Monday, December 31, 2012

Mission Log: 31 December 2012

Fare thee well 2012. 

I say this at the end of every year, but 2012 was an amazing year! It went by so quickly I don't even really know what happened! I lived with some of my dearest friends/family out at BYU-Idaho and graduated, I spent a week in an RV with all my crazy family, and then I came on a mission. It seems like I just blinked and it now it's the end. 

This year will be wonderful. The best. It will be better than any year before it. There really is no other option. When you've lived a life so full of joy, as I have, then you can do nothing but expect and plan for more joy. More intense, more abundant, more than ever before. Joy really does seem to be completely wrapped up in our choices, and for 2013 I am choosing to be happy!

I'm focusing the new year on purification. Maybe I'm too eager and naive, but I want to jump into the refiners fire with both feet and let all the impurities just burn off. I want to give up all my sins to know God. I want to give up all my desires both those I think wicked as well as those I think innocent and willingly accept my Heavenly Father's plan. I want to be a consecrated disciple of Jesus Christ. 

It sounds like a painful experience, but pain is funny in that it always seems to bring with it some measure of clarity that never existed before. I think back on some of the hardest experiences of my life. There have been times where I was certain I would die. I was certain the pain was too great, the change too demanding, and myself far too weak for the challenge. I was wrong. I have done many great things in my life. I am a growing, changing thing and I continue to grow and become something wonderful each day. I will forever. You should too. 

Every person we know and meet have infinite potential for greatness. Seek greatness. Fill your life with the greatest books, the greatest ideas, the greatest activities. Surround yourself with those you love. Seek to love others more fully. Expect joy in your life! 

I wish everyone the happiest 2013. 

All my love,

Mission Log: 26 December 2012

Mission President and Wife
Christmas Sombrero
Christmas Dinner
First, I want to thank everyone for the extreme kindness that has been shown to me over the last few weeks. Thank you for all the cards, all the candy, all the gifts. I am truly blessed to have so many caring and wonderful people in my life. Thank you, so much! 

If you're interested in what I was up to over the holiday it went a little something like this:

On Christmas eve we had a little Christmas party with missionaries in close areas. We had a white elephant exchange and everyone brought the most random things they found in their apartments. I have never seen so many broken, creepy, ceramic animals in one place and one time EVER! We also had the most random assortment of food I've ever seen. Everything from Costa Rican chicken and rice to gingerbread to peanut butter. It was great. I love all the men and women that I serve with in this mission. They work each day to be their very best selves. I am grateful for the examples they are to me. 

Christmas in the mission. It was so wonderful. It makes a difference to spend Christmas completely devoted  to serving others. It feels more right. I know that the entire purpose of the Savior's life is to bring joy to others. I love that I am able to participate in small ways to share that joy. 

We were only able to visit a couple families because our area is so large that driving time in-between homes takes up quite a bit of time. But with the people we did visit we "talked of Christ, we rejoiced in Christ, we preached of Christ." (2 Nephi 25:26) What better way to spend Christmas? We invited everyone to try to be more like Jesus. We invited everyone to think well about their new year resolutions and how they will try to better apply the doctrine of Christ. It was interesting to hear differing perspectives and plans. I have come to the conclusion that all people have an innate longing to be with God. 

I know that Christ lives. I know he is the Savior of the world. It is an honor to serve others daily and help them grow in their faith in Christ. 

I hope you simply had a wonderful Christmas time.

All my love,

Oh yeah, I went to the temple in New York.

You can see the sign in the back, super cool!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mission Log: 17 December 2012

As of yesterday I have been a missionary for 7 months. I’m not quite sure how I got from the MTC to 7 months on a mission, but here I am.

Things like this always feel differently than you expect them too. It’s like when you wake up on your birthday and expect to feel different, but you don’t. Growth is such a gradual thing, if it weren’t for the occasional sharp growing pain I wouldn’t even know it was happening. I do know that I’ve changed though. I know that I feel differently about things than I ever used to. I don’t know how to explain it. I think my happiness is less flighty than it was before.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I aim to change the world. It has been my life long dream and I fully expect to accomplish it. The other day while I was studying I found this quote in Preach My Gospel: “Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvation to the human family” – President Ezra Taft Benson.

If it isn’t already apparent enough the world is crazy. We all have a responsibility to do something about it. Would you like to know my suggestion? Be more like Jesus.

