Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Love Is the Motive (May 16 email)

Charity & love; it's something that I've had on my mind constantly for the last 9 weeks or so. Recently a friend told me, "love is your motive". That has stuck with me. I've really been working these last 18 months on loving people. I've had good days & I've had bad days. As I was thinking more about love being my motive I started to see how love should be everyone's motive & the motive of everything we do! Heavenly Father's motive is love for His children. Jesus Christ's motive is love for His Father & all of us. Our parents' motive comes from their love for their children. My motive should be love for everyone around me. It's quite a challenge to love every single person around you; but I've truly come to know that charity is a gift that can only be given from God. I cannot envelop charity, charity must envelop me.

I can't wrap my head around how fast my mission is coming to an end. I can't put into words how grateful I am for these past 18 months & everything I've experienced. It has been harder than I ever imagined, yet sweeter than I can even describe. I've come to know who my Father in Heaven is, what His plan is, who I am, & how I fit into that plan. I know God is real. I've felt Him in my life more times than I can count. Missions are the hardest things. I've come to see time & time again that there's no way possible I could have made it through this experience without help from God. I am weak, but through Him I am made strong. I've never loved anything as much as I love serving the Lord. 
 
But if there's anything I've learned it's that there's more to God's plan than we have yet experienced. Just as I know there's life after death, I know there's life after going home from a mission. Although I won't be physically wearing the name of Jesus Christ everyday as I have for 18 months, His name will always be on my heart. 

"Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage...and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad." D&C 128:22

Thank you all for your love & support. I'll see some of you soon, some not for a while & some maybe never again, but just know that you all have impacted my life for good.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 9 email

(Short and sweet since we just Skyped yesterday for Mother's Day!!)
 
I went back in time this week.
 
I had the opportunity to go to two of my old areas: Wrightwood & Chino Hills!
Wednesday I was on exchanges in Wrightwood for the last time & it was awesome. Tuesday night they had mutual & I got to go in & say hi to everyone there. It was the BEST. I saw Alissa & Kealin, & Alissa gave me the biggest hug ever! Then I went in to see all the YW & they were so excited to see me, which was pretty special because I didn't feel like I got to know them all that well.
 
Wrightwood YW
We had a great day! Our dinner fell through with a less active, & as we were going to visit someone, Brother Howe came outside his house & was super surprised to see me! I asked him what him & his wife were doing for dinner & he said "feeding you!" haha. Sometimes it's nice being a missionary. They made us some awesome hot pot. 

The other highlight of the week was going down to Chino Hills for the baptism of Ben Nelson. Ben is 14 years old & he's someone Sister Bergstrom & I both taught! He finally got permission from his mom to be baptized & it was a glorious day! I got to see some of my most favorite people of all time too! 
 

Also my last MLC was this week & it was awesome. Not only that, but it was on my 18 month mark! So to honor that, we got a picture of all of us. Elder Jensen, Elder Redhair, Sister Martinez & me. 
 
STLs and Zone Leaders
And we didn't get a chance to get the best ward mates picture ever, so we did that too. :)
 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

God's love is for everyone (May 2 email)

I told you last week how Sister Bergstrom & I were praying for patience & boy did we learn something.

This week was crazy.
168 hours in a week. 84 hours together. 84 hours apart.
I can't go into details about what happened, but I learned a lot about God's timing. 
 
Pretty much, we were on exchanges from Tuesday night at 8:30-Friday morning, then exchanged with another set of sisters Friday night until Saturday night. Poor Sister B slept in her own bed only 3 nights this week. 
 
Because of exchanges I've come to appreciate my companion even more :')  But all in all it was a pretty great week with good things happening all around.

Crystal is doing amazing! She is reading her scriptures & praying daily. What's even more remarkable is that she has a hard time comprehending things, especially the scriptures, yet she pushes through. She attends as many institute classes as possible. 
 
Jane is still good. Things have been going on with the family she's living with. The mom had to get surgery & so Jane has been super stressed taking care of her, worrying about her family in WA & finishing up school.
 
We found 2 new investigators in YSA, Taylor & Jessica. Taylor wants to be baptized in July!
 
Genie & Murry are doing well & progressing toward baptism on the 14th of this month!  They came to church & loved it until Murry had an anxiety attack & had to leave. But he got his first priesthood blessing & it really helped. 

On Saturday we had a cool miracle! I was on exchanges with Hermana Metcalf & we were going to try a YSA potential in felony flats. Yeah, that's what they call it...don't worry we went during the day time & it's not THAT bad. There was a lady sitting outside with all her belongings & we asked her how she was doing. She just looked really sad & said "I'm waiting for the police to show up." (not gonna lie, that freaked me out a little) I walked up closer to her & asked if we could share our card. She asked if we were JWs & I said no, we're mormons! She said "I'm mormon too". That was unexpected. 
 
We started talking to her more & she's in a pretty rough place in her life. Her roommate stole her money & kicked her out & other stuff. We gave her a Book of Mormon & she almost cried! We asked if she wanted a blessing & we called the elders to come by. It was a really great experience. We got her information & called the Bishop of the ward she lives in, which is Desert Knolls. She really wants to start coming back to church & getting her life together again. She bought cigarettes also that morning to help calm her down, something she hadn't done in 5 years & when we came up to her she was holding one in her hand, but as we sat & talked with her she had no desire to smoke it anymore. She'd been praying for help that morning & Heavenly Father was very aware of her. I know that He sent us there at that time just for her. It was amazing to see how very personal He is & how He uses US as His hands on this earth.

xoxo Sister Viraldo  
 
On exchanges with the La Mesa Hermanas!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Become (April 25 email)

Another week has gone by & here I am trying to think of what to write. Today's one of those 'procrastinate writing an email & do anything else you can think of BUT that' days. I don't know why, it just is.

This week was a very good week. The highlight was Crystal got baptized! 
 
