There Really is an Opposition in All Things

Hello! This might not be a very long email. Unfortunately, I am not feeling very well. On Monday, while we were serving at Welfare Square, I started to feel pretty gross. It just kept getting worse and worse throughout the week until yesterday, I said something to my district leader and I got permission to see a doctor. I found out that I have tonsillitis and a respiratory infection. My poor companion has had to take care of me and I’m pretty gross right now. That just tells you how awesome she is.

I was so mad because I can’t do anything for a couple of days because I’m super contagious and I can’t really talk much. Being sick on a mission is the pits. I have felt really useless the last few days to be completely honest. I don’t want to waste a minute of the Lord’s time and sleeping/being sick seems like a waste but everyone keeps telling me to just chill. Me coughing on people probably won’t do anything to help them want to get baptized. But, there is still plenty to be grateful for. Sister Ibarra went on an exchange last night with another sister so that I could rest. We had an appointment with this man named Robert that we have been teaching. I heard that the lesson was amazing and we set a baptismal date with him for January 27th. Robert is the best ever so I was so excited when she told me and I am still excited. He lives here in Salt Lake so we can go to his baptism!!!

Another blessing was that all the sisters here had a leadership training this last week. It was so good. We had it in the Church History Museum and after the training, we got to walk around and have a tour. The art nerd in me loved it, of course. I was so excited. We also got to call this super sweet girl that Sister Ibarra has been teaching for a while but we haven’t been able to teach together until this past week. She is from Mesa but lives in Flagstaff and goes to NAU. I was so excited to be able to teach a Lumberjack. Some of the sisters here get to call and teach people in their native language that live in their home countries. I love being able to teach anyone but to teach “my people” from Arizona, it’s even better.

Sorry that my letter isn’t the most exciting this week, I’m not feeling completely coherent but the work is great nonetheless. I am hoping that I will be back to feeling 100% so I can go back to normal and do as much finding and teaching as possible. God is still good though!

Sister WallsMusic and the Spoken Word

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Snow Day and Other Miraculous Tales

Another great week!

The last couple days it snowed, and snowed, and snowed. It snowed so much that all of the church buildings were closed down. That meant SNOW DAY yesterday!!! We were at Welfare Square and they announced in the Bishop’s Storehouse that the buildings were closing due to the snow. I was a little disappointed because we hadn’t given any tours all day and we had one later on that had to be canceled. I just wanted to feel like the day was more productive but it was still good. We had hosted (taken people around the storehouse to fill their orders), which I LOVE doing! So, we had to drive back in the snow and then, once we got home, we saw all these sisters in the hallways of the apartments in their pajamas. I had planned to clean the apartment when I got home so that I could have a relaxing p-day but that didn’t happen. Instead, we did a 500 piece puzzle with a couple of other sisters that Sister Ibarra got for Christmas. It was nice. So, its kind of like I got 2 p-days two weeks in a row. But, we made up for it by working extra hard on the Square and the TC.

We had some amazing things happen this past week as a result. We were on the Square on Monday night. There was no one there. We kept walking and trying to find someone to talk to. There was seriously no one. I was getting a little antsy not feeling like I was able to do my job as a missionary. Then, as we were getting ready to exit the South Visitor’s Center, we saw a man looking at a few things. We started talking to him. The conversation was about 10 minutes long. We invited him to be baptized. He said yes. We were pretty happy to say the least. After that, we went straight to the Teaching Center where we called Barbara, this super sweet older lady who Sister Ibarra has been teaching for a while. We had a short 10 minute conversation with her too. We invited her to be baptized. She also said yes. We were giddy, we were so happy. The next morning, we had a chat with this girl named Julia. She said that she had been reading the Book of Mormon and that she knows that it is true. I could feel her excitement to learn more, even though it was just over the computer. We invited her to be baptized. She said yes too. She is going to church for the first time tomorrow. It all happened so fast. I don’t even know what to do with myself, I’m so excited.

I have so much love for each of these wonderful people. They all come from different circumstances with different backgrounds and we met them in different ways but it just goes to show that the gospel truly is for everyone. It amazes me how the Lord can prepare people to learn about and accept the gospel. I just want to share it with everyone! There are days where we meet amazing and prepared people like the ones we met this week and it boosts my testimony of the gospel so much. There are also the days where no one will answer the phone, no one wants to talk on the square and I just feel unhappy. Those days also build my testimony, not usually immediately, but it always builds it if I allow it to.

