Monday, February 22, 2016

"And now I bid unto you all, farewell." Moroni 10:34

email 22 Feb 2016

This last week was one of the most humbling weeks of my mission. I was able to go on exchanges in inner-city Ogden. I've been in rural areas almost my entire mission. The city is sooooo different. We went to this apartment building to find people to teach. It turns out it was an apartment building for mothers that went through an abusive relationship and it's transitional housing between being homeless and finding a place to stay. Well the night before we had gone to a funeral and they had a TON of extra food. Like pans on pans of casseroles and rolls. So we offered to take it, not knowing what we would do with it. Fast forwarding back to the apartment building. We talked to everyone there and no one was interested in being taught. But the spirit brought to our remembrance all the food we had in the back of our car. We asked the big group of women and children if any of them needed food. You would not believe the reaction all these people had. They were overwhelmed with joy and emotion. It honestly made me feel as though we were right there with Christ when he fed the five thousand with the loaves and the fishes. (The Utah version is rolls and funeral potatoes.) It was really cool to see how afterwards, some of the people actually wanted to be taught. I believe it's because they felt Christ's love for them. I don't know exactly what it was. But I know we all felt love for each other. Love is the essence of missionary work.

I'm not sure what to say in this letter, as it is my last one as a full-time missionary. I think I'll start it off with a count down of my time here in my mission. :)

78 weeks
58 wards (8 stakes)
47 talks
18 months
10 companions
9 skirts
8 apartments
7 cars
6 areas
5 tubes of mascara
4 kills (companions who completed their mission and went home)
4 musical firesides
3 zones
2 mission presidents and their wives
1 mission
Unlimited and eternal amounts of blessings, friends, and experiences.

There's no way I would be able to sum up my mission in any amount of statistics, numbers, or even words. As my time is getting short, people ask a lot of questions. "What will you miss the most?" "What's been the best part of your mission?"  Two of the HARDEST questions. 

What's been the best part? There have been countless of bests in my mission. But by far the best thing is seeing people change. I've seen myself change. I've seen my companions change. And I've seen the people I've met, taught, and served change. I've come to know Jesus Christ so well. He is my best friend. And that's why Jesus Christ is my best friend. Because He loves every single one of us so much that He changes us. His gospel changes us. 

What will I miss the most? I will miss testifying. I will miss promising people blessings in the name of Christ. I will miss all the doors slamming in our faces. I will miss the ones that were opened wide. I will miss saying prayer after prayer after prayer for miracles. I will miss having someone by my side every second of every day. I will miss putting on broken shoes, tattered skirts, and worn shirts just to go out and find those who are broken, tattered, and worn. But most of all, I will miss being a representative of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I will miss His name on my chest.

So what I want to leave you with is my testimony. I know this gospel is true. I know it makes us happy beyond belief. Because I've felt it for the last 18 months. I've felt Heavenly Father's overwhelming love for each of His children. He knows us perfectly. Inside and out. I know the Book of Mormon is true. It's my favorite book. It has brought me closer to Christ and His love than anything else this world can offer. Please read it and pray about it. I know that families are meant to be and can be eternal. I know that there are no lost causes. The atonement is real and it heals. Please use it! Please come unto Him! I feel like Alma in chapter 26:16 "Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." If nothing else, please know that I love this gospel with all my heart and all my soul and all that I am. And I love being a missionary in the Utah Ogden Mission.

With all my missionary love,
Sister Sarlls
(Friend Sister Sarlls on FaceBook here. - Ed.)

(A few links for those interested in learning more. - Ed. Get your free copy of The Book of Mormon here. Read about Jesus Christ hereRead about the Plan of Salvation hereRead about Family Values here.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Oh Happy Day!

email 15 Feb 2016

Golly gee! Okay I had a little freak out moment that this is my second to last email. I'm trying not to think about it. But it just keeps going faster and faster! Ahhhhh. It's okay though. :) Well I've been super sick lately because of all this inversion. So my email may be a little lacking today because of that. It's all the pollution in the air that's trapped because it can't go anywhere because of the mountains. So we breath in all the pollution. Someone told me that if we run a mile, it's like smoking 3 packs of cigarettes. Crazy! It's been super gloomy and gross outside. I'm ready for the sun!

