Monday, November 26, 2012


Dear Family,
I've had a great week.  Has it been another week already?  Man...Thanksgiving is already over.  Luckily I got to have sweet potatoe pie.  Unfortunately nobody here knows about cranberry salad.  They also didn't have Maryann's cheesecake.  It's okay, I got over it.  On Thanksgiving night, me and Sis B took around these little turkeys we made from cutting out our handprints on paper.  We colored them and they were really cute.  We took them around to members and investigators to say Happy Thanksgiving from the sister missionaries.  After a while of being on your mission, you kind of lose your identity as an individual and you become "the sister missionaries". :)
This week I had very special experiences that helped me understand the reality of the priesthood power that is restored to the earth, and the responsibility we as missionaries have to take that to all the world.
I got a special opportunity yesterday to help out in Primary.  Background...there is this really cool lady I met when I got here.  Her name is Becca Robison.  A few weeks ago we went to her house for dinner and she was talking about a new calling that she was about to receive.  She couldn't tell us what it was, obviously, but for some reason, I just had a feeling that I knew.  I then said, "My sister just got called to be the Primary President in her ward.  It's a big job, but she loves it.  Her name is Becca too :)"  Sis Robison then let out a nervous sigh..."Oh really?  yeah..."  I can't remember what she said, but I knew that she was going to be the primary president.  Later she said, "hey I might need your help in sharing time soon.  The lesson is on preparing for a full time mission".  Well I was right, and that Sunday she got sustained.  Well yesterday we dressed up in sunglasses and funny hats, and Sis B may or may not have been wearing a fake mustache, and walked into primary.  Sis Robison said "Who are these people dressed so funny?"  The kids all shouted "missionaries!"  "Well, how do you know they're missionaries?"  We talked about our name tags and I got to tell the children how important and special it is to me to be able to represent the Lord Jesus Christ.  Every day.  It meant more to me than it has in the past.  I get to wear this awesome badge with the name of my family who I love on it, as well as the name of our Savior.  That's pretty cool.  Then Sis Robison brought out her mission suitcase with things that missionaries need-scriptures, white shirt, tie, shoes, helmet, Preach my Gospel...she dressed a few kids in these clothes and then said, "is this all you need to go on a mission?"  Then we talked about testimony.  There's a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord says to go into all the world and take your testimony to all people.  It doesnt' say to take your companion's testimony, or your parents' testimony, but yours.  Each person's testimony is unique and can influence certain people in special ways.  So really, you're the only one who can be you, so you better be your best!  Sis Robison hid little paper missionaries around the room for the kids to go find and tape to a map of the world.  On the back were things that we need to have testimonies of.  While they found them, we sang I hope they call me on a Mission.  They pasted the missionaries all over the world.  Sis Robison said, "Now we are going to hear our missionaries share their testimonies with us.  There is something special about hearing the testimony of a set apart representative of Christ.  I want you to listen with your ears and with your hearts".  Then we got to bear our testimonies. I know I'm giving you all the details of this sharing time, which you may feel is unnecessary, but this was the most masterfully done sharing time I've ever been to!  She taught the children simply but powerfully.  The spirit there was strong.  She was truly tutoring them in the language of the Spirit.  I was blessed for being there to learn from her.  I think that Sister Robison has taught me more about my purpose as a missionary than anyone except for President. 
I got to go to a baptism for 8 yr old Jayden Thomas this week.  Again, the spirit there was unmistakable.  I felt it deeper than I've felt even at the first of my mission.  I knew it was true-the ordinance was done through the power of God, and the Holy Ghost bore record.  I couldn't get through it without crying.  The mother of the child gave a talk about the Holy Ghost, and it was very sweet.  She bore powerful testimony.  I wish you could have been made me reaaally wish I could have been at Lincoln and Rachel's baptisms. 
Yesterday I asked Brother Perry for a blessing because I needed one.  It was one of the most special blessings I have received.  After, it felt like something inside of me had finally let out and I could breathe.  I felt a holy feeling, a feeling of peace.  Sis B and I were talking after about priesthood blessings, and I commented that I don't think a lot of people know what it truly feels like-I wish they could.  I wish I could help them see the blessings that could be theirs if they would but have faith.  It's a blessing.  We are a blessed people..
My time is short.  I love you all.  Thank you for serving and lifting those around you. 
love sister annalisa wilde