I know that the Lord’s timing and His plan for each of us is perfect. It doesn’t always seem that way because our lives are so difficult and so seemingly imperfect at times. There is always a reason for what we experience in this life. No righteous effort is ever wasted. No prayer is wasted, no kind act is wasted, no testimony borne is wasted. No cold, snowy night walking aimlessly around the square is wasted. There is always something to be learned or someone to be helped. It is all according to the Lord’s perfect plan.

With love, Sister WallsFinished Puzzle Roomates!

Things Never Stay The Same For Long

I have a new p-day now and it’s SATURDAY!!! So, expect my emails and such on Saturday for the next 6 weeks. With the holidays being over, things are slowing down and that means that we now have our p-days in the evenings. Before, it ended at 6pm and then we would go do missionary stuff at that point but now it starts at 1 and goes to the end of the day. It’s pretty sweet! So, I found out that my assignment for this transfer will be Welfare Square! We will be there three days a week (more than anyone else). The rest of the time, we will be on the square and in the teaching center. I have the most coveted schedule in my entire mission. Everyone wants to be here. I was able to cover earlier in the week and I also had an orientation/training. The welfare program of the church is amazing! I didn’t realize how much the church does to help those in need and most of the time without any recognition. While we are serving there, we are able to give tours of the square to visitors and explain the program to them. The square includes the bishop’s storehouse (where needy individuals and families can come and get food/household supplies that they need), the warehouse, bakery, cannery, dairy, and Deseret Industries thrift store. We are able to explain how the church uses these buildings to help people and, of course, bridge it to the gospel. When there aren’t any tours, we are able to help families fill their orders. We take them around the bishop’s storehouse and help them get the things that they need. I feel so blessed to be able to serve here. It has already helped me to feel even more grateful for the things that I have. This is going to be a great transfer!

With the new transfer, I also got a new roommate. I still live with Sister Savelio, but her companion is Sister Flores from Honduras. She has been trying to teach me some Spanish. She thinks it’s funny how I try to enunciate words but she doesn’t laugh at me too much.

So, a few miracles have happened since Tuesday. I had received a couple of referrals from a man a couple of weeks ago and I hadn’t been able to get a hold of one of them until last week. He was so sweet. He had been through so many things in his life and I could tell that he was ready to make some changes. We talked for almost 45 minutes! I invited him to attend church last week after being inactive for about 5 years. I found out this week that he went! It may not seem like that big of a deal but I feel that it is a miracle. I have felt so much love for him and I am excited to watch him continue to progress and make those changes that will bring him lasting happiness and joy in his life. Another miracle, in addition to calling people, we are able to chat with them on the internet and answer their questions when they call in. Sometimes, we have amazing things happen but lately, there have been some weirdos calling and chatting (wonderful children of God, but weirdos nonetheless). Last week, we got a chat from this guy. He started the conversation by asking if there was anyone he could talk to that could help him see if he wants to get baptized. That was the very first thing he said! We sent the local missionaries to him and are able to continue to talk to him over the phone. He is getting baptized in about three weeks! Miracles!!!

There have been so many other amazing things happen. Some that I can’t even accurately describe how amazing they are so I don’t know if I should even try. I am grateful to be able to watch people come closer to Christ. Whether it’s by being baptized, returning back to church, or helping someone to feel the Spirit convert them more fully, I love knowing that people are coming closer to the Savior. The vast majority of the time, I don’t get to see the fruits of my labors as a missionary. I don’t always get to know if local missionaries followed up or if someone actually ended up returning to the fold. But, it really doesn’t matter. Sister Ibarra told me a quote my first week here and it has sort of become my motto. It says, “Don’t be so faithless that you have to see the fruits of your labors”. I might have shared it before, I don’t know. But, I love it because it is so true. My faith wasn’t created by sight and it won’t be sustained by it either. I will keep doing what I know I need to do regardless of anything else.

With love, Sister Walls
P.S.-I am officially no longer a “first transfer” sister. Woohoo!Beehive House Beehive House-2 BY Beehive House Beehive House-3 20th Floor The Passed Down Pig Fell Out Of Her Chair Making Pancakes

New Beginnings

Happy New Year! Well, the world didn’t end so…that was nice. I can’t believe that its already 2013! This past year just flew by. It is strange to think that one year ago, I was barely graduated from college, trying to get my mission papers in and now, I am a missionary. Tomorrow marks the beginning of my second transfer. There will be six new sisters coming. I’m excited not to be the new kid any more (or at least not the newest kid). We had transfer conference yesterday where the entire mission gathered together in the conference center and we broke out into zones to have our zone leaders announce our new assignments, companions, etc. They decided to do Sister Ibarra and I last for dramatic effect. Most of the time you stay with your trainer for two transfers but we knew that wasn’t the case with one companionship already. I was so nervous but, we are staying together. Even better, we don’t have to change apartments. Even better than that, because our new p-day will be Saturday, we get two p-days this week. Hallelujah! Our new zone covers the Humanitarian Center, Welfare Square and sometimes the Beehive house. We don’t know where we will be yet but I am so excited to be in a new zone and learn something new. I am going to love this transfer!