Mission Log: 11 December 2012

Sorry this is a week late... but better late the never right?

New companion Sister Roper
New area
& New wetsuit given to me by a nice brazilian lady.
Surprise, surprise, another crazy week. 

I love teaching the gospel. I love meeting new people. I love listening to stories of faith. I love learning how I can better put my life in harmony with God's will. 

This is a beautiful time of year where people's thoughts are directed to the Savior. Learn of him, apply his teachings, strive to help and lift others. It's important, and it will bring you joy!

This week I learned how tricksy our minds can be. I have started paying closer attention to my thoughts, and it seemed every time I left them to themselves they would wander to the realms of negativity or pride. I'm learning that it is so important to have control of our thoughts. The way we think determines everything else we do. I want to always do everything I can to have positive, productive, and virtuous thoughts. I want my thoughts to lead me to better actions; and I want my actions to shape my character. I want to be more like Jesus every single day. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mission Log: 3 December 2012

So it's December now. Weird how fast that came up. It's been a great week. Crazy in every sense of the word, but great. We have been involved in so many Christmas programs already, and it's barely the first few days of December. We've also been finishing up our last bits of hurricane clean up.

This week we went back to Union Beach and were helping people part ways with every earthly possession they've ever had. It's a weird feeling to try a pry a wet, moldy, broken beyond repair yard doll out of the hands of a sobbing woman who has just lost everything. She can't have's poison to her, but all I want to do is let her bask in all the happy memories associated with it. So that was my Saturday. Stomping around in sewage and mud, gutting houses, trying to help throw away all the things that were being confused as salvageable. Natural disasters really do a number on people, and it breaks my heart. We even saw a house that was half way blown away. It's just so devastating. It's been over a month and it's still just a sorrowful sight.

This week I have learned the importance of being a good friend. Be the type of friend that invites others to be their best selves. Lovingly invite others to change their lives when it's needful. Be uplifting and positive. Choose to be happy. On my mission I have made some of my greatest friends. I am grateful for who I am becoming thanks to their encouragement. Everyone deserves such loving and helpful friends, so be one!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mission Log: 26 Nov 2012

Transfers happened this week. I'm now in a new area, I'm second half training a new missionary, and I'm in charge of all the Spanish for our area because she's an English speaking missionary. So much crazy. My new area is really wooded and full of crazy expensive houses. It looks like the scene out of any typical horror movie. Which is great because I'm a super jumpy person, so every time we're outside at night I'm completely convinced that an axe murderer is behind every tree. I'm sure that I'm a sight to see. 

To make things more fun it was a holiday week. So Thanksgiving as a missionary...just a little bit weird. A lot of missionaries got together at the Princeton stadium and played football. I did not play football, because let's be real that sport is completely over my head. But I did wear jeans. Also, we ate tons and tons of food. People are sometimes under the impression that sister missionaries can handle as much food as the elders...that is false. Either way, we did a lot of eating. The best part about Thanksgiving is hearing people say what they are thankful for. I JUST got to a new area, so I didn't know anyone we were eating with, but I loved hearing their testimonies. Everyone we spoke to said how grateful they are for their Savior Jesus Christ, for the gospel, for the scriptures, for their families, etc. It makes me so happy to hear that when people really think about the things they are thankful for it always comes back to the most important things. 

If there were ever any doubt let it be known now that I am immensely grateful for the blessing of the gospel in my life. I am grateful to parents who raised me to appreciate the principles of faith and repentance. I am grateful for the scriptures, for the answers to prayer that I receive as I read from them daily. I am grateful for family and friends that encourage me to be my best self. My life is rich with blessings and I could not be happier. I know that God lives, that He loves me, and that I can do all things when I trust Him.

Then we did hurricane clean up. Hurricane Sandy did quite the number on this state. It is so sad to see how much devastation people are having to deal with. I wish there were more I could do to help them than just rip out their floors and tear down insulation, but I'm not actually allowed to share the gospel while we're serving, so I spend a lot of time singing or whistling hymns and hugging crying women. It's the best I can do. 

