Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Silent Night

email 29 Dec 2015

Howdy y'all!

This last week, of course, was amazing because of CHRISTMAAAAAAAS!!! We got some gifts from the mission and Sister Law and I together received 16 Hershey bars, haha, not to mention all the other treats we have received. Lets just say going to the gym will be one of our New Years resolutions for 2016. But really we have been overly blessed with people's love here. One of our favorite families let us come over Christmas morning to open gifts with them. It was a wonderful Christmas morning to spend with family! And I mean both my real family and the family I've made while here on my mission. :)



It's been FREEZING over here! Really. Two days ago we woke up and it was 1 degree. One. We are so so SO grateful to have a car right now. I hope that all the missionaries out there on bikes or walking are getting rides. Because I've started having a real fear of my fingers or nose falling off from being so cold, haha. But luckily we have a car, layers and layers of clothing, and hand warmers.

Not much has happened this week for me to talk a lot about. But I'll share a few things that were really special to me.

This year the hymn Silent Night has stuck out to me a lot. In my mind and in my heart. I was a little bit confused about why that was. It seemed that every time it came up, I felt the spirit very strongly. And I felt my heart swell. It had never done that before when I heard this hymn. I saw one of my mom's Facebook posts saying that Silent Night was my Grandma's favorite Christmas hymn. I believe that I felt her influence every time we sang it or heard it. It was a special experience for me and I've learned to love and cherish "Silent Night."


Christmas Eve was also a spiritual experience for me. We were driving around caroling, delivering gifts and messages, and as we were standing on someone's doorstep, Sister Law looked at me and said "It's 8:30 pm on Christmas Eve and we're knocking doors." As she said that, the spirit hit my heart. The only way I can explain it is it felt like someone shoved a hand warmer inside of me. In that moment I realized where I was and what I was doing. I looked at her and said, "Yes, we are. And there's nothing else I would rather be doing on Christmas Eve." 

If anyone knows me, you know that I love Christmas. This was probably my first year ever to not have Christmas decorations everywhere. That night we went home and set up our nativity. We turned on our Christmas lights and got out our scriptures to read Luke 2 (link). As we started off with a song and a prayer, the spirit entered our home. Even though our house wasn't the most tidy or the most decorated or "Christmassy", the spirit was so strong. There's nothing I would rather be doing, especially at Christmas time, than testifying of Jesus Christ. This has honestly been the least "Christmassy" Christmas I've ever had. But it was by far the best one I've ever had. I felt so close to my Savior that night. It truly was a silent night and a holy night.

Videos of the Christmas Story


I know my Savior lives. I know He loves each of us and is here to strengthen us individually. I know we can turn to Him in every situation. I'm so incredibly happy to be here on a mission. I know I say it a lot. But i mean it. There's nothing else I would rather be doing. :)

Love, Sister Sarlls

Christmas Skype with Mom and family!
 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's a Christmas Miracle!

email 22 Dec 2015

It's a Christmas miracle!

Man oh man. This week ... so many Christmas miracles. Just wonderful things that have been happening.

First news: I got my iPad back! YAAAAY! Also I got Facebook back! There's only about 10 of us with Facebook right now to test it out. But I'm back on so please add me (link) if you haven't yet!

Well Dani got baptized this last Sunday!!! It was such a beautiful baptismal service. She was so ready. And we had 4 investigators able to come to her baptism! It was amazing. Also her family that weren't members came to support her at her baptism. We always share the first lesson while they get dressed. This time it was Sister West's last time to do this. And her last baptism. It was pretty sad but also very moving. She's not a crier. But I could hear her voice quiver here and there as if she were about to. But don't tell her I said that. ;)


I think for parts of my mission, I've had moments where I've thought to Heavenly Father, "I'm on a mission, you're welcome." As if it were a favor to Him. And looking back on it, those parts were the hardest parts of my mission. The parts where I think, "I'm on a mission, thank you!" are the parts that have brought me happiness and peace.

This week had a lot of ups and downs with everything going on, the musical fireside, Sister West leaving, being a STL (Sister Training Leader), more musical fireside. And I know it's from looking inward instead of outward. I've been humbled a lot this week and I've had quite a bit of "you're welcome" moments. But after all the miracles and wonderful events that have happened this week, I can't help but say, "I'm on a mission, thank you!" I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world. :)

The musical fireside was yesterday. BOY, AM I POOPED. I felt like a zombie. But it was just wonderful. The spirit was there. And so were angels. We have some recordings of it, and I promise you, IT WAS NOT US. It sounded nothing like us in rehearsals. Heavenly Father is so good to us. I'm so so sooooooo eternally grateful for the opportunities I've had to participate in the musical firesides that our mission does. I've felt my testimony grow each time. The whole thing was just great. I wish EVERYONE could've been there.