 
It was a very happy day for all of us! It was full of the Spirit. Sister Bergstrom & I had the opportunity to sing Joseph Smith's First Prayer. Sunday she got confirmed a member of the church & received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. What an incredible experience! A lot of this week was preparing for her baptism. We had a lesson with her every day prior to Saturday.
 
Went on a couple exchanges Wednesday & Thursday. We had a great lesson with Genie & Murry this week. Sister Bergstrom & I decided we needed to push back their baptismal date a couple weeks so we could have time to finish teaching them the lessons. I was kinda worried about how Murry would take it, but by the grace of God he took it very well! No worries there. They will be baptized on May 14th :)
 
They are starting to read the Book of Mormon together too! We taught them the commandments of scripture study, obedience, keeping the Sabbath day holy, & prayer. Genie said "it will be a lot of change", but that she would keep those commandments. They unfortunately weren't able to come to church this week because Murry forgot to take his meds the night before.
 
Well, that's about all the info I have from this week, but I have a cool quote from doing "My Plan" this week. (what "my plan" is: "This program is to assist you as you prepare to return home. The program is designed to help you set goals and make plans so you can continue to grow and progress spiritually following your missionary service.")
 
"In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something." - Elder Dallin H. Oaks 
 
I've liked that word for awhile now; become. The gospel of Jesus Christ is how we progress in this life & in eternity. This life is meant for us to grow. Sister Bergstrom & I have been working on a Christlike attribute each week for a few weeks now. Today we started working on patience. Yes. It's pretty scary to pray for patience sometimes, but we shouldn't be scared to progress & become who our Heavenly Father wants us to become. That's what this life is about. I'm looking forward to seeing what praying for patience can do for me this week. I'll let you know what Heavenly Father throws my way to test me! Wish me luck!

xoxo Sister Viraldo

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Love--The Essence of The Gospel (April 18 email)

I don't have too much to write about this week, so I'll sum it all up pretty quick.
We got a couple new investigators in YSA from the Maple Sisters, but one has already dropped us because her parents are anti & she doesn't want to go against them. She was super solid though. One day, one day.
 
We had a couple lessons with Jane & Crystal. Crystal is excited for her baptism! She went to West Virginia this weekend to visit some friends. They had this trip planned for a long time. We expressed to her the importance of going to church & she ended up going to church there with her friends!
 
I got to go on exchanges with Sister Pinto! She's the cutest, sweetest Navajo ever! (she's 100% Navajo Native American) 'twas a good day.
 
 

So I say I don't have much to write about this week because on Thursday Sister Bergstrom had oral surgery done. She was in a lot of pain most all weekend, so we stayed inside & let her rest all Thursday until institute, all Friday, & all Saturday except for the lesson we had with Genie & Murry & Jane. Sister Bergstrom was a trooper through it all, but I'm still kinda sad she wasn't loopy after surgery. :/

Now on to the subject line of my email:
This week in the Mojave Narrows ward we had ward conference. In preparation for ward council, the stake presidency wanted each ward to come up with a topic that they would like to be "trained" on in ward council by the stake presidency. Our ward council chose charity & love. President Gibbons, who just so happens to be the institute teacher & counselor in the stake presidency & also one of my favorite teachers ever, gave the training. He used President Monson's talk from April 2014 General Conference titled "Love--the Essence of the Gospel" & that talk has changed my life. I'm not meaning to sound really dramatic when I say that, haha. But really, I've been thinking about charity & love a lot these past few weeks because that is something that I've come to gain more of on my mission, but I know I could use more, especially in transitioning into home life after my mission. 
I've also been thinking about charity & how loving our ward is to Murry. Lots of people have noticed & commented about him to us & saying how great it is to see him & how delightful he is. It's been amazing to see how loving & caring they are to him. I've learned a lot about charity & how important it is. 
 
 
Read this talk, ponder it, & pray about things you can improve on. I know as we were discussing it, the Spirit has prompted me how I can improve in so many areas.  Love is the answer to most problems in the world. 
 
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Celestial Transfer: Week 1

I'm going to start off by addressing the elephant in the room. Today is the start of my last transfer as a full-time missionary. It's super weird if I think about it too long, so I don't let myself. I've been blessed by Heavenly Father to stay focused & driven to being diligent & working hard til the end. The inevitable is bound to come, so why worry about it? I love life right now, but if there's one thing I've learned on my mission it's that there's life after death. So things are good, I'm staying sane & that's all I could ask for.

And I'm SOOO happy to say that I am still in Apple Valley, Mojave Narrows/Ridgecrest YSA with Sister Bergstrom. We are Celestial companions. I guess that's what they call companions that are together for 3 transfers. My first & only 3 transfer companion & I couldn't have asked for a better one!
 
 
In other news, my friend & fellow missionary I came out with, Elder Jensen, is the new Assistant to the President! Wow. Life is crazy, folks.

I take a look at the past couple transfers & realize I've grown & learned so much. Lately Sister Bergstrom & I have been noticing our lack of disappointment/discouragement when we lose baptismal dates, when nobody seems interested, & when investigators aren't progressing & drop us. I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm going to reiterate it. Our purpose is to find the prepared. Those who are ready to listen to & accept the message we have to share. We've been blessed lately to be finding & teaching really prepared people including Jane, Crystal, Genie & Murry. Because we've experienced teaching them, we have a better idea of who's prepared & who's not. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean we judge everyone we come across as whether they are the ELECT or not...we still talk to everyone & invite everyone to learn!

