Monday, October 29, 2012

My Week Rocked!!

My Dear Family,
My week rocked.  It was walk week again, but I've come to realize that I'm pretty grateful for the times we have to walk.  It forces us to be more bold and talk with everyone.  Plus I need the exercise.  The problem is, I don't know if it was the weather or that our week was a little more stressful, but I got sick.  Not too bad though, just a cold.  Which isn't nearly bad enough to stay home.  Staying home is the worst thing ever.  Sooo boring.  Plus then you aren't working.  You only get real joy and happiness after you've worked for something.  Listen to this.  We were walking a lot one day, and passed by a Jiffy Lube with people in front waving at cars trying to get them to see the sale they were having.  I started talking to this lady about how we like to wave at cars too.  It's funny to look at the reactions people give you.  If they're cool they will wave back.  She was super nice.  I told her we were missionaries for our church.  Turns out she's dating a member who lives in New Mexico!  We asked her if she wanted to know more and she gave us her phone number.  Stuff like that is cool. 
There are so many Romney signs in front of peoples' yards.  I know I'm not supposed to say anything about politics, but I'm just stating facts.  We count the Obama signs we see far I think we've seen 5.  But it is true that many more people are finding out about the church because of Romney and their minds are becoming more open.  Have I told you about Bellvue Baptist Church?  Well its the BIGGEST church I've ever seen.  I don't think as big as the conference center, but what I like about the conference center is that a lot of it is built below the ground so it doesn't look huge.  Anyway, this baptist church is found in Bartlett and let's just say that they don't think too highly of mormons.  I actually had a nightmare about it the other night.  We were teaching an investigator, and then these people came barging in her door with name tags just like ours except it said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Bellvue Baptist".  I ran screaming from the house. haha.  Well back to my story.  Our conversations with people who go to that church don't ever go too far.  I am not putting their church down.  They have a very nice facility.  And they are wonderful people.  But we tracted into a guy who is a security guard at that church and he actually listened intently as we told him what the Book of Mormon is.  He stopped us in the middle and said, "Wait, isn't Romney a mormon?"  We said yes, and he listened even more intently.  Pretty cool.  Well President says the flood gates are opening.  This is a direct quote "Elders and Sisters, it's going to start raining.  Raining converts!" Our mission currently has 18 sisters and within six months will grow to 34.  Things are changing pretty dramatically I think.
THIS IS SO AWESOME.  Guess what happened.  We walked to the church to wait for our ride once last week.  Random time, random day.  We were waiting outside when a man pulled up, got out of his car, and came to talk with us.  When he found out I was from provo he asked if I went to provo high.  I said yes.  He said, "Did you go to Dixon?"  I said yes.  "Did you know a Mrs. Tippetts?"  "How could I forget my seventh grade science teacher?!"  I said.  "Well Mrs. Tippetts is my wife".  What the!  I expected him to say that she was his cousin or sister in law or something.  But his wife!  haha.  I was really surprised but it made me really happy.  He served in my exact same mission 30 years ago.  He came on business and stopped to do a session at the temple before he went home.  What a wonderful little thing.  It totally didn't even have to happen but I think Heavenly Father made it happen because He likes to be cool like that.
We had dinner with this great member family who remind me of Jeremy and Chelle.  He even looks like Jeremy I think.  As I talked with the wife, she told me about how her maiden name is Hale.  Come to find out that it is her family that owns the Hale Center Theater in Utah!  Luckies.  Isn't that cool?
We had 2 Halloween parties this week.  One for first ward, one for second.  They were a lot of fun.  On Friday I dressed like Sis B and Sis B dressed like me.  She decided to cut her bangs like mine...but cut them a little short.  She said, "great, now I look like a stupid little dutch boy".  She really didn't, but there was no convincing her.  She walked around all day trying to imitate me.  Here is her best.  Now imagine this in a very high voice.  "Everything is WONDERFUL!  I love everyone!!!!  If we could just have more love in our hearts, I think that more people would get baptized!!!".  I walked around all day trying to imitate her by saying "If these people don't get out of my way I'm going to punch them in the throat".  haha!  We had a good time.  The second night, we went to Donna's house right before the party.  She found out I didn't have anything to dress up as since Sis B was going in her power rangers t-shirt.  So she went right to work.  She ratted my hair and put it in an old lady bun and gave me glasses and a black shall and high heels and I went as a snooty old librarian.  It was very convincing, seeing as a ward member told me that when she first saw me she thought "who is that old lady?  I've never seen her before". hahahaha.  Score.
We had 2 primary programs this week.  Best sunday of the whole year.  I remember Mom telling me to tone it down in church when we watched the primary program because I was laughing too loud.  It's not my fault that they are very entertaining.  I was not disappointed this year.  It was the best!  Honestly though, I felt the spirit as they sang.  I know it's important to try to be like Jesus and choose the right.  One of the primary programs blew me out of the water because they sang every verse of every song.  They sang "I am a Child of God"  complete with the descant on the third verse (which people don't normally do).  Then they did a verse in Japanese!  And THEN they did the fourth verse, that people don't even really know about.  I was impressed.  They sang every verse of Follow the Prophet.  Most of the verses were sung as duets or solos by the children.  The best part was at the end when they sang Choose the Right, but the pianist did a little arrangement of it, and on the third verse the congregation joined in.  It wasn't one of the cheesy kind of endings when the organ gets way too loud and the chorister is too enthusiastic and you almost wish you would have left before they did that song.  It was just good because you could still hear the children singing and the spirit was there and you could focus on the words.  "Choose the right, there is peace in righteous doing. Choose the right, there's safety for the soul".  I knew that those children knew why it is important to choose the right, and they strive to do it.  When we choose the right, we receive the confirmation from the Holy Ghost that we are growing into the people God wants us to be.  Why wouldn't you want to do that?  He will sustain you when you do.  I know that's true because I have seen it.  I know God loves His children, so He provides safety for our souls through His son and His gospel.  And the Book of Mormon. (remember that talk by elder Holland?)
THEN last night we had a baptism!  It was kind of was Stephanie's baptism.  I was very happy to see her get baptized because she has been working for this for a very long time.  She has gone through trials and tribulations.  I have never seen so much support from a ward for a baptism.  There must have been 30 people there to support her.  They really cared about the preparation and making sure there was someone from the Relief Society presidency to welcome her...our ward mission leader is the best I've ever seen.  He made up really nice programs and made refreshments.  It's nice to have people who care about the work we're doing and help us.  So be member missionaries!  All of you!  It's important!  Did you know that you have the best thing in the whole world?  The restored gospel is what everyone needs.  It is the only way to peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. 
I love you all,
Sister Annalisa Wilde