[Listen to Sister Sarlls' performance of Who Would Imagine A King at this link. - Ed]

Who Would Imagine A King
Mommies and daddies always believeThat their little angels are special indeedAnd you could grow up to be anythingBut who would imagine a king?
A shepherd or teacher is what you could beOr maybe a fisherman out on the seaOr maybe a carpenter building thingsBut who would imagine a king?
It was so clear when the wise men arrivedAnd the angels were singing your nameThat the world would be different 'cause you were aliveThat's why heaven stood still to proclaim
One day an angel said quietlyThat soon he would bring something special to meAnd of all of the wonderful gifts he could bring
Who would imagine?Who could imagine?Who would imagine a king? 
Well Sister West is gone now. I'm sad to see her go. She's taught me so much! But I'm happy I have Sister Law here with me to help me through this time:)

This last Wednesday and Thursday we got together as a mission and read the Book of Mormon in 24 hours!  We spent Wednesday reading from 8 am to 9 pm. And then on Thursday we read from 7:30 am to 5 pm. We had a few musical numbers in between and we had different people come and read for us like the office staff, President and Sister Jaggi, and even a member of the quorum of the 70! (Dani wanted to come with us, too! Gosh, that girl's testimony is amazing. It just radiates out of her.)

It was a really fun experience and it just furthered my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the guidance it gives to us. I love the very end of the Book of Mormon the most. When Moroni is bidding us farewell. I love the promises he give us and the very last thing he wants us to do, his last words, are to come unto Christ. (link) That's what our purpose is as missionaries is to invite others to come unto Christ. There are a lot of people that I meet and only come in contact with once. I want my final and last words with these people to be inviting them to come unto Christ. If I do this, I have fulfilled my purpose, as Moroni fulfilled his. I love the Book of Mormon. I draw closer to my Savior and know Him more every time I open it.

Of course, I need to share my Christmas Miracles!

1. We had to cut down the fireside to an hour and it was EXACTLY AN HOUR TO THE MINUTE. 
2. We sounded good at the fireside! 
3. Dani got baptized! 
4. I'm pretty sure our fireside "saved Christmas" just like any good Christmas Story does. 
5. The biggest miracle of all, A Savior is Born. He was born so we could be saved, redeemed, and set free.

We were teaching a little kid and we were teaching that Christ's name was in Christmas. He responded with, "All that's left is Mas! And that means MORE in Spanish! So Christmas means More Christ!" I loved having this simple lesson from this amazing child of God. That's truly what Christmas is all about is having more Christ in our lives. Just like in 2 Nephi 25:26 when it says:
And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
Let's talk MORE of Christ. Let's rejoice MORE of Christ. Let's preach MORE of Christ. And when we do that, we will become MORE LIKE Christ.

I love you all and I love this time of year! HAVE A MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Love, Sister Sarlls

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What Can I Give Him, Poor As I Am?

email 15 Dec 2015

Our weeks keep getting busier and busier! I try my best to include everything in my email. But there are just too many activities to get them all in! We've been having fun in our trio! It's a pretty good dynamic and we're getting better at teaching with the three of us. We've been getting a lot of lessons done from being able to split up.

This is something that I wanted to share but I didn't know how to go about putting it into my email. So it'll just be it's own thing. A Kangaroo is a mixture of a deer and a t-rex. 

We've had some amazing lessons and miracles happen this last week! I don't remember if I've talked about Alex or not. I think I have. Well Alex hasn't read in front of us. Ever. We had a lesson with him where we sat in silence for 15 minutes waiting for him to read. For a while we were contemplating if he could actually read or not. But in this last lesson, HE READ 9 WORDS! I know this doesn't sound like a big deal. BUT IT WAS HUGE! It was a miracle.

Another miracle! We were pondering which ward we should go to Sunday morning. We prayed about it and felt we should go to a specific ward that has no work in it right now and that I hadn't attended yet. So we went there and afterwards we were chatting with some people when this lady comes up to us and tells us that a young woman was there with her two sisters that weren't members. So we walk over there to introduce ourselves and it turns out that these two girls have been going to church for 2 months! When we talked to them they told us that they really really wanted to be baptized! So later that day we went to their house for the first lesson. These girls are prepared by Heavenly Father to accept the gospel at this time. These two amazing girls are going to be baptized together on December the 26th! And the best part is that their mom watched their example and is now coming back to church and sitting in on the lessons. Heavenly Father is so merciful towards us. Blessings and miracles keep being poured (or snowed) upon us!

Yesterday we woke up to a whopping SEVEN inches of snow! Can I just say how beautiful it was? Ogden it kind of ugly with it because all the snow turns dirty and black. But out in the country (where I always seem to be) it's BREATHTAKING. It looks like a calendar.

The snow made me think of the song "In the Bleak Midwinter". It starts off talking about snow then turns to Christ's birth. I was pondering why it did that and thought it was because Christ came in a similar way to snow. Quiet, pure, almost unnoticeable. But when all is done, it makes a huge difference. And it's noticeable. Just like His atonement. Some don't like snow. But today we went sledding and I had a BLAST! I think that's also like Christ and His atonement. If we use it, it makes up happy! Just like I used the snow. If we use His atonement by being the best we can be and by keeping His commandments, we have a blast! Sometimes we look at it as being freezing cold and wet. We look at the gospel as restricting or hard. But when we live the gospel, we love it.