I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge or anything but I am a little bit relieved that the holidays are over. We had so many nights in the past month where we would be on the square until 10 at night. It was exhausting! It will be nice to get back in the swing of things and have them be back to “normal”.

I know that I have mentioned before the miracles that are here on the square everyday. Last night, I was blessed enough to see one amazing, well needed one. While we were at a desk assignment last night, a man came up to us. He is a volunteer here and said that there was a family that is from out of the country that needed a tour. My companion politely told this man that we don’t do tours after 5. In front of the family, the man responded that we needed to just do it (he was very rude, I don’t know what his deal was). My companion said she will try to find someone. We tried everything to try and get someone to do a tour but no one responded (everyone was busy, which is why we don’t do tours after 5). We waited 15 minutes until our “shift” was over and we offered to take this family around. Although the volunteer was very rude, this family was incredibly sweet! They had three teenage girls and they were visiting from New York (originally from Poland). We talked to them about how families can be united eternally in temples, prophets, and scriptures. I had an overwhelming feeling of love for this beautiful family. I have never felt that much love for complete strangers before. As we took them through the God’s Plan for His Family presentation, I was praying fervently the entire time that they will accept local missionaries and allow us to teach them as well. At the end of the presentation, I testified to them that their family can receive all of the blessings that we talked about. I told them that local missionaries can help them to learn how to have these blessings. They gladly accepted. The Spirit was so strong, stronger than any other tour, lesson or interaction that I have had with anyone since being here. We said bye to them and once they were out of sight, we both burst into tears immediately. Now for me, that isn’t too odd. I have been known to cry at commercials or children’s books. I cry a lot. But, I have not seen Sister Ibarra cry at all in the last six weeks (which for a sister missionary, that is quite impressive). We tried to find that rude guy afterwards to thank him for his persistence because it was truly inspired. I know that we were supposed to take that family around.

I am so grateful for the love that I felt for them. It was comparable to the love that I have felt for my own family. It is the kind of love that God feels for His family. I want to feel that kind of love for everyone that I come across. It can be easy at times to restrict our love to those that are easy to love. It is easy to love those that love us back. But, in order to become like the Savior, that love that we have must be present at all times. There have been many times in my life where I have withdrawn that love because I have been offended by someone’s actions. I have thought that maybe that person isn’t deserving of my love anymore. I am positive that having that inward focus has made me more unhappy than that person that those negative feelings were directed towards. Selfishness and pride always breed feelings that lead to unhappiness…always. But, as I have tried to look beyond myself and love those around me without any conditions, I have felt greater peace and joy than I ever have in my life. I still have a long way to go but, I am grateful that my Savior loves me enough to teach me this important lesson, despite my weaknesses. I guess I can try a little harder to do that for others as well.

With love, Sister Walls

I’m Too Excited To Sleep…Said No Missionary Ever!

I didn’t think that I would be able to email today but I do! Its Christmas Day! The square has been so busy this past week with all of the Christmas activities going on. At times, it has been a little overwhelming! Our zone activity last week was ice skating, Sister Ibarra guessed right. It was my first time ever and I was really nervous at first, so much so that I didn’t want to do it. But, once I got going I was actually pretty good. I surprised myself. Once I started going I wondered why I didn’t want to do it at first and its because I hate doing things that I’m not good at. I have really learned that about myself since I have been here. If I don’t think I can excel at something, I don’t even want to bother. It’s a shame because I have some talents that I have discovered here that I never knew I had. I never would have found out about them if I hadn’t tried new things that I initially fail at.

Anyways, I have had so many Christmas miracles in the last week. One of them is our amazing baptism. It was such a blessing to be able to go to that! Also, I have been trying to work on not being nervous or scared when I am calling people on the phones. It’s hard because I have always felt really awkward over the phone and I have had a few uncomfortable moments to say the least. But, trying to be bold, I did some contacts and I was able to find some new people who are super, super prepared, to teach. Being bold is paying off.