Well I have a lot of fun experiences to write about this week!

Last Monday night at FHE we played with bubble balls! It's those things that are blown up and you are inside. Not the hamster looking ones. But your legs are outside of it. Well we got in them and played soccer and played sharks and minnows. Haha. I got knocked down SOOO many times. But it was really fun and bouncy! I have some battle scars that I'm proud of, too.

So this last week we had a first. We shaved someone's dog for service. And it wasn't just a dog. It was an Airedale. They're huuuuuge and curly. We didn't know that they have a specific haircut either. But the dogs hair was so thick that the clippers wouldn't go through it! It took us 4 whopping hours to shave that bad boy! It was a lot of hard work. And we were just praying that we did his haircut correctly. I definitely have a lot of respect for dog groomers, now.

We never really get a lot of the same foods, but when we do, it's all in one week. So we had spaghetti 5 times out of the 6 dinners this last week. lets just say thinking of Texas food is one of the things that's making it okay to come home soon. :)

We went on exchanges twice this week. The sisters have been having some struggles with loving the work and using things they like to do to help them cope with stress and assist in the work. So I did a lot of arts and crafts this week! We painted, colored, sang, you name it! Man, we have some AMAZING artists in our mission! Like HOLY COW. We made a lot of little cards that have quotes, scriptures, and hymns on them. Then we made copies of them to place in sacrament programs so everyone gets a little note from the sisters :). It's been really fun and the members LOVE it!

Last Tuesday we got to go on a temple trip as a mission! I love the Ogden temple so so so much. It's just beautiful. On our way back to the dressing rooms, they let us stop and take a look at the different sealing rooms they have. This may be odd, but I think the sealing rooms in the Ogden temple are my favorite. They're even more beautiful then the celestial room. But I just love what the sealing room is for. That's where eternal families are created. And that's the ultimate goal, isn't it? It's such an amazing thing. I'm so grateful to be sealed to my family forever. And I'm so grateful for my savior Jesus Christ. He, His life, and His atonement are what makes it possible. It was a wonderful temple trip. I was able to really feel Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's love for me.

Also, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! Yesterday we spoke in one of our YSA wards. They asked us to speak on love. Which is kind of ironic for a YSA Ward, haha. But we decided to speak on God's love. It's interesting how sometimes you have one plan in your mind, and God just changes it completely. I absolutely love it when that happens! I had the intent of speaking on the hope of God's love. But instead, I was meant to speak on how God shows His love for us by giving us trials and by chastening us. I felt kind of bad, honestly, haha. I didn't want it to come across as me rebuking them. There's a primary song called God's Love. Some of the lyrics are these:

God's Love
by Elizabeth Cushing Taylor
We do not see the wind;We only hear it sigh.It makes the grasses bendWhenever it goes by.
We do not see God’s love,But in our hearts we knowHe watches over usWherever we may go.
Of course, we can't physically see God's love. It's like the wind where we can only feel it. But also it says that the wind is there to bend the grass. So it is with God's love. We can feel His love and know it's there when we see and feel ourselves bending. I looked up the definition of Love in the dictionary. It's European root means "desire". So plugging that into the song lyrics, it says.
We do not see God’s desire,But in our hearts we knowHe watches over usWherever we may go.
Sometimes it's hard to see God's will and His desire. But as we allow Him to bend us, we will be able to feel it. And of course, bending can hurt. But it hurts more when you aren't flexible, haha. As we keep a flexible heart and allow God to bend us, we'll be happy. :) Its one of the ways God shows His love for us. And we can show it back by taking the road He has laid out for us.

It's still been a slow week. But Heavenly Father has been so gracious to allow us to see some fruits of our labors this week. Seeing answers to prayers. Whether it was our own prayers or whether it was someone else's. It was a fun week and a fun Valentine's Day. :) I hope all of you felt the love of God and of Jesus Christ. If not, search, ponder, and pray. I promise you will feel it. :) I love this work with all my heart. Don't you forget it!