Jane did not get baptized on Saturday--BUT do not fret! She is still amazing & prepared & wanting to get baptized. She just wants her family to be there. Her family lives in Washington state, so she's planning to be baptized there this summer. (& mom, don't worry about me...I'm fine!) It's all in God's timing. I firmly believe also that if she is meant to be baptized down here the Spirit will prompt her & she will obey.
Jane and apples
Update on Genie & Murry: They both got caught up a little bit on 1 Nephi 4 where Nephi is told to slay Laban. Gosh darn it. It's okay, they'll get past it! But they really seem to like the Book of Mormon. We committed Genie to read the first chapter, & when we came back a couple days later she had read all of 1 Nephi! She is an avid reader :) When we came Murry spilled to us that he hasn't read since we were there last & how he lied to us & God, so before we came he started reading. His comprehension is amazing! He was talking all about how Laman & Lemuel were beating Nephi with a rod & how that wasn't nice. He offered to say the opening prayer & apologized for lying to us & God. It was so cute haha.
 
They watched the last session of Conference on Sunday & loved it. Well, Murry fell asleep, but Genie loved it! Murry did love the picture of the dinosaur during Elder Holland's talk haha. Genie said she knew the speakers are servants of God. We taught them the Plan of Salvation & the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week. They came to church on Sunday & LOVED it. In gospel principles Murry said, "we used to go to a fake church! it was a fake church! they didn't talk about God! this is a real church!" Luckily he was comfortable enough to go with someone to 3rd hour, & after church he put his arm around his mom & said "Mom! I loved it. Can we come back next week?! PLEASE? Do you promise?!" Best. Thing. Ever. As of now their baptism is still planned for April 30.

Crystal is doing amazing! She loves everything we teach her & is making soooo many friends in YSA! She's excited for her baptism on April 23 :)

That's about it for this week! Give Jacob, Ali & Evie hugs & kisses from their favorite aunt!!
 
Love you all, 
xoxo Sister Viraldo
 
 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Week 7...what?! (April 4 email)

For some reason Sister Bergstrom & I have been extremely blessed in both our areas lately. We can't think of any rhyme or reason except for the fact we're trying our hardest every day, allowing ourselves to be instruments in the hands of the Lord, & boy, is He bringing about great things!

Last week I told of the miraculous story of meeting Genie & Murray. Well, we taught them this week & set a baptismal date with them. They really want to be baptized. Murray is 19 & has autism. He said such a sweet & heartfelt prayer, like he was talking to his father. He also added in some questions that are near & dear to his heart such as: please help us find the new species from Noah's ark & that God will guide us in our dreams. It was probably my favorite prayer I've ever heard. We had a good lesson with them Saturday evening about prophets & invited them to watch Conference on Sunday. Genie told us she watched the afternoon session & really liked the messages but didn't understand who the seven or twelve are...haha

I don't remember if I wrote last week, but as we were heading home from institute on Thursday we got a call from Cassandra (a member in YSA) telling us her friend, Crystal wants to take the lessons. So Tuesday we had a lesson with them at the institute building & it was AMAZING! We taught the Restoration & she said "This HAS to be true!" We set a baptismal date for April 23 which just so happens to be her 29th bday! We've had a couple other lessons & they've gone amazing as well. She is SO prepared. She even watched both sessions of General Conference on Saturday at the institute building.

Jane is still Jane & is progressing toward baptism for this week. If all goes well, she'll be baptized on Saturday! She LOVED Conference this weekend. She watched Saturday morning by herself & we watched Saturday afternoon at her house.

We finally had a lesson with Toni in YSA, who has been a potential for a couple months, but has been way too busy to meet with. She & her roommate are going through difficult things right now & really wanted to meet with us. We taught them about the Atonement & baptism. They both committed to be baptized in May. :)

We found out this week that Michael was moving, but just to another part of Apple Valley. We brought up the YSA ward & he said that sounded cool, so we passed him off to the elders to teach him. 

We had MLC this week & it was so great! This month we're studying chapter 4 of PMG, recognizing the Spirit. 
 
We had a really nice dinner with a VERY less active member, Jessica. I might've mentioned her before. Her husband is a nonmember & active catholic. 

Well, my last thought for the week is about General Conference. So many good talks, so much spirit felt this whole weekend as we listened to Special Witnesses of Jesus Christ speak to us. I LOVED President Uchtdorf's talk about reaching out to God & obedience. Also, Elder Hales's talk about the Holy Ghost, so good! And of course Elder Holland's. But this time I didn't just LOVE his talk, but it hit me pretty hard & comforted me with some concerns I've been having lately about going home. But I know that the Lord blesses those who want to improve. 

Well, this is the final email before the beginning of my last transfer in the mission. I'm looking forward to see what this new transfer has to offer. Take care!
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I forgot my planner, so this is the best you get... (March 28 email)

Happy day after Easter!

I LOVE Easter! We had a couple really nice meetings full of the Spirit & learning about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
 
So get this: this week we tried a potential named Louis. He considers himself more of a Jew than Christian because he's not sure about Jesus Christ. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation & he seemed to really like what we taught. We invited him to come to church on Easter & he said "I'll see what I have going on." which usually means, no thanks. After Sacrament meeting in Mojave Narrows a guy stands up a few pews in front of us & guess who?! LOUIS! He actually came!! & seemed to really enjoy it. We introduced him to Bishop Schaeffer & everyone was really friendly to him :) (Side note: go out of your way to say hi to anyone new you see at church, it could make or break their experience.)

Here is the news about Jane......
She's still amazing. She's so amazing that we moved her baptismal date up a week to April 9th because she is so prepared & really excited & ready for it. 

I went on exchanges with one of my favorite people ever...but I didn't know she was my favorite person because I just met her! Her name is Sister Johnson & this is her first transfer. She's serving in Wrightwood! She came to my area & we had a blast. 
 