Well, it is Christmas Day and it is my first (and possibly only) white Christmas. It snowed and snowed and snowed yesterday. It is beautiful and clear today so the snow is just glistening. The square is only open from like 12 to 5 today so most of the sisters are only out for that time. But, it’s my P-day so I get to have the entire day for celebrating! They let us sleep in today and I slept until 8. It was weird. I kept waking up thinking that I overslept and I needed to be studying or something. After we woke up, we opened presents. I feel so spoiled, it was ridiculous. My family, friends and amazing ward members are so generous! Thank you everyone for thinking of me during your busy Christmas season. (I will also be thanking you individually). My heart is just so full of gratitude.

After that, I got to call home. I didn’t think that I was going to cry but I did cause that’s what I do. It’s strange because I don’t feel homesick or sad or anything like that. I am just grateful that my family is doing well. I just love them so much for supporting me. I couldn’t have a better family. Well, I’m sure that today will be filled with even more fun Christmas celebrations. It’s fun but I feel ready to get back to regular missionary work now. I’m pumped now! Merry Christmas everyone!

Love, Sister Walls

Baptism concertIce skating 2  ice skating More snow Present Snow 2 Snow 3 Snow Square Snow

It’s Christmas Time In Salt Lake City!

I’m four weeks into my first transfer. Tomorrow will begin week five (a transfer is 6 weeks). I’m predicting that Sister Ibarra and I will stay together for this next transfer so she can finish training me since it takes 2 transfers to train. I hope that we have some different assignment though. I just want to learn how to do everything. We’ll see though.

This past week has been good, a little weird but good. Yesterday I was really not feeling well. We went to the square for our companionship study and after being there for a few minutes, I felt super sick and I almost passed out. I’m totally fine now, no worries but Sister Ibarra was a little freaked out and she made me sit in a wheelchair for the rest of the day while she wheeled me around everywhere. I resisted for a while but it was actually nice and I really did need it. I have enclosed pictures of this event.

Sister Gillette (our mission president’s wife) arranged that every sister be able to have a Christmas dinner at a member’s house sometime this week. There were tons of people who volunteered to host us, which was really sweet. We went last night (luckily I was feeling better at that point) and it was great. This family has a tradition of dressing up as if they were acting out a nativity and eating dinner like that. There is a sister here who is actually from Kazakhstan. She helped all of us get all dressed up so we looked authentic. It was the first time in two months that I had been in a real home. It’s funny because most missionaries go into tons of homes all the time but I felt a little out of place at first. The family was so welcoming and the food was so good that I loved it! Our mission presidency takes such good care of us.

Something interesting, I recently found out that because of the influx of sisters that will be coming in as a result of the new change in missionary age, all of the sisters here will be going home one week early. So, my date will be April 2nd of 2014. We have a large board in the office area with all of the sisters serving and their companionships, districts, zones assignments, etc. It also has all of the arrival and going home dates. For some reason, I am the only missionary without a going home date. It’s just blank. Well, it was blank until someone wrote in the word FOREVER in that spot. I found it funny so I took a picture of it that you can’t really see. I love being a missionary, why not just stay forever (I’m just kidding Mom, don’t worry).

I have found this last week that the Lord has been teaching me quite a bit about faith. I thought that I was pretty good in that area but being a missionary has taught me that you can always have more faith. Last night while I was at the eternal families desk in the South Visitor’s Center, this guy walked in and started to talk to me. After being sick all day, I felt a little bit more brave than usual because I wanted to feel like I still had a productive day so I started to be a little bit more bold with this guy than I would have ordinarily been. He is a member but mentioned a few friends that were “trying to find their way back”. He gave me a couple of referrals for his friends and then went outside to see the lights. It all happened so fast. I have received referrals from members lots of times before but I felt that this was different. I realized that it was different because as he started talking to me, I was completely confident that this guy knew someone that needed the gospel. I felt confident that I could help him with those people. There are times when I meet people that I have complete faith that the gospel can help them in some way. There are times where I’m not so confident that I can help them. But, the thing about faith is that it is a principle of power. Faith literally makes us stronger, better, more capable of doing things. If I have faith that people want to hear the message of the restored gospel, they usually do. Somehow, in someway, having faith ALWAYS makes EVERY situation better. The Lord works with us according to our faith. The more confidence we have in Him, the more we are allowing Him to show forth His power in our lives. I’m still learning this principle. It’s hard some days when I don’t feel all that confident but faith is the cure for the majority of the problems we have in life. Having complete trust in the Lord always makes me happier.

