Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New-Year!!!

email 30 December 2012

I had the best Christmas ever! My mom's prayer was answered and they got to Skype with me for 2 1/2 hours. My whole family told me that I have a Canadian accent??  I don't know what that's all about. After that we went over to the old folks home and sang some carols to everyone. It was super fun:)

Then we went to a family's home for the rest of the night. They have 5 daughters who are all super fun! We had dinner and then we went HOOKY BOBBING!!! They attached 3 sleds to the back of a 4 wheeler and drove us around a huge field. It was SO FUN!!! And I stayed on the longest! You get COVERED in snow! I had ice chunks in my hair at the end. But it was so worth it! We ended with playing "ticket to ride". Which is a super fun game, btw! I was so grateful that we were able to spend Christmas with a loving family. 


Last week we only had 15 lessons because everyone was sick. :( Sister Hadden is also sick but she won't rest! She's a hard worker and I love her for that. But sometimes you need to relax and get better! I keep telling everyone that it's fine because I don't get sick. But I'm knocking on a lot of wood now! 

We had to give some talks this past Sunday. One of them was on "Our Savior's Love". So of course I thought of the hymn! Because it's my absolute favorite next to "More Holiness Give Me".  It says, "Our Savior's love shines like the sun with perfect light. As from above, it breaks through clouds of strife. Lighting the way, it leads us back into His sight. Where we may stay to share eternal life." While studying the words of this hymn, I realized that His love really is like the sun. It's always there. And it's the same amount of sunlight everyday. But also like the hymn says, there are clouds in the way. Sometimes those clouds can be trials placed in our life. Or sometimes we can put those clouds there ourselves by not following Christ's example.  But His love breaks through those clouds. Even on the cloudiest of days, there is still light outside. We can still see what's in front of us. It doesn't matter who we are, what we've been through, or how many times we mess up. His love is still there. There is still the same amount of sunlight behind those clouds. It's just up to us to move the clouds out of the way of us feeling His love. Because it's there waiting for us.

I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us unconditionally and perfectly. I know that there is hope for each and everyone of us. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I love the peace and hope it brings to my heart every single day. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New-Year! 

Love, Sister Sarlls

Our Savior's Love
Text: Edward L. Hart, b. 1916. (c) 1977 IRI

Music: Crawford Gates, b. 1921. (c) 1977 IRI

Our Savior's love
Shines like the sun with perfect light,
As from above
It breaks thru clouds of strife.
Lighting our way,
It leads us back into his sight,
Where we may stay
To share eternal life.

The Spirit, voice
Of goodness, whispers to our hearts
A better choice
Than evil's anguished cries.
Loud may the sound
Of hope ring till all doubt departs,
And we are bound
To him by loving ties.

Our Father, God
Of all creation, hear us pray
In rev'rence, awed
By thy Son's sacrifice.
Praises we sing.
We love thy law; we will obey.
Our heav'nly King,
In thee our hearts rejoice.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I've been dreaming of a white Christmas long enough!

email 23 Dec 2014

Christmas miracle - it's FINALLY started snowing again! We are going to have a white Christmas!!! 

This week went by really fast. Probably because Christmas is almost here! We've been going caroling and giving people cookies! It's been really fun to share our testimonies through music and singing. I'm so grateful I've been able to sing on my mission! I've learned a lot this week through my studies and at church. 

I was in Sunday school and the teacher was teaching about the Christmas story. She asked all of us if we knew the difference between a Shepherd and a Sheep Herder. (Of course no one knew that) She goes on to explain that a Sheep Herder follows from behind. But a Shepherd leads the flock from the front. It made me think about myself. I am called and set apart as a representative of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I am a shepherd as He is ours. I am not here to "herd" people. But I am here to lead people to Jesus Christ. Our purpose as missionaries is to "invite others to come unto Christ". By inviting them, I am leading them. But it is their choice wether they follow or not. I think that's why the scriptures tell us the Lord is our shepherd instead of saying sheep herder. We all have our agency to choose to follow Him or not. 