We also had a missionary Christmas fireside yesterday. I love that it is time to prepare for Christmas. I love that people's thoughts are drawn toward Christ at this time of year. I wish it would last. As missionaries we sang Christmas hymns, shared scriptures, and our mission president and his wife shared their testimonies. To close we sang "This is the Christ." I love singing my testimony. While we were there Sister Roper (my new companion) and I met a recent convert who wants to serve a mission. She told us all about her experience with the missionaries and how much happiness she has experienced since joining the church. If you want others around you to be happy, share the gospel with them. It changes lives! Be thou an example of the believers. Do those things Christ would do. Be kind. Be patient. Seek knowledge and encourage and uplift others. It will bring you greater peace and joy that you can handle...but that's okay because God always makes more room for joy in our hearts. 

I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week. 

All my love,

And Jari's new address is:

200 Flemington Arms
Apt # C2
Flemington, NJ 08822

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mission Log: 19 Nov 2012

1st NY and Jersey City at Night
Marisol, one of the young women that always comes out with us, and her mom who always makes me delicious mexican food
But for real, my city rocks. 
My favorite little family. Felipe, Maryella, and Montserrat
My miracle family. Giovanni (Son) Misael (father) Hno. Veliz and Hna Veliz (the members that introduced us to them) me, Amelia (mom) Isela (daughter) Bryan (littlest brother) LOVE THEM! 
my city 
Missionary life is crazy. I was told this before I became a missionary. I've already experienced it, but still so stinking crazy. Monday our car decided to be a punk and breakdown...and some how we ended up at the mall while it was getting fixed. I've decided that the mall is the meeting place of all things ridiculous. What are people even wearing since May? These clothes are ridiculous! Everyone looks like the early 90's threw up all over them. Keep it classy people, c'mon.

Then the rest of the week was just a crazy run here, run there,do this, kind of week. We found 9 new people who want to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don't you love that. I love meeting people who really have a desire to change their lives and be more like Jesus Christ. We should all be more like Christ. We should all apply the principles of faith and repentance and become more kind and loving towards others. Sounds like a good idea to me. 

So we're trucking through this week. Then on Thursday we get a call to let both me and Hermana Herrera know that we'll be trainers for the next transfer. Hermana Herrera will be training a brand new missionary, and I'm going to a new area to finish training another missionary. WHAT THE CRAZY. So, we had to go to a special meeting on Friday and my brain is going everywhere because I have to leave my Jersey City that I love with all my heart. Sad. It's ridiculous how quickly I've come to love all the people here. I don't even really know what to do with all the love stuffed inside me. Now I'm getting taken away from all of it and I have to go love more and be more and do more in a different area. It will be interesting and wonderful, I'm sure. But AHHH my achy breaky heart (yes, I achy breaky, you caught that reference right). 

So while we're driving home from our meeting we get a call from our investigator to let us know that she will be getting baptized on Sunday. AWESOME! So we start making all the plans for that. But because all the missionaries spend our entire weekend doing hurricane clean up we had to track down different Elders (male missionaries) from different areas to help us get everything ready. The Elders who oversee us were getting all the wrong text messages. Lets just say it was stressful, and I threatened to throw our cell phone out the car window a couple of times, but somehow between Friday afternoon and Sunday night we managed to do 4 hours of hurricane clean up, had a baptism, taught a couple lessons, got me packed and ready to move out tomorrow, and we still fit in some eating and sleeping. Miracle week I tell you!

I don't have time to proof read anything I write ever, and my mind is going a thousand miles a minute at the moment so I hope all of this makes sense. If not I just hope that everyone who reads this knows that I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that God hears and answers prayers. I know that when we have faith and keep the commandments that we can see miracles. I decided to pay special attention to all the miracles in my life this week and I decided that my whole life is one giant miracle. Even my trials, even those moments that I'm almost certain will kill me, are miracles that help me become the woman I was always destined to be. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. Motto for life. 

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mission Log: 13 November 2012

Jersey Shore

Well, things are back to normal, or at least as normal as they’re going to be for the next who knows how long. Hurricane Sandy really did a number on this state. We will be working every Saturday for the next month at least to clean up the damage. This Saturday we were sent to Union Beach. What a tragic sight. The shoreline has been mostly washed away. Houses are completely destroyed by salt water damage, and sewage damage in some cases. People were throwing out every earthly belonging they’ve ever owned, down to the family pictures.

