Monday, March 26, 2012

lots of rain, lots of sun, and lots of pies

Dearest Family,
Every dinner appointment I go to, they feed me pies.  I've had cherry pie, apple pie, banana cream pie, and blueberry pie.  I didn't used to like pie very much, but now I do.  For some reason, I am always super hungry too.  I think it's the humidity.
We had another excellent week.  The highlight was probably when Sister Gladden and I had the opportunity to go to Glenwood for two days.  Glenwood is part of our area and is one hour away from Hot Springs.  It is very different from Hot Springs.  It is country.  Very small town.  The accent gets thicker and the people get nicer.  I saw some of the most beautiful scenery of my life while I was there.  Long pastures and a house nestled in the woods here and there.  We did lots of driving.  I was humbled by the selfless service of the members in the Glenwood branch.  Sister Burnette, bless her heart, drove us around the entire time!  (By the way, everyone here always says 'bless their heart', and things such as y'all and reckon, and they're always fixin' to do somethin).  I love their southern accent.  The funny thing about Glenwood is how many churches there are!  Left and right.  One of the members told me it has the highest number of churches in one concentrated area in the whole U.S. Did I say that right?  Well, you know what I mean.  You've got baptist, jehovah's witnesses, Nazerene, 7th day Adventist, Pentacostal...tons.  There hasn't been much missionary work done there for a long time.  However, when we were there over the weekend, we got some amazing work done.  There are these 3 ladies in the branch whose husbands have not joined the church yet.  Missionaries have been working with, or trying to work with them for years, but nothing has happened.  We got the chance to meet with all 3 of them this weekend.  We had amazing spirit filled lessons- testifying of the Savior and His atonement, and how being baptized is the only way to be able to access that atonement.  They have made huge progress.  I can feel their wives' prayers and faith that the Spirit will touch their hearts and help them want to change.  We had a great weekend. 
Here is a list of all the animals I saw:  Dogs, cats, birds, horses, cows, lizards, deer, bugs, CAMELS, ZEBRAS.  Seriously.  I took pictures with them, it was sweet.
Hey, here's something cool.  Dad told me that the Roundy's grandparents served in Glenwood.  I knew they served in the same mission as me, but I didn't know they had been in Glenwood.  I asked some of the members about them, and they remembered them!  I was really excited.  One of them, Madge Bledsoe, even had some pictures of them which she showed me.  I felt very happy that we got to know the same people.  What good people the Roundys are.
We have been praying and fasting for a family to teach, and I think we have got one.  Bishop got a call from a lady who needed help with some things.  She said she didn't know why she chose to call the number that she did.  He said, "It's because the spirit prompted you to".  Haha.  He just tells it like it is.  She came to sacrament meeting yesterday, and we are going to meet with her and her family at the Bishop's on Tuesday night.  I feel that the Lord has prepared her to receive the gospel.  I also feel that as I see these things happen, I realize that the Lord wants me to learn of Him just as much as I want them to learn of Him.  Alma 5:62.  ( I wouldn't be a missionary if I didn't throw in a couple scripture references.:) ) 
Life is good.  I hope you are all doing well.  Thank you for your prayers.  I can feel them.  I love you dearly.
Love Sister ANNALISA Wilde
P.S.  Sometimes I miss my first name.  I try to use it as much as I can.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Livin the Life in Hot Springs

To my wonderful family and friends:

First of all, here's a shout out to Mom and Michelle.  Happy
Birthday!! I thought of you both when it was your birthday, and wished
I could give you a hug.  I made sure to tell people that I saw that it
was your birthdays. haha.