I was just reading the story in Luke 5. Jesus was teaching the people in the shallow part of the water. And Jesus told Peter to go to the deep part of the water and cast his nets in. And he's like "I already did this!" But when he did it that time, he got all the fish. I was thinking about this compared to my life. When Jesus tells me "okay it's time to go into the deep now." Meaning going to face another trial. And sometimes I think "I've already been through this trial! I'm sick of it!"  But just like Peter, sometimes the time that's the most hopeless to put out our nets...is the time that all the blessings come. Both sides of the boat were the "deep" but the side that we cast our nets (our faith) is the side that comes with blessings. If we turn to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and do as they direct, they will strengthen us and we will receive more blessings than we thought possible. 

I love Christmas and I love my savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the gift that He has given each and every one of us! I hope all of you have a beautiful, magical, and very Merry Christmas!!!:) 

Best Christmas wishes, 
Sister Sarlls 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Helped Steal Santa. Whoopsies!

email 16 Dec 2014

So Sister Hadden and I went on exchanges (when we trade companions for a day). Usually I stay in Huntsville and she goes to the other area. But this time I got to visit someone else's area! We were going around doing visits and we needed a potty break so we dropped by this family's house to use their restroom. While we were there, they told us about this contest that they were doing. There's a porch decoration going around within a few families in the neighborhood and you try and steal it off of the other family's porch without being caught! The family who has it at midnight on December 23rd wins! (i'll attach the flyer explaining it). So the family just came back from trying to steal it but they got caught. Soooo, I said, "I think a Christmas message from the sister missionaries is a perfect distraction!" So we went to the house and had a lesson with them and showed them the "He is the Gift" video while the other family stole the Santa! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! haha It was an awesome opportunity to #sharethegift. Even if it was a little sneaky;)

Later that night we went to dinner where they were feeding us tacos. We were sitting there eating when all of a sudden the 7 year old girl sitting next to me starts stroking her tortilla and says "Dad, this tortilla feels like your back!" We were DYING laughing! hahaha She kept going on and on about how "his back is so soft!". The dad the whole time was like "OKAY! that's enough!" It was hilarious.

Then even LATER that night we went to a Christmas party where a whole bunch of kids with Down Syndrome put on a show for us! IT WAS SO CUTE! They lip-synced and danced to probably 10 Christmas songs. It was great! It was a fun day for me! 

Our guys we taught at the Valley Camp (AA camp) finished the program there so they left us. :( BUT, We are teaching 3 new fellas there! They are AWESOME!!! The people there are all so great and sincere! All 3 came to church this past week and LOVED it! I can't wait to teach them!

Last Tuesday night I went to a lesson with a Sister who is having some hard times. She got really emotional and started talking about her troubles with her daughter and their relationship. We talked about when people we love don't do what's right or don't listen to our guidance and how it makes us sad. But that's how Heavenly Father sees all of us! He has given us everything we need to be happy in this life and in the next. But we don't always do it. And it makes Him just as sad. But I shared with her my testimony of the importance of showing love to people despite their imperfections. When I said this to her I got a HUGE confirmation in my heart that what I had just said was true. I can't explain the feeling very well, but it's like my heart was filled with too much happiness and joy to fit inside of me. But I know it was the Holy Ghost telling me that it was true and right. I can't stress the importance of loving people. I know that Heavenly Father loves and knows us individually. As we show our love to others, we're allowing them to feel God and Jesus Christ's love for them as well. The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses EVERY aspect of our life. As we focus on Him daily, we will see miracles happen in our life, our home, and our family. A good example is Christmas. The reason people love Christmas so much is because they're focusing on Jesus Christ! Even if they don't realize they are. People's hearts are warmed, they serve and give, they sing songs praising Christ, they go to church. And that's why people are so happy at Christmas! Because they are focusing on The Savior!  Christmas time gives us a little glimpse of what the world would be like if we all were striving to be more Christlike. 

I love Christmas so much! I've had so many moments this season of feeling Christ's love for all of us! Remember to #sharethegift of His love every chance you get! 

Sister Sarlls

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's a Christmas Miracle!!!

email 09 Dec 2014
SO many miracles this week! 

Sister Hadden and I have discovered that every time we go on exchanges, miracles happen in our area. So here we go...

Christmas Miracle #1 We have been PRAYING and PRAYING to find more people and *TA-DA* we found the physical area-book! (not our ipad ones) There were SO many names on there we've never heard of that the missionaries worked with a while back! 

