Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Last week of June

Dear Family,
I had a really great week.  I feel like I've known these people in Hot Springs for my whole life instead of just a few months.  They have really gone by fast.  It's crazy to hear about how so many of my friends and family are getting home from missions and getting married and having babies.  Change is good..I guess.  Anyone who knows me also knows that what I just said is a complete lie. I hate change.  I really hope I don't get transfered, but there's a real possibility.  Transfers are in 2 weeks.  I have grown very close to my companion and the people I serve.  So many good things are happening!  I don't want to leave..It's like never watching the end of a TV series like Lost.  Well actually I have never finished that either..bad example.  But seriously, there are so many baptisms in the works and so many people I love.  It is humbling to hear our investigators say that they don't want me and Sister Gladden to leave because they have grown to love us too. 
Nancy Baldwin got baptized on Thursday. WOO!!  This is so good.  Her baptism was really wonderful.  A few other sister missionaries from other areas who found Nancy in the first place were able to come.  She had many people from the ward there to love and support her.  I am grateful for the love and compassion that others have.  The Samoan family that fellowshipped Nancy, the Kennach family, was also there.  Brother Kennach baptized her and also gave a talk and did the special musical number.  A few days ago he asked me, "What is that song that your Dad always sings?"  My face lit up as I said, "Hymn 307 In Our Lovely Deseret."  They sang it at the baptism!  Just for me and my daddy!  I was so happy.  I grinned the whole time as I thought of Dad singing that at family night.  There was a special spirit there. 
Our dear Bro. Bledsoe will get baptized in August.  I think the whole world is going to be there probably.  He's the talk of the town.  Everyone is so excited about how it's finally happening.  The best part is the change we've seen in him. He reads the Book of Mormon every day, prays, attends church, and has been transforming.  Really.  He has become such a dear friend to us.  The Glenwood branch is so small, but so strong.  You can feel it when you walk in the building. Their testimonies are rock solid.  Testimony is a funny thing..sometimes it's hard to know that you have one and what it is.  Maybe it's just me, but I've had a hard time with that.  As I've contemplated grandpa Wilde's passing, I just feel that he is okay. I know that because we have a Father in Heaven who blessed us with families on earth, he wants us to keep our families after we die.  If there was not a plan or way for us to accomplish this, why are we living?  Why do we live if not to bless, serve and love those around us?  If we understand love, we understand God and the gospel.  It's simple.
We met two girls through one of our investigators Valerie.  They are in their 20's and were a blessing to me because they remind me of my wonderful friends back home.  I could feel of their purity and love for God as I spent time with them.  You really can feel so many things about people when you talk and spend time with them.  Again, I felt that feeling that I had known them my whole life.  Life is cool because you get the opportunity to meet people like this and learn from them.  You also meet many unpleasant and rude people too, but that's okay.  These girls, Melissa and Laura, used to be park rangers in Hot Springs. They were tour guides for one of the bath houses.  They took us on a tour of it and told us cool historical facts.  We saw this old school gym in the 3rd floor. It used to be the biggest gym in the U.S.  Anyway, we had a really good time.
There's lots more to tell you, but I'm running out of time.  I hope you all are doing well.  I pray for you daily.  
love sister annalisa wilde 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dear Everybody,