We have had an excellent week in Hot Springs!  We've seen mighty
miracles.  Sister Gladden is the best companion I could ask for.  She
has only been out for 5 months, but has amazing leadership skills and
is training me very well.  I learn a lot from her as we teach our
investigators.  She has a way of being their friend while teaching the
gospel, and that's how I want to be.  That's what the people here
need.  They are good, kind, open people. They love God and Jesus and
have a lot of faith already.  I love that about them.  We go to visit
some older ladies in the nursing home named Betty and Glenda.  Also,
we play dominos every week with an old lady named Margaret and her
friend Charlie.  Have I already told you this?  Okay, it is like the
best part of my week!  Charlie is in his 40's and used to be
Margaret's neighbor. He started visiting with her at the nursing home,
because they really do need people to visit them.  They get so lonely,
and it is sad. I hope people will visit me when I get old because
nothing sounds worse than lying around watching Halmark channel all
day.  But don't visit me if it's just a duty, I want you to only if
you love me.  Anyway, Charlie is from Germany and he is AWESOME.  I
really like him.  The real reason we play dominos is to see if Charlie
will take the lessons with us.  We are going to ask him soon.

One of the ladies named Glenda has dimensia and talks a lot.  On
Saturday, we had an especially beautiful experience with her.  We were
talking about prayer, and she told us that she prays for the
missionaries every day, especially us (the sisters). She wants her
daughter to accept the gospel back in her life so badly, and we are
going to go visit her. She asked us if someone in the nursing home
were to accept the gospel and have the desire to be baptized but
couldn't move around very well, could we get them baptized?  The
spirit felt tangible in the room because I could see and feel her
faith. Sister Gladden said to Glenda that she had actually had the
exact same thought enter her own mind right before Glenda said it.
She assured her that we would find a way for them to be baptized.  We
then asked Glenda if she would like to come with us to teach a lesson
to this other woman in the nursing home that came to our minds.  We
want to teach her and feel strongly that there are good things in

Cool story. Thursday was a rough day.  We were tired and our
appointments were falling through.  It was 8:15 at night and we had
nothing to do.  Sister Gladden said, "okay, let's go to Wal-Mart and
do some contacting!" In my mind I am thinking, "Oh NOOoooooo!".
Everyone knows that I don't even really like Wal-Mart because I can
only feel the spirit when I'm at Maceys. :) But even worse than that,
I am scared of contacting. I haven't had too much experience with it.
Sister Gladden told me that I had to do all the contacting that night
and the fear entered my body.  As we were going toward the store from
the parking lot, we saw a girl who had scrubs on so it looked like she
worked at the hospital.  Sister Gladden goes up to her and says, "Hey,
I think you helped me at the hospital one you remember me?"
The girl was like, "Umm, no..?" She was very confused.  Sister Gladden
said, "No, I just really remember how nice you were to me and
sometimes people aren't that nice at the hospital.  Don't you remember
me?"  Still, the girl was super confused.  She said, "Well I'm glad to
see you out of the hospital."  Now, keep in mind, the ENTIRE time I'm
thinking that this is real.  I was wondering how Sister Gladden could
remember that well.  Anyway, after that, Sister Gladden said, "Okay,
well have a good night" and we walked away.  She looked at me and
said, "Why didn't you say anything? I set it up perfectly for you!"
And I said, "Oh my gosh, I thought that was real!  I thought you were
going to say something!"  Hahaha.  I totally messed up.  I was kicking
myself as we were walking through the store, but knew I had to find
someone and open my mouth.  We ended up seeing this lady named Joy who
we started talking to.  She already knew we were "the sisters" and was
very kind to us.  Her in-laws are LDS but she isn't.  She said she had
recently been trying to find God in her life and get in touch with her
spirituality.  She shared an experience where she had an answer to
prayer, and then we told her that she was an answer to our prayers.
We had an amazing conversation with her about that.  I knew God had
blessed me to meet Joy.  I know she is prepared to receive the
restored gospel.  He just gave her right to us.  She told us she had
been meaning to go to Wal-Mart all day, but hadn't ever gotten around
to it until that evening something told her to go to Wal-Mart right
then.  Then she met us.  She invited us over to her home for dinner in
the coming week.  It was a huge blessing.