Sister Sarlls

Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl? More like the stupid bowl!

email 08 Feb 2016

Hello hello family and friends! What to say about this week...hmm....its been pretty slow honestly. It's been kind of a rough week. No one has been answering us on our phone. We don't know if it's because everyone hates us or if it's because our phone is messed up. Haha. We're gonna go with our phone being messed up. :) Even though it wasn't a super busy week, it was still chock-full of things we were able to experience and learn!

We go on 2 exchanges a week with sisters and it's EXHAUSTING. I feel like Sister Law and I are hardly companions some weeks!

On Tuesday, all the leadership in the mission was trained on how to use FaceBook and how to use Skype and FaceTime to teach people! It was a really good training and it opened our eyes BIG to all the possibilities using media can bring! I'm excited to be using it more and more! So if you're reading this and you aren't my friend on FaceBook, please add me! (link) I don't post very often. But I love being able to share my testimony with people EVERYWHERE, not just in Ogden. :)

Okay I'm going to say it, I HATE THE SUPER BOWL. It makes it nearly impossible to find anyone at home, and if they are home, they get upset with us knocking on their door. And everyone was making the excuse that they couldn't come to church because of the Super Bowl. Even though it started after all the blocks of church were done. I even promised this guy that if he went to church, his team would win. We were on exchanges so the guy I said that to is in another area. So I can't exactly follow up with him. But I'm sure he went, and they won. :)

In sacrament meeting yesterday, we heard this story about a little girl and a grandma. The girl was complaining to her grandma about her trials in life. But then her grandma took her into the kitchen and put three pots on the stove. The put carrots in one, eggs in one, and coffee beans in another.  She let them each boil for 20 minutes and then they observed each one of these items. The carrots, once hard, were now mushy and soft. The eggs, once liquid on the inside, was now a hard boiled egg. The the beans had produced coffee around it. I loved the moral of this story. Which one are we in times of hardship and trial? Are we the carrots? We seem strong but then once adversity comes our way and the heat is turned up, we get mushy and loose our strength. Are we the eggs? We have a humble and malleable heart until hardship comes our way. Then our heart hardens to where it can't be changed or moved. Or are we the beans? Where we turn the water, the thing that gives us the trial, into something sweet. We use it for our good and our growth. It was a thought provoking story and it caused me to look inward to myself and see which one I was. I know that Heavenly Father has situations for each of us to go through that aren't easy. But as we follow His path for us and trust in Him, we can turn our weaknesses into strengths. It's hard to keep that mindset in the middle of a trial. But I know it's true and it blesses us. :)

I was reading in Alma 12 in the Book of Mormon this week. (Of course, because it's my favorite book.) This specific verse really stuck out to me and showed me how much Heavenly Father loves us.
"10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full." (link)
Of course we want to be the people who's hearts are soft. But when our hearts are hard, it doesn't say "the same receiveth NO word!" No. Heavenly Father still wants to give us a chance to draw near to Him. Even when sometimes we probably are acting prideful and hopeless, He doesn't see us that way. He sees all the potential in us, and He wants to give us everything that He can to make sure we're on His path.

I had a really neat experience yesterday while taking the sacrament. We were in one of our YSA wards so it was really quiet. And I was thinking of all the things I had messed up this last week. It really started getting to me and my self esteem. But as I drank the water and put the cup in the tray, I heard the clink it made. I don't know why this stood out to me. But I started hearing every clink in the chapel. With each clink I imagined it being one of my worries, one of my sins, or one of my mistakes, falling away from me. Burying it. Leaving it with Christ. Imagine all the empty cups piled under the tray. Everyone's mistakes are under there. And they place it under the cloth, with Christ. We can give it to Him. He wants it. I love the sacrament and the ability to partake of it every week. I can't describe what I felt exactly. But I could feel light coming out from my heart. Jesus Christ is here to heal us. Even in the little things. As long as we give it to Him.