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween is near

Dear Family,
The weather is so nice here in my favorite month of October.  I am excited about Halloween.  I'm getting into the spirit by sharing my favorite Halloween songs "Halloween Cat" and "Boo boo boo boo, I'm a ghost to scare you", but only with the people who will appreciate the treasures that those songs really are. :)    I think me and Sis Bridgewater are going to dress up like Nephites and Lamanites.  I'm not sure how much of a distinction we'll be able to make though, because a lot of people we meet think we're actual sisters.  This makes Sis B sort of mad...I'm not sure why, because we are opposite in literally every other way.  I continue to be amazed at the crazy stories she tells me, and she always has more.  Last night she was telling me about how she was a cage fighter in high school.  A cage fighter.  She learned to fight and defend herself in elementary school, while I was probably playing piano or something.  The contrast is hilarious.
Well, we had to go to the doctor this last week for Sis B and while I was waiting, I decided to see if I could name all 50 states.  I had actually been working on it for a few weeks, but I was missing one.  Just one, and neither of us could figure it out.  A few days later, we were at an investigator's house and asked them to look up which state we were missing.  It was Wyoming!  Sorry Mom and Dad, I don't know how I forgot that one.  Plus that's where President is from too. Whoops.  I could remember Vermont but not Wyoming.  Anyway, that doesn't really have anything to do with missionary work. 
I got to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday.  It went well!  The topic was Recognizing the Spirit.  I spoke about how we can better receive and recognize the Spirit when we pray in faith.  This is really important.  We learn in D&C 42:14 that if we don't pray with faith, we cannot receive the spirit and can't teach.  When we do this more frequently and sincerely, we can begin to develop Christlike attributes like humility.  This helps us overcome the natural man (Mosiah 3:19) and allows the spirit to work with us.  We begin to desire the welfare of others above our own.  I talked about how few people understand this principle better than mothers do.  I shared how touched I was to find out from Mom that I was remembered in every prayer offered in my family, and that it wasn't until then that I realized that my mom and dad hadn't just been praying for me every day of my mission, but every day of my whole life.  The spirit witnessed to me that those prayers were heard by our Heavenly Father.  What good we can do when we pray for others!  When we pray in faith, our desires begin to change, and we can better understand God's love for his children.  We will have the desire to respond to the Savior's call to serve our brothers and sisters, and we will do it becasue we love Him.
Last week we had a zone conference.  Somehow one of the APs found out that I sing, but what he didn't understand was that I don't sing alone.  I don't like to...I need Michelle or Sharlie or Elisa or Kynsie or Chelsea...but none of them are here.  So he asked me to sing, and I was obedient.  I ended up roping Sister Kenworthy into it (mmwhahaha) and we did a duet while I played piano. It was really fun to sing with her.  We sang "Be Thou My Vision" from that book Mom gave me.  I had a good time.
We are working with a wonderful lady named Stephanie.  She knows the Book of Mormon is true!  Do you know how cool that is-to find someone who will read the BOM, pray about it,  find out it's true, and then continue reading it?  Man, it's priceless.  The more I read it the more I think to myself "There is no way on earth Joseph Smith could have written this".  If it wasn't the word of God, then it wouldn't be the way by which we can receive revelation.  We really can receive personal revelation through it.  And every time we get a bunch of anti, it really helps me to read the Book of Mormon.  Sometimes it really hurts my feelings to hear the horrible things people tell me about my church.  But, its good because then I get the opportunity to teach them what is true about our church. 
I hope the family is well-you seem to be from what I hear.  Thank you for your continued support and prayers for me.  I really wish I could be there to watch Return to OZ with yall...but hey!  I finally found someone who actually knows what that movie is!  It's Sister Bridgewater. :)
I love you!!
love sister annalisa wilde

