Thursday, August 27, 2015

From the lows to the very highs (Email from 8-24)


I am doing really well. This week was a mixture of so many things! From the lows to the very highs.

Monday we went to hippie Dillon's house, but he wasn't there, so we went & delivered thank you notes. As we drove up to the Dyerly's house to deliver theirs, we saw Brother Dyerly outside & knew it was going to be a greater challenge than anticipated. We drove past their house, parked on the road & made our way to their house. Luckily, he was nowhere to be seen, so we ran up to the front door to stick the note in. As we were doing that, Bro Dyerly was walking up to his gate & began to close it. "Oh no! He's going to lock us in!" We surrendered. We had no choice but to make ourselves known. The plus side to being defeated was we got invited in to have birthday cake with his family for Kira's bday. & it was delicious.

Tuesday I gave a training in district meeting on "What we do & how we do it". The WHAT in what we do is teach the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The HOW in how we do it is with POWER & AUTHORITY. 

Later that day we did service for Sister Hemsley, who is just about out of her house and moving up to Wrightwood for the summers & to Arizona for the winters. We just helped clean bathroom floors & closets.  We ate dinner with the Chaffee's & the Perez family, which is a new family in the ward. They used to go to the Spanish ward in Victorville but became less active a couple years ago & just decided to come back & they want to come to our ward. They're a really sweet family!

Wednesday we had a lesson with Betty & Mary, volunteered at the library & I don't really remember what else. We had dinner with the LaFevers and then visited the Huttons at night.

Thursday was kind of a down day. We visited a few potentials we had & none of them are looking too promising. BUT we did get to see Virgie on her 89th bday! We also had a lesson with Diane. We talked about the Book of Mormon & the importance of it. The lesson didn't go all that well. She wasn't accepting the commitments we were extending too well. Not that she was rejecting them, but kind of hesitantly saying she'll read the Book of Mormon.

In all honesty, I was thinking we were going to need to drop her because she's not ready. As we were walking out the door, to our complete astonishment she said "did I tell you who's baptizing me?" Sister Wagner & I pause with amazed looks on our faces & say "What?" "Yeah, I want my nephew to baptize me in December when he gets home from Arizona." Our faces must have been in complete shock & excitement because she said "Look at your faces! I have goosebumps!"  So I asked Diane when she decided she wanted to be baptized, & she said "when you started coming over." I assumed she meant the sister missionaries in general, so I inquired more. "no, when you did. That's when I started thinking about it." I don't know if Diane is one of the reasons I was sent to Phelan, but now I believe I didn't hurt anything by coming. ;) 

DIANE WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED! We're HOPING we'll be able to teach her more & she'll want to move it up before December & her nephew can come up for the weekend. Yes, her nephew is a member & has authority to baptize her ;) He recently got back from a mission! So, that made us super happy & quickly turned the day around.

That night as we finished planning for the next day, Elder Wurst, our district leader, called us & asked how we felt about doing an "emergency district fast to find". We agreed without the realization just what that could mean for us. It was amazing that just at the right moment, after a couple days of feeling really low, he decided to do a district fast.

Friday we weekly planned for dayz. We did a little tracting & came across a house with a gate, but we opened it & made ourselves at home. A lady answered the door & let us in to talk. She is 7th day Adventist & very active in her religion. Unlike any of the other active Christians I've run into, she was super friendly & allowed us to talk. It was interesting hearing what her beliefs are, & surprisingly they are very similar to what we believe! I came to the conclusion that day that 7th day Adventists are my favorite religion other than ours. That might be a very ignorant conclusion, but a conclusion nonetheless. She told us that in the past she's just sent people away that have come to her door because of the different religions & she already has hers, but she told herself "the next time someone comes to the door I'm going to talk to them" & that was us!! No coincidences. 

