Friday, June 28, 2013

I am so blessed...GO and DO!

Hello Family!!

Happy 21st Birthday Rachel!
Thank you for all of the birthday wishes! And the presents.....I am too spoiled! I AM SO BLESSED!  It has been a wonderful birthday so far!  After this letter we are headed to Washington DC for the day! I am excited.  We get to take the Metro, look at some sights, etc.  It is supposed to be a hot day, but bring it on! I can't wait!  We both (Sister Hansen and I) have never been to DC, so we thought it would be smart to take a member with us to be our tour guide.  So we are going with Bethany Hartt, the one that sent the picture last week.  I will let you know all about that later!  But I attached a picture of my "birthday outfit" that you sent me! And I am in front of the Davis's house (the member's home that we live at).  Sorry all of my pictures are so lame.  I know that I need to be better, I just always forget!

But some fun little things I keep forgetting to tell you about...

Brother Davis makes these Chocolate Ice Cream Sodas.  They are like root beer floats, but with chocolate soda instead of root beer.  They are so good, and he has offered us them at least 3 times this week.  He is so sweet! We have only taken him up on the offer once, but hopefully again soon!


The Davis' also have a little circular driveway, so that is my little "track" that I run on in the morning.  It is super little, but still great to get out and exercise!  This morning, there was a deer that was probably 15 feet away from me while I was running.  Every time I would go by, she would just look up at me.  Oh, and the really blurry picture of the deer, that is what I get to look at while I am studying.  It's really pretty up here! 

I have gotten a couple big bug bites already! I'm sure I will get plenty more, but let summer begin!

This week was great, once again!  We were able to find another investigator.  He is 92 years old, and a genius! Oh, and his name is Bob, and he apparently worked for Senator "Mo" Udall.  He recognized my name :) Bob has such a faith in God and has the neatest conversion story to go with it!   He has taught a bible study class for 50 years, so he knows the Bible really well...kinda intimidating, but I know that I have a testimony of this gospel.  That brings me such great comfort and strength!  Our two lessons with him this week were really long because he talks a lot, but with patience and love I hope he will truly recognize that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and have a SPECIAL AND UNIQUE message that will improve his relationship with Heavenly Father even more!   He did read the pamphlet that we gave him about the Restoration and had questions!  That's exciting, because he kept the committment we gave him!  One story that he has brought up a couple of times is that he has been praying about a water project that he has been working on.  He doesn't know how to fix the problem, and feels like he hasn't received an answer.  I don't think he knows how or hasn't really felt like God has answered his prayers before, or is not answering this one at least!  I think that maybe helping him receive an answer to his prayers will help him progress in his faith.  He also has the sweetest wife! She has alzheimerz (sp?), but you can tell that they love each other so much! TOO SWEET!! 

We also had a really wonderful experience this Sunday.  We checked on a former investigator, Kayla.  When we opened the door she let us in and then said that when her phone rings she has to take the call, but she wanted us to stay.  The phone rang as soon as she had invited us in, so we just sat there waiting and wondering what was going on.  Then she came back in and let us know that we had come at THE PERFECT TIME! She said that she felt that God had sent us here. WELL HE DID!!  And she wanted us to pray with her.  She is going through a lot.  Her daughter is in Tanzania on a service project, but she is going through some rough stuff.  So Kayla is really worried about her daughter.  I could only imagine being worried about your daughter who is soooo far away!! We shared John 14:27 with her about peace.  That was actually something that President Riggs had talked about at Zone Conference this week.  I love that so much because as we rely on Christ, we receive a peace that can't come from anywhere else.  It is unlike the peace of the world and I LOVE THAT! That means that we can have that peace with us whenever...even during the hardest times, not just when life is calm and without contention, etc. But Kayla was so grateful for us coming over, and I am just so grateful that the Lord is so mindful of each and every one of us.  Prayers are always answered. And in unexpected ways as well!!