Monday, October 15, 2012

Missionary work is a Funny Thing!

Dear Family,
What a week.  Missionary work is a funny thing.  It goes by way slow at the same time that it goes by way fast.  I have realized over the past week though that all the bad stuff you go through is completely worth it when something wonderful happens.  Even if it's small.  One particular day last week, we were really striking out.  Alll day we would drive, knock doors, drive, knock doors, drive...and nothing.  No one was home.  We went to the home of one of our new investigators and she had pnemonia so she couldn't let us in, but even talking to her on the porch for 5 minutes was really awesome.  We sincerely thanked her for talking with us.  I was getting down this past week because we haven't been able to set any baptismal dates...well at least we had one.  That was good.  But whenever someone in the zone sets a date, they text everyone in the zone to tell them.  And we were getting texts left and right!  We really wanted to help people progress, but things weren't going too good.  Anyway, I learned something yesterday that really humbled me.  All that time I had been feeling bad for myself last week and then this is what I hear from a ward member who had us over for dinner.  He served his mission in Greece.  I was interested- I had never heard of anyone going there.  I asked him what it was like to serve there.  He talked about how Athens was pretty yucky, but then he served in a near by country, the name of which is escaping me at the moment,and it was a gorgeous place.  He said "the food was good, the people were.....well...I could count the number of progressing investigators I had on one hand."   NO WAY.  His whole mission.  He worked his hardest every day, and no one listened.  He said he didn't get invited into anyone's home until a year into his mission.  He talked of how he came to measure success as a missionary in a new way.  Instead of baptisms, he measured it by the seemingly small things like if he got to bear his testimony that day, or if he placed a Book of Mormon or  serve someone that day.  This was a lesson to me.  I'm pretty sure I'll try really hard to never complain again.  Especially because we are working with a legit family right now.  They are coming to church and reading and we have become really close with them.  They just want to be closer to God, and there isn't anything more precious than that, I think.
Do you want to hear a crazy story?  So the day we were striking out, I was praying for opportunities to talk with people.  While we were at the gas station, I saw this little old man in a hawaiin shirt and a cross necklace shuffling his feet over to pay for his gas.  I thought, "I really need to go talk to him."  When Sis B got back in the car, I said, "we need to go talk to that guy getting gas".  She said, "I don't know what to say to him".  "Well, neither do I but we have to".  So we walked up-it was the most awkwaard approach ever.  We had no idea what to say.. haha.  We were like, "hey sir, how are you today?"  Then he started talking to us like he knew us or something.  He said, "fine fine, how is everybody over there, are you keeping things under control?"  I played along and said yes...he started talking about something he needed to go do, and we gave him a passalong card and left.  Pretty awkward, but I felt better.  Anyway.  Back to our striking out day.  No one was home, blah blah...then.  It's 8:15pm and the day is still not over.  I prayed in my head that Heavenly Father would help us know where to go.  Then came the thought "Lisa Eck".  We go to Lisa's house all the time and she's never home.  But I suggested it, we went, and she was home.  As we visited with her, a knock came at the door.  She opens it, and who do I see?  That same little old man with the hawaiian shirt and cross necklace!  I was so surprised!  My mouth hung open and Sis B just laughed at me.  This man is Lisa's DAD!!!  Haha how crazy.  We saw him twice in the same day.  We are hoping to be able to teach them all.  
We have recently begun volunteering at an assisted living home.  We go in once a week and do manicures for the ladies.  They are so fun and nice to us.  One lady I was visiting with last week was telling me about her son who had died when he was 21 and how she still missed him very badly.  I told her she would see him again.  As we talked, I just looked at her and listened.  She surprised me when she said, "You know, it's just really nice to have someone to talk to.  Your mother raised a wonderful young lady."  She talked about how she loved when people would play the piano.  I told her I would play for her sometime, and asked if she had been there the week before when I was playing.  She said, "Oh yes, you played 'In the Garden'".  I had played that song.  She told me she had remembered that all week.  She began to cry.  It was touching to me because of the reason I got to learn that song.  I learned it because Brother Bledsoe requested it for his baptism.  I always think fondly of him when I hear or play it now.  I was able to share with her that I was a missionary who taught people about Jesus Christ and that we will be able to see our loved ones again.  I told her that I got to meet a very special 90 year old man who taught me that song and I played it at his baptism.  With tears in her eyes, she said, "Oh that is wonderful".  Then she reached into her pocket and handed me a little snickers bar- her winnings from bingo that day.  How precious is that!  
I hope you all have a great week, and remember to do small things to help people.  
I love you,
sister annalisa wilde 