In the Bleak Midwinter - Sissel with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra

"In the Bleak Midwinter" is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti written before 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner's Monthly for a Christmas poem. It was published posthumously in Rossetti's Poetic Works in 1904. The poem became a Christmas carol after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by Gustav Holst. (Wikipedia)
In the bleak midwinter
BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficedThe Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart. 

We've been singing to everyone that we can sing to. Our favorite to sing right now is "In the Bleak Midwinter". It's fun because we all three sing so we can sing in three part harmony and we sound pretty good, if I do say so myself. :) One of our favorite families invited us over for their family Christmas dinner and party. And when we were leaving we left them with a song. I couldn't help but notice a lady in the back starting to cry. After our song she came up to us and proceeded to tell us how she was just reading the poem of "In the Bleak Midwinter" and how much the poem touched her heart. She felt a real need to "Give Him her heart" as the poem says. She was having a rough time that specific day and she said that our song reminded her that she needed to turn to God more in her life. It was a really special experience to know that we can deliver revelation for Heavenly Father through the power of music.

I've been studying the Christmas Story in preparation for Christmas and also the musical fireside. As I was studying, I realized that it would be CRAZY to try and follow a star. If I tried to follow a star, it wouldn't go too well. But I thought that the star they followed was a lot brighter than the other ones. It was obviously the star to follow. So it is in life. The gap between God and the world is getting bigger and bigger. There is a noticeably bright star we need to follow. There's a reason one of Christ's names is "The Light". I'm sure it still wasn't easy for them to follow a star, even as bright as it was. And it's not always easy to make the right decision to follow Jesus Christ in life. But I don't believe they would have found Christ if they had followed the general direction of the star. They followed with exactness. And so must we. For if we follow the brightest, most glorious star, we will reach Him.


I'm doing great out here! I'm so so so incredibly grateful to be on a mission and to be here during Christmas. I love my Savior and I invite all of you to discover for yourself why He was born. #ASaviorIsBorn



Love, Sister Sarlls 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

He is the Light of the World

08 Dec 2015

Hey yall! This week was great. A lot of ups and downs and in between. But first, TRANSFERS. So Sister West and I are staying together for her last 2 weeks! I'm sooooooo happy. I love Sister West to death (literally [meaning until the end of her mission - Ed]). We're the STL's (Sister Training Leaders) over the entire mission now. So we have unlimited miles on our car because we're having to drive all over, haha. It's going to be pretty crazy being in charge of the musical fireside AND being the only STL's in the mission. But I know it's what Heavenly Father has in store for me right now. Here's another fun fact, we're going to be in a trio! We're getting Sister Law. Sister Richins just finished training her and she's going to come with us and when Sister West goes home, she'll take her place and an STL. It's going to be a fun transfer. Plus this is the fireside, Christmas, and New Years transfer. There's a lot of fun things coming up!

One of our bishops owns a recording studio! Like a legit one. That's his job. So last P-day he invited Sister West and I to go record a song. IT WAS SO FUN. It was actually pretty hard though. It's a lot different singing live where you need to project everything. The microphone to record music picks up EVERYTHING. I lightly scratched my finger and they had to cut out the noise it made. WEIRD. But we should be getting the recording of our song pretty soon. :)

It's funny that my friend Allie Hansen sent me her weekly mission letter and named it "The Birds". Because I've had my own bird experiences this week. First off, birds are not my favorite. I'm quite scared of them. We were at a dinner and we were sharing our message at the end when a BIRD came and started flying around the room!!! SERIOUSLY. Who let's their pet bird roam free like that?! So then we went home and I was opening the door and out of the wreath on the door FLIES A BIRD. AHHHHH. It almost hit my face! But I got knocked to the ground because it startled me so much, haha. On Sunday we had dinner at the Jaggi's house and we were going downstairs to watch the Christmas devotional when I see a bird perched there waiting for me. Just waiting for the kill. Not really but it felt like it. Apparently the Jaggis have a bird that just flies free everywhere. All these unleashed birds are freaking me out. They're wild in Russia and they're wild in Utah.

WE GOT TO GO TO TEMPLE SQUARE AND SEE THE LIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHH! We got to take someone we're working with. Most magical experience of my life. We were able to sit in the tabernacle and listen to a choir perform some music. It was so peaceful to sit there and listen and to feel the spirit. Ahhh. I can't even describe how amazing it was. It was just all one bit magical and spiritual experience. It really confirmed to me that Jesus is the light of the world.