Saturday was so great! We did quite a bit of tracting. We got in a couple's home who are Pentecostal. They gave us ice water, & we accepted. They tried converting us, but we declined. One thing that got me fired up was they were trying to tell us we believed in the Trinity. But in reality THEY believe in the trinity. They believe the Father, Son & Holy Ghost are one being, aka the trinity. I explained that we believe in the Godhead. We believe the Father, the Son, & the Holy Ghost are 3 separate beings. & they tried telling us that was the trinity.... If you're confused at what I'm saying, don't feel bad, I'm still confused myself. They offered us a couple pamphlets, but we also declined those. They were very friendly people, but I didn't like when she told us: "I will pray for you that God will reveal the truth to you". I got us out of there before they found another subject which to "prove us wrong" with.

As we were walking down the road the lady came out & said "where's your car?" "oh, it's just down the road here!" "Okay, do you want a sandwich?" "No, thanks though!" When we got into the truck we listened to Elder Holland's talk titled "The Only True God & Jesus Christ Whom He Sent". If you aren't familiar with this talk, I'd suggest you listen to it! It's amazing. He explains our doctrine of the Godhead and refutes the idea that some people have that we are not Christians. 

Sunday after church we had a lesson with Dillon W. It interesting one. He read 3 Nephi 11, which was the chapter we left him with, & much much more. He is really into researching things & finding differences between the Bible & Book of Mormon (which are only differences because he's interpreting the Bible incorrectly, but he doesn't know that). He enjoys finding deep doctrine that confuses him because of his lack of testimonial foundation (if that makes sense). On the plus side, he only finds excerpts from (or so he says) from Joseph Smith & Brigham Young. Either way, we bore our testimonies to him & encouraged him to open his heart & ask God for truth. That was probably the best drop-lesson I've had on my mission so far, so that's a plus! :)

My email this week is titled "from the lows to the very highs" because that is exactly what you experience on a mission. Specifically this week. I was feeling down for a bit but after that fast, even though we didn't find any investigators & even had to drop one that we had, I felt better than ever! I love this gospel. I know that it's true. It's always amazing to me to see how my testimony grows each & every day even when those I meet try to tear it down. I know that the Lord hears & answers prayers. I know this is His work & will not leave us alone in it. 

Thanks for the awesome email. I love & appreciate all you do for me!
Have a wonderful week & I'll talk to you next week.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Take your missionaries and go!" (Email from 8/17)

It's been SOOO stinkin' hot here this week. I don't know the exact temp because we don't have a temp thing in the truck, but it's only been cooling off to about 80 at night. I am grateful for the dry heat though!
Eating lunch in the back of our truck one 100-degree afternoon

We didn't get to meet with Antonio this week. We called him a couple times and once he said he was busy working & then we called back a few days later & he didn't answer.

Yup, so I thought I was done with the dentist, too. A few days after they re-filled my cavities, one of my teeth was hurting even worse, but I gave it a few extra days to see if it would improve. It didn't. So I called & they got me in really quick. I love how understanding the Drs are. They just keep telling me how bad they feel & how I need to get better so I can be a missionary! I guess the cause of my cracked tooth is from clenching at night. Even though I wear a guard, I still clench & I can feel it in the middle of the night. I don't know what I can do to prevent it. I tried taking Magnesium like Joey said to relax muscles, but it doesn't seem to help. 

So Elder Falabella of the Seventy is coming for the mission conference in September. Hopefully everything will work out for us to be able to do our song, since it is next transfer. Elder Spriggs is playing piano for us. He's a Spanish elder here and he's 19. He is pretty talented. He couldn't just look at it & instantly play it, but he's put in a lot of effort in learning it & it sounds great!

This week has been pretty darn good & weird & kinda off.

Tuesday we had zone meeting from 10:30-1:15. Sister Wagner & I gave a training on referrals. Then we visited the N family & got our weekly dose of the news report. They make sure we stay updated, which is not always the best thing. It's good to know kinda what's going on so we can relate to those living in & of the world, I guess. We had dinner with the Bs. Sister B is a member & her husband is not. He loves to cook for us, though. Sister B hasn't told us herself, but she recently found out that she has cancer. She is so strong. 