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm going to the temple!

Dear Family,
I get to go to the temple today..actually in 30 minutes.  So sorry that this letter will be short.  Also today Sister Carnihan is giving us a tour of St. Jude hospital.  You know the famous one that Robin Williams talks about on TV?  Yeah, it's in Memphis and she works there and is giving us a tour for our P-day.  The members here are wonderful.  I love them.  I was so grateful to them yesterday when Sammy and Steve came to church again.  They were kind to them and they feel welcome.  It's so important to just do christian things.  I loved the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday-especially when President Eyring said that when we care for others that the Lord will continue to invite us to do so.  It will sometimes be inconvenient for us, but how much greater the blessings for both us and the people we serve.  Once Jeremy told me that he never regretted any of the times he has chosen to serve in the church.  I feel the same.  In sunday school yesterday we were talking about obedience and the scripture from Mosiah 2, I think it's verse 24, that says that when we obey the commandments, God immediately blesses us.  The teacher asked if anyone had an experience with that principle.  Steve raised his hand-(I was so proud!  Missionaries feel about investigators sorta how I think moms feel about their kids) and he said that he decided to start going to church the week before and when he did, he was able to sell a freezer they had been trying to get rid of and one of the members of the church offered him a job. The blessings really were immediate.  Now, obviously it doesn't always happen this way.  But we know that Heavenly Father keeps His promises.
I don't think I've ever been more excited for general conference in my life.  We are inviting everyone to it.  It's going to be great.  Also, Sister Yuen is leaving us on Wednesday.  Sad sad.  I will miss her.  I don't think my life will be complete without a Hawaiian companion.  I think I might be in Bartlett for a long time..I'm not sure.  I wish I had good stories to tell you, but I can't think of anything at the moment.  Usually I write a list throughout the week so that I don't waste any time when I'm sitting at the computer.  I didn't write one this week.  It was a normal week-exciting that Sammy and Steve are progressing. Their little girl Abbie (2 yrs) is really growing on me.  I always liked her, but yesterday I think was when I realized that I loved her.  We went to their house last night and Sammy was busy making cupcakes for Sister Yuen as a going away present.  She even had little hawaiian cupcake liners.  It was sweet.  Abbie is like a hurricane sometimes so she had been banned from helping in the kitchen.  I went in the other room to play with her.  She started dancing to music and I danced with her- and I realized what a precious little girl she is.  People don't give her enough credit cause she mostly goes around ruining things.  She really is a cute kid though.  It reminds me of Max-he's a good kid.  You just gotta be patient with him and give him a chance. :)  I miss all my nieces and nephews.  Anyway, as we were eating cupcakes, I spied a cheap guitar that looked like it was from toys r us or something.  I tuned it to the best that it would go, and then for part of our spiritual thought Sister Yuen and I sang Nearer my God to Thee while I played it.  I figured no one would really notice that the guitar was still pretty out of tune.  :)  Oh well, good enough for me.  Also I got to play the organ again yesterday because Sister McCune was sick.  I also filled in for her when the ward choir sang yesterday.  It felt just like old times of ward choir in Grandview 2nd ward.  I thought mom and dad would be proud of my participation.  It was willing participation too, just so you know.
Well I'm going to the temple.  I love you all and pray for you. 
love sister wilde