Side note. Absolutely everyone here has dogs.  Anyone who knows me
knows I'm not too fond of dogs. Sister Gladden laughs at me every day
because I don't know what to do around talks.  I don't know how to
talk to them, I don't know how to play with them, and I hate when they
touch me.  They are just very annoying.  One of our investigators has
two baby pitbulls.  My worst nightmare.  This is something I'm
definitely going to have to get used to. But at least everyone else
can get enjoyment out of it.

The ward members are wonderful here.  They feed us pretty much every
night. I love to go to their homes because I get a chance to get to
know them better, so that I'm not so overwhelmed at church trying to
learn everyone's names.  One sister in the ward, Sister Delong,
teaches at a first baptist preschool.  She wants to teach them a song
for a program they are doing.  She is thinking of the primary song
"Follow the Prophet".  She texted her baptist friend to see if they
believed in prophets. They kinda don't believe in them the way we do,
so she's changing the song to say, "Learn from the Prophets". hah.
Anyway, she asked me to play the piano at their program.  We're hoping
to be able to talk with her baptist friend a little bit at it.

Our mission goal is to get 7 new investigators a week.  That's one a
day.  This past week, we got 11!  We are excited.  Things are going

Love you all,

Sister Annalisa Wilde

Monday, March 12, 2012

First Week in Hot Springs Arkansas

Hey family and dear friends:

I am here in the mission field!  Hot Springs Arkansas.  President Petersen says it's the prettiest part of Arkansas.  There are a lot of trees.  It is green, not too humid yet, and has actually been raining quite a bit the past few days.  I spent a wonderful night in the mission home, with Sister Petersen's amazing cooking, and some great advice from President.  On transfer day, I said goodbye to lovely Sister Edwards and met lovely Sister Gladden from Virginia.  She is outgoing, very kind and very loving.  We get along really well.  On our way from North Little Rock to Hot Springs....haha.  Well we took a wrong turn, which cost us miles and minutes...then we got pulled over. :)  We were NOT speeding.  But the police officer seemed to think so, and he wasn't very nice about it. Oh well, we only got a warning.  I am staying with a member couple named the Griffens, who are in the Hot Springs Ward.  We are situated nicely, and I feel very at home.  Then the next day we just jumped right into the work.  Sister Gladden had set weekly goals with her last companion and by last night when we are supposed to report our goals to the district leader, we had met at least half of them and were close on all the rest of them...and that was in only 4 days!  We have been really busy and the work is going really well.  I have found myself more involved with it.  Wanting so badly for the investigator's hearts to be open because I know the gospel will bless their life.  I have met some wonderful people.  I like it because they are different than I am.  They of course have their accent, and they make fun of mine.  They are just willing to tell you their life story.  They have an easy way about them.  They don't judge me and I don't judge them.  Most of the people I've met, member and non-member, greet me with a hug when I first meet them. They call me honey and sweetie, and I just know they love me.  I've never met them before but I love them too.  I know that it is the Lord who is helping me to feel this love, and I have felt Him sustain me through Priesthood blessings and the sacrament. Yesterday I went to about 6 hours of church!  We are over the Hot