I love it out here! I never want to leave. (Sorry family). :)


Sister Sarlls

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Kill it with the sword of Faith!" - Sister Richins

email 01 Feb 2016

[Sorry for the late posting of this letter. Totally my fault, but worth the wait! - Ed]

Well this week went by insanely fast! As usual. It was a really awesome and great week though! I'm really so blessed to be in this area. Everyone is just so loving towards us.

This week we made Valentine's Day sugar cookies for people! We made sugar cookies and frosting from scratch. I can say that I'm very proud of us :) because they were delicious. We kept them in the trunk of our car and we kept on having to tell ourselves, "We're handing out cookies, not eating them. We're handing out cookies, not eating them." But they turned out super cute! Since missionaries don't really celebrate the relationship part of Valentine's Day, we put John 3:16 on there.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
I love this scripture because it shows both Heavenly Father's love for us and also Jesus Christ's love for us! So that's what we'll be celebrating this Valentine's Day :)

Last p-day Sister Law, Sister O'Connor, and I MADE OUR FIRST SNOW MAN. I always thought it was a myth that you rolled a snowball in the snow and it built up. I thought that was just on cartoons. BUT ITS REAL. It was a blast! We made him a little missionary and we ended up leaving the Book of Mormon there for someone to find later. :)

So this last week I got to go on exchanges with R-Money. (Sister Richins) it was a blast to be back together with her for a bit! We were in my area and we didn't have many miles left for the month that we could use. But I kept getting a feeling like we should visit a certain Ward. But it was the farthest away and would use a lot of miles. But we put our trust in the Lord and did it. So we went around a trailer park trying to find some people in there. We went to go find this one girls trailer and when we got there, it was literally gone. The trailer had been removed. We were like "oh no. It's gonna be one of those days." But we quickly repented for thinking and saying that. And it was AWESOME. We found 5 new people that day that wanted to come to church and FHE! It was so great! Repentance is real! And so is choosing to have a good attitude!

2 days after V's baptism, her honey, L, passed away. We were so sad for her. But then we thought of all the miracles that went into this. She was originally going to be baptized on the 30th. But her family couldn't come so we moved it to the 23rd. Heavenly Father wanted L to be able to see it. He also wanted V to have the gospel and the gift of the Holy Ghost for this specific trial in her life. And in a year, V can go to the temple. And L's work can be done in the temple. Another miracle. Heavenly Father timed it perfectly so they could be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity as soon as possible. Family is God's plan. That's why it's called the plan of HAPPINESS. :) President Jaggi was so kind and gave us permission to attend the funeral an Brigham city, which is outside our mission boundaries. It was so good to be there for V. I'm so glad she has the gospel of Jesus Christ and that she has such wonderful family to help her through this time.

I've been studying a lot about the Jaredites and the story of them crossing the seas. It says that as they were on the sea that
"...the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind." (Ether 6:8 - link)
I'm sure being in the barges was kind of scary. Flipping around in there. If it were me I would be terrified that we were going to the right place or that it was a storm that would kill us. But these people had more faith than that. And comparing it to life, sometimes it probably feels like God is throwing that at us. He's giving us heavy winds and rain and storms. It probably is scary and unknown. But really, he's moving us toward our promised land. And it says the wind did never cease. Not even a little bit. As long as we have faith in Him, He will ALWAYS be blowing us forward. Another part I like is when it says
"...and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water." (Ether 6:10)
Again, in life, there are times when we're under the water. When we feel like we're drowning. But God will always provide His light for us. And that light Christ. Heavenly Father is so good to us and so merciful. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to lead us when we're under the water as well as when we're above. There are so many people in the world. But He loves, cares, and guides each one. Remember to reach out to Him! Because I can promise you that His hand is already extended. He will give you the light and the wind to take YOU to YOUR promised land.

Well there have been a lot of miracles his week. It's been amazing to see the hand of God all around us. In all sorts of situations and people. I love this gospel so much. I'm so grateful to have a chance every day to testify of my Savior, His gospel, and the happiness it brings me! I can't say it enough! I wish I could tell the world! I love every bit.