We helped throw out freezers full of rotting meat. We threw out filing cabinets, we destroyed desks with sledge hammers, we took out insulation, we mourned with those that mourned and comforted those that stood in need of comfort (but, for real!), and we sang hymns. It was one of the most heart wrenching yet incredible experiences of my life. And I get to replay it over and over for the next few weeks. There was one house we were working on that belongs to an older widowed woman named Stella. The boys were carrying out all of her furniture while the women wrapped up the few things she was trying to salvage. She told us about how she had won the yard beautification contest for her neighborhood just a few weeks earlier, and now everything was in shambles. There were a lot of us working there and we got the work done pretty quickly. Eventually she stopped us partly because there was no more we could do and partly, I think, because she was exhausted with the wreckage that had become her home. Before we left we sang "Called to Serve" and she broke into sobs on a kind stranger's shoulder. Her son also did the best he could to hold back his emotions. It just breaks my heart to see these people in so much pain, but then I see the ways that it turns them to God. These disasters are difficult and challenging and just no fun, but they bring people together. It's beautiful to see complete strangers offering support and love. It's beautiful to see people working together to deliver food, to clean up, to lend a hand in anyway they can. 

In my ward the members have been growing closer together by the necessity to care for each other. It's sad that we require such drastic measures to turn our thoughts toward God and our fellowman, but the results are glorious all the same. 

On a lighter note, lots of service all day long must have meant for some bored missionaries. While we were driving home we passed another car full of missionaries returning to their area. They ended up throwing bananas at our car for the next 10 miles. I don't know where they got all the bananas or why they thought it was a good idea to throw them at our car, but it made me laugh...and it also terrified me a little bit. 

We met an incredible man this week. He told us that he has been looking for truth and praying for an answer from God. We read the Book of Mormon with him and taught him how to recognize the Holy Ghost. I love meeting people with pure hearts. I just love them. 

I hope all is well at home. 

All my love, 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 07,2012

moving the couch
friends much?

So much crazy!! 

So p-day has been ridiculous for the past two weeks, sorry that you're getting your weekly e-mail on wednesday. Things should be more normal next week. 

Soooo, we're back in Jersey City. FINALLY! We got back yesterday. I literally thought I would die if I had to spend one more second away from my area. For real. Phone lines were bad, and power only came back yesterday, so we haven't even been in contact with our members or our investigators. My little missionary heart was ready to explode. But we're back, and we have a full schedule and we're making sure that everyone is okay. Which brings peace to my heart. 

Now there's a huge snow storm coming in...awesome. It just started snowing right now actually. I decided that natural disasters are much more fun in Florida where it's not FREEZING! 

Anyway, when we were stuck in Morristown last week we got to do lots of service! I even sawed down a tree. Oh my gosh Jersey has so many trees. SO MANY TREES! And the hurricane totally derooted them. It was madness. Gigantic trees, with HUGE roots.

First, remember how I got evaccuated? Yeah. I only had 15 minutes to pack...totally forgot service shoes, or pants, or anything. So I had to do service in purple fuzzy socks and size 9 proselyting shoes that I found at the mission home. 

Also, a million leaves fell down, so before we could even find the logs and fallen branches, we had to rake...and rake...and I jumped in a pile of leaves, of course!

Things are sort of back to normal...but not really. We're going to be cleaning up the shore line and some places that got flooded for at least a month, maybe two. Basically, parts of New Jersey are completely underwater/destoryed

party, right?

Oh...and when we got back to Jersey City we realized that we had left hamburger and chicken in the freezer...then we lost power and it all melted and rotted. It smells like something died in our made me throw up. Real effective atmosphere for studying the scriptures :)  Then the mom of one of our members said that coffee grounds absorb fridge we cleaned the fridge all out and she gave us fresh coffee to help the nasty fridge...She said "now aren't you glad I don't do that diet thing of yours so that I can give you coffee?" now our apartment smells like starbucks. Awkward. 

I just feel so weird. I'm ready to go back and teach. I was locked inside for too many days and sitting in the library to write this e-mail is more than my brain can handle right now. 

I miss yall a lot. I hope yall are safe. I hope that you're WARM! 

Like I said, things should be normal again by monday. So normal e-mail, normal letters, normal everything...maybe. Unless the winds from the blizzard knock down all the trees that made it through the be determined. Keep an eye on the news :)

Okay. I'm done now.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mission log: 02 November 2012 (Hurricane Sandy Addition)

So...there was a hurricane. I wasn't really too worried about it because,  let's be real, I'm no stranger to hurricanes. But my companion was a little scared so we were smart and did the whole buy food and prepare the apartment mattresses in the closet though. Anyway,  Sunday night we got a call from our zone leaders so that we could report our emergency plan and while talking to them I realized that we live SO close to water. We ended up being evacuated. Party, right? So we were given 15 minutes to pack up everything we would need and get out of Jersey City. So we've been in Morristown for the past few days with the sisters who work there and also the New Brunswick sisters (hna Lowry) who also got evacuated. 