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Dearest Family,
Hey, I had a great week.  I am getting over being sick.  The weather is quite tempermental..I think that might be why everyone has been sick.  Transfers were last week, and we had Sister Russell with us for a few days because her companion went home and she was waiting for her new companion who is Sister Gladden!  I thought Sister Gladden would never get transferred..haha.  So I got to see her at transfer meeting.  It was funny and weird.  She hadn't seen me with my new bangs, so the first thing she said was, "You look different...get away, you look weird!  What did you do with Sister Wilde?"  It was great to see her again.  She was feeling worried because she is out of her little Hot Springs bubble.  She had been there for over a year.  I'm glad that she gets a new experience.  Getting transferred is not fun, but it does help you grow.  When I saw her, guess what she gave me!  Remember when I used to play dominoes with Charlie and Margaret?  Every Saturday?  Well Charlie bought a set of dominoes for me and Sister Gladden.  Isn't that the sweetest thing?  I will always remember him when I play dominoes.  It was a really nice gift.
On Saturday we got to go to a ward council outreach.  We have been doing a few of those in various areas.  It's where a bunch of missionaries get together with one of the wards and go to visit less actives to invite them back to church and help them feel the spirit in their home.  I enjoy doing them.  Well, I went out with one of the members of the ward named Sister Brough.  She actually served in the New York Rochester Mission. :)  I told her my sister had served there.  But Becca is a lot younger than this lady was so I don't think they would have known each other.  While we were out I got to meet a man who was going to be baptized that day.  He is probably in his 80s and is the sweetest man ever.  He reminded me of Brother Bledsoe.  I know now that it's never too late for anything. President Petersen came to the outreach as well and announced to everyone that not only is our mission doubling in the next few months, the number of sisters will be MORE THAN the number of elders.  Within the next months, we will have 108 elders, and 112 sisters.  I don't know where they are going to put them all...I don't know how we are going to train them all either. President said that there will be a set of elders and a set of sisters in every area.  He told me to prepare myself to train.  Things are changing drastically.  I wonder what it will be like.  Its a good thing I think, but very different.  I kind of enjoyed being the minority.  Oh well.
Stephanie is one of my favorite people.  She is the one who just got baptized.  I told her that she would get to meet my whole family someday.  She is so sweet, and has helped me know that I am actually doing a little bit of good as a missionary.  She said that I made her feel truly loved and cared for in a way that she doesn't think she'd be able to feel from any other missionary.  That was kind of her...she also has a real desire to learn.  One lesson we had with her last week, I asked her what she wanted to learn about.  She said, "Everything.  Everything about the Book of Mormon".  It was sweet.  Man, if we all wanted to know the scriptures as much as she does, we'd be in good shape.
Also on Saturday, we did a church tour with our investigator Shelly.  As we walked around, we stopped at the painting of Christ washing the feet of his disciples.  Shelly and I were commenting on how much we liked that story.  She said she liked it because it reminded her of where we all need to be spiritually, and where our spiritual leaders need to be spiritually.  My mind immediately went to my dear mission president...He is truly a powerful servant of the Lord. Humility is such a good quality to have.  The Lord teaches us to become as little children, who are humble. Earlier last week, we were walking down the street and we saw a group of kids out playing in the yard.  I saw one little girl in particular who, when she saw me, smiled and waved.  She almost ran up to me and gave me a hug.  I was kind of surprised at her openness and lack of hesitancy.  I know a lot of kids are really open, but when that happened, it struck me that I think she knows who we are.  Why else would she do that?  I realized that I think I would recognize a lot more answers to my prayers if I could be open like that, and trust that God knows what He's talking about.
This is the coolest thing ever.  This morning I was studying President Uchtdorf's conference talk.  I looked in the footnote as I read a certain sentance, and the scripture reference was Matt 11:28-30.  I was pretty sure I knew what that scripture was, but I decided to read it anyway...Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden...  As I read it, a thought came..."text this reference to Sammy".  That thought was immediately followed by justification.  "She would probably think that was weird if I did that, like I was trying to tell her she needed a lot of help.  I don't want to sound condescending."   I decided to do it anyway. I sent her a quick text with the reference, and that when I read it, I thought of her.  2 seconds later she replied saying, "I was just praying for help.  That is my favorite passage in the entire bible.  That was the Lord telling me He was here with me.  I had just been crying, pleading for  His help.  He must be trying to tell me that it wasn't a fluke because He gave you my favorite passage in the entire book".  I was as blown away as she was.  He really does know her, because I had no idea that was her favorite scripture.  I couldn't believe it.  Heavenly Father is so cool.
I love you all.  Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I wish I could be there with you, but I'm sorta busy converting all of Bartlett. :)  JUST KIDDING!  I miss you guys.  I will especially miss you on Friday when you have Thanksgiving #2.  I'll be taken care of though, I'm sure.
love sister annalisa wilde

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Transfer is Tomorrow!