Everything goes by fast.  We get up, run all over the place all day while I make a bunch of calls and plan appointments. It seems like there is always about a thousand things on my mind.  I'm constantly thinking, "now who am I forgetting?  There is somebody else we need to see..." However, when we go into appointments, if we are doing it right (meaning we have the spirit with us), it all stops and we listen to the person we are visiting.  Quite a few times this past week we have had conversations with investigators that say "I LOVE it when you come to visit me.  You don't know how much it means".  This makes me want to work even harder to bring kindness and love and the joy of the gospel to them.  Then we go to bed, and five minutes later, it is 6:30 again.  Then we do it all over. :) 
We played our weekly dominoes game on Saturday with Charlie and 90 yr old Margaret.  It seems like everybody knows about our dominoes thing!  Seriously, word gets around.  As we played at the table near the lobby of the nursing home, people passed by and commented to us about how nice it was to see us spending time playing a game with Margaret.  I got the feeling that it is a rare occurance. These elderly people don't get visited much.  As we played, we talked with Charlie.  He talked about how we literally make people's week by our visits.  It's all Margaret talks about.  He said that so much of our world, even the religion part is corrupt.  Too many preachers do it only for the money and don't practice what they preach.  He saw how we give up 18 months to visit the sick and the people who need help and was truly impressed.  He said, "you girls give me hope for this world.  You restore my faith in faith."  Although he doesn't believe in God, he sees that latter day saints care for the people around them and really try to be like the Savior.  This was a precious experience.     
Nancy and Craig Baldwin are two investigators that we have been teaching since May.  I have never taught anyone who had more of a desire to be baptized than Nancy.  Her baptism is this Thursday-and I really think she's gonna make it with the word of wisdom.  She hasn't smoked in 3 days.  This is a big deal.  I never really knew how big of a deal it was, but now so many that we teach struggle with this addiction.  Don't ever smoke! It's nasty.  Me and Sister Gladden like to joke that if we don't come home smelling like cigarette smoke then we haven't done our job. hah.  Anyway, back to Nancy.  A sweet Samoan family in the ward, the Kennach family, have fellowshipped the Baldwins and are taking part in the baptism. Brother Kennach is performing the baptism.  I told them about how my daddy served his mission in Samoa and they got super excited.  I was then part of the family. :)  We talked all about lava lavas and everything I knew about Samoa (which isn't very much).  I told them about how my dad always sings "In Our Lovely Deseret" in Samoan during family night.  I tried to get them to sing it for me-they sang a line or two and then stopped, but that was good enough for me.  They are singing the special musical number at Nancy's baptism in Samoan.  I will be thinking of you Dad!  How sweet is that?! 
Yesterday I got the opportunity to play the piano in sacrament meeting for Father's Day. I was asked to play O My Father.  Thank you so much Mom for sending me those arrangements-and don't be mad at me please-but I decided to just make up my own arrangement.  It turned out very well and I loved doing it.  My companion was very sweet and prayed for me that I would let my love of the Savior guide my playing and that that would be what would touch the hearts of those in the congregation.  Isn't that the reason we should do things?  That is why we are given talents in the first place-to bring others unto Christ.  It always works out so much better this way anyway.  I was able to convey that feeling as I played and many kind people expressed their appreciation afterwards. The whole thing is, it's not about us. It's about the Savior.  Lots of time when I'm upset/annoyed/irritated about something it's because I'm prideful and have forgotten to look unto the Savior in every thought.  Doubt not, fear not.  Anyway, I really love the Hot Springs ward.  It will be hard to leave it whenever I have to.
The other night we got to teach Dennis and his grandparents.  Do you remember the story about Dennis?  We had taught him and his little 5 yr old friend Olivia some primary songs a few weeks ago.  This night, Olivia's parents were there and we all sang the primary songs we had learned together.  It brought the sweetest spirit to see these children singing about choosing the right.  Olivia's parents could feel the light and truth that came when she sang that song.  I know that choosing the right-choosing to follow Christ will bring us happiness in our lives.
I love you more than sleep,
love sister anna

Friday, June 8, 2012

First Week of June

Hey All,
I'll start with the awesome things.  We live with awesome people.  They traded out the old washer and dryer that we had upstairs in our apartment/part of the house for a newer one. That was pretty cool.  The other ones were way old, and the dryer was super noisy.  When we got our newer ones, we found out the washer is super noisy.  So we traded out a loud dryer for a loud washer.  Doesn't bother me, it's just funny.  Also, there are waay too many raccoons around this place.  Every time they come up in conversation, I don't fail to mention my severe dislike of them. They are super creepy, nobody can deny that.  We see quite a few dead animals on the side of the road.  I'm sure you really wanted to know that.haha.  Also, turtles come out this time of year and start crossing the roads and highways. Not safe.  Sister Burnett was taking us to Glenwood church the other week, and pulled over on the highway so that she could pick up a turtle turned upside down and put him back where he was safe. She is such a sweet woman.  I will never love animals as much as she does.
Yesterday was an interesting day.  My mission president drove from at least an hour away to come and personally tell me the news about grandpa.  I very much appreciated this, and gained a lot of comfort and counsel from my conversation with him.  He let me call Dad too, so I definitely scored yesterday.  I cried a lot, but then when we had an appointment last night, I was able to pull it together very convincingly, if I do say so myself.  I'm doing pretty good- and I know it's because of your prayers in my behalf.  Also the priesthood blessing I received.  I feel like y'all are really taking care of me, so thank you.
Church yesterday was bomb!  We got Tiffany and her daughter Cheyenna to come-for their first time!  Our lessons with her have been going extremely well, and she had told us that she was searching for an "energy for God" that she couldnt' find at any of the other churches she went to.  It was testimony meeting yesterday, and all the testimonies were direct. I was praying for that.  They all testified of the Savior and His reality.  Something I thought about a lot yesterday was the Savior.  President told me that the more I increase my gratitude for who the Savior is and what He did for me, the more I will love Him and realize that I have nothing without Him.  And as I thought about it last night, I realized that the very relationships I hold dear are upheld because of the Savior.  My family is the most important thing I have on this earth- and the reason we are close in love is because of the doctrine of Christ. That is the plan to success.  Because we have built our foundation on Him, we understand how to solve problems. It is because of His atonement that we have hope for ourselves, for without an atonement, all mankind would be lost.  Without Christ, there would be no purpose to life.  That is why what President Petersen testified to me yesterday was so important-that there is a Christ. He is real, and He is the way to our peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come.  President Petersen is such a good man, I wish you could meet him.  Something I know I can always hold on to is that the Book of Mormon is true.  It really is.  I'm so grateful for it.
I am kind of weary about this being post all over the internet, cause I kinda poured out my soul just barely. :) Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with you all, and with Grandpa.  What an amazing example and legacy he left us.  I love you all.
love sister annalisa wilde