Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Hello Hello!

This will have to be a quick one, but I am just in awe at how wonderful this gospel is!  This week was amazing! I don't know how I could ever explain everything that is going on because it is just so wonderful!  All I can say is that I LOVE the people that we are teaching.  I have grown to love these people so much more as I have spent 3 months with them.  I am so lucky to be here learning from everyone about how much Heavenly Father loves us all!

So the 40 day fast has been going really well! I feel so much more focused on the work, and I am starting to notice a change in my desires and in my heart.  I have more of a desire to do things the way the Lord wants them done.  So I didn't explain very well last time, but the 40 day fast is a fast from things that take our mind off the work. For example, I am fasting from playing with my hair.  I used to play with it while I study which was distracting.  And whenever I have the temptation to start playing with my hair again, I start singing a hymn in my head or think of Jesus Christ and all that he has done for me.  And the same thing goes for thoughts as well.  I can truly feel a change in myself.  It's so cool! I hope that helps explain!

Well I am still in Great Falls, but have a new wonderful companion! Sister Phelps from Syracuse, UT.  As far as we know she isn't related to Michael Phelps. Haha.  But she is so great and really has a desire to be here on a mission and share her testimony with others! She is brand new, so I am showing her how to be a missionary! It's scary in some ways to be a trainer because I want to give her my best.  I know that because Heavenly Father has asked me to train her and be her companion that I CAN DO THIS!!!   I just have to keep thinking positively and try my best!   Doctrine and Covenants 123:16-17 really comforted me this week!!!!

We got to teach Cedrick!! He is so ready to hear more about this gospel!! And we taught someone from Somolia. Crazy! I will have to tell you all more next week because my time is up, but I JUST KNOW WITH ALL MY HEART THAT THIS GOSPEL IS TRUE!

Sister Phelps and Sister Udall
Love, Sister Udall

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rachel and her new companion

I received an email today from a Diana Hubner who lives in Rachel's area.  She sent this picture of Rachel and her new companion.

Thank you so much for the wonderful picture suprise Diana Hubner.


Sister Rachel Udall and Sister Phelps

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Oh Happy Day!

Can I just say, we had soooo many miracles this week!!  I know I say that in every letter, but it's true. 
There were so many people that we were able to talk to this week that we haven't been able to talk to in a while. 
We got to see Kayla! She was outside and was so happy to see us.  Even though we didn't get to teach her anything, it made my day that we saw her.  She always brightens my day up!  
Another time we were driving to a dinner appointment and we saw Glenn, another one of our investigators, outside washing his truck.  We were able to stop by and say hello to him as well!  We then invited him to church and he ended up coming on Sunday!!! 
We talked to a lady waiting at a bus stop a couple weeks ago (who happens to know a Mormon that rides on the bus with her) and hadn't seen her since.  But we saw her this week! I got to share the Joseph Smith story with her and gave her a pamphlet.  She then said, I will have to show this to my friend  :) 
We were able to do service for someone! She was outside working in her garden and we asked her if we could come and help.  She said she was done for the day but that we could come back the next day!  So we came back and helped Mary with her garden.  She was so nice and sweet to us.  Her backyard is full of birdfeeders and lots of birds! You can hear the birds singing in the yard and it is just too cute!   
On Saturday, we were teaching the Plan of Salvation lesson to some members in our ward. (Our mission president has asked us to do that so the members can understand how simple and wonderful the gospel is!)  And it just hit while we were teaching how grateful I am for eternal families! I am so grateful for Jesus Christ! I know that he suffered not only so that we can live again, but that we can repent of our wrong choices so that we can live with God again!  I know that as we all have faith in Christ and use His Atonement in our lives we will be able to live together as families forever with Heavenly Father!
There are also some members in our ward that have some friend they are working with, and the members told us they want us to teach them eventually! 
We have had so many little miracles this week that reaffirm that Heavenly Father's hand is totally and completely in this work! He is there for all of his children!!