One cool experience we had: We had about 30 minutes before our next lesson & I didn't know what we had planned because I forgot my planner at home, so I just started driving & decided we'd tract a road. I didn't know where I was going though...I just drove until I found a road that looked good. (The hardest part about going on so many exchanges is not knowing where your companion has already tracted.) We got to Tehachapi, which is a road Sister Bergstrom & I were on just the other day, usually you'd think, "oh we were just here, we should probably find a new one" but for some reason it felt good. We tried 2 houses, no one home, not interested. One more before it was time to go. We knocked & a lady & her son came to the door, Genie & Murray. Genie is so sweet & has been to our church before. Murray has a mental disorder & talks a whole lot, but LOVES God. We could barely get a word in, but we asked if there was another time we could come back to teach them more. Murray said "Please mom! Please?" Like I said, we didn't get to talk much, but it seems like they are super prepared. It was amazing to see how the Lord led us there without even knowing it at the time.

That's so awesome you had such a good Easter! Wish I was there :)

Hope you have a wonderful week & I'll "talk" to you again in a short few days!
 
love you so much!
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Lord is preparing people! (March 21 email)

"Find the prepared, teach repentance, baptize converts"

I guess I didn't fully understand that statement until this week. Throughout my mission I've tried to find the prepared. Most of the time we meet those who are needing a little direction in their life & good experiences with the gospel, but who aren't quite prepared to receive it.

I didn't understand until I met Jane. Jane is the most prepared person I've ever met. She is kinda dating a member, so she's been exposed to Mormons a little, but didn't know much at all. She messaged a member in the YSA one day saying that she wants to learn more & that she's coming to institute. She came to institute & we met her afterwards. We set up a lesson for Saturday, but when we got home we thought, maybe we can meet with her tomorrow...? We texted her & she said yes! 
 
Friday we brought Jayleen with us to teach Jane. We asked her about her experiences with the church & she said she went to stake conference last week & one of the talks was about a happy marriage. She explained how she just felt so good & happy & started crying. Then she mentioned how every Sunday she goes to family dinner with her boyfriend's grandparents & afterwards they read scriptures. She again explained how she feels when she's there by "a blissful feeling". We helped her recognize that those feelings she gets are from the Spirit telling her the things she is learning are good & true. 
 
We talked to her about how she can have those feelings & the Spirit's guidance always when she is baptized & receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. She said "I want that! But I want to learn more first." We couldn't help but laugh & say "Oh, don't worry...we HAVE to teach you more first!" We set a baptismal date with her for April 16th
 
Saturday the Desert Knolls sisters (Sister Hammond & Pinto) had a baptism. Susan got baptized! I was on exchanges with Sister Hammond a couple transfers ago when we found her :) Sister Wagner was able to come up from Rancho to attend the baptism, so it was nice seeing her. We invited Jane to the baptism too, and she absolutely LOVED IT!! She asked "can you just dunk me in the pool now?" hahahaha  During the intermission, the Restoration dvd was shown, which was perrrrfect!
 
Then as if Jane hadn't seen enough of us, we had another lesson with her that evening & brought a couple new friends for her. (she really wants friends too, which is great because we need her to have friends. BUILT IN FRIENDS YAY!) We asked her what she thought of the baptism & she loved it, of course, and then we asked about the Restoration video & she said "I believe it. Joseph saw what he said he saw." "How do you know that?" "I feel it!"  That night she texted us asking why we don't drink coffee & we explained to her that through revelation we know it's not good for us. She texted back saying "ohh that makes sense! I'm gonna give up coffee for the month & see how it goes." She came to church yesterday & loved it! She's the most amazing person ever. Ahhhh, I can't explain how amazing she is & how much I love her!

This gospel is so true. It changes lives. The Holy Ghost testifies of all truth. 
love you all,
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March 14 email

This was a week that will be in the record books!
I guess I'll go day by day...

Monday: was NOT pday for us, but we did get to email...sorta. Yeah, weird day. I was on exchanges with Sister Hammond in her area. It was a grand day! We did lots of tracting, which is always an experience, haha. We found a couple new investigators as well :) Sisters Bergstrom & Pinto had a lesson with E & set a baptismal date for April 23rd! She's super solid!!

Tuesday: Sister Bergstrom & I gave a training in zone meeting. That night we got to go to the stake center with the YSAs & watch the live stream of Face 2 Face with Elder Holland, Sister Stephens & Elder Hallstrom. It was really awesome! & then we exchanged with the Ranchos sisters.

Wednesday: Sister Roberts & I did work in our area! We found 2 new investigators! One is the husband of a family we're teaching, T. He is R's husband & H's dad. Also, we stopped by a former that Sister Wood & I taught once & were never able to get in contact with after. She was miraculously home! & let us in to teach her. She hadn't read any of the Book of Mormon in the whole 3 months since we saw her last because she had some reservations about why we needed it, so we cleared up some of those. The lesson went really well! She's interested in learning more & is super open & sincere. 

Thursday: TEMPLE DAY! We drove down with Sister Schulthess & her daughter Hanna to Redlands. I love the temple. The spirit I feel in the temple is so peaceful & I feel Heavenly Father's love for me so strong. By the time we got back up the hill we had a little time to shop, then had dinner with Hanna & then went to institute. Solid day.
At the Redlands Temple
 Friday: Weekly planned allll day & tried a few people, but no lessons :(

Saturday: Woke up at 6am. Left the house at 7am to Rancho Cucamonga for our mission conference with none other than Elder David A. Bednar himself! Yes, we were blessed to be in the presence of an Apostle of the Lord. It was such a magnificent experience...one I'll never forget. 
 
As he walked in, all 170 of us missionaries stood up & you could just feel the amazing spirit he brought in the room. He didn't stand up there preaching to us for 3 hours either. (although, I wouldn't have been upset if that's what it would've been) He made it so engaging. He would ask us questions like what we've learned & we could raise our hands to answer them. After a while of that, he told us to ask some questions. I couldn't really tell you what he said. Well, the first thing he told us was to not write down anything that he said. He said "most of us do that. we try to write down everything the person says & miss what the spirit is teaching us. STOP IT. who really goes back & uses their notes? you don't do it as much as you think you do. I want you to write on small plates today." 
 
