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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What do you use to mend a jack-o-lantern? A PUMPKIN PATCH!!!

email 20 October 2015

This is my last P-Day with Sister Manley before she goes to Brazil! I know I always say the weeks go by fast. BUT THIS PAST WEEK WENT REALLY FAST. Today is my 14 month mark. Yikes. I think 14 months is the hardest. Because I still have a good amount of time left! But everyone I tell how long I've been out says I'm about to go home. I try to tell them I still have a good 4 months left, but they won't take it. I think it makes it sound longer when Sister Manley says she's only been out for 2 months. Compared to that, I sound like a grandma! Hopefully my next companion will be going home sooner than I am so people won't focus on me. Haha

This past week was fun! We made some Halloween goodies for people. We made sugar, chocolate chip, and pumpkin cookies and put them in little baggies with curling ribbon and a little note that said:
"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear... D&C 68:6"
I wish I had taken a picture of them before we handed them out! They were pretty cute (if I do say so myself). Also some very very nice people gave us little pumpkins!!!:) I was so happy! I needed some pumpkin in my life! And our zone is going to be a part of a pumpkin carving contest! Exciting times lie ahead.

There's this road in our area and every time we ride down it it smells like fresh laundry! Kind of odd. We're not really sure why it smells that way. But we take any excuse to ride down there because it smells so nice. :) The fall weather makes me happy - leaves falling, pumpkins out, cool breeze. It makes me sing the line from a primary song "I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavenly Father created for me."

This week I guess has been a week of anniversaries because along with my 14 month mark, I also have my 40th talk this past Sunday. We were asked to give it on Baptismal Covenants. I don't REALLY like giving talks. But I do love taking the opportunity to study the topic in depth! I loved studying about the covenants we make at baptism. When I was baptized, I was baptized at 8. I could feel it was something important and good that I needed to do. But I don't think I fully understood everything it meant or everything it did for me. On my mission I've been able to get a better understanding for what baptism actually is. And how it effects us everyday. I love the verse Acts 2:37 that says,
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
I love the imagery of our hearts being PRICKED. To prick means to create a small hole in something. When the people heard about Jesus Christ. They felt a need for something. The spirit created a hole in their heart that needed to be filled. And that could only be filled by Jesus Christ. We hear a lot of people who say the gospel fills a hole they didn't know was there. This is exactly what this is! And when the people felt this they asked, "What shall we do?" This is real intent. They wanted to act on the feeling they received! I've been asking myself When was the last time our hearts were pricked? When was the last time we allowed Jesus Christ to fill in the empty spaces in our hearts? Later in the chapter it tells that three thousand souls were baptized that day.  I've always read this chapter wanting a "Peter Experience". Where my heart can be pricked and where I can see thousands come into Christ. But as I was studying about our baptismal covenants, I realized that it happens every week. I think of the sacrament. This large group of people all being cleansed by faith and repentance through Jesus Christ. And we get to fill that hole every day as we keep our baptismal covenant:
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11 And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.
(Mosiah 18:8-11)
As we keep our covenants that we made at baptism, it will fill any and all holes we have in our heart or in our life.

I'm grateful I was baptized at 8 and that I've been led by the Holy Ghost but also by my parents who have always stood as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places. This gospel is true and I love every moment  I have to testify of it. I'm grateful I have an opportunity every single day to testify of my Heavenly Father and my savior Jesus Christ. :) Nothing could make me happier.

Love y'all!
Sister Sarlls

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Moments That Matter Most

email 13 October 2015

It seems that each week in my mission just keeps going faster and faster. I pray every night that time will slow down a little and that I'll have a little bit more on my mission. But unfortunately, it is God's will and not my own.

A lot of fun things have happened this past week! First of all, my favorite senior couple in all the land, the Hadley's, came home from a 2 week trip to Texas!!! They sent us a postcard and I was happy to see a little bit of Texas! Also I have some happy and sad news. SISTER MANLEY GOT HER VISA TO BRAZIL!!!! I know she's super excited! She leaves at the end of this transfer. I'm excited for her but I can't say I'm TOO excited. I loved having her here. I've been so very blessed with wonderful companions.

This past Sunday had some pretty awkward moments in it. Of course, it was testimony meeting. There was an old lady to went up there and she was quite hysterical. She was telling this lady to stand up with her baby and show everyone. She was saying "Look at that pure face!" And the whole time she was BAWLING. She was up there quite a while and she starting to end her testimony and said "I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ LOOK AT YOUR CHILDREN! LOOK INTO THEIR EYES!!!" Everyone was so startled and of course all the kids felt a little uncomfortable. It was very very interesting. And I hate to say it, but I was laughing and when I laughed my mint flew out of my mouth to the pew in front of me!!! SO EMBARRASSING. Then later on we were in another Ward and the chorister was very loud. He was heard to the very back. And he whole song was going nicely when all of a sudden he starts slowing way down at the end of the verse. Everyone was done with the verse. Even the organist was done. But he still had another line to go!!! So we all just sat there and the organist held out the note while we waited for him to finish. This happened with
every verse, hahaha. We were all confused.

We have been praying and praying for someone who is prepared to be baptized before Sister Manley leaves. Last week we had a lesson outside with this little girl named Trinity who had a lot of sincere questions about Jesus Christ! So we went by again yesterday and she and her brother really want to be baptized! And their mom is on board! So they're on date for the 24th of this month. They're eager to learn and love the gospel and praying together!

We had a little tender mercy this week. Sister Manley and I were riding home one night and we were at a corner waiting to cross the street. We were looking up at the stars when we saw a shooting star!!! It was huge, bright, and it shot across very slow so we could enjoy it. That was a friendly reminder to me to slow down and enjoy the moments we are having. 