I am so excited and love the work more and more every day!!!!  The broadcast last night was another reminder about how much we need to show the members that we want to help THEM, not them help us. This is their ward that we are strengthening.  These are their friends and their loved ones!  Bishop Richardson came up to us after the meeting and said that in the combined Priesthood/Relief Society meeting next week he wants to get all the members to write down 10 names that they can share the gospel with!  The work in Great Falls will be moving along very soon!  I am just praying that I will be a worthy missionary that can help all of their friends learn more about this wonderful gospel!  During the broadcast last night I just felt such a urgency to LOVE everyone and let them know what a blessing this gospel can be in thier lives! And I also had such a strong impression that this next generation, the youth right now, the little kiddos, and even my kids and being prepared for such a MARVELOUS and WONDERFUL WORK!! I just can't even imagine what great things will come because of it! (And I know that I have been prepared because of all the wonderful teachers, friends, and family that I have!)  But I know that the Lord has confidence in all of us as we look to him and prepare.  Something this week that has really comforted me is knowing that WE CANNOT MESS THIS WORK UP!! So  just GO AND DO--open up your mouth and share the gospel!!! Let them know how much it has blessed your life and show them that you do it because you love them! Faith and action is all it takes!  I know that that seems easy on paper, but it will take a lot of work, patience, diligence, and perseverance.  I know that the Lord is CONFIDENT in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US MEMBERS (new, old, experiences, inexperienced, etc.) because He has asked that ALL OF US go and share the gospel!  So I am going to keep on working at doing my part!!! So keep up the work wherever you may all makes a difference, every little bit! (John 4: 35-38)

Sister Udall

PS If anyone didn't get to watch the Broadcast, WATCH IT! It was AMAZING!!! You're missing out if you didn't see it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Miracles and Sunshine

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was full of miracles and lots of sunshine!!! 
We have two new investigators!! One of our new investigators is someone that we found from tracting on my first day in the field! He is an older gentleman from Burma and is so kind. The first time we met him at his door, he said we could come back and "convince him". Well, we won't convince him, but I know that the Spirit can if he keeps all the commitments we give him.  He has A LOT of questions about the church and is extremely impressed with the success of the church, but says that he wants to learn more. It's almost intimidating how much he knows! haha  He was asking me the other day about fast offerings.  He is a prepared soul, that is all I have to say!  He knows a couple in our ward, and he has cousins that are members.  At our lesson, he said that he could see himself joining the church at this time.  He said he had a good feeling about us missionaries and just needs to gain a testimony for himself! 
We had so many miracles with some less active memberes in our ward.  We visited two sisters who have not been to church in a while, and both of them came to church on Sunday!  I know they are both unders so much stress and have a lot on thier plate, but they still came!  It made my heart so happy to see both of them there!  I know that as we go to church we are blessed more than we can ever know!!  Another sister that we have been visiting is too sweet to us!  We talked about preparing to go to the temple and preparing family names to take to the temple.  At the end of the lesson, she told us that she will be at our temple sealings some day! 
We also found two really amazing people that are interested in learning more about the gospel! They both took a Book of Mormon, and were so kind, nice, and interested.  We gave a Book of Mormon to a girl about my age, and she is so awesome!  She has already heard about the Church and wants to read the Book of Mormon.  She loves Christ and has just recently started praying more!  It is truly amazing how the Lord is preparing people for us to talk to, and that this is HIS if, and or buts about it!
Sister Udall and Sister Berg
I went on an exchange with Sister Berg this week.  That was an amazing experience.  We got to teach two lessons, and both of them were so powerful and beautiful in thier own ways. For one of them we watched the Restoration film, and it was amazing to feel the presence of the Spirit in the room!  The young man also said that his friends told him he shouldn't get baptized, because once he is baptized you get a "negative energy".  Sister Berg asked him what he thought about that, and he smiled and said, "I want to get baptized, and I have only felt a positive energy so far!"  It is so true! The Spirit has a positive influence on our lives!   The other man that we taught was amazing as well.  After we had said a prayer with him, he said that that was the closest he has ever felt to God before.  It made me so happy to hear both of them talk about how the Spirit has touched thier lives already!  Sister Berg is also one of the most inspiring people I have met! And it is because she is the queen of thoughtfulness and service!  She was always complimenting me and was as positive and excitied about missionary work as anyone could ever be! It was contagious! Then she made omlettes for us in the morning!  She is so thoughtful, and I hope that I can follow her example more. 
So the picture that Bethany Hartt texted you is actually a cool one...the man I am talking to is from Switzerland!!! I almost died when he said he was from Switzerland.  I was so excited!  His name is Fritz (such a cool name, right?).  He was very nice and kind.  I don't know how interested he was in the gospel, but he made my day! (Oh, and Bethany Hartt just got her mission call to the San Fernando, CA Mission! What a small world.  She is speaking spanish, but look out for her in August or so.)
I also saw my friend Melissa Lund at church on Sunday! Her ward meets right after mine...crazy!  It was so fun to see her!
"Random animals everywhere, even at the
Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot."
 What should we name this new friend of Rachel's?
Name contest...winner gets a prize!