Wednesday was a longggg day of meetings. We got up at 6:05 & left the house by 6:50 to get to the Apple Valley stake center by 7:30. Zone conference started at 8.  President & Sister Hobbs talked a lot about finding & different ideas to find. Sister Wagner & I are going to try singing to people on their doorstep! It's something I've heard of before, but always thought to be strange. But we're willing to try anything now & I've been told multiple times that I need to share the talent that I've been given....

One of Sister Hobbs' favorite sayings is: "YAGOTTAWANNA". Yagottawanna change, yagottawanna become like Christ, yagottawanna pray & read the Book of Mormon, etc. 

One of the craziest things that happened in the meeting, though, is when some guy from Salt Lake started telling us about these devices they are installing in all the missionary cars. It's a company called inthinc & the device is a tiwi. You can look it up for more information, but pretty much it records the car when you drive. It alerts you when you speed, accelerate & brake too fast, take sharp turns too fast & go over bumps too fast. For speed, it will say "check your speed" & you have 6 seconds to slow down without it being counted against you. Pretty much it rates our driving. Each week the mission president will get an account of how each missionary drove that week. I started freaking out because Phelan is all dirt roads with crazy bumps. I asked the guy about it & he answered me like I was dumb & said there should be no reason to get marked for going over bumps too fast; just slow down. That answer didn't satisfy me, because he's never been to Phelan! Luckily all the missionaries that HAVE been there understood & felt pity for me, haha. But Elder Schweider, our missionary car guy, just said not to worry about it & go slow. Luckily, I haven't had a problem yet. Twilla (we named our tiwi that) isn't as sensitive as they made her out to be.

The meeting ended at about 1:20, and then we had lunch for an hour or so. Then the sisters went into a room with Sister Hobbs & we had another little meeting. It was really nice.

On Friday we got 2 referrals from the referral system!! That was WAY cool. It's always great getting referrals. 

Saturday we did service for a family in our ward who's moving. And we contacted one of our referrals, Dillon. His best friend is serving a mission in Colombia & referred us to him. He was in the middle of dinner, so we set up an appointment for Sunday.  This next story is something so small & seemingly insignificant, but we definitely saw the Lord's hand in it every step of the way:

We pulled up to Dillon's house & there was a man walking down the street with a grocery bag who was taking fruit off of a neighbor's tree. We didn't think anything of it. After we talked to Dillon, we were going to visit Jessie, our other referral. I went down the wrong road & had to turn back on Dillon's road, and as we were driving past a house, we saw that same guy with the grocery bag climbing into the back window of a house. Sister Wagner pointed him out & we had no clue what to do. We didn't know the man, we didn't know who lived in that house. What if it was his house? What if it wasn't? What are we to do? I said "Isn't the Spirit supposed to tell us what to do? Let's listen..." *silence for a few seconds* Then sister Wagner said let's talk to his neighbor. So we went & parked & hurriedly made our way to the next door neighbor's home. A sweet old man opened up & we asked him if he knew his neighbor & that someone was climbing in the back window. He said "I know that they are kind of odd. They do weird things." He didn't seem too worried about it & we ended up talking to him more. He asked who we represent & we told him we're missionaries. He's been to other countries & has seen missionaries, "the white guys in white shirts who don't belong" haha. We didn't end up teaching him or setting a return appointment, but he told us to come by again sometime to talk. It's just so amazing how the Lord placed us on that street at the exact time we saw the guy going through the window so we could meet him. Who knows what will come of it, but it sure is amazing how the Lord works!

After that experience we went to visit Jessie, but she was asleep, so we decided to go tracting at 8pm. It was pretty dark, but beautiful outside. 

