had to go home to finish weekly planning/updating the area book. I was looking through former investigators & came across some who had baptismal dates & the missionaries teaching at the time who don't keep good records.. SIDE NOTE: it's super important to keep good records of people you visit or else you come across a teaching record that says "found them tracting, they let us in & we taught the restoration, committed them to baptism, they accepted & want us to come back to teach them more!" & that's it. No follow up visits or reasons for dropping them.

Anyway, we came across a guy named B & Sister 'O called him. They talked for a bit, he brought up how he used to meet with "the guys" & how he even had a baptismal date set. He said he'd like us to come over & he wants to feed us dinner too! that was a MIRACLE! He's neighbors with the Es, so we'll see if they can come too, because B lives alone. Also, Sis E said he's kinda strange, but we'll see about that. haha. 

We went to visit a family that we just got their records for. We left the address at home on accident, but we tried the house the week before, but they were having a party, so we knew we'd recognize the house when we saw it. We get there & turns out it's not the W family, but we talked to a guy who is good friends with a member of our ward & although he's not interested in learning (he's a deacon at his church) he gave us a referral of his neighbors down the street! too bad these neighbors have a locked gate...but we'll keep trying. We had dinner with the Ds and then after went to give cookies to M. We got there & her great uncle R was there & they'd just had a 3hr long conversation about religion. Mind you, she's 16 & a recent convert of a couple months. She brought out the book of mormon, Doctrine & covenants, for the strength of youth, etc. He said that he would take a book of mormon & read it & even go to church down the hill where he lives. I asked him if he needed a copy of the book of Mormon & he said yeah. So we gave him that & a pamphlet of Joseph Smith's testimony.

Sunday we had church, home for lunch, studies, then out to visit people. We weren't able to get in with anybody though. We had dinner with the Ss. Really good fish curry. but after both sister 'O & I weren't feeling well so we went home. We ended up going to sleep around 9pm! It was really bearable waking up this morning at 6:30 because we got an extra 1.5hrs of sleep :)
Thanks again for the package & everything else you do for me! I love you all & thank you for the love & support you show me. There's nothing else I'd rather be doing now. Although, it's tough & sometimes feels like I'll be a missionary forever, I know that I'll reflect on these 18months for the rest of eternity. 

love you! have a great week, talk to you really soon. Mother's day is just around the corner. :)
xoxo Sister Viraldo