We also had another miracle happen this week...we had a potential investigator come to church!!!  His name is Cedrick and he's from Malawi...pretty cool!  We talked to him a month ago and gave him a restoration pamphlet and invited him to read and pray about it.  When we checked on him last Tuesday night he had read it AND prayed about it! He said he would come to church!! Well, we were excited but a little bummed that we didn't get his number. He then called us that night to verify the address of the church. MIRACLES!  And he ended up coming on Sunday!  We gave him a Book of Mormon and asked him to read the introduction and then start reading and praying about it. He said he would!  He even said he would stay for all 3 hours of church next week if he could.  Hopefully we will meet with him this week and actually teach him a lesson!!
We also had a lesson with someone who has met with the missionaries in the past.  He is so nice!  He is definitely a spiritual person and is always seeking truth.  Definitely a thinker.  But he asked us all about the Book of Mormon.  How it is complied, etc.  And he says he knows it is true!  He needs to pray about it though, and gain a testimony of Joseph Smith as well, but it was so neat to see that he had truth seeking questions for us.  He even said, so what would it mean to know that this is all true? Well, bottom line is he wants us to come back.  He was listening intently to what we had to say!
And I just LOVE the members in the Great Falls ward! They are so great!!  At church we had multiple people come up to both Glenn and Cedrick and introduce themselves.  And I was so glad to see how many members came out to see Eric Murray speak at a new member fireside. Brother Murray was baptized May of 2012. We helped him write down his testimony and helped him practice.  The new member fireside is when recent converts to the church share their stories and bear their testimonies.  It's a really powerful meeting!   It just made me so happy last night to see how everyone was there to support him as he shared his testimony.  His testimony and conversion story was really simple, but I could feel his sincerity and the power of the Holy Ghost as he was speaking.  I was so happy for him!!! Last night at the fireside felt like a celebration.  We were all celebrating that we have the fullness of the gospel in our lives! We were rejoicing in the sweetness that it brings to each one of us!  It truly blesses our lives! In the meeting, I had the thought that heaven will feel just like this except magnified beyond our belief!  But for now I am so glad that we can feel a little bit of heaven here on earth.  I am so grateful for the Spirit!  I am so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that is on the earth today! I am so grateful that I know it, and am grateful we have the opportunity to share what we have with others! I know that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has what we need in order to be truly happy and return to our Heavenly Father again!!
I am so grateful for this 40 day fast...it has really helped me! I can already feel that I am changing. I have more of a desire to think about others and their happiness.  I don't want to dwell on my problems, my struggles, my trials.  I want to help others! And there are plenty of things that I am still trying to overcome, but I know that with the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can overcome them! It definitely takes patience and perseverance, but I know that this is what will bring lasting blessings and true happiness!
I know this letter is super long, but here is some news for you all...I saw President Riggs yesterday and he asked me how I was.  I said I was great! And then he laughed and said, "Well I'm doing even better than you because I am not training on Thursday!"  It took a second for it to sink in.  But it's official! I am training starting Thursday! AHHH!! And I will be staying in Great Falls :)  Last week in my letter from president he said to "get to know the area well".  That was a pretty big hint.  haha  So this next week I will have a wonderful new companion to tell you all about! I am so sad that Sister Hansen and I won't be together for much longer, but the Lord has other things for us to do. 
Well, I don't know if there is anything else left to say.  I hope that everything is going well at home!!! I am always praying for you all!! Keep on being amazing!
Sister Rachel Udall

Monday, August 12, 2013

New postal instructions


Dear Elders & Sisters,

As of May 2013 (I think they mean Aug. 2013), the Postal Inspector from the United States Post Office (USPS) has instructed the mission office that we cna no longer forward 1st class mail free of charge. With this in mind, please note the following changes in our mail policy effective immediately:

1) Please let your family and friends know they will now need to send mail directly to your apartment;
2) After this upcoming transfer, any mail received in the office will be given to your Zone Leaders at the following Mission Leadership Council (held on the first Thursday of each month) OR will be handed out at the next Transfer Meeting (whichever comes first);
3) On the Monday of Transfer Week, please notify your family that you will let them know by email on Friday whether you were transferred or not. If you ARE transferred, then you will notify them during the Progress Record Time of your new apartment address. Ask them to hold onto the mail for that week until they receive your email on Friday;
4) Fill out and submit a "Change of Address Form" through the USPS each time you are transferred so that your mail will automatically be forwarded to your new apartment.

Sister Harris deserves your thanks and praise for the way she has handled the mail coming through this office. She will continue to do so with the inadvertent mail that will continue to come to the office. However, it will no longer be forwarded after this upcoming Transfer Meeting.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call Sister Harris at the Mission Office.

We love you!

