Thursday, September 24, 2015

Miracles in the magical land of Wrightwood! (9-21 Email)

If you like to talk to potatoes, if a squash can make you smile, if you like to waltz with tomatoes up & down the produce aisle......THEN DO WE HAVE SOME NEWS FOR YOU.

I don't have any stories of talking to potatoes or smiling because of squash (although we did eat some delicious squash this week that may or may not have made me smile) & we did not waltz with any tomatoes, BUT I do have some great news!!  It's only been 4 days since my last email, but oh so much has happened. 

I'll quickly get Thursday-Saturday over with so I can talk about SUNDAY.

Thursday I talked with Sister Hess, the mission nurse, & she gave me tips to try to get me to feel better. I'm still dealing with the nasty post-nasal drip & coughing constantly. I got a neti-pot & that seems to help a bit. Sister Hobbs called & asked if I wanted to go to a Dr. & I said yes. Pretty much what they'll do is test me to see if it's something they can give me antibiotics for or if it's allergies. They won't send me to an allergist, but they can figure out the cause...hopefully!
We had a lesson with Julie, who is kinda less active & a recent convert of just over a year. She's pretty neat. We had dinner with the Snedegar family. While we were out visiting some people we got a call from Sister Quinn about one of her friends who agreed to meet with us. Lynette is her name & she is actually a former investigator, so she's met & talked with missionaries before. We've tried to call her a couple times with no reply, but hopefully we'll be able to meet with her this week. There's something you gotta know about Sister Quinn: she is very in tune with the spirit. She was telling us that she really feels like Lynette needs the gospel. Woo!

Friday we spent the majority of the day weekly planning & updating the area book. It's tedious work now, but it'll make things way simpler in the future.

Saturday we finished weekly planning & met with Sister Peacock (RS Pres) to go over the ward list. We didn't have dinner that night, so she was so kind to make us something! As we were out that evening visiting people, both Sister Anderson & I had to use the bathroom & luckily the Wheelers in our ward lived in the neighborhood we were in. Brother Wheeler, if you don't remember, is the dentist that I went to. He's in my ward now! Their home is beautiful & he tried to convince us to stay & watch the BYU vs UCLA game. Hahaha, don't worry, we only stayed through half time. ;) kiddingggg!

We had ward conference & it was really fun to see President Hutchins, Brother Demke & Sister Ewing from my beloved Phelan ward<3
Bishop Jorgenson gave a talk on the covenants we make when we partake of the sacrament. The one he focused on was taking Christ's name upon us. He read some different names that Jesus Christ is known as: The Anointed One, Beloved, Comforter, etc. & how when we take Christ's name upon us, we take all of His names upon us. It was really interesting & something I'd never thought of before. Then he sang "if the Savior stood beside me" & it was really good! Haha 
It was really cool that a couple less active families came to church too! & Alissa & Kealyn!! We sang in the choir! We sang "I Know that my Redeemer Lives" to the tune of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" Super cool :)
There's this member in our ward, Sister H, who is recently coming back into activity. Here's her story: She was converted before she got married but (for personal reasons which have been deleted) couldn't go to church. She home schooled a couple of her children & would incorporate Bible study each day. She would pretty much teach them what she believed & what she remembered from church & the missionary lessons. All the while she would pray that one day when her children were off on their own, they would hear the gospel & it would be familiar to them. Fast forward a few years, (idk the time table really) one day her son called her & told her that he's taking the missionary lessons. Later on, he got baptized & was dating a member. Earlier this year, she decided she could come back to church and in July she was able to go through the temple & soon after go to her son's temple sealing! She is so strong & full of faith. We are starting to teach her son, L. We're praying he will be able to be baptized soon!
After that lesson we had a great dinner with Bishop & Sister Jorgenson. Good people. 
After dinner we had a lesson with Alissa & Kealyn. We taught them the Plan of Salvation. They are both VERY easily distracted, which makes teaching them super hard & kinda frustrating, BUT patience is a virtue. I was able to make visuals for them so we could lay the Plan of Salvation out & explain it better. They seemed to understand it pretty well. 
We finished the lesson & invited them to be baptized. Alissa waited to answer until Kealyn answered. (which was very smart because she wanted him to make the decision for himself) Kealyn said he wants to be baptized & wants to learn more. Alissa said she wants to be baptized as well! We extended October 24th as the day of their baptism & explained that we prayed about it & felt that it was the right day. Alissa at first was a little hesitant about the day. We talked to her about it & invited her to pray right there & then & ask Heavenly Father if that day is right. She agreed. Sister Howard so very intelligently added "after you ask the question, take some time to pause & wait for an answer". Alissa began to pray "Heavenly Father, I am asking if October 24th of this year is the day me & my son should be baptized.." *a good 30 second pause* although Kealyn was being your average 12 year old boy & giggling because of the long pause, the spirit was felt SO strongly & I knew that they both were feeling it as well. We are told in the Doctrine & Covenants that those who teach & listen by the spirit are edified. The Spirit was not just testifying to ME that October 24th was the right day, but because I felt the Spirit, the Spirit was present & all that were open to it had the privilege as well. 
After she prayed, we asked Kealyn what he felt. Besides saying he felt his stomach growl, he said that he felt a tingling in his chest. Alissa said she felt the same thing. She knew that that was an answer to her prayer! This experience was so special. Alissa went from not being sure about the date to receiving a witness from the Holy Ghost & being sure of her answer. 
I can't quite explain this experience in words...  It was probably one of the sweetest experiences of my mission. The church is true. The gospel of Jesus Christ is here on the earth in its fullness. There is in it the blessings of God to His children if we live it. God answers prayers. The Holy Ghost is very real. There's no greater joy than following God's commandments & helping our brothers & sisters to repent & do the same. I love my mission & am so happy to still have time left to do this great work. 