This is where my subject line comes into play. We decided to go to this one house that had a gate, but it was not locked!  So I knocked on the door & eventually a lady answered looking very angry that we were knocking on her door. I knew she wanted nothing to do with us, but nevertheless I said "hello, how are you doing?" "Um, it's a little late to be out, girls." "Oh, sorry. We're missionaries..." "Well, take your missionaries & go!” That's one I've never heard before! It's not fun when you meet people like that, but all you can really do is laugh about it. It's probably my favorite rejection line I've heard. 
Tracting in the dark

After that we tried another house & met (another) Dillon. He had a sign on his back door that said "Hippies use the back door." So we rightly call him Hippie Dillon. He seemed interested in our message, so we set up a time to come back & teach him on Monday.

Sunday was great! Sacrament meeting was all about missionary work :) After church we taught Dillon about the Restoration. He has Calvary Chapel background & other Christian beliefs & is very outspoken about them. He is willing to listen to us & he said he'd read & pray. I don't know how open he is to the Spirit, but we'll see next week when we have another lesson with him.

After that we finally met Jessie! She's a senior in HS & referred herself. She has Mormon friends & wanted to know more so she went on & ordered a Bible because she “wants to read more about what we believe" Haha so cute. She must've thought it's "our Bible" But we gave her the Bible & a Book of Mormon! Hopefully we'll be able to teach her soon.

That's about it for this week. I hope everything is well back home. Let my brothers & family know I love them & would love to hear from them. I wish I could write to each of them personally, but I don't have enough time. I'll try my best to do a little better though. I love & pray for you daily! Thanks for your prayers & support. I am strengthened by them.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Friday, August 14, 2015

Email from 8-10-15

Hey Mom!!!!!

No more chicken massacres, but this week was really good. It flew by! I know I say that every week, but it's true. 

People have been telling me "oh they're getting some weather back east!" but it doesn't sound like it's hitting Michigan much? I'm glad you're enjoying the sunny weather (although you need rain), remember when you asked Marie if they ever get sick of sunny weather because you couldn't believe it?! Well, I am so sick of the sun. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the beautiful sun, but life is GOOOD when it's cloudy. Especially when it's raining & storming! YIPPEEE. 

You're right on the money with the whole dirt thing. (Dirt yards instead of grass)  I thought I mentioned to you that since we're in a drought people are getting paid MONEY to get rid of their grass: "green for grass". But even before that started happening, yeah, there's veryyyyyy little grass here. Only a few places: the church, schools, & about 1/27 houses & those houses that have grass maybe have a couple square feet of it.

That tarantula I sent a picture of belongs to the Walters family who moved into the Oakhills ward which is right next door, but not in our area, so unfortunately I don't think I'll have another chance to hold it...

Remember last week I told you about Antonio walking into church? Well, we had a lesson with him this week. We talked about how the gospel can bless his life & help him become the person Heavenly Father wants him to be. He has a great desire to change & improve his relationship with Christ but isn't sure how. I felt prompted to invite him to baptism, but I didn't want to take that opportunity away from Sister Wagner (like I did last time). ut I didn't know if she was feeling the prompting too or if she'd act on it, so I kicked her leg subtly & pulled out a Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet & turned it to the page about baptism. She got the hint & like a pro invited him to be baptized. He didn't say "yes", but he didn't say "no". He said he wants to understand & get to the point where he wants & asks to be baptized. We still felt good about the invitation & that we were supposed to do that. We introduced the Book of Mormon to him & invited him to read the testimonies. We gave him a Spanish & English copy. After the lesson, we had dinner with the Castros then a lesson with Mandy, and then with Sammie!

Wednesday after volunteering at the library we went to contact a referral from the Andersons. Brother Anderson wanted to to visit a woman named Yuridah who is renting on of their houses. He told us she's really nice & Jehovah's Witness. We were kinda wondering why he sent us there, because she's not just JW, she's active & on Fridays she goes door to door.... Well, we went anyway & we couldn't believe who answered the door! A lady we see regularly at the library who has THE cutest 5 year old son. She was super sweet & gave us water. Our conversation started slow, but quickly progressed to her telling us how much she LOVES the Bible & there shouldn't be any other book besides it. We bore testimony of the Book of Mormon & that's all we could really do. It was interesting talking to a JW..something I've never done before. It's awesome how much they love the Bible, but sad that that keeps them from opening up to any more scripture the Lord would send forth. So many people try to limit God on what He can & cannot do. If He sees fit to send more of His word to His people (and why wouldn't He?) who are we to reject it? It's our job to find out if it really IS from God! 
Also, Wednesday I hit 9 months. 