President Riggs & the Senior Office Couples
So I guess I will let you know if I am transferred or what is happening.  Transfers are Thursday the 18th.  And my address that I am atright now is 1444 Crowell Rd. Vienna, VA 22182.  So just let everyone know.  But it's not a big deal if they send it to the mission office.  I just won't get it until the next transfers. 
So just wanted to write that down before I forgot! haha

Weaknesses can become our Strengths


Well I am doing well here in DC. Just another week filled with wonderful miracles.  I don't have a ton of time, but I am so grateful for this gospel.  I am so grateful for Jesus Christ--he is our Savior.  Because of Jesus Christ, we don't have any need to doubt or fear.  He wipes it all away!

Here is the biggest miracle of the week...
This week we went to go meet/check on a member of our ward we haven't met before. 
Instead of meeting him, we met a young mom with an 8 month old baby. She said that she had grown up in SLC and that her family are members. She said she doesn't come to church, but her mom always sends the missionaries over. Well, the Lord sent us over this time (not her mom!)! The story gets better....
This week we went to go meet/check on a member of our ward we haven't met before.
Her and her husband just moved from Glendale! And her son was blessed on the same day I gave my farewell talk! What a small world!
She was looking for a babysitter for her 8 month old son, and we were able to get her in touch with some of the young women in the ward!! I know that was an answer to her prayers! It was so amazing to see how much the Lord was mindful of her and her situation and that we were able to make little connections. I can't even begin to express how much that made my day!
One other quick thought...
Today during personal study, Sister Hansen was reading a talk from the past General Conference "The Words we speak". She talks all about how children are prepared to listen.  So we need to teach them.  I was thinking about how they are so prepared to listen because they are so humble.  They don't know anything yet, but they are willing to learn. They want to soak everything up.  They want to become better, and they are always striving to do the best they can.  They make mistakes but keep going.  They know mistakes happen, and just keep on learning how to improve.  And we are told to always be like little children. In order to keep us like little children, Heavenly Father has given us weakensses and trials to keep us humble.  When times are hard and things become too tough to do on our own, that is when we turn to our Heavenly Father for help. That is when we turn to our Savior Jesus Christ and he enables us to make our weaknesses strengths. But we do need those strengths in order to improve.  I am so glad that we do have weaknesses, and that we can improve and become all that we can when we rely on our Savior, Jesus Christ!
I am so grateful for this gospel and all the peace and joy that it brings to each and every one of us! Heavenly Father is mindful of our needs, desires, and situations! I know that little miracles happen every day!
Hope all is well!!!
Sister Rachel Udall

Here is the talk Rachel is referring to:

The Words We Speak, Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President

A young father recently learned of the passing of his extraordinary second-grade teacher. In memory of her, he wrote: “Of all the feelings and experiences I remember, the feeling most prevalent in my mind is ‘comfort.’ She may have taught me spelling, grammar, and math, but far more importantly she taught me to love being a child. In her classroom, it was OK to spell a word wrong here and there; ‘We’ll work on it,’ she’d say. It was OK to spill or tear or smudge; ‘We’ll fix it and we’ll clean it up,’ she would respond. It was OK to try, OK to stretch, OK to dream, and OK to enjoy those pleasures that come from the insignificant things that only children find exciting.”
One of the greatest influences a person can have in this world is to influence a child. Children’s beliefs and self-worth are shaped early in their lives. Everyone within the sound of my voice has the power to increase a child’s confidence in himself or herself and to increase a child’s faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through the words they speak.
In Helaman chapter 5 we read, “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation.”1
These were the words Helaman taught his sons. And we read on: “And they did remember his words; and … they went forth … to teach the word of God among all the people.”2
Even though Helaman’s sons were persecuted and put in prison, those words they had heard never failed them. They were protected and encircled about with a pillar of fire. Then came a voice, saying to their captors:
“Repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants. …
“… It was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul.”3
We can learn from that voice from heaven. It was not loud, scolding, or demeaning; it was a still voice of perfect mildness, giving firm direction while giving hope.
How we speak to our children and the words we use can encourage and uplift them and strengthen their faith to stay on the path back to Heavenly Father. They come to this earth ready to listen.
An example of a child listening happened in a fabric store. The store was crowded with shoppers when it became obvious to everyone that a mother was panicked because she had lost her young son. At first, she was calling his name. “Connor,” she would say as she briskly walked around the store. As time passed, her voice got louder and more frantic. Soon the store security officers were notified, and everyone in the store was involved in looking for the child. Several minutes passed with no success of finding him. Connor’s mother, understandably, was becoming more frantic by the minute and was rapidly yelling his name over and over again.
One patron, after saying a silent prayer, had the thought that Connor may be frightened as he listened to his mother scream his name. She mentioned this to another woman involved in the search, and they quickly made a plan. Together they began to walk between the tables of fabric, quietly repeating the words “Connor, if you can hear my voice, say, ‘Here I am.’” As they walked slowly toward the back of the store repeating that phrase, sure enough, they heard a timid, soft voice say, “Here I am.” Connor was hiding between the bolts of fabric under a table. It was a voice of perfect mildness that encouraged Connor to respond.

