Thursday, August 28, 2014

Highlights of the Week!

August 25, 2014

This week flew by! When do they not?  
There were so many miracles, ups and downs as well, so here I go...

Monday was a crazy preparation day. We had to tell ourselves that it wasn't even a preparation day because we were doing so much. The only time that we had to help clean someone's house was on Monday afternoon.  So we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. Then we vacuumed our car so that it was ready for Zone Conference on Wednesday. And we ate a quick dinner and headed out to do our grocery shopping before 6. Craziness. Then we headed over to a member's home to teach them the Restoration. After that, we went to someone who joined the church two years ago, but hasn't been coming to church. She had just gotten home and seemed a litle flustered. She made some silly comment about the dishes doing themselves, and then I felt this force propelling me off of the couch and walking me over into the kitchen to do the dishes. It was fun! We talked and did the dishes for her. That is one way to have a lesson.

Tuesday was district meetings, service at the food pantry, and we finally saw one of our investigators that we haven't seen in a while. Miracels!

Wednesday was Zone Conference! There was a lot of preparation that went into that. It took two Elders to try and get out bike rack off of our car so that we could wash it and have it ready for Zone Conference. Then we had to prepare a little thought on love. It was a really wonderful conference. I learned a lot, especially just how important it is that we are doing the Lord's will and nothing else. I just know that this gospel is true!! That night was amazing! We had a wonderful lesson with Petris, the father of this family from the Cameroon that we are teaching. He is so humble and willing to learn. Then we had a lesson with Brian, and met a new lady who wants to come to church. She fed us enchiladas from El Salvador. It was a good night!

Thursday was great as well! We went on exchanges. I stayed in Fort Belvoir with Sister Watson. We had a great time. One thing that I learned from the exchagne is that the Spirit is so present in our lives. I could feel him leading me to where I needed to go or what I needed to say.  We had 10 minutes before dinner, and we went to go check on this one investigator Isata. She said come back on Sunday, but was running out the door for work. We haven't been able to see her in weeks! Miracles everywhere. The small and simple ones. We also had a really amazing lesson with Alexis. She read the Book of Mormon this week and learned exactly what we had planned to teach her! When we do the small and simple things that God has asked, we learn what His will is for us! I'm convinced more and more that the miracels come by the little things. 

Sister Udall and Sister Watson.
Friday was crazy! We had a wonderful lesson with a member named Jacky. I love teaching and talking about the Plan of Salvation! Sadly, I haven't been teaching it a lot. But this week we did!

Saturday was great! We got to help a sister do her visiting teacing this week! It is amazing to see how inspired visiting teaching is! The sister that came with us is perfect for this sister that we visit. God knows us invidividually.

And Sunday was the cherry on top!  Alexis came to church!! She was nervous, but really seemed to like it.  I felt such a peace at church. All the talks were exactly what I needed to hear. The past couple of Sundays have been really hard for me. I'm not sure why. But this was a testimony builder for me that even when it seems hard to come to church and be there, it gets better! Sundays like this come and we really feel the Savior healing us. We went back to see Isata, but saw her sister Vera instead. Sister Akin really needed a glass of water, so she asked if she could get one really quick. Vera let us in and then she voiced her concern about how Mormons worship Joseph Smith. We answered her concern and cleared that up for her. She said that next time she would listen and that she would tell her sisters that she was wrong and misinformed. That is a miracle!! We helped Isata and her sister Sarah out by talking to Vera and helping her know that we aren't crazy!  We also taught Petis' wife, Edith. She loved the Plan of Salvation and they are going to be a forever family and go to the temple someday! I just know it! We also got to have a great little visit with a member in our ward. She was so excited that we were coming. It really touched her heart. We both felt prompted to go, so we did! Miracles happened!

I'm all out of time, but love you all so much!!!
Sister Udall

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Be of good cheer!

August 18, 2014

This week was great!
I took the challenge that I talked about in last weeks letter and saw so many answers to my prayers. As I was willing to be there for the Lord and be a ready instrument in his hands, I found so many ways that I could serve others in small and simple ways.

I really loved this because I truly felt like I was doing the Savior's work! I know that I always am, becasue I am on a misson, but I felt more Christ-like this week becasue my focus on service and love for everyone.  And I've realized that we don't have to feel super strong or full of energy to be an answer to someone's prayers. Let me explain why...