Don't worry about me. The ward is taking care of us so well. They are so very excited to have us & know we will do a great work. It's kind of a big responsibility...I can't let them down! Haha, but it's not something I can't handle. :)

Remember to read your scriptures, say your prayers & be kind to everyone. :)
Have a great week! I love you & pray for you.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wrightwood Week 1 (9-16 email)

Greetings to everyone who takes time out of their busy day to read my weekly emails! Sorry the days have been so messed up the past 2 weeks. It'll be going back to normal next week!

This week has been stressful & oh so great! 
This ward is really amazing. If you didn't know, we just took over the area that elders had. The ward had been praying to get sister missionaries because of the number of single women in the ward & women in general who could benefit from having sister missionaries to visit them.
The stressful part is just understanding how this area works & getting know the people & how to work here. But I'm loving the beauty that is here.
This last week was AWESOME for a lot of reasons. 
Reason #1 - Thursday we had our mission conference with Elder Falabella of the Seventy. Sister Wagner & I sang "Savior, Redeemer Missionary Medley" with Elder Spriggs on the piano & it went well! Before the conference began, Elder Falabella wanted to shake hands with each missionary so that was a really cool experience! I got up there & he said my name & asked where that's from. I said "we think it's Italian." He told me that his name is Italian too! It was such a neat experience to meet & talk to him. 
President & Sister Hobbs began by speaking to us & then turned the time over to Elder Falabella, who spoke to us about 2 hours before lunch, then he spoke again after for a couple hours. He had SO many good things to say. I'll just sum up a little about what he talked about. 
He started off with a question: "What is the reason you are here today?" Some answered with various answers: to be more converted, to change, to become a better missionary, to receive revelation, etc. He focused on the REASON we do things & the significance of focusing on that in all we do. He talked a lot about the sacrament & the reason we take it each Sunday. What is the reason we take the Sacrament? Are our minds & hearts focused on the purpose of the Sacrament each week, or do we find ourselves getting into a routine & taking for granted the wonderful blessing? The Sacrament is the only ordinance we take part in more than once for ourselves. Baptism, the Holy Ghost, Endowment, etc happen only ONCE for us, but we take the Sacrament every week. He also tore down the phrase of "renewing" our covenants by partaking of the Sacrament & said he believes we make new covenants every week. We should covenant to do better than the week before & be more Christlike. How profound.
He also talked about not giving up so easily. Especially with teaching families. He told us a story about how he went out teaching with elders recently & they were in the living room teaching a woman about the restoration as Elder Falabella heard noise coming from another room in the house. In the middle of the lesson he got up & started towards the noise. He got into the kitchen & saw like 7 other people eating rice & beans around the table. He said "I love rice & beans!" & they offered him some. After awhile, the elders were in the kitchen teaching the whole family.
He promised that as we TRY HARDER & don't give up so easily, we will have families to teach. 
Those are just a couple things he talked about, & I did that without looking back at my notes! hahaha

Reason #2 - Church on Sunday was great. Everyone was so welcoming & willing to help us with whatever we need. It's hard to accept help sometimes, but Sister Peacock, who is the Relief Society president, put it this way: "we asked for you, we gotta take care of you!" They are SO generous. Sacrament meeting was great with a returned missionary speaking about 4 Christlike attributes he focused on especially towards the end of his mission in Ghana. Faith, Hope, Charity & Love, & Obedience. We ate dinner at Julie & Gary Moore's. Julie is Deloy & Trenna Anderson's granddaughter. & I was lucky enough to see Elder & Sister Anderson at their house! It was nice seeing them again. It'd only been a week, but it felt like so much longer. haha.

