Thursday, October 29, 2015

I Know My Savior Loves Me (10-26 email)

This week was definitely a busy one. But oh, so great!

Tuesday we usually have our scripture study class at 6:45, but the scouts were having a court of honor & we were tricked into going, haha. From past experiences, ya know, having so many brothers in scouts I've never enjoyed attending court of honors much. But this one was actually very amusing! Hahaha.
Wednesday we did some service for the Castles...& I'm so sad to say that this is their last week in Wrightwood. :(
In the evening, Alissa & Kealin had their baptism interviews & PASSED! Then afterward, we had dinner with the Dabells :)
Thursday after we did service at the library, we put together Alissa & Kealin's baptism program. Later, we were out trying a former investigator & met her husband, J. He was super friendly, but not really interested because they are very active at Hillside Community Church. BUT we asked him "who do you know who could use a message of how much God loves them?" & he told us to visit his neighbor! YAYYY FOR REFERRALS!!
Friday we were able to have a lesson with a less active we've been trying to visit since we've been here. As we were planning what to share with her, we decided to do a BoM read, which teaches about personal revelation & how the Spirit answers our questions through the Book of Mormon. It's a really cool exercise that I suggest you try! 
You think of a question you want answered, choose ANY place to read & start reading. It's really great to do it in a group because the insights you have about a verse can really help answer someone else's question. So we decided to do that with her & I felt like we should read Mosiah 18. Turns out that was inspired because about halfway into the chapter she said "BOOM, my question is answered!" & she started crying. It was soooo cool to see how the Spirit directed us to read that chapter so that her question could be answered & her testimony of the Book of Mormon strengthened.
5:01am came way too fast on Saturday morning. Why did we get up that early? El Mirage. You might remember me writing about this in May. Our zone did a service project with the community cleaning up trash around the dry lake bed. We got there at 6:15ish, helped make breakfast, ate at 7, started working around 8:15 & came back at 12:30 for lunch. It was pretty fun! 
El Mirage clean-up day

Afterwards we went home to make final preparations for the baptism & lo & behold Sister Anderson & I are both burnt! PERFECT timing, huh? Oh well, ALISSA & KEALIN ARE GETTING BAPTIZED! I don't think I told you, but I sang "I Heard Him Come" :) 
The water heater broke so the water was chillyyyyy. As Alissa was stepping in, I said "this will show her faith!" But she did it! She even had to go under twice because the first time her knee was up. Kealin went after & was acting all tough that the water wasn't that cold, but you could see him shivering. hahaha. It was such a neat experience to see the people that I've come to love over the past month & a half take a step of faith in following Jesus Christ & enter the waters of baptism. So special. After the baptism we went out to dinner with Sister Howard & Butler (their aunts), Alissa, Kealin, Sis. Carlson, & Bishop & Sister Jorgenson. I got a Macho burrito & boy was it MACHO. Sooo delicious though, but that's not important ;)

Sunday was a special day because Alissa & Kealin were confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints & were given the gift of the Holy Ghost. :)
Also, it was the primary program & the theme was "I know my Savior lives". Primary programs are THE BEST. There's nothing better than the sweet testimonies of children. Each child got to go up & say "I know my Savior loves me because..." 

"I know my Savior loves me because He gave me my family" was a common one, but that's what I would say too. I love my family! Families can be together forever & that makes me so happy & gives me so much hope. 

Well, this letter was probably all over the place, but I hope it makes a difference in your day.  Thanks for all you do for me! I love you & pray for you every day. :)
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy fall! (10-19 Email)

The beauty in Wrightwood is UNREAL. Autumn is my favorite time of year. The leaves are changing, the wind is blowing, the fireplaces are blazing, and the sweaters I'm wearing. & I get to stay here at least 6 more weeks with my 2nd born, Sister Anderson! YAY!
Things are still going just dandy here in this little mountain town. A&K are prepping & excited for their baptism this Saturday! It's been so fun seeing their progress. & it's not something only we see, but members of the ward have seen it too.  One huge miracle that we've seen is in their ability to read. When we first started teaching them they couldn't read but a couple words at a time. They started reading the Book of Mormon on their own & we've been reading it with them & BOY have their reading abilities improved 10 fold! It's amazing to see the power of the Book of Mormon, not only in spiritual matters, but other ways as well.