The musical fireside is going so good! The first practice was kind of a train wreck. But this last rehearsal was just a miracle. Everyone knew their part. The pianists knew their music. I can't exactly explain the miracle. But there's no way we could've done it alone. We've been keeping up online at christmas.mormon.org with free daily videos and the daily GIFs. And every single thing is perfectly lined up with our musical fireside. Even to the songs we chose and the scriptures we chose and the order we put them in. They're the same as the website online for Christmas. Heavenly Father has been more than gracious in letting us see His hand in the fireside. As I was praying to Him, I told him to have Mimi to sing with us. I have full confidence she will be there with us singing praise. :)

This last week on exchanges I got to go back to Hooper and see Debi #2. It was sooooo good to see her! She's grown so much. She's the one that we promised if she read the Book of Mormon that her anxiety would go away. Well while I was there I followed up with her on it. Since I've been gone she's been reading the Book of Mormon every day and she is now off all of her anxiety and depression medication. This moment I really felt the power we have as full time missionaries. As literal representatives of our literal Savior, Jesus Christ. Sometimes I feel like it'll be the same doing member missionary work. But when she told me her news, I realized what we had just done. We aided Jesus Christ in healing someone. That's only something that can be done by a man with the priesthood or as a full time missionary. How great is our calling!  Debi is now preparing to go through the temple on February 10th. Just 19 days before I go home. I'm so grateful Heavenly Father is allowing me to see this miracle take place.

Well there are a lot of Christmas miracles taking place. I'm excited for what these next 6 weeks will bring. I love you all!

- Sister Sarlls


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

In Christ, I am alive

email 01 Dec 2015

Well right after I sent the email of no snow, IT SNOWED.  It snowed just in time for Thanksgiving! It reminded me of last year when I was with Sister Hadden. When we went around singing "For the Beauty of the Earth" to everyone we could find. This year we went to go play a mission Turkey Bowl. But my HAIR FROZE. It was 12 degrees outside and windy. NO THANK YOU, haha! But it was still a very very full day. Full of family, full of singing, full of snow, and of course, full of food. :)

One of our YSA (Young Single Adult) wards had an auction to raise money for a charity. It's the first real auction I've ever experienced (the ones with the people saying random words between numbers).  PEOPLE SPEND SO MUCH MONEY! OH MY GOSH. Well we decided to auction off a date with Sister West during her 2 weeks in the US after she's released, haha. It was kind of hilarious to see people's reactions. They were confused if it was real or not. Some people wanted to even bid for it, haha. I ended up getting a date with her for 50 dollars ;).

Okay, Sister West is so very Christ-like. I've been getting a little sick lately because I didn't have a sufficient coat to keep me warm. So we went to Ross and found one and when I went up to buy it, I didn't have enough money. It was pretty embarrassing. So we went home and we were getting ready to go out again when Sister West pulled out the jacket. She bought me the jacket that I wanted and needed. I don't know when or how she bought it. I was with her the entire time and I still don't know how she did it. Seriously this girl is so thoughtful and I love her to death. She's always looking out for others and turning outward.

We had our first rehearsal on Friday for the musical fireside. Honestly it was pretty rough, haha. But I'm having faith that Heavenly Father will provide us with angels to sing with us like he did last time. I know that the songs we picked were the songs Heavenly Father wants and needs us to do. I got a few confirmations of that this week. One was with the new Christmas Video that just came out. It's called "A Savior is Born". Everyone should watch it! Just like the other ones that the church puts out, it's beautiful. It's in a different style than the last ones. But on the website there's actually another video and some other fun things, too! When I watched "A Savior is Born" though, the spirit told my heart that we were on the right track. And every single song and the whole program is in line with the video. I'm so excited for this fireside and for everyone to watch this video!





This last week I truthfully had the hardest and worst lesson in my mission. A less active church member we were working with was progressing so much. He was really gaining so much faith. Then all of a sudden, his brother passed away. His brother was like his dad. When this happened, he just kind of fell off the face of the earth. We didn't see or hear from him for a while. Then we decided to drop by and see how he was doing. He seemed okay and let us in. Then he started expressing his anger towards God. Toward Jesus Christ. Toward us. It seriously broke my heart to see him that way. I can't explain it fully. After that lesson, Sister West and I just sat in the car and cried. Sister West isn't a crier. But it taught me that that's one of the parts of being a representative of Jesus Christ. We feel what He feels for people. I truly felt close to Jesus Christ in that moment. Even though it was one of the hardest moments of my mission.

My dear sweet grandma, Mimi, passed away this morning. She was the pioneer of our family in bringing us into the gospel. Her testimony was stronger than anyone I've known. I know the Plan of Salvation is real. I have really seen the difference it makes to have a strong knowledge of God's plan for us. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving, this is the thing I am most thankful for. I am thankful for this gospel. I'm thankful that there's a plan for us. I'm thankful that I know His plan and that my family knows His plan. I'm excited to be with Mimi in the spirit world, and one day, be with my whole family in the Celestial Kingdom.