I learned so much! Just about how I can better myself, how to use the Atonement more, & how to help my investigators progress. One WAY COOL thing he said was that he told us a prophecy. He told us not to write home & try to explain it because we wouldn't be able to explain it properly & then we'd see it on the front of the newspaper. Hahaha. 
 
I know that Elder Bednar is an Apostle of Jesus Christ. You can feel it when he talks. We had the privilege of shaking his hand. As well as Sister Bednar & Elder & Sister Higham of the Seventy. 

Sunday: Stake Conference! It was pretty good. Weird only being in church for 2 hours since we're used to 7+ hours. It didn't really feel like a Sunday. Also the new Easter initiative "Hallelujah" came out. Go watch it! Easter is a special time to reflect on the Savior & His resurrection. He lives today! 

So this was a weird week of meeting with investigators...it's kinda been a struggle. Some are legitimate excuses like M's shoulder has been really hurting him...  We'll see what happens this week. We're planning on being really bold with our investigators & re-setting expectations with them, pretty much like, "Why do you want this? If you really do, then this is what we expect of you. If you're not keeping the commitments we leave, then you're not prepared, & we're here to find the prepared." Okay, not that harsh, but you get the idea. I used to have a hard time with that, but as my mission has gone on, I've really come to understand my purpose & that I'm here to find & teach those that the Lord has prepared. If people aren't willing to do the simple things we ask them, then they're not quite ready & that's okay.

This week we have 3 exchanges; it's going to be nuts! But so awesome.
I love this work so much. It's also such a blessing to be able to do it with my best friend, Sister Bergstrom. The Lord is SO good. We just need to be aware of everything He does for us. 
 
Me, Hanna, and Sis Bergstrom
Hope you all have a wonderful week!
xoxo Sister Viraldo
 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 7 email

Crazy short update this week:

So this Thursday we're going to the temple, which makes that our p-day. I'm super excited! So normally we would be emailing then, but since we email at the family history center and they use it for important stuff on Thursdays, we got permission to email for 1hr today (Monday). But alas, we get to the family history center & the internet is down. By the grace of Chrome, they allow you to play a dinosaur jumping over cactus game when the webpage won't load. It was a scene being in here with 10 missionaries trying to beat my high score of 1453...

I got to go to Phelan (the Oakhills ward, so not quite the same) on exchanges with the Hermanas. Sister Martinez & I were accidentally matching!


Anyway, this week was awesome! Lots of good things happened, lots of spirit was felt.

Love you tons! Tell everyone I love them and I promise I'll write more next week.
xoxo Sister Viraldo

Thursday, March 3, 2016

#expectmiracles (Feb 29 email)

Another week came & went & I'm not sure how to feel about it. Time is a weird thing. I know I say this all the time, but it's true. Anywho, this week was splendid! 
 
Lately our zone has been focusing on "#expectmiracles" & it rocks. So every night we text in our miracle of the day to our district leader & he texts at least 1 to the zone leaders who pick the top 1 or 2 & text it to the whole zone. It's been super awesome hearing about all the miracles happening in our zone! I've come to realize that as we expect miracles to happen, they do. 

This week we saw plenty of miracles:

#1 - Finally got in to meet with J, who has taken lessons with missionaries before, but wasn't ready. She's SO ready now & wants to be baptized! We set her date for March 26, but she was sick & wasn't able to come to church this week, so we'll have to push it back. We texted her to remind her to read & pray the next day & she said that she's been doing it every day! 
 
#2 - Had an awesome lesson with M. We taught him the Restoration & we asked him how it makes him feel & he said "relieved".
 
#3 - SO many people came up to our table at VVC! We got a bunch of potentials for the elders & a couple for us as well.
 
#4 - We were trying potentials & went to go see K&S. K & her dad, A, were outside & we stood there making awkward small talk for a few minutes until A said, "have you girls had lunch yet?" we hadn't. "here's $20. K, put some shoes on, go get Subway, & make complete sentences with each other." hahaha. So we went to Subway with K & while sitting in the booth eating our subs we taught her the Plan of Salvation & she wants to learn more! New investigator at Subway, for the win. 
 
#5 - Awesome lesson with A&D. Taught the Restoration, which is always good :)
 
#6 - We got to E's house a little bit early for our lesson & she texted us saying she wasn't going to be able to meet. Then a minute later she & her dad pulled up. We were able to talk with her for a bit before she left. Last time we taught her about the Restoration & invited her to pray about Joseph Smith being a prophet. We asked her if she was able to do that & she said "yes." We asked her if she feels like God has answered her prayers & how she feels about it. She said "Yeah, I think so. I feel good!" Ahhh she's so awesome! We're excited to set a baptismal date with her this week. Praying her parents give her permission!
 
#7 - FINISHED WEEKLY PLANNING IN ONE DAY! that is a miracle in & of itself.
 
#8 - Another great lesson with M in the Calder's home! Brother & sister Calder live directly across the street from him. So M has some good fellowshippers right there for him!
 
#9 - M CAME TO CHURCH!! Since being in this area I haven't had a single investigator at church, but M broke that streak! Everyone was so welcoming to him. The Sacrament meeting talks were on prayer, the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, & enduring to the end) & teaching your children the gospel. There couldn't have been more perfect talks! Gospel Principles was more about the Holy Ghost & he gave the closing prayer! In it he thanked Heavenly Father for this new family & "we're all brothers & sisters". It was AWESOME! Also, Bro. Mazzola may be getting him a job at his company. The elders were so kind to take him to Priesthood & they told us he stood up & introduced himself. He said "this is the best experience I've had at church, I'm definitely coming back." 

So yeah, there's just a few of the miracles we witnessed this week.
 