This week went by really fast, and I hope that is because I am doing my best and working hard.  It is amazing how many miracles I have seen in the past week (and weeks).  I am so grateful for the hand of the Lord in all of our lives!  He truly does know us, and is there for us all the time.  We just need to open up our heart and let him work miracles in us!  I am learning that every day, and don't know where I would be without it!  It is amazing to see how the gospel is being spread to all the world and how the work is hastening on.  I know that it is moving forward everywhere!!  It really shows how much God loves all of us.  He doesn't want us to wait another minute to share it with others.  They need to know how great it is ASAP! 
Love you all so much!
Sister Udall

Monday, June 10, 2013

D.C. South Mission Possible, Week 1

Dear Family and Friends,

Rachel's email came today along with 6 pictures. Most of the pictures are from the MTC and one is from the day she arrived in D.C. The captions are my words. I was thrilled to get some pictures she took.  

FYI, Rachel's 21st birthday is June 24th.  Please keep this a "blog secret," I never told you it was her birthday! What happens on the blog stays on the blog.  She likes to keep things very low key and not draw attention to herself.  Just thought you might like to know in case you want to drop her a birthday note.

Lots of love,

Rachel's 1st day at the MTC (I think)
 This picture makes me smile and I just want to hug her!
So I have just completed my first full week in Virginia!! The time really flies!  The days are long, but I can't believe it is already p-day again. 

This week was tough in some ways, but it was rewarding as well!! Here are some of the highlights...

Monday was a good day! We were out trying to contact some people that we had talked to the previous week (either given them a pamphlet to read, a Book of Mormon, or said to come back at a better time), and we weren't having too much success. Then we remembered an older couple that we had been trying to contact last week.  We decided to give them a try.  Well, we were in luck!  We knocked on the door and the wife was so excited that we were there! She is the nicest ever, and was so excited to sit down and talk with us.  We were able to teach her about the restoration and Joseph Smith.  She really liked the story of Joseph Smith and said that it made sense that God would also give us prophets today, just like in times of old.  It was really neat to teach a lesson, and not expected.  We haven't taught very many lessons here, but this week was a good week! 

Tuesday we went to district meeting.  That was really good, and it was fun to see fellow missionaries.  We got to teach another lesson, to a friend of one of the members in our ward.  It was so neat to see how much the members really bring to the lesson.  The member family practically taught the lesson!

