Thursday, June 25, 2015

Training - Week 1 (Email from 6-22-15)

My first week as a mom (trainer) went better than I could've hoped! My new companion's name is Sister W & she's from Monroe, Utah & is so prepared to be a missionary! The fact that she is so enthusiastic to go out & work hard each & every day makes my job 10x easier.
My Daughter, Sister W   

 So one thing I forgot to put last week was that on Monday Sister 'O & I were in the mission office & Sister Hobbs (the mission president's wife) was telling us about all the great things the people in the Phelan ward have been saying about us as a companionship & the great things she heard about when we gave talks in sacrament meeting a few weeks ago. She said "We're taking a great companionship and making you both trainers." That was really neat to hear. Even though it was hard to leave Sister 'O, I know that we are both going onto new & greater things.

Saying Goodbye to Sister 'O
This week unfortunately we weren't able to meet with any of our investigators. At this point, we really only have one promising one, that being M. We've been trying multiple time a week to contact A (our 11-yo investigator), with no success. We did visit a bunch of less actives & even did some tracting. It's so cute because when we were on a street with a few houses that didn't actually have gates, we decided to go tracting & Sis W says "now this feels like missionary work!" haha.  Instead of driving from house to house in a truck on extremely bumpy, rocky roads? I guess so! 
One day we were on a street & I felt prompted to look at the ward list & came across a name that wasn't familiar to me. He is less active & his wife is not a member. They lived on the street we were on, so we decided to go see them! They had a gate around their house, but miraculously they had friends over who JUST we saw them pull out & drive away. So their gate was open & their dogs put away. We were invited in right away & they were super nice.  The husband is quite antagonistic, but in a friendly way, if that makes sense. He enjoys asking us questions, trying to stump us. It was really amazing because we answered all of his questions really well.  We definitely had help by the Holy Ghost. He & his wife are active in another church. He said we can come by anytime we want to be "antagonized". Hahaha, it was a miracle seeing them & sharing a message! 

We got to see M (a recent convert) 3 times this week. She is incredible. The excitement of the Gospel is so evident in her life. Yeah, she was baptized in February, but still, she's so willing to share with anyone what she believes. I wish you could meet her! She's so sweet. One night we stopped by to see her & her boyfriend was there & she still wanted to have a lesson with us. And it was PERFECT because our lesson was on missionary work! She has a burning testimony of the Gospel & missionary work! 

Saturday we were on a street with a few potentials, with no luck. But I had to use the bathroom a little bit, so we decided to walk to the end of the street where a member lived...but they weren't home. I felt prompted to try their neighbor across the street, & it turns out this family moved here about 2 months ago. They are catholic & say they're happy in their church, but they stood there & listened to our message & accepted a Book of Mormon. That was the first Book of Mormon that Sister W placed in the field! Wooooot!

Sunday was really awesome. I've liked the Phelan ward so far being here, but I think this was the first time I realized how much I love the people here. They really are amazing. I think it was difficult for me to see at first because of how awesome the Carbon Canyon ward was, but I've come to see what great people are here. 

My personal studies have been really great this week. Recently I finished the Book of Mormon, so I started reading it again. This week I've been studying the Tree of Life, which I absolutely love! Jesus Christ is the love of God. Only through His Atonement can we gain a fullness of joy.  Also, my studies have been focused on the importance of the Spirit. Laman and Lemuel had multiple experiences with spiritual things, yet their hearts were hardened so that they were "past feeling". We are all born with the Light of Christ, and as members of the Church have the gift of the Holy Ghost. This influences us to do good continually, but as we disregard it and choose evil, that influence fades until we can eventually become past feeling. Likewise, if we heed the promptings and do good, the Light increases and lights our path continually.

It's been SO HOT HERE. But it's true that the dry heat is better than the humidity. So thanks for the letter & tell everyone I love them & would love to hear from them!!  Hope you have a wonderful week! talk to you next week :)
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Changes are good, right? - Email from 6-15-15

FYI, I am not in the best state of mind currently to be writing this letter, but I'll do my best.

So as you know, a new transfer started today. Saturday we got THE CALL. But it wasn't the call either Sister 'Otuafi nor I were expecting...

We were just sitting on the couch, eating our lunch & enjoying General Conference when the phone rang...Sister Otuafi answered & said "Malo e lelei! Fefe hake, Elder Bennion?" My heart instantly started pounding & my mind was racing. I knew that she was leaving because the APs (assistants to the president) only call to give training/leadership calls. But suddenly Sis. O said "wait, I'll put it on speaker phone." Then Elder Bennion said "Sister Viraldo & Sister 'Otuafi...." Immediately then I thought we were being called as sister training leaders (which if you think about it now, makes no sense). "on behalf of President Hobbs, I am calling because President Hobbs would like to know if both of you would be willing to train next transfer?" We both looked at each other in shock & what felt like 5 minutes we sat in silence not knowing what to say. Eventually I said "uh, yeah..." "Sister 'Otuafi?" "yes..." "I need a more definite yes!" "YES!! ahhhh"
There ya go, that is why I am not in the best state of mind. I have so many emotions going on right now I'm not sure what to think. I feel humbled to be called to such a sacred calling & how much trust Heavenly Father must have in me. Yet, I feel so inadequate & new to missionary work to have the responsibility in training someone even newer than me.