Dearest Family,
Sorry this letter is overdue..the library was closed yesterday.  Well transfers are tomorrow.  AP Truman told us last week we were getting Sister Yuen back and we were stoked!  The tri-force was gonna be back.  To our dismay, that got changed.  But me and Sister B are still here tearin it up in Bartlett.  Well we'd like to think we're tearin it up.  I think we's a great area.  It's a blessing to have the temple so close-I got to go yesterday.  Anyone who is within 30 miles of the temple can go when the departing missionaries go.  It was great to be there.  Everyone was really happy.  As I was there, I felt more than I have before how right it was to be there.  That it really is true.  Then after that, we played speed(the basketball one) with some other missionaries.  We played with them a few weeks ago, and I told the elders that I used to beat the boys at speed but that was in the 8th grade.  Well that time I didn't do so hot cause every time someone would get me out I would beg to stay in just a few more times.  They would usually let me.  Then when I actually did make some shots I would shout "yes!  I'm still in!".  Well I don't know what happened between that day and yesterday because yesterday I was nailing all my shots!  Well, a lot of them.  And I was beating the boys sometimes.  They were like "Sister Wilde, why are you shooting so much better this time?  Have you been doing missionary work lately or just playing basketball?"  I'm not sure what was happening, but it rocked.  I was just happy because you all know how athletically inclined I am....:) It was fun.
We had a breakthrough lesson with Sam and Steve last night.  Things have been rough...Sam has been really sick. One day last week we went to their house to teach, but soon found that their temporal needs were more important to address at that time.  It is true that sometimes you have to help people temporally before they can even begin to be open spiritually.  The gospel isn't something you can just throw in peoples' faces.  It takes caring about someone enough to learn who they are, what their needs are, and in what way you need to teach them.  Anyway, we spent 5 hours cleaning their house.  It seems like everything has been falling apart for them.  But last night we walked in and there was a sense of peace I hadn't felt there in a long time.  The house was straight, and they were all in a good mood.  We began talking about women in the Book of Mormon because Sam had asked to learn about them.  We talked of the mothers of the stripling warriors and how if they hadn't taught them and prayed for them, they wouldn't have been able to step up and defend their families.  They knew it was important to rely on God and follow their leaders with exactness.  We shared Alma 57:21 and I said that our mission president promised us that when we were obedient with exactness, miracles would happen.  Sam said, "do you really believe that?"  I was glad to be able to say that I knew that because I have seen it.  Living the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring more blessings than anything else you can find in this world.  We then went around the room and told miracles that we had seen that day.  Everybody shared one, and I could see Steve's eyes opening- in a spiritual sense.  He is really starting to understand.  I said that my miracle was the peace and love I felt in their home that night.  Steve said, "Really? You noticed that?"  He could feel it too.  It was like finally they stopped long enough to feel the Holy Ghost.  I could almost see it calming them. They need it so badly.  My love for that family has grown so much.  I am praying that our love for them will continue to motivate them to make changes in their lives that will allow God to broaden their perspectives. 
During the lesson, Sam was saying that she has a hard time wrapping her head around the prophet thing and the Book of Mormon.  She said how she was raised to think that the bible was end all be all-the only book of scripture.  Then Steve said, "hey can I share my testimony?" He told Sam..."a few days ago Sister Wilde made me read the Book of Mormon. I randomly opened the book and it fell to 2 Nephi 29.  I read it and I was enlightened.  It really hit the spot.  It talks about how these people said they already had a bible and they didn't need another one."  She opened it up and read the entire chapter out loud.  The entire chapter!  She was like "okay.  I get it".  She didn't say much, but I think that it made her think.  It was really cool to see how Steve had received revelation through the Book of Mormon and then shared it with Sam.  He knows he needs to get baptized!  He just doesn't want to stop drinking beer.
On sunday, we got a new bishop in 2nd ward.  It was a special sacrament meeting.  Bishop Sturgell served for 6 years, and while he said he was relieved, he looked like he was about to cry.  I could see in his eyes the immense love he had gained for everyone in the ward as he pleaded with them to keep the commandments.  He said simply, "happiness comes from keeping the commandments".  His voice had a quiet power and I could feel the Holy Ghost bringing that into my heart.  Our new bishop is Bishop Hale.  He is quite young and I imagine quite overwhelmed.  He got up and just started crying.  He said although he didn't know how he was going to do it, he knew it was right.  Everyone could feel that it was.  It was testimony meeting after that, and many people commented on how right it felt.  God leads this church.
I realized the other day that it is now completely weird to remember that I have a first name.  My name is Sister Wilde, and I really love that.  It feels good to be a missionary.  I think a lot of times, we don't realize what we have.  We don't realize how much spiritual knowledge God has given us and that it needs to be shared.  Just like we become more grateful as we express gratitude, we have more guidance and knowledge from the spirit when we share the knowledge we have already been given.
Hey.  Thanks to everyone who reads my letters- it pretty much makes me feel like a million bucks.  God lives even though we can't feel Him all the time.  He doesn't want us to be miserable.  When we choose to be as happy as we can, He helps us be more happy.  He's pretty cool.
I really do love you all.  I'd be nothing without you.
love sister wilde