Wednesday I got to go to a meeting called "New Expectations"...for all of the newbees like me!!  It was fun to see everyone from the MTC.  I ended up driving there, and I am glad that we had a GPS!! The roads are so crazy here! I don't know if I mentioned that in my last letter, but they are! They will have streets that will stop and then pick up 3 blocks later.  All the streets are windy, and I never know which direction i am going.  But everything is getting more familiar.  They also have really similar street names.  Like Turnpike Rd and Turnpike Ct and Turnpike Ln...all different! I'm just not used to it yet. haha  My companion and I don't have a GPS yet, so it was a BLESSING to have one when we went to this meeting.  We did service at a alternative youth home where we organize thier donations that we get.  That was fun, and I love to organize so it was almost therapeutic! That night we taught another lesson, and our mission president came!!  He is amazing, and it was so great to have his counsel and encouragement. That night for dinner we had a member feed us, but she bought this nice, expensive tray of bbq food from a restraunt because she didn't have time to feed us.  It was HUGE!  I thought it was so funny to see this huge tray of food and just two missionaries sitting in a park eating all that food.  We are still working on the leftovers, but it was delicious!

Thursday we did service at a members house where they have a retirement home in thier basement.  There are the three cutest ladies there that we talked to and played games with.  They are very funny! We played "guess that song" with them.  Both Sister Hansen and I would play the piano and they would guess what song it was.  They were way good at that!  We also played pictionary.  I am excited to get to know them better!  We had another lesson that went well!  It was so exciting to teach people and help them understand more about the scriptures.  We were reading in the Book of Mormon with her, and it was so neat to see how the scriptures can really help people understand what this gospel is all about! 

Friday we had dinner with one sister who is just coming back to church! She is so kind and sweet, and I love her so much already!!!

Saturday and Sunday we visited quite a few members.  It was fun to get to know them more.  Our ward has so many wonderful people in it! I am grateful for the support that we do have.  There are some members that are so busy, but still make time out of thier busy lives to help us out! 

All in all, this week was great!  I am definitely learning PATIENCE and HUMILITY every single day.  I am also learning to just relax and to really focus on the people.  Sister Hansen is so good about helping me take a step back and enjoy the moment!! She said that her trainer reminds her a lot of me, so it was meant to be that now I am her trainee!! Heavenly Father really does know us all!! I know that He is watching out for me, and everyone else!! He prepared Sister Hansen to be my trainer, and she is such a wonderful companion!!!

I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us so much, and more than we can imagine! I know that His hand is in all of our lives! I know that He loved us enough to send His son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for us so that we can all return to Him someday! I know that with all my heart! I know that we are all precious sons and daughters of God! I know that missionary work is so important, and I hope to be the best servant I can be!

I hope that everything back home is wonderful and well!! I LOVE YOU ALL!

Sister Udall

Rachel at the MTC with other sister missionaries going to D.C.

Rachel takes on the world, specifically D.C. South!

Rachel's MTC district (I assume)

The 38 missionaries who arrived at the Washington, D.C. South Mission
May 29, 2013
Where's Rachel? 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Welcome to D.C. Sister Udall

Dear Family,

President Riggs, Sister Udall, Sister Riggs
I am here in DC/Northern Virginia!! The first two days were crazy here!  Traveling took all day pretty much, and there were 38 new missionaries total! They said that is the most they have ever had!  DC is really diverse! It is way more diverse than LA in a lot of ways. There are just so many more people from different parts of the world here.  One Elder was telling me that there are lots of people from Ghana.  We even have an investigator from Ethiopia.  Two of our investigators wanted an Arabic Book of Mormon, and another man that we met tracting the other day wants a Bermish Book of Mormon (he is from Bermuda).  So there is an endless amount of different nationalities and it is way cool!  We went to the mission home that night.  There were so many of us! President Riggs interviewed all of us, which took him all night.  He only had a few minutes with each of us, but he had us pretend to be our mom.  Then he asked us, "Tell me about your daughter/son..." NOT FAIR!  I hate talking about myself, but I just did my best to say what you would say, Mom.  Hopefully I was true to what you would say, but who knows.  That night we stayed at a members home.  That was so sweet of them!  The next day was transfers/I found out who my companion was and where I would be assigned! companion is Sister Hansen, and we are in the Great Falls ward. (She is from Vacaville, CA and it is so fun because we definitely have a lot in common. Funny story, on transfer day we were matching! I was wearing my red and navy shirt with my navy skirt, and she was wearing a navy shirt with a red skirt! It was meant to be!! haha) But my area covers Great Falls and part of Vienna.  It is a pretty big area, but we have a car and are doing great!  We live in a members home, with an older couple in the ward.  They are both so sweet! I feel spoiled.  They buy all the cleaning supplies for us, buy the milk, let us do our laundry at their home, etc.  Like I said, I am spoiled.  It is back a ways from the street with the forest surrounding us.  So pretty!  It is nice to be in a home.