Sister Sarlls

Monday, January 25, 2016

Because I'm HAPPY

email 25 Jan 2016

This week has been great. A lot of ups and downs. But it has been great, nonetheless. :) First off, TRANSFERS! Sooooooo Sister Law and I stayed together! Yay! We're excited but we definitely have our plates full. We got 2 more companionships of English sisters so now we're STL (Sister Training Leaders - Ed) over 6 companionships. YIKES. I'm sure other missions have more sisters they're over. But for us, it's a lot! I kinda feel sorry for Sister Law that she's killing me. (Killing - last companion before a missionary "dies" and returns home. - Ed) I've killed 4 of my companions and it's not fun. But I'm so blessed to be with her! Seriously she's amazing. Let me just take a moment to tell you just how Christlike she is. So whenever we go to the bathroom in a church building, she always turns on the water while I'm going, so when I come out I get to wash my hands with nice warm water. I know it doesn't seem like much. But she's so sweet to just think of others in that way. She's taught me a lot and I'm excited for this next transfer together. :)

Well the broadcast was this week. Man, was it weird to see ourselves on the screen. First of all, I thought I was smiling. Turns out I wasn't. I just look terrified the whole time. haha. Second, they zoomed up on sister law and I A LOT OF TIMES. I don't know why! But I kinda wanted it to stop. Whenever we showed up on the screen, I would just act like I was taking notes and look down. It was interesting though to see the different revelation I received while I was there vs. watching it. It was an incredible broadcast that taught a lot of what President Jaggi has been emphasizing. He's inspired. :)

On Mondays we got to FHE (Family Home Evening - link) with our YSA (Young Single Adult) wards. So we went to one that was playing human Clue! It was actually a lot of fun! The Clue board was the church building and we had to walk around the building and go into the different rooms and guess. But before we do the activity, we always have the spiritual part of FHE. So they asked us what makes us happy. And of course we got a lot of answers like "Mountain Dew", "creative dates", & "cheesy fries". But we also got some good answers like "music", "family", &"Jesus Christ". Then we did the same thing with things that make us unhappy. Honestly, it was a lot harder to think of things that make us unhappy. After we formed the two lists on a whiteboard, they said to underline all the ones that are eternal. There were a lot of things to underline under the things that make us happy. But not one thing was underlined under the things that make us unhappy. I LOVED this activity. It really confirmed to me the reality of the plan of HAPPINESS! (The Plan of Happiness talk by Elder Boyd K Packer - link) The things Heavenly Father has made eternal are the things that make us happy. Sometimes in the moment, our unhappiness seems like it'll be for eternity. But that's not Gods plan for us. His plan is for Jesus Christ to take any unhappiness we have, so that it won't ever have to be eternal. :)

Something cool I learned this week is a little bit about silver. I learned some of how to purify silver. They put it into heat and slowly turn it while the impurities drip off. And they know it's pure when they can pull it out and see their face in the silver. It's like the question Alma asks in chapter 5:
"14 ....Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" (Alma 5:14 - link)
We are as the silver. He puts us through the refiners fire. He turns up the heat a little bit. He gives us trials. But as the trials come, the impurities start melting away. And we know we are pure when we can see HIS image in us. When we become like Him. Of course, perfection is a long term goal. But we can have His image in our countenance all the time as we try our best through life! In addition to that, I think of Christ's love shining down on us into our hearts. The more we become like Him, the more our hearts turn into silver and as a mirror. His light will reflect out of us for others to see as well. He not only wants us to become pure for ourselves but for those around us so they may feel of His light and love, too.

Lastly, V. got baptized on Saturday! She's 73 and pretty much the cutest most delightful lady you've ever met. :) Her honey, L., is home bound. So he wasn't able to come to the baptism. But we got permission to Skype the baptism to him! It was such a tender mercy because he sleeps a lot, but when V. was baptized, he was wide awake! I said K.'s baptism was full. Well ... We had V.'s baptism in the chapel! And it was packed! So many people that love her and cherish her came down to see this wonderful day of hers. So we go in to have her be baptized and the font was DRAINING! It was about up to the calves. V. was just standing on the stairs to the font while we were waiting to fill the font again. And she poked her head out and waved to everyone there. Haha. She's so cute! She ended up having to kneel and then be dunked because it was so shallow.  But man, she was just beaming! We've been so blessed to have this journey with her. I don't know what we did to be blessed to be the ones to teach her. But it's been a wonderful journey. One of so much HAPPINESS!