Reason #3 - Monday evening we visited Teresa Howard & Susan Butler, who are sisters & active in our ward. They live together & just a couple weeks ago their niece Alissa & her 12 year old son Kealyn (pronounce kaelyn--the nurse at the hospital spelled it wrong) moved in with them & are not members. They've come to church with them the past 2 weeks. We had a nice time chatting with them and then we were able to introduce the Book of Mormon. They are interested in learning more. Alissa's dad passed away a few years ago & so she is really interested in the Plan of Salvation, which we are planning to teach this Friday. They are our 2 new investigators! & they come to church already, so YAY!

Reason #4 - Today we had the amazing opportunity to attend the temple. I LOVE & cherish every moment in the temple, especially since we don't get to go that often as missionaries. It'd been 8 months since I'd gone, but only 4 months until I go again! The temple is such a blessing in our lives. I encourage you all to find time in your life to go to the temple. There is such great peace in the House of the Lord & more knowledge to gain awaiting you. 

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I'm grateful to have this wonderful message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to share with my brother & sisters here in Wrightwood at this time. There is truth in this world. God has revealed it to us through prophets of old & modern day prophets. If you don't know this truth, you can find it. God loves us & answers our sincere & honest prayers. 

Thank you so much for your love & prayers. I hope you know they strengthen me each day. 
xoxo Sister Viraldo


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pink wash & train?! (Sept 9 email)

I'm terribly sorry this email is getting to you so late, but I promise I have good excuses. 

Saturday was the day of transfer calls. The APs called me on behalf of President asking me if I'd train again this transfer & of course I said "of course!" That meant either I was staying in Phelan (after being there 6 months) or whitewash train (meaning me & my companion would be taking over someone else's area.) My fate remained a mystery for 4 loooooooong hours until we got the rest of the "transfer doctrine". Elder Wurst called to say Sister Wagner was going to Apple Valley. Automatically we both thought I was staying in Phelan until he said "and Sister Viraldo, you're coming to Wrightwood." I thought he was joking. That was his area & it's quite uncommon for sisters to replace elders in areas. Nevertheless, he was 100% serious. 

The rest of Saturday & Sunday were spent running around saying goodbye & packing both of our lives up & cleaning our house since both Sister Wagner & I were leaving & they were bringing elders into Phelan. (I'd assume they call that "blue washing" but who knows...) The ward was super sad that we were leaving & even more sad that they were getting elders. 

Church on Sunday was very sentimental. We both bore our testimonies & I could barely get mine choked out over my tears. Mom, I blame you for my lack of ability to speak when I cry. Some people have a real talent at that, but I was not blessed with that.

You'll never guess who showed up to church after sacrament meeting was over......Virgie & Diane!! Diane knew they were going to be late but "had to come to say goodbye" to us! awww it was so great. They stayed for Sunday School. :)  Betty gave me a hug & said the SWEETEST thing to me: "you gave me the courage to go back to church." Little things like that make missionary work SO worth it.

So here's my excuses why you're getting this email on Wednesday. Monday was labor day = libraries are closed & it was also transfer day! Sister Wagner got her new companion & headed off to Apple Valley. Mom, I now know what it is like to let go of your first born child. You gave them life & tried to raise them right, then comes the day where you hand them off & hope they can fly on their own. :'(
I'm assuming it was more difficult for me to let go of my firstborn than for you to let go of yours, am I right? ;)

Saying goodbye to Sis Wagner
I got put with a temporary companion for the rest of Monday & Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon we got our new missionaries, had a meeting, then headed up the hill. We finally got to Wrightwood around 7pm & headed straight to our dinner with the Quinn's. We got home a little after 8 to a mess of an apartment. I'd always heard horror stories about moving into elders' apartments, but I'd been in contact with the elders who were here & they promised they cleaned it. My hopes were high & got crushed...hard. So we had permission to email for a short time today to let you know that I am well & safe!