                                                  How I felt about hitting NINE MONTHS

Thursday I had my FINAL dentist appointment! They re-did a couple fillings & sanded in between my teeth that was causing sensitivity when I flossed. Hopefully I'm all fixed now & won't have to go back!

Saturday we spent a good 3 hours roaming around the desert with little luck, but miraculously we happened upon a less active lady we've been trying to find but our gps didn't know how to get us there! We tried a potential & she said that her neighbor is Mormon, "Jo" & she was just getting home. We didn't think much of it, but when we got back in the truck we looked at our ward directory & found Jo R! She's the one we've tried to find. So we walked over to her house & she was SUPER nice & let us in. Her husband is not a member & is related to Joseph Smith. Cool huh?

That was pretty much my week this week.

Sister Wagner & I were planning on singing "Savior, Redeemer" in zone conference this Tuesday, but earlier last week Sis Hobbs (mission pres's wife) texted us saying "Sister Viraldo, we have a general authority coming for a mission tour in September. We would like to use your musical number for that instead of zone conference. Would that be ok?" So we'll be having a mission conference in September & SHE WANTS US TO SING FOR A GENERAL AUTHORITY. ahhhhhh! We've been practicing like crazy & so has Elder Spriggs! Poor guy, the song is hard to play, but he's a champ & learning it like a pro! The only thing is, the conference is next transfer, so who knows if we'll all be in the same zone? If it's a WHOLE mission conference it could work, but if it's split between the valley & desert, it could be hard...

I did read the VT message for this month! It was actually a message we shared with Sister Hutton about being meek & that quote you sent is the EXACT quote I wrote down on a note card & shared! Funny, cuz i loved it too :)

I love you & pray for you always! 
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Oh, we're halfway there... (Aug 3 email)

This week was the start of a new transfer in Phelan. I'm happy to be here with Sister Wagner doing this great work with these wonderful people. This week was quite a bit better than last week, although it seemed slower than most weeks.

After emailing last Monday we went to the local farmer's market here in town. Everything was quite expensive! We were walking around & came to a booth with fruit. I was eying the strawberries. I asked the guy how much they were.. they looked sooo delicious.  but I didn't know if I wanted to spend that much money on them, so we moved on. We tried samples on beef jerkey, salsa, & hummus, a guy even offered if we wanted to sample his coffee! How sweet ;) Sister Wagner ended up buying some hummus, so I decided I was going to go back & get me some strawberries! There was a kid there now, & I asked if I could have one basket (there were 3 little baskets in 1 box). He grabbed the box & started putting them in the bag. "Actually I just want one." "No it's fine!"  Confused, I said "Well, how much is that?" "Oh it's fine, you can have them. My brother told me that you're from the church & that if you came by to give some to you to help you out." Isn't that the sweetest thing ever?!? We both wanted to cry. We got like $7 or $8 worth of strawberries for freeeee! I asked the kid if he goes to our church & he said "sometimes.. but my brother goes every week".
Strawberries taste even better when they're free!
Monday night we had dinner with the Garcias and then had a lesson with Mandy.

Tuesday we had a mini zone meeting, aka both districts in our zone were combined because a couple companionships weren't there because they were down the hill getting their new missionaries. Later that day we visited a less active, Pam, who is confined to a bed most of her days...
After visiting her we went to visit Sis. H, but her gate was locked. I looked at our planner to see what we had planned next & we had a few names down & we also had a street that we chose the night before that we wanted to tract. It made more sense to visit the names we had down, but I felt prompted to go to this street. It was a miracle because a lady & her daughter were out in their yard! We went & talked to them & she said she might be interested in learning more. :) We had dinner with the Chaffees & the Rountrees. I LOVE the Chaffees! They're such a cute little family who are very missionary minded.