We weren't allowed out of the house for a couple days, and we're not allowed to go back to our area until the gas shortage let's up. we're working in Morristown. We've mostly been rocking the yellow Mormon helping hands shirts while we clear trees out of yards and other hurricane clean up. Today we'll get back to normal teaching and we should be back to our area sometime soon. 

It's been interesting having 6 sisters  crammed into one tiny apartment. I've learned a lot about diligence and about accepting God's will. I'm grateful for the relationships I'm establishing on my mission. 

All I have to say is that Mother Nature is angry. She's waiting for the coming of her Lord.  

In other news, Brenna Kate, happy birthday!!! I sat up in my bed this morning and said "happy birthday Bren, I love you!!" I'm sorry I haven't been able to send your birthday card yet, blame Hurricane Sandy, but know that I love you and am thinking of you. Happiest birthday, love!

Hope all is well where you are. 

All my love,


So, I have a little more e-mail time than I anticipated so I thought i'd tell you some stories about the hurricane.

So the first night we had to steal mattresses from the elders apartment (they had all been moved to the mission home) so picture it. 6 sister missionaries, the night before a hurricane, hauling 3 mattresses through the muggy humid air at 10 at night. Such a sight. People kept stopping us and asking what we were doing to prepare for the storm. 

Then we were told to buy food because we were going to be trapped inside for 2 we bought frozen pizzas, cheese, milk, and other perishable foods...bad idea. They all went bad as the power went out, good thinking on our part. 

On the first day of clean up we met the most incredible family. It was a young grandma and grandpa and their 30-something son with his 2 children. We found out that the 30 year old man had lost his wife 2 years ago and that the storm had completely destroyed everything he owns. It was so sad. But we helped the grandparents who had trees fallen on every side of their house and we got the 2 kids involved. The kids were so happy at the end of it, and a the grandpa told us we were a blessing in disguise. I told him that we aren't in disguise at all. We're wearing bright yellow shirts and a the name of Christ on our hearts. He agreed with me and we were able to give him a pass along card. I just want everyone to experience the peace and joy of the gospel.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mission Log: 22 October 2012

"I am called of God. My authority is above that of the kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my Master and he has chosen me to represent him. To stand in his place, to say and do what he himself would say and do if he personally were ministering to the very people to whom he has sent me. My voice is his voice, and my acts are his acts; my words are his words and my doctrine is his doctrine. My commission is to do what he wants done. To say what he wants said. To be a living modern witness in word and deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous latter-day work." -Elder Bruce R. McConkie

That is what I am here to do. 

This week we had our zone conference. The age change for missionaries means that our mission is projected to gain ~100 missionaries between January and July (I think I'm saying all the numbers right) anyway, right now we only have 20 sister missionaries and we're projected to reach 80. 80 SISTERS! 80 young women ready to serve the Lord. I'm biased towards the girls, because I am one. I am so excited to have them join our mission bringing with them talents, strength, and the trust of the Lord. The world is changing!

I've learned that simple truths can change our lives. Like this: God is our Heavenly Father, and he loves each of us. Do you get it? YOU are a child of the most powerful being in the universe. YOU are important to Him. Do you get it? Do you feel it? Do you understand it? It's true. I promise it's true! If you don't know it, pray and ask God Himself and He will answer you. Ask Him if He loves you. Ask Him if you are His child. Just ask Him, because he wants you to know it. 

This has been a wonderful week. I've seen miracles. Lives change when we put our trust in God and keep the commandments He has given us. 

Be good, make good choices, stay gorgeous. 

All my love,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mission Log: 15 Oct. 2012

It's getting nice and cold in Jersey. I'm starting to realize why I love Florida so much! Hopefully my blood will thicken up and I won't be such a baby in this cold :) 

I have a new companion, Hermana Herrera. She's beautiful, and wonderful and speaks beautiful Spanish and is a hard worker...being her companion is great! Now if only my geography were better and I could actually get us around Jersey City we'd be unstoppable. 