We had exchanges this week! I always love exchanges. A little break in the routine is always nice & I learn SO much from the sisters I'm with. This week I had the opportunity to be on exchanges with Sister Wood in Wrightwood! :) She was stunned by the beauty Wrightwood has to offer, so yeah, I'm not exaggerating when I say that. ESPECIALLY when you're living in the rest of the high desert for so long & you get to come up to's like a mini vacation. Here are some things I learned from Sister Wood:
1. Asking soul searching questions: asking inspired questions is something I've been working on for awhile, but the kind of questions that really make a person examine themselves & look deep within is something I want to work on. When you have the ability to ask a question that makes a person really think it brings their true feelings & thoughts to surface & there's ALWAYS a gospel principle to teach.
2. LOVE: Sister Wood showed so much love to everyone she talked to. It was the very first time meeting these people & she made them feel the love the Savior has for them. love softens hearts.
3. Missionary work rocks. Okay I already knew that, but it was just reiterated a few more times!

We had a really cool experience while on exchanges. Walking down the street sister Wood asked "any houses you want to try?" With none in mind, I looked around & said "that one!" We knocked on the door & a lady opened who'd just been crying. We were able to make her laugh & brighten her day. We got to talk to her for a good 15 minutes about God & Jesus Christ. She never grew up with that foundation, but lets her 4yo daughter go to church. We were able to testify of God's love for her & the plan He has. It was amazing to see her countenance change as we stood there & showed her love & concern that we had & the Savior had for her.

I love the Savior & the love He has for me. Love makes the world go 'round. I can testify to the unending love Jesus Christ has for everyone. I know that if we show love to others not only will they feel better, but we will too. Love is key. We are told so many times in the scriptures "without charity ye are nothing". Charity is not money or material items, it is love. Show love to everyone! I promise that by doing so you will feel your Savior's love & your days will be better.

I love you all & thank you for taking time out of your day to read my letters & I hope something I say will help you change for the better. We all have room for change :) I don't know if you can tell, but I'd say I've changed a lot on my mission...I'm still me, just better (hopefully).

xoxo Sister Viraldo
Beautiful sunrise in Wrightwood.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sorry it's short!! (10-13 Email)

This email is gonna be quite short because DUTY CALLS.

This week was really great! Nothing too too exciting happened, but great nonetheless!

We've been working closely with A&K for the past few weeks & it's been amazing to see the progress they're making. On Thursday we had a lesson about keeping the Sabbath day holy & afterwards asked A if we'd see her at church & she said "I don't know, we have a lot to do around the house." Hahaha, did we not just have a lesson about going to church & avoiding work on Sundays? So we told them we would come help them. Whatever it takes to get them at church! We were able to go over to their house & help with yard work & house work that needed to be done.

We're also working with L & he's so awesome! We had dinner/lesson with him & his mom yesterday & he said "When I'm a missionary..." :)
His dad should be coming to church this week! 

I'm sorry that's about all I have for my week. Next week's email will be better, I promise.

My thought for this email is about service. For my first time in Wrightwood, we were able to do quite a bit of service this week! Before my mission I didn't understand or appreciate the joy that comes from serving others.The size of service that we do is irrelevant: opening the door for someone, picking up something they dropped, raking the ENORMOUS amount of pine needles that are in one's yard, & even a smile can brighten someone's day. There is a sense of happiness that enters our lives when we forget ourselves & serve people out of the kindness of our heart, expecting nothing in return. I'd encourage one & all to get out this week & do service for someone. I promise that a greater sense of LOVE & JOY will enter your life because of it. After all, "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." Let us get out & serve God this week by serving our fellowmen. 

xoxo Sister Viraldo

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Your faith will grow not by CHANCE, but by CHOICE (10-6-15 Email)

4-week New Missionary Meeting


Looking back at this week, it went by so quickly, yet at the same time Wednesday feels like it happened 2 weeks ago. That's the life of a missionary, though.

First off I wanted to talk about the amazing General Conference weekend we all enjoyed. What a huge blessing it is to be a member of Jesus Christ's church--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--in these, the last days & for the opportunities we have to listen to God's chosen servants. They truly speak the words of the Lord. EACH of the talks that were given were SO inspired by the Lord & if we listen by the Spirit, they all can apply to us in our personal lives. 