Springs ward and the Glenwood Branch, which are about an hour away from each other.  I think I met at least 100 new people yesterday. Apparantly they get a lot of missionaries from Utah because when I told them where I was from they'd say, "Oh I might have guessed.."  So I hope that's a good thing...?  Anyway it was ward/branch conference yesterday.  So I got out of speaking, and instead got to hear the bishops and the stake president.  Good men.  Humble men.  In Glenwood branch, their goal was to each bring one non member friend so they could fill their small chapel.  It was amazing to see, because they did!  They are getting excited about missionary work.  Most of them are older people, but even they took on the challenge.  I could feel the love they had for each other and the gospel, however small their branch might be.  I think there was a feeling there that wards I've been to in Utah kind of miss out on, being bigger and everything. They are all such good friends, and really hold to each other because the church is WAY smaller here.  Anyway, I was glad to be a part of it.  After church, Sister Hawthorne took us to her home because her husband Howard is one of our investigators.  He's been going to church for 12 years but never has been baptized.  He is dear friends with Brother Brumwell, and they have all been trying for years to help him to come to Christ by receiving the restored gospel. (that's my purpose too).  We went together and talked with him about joy, and where that truly comes from.  We talked about 2 Nephi 2.  Joy means becoming like God.  We do this through gaining a body, having faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, becoming baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost.  We testified to him the power of the priesthood, that it is truly Christ's authority here on earth.  I told of the men in my family and my dear friends who I have seen transform into men of God through the
gospel of Jesus Christ.  I became grateful in a new way for these examples in my life because I was able to tell someone else the blessings I've experienced through that.  The spirit was there to testify, and even though Howard is a stubborn old man, I KNEW he felt it.  He was getting tears in his eyes.  Sister Gladden is an amazing teacher. I'm glad I get to learn from her. And I have much to learn. But she always drives it home Then Brother Brumwell said, "Howard, let me baptize you by the proper priesthood authority. You need to be baptized and the Lord's not gonna let me leave until you are".  He wanted to say yes, I just know it.   But, he said something like "Not right now, but if I were to be baptized, you'd be the one to do it". I know he will come around.  He loves his wife, Brother Brumwell, and can feel that God loves him.  It was an awesome experience. One more.  On Saturday night, it was about 8:30 pm, we had a prompting to visit a woman named Brenda. She is a 7th day adventist, and a very sweet woman. Sister Gladden taught her a few times prior and she was gaining a testimony.  We came in the door, and almost immediately, Brenda began to cry. She was very overwhelmed with the things in her life. She has got a lot going on.  We told her we were there to listen and testified of the prompting we got to come visit her.  She looked up to the sky and thanked Heavenly Father for sending "his angels" to her  that night.  She said that just when she felt like she couldn't handle everything He sent us to help her.  We testified of God's love and that she could receive that same peace and comfort through reading the Book of Mormon.  She kept saying, "God, you are awesome."  I thought of the hymn "How Great Thou Art", and we sang it to her before we left.  She cried through the whole thing.  It was very special.  Sister Gladden and I walked out so stoked!  She's gonna get baptized, Howard's gonna get baptized, and tons more people. :)  Many mighty miracles can happen.  I like the city we live in.  I can always tell by the way I feel when we are driving on the roads. I get distinct feelings about places when we drive.  Some places I hate driving in so I don't really like the place very much.  But I like driving here.  It is good. Well.  I love you all.  Hope you're doing well.  I really do love you, and I tell people about it every day! Go do something good for someone because they need it!  Everybody does.
        Sister Annalisa Wilde