"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

I'm loving it out here. I know I am glorifying my Father being out here. I love all of you. :)

Love, Sister Sarlls 




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm already dreaming of a white Christmas

email 24 Nov 2015

Hello hello! All is well over here in the Utah Ogden Mission! It's getting FREEZING here. I forgot how cold it could get. I keep my Benadryl in the car in case I need it but now it doesn't even matter because it's frozen. It never thaws out, haha. You know it's cold when your nose hairs freeze and when you're door is frozen shut. Even with all this frost, there is still no snow! My rule is it shouldn't be this cold without snow.

Okay time for the embarrassing moments of the week. The musical fireside is coming up so we've been advertising EVERYWHERE. So we were in a Ward Council meeting and I was really excited talking about it and I was like, "It's non-congregational! Everyone is welcome!" They all looked really confused and said, "So how does that work? Do you just walk around listening?" Well ... I meant to say non-denominational. So they imagined there not being a congregation and just walking around listening to the music, haha. I just meant that all faiths and religions are welcome! So now that ward thinks I'm a little wonky.

Another embarrassing moment. Sister West and I go to a community center gym every morning to exercise. Sister West has been acting like my personal trainer. She's teaching me how to do all these fancy work out things. Well she was teaching me how to do squats with weights. I was facing away from everyone else in the gym so I couldn't see people looking at me. All of a sudden, while doing squats, I hear this popping sound. I didn't think much of it till my pants felt a little looser. I realized I had just RIPPED MY PANTS RIGHT OPEN. And like I said, I was facing the other way. And I'm pretty sure the noise echoed, hahaha. One of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Let's just say I'm buying new pants today.

We've had some exciting things happen this last week! We got to go to the Temple with our recent convert, Luis. Then right after we went to the family history center so he could find some family names!

  


This last week we get a call from a girl named Dani. She called us and said, "I want to go to church with you this Sunday." WHAAAAAAAT. So we set up someone to give her a ride to church and we met her on Sunday. She is so prepared by Heavenly Father to hear and accept the gospel at this time. As she was talking to us and as we were teaching her, I could literally feel in my heart how much love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for her. The next day she went to a job interview and we asked her how it went. She said, "Well if I accepted the job then I wouldn't have any time to meet with you. So I turned it down because I really want to learn." OH MY GOSH. Seriously. When the scriptures talk about the elect, Dani is it. She's going to be baptized in December. It's going to be a white Christmas! (Like baptism clothes. Get it?)

This week we've talked to a lot of the people we're working with about the feelings of the Spirit. A realization that I made this week is that the most important feeling of the Spirit is peace. The Spirit can come in lots of different forms and feelings. But Satan can replicate excitement. He can replicate happiness. He can replicate laughter. He can replicate a lot of things. But he will never ever be able to replicate the feeling of peace and comfort. Whenever I feel peace and comfort, I know without a doubt that it's from my Heavenly Father. And I get those feelings in this gospel. When I go to church. When I read the Book of Mormon. The peace that comes into my heart is overwhelming. Look for those moments of peace and comfort in your life. Of course the other feelings can still be from God. We can still get answers through other feelings. But I know that peace and comfort is always 100% from our Heavenly Father.

Sister West and I were able to give a training to our zone the other day. We started off by showing the Mormon Message "Look Not Behind Thee":


New Year's: Look Not behind Thee


We then read the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's in Alma 23. They were a blood-thirsty people until they learned about God and wanted to become righteous. So in Alma 23:7 it says:
"For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren."
I know there are things that we all do that fight against God or our Brethren. Maybe not in big ways. But we all do it. So as a zone, we made cardboard swords and wrote down some things we wanted to give up and bury. Then we all went into the backyard and dug a hole and literally buried our "weapons of rebellion." It was super fun! And it was a really spiritual experience to commit together to be even more obedient and even more consecrated. It brought our zone close together and we're all trying our best to not dig up our swords but to keep hem buried. I want to take this practice with me when I go home, too. I want to continually bury my swords little by little.





Well I'm doing great here! The gospel is true. Heavenly Father is real and listens to us and our hearts, our thoughts, our desires, and our needs. He is aware of each one of us individually. And I know Jesus Christ is there for us to strengthen us and heal us through everything. Big and small things. I love you!


(Bonus video to prepare for Christmas! - Ed.)
video

Love, Sister Sarlls (31 days till Christmas!)

P.S. Y'all, I made gumbo for the first time by my self and it tastes EXACTLY LIKE IT! I DIDN'T EVEN BURN THINGS!




Tuesday, November 17, 2015

If I could save time in a bottle

email 17 Nov 2015

I really don't know where the time goes anymore. The weeks are going by faster and faster. I'm trying to make it go by slow and suck it all in while I can. This week marks my 15 month mark.  Luckily, because Sister West has been out longer than I have, people usually focus on her. But when people ask how long we've been out, usually we both respond with, "About a year." I don't know If that's considered lying or just being optimistic. Haha

Well in other news, they made me an STL (Sister Training Leader) again, haha. Kind of random. Half-way through the transfer. But it's fun! I like being an STL. I like sharing my thoughts and opinions about things and I like coming up with ideas. They are thinking of trying me out as a "traveling STL". I wouldn't have a set companion and I would travel the mission going on exchanges with sisters and helping them with their companionship and their area. It's still just a thought but it's an interesting concept and idea! I don't exactly know how it would work. But I'll give you an update if it happens!

