Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

Hello! I feel like I have been saying this a whole lot lately but, I can’t believe another p-day is here again! This transfer is only going to be five weeks instead of the usual six so there are only two weeks left. It makes me so sad to think about because Sister George and I will have to split the people we are teaching so that we can teach with our new companions. I don’t want to think about it yet, so I won’t.

Well, we received an announcement this morning from our mission president, President Gillette that we can email not just family but friends too. I want to apologize to those who have emailed me and I haven’t been able to respond. But, now I can, so I will!

I had the opportunity this last Saturday to be paired with a sister in the MTC going to a visitor’s center. I was with Sister Shaw from Utah who is going to the Washington DC visitor’s center. It was a very different experience than the one I had a couple of weeks ago. I was asked last minute to do it so I had no time to really think about it beforehand. I have found it is usually better for me that way. I tend to think about things too much and get nervous. Anyways, she was fantastic and we had some really great experiences talking to members on the Square. I realized after the fact that each person we talked to cried at some point during the contact because the Spirit was so strong. Knowing that she was from the MTC and probably nervous really caused me to feel more confident. I knew that whatever I communicated to her about being a missionary in a visitor’s center would probably stick in her mind. I wanted to show her that it is okay to have a personality, we aren’t robots. It was good.

So, some very exciting things have been happening with the people I am teaching. There is one man that I taught with Sister Ibarra last transfer who is getting baptized this Saturday! It has been a long road but I am so excited for him and I know how much the gospel will bless his life. We were asked to give a musical number during it…kinda scary cause I can’t really sing but I guess we’ll figure it out. In addition to that, I have also been asked to speak in two sacrament meetings for a local stake in Park City. As Temple Square missionaries, we don’t work with a ward, we have our own sacrament meeting of just the sisters. It will be fun to go to a regular sacrament meeting in a family ward. Even better than that, we get to attend Sunday School AND Relief Society. I haven’t been to a Sunday School in over 4 months so that should be good. Oh, the things I took for granted before I was a missionary. They have also asked us to give a musical number. I don’t know if I am up to this. But, I get to tell my conversion story again so, I guess its worth it.

I have found this transfer to be really unique in the blessings and challenges that I have faced in comparison to the last two. I have been so blessed to be able to teach soooo much and serve. I didn’t feel as effective or comfortable in this way until this time. But, it has also been challenging in a way that I didn’t expect. It has been so easy for me to doubt that what I am doing is enough and that I am living up to my fullest potential as a missionary. I don’t know how long I will have this particular challenge but, for every difficulty that I am given, the Lord also blesses me with more tender mercies than I know what to do with. It has required me to live in a slightly more humble and thankful way in order for me to recognize them but, they are always there. Something that I share in lessons all the time is that whenever we sacrifice something for the Lord, He always gives us back something that is infinitely better. I have had to sacrifice several things both before and during my service in order to see some of those blessings. They are real. He always takes care of us. It doesn’t mean that life is void of challenges (because it never is), but we will always be happier by aligning our will with His. Well, we’re going to Red Robin as a zone pretty soon so I better go. See ya next week!

From Temple Square with love,
Sister WallsPic1 pic2 pic3 pic4 pic5

This Isn’t a Competition

I can’t believe its p-day again. Another week gone. It’s crazy! Some amazing things have happened this week that have really reminded me of how much the Lord is in control of His work. I don’t remember if I mentioned this before but, I talked to this man on the phone last transfer who hadn’t been to church in 20 years. He said that he wanted his family to learn about it to see if it was something that they want in their life. I sent the local missionaries and continued to teach him over the phone. It had been about two weeks that I wasn’t able to get a hold of him but, this week, I called him. He told me that he has been attending church with his two youngest children and that his 10 year old son is getting baptized. I almost screamed but decided to air punch in victory instead (The great thing about teaching over the phone is that no one can see your reactions). I was so excited (and I still am), but I wasn’t surprised. When I received that call from him weeks ago, I knew that I was meant to answer that call and I am grateful that the Lord gave me the chance to help this family in any small way. They are just amazing!

To add to how amazing that is, the rest of the people we have been teaching are doing really well and some are working towards baptism as well. We are teaching a few people in very remote parts of the world where it is difficult for them to attend church or meet with missionaries. We have some in Africa, Jamaica, Canada (middle of nowhere Canada), and, of course, the states. I LOVE teaching people! But, what missionary doesn’t?