This week we went on exchagnes with the Mount Vernon Sisters!! I got to go to Mount Vernon again...this time with Sister Ellis! She has been feeling really exhausted lately, and I was especially tired that day.  So at the beginning of our exchange I told her... "Sister our goal for this exchange is to relax and refuel."  She said that that is exactly what she needed.  And I knew that was what I needed as well. God knew that he could put a tired Sister Ellis and Sister Udall together because they both needed it. I joked with her that "God qualifies the called". He called me to go to Mount Vernon and knew that she would need time to relax, so he wore me out the previous day!  haha It is funny and amazing how things work out. 

So we worked all day, but took it at a pace that we knew wouldn't kill us. And the most amazing things happened!! We helped Glenda (someone that I taught when I was there!!) clean her apartment. It was amazing to see the progress we had made in a little amoun of time. We also helped a woman bring groceries upstairs...and she happened to be someone that the sisters had talked to before!! She said she was absolutely exhausted when we came over and offered help and was grateful that we came.  
(A little side note: It's funny though how everyone  we ask for help initially says no, but once we insist and start helping they let us do it and eventually thank us.  At the beginning of my mission I was way more afraid to help when they said no at first. But then I realized that we just need to "First observe, then serve."  Sometimes we need to just jump in!!)
We also helped an older woman carry a bicycle up three flights of stairs. (Apparently that was the third day in a row that they had helped that woman). And we helped another lady carry up groceries!! The real miracle behind that was that the sisters had met her at the grocery store and she wants us to come back!  Then a few minutes later, we had stopped to talk to a lady and we were able to take out her neighbor's trash and drop a letter in the mailbox.  All of those things were opportunities that were given to us. It was miraculous! And I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father let me be a part of those tender moments. 

We also had some neat experiences a few days later.  We went to check on a friend of a member and when she opened the door her kids were folding laundry. So we just jumped in there and helped them out! Then we just listened to all that this mom is going through and decided that we would all fast together! 

I'm learning through all of this that no matter what we have, the Lord can make miracles out of it! And as we exercise faith and put our trust in Him, we feel more peace than we ever would if we tried to take on these problems by ourselves. There are so many hard hard things people have to go through. And the world isn't an easy or fair place to live in. 

This is the one scripture that brought me the most peace this week: 

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might havepeace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Remember, Christ has overcome the world! We can have full faith and trust in him!!
Love you all!!
Sister Udall

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oh, What a Wonderful Week!!

August 11, 2014

I hope everyone had a fantastic, happy, and joyous week!! It truly has been a great week because God is a God of miracles! He still blesses his children! And I have seen so many instances this past week where he has done that.

Here is just one simple story.  Last night, we went to a lesson and as we were walking back to the car I saw a man getting out from his car. We both started walking over that way and we said hi to him. He was really nice and we started talking to him about who we are and what we have to share.  He opened up a little bit and shared with us how he is not sure which church is right. He has been to a lot, but has noticed that they all contradict and say that they are the right church. As we kept talking, we taught about the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how Joseph Smith had a lot of the same questions as he had. He was so sincere in knowing what God wanted him to do.  At the end of our time together, he thanked us for talking to him. He said that he had  really enjoyed the time he spent talking to us. He said that he noticed us talking with a man outside of his apartment complex last week. Once he said that, I remembered him as well! I had seen him pass by us, and had wanted to talk to him, but I was in the middle of a conversation. I was almost awkward about it because I went to talk to him, but stopped myself.  And apparently he had noticed that I had wanted to talk to him. So Jordan, this is the guy's name, told us that he promised himself he would talk to us the next time he saw us! Not more than a week later, we talked to him! SERIOUSLY SO MIRACULOUS!!! I'm so grateful that we took the time to talk to him. I'm continually learning how important every person is! Everyone has a story. Everyone is loved in God's eyes!

Simply put, the lesson that I learned this week was that when we focus on others and helping them everything else falls into place.

We went on two exchanges this week and saw so many miracles come from it!  I am in awe about how when we give Christ our heart (as imperfectly as we give it to Him), he takes it and gives us all of His heart and blesses us way more than we can ever serve Him!! It is amazing to see the amount of love that he has for us!