WE HAD SOME MIRACLES THIS WEEK! Sister West and I decided to give up one thing to help us be just a little more consecrated as missionaries. And I know that these miracles came from doing that. God is good.

So we have an investigator named Alex who has a girlfriend on a mission. He's never come to church and he keeps canceling lessons. Well on our lesson this last Wednesday, we read 2 Nephi 31 with him. In that chapter it talks about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Or the things that we need to do in this life to return back to Him. Well we asked Alex what some things were that stood out to him and he responded with, "I need to go to church." Sister West literally yelled "HALLELUJAH!" in the lesson, haha. So Sunday rolls around and Alex worked a 16 hour shift and got off work at 5 in the morning. AND STILL CAME TO CHURCH. To say we were excited is an understatement. I'm so grateful Alex was able to come to church and experience the joy that it brings.

The other miracle has to do with the musical fireside, of course.  So we were counting on school being out on the 21st of December, which is a Monday,  for Christmas break. Well.....apparently it's not. And now that the mission no longer has Facebook and is now half the size it was, we were all freaking out about how we're going to get people there. We feel lost and don't know where to go or where to start. We thought of posters and stuff but missionaries are poor. Here's the miracle part. There's a man in our area who works for a printing company. And he offered to provide 150 posters and 10,000 pass-along cards for the entire mission. FOR FREE. I just about cried. And then he proceeded to tell us that he had connections to get an ad in the local newspaper and possibly on the radio! AHHHHH WHAT! I could literally feel the burden being lifted from my shoulders. Again, this is God's fireside. When we do things that honor and praise Him, He will ALWAYS help it work out. ALWAYS.

Sister West and I sing everywhere we go. Every dinner appointment. Every lesson. Every door contact. It's a blast! And we sound pretty good. (If I do say so myself).

This last week I got to go on exchanges with my beloved Sister Richins. If you don't remember, she's the very Christlike one that I was in a trio with in Hooper with Sister Betzold. I'm her STL so I got to spend the day with her. I always learn a lot when I'm with her and this time I was reminded of a lesson I was taught at the very beginning of my mission. We were in a lesson with a teenage girl and we were teaching the restoration when it was Sister Richin's turn to share the First Vision (see link for short description - Ed). She messed up quite a bit on it...she said things backwards that didn't make sense at all. But as she was saying it, the girl we were teaching started crying. Then I started crying. Then Sister Richins started crying. The spirit was so thick in the room. And it testified that what Sister Richins had just shared was true. In this moment I remembered when I first came out and how I would always say, "I'm not a perfect teacher. But the spirit is." I've honestly forgotten that over time. I think because I'm older in the mission, I pressure myself into thinking that that doesn't apply to me anymore. That it's all up to me now. Like I've taken the training wheels off. It was a nice reminder that I wouldn't be able to teach at all without the spirit. No one would listen to me. But because the spirit teaches them, they listen. And they want to know more.

Feature Film depicting the First Vision experience of Joseph Smith - Ed.

I have definitely felt strengthened lately. To sum up how I feel, I feel like Alma in Alma 26:12:
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
Love you all!

- Sister Sarlls 
P.S. 38 days till Christmas

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Now I see

email 11 Nov 2015

Sorry this is late! We've been busy busy!

Well yesterday we got our Samsung tablets that we're piloting. They can't get iPads in Europe or Asia so they're having us test out the Samsung Galaxy to see if we should get these so that other countries can use them as well. So far, honestly, I'm very confused by it, haha. It can do more things than our iPads could. But this is definitely for computer people. But it's good! It's a blessing even though I don't know how to use it yet.

Okay. Time for the embarrassing Sister Sarlls story of the week. The fact that it's a weekly occurrence is rather sad. But this week Sister West and I were sitting in a YSA (Young Single Adult - Ed.) ward sacrament meeting in the front pew. Well our investigators in that ward didn't end up coming, so we were going to go to another ward but we didn't want to disturb everyone so we were just going to slip out the side door really quick. Well we gathered our stuff, counted to three, and zoomed out the door. And into the SACRAMENT PREPARATION ROOM. (Basically a closet with a sink. - Ed.) And then we have to turn around and walk alllllllllllllll the way to the back door in front of everyone. And of course they had just seen what we had done. We ran out as fast as we could and I felt like Napoleon Dynamite running off the stage. We had quite a few texts from people making fun of us, haha. It was hilarious but VERY embarrassing.