So, since our mission is unique and we are not a part of any local ward, we have our own church meetings as a mission. We have our own Relief Society, with the leaders being sisters serving here. Once a transfer, we have a Relief Society activity, and we had one last night. We decorated these place mats with activities and fun things for sick children in local hospitals. I almost started crying when they said what we were going to do. I loved it because it combined two of my biggest loves, art and service. It reminded me of how important all of our individual talents are when it comes to doing the Lord’s work. In my mission especially, it can be difficult because I am surrounded all the time by tons of incredibly talented sisters. I have found myself at times envying their talents and ignoring my own. I read a talk this morning that answered my prayers in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It is a talk by Ezra Taft Benson called “Beware of Pride”. It talks a lot about how competition is formed through pride. It is a tool of the adversary to get us to feel inferior or superior to others. If he can get us to feel inferior or superior to others, our effectiveness diminishes and we will have a difficult time recognizing what God’s will is for us. It can be so difficult to recognize but, it is essential that we do. In the talk, he says, “The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not. Their self-esteem is determined by where they are judged to be on the ladders of worldly success. Pride…limits or stops our progression”. Well, that humbled me. I have hope that the Lord will help me to move forward and see the best in everyone, myself included. The only way that we can be truly happy and content in our lives is to align our will with God’s. I know that the way to do that is by yielding our will to God’s through humility.

From Temple Square with love,
Sister WallsBread Bowls Crazy Sistas Photo Bomb-2 Teaching Center-2 Photo Bomb Teaching Center

Welcome to the Busiest Week of My Life

Wow, it has been an eventful week! We have been so busy but I love it! Our first full day for this transfer was last Thursday. We have one day a week that we are in the Beehive House (Brigham Young’s house that he lived in). Neither of us have served in here before so it was funny to try to give the first couple of tours but we tried to just roll with it. Although we knew very little about the Beehive House, we do know a thing or two about the gospel. I think that made it easier to bridge to the gospel and invite. We had a couple that came in and actually referred themselves to local missionaries. So, we got to send the missionaries to them. They also wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon, which is pretty cool. It just goes to show that we are never limited by our circumstances. If we want an opportunity to find and teach bad enough, it can happen. I never thought something like that would have happened in the Beehive House.

We were also able to take a lesson where the missionaries in the local area bring the people they are teaching to have a lesson with us. The lesson was with this sweet part member family with a couple of young kids. The lesson was so powerful and as I looked at this family I remember having a strong impression that this family will one day be sealed in the temple for eternity. We were able to attend the baptism on Saturday and I was just so happy for this wonderful family!

On Friday, we were also asked to take around some missionaries in the MTC who are from out of the United States. It was an interesting experience. I wasn’t feeling too well in the first place and the Elders were all acting like fools as we were trying to take them around. I can recall that it wasn’t that long ago that I was a new missionary in the MTC and it took a little bit of adjusting but, come on. I tried to be patient but, I was a bit bugged by their behavior. I mean come on, we represent Jesus Christ.

Anyways, once that was over, we had some training for our new assignment in guest services. At first, I thought “how can I fulfill my calling as a missionary here”, just like I did in the Beehive House. But we planned for some miracles to happen throughout the day and happen they did. We were able to set up some of those lessons that I talked about before with the missionaries in the area. We pray about who should take it and then assign sisters according to their schedule. One of the most amazing miracles that happened in guest services is this lady called in referring her 70 year old aunt. She wanted me to teach her lessons over the phone and send the local missionaries in her area to her. She said that she was super interested and is ready to accept the gospel after years and years of asking questions. I called the lady and she was so sweet. It was an amazing conversation and I can’t wait to start teaching her. So many other things have happened that I don’t have enough time to explain. We have been teaching like crazy and I feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything I need to do. But, I wouldn’t want it any other way. The trials that I have experienced this transfer so far have been different from what I have had in the past. The challenges of serving a mission seem to change constantly. But there are always blessings that accompany the difficult days and weeks. I know that the Lord is so aware of me and the people that I teach. I love serving the Lord in all of the unique ways that He allows me to serve every day. We’ll see what this next week brings!

From Temple Square with love,
Sister WallsNew Companion Pic

New Transfer!

It’s a new transfer and some exciting new changes are happening. We had transfer conference on Monday morning and I was so nervous. My zone leaders called out that my new companion was going to be Sister George (from North Carolina) and that I will be in guest services (doing some office work, it’s actually really fun!)!! I wasn’t expecting it at all. I really had no idea what to expect. I just had a feeling of peace when I found out and now, I am really excited. Something that Sister Ibarra would always say I think is very fitting for this situation. She would always say, “If I chose exactly how my mission is, I would ruin it. I’m happy that Heavenly Father is in control”. It is so true. If I had chosen my mission call, I would never have chosen Temple Square. But now, I know why I am here. It all makes sense.