Friday, March 9, 2012

She Made It to Little Rock!

Sis. Wilde is now in Little Rock! Her companion/trainer is Sis. Gladden, and her mission president is Pres. Peterson (pictured above with his wife). Here is her address so you can write/send pictures to her.

Sister Annalisa Wilde
108 Maplewood Court
Hot Spring, AR

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

She's in Arkansas!

Sis. Wilde is now in Arkansas! You can write to her at this address: 
Sister Annalisa Wilde
Arkansas Little Rock Mission
905 Kierre Dr.
North Little Rock, AR 72116

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Final Week in the MTC

Hey everyone!
It has been another whole week here.  It goes by fast and slow at the same time.  There's tons to tell you...  I am doing well though.  Much better than I was last week.  I cried like half as much as before.  Oh!  THANK YOU all soo much for your letters and packages and love and prayers.  I appreciate it so much.  It lifts me so much when I get dear elders from my family at the end of the day.  My district teases me because of how much my family loves me cause I get packages with treatsies in them all the time.  But I always share.  It has been wonderful, I can't thank you enough.  I am so grateful to have a family that loves me.
  Let's start with my companion.  Sister Edwards.  From Pleasant Grove.  She is a beautiful girl.  She and I are different, but in good ways.  Kinda like Mom and Dad.  Their strengths and weaknesses balance each other out.  When we teach lessons, we are really good at transitioning from one person to the other.  We save each other when one of us doesn't know the answer to a question the investigator asks.  We have had some powerful experiences in lessons.  Our teachers always tell us to teach people, not lessons.  We have to study as well as we can to seek revelation for our investigators-what they need, so we can teach doctrine that would meet their needs.  I see so many correlations between missionary work and everything in life.  I am truly learning to be more like Christ, because He knows our needs and can personally help us to meet those needs.  Although, He is a master and I am just attempting.  But It is very comforting to know that God is on my side.  The longer I am here, the more I realize that God loves His missionaries and has promised us so many blessings if we are diligent in the work.  He will give me what to say in the hour I need it if I will do my best in every aspect of the work.  Last P day I got the opportunity to go to the temple.  It was the best, most powerful experience I've had in the temple ever in my life.  I felt so much peace when I was there, which was very needed in my heart.  I walked out feeling so grateful for my blessings, and as I walked out the doors, I looked straight ahead of me to the mountains to the west and Utah was breath taking. Honestly one of the most beautiful things I've seen for a long time.  It gave me this unique joy to see the beauty of the earth..I was so grateful to God for creating it.  I've noticed that when you try so so hard to be grateful, (sometimes its pretty hard), but you start to see more things to be grateful for.  It was a chilly night..but just chilly enough to be super refreshing.  I already like the weather to be cold, as you all know, so my companion and other sisters we were with thought I was kinda weird for talking about how I was having a great time being cold.  They've noticed that I laugh at things that no one else does...but that's because it's really funny.  For example.  We get these beautiful little cards to swipe every time we need to enter a door.  Otherwise, it stays locked.  They are the same cards we swipe to eat meals, and the BEST part is that you can use it to buy stuff at the bookstore.  I am enchanted every time I walk in there because I feel like everything is free!  I then begin to want everything in there...I just want to buy it so bad and I know all I have to do is swipe this little blue card.  This sounds terrible.  Anyway, I bought a notebook for letter writing today, and then went back later to get a journal and tick tacs.  Did I need them?  Well sorta, but I mostly just wanted it so bad.  I was commenting to Sister Madril that I was such a greedy girl, and right then, I turned and knocked this whole shelf of tic tacs over.  Then I was laughing hysterically as I picked them up and quickly exited.  When I told the story later to my district, it was still hilarious!  But none of them really laughed.. :)
      Last night was probably the best night of my whole life!  Next to the Peter Breinholt concert night, and the night we saw the King Singers with the Tabernacle choir.  We had our weekly devotional with all the misssionaries.  I was participating in the MTC choir which has been fun, and Mr. Mendenhall plays the organ on Tuesdays!  He wasn't there last week, but he was this  week so I went up and had a wonderful conversation with him.  I told Sis. Madril that he had changed my life and how grateful I was for that man.  and THEN...Elder Holland walks through the door.  I was stoked.  I love him so much.  Everyone was so excited and sung extra loud for the opening song.  We stood when he came in and he blew us a kiss.  It was a phenominal devotional.  He expressed his deep love for us and that we as missionaries are the most prayed for in the whole church except for the prophet.  He told us that we cannot let anyone down.  That he and the prophet expect so much of us and they do not apologize for that.  We have the greatest opportunity to participate in the salvation of a human soul, which is the greatest work in the universe.  It's what God does every day.  It was a moving talk.  He encouraged us to be more deeply converted to the book of mormon.  I could go on and on...Anyway, the spirit filled my heart and filled the whole room.  You could almost touch the motivation that was in every missionary's mind and heart as we left.  Then, I got to practice with Sister Amber Zibetti, her two companions and Sister Kartchner.  We are preparing to audition to perform in one of the sunday meetings.  We are doing that version of Come thou Fount that we did for my farewell.  I'm playing, Sis Zibetti and Kartchner are singing, and the other two sisters are signing it. (they are called on ASL missions).  It has been such a wonderful opportunity to be able to do this..I have been touched again with the power of music to get in touch with the Lord's spirit.  It is now even deeper in me.  I hope they pick us because it is sounding awesome! 
I'm having a lot of uplifting experiences.  I pray for you all.  I love you all.  God loves you all.
Love, sister wilde