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. :)

Love,
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.


video



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