It's been a good week though. Our ward hosted a Noche de Hispanidad. SO MUCH WONDERFUL FOOD! Fun thing about serving in Jersey is that I get little pieces of the whole world! I loved being able to taste little pieces of so many different countries and see so many different dances and presentations. My ward is FULL of happy, talented people. I'm lucky to be able to serve among them. 

There is a member from our ward who is in a nursing home. Her name is Hermana Arranda. I love her with all my heart. We try to visit her each week because she's terribly lonely and the missionaries are about the only people who visit her. I love her testimony. I love how much she trusts Heavenly Father. She is going blind and deaf, she feels completely alone in the world, but she makes it through each day solely based on her confidence that the Lord will make good on His promises and that her trials in this life will be but a small moment. She is the epitome of enduring trials well. She is everything wonderful and faithful, and I hope to emulate her example. Trust in the Lord. Trust Him. When He asks you to do hard things, trust Him. When He sees fit to send you through trials, trust Him. When He asks you to sacrifice, trust that He will make it right. Heavenly Father does have a plan, and if we will choose to be submissive and follow Him, how great will be our joy. 

Also, thanks to the way mission office mail works, I got a lot of birthday love this week. Thank you all so much for all the letters and packages, I'm such a blessed girl. I really appreciate the love and encouragement. Ya'll are the best! 

Read your scriptures, say your prayers, keep the commandments. 


Monday, October 8, 2012

Mission Log: 08 October, 2012

It was a wonderful weekend. I love that God speaks to a Prophet today. I love that this weekend I was able to listen to the Prophet and receive guidance and direction. The best, it was the best! If you didn’t have a chance to listen then you should go to and check it out. I recommend talks by Thomas S. Monson, Russell M. Nelson, Jeffrey R. Holland, and Don R. Clarke. Or all of them, all the talks are wonderful and will change your life forever. Do it. Go listen.

In other news, New Jersey is officially freezing. It happened over night, seriously. I’m not a fan at all. I like warm states. I’m trying to see if I can track down some gloves and earmuffs and things…Oh I just hate being cold. Okay. I’m done complaining. Even though it’s cold it’s still beautiful, and it smells like Christmas basically every single day. So that’s nice. AND the Grenne Family sent me lots of apple cider and hot chocolate and Courtney and Israel sent delicious cookies so that’s been keeping my insides warm. Thanks everyone, ya’ll are the best!

Oh, and the elders in my zone decided that the zone goal for October was actually going to be a challenge…the title “who can beat the sisters.” I just realized that I might be speaking mission lingo. Maybe someone in my family will be nice and decipher that sentence.

I’m out of time, like always. I hope you’re each having a wonderful week. 

Words from Annalee.

So Jari and Sister Lowry are the only Sister (women) companionship in their Zone, the rest are all Elders (men). Heres the break down of a Zone, missionaries serve in a certain area. The few areas make up a district, and a few districts make up a Zone. Each companionship and Zone set goals each month, and because the Sisters (Jari and Sis. Lowry) have been beating the Elders, one of the goals turned challenge for Oct. is to see which set of Elders can beat the Sisters in the Zone.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mission Log: 01 Oct. 2012

So it’s October now. These months just keep flying by like their nothing. Things are starting to cool down, and all the children I know are starting to parade around their Halloween costumes when I come visit their homes. I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere over the last few weeks Jersey City became my home. I have people here who I consider as close as family. I understand the driving culture and the silly slang. Crammed apartments and streets and stores no longer seem strange. It’s just how life is, and it’s a part of me. I love this place. I love these people. It’s glorious.

The other day I had to go to court to settle a parking ticket (parking in Jersey is still ridiculous). I was sworn in and had to present myself before a judge, the whole bit. I had to give my little sob story about how I’m new to Jersey and the parking signs are straight crazy, and he ended up waving the whole ticket (phew). Then he said “Welcome to Jersey, love, it’s home sweet home.” Ha. Fantastic.

It’s General Conference this weekend. There is a prophet called today! So go listen to him!
Seriously. Thomas S. Monson is a man called of God. He speaks the words that God needs us to hear at this time. I know that as you listen to the prophet that you will feel God’s love for you, and you will receive answers to any questions you may have. You will receive guidance and direction for your life, and for your family. So do it. 10-12 and 2-4 (Mountain Time) Saturday and Sunday.

My time has come to an end once again. I hope you are each doing wonderfully.