Sister Udall and Sister Hansen
The work is hard, but wonderful.  We have a few investigators, but we are in the middle of trying to find more! We always are finding, but we definitely need more!  We have also been working with members in the ward and those that don't come to church as much.  It has been fun to meet everyone, although I am realizing how bad I am at remembering names!  My companion is so good at that! She has an amazing memory and connects really well with people right off the bat.  Church yesterday was a little overwhelming, but good!  It was so nice to be in a  chapel and a ward again.  There are just so many names and faces, and I just want to know them all!!  But it has only been a few days, so that will definitely come with time. I am just praying that my memory improves.

So some funny connection that I have made already!  At our zone breakfast, an Elder Alfaro came up to me asking about Burbank.  When I saw his name I totally recognized him! Diego Alfaro!  It was so crazy to see him all grown up! He has been here since January I think.  Our zone leader is from Kama, UT! His family owns a pizza place on main street in Kamas.  He said once I get back I should come and visit.  What a small world!  A member in my ward, Brother Smith, came up to me and asked if I was related to a Tom and Todd Udall...well of course I am! I guess he was in one of thier wards at BYU.  {note to the family:   So if I could get thier contact info (like phone numbers) that would be great! He wants to catch up with them.}  All the little connections :)

There have been so many miracles this week!  I taught my first lesson...on my first night in the field as well!!  I wasn't super talkative, and I really need to work on being more vocal and being bold.  I know it will come in time, but practice makes perfect.  The sooner I start, the better I will be!  It was a miracle that she was home! I guess she is impossible to get ahold of on weekday nights, but she was there! I guess people are really busy around here, so it seems like a miracle if anyone has time to talk to us or is willing to take time out of thier lives to meet with us.  Everyone has pretty exciting jobs/important jobs here.  Busy people, but great, nice people! Yesterday it was pouring rain, and as soon as we were going to start tracting it stopped!  And there have been a couple people we have tracted into that are interested.  One has some cousins that are members, and he invited us to come back sometime this week.  The other one just listened to our message and agreed for us to come back as well.  And as we were tracting last night, we had skipped a house because someone was outside and we said hi, but he didn't seem interested at all.  On our way back, we decided to cross the street and give that house one more try.  Good thing we did!  Another man answered the door and seemed really receptive to our message! He took a Book of Mormon and said we could come back.  We both thought we maybe could have done a little more teching just at the door, but he seemed sincere on wanting us to come back.  Yay!! 

I know I have a lot of improving to do, but the Lord pulls through and helps make up for Sister Udall's lack of words/work. I need to participate in the conversations more. My companion is just so friendly and relates to people really easily that I don't really do too much of the talking.  Haha.  That is typical of me though.  I like to sit back and observe...but that is not what I am here to do!!! NOPE! So I am working on being bolder now and just opening my mouth to talk to people.  I am loving it though!  I am so grateful for this gospel and how simple it really is! SIMPLE AND POWERFUL!  And mom, you are right! Prayer is the answer to everything!!


Have a wonderful wonderful week!

Sister Udall