Today Sister West and I went to the Burger Bar and every month they have a different exotic meat. So this month is kangaroo! We went and got a kangaroo burger in honor of my Aussie sister. It was actually delicious and I would recommend kangaroo to anyone. Another fun thing we did today (and almost always do) is we went bowling. I've found a new gift of mine. I am MUCH better at bowling backwards and under my legs than I am normal bowling. I played a whole game bowling backwards and got a few strikes and ended with 117 points. I did a game normal bowling and got 46 points, hahaha. I don't know why I'm so backwards with everything. But it was pretty fun.

The musical fireside is very slowly coming together. We only have about 2 songs left to choose and then we'll start rehearsals. Yikes! I feel like we just ended the last one! This one is going to be wonderful though. We've never done a Christmas fireside before. On the subject of musical firesides, the recordings for the last musical fireside can be listened to and downloaded at this link:

https://soundcloud.com/user-804581904/sets/musical-fireside-sept-2015

This is seriously a huge miracle that you can hardly hear any of my cracks in the recording. God is good.

We've decided to go to an institute class on our p-day at Weber State. It's been really exciting! I love deep gospel discussions that we go into together. Perks of serving in YSA.

I've been studying a lot about the natural man lately in the scriptures. A lot of references that I looked at talk about how the natural man can't know of spiritual truths. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
As I was reading about the natural man, the thought came to me about how much the world focuses on being "natural" now. I've never thought about it being a bad thing. We always think about natural beauty, natural hair, natural ingredients, natural talent, natural produce, etc. All of those things sound appealing. But part of being "natural" is not being altered. Isn't this life our time to be altered? I think today people like to justify being rude or stubborn because that's "who they are naturally". We shouldn't have to change ourselves for other people, right? WRONG. This life is here for us to change. And we are changing for someone. We're changing for Jesus Christ. To show Him our appreciation for His atonement. I love that we don't have to be our natural selves. We can be our perfected selves. :)

One of the songs in the musical fireside is called "Sweet Little Jesus Boy". I was studying the words to this song and one of the lines that stood out to me was "Our eyes were blind, we did not see. We didn't know who you were."   I think a lot of times people think we live the gospel because we are "blinded". But we follow Jesus Christ and his gospel because we see! The followers of Jesus Christ weren't blinded. They saw who he was and they saw the eternal perspective of His ministry and His purpose. And it's the same today. We aren't obedient because we're blind. We're obedient because we can see. I know this gospel is 100% perfect and 100% true. I know it with all that I am.



Sorry again for this being late! This week has been awesome and I'm having fun every single day:)

Love, Sister Sarlls (44 days till Christmas)



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Paperwork

email 03 Nov 2015

Well this week has been awesome! Sister West and I are having a blast together. We actually cover two stakes. A home (Family - Ed.) stake and a YSA (Young Single Adult - Ed.) stake. YSA is verrrrrry different from a home stake. First, because sacrament meeting is extremely quiet. I felt like my stomach grumbling was echoing! Second, their testimonies are short and to the point. No one does a 45 minute testimony. Something that is odd though is some people kind of advertise themselves while they're up there. They'll casually slide in the fact that they're single or that they're a returned missionary haha kind of funny. But I guess that's one of the purposes of YSA!

Sister west gave me nasty Australian candy. And nasty Australian vegemite.

video

We're teaching a lot of fun people! There's one guy, Richard, who's from Kenya. Like STRAIGHT FROM KENYA. He travels around running marathons. That's literally his job is running races. So he came here and met the missionaries and last weekend got baptized and received the priesthood. This past Thursday we got to go with him to do baptisms in the temple for the first time. It was so special! It was so neat to see how everyone in the temple made him feel so special for his first time. But this morning he left to go back to Kenya. I was sad to see him go! But he took a whole box of Book of Mormons with him that are in Swahili. He's got that missionary spirit!

Okay last person that we're teaching that I wanted to tell y'all about. His name is James. James CRACKS. ME. UP. He's 25 and he wants to come back to church. He's overcoming his drinking and smoking problems. We were talking about the atonement and I said Christ had felt every stubbed toe to every broken heart. Well that really resonated with him. A little too well actually. He started dramatically telling us this story about how he stubbed his pinky toe. He said it was one of those moments where, "It made me question all of my life plans." And he went into his room and said, "I dropped to the floor and just rolled around. Just rolling and cursing." We were all dying at his dramatic pinky toe story. But if that's the moment that helps him gain a testimony of the atonement, then it works! Also he talked to the bishop about getting the priesthood. But he was saying, "I'm not sure if I want to get the priesthood." And we all felt sad. We asked him why and his response was, "I just don't want to spend my weekends doing paperwork." We were like....Uhhh......what?? "Yeah it just seems like it would be a lot of paperwork." Hahahah, oh James. He's awesome. Now that he understands that the priesthood isn't endless amounts of paperwork, he's working towards it. :)