One thing that I love about exchanges is that I see so much greatness in these sisters! They are truly wonderful!! I just hope they know how wonderful they are and how much God knows they can do! They have so much potential because they are God's daughters.  And while I was thinking about how much God loves them I thought to myself...He loves me this much too!! I shouldn't sell myself short and put myself down all the time. I need to remember that I am no exception to his love! None of us are an exception to his love! I'm grateful that I have this opportunity to feel of a little bit of the love that God has for us all. And I know that has come from service.

I don't usually do this, but here is a challenge for the week (if you wish to accept it):
Pray for opportunities to serve someone every single day. Pray to recognize those opportunities to serve.
And the second one (which can sometimes be harder) is to accept the opportunity to be served. If someone wants to serve you, let them do it!

You will be surprised at how much you feel God's love for you and others as you do both of these things. I know I was surprised!

I hope that you are each doing well and seeing God's hand in your
life. I know it's there!

Love you all so much!
Sister Udall

Sister Udall on an exchange with Sister Harris.

Sister Udall with Sister Fakatou for an exchange.


August 4, 2014

So this week was one full of a lot of activities and meetings that don't happen every single week. I'll give you a low down of the schedule and of what I learned from all of it.

Monday night we went to a funeral.  It was really comforting to see the healing power of Christ working in all of our hearts. And the Spirit truly does edify us, empower us, and uplift us.  There were a lot of nonmembers at the funeral, and they all felt very peaceful afterwards and there was a happier spirit afterwards.  The chapel is such a peaceful place.  It is a refuge for our soul!

Tuesday was a "normal" day. We had our district meetings and set really big goals for the transfer. Sister Akin and I both feel that there will be big miracles that come from the six weeks that we are together. I know that we have a long ways to go to get there, but it is POSSIBLE! Our area has so much potential! God would not have sent us here if he didn't have a work for us to do!

Wednesday was our Missionary Leadership Counsel meeting.  This is the second one that I've been to and my favorite so far! We talked a lot about the principles of leadership and studied about Christ's example. He was so compassionate and charitable. He really loved each and every person one by one! My words don't do it justice, so go to the Book of Mormon and read 3 Nephi 17.  It is packed with so much!! President Riggs also posed the question:  In this battle against Satan, what are you fighting for? That is a powerful question. We all talked about it, and I realized how motivating it is to think about why we are out here serving missions! Here are some of the things I am fighting for... happiness, freedom, my Savior, God's work and his glory, my family (past, future, and present), and for God's love. When I think about all the blessings that I have and all the blessings that others don't have, I just want to share this with EVERYONE! As I have come closer to my Savior and have realized just how much he has done for me, I want to be a little better, a little kinder, and a little bolder in sharing this great gospel with others! That night we talked to so many people and it was so enjoyable!!

Thursday we had an interesting lesson with one of our investigators. She has become really closed off to what we are saying and won't really internalize or listen to what God is trying to tell her.  So it was a sad moment when we realized that it's best not to teach her right now.  We have had multiple experiences this week where people are flat out rejecting us and choosing not to listen to what we have to say anymore. It's sad, but I know we will find those that do want to listen to this happy and oh-so important message!

Friday we had a Half-Mission Conference.  We talked all about keeping our covenants!! I was reminded about how simple the gospel really is. I tend to overcomplicate things in my mind, and the truth of it is that everything will work out when we are keeping the promises that we have made with God. When we do that, he will bless us and guide us to do what is right.  I'm grateful that the gospel is so simple. We also talked about CONSECRATION. I really do want to be a consecrated missionary!! I love the Savior, so I want to give all that he has given to me back to him again!!

Saturday was the Nationals Game 2.0!! I got to go again. This time was a different experience because I was really wanting to continue on missionary work and be a missionary the entire time I was at the game.
We talked to people on the metro and made friends with the custodians at the game and talked with people.  It was really fun to see all the missionaries again and I just loved feeling so happy!! It was a really enjoyable night. We taught a couple people about this wonderful gospel and shared Book of Mormons with others!!

Sister Udall and Sister Akin at the Nationals game!

I hope everyone had a wonderful wonderful week!! Think about what cause you are fighting for!! It makes a difference :)

Love you all!
Sister Udall