Tomorrow in district meeting I was asked to train on expecting miracles. I'm not sure how it will go down. BUT I do have a testimony of expecting miracles not only in missionary work, but in every day life! Any righteous desire you have, go to your Heavenly Father in sincere prayer & ask for what you need. He WILL answer you. He loves us so darn much & wants us to be happy. 
Hope you all have a wonderful week & always expect miracles.

xoxo Sister Viraldo
 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Feb 22 Email

This is the start of a 7 WEEK TRANSFER! I'm still here in Apple Valley with my bestie, Sister Bergstrom. Sister Wagner got the call that she is whitewash training down the hill in Rancho. I'm SOOOO happy & excited for her. She'll be the best ever! 

Monday: super fun zone activity for pday!
At 8:00 we had a lesson with A, who is the daughter in law of a recent convert in MN ward. We met with her outside Quantico, for who knows what reason. We did How To Begin Teaching with her, which is pretty much what you first do with people--helping them see how the gospel can bless their life & promise blessings. A is so needing the gospel! She is so prepared. We were able to set a baptismal date with her for April 16th! :)

Tuesday: Sister Bergstrom gave a training on juggling cuties & it was awesome. I'm getting pretty good at juggling. I'm learning some really handy things on my mission: juggling, flicking cards, finger snapping, etc... ;)


The best district ever! This transfer we found a total of 60 new investigators! This district is on FIRE!? It's the best thing to be in a district & zone that works hard, has fun, & sees miracles! AVZ #expectmiracles

Tuesday evening we had a lesson with our investigator A...or Michael...or the Arch Angel...hmm not sure what to call him, but anyway HE'S AWESOME! He is so prepared for the gospel. He's a little rough around the edges, but sometimes people like that are the most prepared! We set a baptismal date with him for April 9th. :) Oh, he likes to be called Michael btw...

Wednesday: We went on exchanges. I got to be with Sister Huntington for the day! We actually were in the MTC together & came out to the field the same day. I've never been able to serve around her, so it was nice to be with her for the day. We even had the chance to be with Sister Hobbs for a little while. We took her to a lesson with our investigators J&E. 

Thursday: Was a day of the dentist. Sister Bergstrom is prepping to have a tooth implant surgery next month, so yeah. Super fun times at the dentist! 
Friday: We did some of our weekly planning at Pep Boys, getting our oil changed & tires turned. Lots 'o fun. And then we had to pick up Sis. Bergstrom's prescription at CVS. It was actually kind of hard to feel like a real missionary on Friday. Both Sister Bergstrom & I agreed that not feeling like a missionary is the worst thing in the world. Temporary joy was felt, but true joy comes from service.


Saturday: For exercise we hiked the hill behind our house & looked over the beautiful desert! 

We finished weekly planning & had a lesson with our investigator, J, who doesn't know it yet, but will be baptized one day. It's funny when you teach people & they don't see it, but their views & beliefs line up perfect with what we teach & believe. His wife, D, doesn't really want anything to do with us, though. 
 
Sunday: We were SO hoping Michael would be coming to church. He really wanted to, but for some reason was held up somewhere...ahhh. It's okay, next week for sure! 

To answer your question...yes we go to both wards every Sunday! It's superrrr long & draining, but also pretty awesome. It was hard only going to one every other week because you didn't get to know the members that well. We have ward council in MN at 7:30, church at 9 & we stay most Sundays until 11 and then head to YSA for ward council at 11:30, church at 1 & we're done by 4. 

​So this week was a really good week mixed in with some things that you don't want to have to do as a missionary, but that needed to be done. All I can say is that I LOVE doing this work. It's so hard, but nothing I've ever done has brought greater peace & satisfaction. I love my Heavenly Father. I know His plan is real & good. 

My thoughts & prayers are with you.
Hope you all have a wonderful week & never forget your Heavenly Father LOVES YOU SO MUCH. 
xoxo Sister Viraldo




Thursday, February 18, 2016

Heavenly Father is SOOO GOOD (Feb 15 email)

Ahhh where to start this email?! There's so much to write about I'm not sure how it will all happen!

So this week was one of the craziest & best weeks ever! We had 3 exchanges this week so it felt like I didn't even see Sister Bergstrom at all.
 
Being goofy, waiting for the Hermanas to come for exchanges
 Monday night we had a lesson set up with our investigator, P. We knocked on the door & a lady came to the door, (for the record, I've never met P) & we started talking to her like she was P & when we asked if we could come in she said "I think you're looking for my sister" hahaha yeah, that wasn't P, it was R. But we started talking about the gospel & asked if she'd be interested in learning more & she said yes! It was really a tender mercy that we didn't recognize it wasn't P at first, because then we were able to share the gospel with her. Sometimes awkward things pay off. So we picked up R & her 11yo daughter H as new investigators!

Tuesday we had a great zone meeting! Sister Bergstrom & I gave a training on visualizing what you learn. We had all of the missionaries draw their favorite scripture story! It was fun. 

Wednesday we went on exchanges with the La Mesa Hermanas. I stayed in my area with Hmna Landen & we saw so many miracles!!! The day started out pretty slow & I was worried it was going to be like that all day, but then I started praying & having faith that good things will happen as long as I'm aligning my will with Heavenly Father's. We met J, who was a YSA potential who's interested in learning more! After that we had a lesson with our 15yo investigator, E. We taught her the restoration & it went soooo well. The spirit was felt so strong & she recognized it! Then we went to try more potentials & met C, who wants to learn more & J, who wants to know what he can do to stand on the Lord's side at His second coming... "who's on the Lord's side who?" ;)  So in total we found 3 new investigators on Wednesday!

Thursday we went on exchanges with the Santa Fe sisters. So yes, back to back exchanges is CRAZY! I missed my comp :(  While I was in Hesperia, Sisters Bergstrom & Alder had a BOMB day contacting at VVC. & they taught S, who is now an investigator in YSA. 

Friday we luckily did not have exchanges! We had a good day of weekly planning, going to appointments that were cancelled & more planning. 