I know this church is true. I know it's Christ's church. God's love for His children is so great.

I love you all!

Sister Sarlls


Monday, January 18, 2016

I was Born Again this week!

email 18 Jan 2016

This week was just awesome! We find out tomorrow morning what will happen at transfers. So you'll have to wait till next weeks email to find out what happens. This will start my last transfer. WHAT?! It's crazy. It doesn't seem like that long ago that Sister Hadden and I were hitting up the dirt roads of Huntsville. But this week was just splendid!

Exchanges always bring miracles. I was on exchanges this week with Sister O'Connor. She is probably the cutest person in all the land! She's an awesome missionary and very bold. So we were praying about who to go visit. This is in the middle of the day too. Tuesday at 2 pm. Hardly anyone is ever home at that time. So we pick a name and go try it. No one. We probably tried around 12 people. Finally we said another prayer and PLEADED with Heavenly Father to guide is to someone. We knocked on a door and SOMEONE ANSWERED. He was telling us that he had met with missionaries before. He said he reads the Book of Mormon every day and he believes this church is true. WHAT. So we kept talking to him and Sister O'Connor invited him to be baptized this weekend. Like I said, she is BOLD. He said he would pray about it! And since then we haven't been able to find him. PLEASE PRAY THAT WE'LL FIND HIM. But really, this was a huge miracle. :) We're excited to find him again.

I've been studying in Alma lately and I've been studying the phrase "Born Again". Of course, I always think of baptism and the sacrament. The things we do to cleanse us from sin. I was reading in Alma 7:14 (link): 
"14 Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness."
I looked up the definition of "Born Again" (link) and it says "Converted to a personal faith in Christ." So we can be born again every day! Every time we feel the spirit and become a little bit more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are being born again. And the scripture in Alma tells us that that is the way we inherit the kingdom of heaven. Although it's important to be obedient, it's just as important to be converted. I'm going to try and notice when I feel "Born Again" throughout the day.

I had an amazing opportunity and experience this week. There's a training broadcast this Wednesday for all the full-time missionaries in the world. They chose 8 companionships from our mission to go to Salt Lake and record the broadcast. And Sister Law and I were one of those 8 companionships! It was an amazing experience. I was terrified, honestly. 


We were in a panel with Elder Bednar (link), Sister Oscarson (link), and Elder Clayton (link) and it was completely unscripted. They didn't know what they were going to say and we didn't know either. We just came prepared with our scriptures and the spirit. We all fasted before hand so we could be especially in tune. It was kind of pressuring! I was so scared. 


We went down there and they did our makeup for the recording. (That was pretty cool). Then I met Elder Bednar and we talked about Lubbock, Texas and he said he LOVES Lubbock! It was pretty cool to have a connection with an Apostle of the Lord (link - About the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). 

Then we all went to go sit in our spots and Elder Bednar talked to us for a little bit before recording. When he talked to us, I felt like it was the Savior talking to us. While talking, he would look into our eyes. Not just a glance but he would stay there and look into our souls. I don't know how to explain it very well. But you could feel that he was an Apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ. After that, I felt completely comfortable. All nerves were gone. 

Sister Oscarson was just so humble, fun, and personable! I really enjoyed being with her!


This whole experience was just surreal. I can't explain the Spirit that was there and the feelings I felt. But I know they were from God. I think I only made 2 comments. And I honestly don't remember what I said, haha.

Lastly, KENNEDY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!! She was so ready. Her friends basically taught her all the lessons before we even came in. It's been a fun journey with her. She has such a happy and hopeful spirit :). The baptism room was PACKED. It was standing room only. And most of the people were her friends from school. It was a beautiful day :). She was giggling while standing in the font because she was so excited and nervous. Kennedy is the best and I can't wait to see what her future holds. :)


It's been a grand week! I love you all!