Wednesday was awesome because it STORMED! It's actually been raining quite a bit. They say if it continues to rain how it has been (every couple of weeks), then in 1 year they'll be out of a drought. Which seems like a heck of a lot of rain to me, but hopefully! Only downside of the rain is the humidity it brings along with it, but I'll count my blessings because I'm not in the awful humidity back home :)
Our dinner with the Ericksons got cancelled, so we took the Dyerlys up on their offer of feeding us whenever we don't have dinner. & I'm so glad we did, they fed us carne asada tacos! yummm.
After dinner we visited the Myers then the Scotts (less actives).

Thursday was even more awesome because it STORMED harder! We tracted a little bit & met a really sweet lady named Angel who wanted us to come back Friday...we went back Friday & she wasn't there :(  We went to visit Ericka, who is a former investigator from Wrightwood, & turns out she's moving back up to Wrightwood! So we helped her pack a little until dinner with the Andersons. After dinner we visited the Northrups & finally got to meet their daughter & son-in-law, Lacey & Luke. They're all less active. 

Friday we weekly planned, went over to help Ericka more, did service for the Huttons, and then ate dinner with them. As we were leaving, Sister Wagner saw a snake! She got closer & said "it might be a rattlesnake".  I told her to get in the truck & then we took a picture of it to see if we could see a rattle & sure enough! It was a rattle snake!! I'd never seen one in it's natural habitat before. We figured we should go tell the Huttons it just came in their yard. We ran & told Bro Hutton, who got a hula hoe & a flashlight & went on a snake hunt.

Saturday we did service for the Hergenraders. You'll never believe what we did! We helped them butcher chickens!! Then they fed us lunch.
Later that day we tracted a street. In total we walked about 1.3 miles & talked with a couple people. One miracle was that we found a lost member! We knocked on the door & a lady opened. We introduced ourselves & she said "Larry, they're your people" I had no idea what that first I thought "oh man, they're probably from Calvary Chapel & Larry likes talking to us to bash" so I asked "we're your people?! what do you mean by that?" He said "I'm LDS!" Him & his wife are super nice & want us to come back to visit!! Way cool! 
Saturday night we visited with the Castros & they found the video you posted of me singing "Dark Paradise" & played it over their bluetooth speakers.....yikes. It was weird, & made me realize how much I miss my guitar, but no worries...there's nothing I'd rather be doing than missionary work right now :)

Sunday rolls along & we have yet to meet with ANY of our investigators. We passed Michelle to the Wrightwood elders, haven't been able to contact Christina, Diane keeps cancelling & telling us she's way busy, Candita says it's going to "take some time" for her to understand, Candy was out of town, & Austin has been ignoring us (Richard & Sergio come along with him). We were sitting in RS when Sister Mills pulled us out & said "there's an investigator over here. Bro Shook is talking to him. He was at the 99cent store & said a girl invited him here." His name is Antonio. Sure enough, he was at the 99cent store & started talking with "an angel" about the church & she made him feel really special, so he decided to come to church. He showed up at 9, but didn't see her, got scared & left. luckily he came back! We later found out his "angel" was Sammie! She invited him to church & he came! We sat & talked with him. He feels like a bad person because he started drinking a couple days ago. He knows he shouldn't..he actually showed up to church drunk. But we told him of the love Heavenly Father has for him & the joy that can be found in this gospel. We set up an appointment to meet with him at the church this tuesday! MIRACLE.
After studies & dinner, we went to visit Candita. She thankfully allowed us in & we wanted to read a chapter from the BoM with her, but instead she wrote it down & said she'll read it. When we left, we noticed we had a missed call from Austin! He asked if we were coming over tonight. We originally planned to visit with Sammie that night, but she texted to cancel saying she had too many things going on. So we asked Austin if we could visit with him & he said yes! 
When we got there, Austin & Richard were both there! We sat outside & had our lesson. Austin admitted to us he'd been avoiding us because he'd been partying, but he's tired of it. Him & Richard both are tired of drinking & doing these different things & need a change. Austin decided that day that he was going to quit smoking & drinking. They see the bad choices they've been making & want to make them right. We read Alma 32 with them & talked about how to develop faith. It was way cool because Austin was trying to apply every single verse to himself. Hopefully this is the point in their lives where they are sufficiently humble & ready to receive the gospel. Please pray that they will have the strength to resist temptation!
Although the week started out really slow..Sunday was just what we needed! 