Saturday we went on another exchange with the Mesa Linda sisters. While in their area, Sisters Bergstrom & Thomason found 2 new investigators, A & P (bro & sis) :)

Sunday we had a regional stake conference broadcast! It was super good!
We had Valentine's dinner with the Schulthess', aka the last dinner with Wolfgang home, or should I say, Elder Schulthess. He goes into the MTC this Wednesday. It was pretty fun answering a ton of questions about the MTC & the field. 

Sister Bergstrom & I have just been in awe lately with the bounteous blessings the Lord has been giving us! We've been blessed with so many people to teach. The work in our areas is booming! As of now, we have 15 investigators in MN & 3 in YSA. Now the challenge is to get them all progressing! I'm so excited to see what else the Lord has in store for us & the people he's entrusted to our care. This is the best thing ever! Being a missionary is the greatest thing I could be doing. I LOVE IT.
love you all.
Sister Viraldo
xxxooo
Beautiful sunset out our apartment window
 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's just one of those days... (Feb 8 email)

Monday: FHE. Kelsi taught & it was so great! She's come so far in her testimony just within the past couple weeks. It's really amazing to see.

Tuesday: We had district meeting & it was awesome because Sister Hammond gave a training about flicking cards, which is a new talent that I've acquired over the past couple weeks. After DM we had lunch then went out with Morgan Lacey, who just got home from serving in Portugal. Then we went to pick up Kelsi to go to a lesson with another recent convert, Cassidy. We had a good drive & talk with Kelsi. She's recently been thinking about serving a mission! She's doing so amazing! With Cassidy we talked about personal conversion & read Alma the younger's conversion story he told to he sons in Alma 36. If you aren't familiar with that story, I'd highly suggest you read it! It's life changing!!
 
We had dinner with Jessica & Robert S. She is a member who hasn't been to church since she was 13 & he is not a member. After dinner we headed up to Wrightwood to go on exchanges. I got to sleep in my old bed in my old apartment! 
 
Wednesday: What a great day in my favorite fairytale land, Wrightwood, with Sister Anderson. The dynamic duo back in action. It was so funny to go visit people & it didn't even phase them that I was there. It was so great to be back in my old stomping grounds with my second born daughter. 

(Sisters Anderson and Savage in Wrightwood)




Thursday: In the morning we went to the dentist so Sister Bergstrom could get a cavity filled...yes we were at the dentist & this time it's not for me!! WOOOO. Next we headed down the hill for MLC! MLC is the greatest thing about being an STL. After MLC we had dinner with Treya (in the YSA ward) & her family, then to a lesson with Beca, & then to institute, which rocked.
 
Friday: We had a lesson with our YSA investigator, Tayler. We committed her to baptism & she said she will once she knows it's true, but won't commit to a date yet. She wants to make sure she's doing it for the right reasons & not just for Randy or anyone else.
 
Saturday: Went on exchanges with Sister Stagg. It was a pretty good day.
 
Sunday: Good fast & testimony meetings in Mojave Narrows & YSA. 

My spiritual thought for the week is to pray. Prayer is amazing! It's how we communicate with our loving Father in Heaven.
 
xoxo Sister Viraldo
 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Best Gift Ever (Feb 1 email)

IT'S FEBRUARY!!!
Woahhhh, that's so crazy, huh?! I hear you've been getting some pretty bad weather back there? The weather here in the high desert has been pretty bipolar to say the least. The end of last week was beautiful, sunny, & in the 70 degree range. It was actually kinda hot..hahaha. Saturday it was still pretty warm, but getting really windy. It was super windy all Sunday & started raining & SNOWING! It didn't stick though. 

So this week was SUPER GREAT! Every week is great because I'm a missionary, but this week was especially good because we taught lots & had lots of doses of the spirit!

Wednesday we had our first exchange of the transfer! & it was with none other than the Desert Knolls sisters--Sister Wagner & Sister Hammond! I got to go with my firstborn in the wilderness, Sister Wagner! It was sooo fun being back with her for the day. She's grown SO much since our days in Phelan. We had such a great day. 
 
One of the COOLEST experiences was visiting a lady named W. Sister Hammond & I met W tracting last transfer on exchanges. She let us in & we talked with her for a bit. She is very religious & active in her church, I felt prompted to give her a Book of Mormon, but I couldn't find the right timing or words to say, so I didn't....mistake on my part. BUT luckily Heavenly Father is SO loving He gave me another chance. 
 
Sister Wagner & I went back to see her & to get in the house I asked if I could use her bathroom haha. She let us in & we were able to talk with her a bit. My stomach was not feeling great all day, so I asked if she had an apple cider vinegar I could drink (supposedly it helps with all sorts of things). She gave me a spoonful & then some water & we were soon on our way. As we were walking out, the Spirit was prompting me to give her a Book of Mormon. I still didn't know what to say, but if I didn't do it this time, chances are I wouldn't have a 3rd chance. As we were walking to the door, W was telling us how much our parents must miss us & how it's amazing we're out here do the Lord's work...I pulled a Book of Mormon out of my bag & said "You've been so kind to me. I want to give you something." handed her the Book of Mormon "This is my gift to you. You can choose to accept it or not. This book is why I'm out here. You love Jesus Christ & I know your faith in Him will strengthen as you read this." I'm not sure where those words came from...actually I am. The Spirit gave me the words to speak as I acted on promptings & opened my mouth. W said, "Thank you! I'll open it & read it." I don't know what she has done with the book since then, but my hopes & prayers are that she will read the words on the pages & see that it truly speaks of Christ & His teachings & the spirit will testify to her that the words are true. 

Thursday was a fun day because we got BIKES! Hahaha Sister Bergstrom & I
both wanted bikes & we were able to find sisters who had some that we could borrow...only for like a week though. The ZLs brought us the bikes & we took them out for a while before dinner. The hardest part of biking was riding up what could possibly be the largest/longest hill in the mission. Apple Valley road. Ahh my legs were DYING afterwards. All I wanted to do was collapse & never get up. Luckily though, the next day my legs weren't really sore. 