We've been showing the Mormon Message "Moments that Matter Most" a lot lately. It's all about slowing down to enjoy what God has given us. Something that I noticed these past few times I've watched it is almost all of the moments they show are with family. The moments that matter most are with not only family, but with people. 

It reminds me of President Monson quoting Barbara Johnson:
 "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."
People need to take more time to love. There are so many things that are fast paced now. I think the biggest way we can show others we care is to slow down. Be slow to anger. Be slow to be annoyed. Be patient. Be slow to listen. Slow your life to allow time for theirs. 

This is what Christ did. When He was on His way to perform a miracle and the lady touched his robe, He didn't keep going to get his task done. He stopped. He spent a moment with her. And He loved the one. I'm trying to apply this to myself and my ministry. Every day there are moments that matter most. I'm trying to find them.

Well this has been a wonderful week:) I'm working on slowing down. Mostly so that my mission lasts a little bit longer. I love you all. I love this gospel with all that I am. And I know it's true.

Love, Sister Sarlls

 (Coming next week - an indoor skydiving experience. Ed.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


email 06 October 2015

Man, oh, man. This week flew by! But soooo much happened! But first I wanted to talk about my #onlyinutah moments of this week. My least favorite #onlyinutah moment is the GNATS. There are millions!!! And they're everywhere. We'll be riding our bikes and when I stop and look down, there's a blanket of dead gnats all over me. I'm worried that one day I'll be at a door contact smiling and I'll have dead gnats in my teeth. Hopefully the light of Christ will be too strong for people to notice the bugs.

The next #onlyinutah moment is how famous we are here. We were riding our bikes down the road and ended up by the elementary school where all the kids were walking home from school. So we got off our bikes and walked them so we wouldn't run everyone over. And as soon as we did, we heard "The Missionaries!" "We love missionaries!" Then this little girl came up to us and said "I'm getting baptized next year!!!" It always makes me feel like saying "That's right kids! Choose the right!" With a cheesy wink at the end like a superhero. It cracks me up but we are very blessed to have so much support here.

#onlyinutah people start decorating for Halloween super early. And the fact that they decorate for Halloween is an #onlyinutah thing. Utah LOVES Halloween! Kind of random, haha. But almost every house has a blowup or lights or some sort of decoration for Halloween. Something that's a hard #onlyinutah is that everyone goes to sleep early. We can't find ANYONE at home after 7:45. They all think it's really rude if we knock their door after that!

Okay now time for my favorite #onlyinutah moment. We can ride our bikes to Walmart. And go in and shop. And come back out. AND THEY'RE STILL THERE. We have no bike locks or anything and no one steals them. Utah is the best!

Well yesterday Sister Savannah Betzold returned home to St. Louis, Missouri after serving an incredibly honorable 19 month mission. I can't explain my love and appreciation for this daughter of God. I don't know what made Heavenly Father give me the blessing of being her companion twice. But I am forever grateful. She is my best friend and she will be missed. But I'm sure her family is glad to have their turn! She has taught me a lot about loving myself. And about loving my mission to its fullest. She was a great example of diligence and obedience and I'm forever grateful to have her as my friend. Keep it going, Savannah!

Well of course General Conference was AMAZING. There was a lot of revelation received. I loved the emphasis on the Holy Ghost and ACTING upon the feelings you receive. I received a lot of revelation about things that weren't related to the topic at all. That testified to me of something said in general conference. That the Holy Ghost is the most honest friend you'll have.

I had the privilege of attending conference in the actual real deal conference center!!!!! I got to go Sunday morning and see Music and the Spoken Word. As soon as they starting singing I started crying. Okay can I just say the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is perfect? On the part when they start talking over the choir, I always just assumed they turned down the choir audio to let the speaker be heard. BUT THE CHOIR ACTUALLY DECRESCENDOS. Maybe it's just the choir nerd in me but it was invigorating.

I got to go with some mission buddies and also with Debbie and Danny from West Weber:) it was amazing to see them again and I could see in their eyes how much they loved it! As I was watching conference and got to be there as President Monson spoke (Read or watch his message here. Ed.), it made me think of King Benjamin when he spoke to his people. I just finished reading his words in the Book of Mormon. It was so exciting to be so close to the Living Prophet of God. During the second session I got to sit on the floor level! My favorite part was being able to see Presidents Monson, Uchtdorf, and Eyring laugh and joke together while sitting there. There's so much I could say about conference. In all, it was quite the magical experience :).

image from ReligionNews.com


I even ran into some friends from Katy!

I've always had really spiritual experiences with reading out loud the Holiday Videos from Mormon.org that come out for Easter and Christmas. And this last week we were at mission prep and they had us do a role play for them of teaching someone about Jesus Christ. We read my favorite scripture about the atonement which is Alma 7:11-13, which says:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.
As we read these verses I felt chills all over me and I felt my heart burst open. Then we watched the "Because He Lives" video.
And I read the words out loud so everyone could know what it was saying. As I did this, the spirit washed over me in a way I had only felt it a few times before.

At this moment I could feel that my strong testimony of Jesus Christ has transformed into a deep love for Jesus Christ. This has been something I've been searching for my whole mission thus far. I feel like Ammon in Alma 26:16:
"Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."
As I felt all these things and was trying to pinpoint how I felt, the words of the song I sang at the musical fireside came to my mind. "Sing, oh my heart! Sing thy rejoicing!" I felt as though my heart was truly singing about my love for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I love Him and I love His gospel. It's true. 100%.

I'm doing great:) 80 days till Christmas.

Love, Sister Sarlls