Let's see what happened in Phelan this week...
Monday we had the last zone activity of the transfer & played foursquare & savage ball. We had FHE with the Baird's & Mandy watching Meet the Mormons :)

Tuesday we had zone meeting, which was super long, but really great. Most of the trainings were on the Christlike attributes found in Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel. I had the privilege of training on Virtue. After zone meeting we had lunch & tried visiting a few people. We had dinner with Sister Hemsley & her mother at Red Mango, which is a sushi, Chinese/Korean/Japanese restaurant in town that we've been dying to try. It was pretty good. Then lesson with the Wellers & Huttons.
Wednesday we had our first lesson with Monica. We started out teaching the Restoration & halfway through the lesson, her dog got bit by a wild dog & she had to take him to the hospital...BUT we were able to get a return appointment for Friday. Before her lesson, though, we noticed that we had a flat tire! But luckily the Huttons live right next door & Bro Hutton fixes cars for a living. So we drove over there & he changed our tire for us. Then we had a lesson with Betty, lunch, & volunteered at the library.
After that we picked Kellie S (who just got off her mission) up to take to a lesson. Though the lesson with Carol fell through, we decided to try a couple former investigators & saw miracles! 2 formers let us in & we had great conversations with them.  No lesson, though. Then we dropped her off & went to visit a less active couple, the Ns. They let us in right away & even offered to feed us dinner. We were there for awhile because they LOVE to talk. But that was another huge miracle!

Thursday was pretty uneventful.

Friday we had another lesson with Monica & brought Kellie again. This time no dog injuries interrupted. I had a dentist appointment where they did a filling. On the way home we saw storms over Phelan & could barely contain our excitement to get in it! As we got to Phelan, the roads were flooding & we even came to a crossroad & couldn't go through it because it was like a rapid going across the street, so we had to turn around. We ended up having dinner at Red Mango again with a young cute family, the Rs. Then we had ward coordination.
Double rainbow after the storm!
Saturday I already explained what happened. We also had a couple less active lessons. 

Sunday we both had to bear our testimonies in sacrament meeting, not sure why I did since I'm not leaving, but I'm glad to have had the opportunity anyway. The rest of the day was filled with visiting people Sis 'O wanted to say bye to. We had dinner with the good 'ol Dyerly family. Next summer when we are driving through my mission we'll have dinner at the Dyerly's :)

Today we had to go to transfer meeting in Rancho so Sister 'Otuafi could get the information for her new area since she's whitewashing. It was great seeing a bunch of friends from the MTC & my previous zone. Afterwards there was a meeting for new trainers that I thought was only supposed to last 1hr but ended up being 2hrs. That's why we are emailing so late. Sis. O & I are staying in Ontario tonight, & tomorrow afternoon will go back up to Rancho for lunch & to get our new missionaries.

I really need a pick-me-up. I'm feeling super stressed. Well, I guess I'll have to manage. I got my package today! I haven't opened it yet, but I'll let you know what I think next week. Thanks again. 
I have another dentist appt July 2nd so they can give me a new bruxim plate because the one I have now is too loose. & Idk if they'll need to do more work. My teeth are doing a lot better, but I still have issues.

Well, that's about it. I guess you'll hear from me next week! have a good one. I figured out the mass email isn't a good idea anyway, because no one really responds...  :(

love you bunches.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Come Unto Christ and Be Perfected in Him - Email from June 8

Hey everyone! So I'm going to try this new thing where I'm sending out my mass email because, although I love writing to each & every one of you, if you're a missionary or have ever been one, you know how little time you have to email.

This week was really great! Unfortunately, we weren't able to have any lessons with our investigators. We've been trying so dang hard to get a hold of Alexis (our 11yr old investigator), but alas, we cannot. 

So Monday evening was quite awesome. There's this family in our ward, the wife is less active & the husband is not a member. They pretty much raise their own food. All organic. They have chickens, goats, rabbits, a horse, & like 4 or 5 gardens with everything you can think of! We offer service to them occasionally & a couple weeks ago the husband, Lester, was talking to us about all the food he makes & it was pretty much making us drool. Besides the fact the food sounded amazing, we knew it would be an incredible opportunity to eat at their home because less active & non-member. So we might have played our excitement up a bit, but that's nothing new. ;) Anyway, they had us over for dinner & it was AMAZING. Chunky sweet potato soup, fish tacos, & apple crisp. ahhhhh. PLUS she makes her own lotions & soaps & gave us a bar of soap. Pretty neat. And we were able to share a message with them about faith, comparing the seeds they grow in their garden to faith! Alma 32.