I am excited for the new blessings and challenges that this transfer will bring. Today is the first day of the transfer and it is a little chaotic. Everyone is moving, changing companions, sisters are coming back from outbound, the first transfer sisters are here. It’s fun, I like all the new changes. Not much else has happened in the past few days. We had a really unfortunate experience with one of our investigators who was going to get baptized this week but now we can’t get a hold of him. It’s really unfortunate but I know that God prepares His children in the right time, Everything will work out for the best.

Well, that’s about it. Sorry that I don’t have any new pictures for this week. I have this horrible habit of breaking electronics and my camera somehow broke. I really don’t know what happened. I will send some pictures of Sister George and I next p-day.

From Temple Square with love,
Sister Walls

Change

Hello! It’s about that time again…transfer time! It is a little bit scary but exciting at the same time. I will be going in to my third transfer next week which is a bit of a landmark. I will be done being trained and so many new things will be happening. We have transfer conference Monday morning where we get to find out new assignments, companions, zones, leaders, apartments, everything! I have found that every time you get a little bit comfortable as a missionary (or just in life in general), something occurs that leads to some change. I have always been one of those strange people that enjoy change. I like having different experiences to be able to learn from and enjoy. Having that combined with the faith that Heavenly Father ALWAYS knows what He is doing and will ALWAYS take care of me is quite comforting. Having my circumstances change so often has caused me to reflect on the time that I have spent on my mission so far and consider some of the changes that I have been so blessed to experience in me as a person. I came on my mission prepared to help people change their lives through the blessings of the gospel. I really had no idea that so many changes would occur in myself. In the short few months that I have been here, I have seen my testimony increase about a million fold. My knowledge of the scriptures has increased. My ability to explain with words what I feel so deeply in my heart has improved. But, I think the most significant change that has occurred, especially in this last transfer, has been my ability to love others without reservation. This one change has had the single greatest impact on my mission thus far than anything else. It has helped me to overcome fears, endure disappointment and overlook the weaknesses in myself and others. I have been able to create friendships with people who are so different from me. My mission is positively affected every day by having opportunities to love and serve others. That has especially been the case with the people I communicate with most often, my companion and the other missionaries that I serve with. Any negative feelings that I have had toward other people, regardless of how legitimate my claim may be, has always, always made me feel unhappy, whether I was aware of it or not. I don’t want to waste a second of the Lord’s time being unhappy. So, to be happy, I have decided to make the necessary changes in myself that I would like for other people to have. If someone isn’t being patient with me then I can just be patient with them and I don’t get angry. If someone doesn’t seem very friendly, then I will be extra friendly to them. The vast majority of the time, when we have an issue with another, it is because there is something from within that we need to fix. It doesn’t make sense to waste time being unhappy about another person’s actions that we can’t change when we can just make a few adjustments our self and be happy. It is really that simple. When we waste our time fostering negative feelings towards others, there will be no time left to love them. I am grateful for the experiences that have taught me this and I am excited for the new opportunities that I will have in the future to learn and make any necessary changes.

From Temple Square, with love
Sister Walls

I Want Patience and I Want it Now!

It has been another amazing week in the best mission in the world! It has been nice to actually have the sun out the last few days. I never thought I would say this but it has been warm lately, it even got to 40 degrees. Because believe it or not, that is warm to me now.

It has been a week full of unexpected blessings, the best kind! Sadly, I have had to drop a lot of people lately that have not wanted to progress or that simply won’t answer their phone. The first time I dropped someone, I almost cried. I still don’t enjoy it by any means but I have faith that the Lord will take care of them when they are ready to learn and progress. The difficult thing about it is that I get really impatient in the teaching center (where we make the phone calls) because I want to stay busy. Because of this, my patience has worn a little thin when it comes to my abilities to teach, my situations, the Lord’s timing, my investigators, even with my companion. We had a really inspired lesson in Relief Society this past week about being patient with ourselves, our companion, the Lord and the future. I needed it. Maybe this isn’t the time that the Lord has set apart for me to teach and baptize a ton, but there are so many things that I have to be grateful for and so many people that I can help. When I get so focused on the things that I don’t have, I lose sight of the blessings that I do have. I imagined what it would be like to get someone an amazing gift, something that they asked for and wanted and then have them open it up, look at it and say “Well, maybe you’ll do better next time”. I would be so mad if that happened! It is the same with me. When I have an amazing day where so many of my prayers were answered and I had so many chances to serve, I sometimes look at the few things that I failed to do whether those things were within my control or not. Why can’t I just be grateful for the blessings I do have instead of the few things I don’t? When I focus on the people I didn’t get to help, I overlook the blessings of being able to serve those who I did actually help. It requires so much faith and patience with the Lord and His perfect timing but taking things one day at a time and being grateful for the blessings along the way have been the biggest source of happiness since I have arrived on my mission.