It's no surprise that this week I'll hit my 9 month mark. Lately I've been reflecting on my mission thus far & honestly I feel all sorts of different emotions realizing I'm half way done. I never imagined myself being this far out on my mission. The time has just flown on by, & the second half, I'm sure will be even faster, which scares me. Being a missionary is the best thing I could be doing with my life. I've never felt closer to my Savior & seen so many miracles. 
The Church IS TRUE my friends! If you don't know that, ask Heavenly Father. The Book of Mormon is the greatest book there is. Everything our church is founded on weighs on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It contains the FULLNESS of the everlasting gospel! What a joy! It's so important to read from its pages each & every day.

Thanks for your continued love, support, & prayers!
Have a wonderful week & I'll talk to you next week. :)
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Another week in the life (July 27 email)


Thanks for always writing to me, it means a lot. Even when you don't think you have much to say I love hearing it all. Except the fact the the Tigers are stinkin' it up....the Angels are doing well I hear! They might become my new favorite team ;) haha kidding.

Well, this week's letter won't NEARLY be as great as last weeks, or as long. Due to the fact that it was a slower week AND I forgot my brain (planner) at home.

We were only able to meet with one of our investigators this week, Austin. None of our investigators came to church :( Overall, the work this week was super slow, but of course we found joy in the little things because we're MISSIONARIES. Servants of Jesus Christ. How can we NOT be happy while doing HIS work?!

Speaking of being happy, that's what life is all about. "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." I've been really blessed on my mission to truly feel this joy & happiness. Of course, not every single moment is joyful. There's those moments when you feel lower than you've ever felt such as when investigators drop you, baptisms get cancelled, you feel like you're doing all you can, working hard & being obedient & the work does not seem to be picking up. Situations like these cause all missionaries to feel sorrow. A mission is truly like a roller coaster of emotions. I've felt my highest high & my lowest low out here. It's true when they say a mission prepares you for the rest of your life. It's true in many aspects. I believe one of the greatest ways is preparing you for opposition.

There are so many people in the world who do not understand why God allows evil to exist. They have a valid point to some degree: Why would a loving Heavenly Father allow His children to suffer? It's so hard for people who are not in the gospel to understand this aspect of life. They don't see the eternal perspective like we do. For me, an eternal perspective is one of the greatest blessings of the gospel. We know that we lived with our Heavenly Father before we were born on the earth. We knew His plan; that we would be sent to earth to go through challenges & really hard things. We would all struggle with things, but these struggles would shape us into who Heavenly Father wants us to be, to fulfill the divine potential each one of His children has. We know that this life is only a millisecond in the grand scheme of eternity. Eternity is what we're reaching for. Living with my family in the presence of Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ, receiving a FULLNESS of joy is such a beautiful promise to those who faithfully live the gospel & faithfully use the Atonement. I love this gospel. I love that it's not for the perfect, but for the imperfect trying to become more like Jesus Christ. It's about change. I know that we need to go through hard things in life to understand and appreciate the blessings we have; we need to taste the bitter to know the sweet.

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate every word, letter, email I hear from every one of you. Thank you for the love & support you show to me.  I want to challenge everyone to become more missionary minded. The missionaries serving in your area need your help. They need your prayers and support. Talk with everyone you can about the gospel, be an example of the Savior. "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15)

Love you & hope you have a great week!
Sister Viraldo