Sister Sarlls 

Monday, January 11, 2016

I Have Overcome the World

email 11 Jan 2016

Hey y'all! This week was honestly the longest week of my life. I don't know what it was but I feel like it's been FOREVERRRRR. Anyways, It's been a hardworking week for sure. It's the best feeling in the world to come home and just CRASH because you've worked so hard. 

I sent a picture last week of a baptism and I forgot to tell y'all about it! So the family is a family that I taught in Syracuse. The kids really really wanted to be baptized but it was really hard to get them to church and to get the parents involved as well. Well I left the area but the sisters there kept teaching them and helping them. And then THEY FINALLY GOT BAPTIZED. I got to go to and sing at their baptism. Gosh, these kids are awesome. When the little girl got baptized she was scared to go under the water so right before she was dunked she took a HUGE gasp of air. Haha. It was the cutest thing. I love them so much. Now they're all working towards being sealed in the temple as a family. :) it was a good day.

It's tradition to serve a mission and eat exotic foods, right? Well I tried my exotic food from Utah. It was chocolate covered cinnamon bears. First of all, I've never heard of cinnamon bears. And the fact that there's chocolate over it does not sound appealing. I bit into it and it tasted like a candle! It's not even the good cinnamon like Cinnamon Toast Crunch or anything. It's like a breath mint covered in chocolate. Yeah.......if anyone offers it to you.....just beware.

I was actually given the cinnamon bears at a service project for the entire YSA (Young Single Adult) stake. (There are multiple YSA STAKES here in Utah. Crazy, right?) It was an amazing service project though. We were making sanitary kits for girls in Africa. Apparently when they're on their period they have to miss a whole week of school because they don't have anything to help it. So we made them pads that are washable and reusable! It was a pretty fun activity and I know it was very needed for our sisters in Africa. (See this link for more information on how you can help this project. - Ed.)

In this month's ensign I read an article titled "Revealed Realities of Mortality" (link). There was one specific line that stuck out to me:
"To make our time here meaningful, we must live and experience the God-ordained purposes of mortality--fully, completely, and wholeheartedly--rather than becoming distracted by things that are interesting, comfortable, and convenient."
It reminded me of Facebook. A lot has changed since the last time we were on there. I used to go on to see what people's lives were like. Now we go on only to see videos of sped up recipes, life hacks, and other random news. Everything I see on Facebook can be put in the categories of interesting, comfortable, and convenient. Of course there are the exceptions! And Heavenly Father wants us to be on Facebook. He doesn't want us to ignore Facebook, but to use it and mold it into a place where people can uplift one another. And this goes for all social media. Social media is part of God's plan. :) Sometimes I really worry about the direction the world is going. But then I think, it's fine! Because we've been given a promise.
"33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

I've been studying a lot about Lehi's dream (link) lately. I always imagine the iron rod as just a stroll in the park haha like walking down the stairs and holding onto the railing. But life isn't like that so I thought of being on a hike. A steep hike where your life relies on if you're holding on to the rod or not. So I was imagining myself hiking and then the mist of darkness coming over me. I know that my first instinct would be to just stop and stay there and not move out of fear of falling. The mist of darkness represents temptation and I think sometimes it's more of a temptation to stand at a halt and to not progress than it is to drift off into sin. Sometimes it's a temptation to be stagnant or to be content with where we are. But when we keep going, through anything that comes our way, we'll reach the ultimate goal of the love of God. :)

This last week we had a zone conference and Sister Jaggi had us sing the primary song "He Sent His Son". It was really cool because we split up into groups and one group sang as the "investigator" and the other group as the "missionaries". So whenever the lyrics were a question, the investigators sang. And whenever it was an answer, the missionaries sang. It was really cool and I felt the spirit just flood the room completely. I had chill bumps all over. I love being a missionary so much. I love being able to testify every single day. It just makes my heart feel like it's going to burst open!