One of the blessings that I am most grateful for happened this morning while I was in the teaching center. I received a call from a man trying to find a church building in his area. I looked it up and gave him his bishop’s number and then started to talk with him. He told me that his family had been baptized about 20 years ago but he has been inactive for the vast majority of the time since. He said that he still remembers the way that he felt attending church as a child and that it is something that he wants as an option for his family. I asked him if he wanted the local missionaries to come and talk with his family. He said that he would love to! He wanted a couple copies of the Book of Mormon for his children to read. It was one of the best inbound calls that I have received in a long time. If I hadn’t had such a difficult teaching week, I wouldn’t of appreciated this blessing. It is important to note that halfway through this conversation, my phone was disconnected before I had a chance to take his information down. After resisting the urge to scream or punch something (I was really frustrated), we reconnected the phone call and everything was okay. I guess I still have a lot to learn about patience.

Sister WallsColors! Sister Walsh Twins Missionaries

Still, Small Voice

So, I realized this week that last Thursday was my 3 month mark. I have been out for 3 months already! I can’t believe it! Well, I’m feeling much better this week. The cough that I had lingered a bit but, I am happy to be up and about doing missionary things. I was excited to get back to Welfare Square this week. We couldn’t be there for over a week because of different things. I forgot how much I love being there. The day just flies. Time in general has been moving at a much faster pace. It has been a little bit difficult at times because it seems as though there is no one to teach. It’s hard since we both only speak English and there are some companionships where both speak different languages so they can teach in 3 or 4 or 5 different languages between the two of them. I have been trying really hard not to compare the outward results of my work against others because I have things to learn and people to help in my current circumstance.

The weather has been terrible lately. This morning looked like a horror movie with all the fog. It was actually kind of cool. On Thursday, there was what they call “frozen rain”. I didn’t even know it existed until I physically saw it. The Arizonan in me was really confused. Because of the thick layer of ice on the ground, no one could really walk and they sent us home halfway through the day. Some of the sisters were really excited but I was upset because I actually had an appointment that evening and I had to cancel it. To make it worse, the appointment was a sibling of one of my favorite sisters that I serve with here. I felt bad but I wasn’t allowed to stay. It ended up being fun though. I hung out with my old companion, Sister Hodgkin and Sister Walsh (from England). They are some of my best friends here. I can’t really complain.

One amazing thing that I learned this week was really trusting in the promptings that I receive. While we were planning a lesson for our investigator, Robert, I had a feeling that we should show him the presentation “God’s Plan”. Now, Robert has told us quite a bit about his family and he has had it tough in that regard. He has really been through a lot as a result of his family. Just a bit of background, God’s Plan shows this super happy family, members of the church, during different points in their life. Some people have described this family as “perfect” or “ideal”. Anyways, I suggested this idea that I had to my companion. She looked at me a little funny and said “Don’t you think that would make him sad?” I thought, “Yeah it might, but I think we should take him through it anyways”. I just couldn’t let go to the feeling I had. So, we did. After it was over, I asked him how he felt. He started crying and told us that he felt the spirit was cleansing him of the pain and bad feelings he had held onto for so many years. At first, when I saw him crying, I thought “Oh great, what did I do?” But I knew afterwards that the Spirit had communicated something very important to me and that God trusted me to act.

It has built my faith so much because if God trusts me with such sensitive information, I should trust myself more as well. It is difficult to know at times if what I am feeling is just me or not. I have decided to just go with it. If I am really, really wrong, God will correct me to a point that I cannot misunderstand. It makes sense though. Why would you scream at someone when you can just talk in a normal voice? It is the same with how God speaks to us. He isn’t going to yell if we can understand a whisper. It is exciting to think of all the other chances I will have on my mission still to have experiences like these. It has made me even more confident in the calling that I have of being a disciple of Jesus Christ and ministering to others as He would.

Sister WallsMore Roomate Pics