There were quite a few talks that I really connected to & found great insight & personal revelation in.
#1 Elder Larry R. Lawrence - "What lack I yet?" He focused on our personal spiritual growth & how we can improve as disciples of Jesus Christ. He challenged us each to do a spiritual exercise. He invited us to humbly pray and ask the Lord, "What is keeping me from progressing?" Then to wait quietly for a response from the Holy Ghost. If we are humble & ready for an answer the Holy Ghost will tell us something very specific that we can do in our lives or rid from our lives that will help us be more Christlike. He encouraged us to be humble enough to ask & faithful enough to act. Spiritual growth should be a priority in our lives. We all should be trying to improve each and every day. The Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect, but He DOES expect us to try a little harder to be a little better. I love this exercise because there are things in my life that I can do better to become the person & specifically the missionary Heavenly Father needs me to be! I'm grateful for personal revelation.

#2 Elder Robert D. Hales - I loved his talk because he was so BOLD & specific. Stay out of debt. If you choose to avoid temptation, you'll be happy. Be worthy of the person you will marry. Pretty simple.

#3 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - I always love Elder Holland's talks. He speaks to my soul. He talked about the loving, kind, selfless role of MOTHERHOOD. The love that a mother has for her child is the closest to Christlike love there is on earth. I love you mom!

#4 President Thomas S. Monson - This holy man has given his whole life to the Lord. The 2 scriptures he shared have been part of mine & Sister Anderson's lessons recently. I loved how he explained how we can be an example in word, conversation, charity, spirit, faith & purity. As we develop those attributes, our lights can shine to those around us!

#5 Sister Carole M. Stephens - Her talk about LOVE & OBEDIENCE was awesome! It is so true. We are given commandments because God loves us! He knows what is best for us. 

Those are just some of the talks that stuck out to me!

This week was GRRREAT!  We had a couple lessons with Sister H and her son L. Earlier this week I was really pondering the counsel given by Elder Falabella & reinforced by President Hobbs-- focus on fathers, teach the fathers & the family. I had a strong impression that we need to focus on L's father. I brought that up to Sister Anderson & she really felt like we need to do that as well. On Friday we were talking with Sister H & we were planning on telling her how we want to meet her husband. Before we were able to do that she told us that they started going to counseling & he agreed to go to church with her. That was PERFECT for what we wanted to talk with her about. We started relaying the counsel from Elder Falabella & she got chills. The Spirit testified to all of us that that was right. As of now, we haven't met him yet, but hopefully he'll be at church this Sunday. This is a huge miracle! :) 

This week was week 4, aka the 4 week new missionary meeting! It's an opportunity that President & Sister Hobbs have of checking on the new missionary's progress & to answer questions they or we have. It's always great to receive training from them. 

We had a couple lessons with A & K. We're working on helping them prepare for their baptism in a few weeks! We're SO excited & they seem to be too. It's really hard to read them, but they truly desire to be baptized & know it's true! 

One of the coolest things that happened this week happened just yesterday afternoon...
Earlier in the week we had dinner with Brother & Sister Strong & they named off 4 of their neighbors they wanted us to visit. One of them is a lady by the name of D. We met her yesterday & learned that she recently lost her job. Her boss goes to her church & she just couldn't bring herself to go to church on Sunday. We talked to her a little about God's plan for her & introduced her to the Book of Mormon. We explained how the Bible, over time, lost precious truths due to translations. She believed that. And we explained the purpose of the Book of Mormon, to testify of Christ & to expound upon the Bible. Specifically how in the Bible it talks about how Christ was "baptized to fulfill all righteousness" & the Book of Mormon, Alma 31, tells us what it means to "fulfill all righteousness". You could just see the Spirit working in her. She thought it was good & wants to read it & see if it can help her understand the Bible more. I don't remember much of what I said, but I DO remember how strongly I felt the Spirit speaking through me to exactly what she needed to hear. It truly is amazing to be doing this work. Every day is a blessing.

Mom, I did get answers to my questions during conference! It's amazing how the Spirit works, huh?
Yes, you should share it with me, what you learned from Pres Uchtdorf's talk!
Wowww you're going to San Diego this week! Luckies! 
I guess I won't worry about dad, if you're not worried.
I'm not feeling any better really, the neti pot is the thing I've found that works the best. Weird, I was down in Rancho on Wednesday & didn't have any problems....