Tuesday nothing too exciting happened. Except we met this 16 year old girl who is probably the most off-the-wall hyper person I've ever met. She knows who missionaries are. We think someone in her family is a member, but we're not sure the details because we couldn't get more than 5 words in before she was jabbering on about something else, hahaha. 

Wednesday we started our part-time job! We were encouraged to volunteer at the Phelan library, so we decided to do that. We work every Wednesday for 2 hours, shelving books & anything else they need done. We had a really great conversations with a 15 year old girl who also volunteers about what we do as missionaries & how our church is different than all other Christian churches. It was awesome!
First day working at the library. Kind of like the first day of school!
Thursday wasn't all that exciting. We had a couple lessons with less active members of our ward & a couple investigators cancelled lessons....wooohooo.

Friday we had the wonderful privilege of going to the dentist...again! 3 hours later we drove back to Phelan & went to dinner at the Pizza Factory. Don't let people fool you, it's really not that great of a pizza. 

Saturday we were planning on going to this sick JustServe service project called Wagon Train. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but the idea is building a Pioneer town next to the historic Mormon Trail in Phelan, California! But we got there & there was nobody to be found, so I guess we need to make a reservation next time. So here we are in our service clothes, which is quite rare, without any service to do. So we stopped by the Dyerly's because we were going to borrow hula hoes. (I'd never heard of them before coming to California but they are the BEST tools ever for getting weeds! I'll pack one in my suitcase to bring home haha). We ended up weeding at the Dyerly's & they fed us lunch. I mean, the 8 year old heated a chimichunga up in the microwave for us to eat, haha. We saw a fire about a mile away from us! It was scary & we felt like we should help somehow, but couldn't. Turns out it wasn't a house & didn't turn into a wildfire, so that's good. 

Sunday was really great. The highlight was contacting a referral we got last week. So last week I asked Sis. Hutton if she knew anyone who would be interested in our message & she said "funny you should ask, I was thinking that I should send you over to my neighbor, Monica." So yesterday we went to contact Monica & asked if she'd be interested in the message we share & to my surprise ("o ye of little faith" I know...) she said YES! We set up an appointment to teach her on Wednesday. She has a husband & 4 sons. I'm PRAYING these people have been prepared for us! Pray for Monica & her family PLEASE!

You might have noticed the subject of this email being "Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him." We've been sharing Moroni 10:32 with the less actives we've visited this week, & oddly enough our zone leaders asked us to read an article from the July 2014 Ensign titled "Becoming Perfect in Christ". We're commanded when Jesus was teaching the people on the Sermon on the Mount to "be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect" & when Jesus appeared to the Nephites in ancient America, he taught "be ye therefore perfect even as I, or your Father in Heaven is perfect" Why, only in the America's after His resurrection did he say "I"?  How can we, as imperfect humans be perfect? It's impossible in this life to be without mistake. However, "perfect" does not mean without mistake or flaw, it means "complete or finished". The Savior's life & ministry was complete & finished when He taught the Nephites. Therefore, He was perfect. We too can become perfect in Christ as we "deny [our]selves of all ungodliness" & "love God with all [our] might, mind, & strength" (Moroni 10:32). It is only AFTER we have finished our journey in this life, doing all we can possible to walk in the path of Jesus Christ, that His grace is sufficient for us. He is perfectly loving & perfectly merciful, but we must do our part to show our worthiness. 

I've come to understand this better on my mission. Doing daily things to come closer to Christ is essential: pray morning & night, daily scripture study, service, honesty, charity, humility, etc. It can seem like a ton of things to take on & can be overwhelming at times, but as long as we are trying our very best & repenting, we can at the last day stand blameless before Him. I love the love our Savior has for each one of us!

Hope you all have a fantastic week! Love you tons.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

It's June?! - Email from June 1

Where does time go? It's JUNE!!!! The weather this past week was super hot! Upper 80s & 90s. But this week it looks like it will be mid 70s, which is perfect. 

My teeth are feeling way better. Not perfect, but better. So Tuesday I talked to Ruth, who works at the dentist office & asked if they would be able to fit me in with Sister 'Otuafi on Friday because I was in a lot of pain. She called Dr. Kevin & told him the situation then asked if we could come in the next morning, Wednesday, because the situation could get a lot worse from then to Friday. So we went in on Wednesday morning & they did a root canal. It went pretty well. They put me on laughing gas which was awesome. :) I go in next week for my permanent crowns.

back to my week:
Tuesday we had dinner with the Erickson's (ward mission leader), then a lesson with Sister H. We read 3Nephi 17 with her, Sis. 'Otuafi & I had been studying that just the other day & it's a great chapter, so we read that with her. All of 3Nephi is great! Also, Sister H gave us a referral! yay!