On Halloween we had to go in early. But we got permission to watch Cokeville Miracle. It was amazing! I loved it. It was an interesting experience to think that it actually happened. I love the message of prayer in this movie. Because of the humble prayers of the children and the teachers and people around the world, everyone was able to survive the bomb. It truly was a miracle. I would encourage everyone to watch it. It's great:)

Cokeville Miracle Trailer

This last week we attended a scripture study group for the YSA. And today we went to an institute up at Weber State University. I absolutely loved being spiritually fed that way! We studied Isaiah in 2 Nephi 14. The part that stood out to me was verse 4:
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.
When it talked about "washing and burning" it made me think of baptism (washing) and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost (burning). But it also said they're being washed by the "spirit of judgement." We can be cleansed by Heavenly Father's loving correction. His judgement helps us realize how we can become better. And what we can do to be cleansed every week. Judgement is part of the process of becoming perfect.

Another scripture I studied this week is Matthew 4:18-20:
18 ¶And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
I've studied this passage a lot. But this time something that stood out to me is how hard it would be to be an apostle. You have to leave behind your livelihood. Your family. Literally everything. I tried to put myself in that situation. Just dropping what you're doing. No questions asked and following Christ. It took me a LONG time to come on a mission. But the apostles did it fully and completely without delay. It made me look at the motivation of my obedience. If it's because it's convenient. If it's because of the blessings. Or if it's because I love Him. I think the apostles felt that strong love for Christ as soon as He spoke and that's why they followed so willingly.

Well I'm having a blast here in the Utah Ogden mission! I'm loving every second. Love ya bunches!

-Sister Sarlls


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Going West with West

email 27 Oct 2015

Well Sister Manley is now in Brazil! I haven't heard from her yet but I'm sure she made it there safe and sound. :) I hope she has a great trainer and isn't being swallowed whole by Portuguese too much.

Wellllllll time for transfers!!!!!!! DRUM ROLL ............ I am LEAVING. This was a HUGE surprise! I'm so sad I have to leave this wonderful area. I have to leave some people we've been teaching and leave the beloved Hadley's (my senior couple). But I am going to Farr West in the same zone I just left, haha, It's right next door to West Weber. My new companion is Sister West! She's from Australia and she has the voice of a hipster Angel! Another fun fact about transfers is that I am in a Young Single Adult area!!!! So I'll be teaching people ages 18-29! I'm SO excited! Maybe God is trying to help me not fight going to YSA when I get back home, haha.

This last week had a lot of fun activities working up to Halloween! We got together as a zone to have a Family Home Evening. We went to a member's backyard and we all got to sit around a fire and had a very spiritual testimony meeting. We ended with roasting marshmallows and attempting to play kickball in the dark. (It didn't work as well as we thought.) On Wednesday, we got to all carve pumpkins for the Syracuse Pumpkin Walk! This is where the whole community carves pumpkins in all different ways and they light them all up and put them in a football stadium. The whole city comes to tour all these pumpkins every year! I'm telling you, Utah and Halloween is really intense. But it's fun! Also we went to a ward party and wore wigs. It was a hit and everyone loved it!


Since Sister Manley left to Brazil, I've been staying with the Spanish speaking sisters that cover my area. They cover half English wards and half Spanish. So I figured it wouldn't be TOO bad. For the most part it was good. Then we went to a lesson with a family they were teaching English. They caught on rather quickly that I did not speak Spanish. All of a sudden they all were laughing and looking at me. I could feel myself turning SOOO red, haha. Just another testament that high school Spanish helps with NADA.

President Jaggi has asked us to teach at least 3 lessons every day. It's not too hard to do in our mission, but sometimes just NO ONE wants to hear from you. We had one of those days where we were going around and knocking doors, visiting people we teach, trying to find people to teach. And there was NO ONE. No one answered their door. So we stopped riding our bikes and said a prayer. We told Heavenly Father that we wanted to have a lesson that day and we asked Him to place someone outside who's life we needed to touch. So we got back on our bikes and saw some kids playing outside. They were crying. (I think one of them took a toy.) We told them the rules for wishing on a dandelion and we challenged them to a contest who could do it. Soon enough all tears were gone and it resulted in a dandelion fight between 4 boys and the sister missionaries! It was a blast, haha! At the end of our fun, we were able to share with them the Mormon Message "The Shiny Bicycle". It was amazing how these boys' faces and attitudes changed as we were showing them a video centered on the atonement. I'm thankful that God answered our prayers and sent us someone who's life we could touch and uplift.



I've been thinking back on how fast this last transfer went. I think if I chose one thing I've learned this transfer it would be in Mathew chapter 7:
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, butconsiderest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
It's easy to see and tell people how they can improve. But we never know how much of the beam people have already taken out of their own eye. We never know how much people have already changed. And it's not our place to say how fast they need to change. Praying is real. And it can definitely change hearts. It can turn our will to the Father's. I've loved this transfer and all its taught me. And I can't wait for the next one. :)

Love you all,
Sister Sarlls