I love you mommy & daddy! Thanks for the great emails. I love hearing about everything! 
Have a great week & I'll talk to you next week while you're only a couple hours from me! hahaha
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Monday, October 5, 2015

9-28-15 Email

This week I was reminded just how important the Holy Ghost is in missionary work. Every little aspect. The incident that reminded me of that happened yesterday...
We were planning on going to the Y's home to visit. Brother Y has cancer & cannot make it to church very often. I knew about this visit & was thinking of what to share with them. In Relief Society a scripture was read & I thought it would be a good one to share with them. That night as we pulled up to the Y's, I remembered that scripture & told Sister Anderson that I thought we should share it. The scripture is D&C 84:88:
And whoso receiveth you, therwill be also, for will gbefore  your face. will be on your right hand and on your left, anmy Spirit shall be in your heartsand mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
We got talking with the Ys & they are just the SWEETEST people & you can feel the Spirit so strongly in their home. While talking with them I got the impression that we should each share our favorite scripture instead of just us sharing D&C 84:88. When it got time to share the message, they asked what we're going to share & I said "We had a message planned, but I feel like we should all share our favorite scriptures with each other & talk about them." 
When it got to Brother Y's turn to share, he was talking about how this scripture came into his mind while he was in the hospital going through 45 treatments of chemo. He turned to the scripture & read it. The scripture he read was none other than D&C 84:88...the exact scripture I had the prompting to share but then had the different prompting NOT to share. 
To me that was a confirmation that I was being led by the Spirit. Think about it: it wouldn't have been as meaningful if we would've gone with the original plan. Brother Y might say, "oh, that's my favorite scripture." But we wouldn't have been able to know the magnitude of the story. It was so apparent that our conversation was led by the Spirit. Everything we do in our lives can & ought to be directed by the Holy Ghost. We have to right to His constant companionship. If we don't recognize & appreciate that, then we don't understand the precious gift that we've been given. The Spirit is essential in effective missionary work & I know it's just as important to be used in our every day lives. Strive to always live worthy of the Spirit & recognize his subtle promptings & act on them. I promise your life will be richly blessed as you do. 

One of the highlights of this week was on Friday & Saturday evening. First, Friday...
Phelan Phamily Phun Night! Brother Chaffee organized a pizza/game night for the tri-communities aka Wrightwood, Phelan, & Oakhills. All 3 wards were invited. We were able to help Brother Chaffee set up beforehand. A & K, our investigators, came & seemed to enjoy themselves. Other than that pretty much everyone else was from the Phelan ward. So I got to see all my people!!! It was SO fun to see them again. It's nice to be missed :) It was funny because even A made the comment, "man, everyone loves you!" hahaha. It's only been a few weeks since I'd seen them, but the reunion was still so sweet. 
Saturday evening was the Women's broadcast! We had a taco salad bar at church beforehand then watched it in the chapel. My favorite talk given would probably be by Sister Reeves. She talked about looking at our life with an eternal perspective. Life is hard at times, but when we make it to the other side & see the amazing blessings we'll receive, we will ask Heavenly Father: "Was that ALL that was required?" I LOVE that! I know that it's true. Challenges in life seem never ending sometimes, but this life is only temporary. It's a testing place where we need to prove ourselves worthy to receive eternal life with Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ. The end will be so much greater than anything we can imagine right now. The trials we face on earth are preparing us to receive eternal JOY!

I am SO looking forward to this weekend....GENERAL CONFERENCE, aka a missionary's favorite weekend of the year! I challenge you all to watch general conference with questions written down. I know that if you have specific questions & listen to the speakers by the Spirit, you will receive personal revelation. How much greater can it get than to have the opportunity to listen to the Lord's prophets & apostles who are on the earth today talking about real matters in the world! There has been sooo much crazy stuff happening in the world lately, so this conference is going to be one for the books. ;)

We've been getting good reviews from members ;). Sister Peacock told us that people are telling her how well we are doing. It's so cool to hear things like that. 
I want you to know that I am doing well. I am being taken care of, there's nothing to worry about! & if you were wondering, there are only 88 more days until Christmas!!!! I LOVE Christmastime. 

Thanks for all your love & support! I pray for you everyday. 
xoxo Sister Viraldo