Friday we had zone conference, which was awesome!

Saturday I went on exchanges with Sister Dinkel. If you remember, she was my MTC companion! It was crazy to be back with her, but so good. We saw miracles! We were looking for someone's house, but got lost driving & passed by these guys who were cutting tree branches in their yard. Sister Dinkel suggested we go see if they need help. Luckily, we had service clothes in the car because they accepted our help! 
 
One of the guys name is M & he is awesome! He has had a pretty hard life because of choices he's made, but in recent years he found God & changed his life around. All while we were trimming branches & making wood piles, we were talking him a bit about what we do & what we believe, but I really didn't know where to go from there. I said a silent prayer, "Heavenly Father please give me something to say or please let him ask me a question about our beliefs." Not more than a minute later M asked "So what are your beliefs?" "Well, M, we have lots of beliefs. What in particular?" "Heaven." PRAYER ANSWERED! We taught him the Plan of Salvation & he loved & agreed with everything we said! We taught him a whole bunch of other stuff & he just kept thanking Jesus for sending us. We asked him if he would read the Book of Mormon & he said he was good with just the Bible & then I tried the tactic again. "M, I cannot deny you the blessing of reading the Book of Mormon. We will leave you with one. Our gift to you & you can choose to read it or not." & he responded, "I can't deny you not giving it to me. I will accept it & read it" 

Sunday was great! Wolfgang Schulthess (Hanna's brother) gave his farewell talk. Sister Schulthess invited us to sing Joseph Smith's First Prayer a few weeks ago when it was me & sister Wood, & luckily Sister Bergstrom can sing too! I guess the song was really good because multiple people came up to us & told us how strongly they felt the spirit. In the YSA ward we got a new bishopric, which was pretty unexpected. But we're super excited for the new Bishop Cassidy! He's not too new, he's been bishop & stake president before. He's pretty old, but awesome. 

So my spiritual thought for the week goes along with the Book of Mormon stories I told.  It really hit me this week as I gave out a couple Book of Mormons as a gift that it TRULY is a gift. It's the best gift we could ever have. It contains the words of eternal life, of eternal HAPPINESS! 
 
2 Nephi 25:27 "And it came to pass that we did live after the manner of happiness"
 
Let's all be happy.
 
Have a great week!
Sister Viraldo
xxxooo

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Email from Jan 25

This week we had the awesome opportunity to be a part of a worldwide missionary broadcast from Salt Lake. It was way cool to hear from the leaders of the Church on the fundamentals of missionary work. I think I learned how to be a better missionary because of it.


This week in our "missionaries on fire Book of Mormon reading" we were on the Isaiah chapters of 2Nephi, so I don't have much insight on that, except the end is near....
 
So, my spiritual thought for the week is about sacrificing for the Lord. This week we had a lesson with a K&A who are in the YSA (young single adult) ward. When we got there they were so excited to tell us about the new schedule they started. "We started a missionary schedule!" Almost, anyway. They got up early in the morning, worked out, came home to make breakfast while listening to scriptures, then talked about it. The reason for doing these things, they said was because they feel like Christ isn't in their lives as much as they'd like Him to be. They realized they needed to change some things they were doing & substitute them for things that would bring the spirit in their lives more abundantly. 
 
In my whole 21 years of life I haven't been as close to Jesus Christ as I have been these past almost 15 months. My relationship with Him has grown so much. I've come to know who He is & that I can rely on Him. I know it's because of the sacrifices that I've made, or substituting things in my life for better things. Although we all can't always be full-time missionaries, consecrating our time & attention for 18-24 months, we all have things in life that we can sacrifice for the Lord. 
 
I would encourage you to not necessarily adapt the missionary lifestyle, but find time out of your day where you can substitute what you're doing that moment for time to read your scriptures, pray, or give service in some way. It's amazing to me that as we sacrifice for the Lord, we aren't really sacrificing at all. He blesses us so much more than anything we could "give up". 

love you! have a wonderful week
xoxo Sister Viraldo
 
 
 
 
 
p.s. this morning we woke up at 6am to walk up to an abandoned house in Apple Valley where we enjoyed the beauty of the sunrise & of the high desert.
 





My companion, Sis Bergstrom
 Sis Bergstrom, Me, Sis Wagner, and Sis Hammond
 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jan 18 email

Transfer 11: 1 week down, 5 to go! & I couldn't be happier to be spending it with my bff, Sister Bergstrom. Okay, I know I said last week how awesome I thought this transfer was going to be, but I had no clue. This was quite literally a match made in heaven -- thank you President!

So many wonderful things happened this week!
 
Thursday was awesome because we got an extra leadership training for ZLs & STLs in the desert--aka just Sis Bergstrom & I. It's always great to hear from President & Sister Hobbs.  And we got into see K & S, who are twins & potential investigators. They're pretty interested in coming to church! 

Friday was great! lots of planning & such.

Saturday was the BEST! We went on splits with Hanna & Kelsey. We saw so many miracles! I went with Hanna & we got turned down a lot & were about to retreat, but then we were driving down the road & Hanna got the prompting to stop at a house. We did & miraculously a girl came out of her garage just as we were walking up. Her name is C & we had a lesson about the Book of Mormon right there & then. She wants to strengthen her faith in Christ. & meanwhile Sis Bergstrom & Kelsey found like 5 potential investigators & set up appointments with them.
Splits with Hanna and Kelsey
 
AHHH, MISSIONARY WORK IS THE BEST. I love everything about it.
 
In church on Sunday one speaker talked about how the most important thing we can do on earth is to recognize the promptings of the Spirit. I agree 100%. If there's ONE thing I can say I've learned on my mission it's how to recognize the Spirit & how crucial He is in our lives.

I'm truly sorry this email is so lame. For some reason I can't put my thoughts together & time is running low. 

xoxo Sister Viraldo