I am super excited for this new opportunity I have to be in Wrightwood & training again! The ward was looking forward to having sisters & so far they have welcomed us very well. I know I'll love it here. Sister Hobbs (mission president's wife) has told me a couple times how excited she is that I get to serve in Wrightwood. I'll miss the amazing people I've met in Phelan, but I know there's more for me to do here! 

Sorry for the short email, but DUTY CALLS.
Love you so much!
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Friday, September 4, 2015


We're not emailing at our normal location, so I'm a little flustered & on a time limit... Although I have my planner sitting in front of me, I remember next to nothing about this whole last week. I will do my very best!

Yes, this is the last week of the transfer. I don't know what's happening, but I'll find out Saturday & let you know on Monday! ACTUALLY that reminds me...the libraries will be closed on Monday for Labor Day, so I'll be emailing on Tuesday!!

Tuesday we did some tracting. We picked a street on our map the night before & decided to knock some doors. We didn't have any luck, but one funny thing happened...

We walked up to a gate that appeared locked, so we put our card in it & started to walk I noticed the lock wasn't actually locked! We opened the gate & cautiously walked in to ensure the dog was friendly. A lady came to the door and said "How the (heck) did you get on my property??" We said, "we opened the gate". "Well, never do that again." This was the first experience I've had with someone swearing at us (I think). BUT the story doesn't end there. Later that night we had a missed call & voicemail from a private number. & guess who it was! That lady that yelled at us earlier that day. & no she didn't call to yell at us more, but to apologize for "snapping" at us! That's unheard of. That must've taken a lot of courage & humility. Pretty neat.

Sorry, I'm going to skip ahead to Saturday...

Saturday we were on exchanges! Sister Wagner stayed in Phelan & Sister Prows came with her. I went to Hesperia with Sister Ostlund & their temporary companion, Sister Brentlinger. It was a GREAT day! I learned soo much from both of them! My goal for the exchange was to testify more often & to be more bold & assertive rather than sit back & not say much because it's not "my area". It's really easy to let the sister whose area it is to do all of the talking, but I didn't want to do that anymore. No matter what area you are serving, you're still a missionary, set apart with the same authority, therefore you have the right to exercise the same power as if it was your own proselyting area.

We did service with their ward in the morning and then went home for studies. Later we visited a less active couple. The lady got REALLY excited when I told her I'm from Michigan. She went to Mackinac Island like 30 some yrs ago & still thinks it's the best vacation she's ever been on. 
We did some tracting as well & met some really cool people. That morning for companion study we sang "Did You Think to Pray" all 3 of us doing different parts & it sounded SO GOOOD. So we decided to use that throughout the day. We ended up singing it twice with people we met. It's so amazing to be able to use music to bring the spirit into the message we share.

One of the most impactful things I learned while on exchanges was asking questions & NOT being a robot. It's so easy to get into a rote door approach, but that's not what people are going to connect to. They connect to real people. I'm learning (slowly) how to talk with people & make connections with them. It's so cool because that's a skill I won't just use on my mission, but throughout my life. 

Sunday we had Stake Conference. Since there's too many people in our stake to fit into the stake center, a couple wards broadcast it & Phelan was one of them. Besides the few technical glitches, it was such a great conference! Maybe I'm biased though because the first 2 speakers were our mission president & his wife, President & Sister Hobbs! I never get tired of hearing their inspiring messages. The main topic I got out of the meeting was the importance & BLESSING of having a living prophet on the earth! A prophet is one of the way Heavenly Father shows His love to His children. It truly shows that He is the same yesterday, today & forever. His words have not ceased with the Bible, or even with the Book of Mormon, but He continues to speak to His prophets today for the benefit of the world we live in. What a huge blessing that is! I'm so grateful there is a living prophet today who speaks for God & that I still have the opportunity to receive PERSONAL revelation & inspiration for myself. 

This week I've had sort of a theme for my studies & that is the word BECOME. It is such a powerful word. Think about it: why are we here on earth? What is our purpose? It is to BECOME like our Savior, Jesus Christ. To BECOME the person Heavenly Father knows we can. There's such a difference between doing & BECOMING. Going on a mission & BECOMING a missionary. As we learn of Christ & His teaching & apply them into our life, we begin to BECOME like Him & what a joy that is! :)

I love this gospel. I know it's true & everyone can know that too. There is absolute truth here on earth & God wants us to seek it out & ask Him.

Thanks for your love & prayers!!
xoxo Sister Viraldo