Well, that has been my week. We have a baptism on Thursday that I can’t wait to go to. We get to teach people over the phone all over the world so it is incredible that this person actually lives in Salt Lake City so we get to attend his baptism! Now, we just need more people to teach! Well, I better get going. We have a surprise zone activity (Sister Ibarra is convinced that we’re going ice skating…scary). I’ll let you know though.

Just a quick little shout out:

-Thank you to everyone who contributed to my Christmas package! I really appreciate it! I think it’s already going to be the best Christmas ever and that just made it even better. I will also thank each person individually after Christmas (I am going to be patient and wait to open my presents).

Merry Christmas everyone ( I’m so excited to call home next week!)

Love, Sister Walls

My Life Is Awesome!

This week was so amazing! It has been really busy because of the Christmas season and I am trying to just enjoy it while I can because it will be very slow come January. Some very unexpected things have happened this week. Some of the people Sister Ibarra and I met on the square that we were very hopeful about ended up giving us the wrong information so we can’t continue to teach them because we are advised not to stalk them (what a lame rule!). So, the other day, we were sitting in the teaching center for a few hours. I was trying to find people to call so that I could make good use of the time there but I was getting a little frustrated. One of the sisters came in and asked us if we could cover a movie that they were doing for just a few minutes. We needed a little break from not being able to call people, so we said yes. About five minutes after we went out into the visitor’s center, two guys came up to us. One of them introduced himself and said that his friend that was with him wanted to be baptized. He wanted to know if we can help him with that. Yeah, we can help with that! I was in shock the entire time that I barely said a word. We set a baptismal date on the spot for December 22nd. Well, we now have someone to teach. We have taught him twice so far and I have never met anyone more prepared to be baptized in my life! When we went through the baptismal interview questions, he told us that he was already doing all of those things and that he already had a testimony of pretty much everything. I don’t know how I am so fortunate to be even the smallest part of this but I am just so grateful that I am.

Yesterday was another great day! All of the first transfer sisters were able to go to the Tabernacle and the Conference Center to get a tour of the organs that they have there. We got to sit where the Mormon Tabernacle choir sits, go backstage, and look at all the pipes in this space behind the organ. They really don’t ever let people do that so we are really fortunate. We got to do the same thing in the conference center and I even got to sit on the bench at the organ where they have the organist play at General Conference. It was unreal! After that, we had a few hours on the square and then mission conference where we had a member of the 70, Elder David Evans, came to talk to us for 3 hours. You would think that a 3 hour meeting would be boring but when it was over, I wished that it was longer. He talked a lot about things that affect us specifically as Temple Square missionaries. We learned about using the Book of Mormon in teaching on the square, we talked about the age change for missionaries and how that will affect missionary work and then he had a question and answer. He also talked about some of the rumors that have been spread concerning missionary work. We have people everyday come up to us and ask us so many questions. So many of them are just ridiculous and so it’s nice to know how to address those things. It was an amazing and powerful meeting and I feel like I learned so much!

I have been focusing this last week on just trying to be happy, regardless of what is going on. There are some really unique challenges in my mission and I know that I am here not only to share the gospel with people but also to learn to be happy regardless of how my day goes. It is something that I have tried to work on for years but it hasn’t been until now that I really understand how important it is. If I let one thing or person or circumstance allow me to be unhappy, I might waste my time being upset or feeling sorry for myself when I could be helping other people. Luckily, the Lord has helped me with this so much since I have been here. Yesterday, while I was at the desk in the South Visitor’s Center, I overheard one of the “I’m a Mormon” videos that they always have playing. The guy in the video was talking about how he was homeless and his dad left when he was young. Then he said “I like to think I’m better than my circumstances”. I like to think I’m better than my circumstances too. Whenever we allow our circumstances to have an affect on our happiness, we are giving up our agency. It’s like saying, hello day, why don’t you decide how I’m going to feel? I don’t think so… I don’t want my circumstances to have that much effect on me because I am better than my circumstances. I just love how much the Lord is trying to teach me right now. I am so grateful for that.

I just want everyone back at home to know how grateful I am for their support and love. I love hearing how everyone is doing! I am really, really grateful for my ward who sent me a Christmas tree that they made and ornaments with personal notes from like a million people. When I opened it yesterday and saw that everyone took the time to do that for me, I started to cry in front of all these other sisters. They started looking at me weird so I waited to read all of them but they still made me cry. It wasn’t because I’m homesick or anything, it was simply out of gratitude. I am so grateful for all of the support that I have, I know that the Lord has blessed me by giving me amazing family and friends! Well, I need to go try to stay warm so I can do missionary stuff!

Love, Sister Walls