He Sent His Son 
How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness.
How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.
How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.
What does he ask? Live like his Son.
Words: Mabel Jones Gabbott,1910-2004
Music: Michael Finlinson Moody, b. 1941
(c) 1982 by Mabel Jones Gabbott and Michael Finlinson Moody. Arr. (c) 1989 IRI. 

I love this work. :)

Sister Sarlls

Monday, January 4, 2016

Goodbye Mistakes, Hello Progression

email 04 Jan 2016

This week was a week of MIRACLES!!!!! Hot dog! First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR! President Jaggi told us to make some simple goals, called SIMPS. It stands for Spiritual, Intellectual, Musical, Physical, and Social. Each year I tend to make way too many goals that make me feel pretty inadequate. I love this idea of just setting 5. The 5 categories that influence our happiness in life the most. Have y'all seen that Mormon message called "Look Not Behind Thee?" Well, for one, it's hilarious. But also I love the message it gives! It talks about the story of Lot's wife and how she looked behind her and was turned into a pillar of salt. One of the quotes I love in the video is when a man says "She didn't even give it any consideration that her future could be better than her past." Heavenly Father wants us to look forward to what's ahead! Sometimes our future may not seem better. But it's the future that God has for us. So it's the future that we need. I'm ready to see what this year has in store for me!

New Year's: Look Not Behind Thee

On New Year's Eve we aren't allowed to go out so we got together with our district and had a games night. We played all sorts of things like Spot It, spoons, Pit, and the best was Pie Face! It's a game where you put whipped cream on a plastic hand and you spin to see how many times you twist the lever the hand is on and you never know when the hand will launch the cream in your face! It's so nerve racking! We all got whipped cream all over our faces and then this one Elder had the smart idea to open his mouth! So instead of getting it all over his face, it just popped right in!

Also on New Year's Eve we couldn't find a lot of people at home for lessons. So we did service! I GOT TO SHOVEL MY FIRST DRIVEWAY! I remember offering to shovel for someone in my first area and Sister Hadden looking at me and saying "Uh, you don't know what you're volunteering for." Haha. I finally understand now! It was a lot of work. But it was actually really fun. As our payment, the lady there allowed me to knock down her giant icicle on her house. :) It was a good day.

So we were going to visit the stake executive secretary and we knocked on the door and a guy comes up and says, "Sorry guys. Tim isn't home. He cut his cornea and he's asleep now. You'll have to come by later." It was clearly the wrong house and we were so confused. We looked at each other and went, "Who the heck is Tim?" We just started laughing and kind of brushed it off. Then we got home and started planning. As we were looking through some names in our area book, we found a guy named Tim. He had been taught by missionaries 2 years ago. We felt at that moment that other than an odd and funny experience to write home about, there was another reason why we had knocked on that door. We still haven't found Tim home, yet. But we are looking forward with faith that we will. :)

Two cute kids at their baptism
This past week we found 2 people who want to be baptized! I'll only share the story of one this week. Her name is Virginia. She's in her 70's and her husbands health is speedily declining. With that trial in her life, she realized the importance of having an eternal family. So she called up the missionaries and said, "I want to be baptized!" And we're like, "WE CAN HELP WITH THAT!" Seriously Virginia's faith is amazing. It's amazing to see her journey. She doesn't understand the what and why of everything we teach. But she keeps moving forward and progressing because she can see the eternal perspective. So on Sunday we went to church with her and she shared with us a miracle that she and her husband had. So Saturday night they thought they were going to lose him. He wasn't able to swallow anymore and so all the water was going into his lungs. She said to her son, "I don't think I can go to church. I can't leave him." Well she prayed and prayed she would be able to come to church. When she woke up the next morning her husband was perfectly fine. She said he was more himself and that she could talk to him more than she's been able to in years. She took this as a sign that Heavenly Father really really wanted her to go to church.

One of my favorite things about my mission is helping others come closer to Christ! And of course, singing about it all day and all night.
(Sister Sarlls and Sister Law sing about Baptism at this link.)

We're so excited to see all of the people we love progress in the gospel and come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ!

I'm doing great and love every minute of being a servant for the Lord.

Love, Sister Sarlls