Christmas Miracle #2 We were at a gas station getting some motivational Dr. Pepper and we struck up a conversation with the girl checking us out and asked her if we could come over and share a Christmas video with her. And guess what? SHE SAID YES! And she's from the Houston area and says y'all! 

Christmas Miracle #3 We are singing the Pentatonix version of Mary Did You Know and it doesn't sound completely awful! 

Christmas Miracle #4 We went to a Christmas party and saw one of the people we visited and haven't been able to get a hold of since! We sat by her and set up a next appointment!:)

Christmas Miracle #5 We sang What Child is This in a Relief Society meeting and didn't hear the piano part or practice singing our harmony before hand...and it was beautiful. 

Christmas Miracle #6 We challenged someone who had been excommunicated to work towards baptism and they said YES! 

Christmas Miracle #7 One of the 9 year old boys we're working with is getting baptized on Christmas! Talk about a "White Christmas"! (get it? baptism clothes are white...)

It's been a grand week! If you haven't seen the "He is the Gift" video, PLEASE watch it and #sharethegift!
[After watching, go to http://Christmas.mormon.org
Ed Sarlls.]

Merry 16 Days Til Christmas!!!

Sister Sarlls

P.S. Some Elders decided to write a Utah Ogden mission rap and create a music video also...have fun! http://vimeo.com/54869650

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving is just Christmas Kick-off

email 02 December 2014

Thanksgiving was lots of fun! On Wednesday we had Thanksgiving with an awesome family! She's Filipino and made us delicious egg rolls! They had Thanksgiving on Wednesday because they were going to do black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving. Isn't it crazy that black Friday is actually on Thanksgiving now? On actual Thanksgiving we went down to Ogden and played some football with other missionaries! Well...Sister Hadden did. I played some cards with some missionaries and Sister Hadden's old companion taught me a new game called "Unggoy Unggoy". It's a game from the Philippines. It means "Monkey Monkey!". But you know I love new games! I had a blast! Everyone was asking me how many Thanksgiving dinners we were having. I said "one?". Apparently other missionaries go to 4-5 dinners! CRAZY! The most I've heard of is 8. The family we ate with had a 7 year old boy and he wanted us to race him on the sled. I wanted to sooo bad! But we told him we couldn't because of our skirts. He looked at us and said "Just take them off!" haha I love kid logic. They also had their own zip line!!! It was great. We spent the rest of our thanksgiving visiting people that have been on our minds and singing "For the Beauty of the Earth" [YouTube link below - Ed Sarlls] with my ukulele to them and giving a little Thanksgiving message. It was so fun and it really brightened our day!

We are teaching this 9 year old boy named Crash. He's awesome and a really deep thinker! We were teaching him the plan of salvation and about the Atonement and how we will all be resurrected. It went great and at the end of our lesson he said "I don't want to be resurrected!" we asked why and he told us "It's going to hurt!". We were confused at what we said to make him think it would hurt. He then explained that "I don't want to be nailed to a cross!" OOOH. so we said "That's crucifixion not resurrection!". haha It was a great lesson and I don't think he'll forget the difference again.

We've kind of hit a road block in our area. I feel like we're just on a wild goose chase every day trying to find these people that are never home. I felt like I didn't have faith in our work and in our progress. I felt hopeless about our area and about my abilities. I was talking to Sister Hadden about everything i felt and she told me to read the "patience" section in Preach my Gospel. I was thinking "I don't feel impatient, I just feel hopeless!" well, I did what she said and this is the sentence that stuck out to me..."Patience is related to hope and faith - you must wait for the Lord's promised blessings to be fulfilled." It was definitely a humbling experience. I know that this is His work and it is in His timing. As long as I'm being obedient and doing what I need to do, I know that what needs to happen will happen. Even if that means going on wild goose chases every day. 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am grateful to be here on a mission. I wouldn't have been able to say that a month ago. But I am SO grateful that Heavenly Father put this opportunity in my path to love and serve others. I'm grateful that He loves me enough to give me these hard experiences so that I may grow and become closer to Him. I'm grateful that I am able to pray and receive answers to my prayers. I'm grateful for my family and the love we have in our home and in our relationships. I'm grateful that I have an AMAZING companion who works hard and is obedient. I'm grateful that she laughs, sings, and puts up with me. I'm grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for my Savior who gives me the strength every single day to keep going and to do His will. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 

Sister Sarlls