Pray to Know a Child’s Needs

To speak to a child’s heart, we must know a child’s needs. If we pray to know those needs, the very words we say may have the power to reach into their hearts. Our efforts are magnified when we seek the direction of the Holy Ghost. The Lord said:
“Speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, …
“For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.”4

Disconnect and Listen with Love

Unfortunately, the distractions of this world prevent many children from hearing encouraging words that could shape their view of themselves.

Dr. Neal Halfon, a physician who directs the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities, refers to “parental benign neglect.” One example involved an 18-month-old and his parents:
“‘Their son seemed happy, active and engaged, clearly enjoying time and pizza with his parents. … At the end of dinner, Mom got up to run an errand, handing over care to Dad.’
“Dad … started reading phone messages while the toddler struggled to get his attention by throwing bits of pizza crust. Then the dad re-engaged, facing his child and playing with him. Soon, though, he substituted watching a video on his phone with the toddler until his wife returned.
“… [Dr.] Halfon observed a dimming of the child’s internal light, a lessening of the connection between parent and child.”5

The answer to our prayer of how to meet our children’s needs may be to more often technologically disconnect. Precious moments of opportunity to interact and converse with our children dissolve when we are occupied with distractions. Why not choose a time each day to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other? Simply turn everything off. When you do this, your home may seem quiet at first; you may even feel at a loss as to what to do or say. Then, as you give full attention to your children, a conversation will begin, and you can enjoy listening to each other.

Write to Persuade Our Children

We can also influence our children through the words we write to them. Nephi writes, “We labor diligently to write, to persuade our children … to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God.”6

President Thomas S. Monson shared the experience of Jay Hess, an airman who was shot down over North Vietnam in the 1960s: “For two years his family had no idea whether he was dead or alive. His captors in Hanoi eventually allowed him to write home but limited his message to less than 25 words.” President Monson asks: “What would you and I say to our families if we were in the same situation—not having seen them for over two years and not knowing if we would ever see them again? Wanting to provide something his family could recognize as having come from him and also wanting to give them valuable counsel, Brother Hess wrote [the following words]: ‘These things are important: temple marriage, mission, college. Press on, set goals, write history, take pictures twice a year.’”7
What words would you write to your children if you had 25 words or less?
The young father I spoke about earlier, who wrote about his memories of his second-grade teacher, is now raising a beautiful baby daughter. He feels the heavenly trust that has been placed in him. As she grows up, what will be her future? What will he say that will sink deep into her heart? What words will encourage her, lift her, and help her to stay on the path? Will it make a difference if he takes time to whisper, “You are a child of God”? Will she remember someday that her father often said the words, “I love everything about you”?
Isn’t that what our Heavenly Father was saying to His Son and to all of us when He said, “This is my beloved Son” and then added, “in whom I am well pleased”?8
May the words we speak and write to our children reflect the love our Heavenly Father has for His Son, Jesus Christ, and for us. And then may we pause to listen, for a child is most capable of speaking great and marvelous things in return. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The hard times make us stronger!