Wednesday after the dentist we came home & had lunch, then a lesson with Betty & Mary, M family, dinner with the Slappers, lesson with Evan & Georgia W, & Sammie & Josh A. With Sammie & Josh we watched Meet the Mormons! It was so great. 

Thursday morning we had a lesson with Loralee G. You might remember me talking about her a few weeks back. She was a media referral ( referral). & she is kinda crazy. Not as crazy as C....a different kind of crazy. We taught her once, had a pass-off service with the Wrightwood elders because she lives in their area, and then they passed her back to us...hahaha. Anyway, we taught her the Restoration & at the end committed her to read & pray about the Book of Mormon & she said "no". She also told us how she doesn't believe our religion is true. You can imagine how frustrating this lesson was...maybe you can't, but let me tell you, it was. She's friendly to us, but is totally closed off to the Spirit. We did ask her if she wanted us to continue teaching her & she said "yes", so technically she became a new investigator, but we'll see what happens this week when we teach her. If she's not willing to read the Book of Mormon, she is not prepared; therefore, we're not going to be continuing to meet with her. 

Later that day we did and then realized that the library volunteer orientation was that night! President Pratt told us that we should volunteer at the library, so we decided to sign up & needed to go to an orientation before we could start. So we stayed for that & guess what I learned! I learned my ABC's! :) afterwards we had dinner with the Huttons. We thought we were going to be eating at 6:30, but alas, the food wasn't ready until 7:30, so we went outside with Kaylee & Karlee (their granddaughters, age 7 & 2). Then we had a lesson with Mandy! She's so great. I don't know if I've written much about her, but she is 16 & was baptized in February. She has such a sweet spirit & is just really cool. She has blue hair. But since I've met her, she's had blue, pink, black, & white..maybe purple too. I don't remember.

May 29 - HAPPY BDAY, EMMY :)

Friday was great because we were able to get all our weekly planning done in a couple hours! YAY. Then we went to see people on the list our ward council gave us & had a few awkward encounters. We got up to a house with a locked gate, so we decided to leave a note. We wrote the note & I got out of the truck to stick it in the gate. As I was doing that, a woman & man came out of the house & I asked if Eli H lived there & they said no, & I looked behind me & was like "ahhh, where's my companion?" It was weird talking to someone alone. 

Pretty much everyone we tried to see wasn't home or didn't live there anymore. YAY FOR THE DESERT. We went tracting & met this really sweet lady who, when she found out Sister 'Otuafi was from Tonga, let us in so she could get our number. Her friend that goes to their church is from Tonga & she wants them to get together. After tracting for a bit we ate plums of the not-so-ripe plum tree. We didn't have a dinner apt that night so we ate at 7 & had exchanges at 8:30.
Plum tree
So Saturday I was in Hesperia with none other than my trainer! It was really great. but oh so HOT. We visited a few less actives then went tracting on a street & gave out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon! Woooo. It was a great day, but it was nice being back home that night :) 
In Hesperia with my trainer
Sunday was a pretty great day. Alexis came to church, so we got to go to Primary! Except last week we went to Primary, Sunday School class anyway, without Alexis. haha. After church we had a lesson about baptism with her & set a date for June 20th! After our studies we had a lesson with C. She's still crazy, but it was by far the best lesson we've had with her. Then we visited Virgie & Diane. We decided to teach the missionary lessons to Virgie since she doesn't remember a thing & we'll just hit 2 birds with one stone..I mean teach 2 people with 1 lesson...because Diane always listens to the messages we share, so we taught the Plan of Salvation. It got sidetracked a few times because these ladies love to talk, but we got through it all & the Spirit was definitely there. Diane said she had goosebumps & that she believes it's true. The only thing is, I don't think she understands that it's only through faith in Jesus Christ & baptism into His church by His authority does this work. Anywho, it's a HUGE step in the right direction! 

We again were planning on having dinner at 7 & language study at 8, but wanted to stop by the Dyerly's to grab a cookie & Brother Dyerly wanted us to read Helaman 1 with the kids for their family scripture reading. So we didn't get home until 8, but then just had a chill night because Sister Otuafi wasn't feeling well. We still haven't been able to contact's sad & frustrating, but it's missionary work.

Well, that's about all I have for this week though. I hit my 7 month mark on Friday! CRAZY, huh? Maybe when people ask me how long I've been out & I tell them, they'll stop responding "oh so you're pretty new then"'s gettin' real old.

always thinking & praying for you. love you so much!
xoxo Sister Viraldo