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!