First off...the weather here the past two days has felt like Sunny Ol' California!  A Brother Purves, a member in my ward, said that it's too bad it's been this nice because I won't get the wonderful opportunity to build  character!  haha That made me laugh, and it's true. The hard times (trials) make us stronger and help us grow.  That's what life is all about!  Yesterday during fast and Testimony meeting, the Bishop said that he is grateful for every opportunity Heavenly Father gives him to exercise his faith. I sat there thinking about that , and realized that when we are going through trials we are exercising our faith! We are exercising our faith when we change and become better than we were yesterday! We are exercising our faith as we make the right choices! I am so grateful for this mission--a time that I have to exercise my faith and in turn grow closer to Heavenly Father and feel of the joy that this gospel brings!!!
So some really cool things happened this week...
It was announced that our entire mission is going to a Washington Nationals game on September 13th! (Emily--that's your birthday!!!)  We were all shocked, but it's true.  That is also the day that the week of service starts in Virginia.  So, fun times ahead!
We were also challenged by our mission president to do a 40 day fast.  This is exactly what I need!!!  It was seriously an answer to my prayers! The whole 40 day fast is explained in the talk "Thy Confidence Shall Wax Strong in the Presence of God" by Robert E Quinn.  I am so excited to go to work and become what the Lord wants me to become!
We got to see Bethany right before she left on her mission, who is coming to the San Fernando mission!!!  Look out for a Hermana Hartt!! She is going to be an awesome missionary, you are all so lucky!
We were able to hand out two Book of Mormons last night in 15 minutes! It's never really happened like that ever before.  Where we were was not on our agenda, but I know that Heavenly Father put us in these people's paths!
We went over to a member's house last night and taught their family the Plan of Salvation.  They have an aunt that isn't a member, and she was there.  She was the cutest ever! At the end of the lesson she said, "That was very interesting!" She then said that Sister Hansen and I were meant to be together! She made my day yesterday!!!!
Another really cool experience that I had during Sacrament meeting: We had a sister that was talking about temples and family history work and how that brings us closer to our ancestors that have passed on.  I was thinking about all of my faithful and stalwart ancestors, and I just felt the love and support that my ancestors on the other side of the veil are giving me! I know that they are watching out for me!! I have angels helping me along in my work--it's promised in the scriptures! Just think about it, they are missionaries over there too and know what I need.  I know that without a doubt, they are praying for me as well! I started crying when I thought about all the love and support/tender mercies that Heavenly Father is giving me to further along His work and His will. 
This week I am so amazed at how Heavenly Father has such a hand in our lives! He knows us, and is willing to help us, all we need to do is ask!  I know that this Church is true!  I know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers and will help us overcome any challenge we have!!! I am always praying for everyone back home!! I love you all so much!
Sister Rachel Udall
Sister Hansen, Bethany Hartt (soon to be Hermana Hartt), Sister Udall

Sunday, August 4, 2013

July 31, 2013

July 31, 2013

This week was a busy one!  I am REALLY low on time today, unfortunately, so this will be brief. I apologize ahead of time. 
Here are the highlights:
I went on an exchange this week with Sister Goates!  And this time, I got to work in my area.  It was definitely an experience, and I was nervous because I was the one "in charge" of the schedule, what we were going to do, etc.  But in the end it all worked out!  Sister Goates is an AMAZING missionary and I am so grateful that I got the chance to work with her!  She taught me so much! One thing especially, that we are all in need of the grace of Christ and that we can always access it!  We can never be perfect, but we can always be perfect repenters. :) I am so grateful that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! I know that as we focus our lives on his teachings and on Him, we can feel peace and joy!  He is what gives us hope and I am truly glad for that! I know that Heavenly Father looks on the desires and intents of our hearts!  How comforting! As long as we are striving to follow Him and do our best, we cannot fail! I know that He loves us soooo much and wants us to find Joy, and He knows that joy comes as we follow Him!!!!
We got a headquarter referral this week! My first one!  This man that we gave a Book of Mormon to had met a member on the plane and was really touched by the member's story and testimony. It was so neat to see how excited this man was to get a Book of Mormon and start reading it! Unfortunately, he lives in Maryland (we were given his work address), but he is ready to learn more! 
We also got another referral from one of our ward members, Sister Parker.  She is truly an angel and I hope that I can be like her someday.  She is just so selfless and hard working.  Her example is so inspiring.  Long story short, she and her husband went and visited this old and vacant nursery (the place where they sell plants).  She met a lady, Michelle, who lives in a little house back there. A few days ago, Sister Parker just felt like she should go visit Michelle again, and Michelle learned that Sister Parker's son is on a mission.  Michelle got all excited and told Sister Parker that when she was 17 she had taken all the missionary discussions, but couldn't be baptized because her dad didn't want her to.  So now Sister Parker wants us to meet Michelle! We haven't met her yet, but this week!!!  Truly a miracle!
For dessert at one of the member's houses this week we had lychee!  And it is pretty crazy looking--but sooo yummy!  I don't know if you can tell, but they have little spiky things sticking out on the outside of the fruit.  You should google it because they are pretty wierd looking.
Eating Lychee
But the work is going well! I hope everything is wonderful back home!!
Sister Udall

A favorite,  chocolate floats!