All my love,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mission Log: 17 September 2012

Crazy, crazy, crazy week. We had leadership training...but it was in a town an hour away in one direction, and we had to pick up missionaries from an hour away in another direction. So I spent a good chunk of my week driving around, sleeping on floors, and sitting in meetings. It was well worth it though. The missionaries in New Jersey and incredible individuals who teach with power and authority and learning from them was a precious opportunity that I was so grateful for. Also, my mission president is an incredible man. His optimism and devotion to the work are contagious. I love learning from him. 

On top of training Sister Lowry and I were assigned to spend a day at Ellis Island this week. So we kicked around there for the better part of our Saturday. I'm learning to really love working at Ellis Island. I helped a sweet Australian couple find their family. They were so excited to find them. The man air punched and giggled uncontrollably. They want so desperately to know about their family that they have dedicated an entire month long vacation to traveling family history research. When we had done all we could with the Ellis Island research they kept asking me how on earth they could find out more. Specifically they wanted to know if the LDS Church had any genealogy information that could be useful to them.  Right about then is when I flipped my hair over my shoulder, for dramatic effect, to show off my name tag "I'm actually a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what would you like to know about our work with family history." Oh I LOVE when people have questions about the church because at Ellis I'm not allowed to talk about it unless people specifically ask. They were even more excited to know that they had a real life representative of the Church right there to answer their questions. Insert more giggling. We talked and talked and I directed them to the website and helped them find a family history center both during their vacation and back in Australia. It was a happy day. 

Want to know more of the happiness that is my life? Well let me tell you. A sweet little girl named Thalia got baptized yesterday. She was so excited and kept asking for us to take pictures of her, sing with her, and do anything and everything on her very special day. It's cool how wise children are. They recognize truth so quickly and accept it so fully. I learn so much from Thalia every time we teach her. Her baptism was a very special day. 

In other news, Sister Lowry and I do everything we can to be exactly obedient. As missionaries one of the things included with obedience is being at home by 9...the only problem is that most days our appointments end around 8:45. We've gotten pretty popular on our street for being the girls who RUN home every night. Our land lord has even started holding the door open for us around 8:58, sweet man. 

Now it's on to a new week. I hope each of you are having a wonderful autumn. 

All my love,


Monday, September 10, 2012

Mission Log: 9 Sept. 2012

LUIS GOT BAPTIZED! So much happy! It was such a beautiful baptism. Our ward really went out of their way to make him feel special and welcome. It was just the best day. I love how much peace and joy is felt any time anyone does anything that brings them closer to Christ and baptism is definitely a huge part of that. Oh, what a special day, a day never to be forgotten. This is one of those times when words completely fail me. You just need to come live inside my heart for a little bit to understand it all. Just come on in and feel all the warmth that is a direct result of pure joy. 

Want to know what else is wonderful? The members in my ward. Yesterday a ward member invited us over to teach some of his friends. He ended up bearing the more beautiful testimony ever. He was bold, because he knows that he has the truth, and he wants his friends to have the truth too. He wants them to feel how much their Heavenly Father loves them. So he told them everything he felt, he testified that God is our Father. He testified that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. He testified that God restored His gospel through a prophet and that we can be edified and renewed as we attend church. Then he invited them to come to church with him. He invited them 4 different times I think. They said no for the first bit, and every time they did he would just bear his testimony again, he would tell them how much the gospel has changed his life and how happy he is. The Spirit in the room was so strong and it was just incredible. I love people who know the truth and who can't help but share it...the truth literally bursts from them. It's wonderful and I love being there when it happens. This beautiful family is going to come to church next Sunday because their friend loved them enough to share the gospel with them. I'm so grateful. Seriously, my life is wonderful. Every day there is just more and more wonderful. I love it. 

On a completely different note, today I turned into a dragon. After we got our clothes out of the dryer Hermana Lowry threw them all on the floor and then brought me a big blanket...she told me the blanket was my dragon wings and told me to lay down on my treasure (and pointed at all the clothes on the floor). Then she told me that I'm a new dragon, and something that I need to know about dragons is that their hearts are made of fire, and that it warms everything a dragon touches. Gold is the best thing for holding a dragon's heat, and that's why a dragon always has to have a heap of treasure. Gold makes the best bed for a dragon, the most comfortable. So I snuggled up in my little dragon bed, with my new dragon wings, and I laughed a little dragon laugh while I sat on top of my treasure. Our life is fun, and you're jealous, you know it. 

Have a great week. 

With all the love of my fiery dragon heart,

Hermana Santos