Monday, November 5, 2012

Last Week of the transfer

Dear Family,
Another week has gone by, and now we are at the last week of the transfer.  I'm not quite sure how this happens...I have been in Bartlett for almost 12 weeks now.  It seems to have flown by.  I really like this area because of the members and the people I know.  Also, Sister Bridgewater keeps me pretty entertained.  She has supplied most of my mission quotes that will be really funny to read in a few years.  Well, they are funny now too.  She's just funny.  It hasn't been too wet or cold here, although some people disagree.  I then tell them they are kinda whussy.  Well not really, but it's not cold to me. 
We had a pretty uneventful Halloween..but it was still fun.  It was funner than 4th of July was.  4th of July was actually kinda lame..compared to our awesome celebrations we have at home.  But on Halloween we got to see Sammy and her girls Abbi and Lauren when they were dressing up for trick or treating.  Abbi was a kitty cat and Lauren was an angel.  Very cute.  I love them so much-I think they are the reason I came to Bartlett.  I hope all of you can meet Sammy someday..she's pretty cool.  Valerie, and anyone else who is a Nightmare before Christmas fan might be interested to know that Sis B made a Nightmare before Christmas christmas tree!  It's super cool.  The tree has cobwebs and little pumpkins and something else on the top.  I'll send you a  picture because I don't know what it is called. 
Cool story.  We went out teaching with a member named Andrea last week.  I really really like her.  You know those people you meet and you think "man, I'm so glad I met this person.  I wonder how I lived my whole life without knowing them".  We went to see this investigator who is slightly obsessed with Donny Osmond.  Have I told you this yet?  Well, he is going to be the key to her conversion.  We went to her house, but she acted like she was too busy and she wouldn't invite us in.  Then Sis B was quick and said, "Oh, you still have to show us that picture you have of when you met Donny Osmond!"  Yep. Got in the house.  From there we ended up having a conversation about coming closer to God and the Book of Mormon.  The lady said that she had been having a really rough few weeks and felt like God pushed us to her house.  I was excited to hear that.
I have recently found out that Valerie (my dear investigator from Hot Springs), since her baptism last month, has been doing extremely well.  She is now a great missionary, goes out and teaches with the sisters there, and now her sister, her sister's husband, and her daughter are all getting baptized.  Wow, that makes me so happy.  Can you believe it?  All because she wanted to know about Mitt Romney.  She is the coolest.  Also, Brother Bledsoe is doing so well too.  I called Sis Gladden the other day to give her a phone number, and she happened to be with Bro Bledsoe at the time.  She asked me if I wanted to talk to a very special person.  When she handed him the phone, I said, "Is this Brother Bledsoe?"  And he couldn't speak for a few seconds.  He finally said that he was overwhelmed to hear my voice.  We both got emotional..what a sweet man.  He is getting the Melchezidek priesthood soon.  Okay I know I spelled that word wrong, don't judge me.  I'm trying to hurry before the computer at the library kicks me off.  He has also finished reading the Book of Mormon and is on to the D&C.  Hooray!
Do you remember Stephanie?  The lady who got baptized last week?  Well now we are teaching her sister, LaTosha.  She is a trip!  Haha.  Since the first day she met us, she decided to give us nicknames.  Sis B is now redhead and I am smiley.  :)  Funny lady.  Oh, something else about Sam and Steve.  Lauren, their kid who is 6, is a really good reader.  She is in advanced programs at school.  Well the other day I asked Steve if he had been reading the Book of Mormon.  He said "Yeah."  Surprised, I said, "really??".  "Well, no, but yeah.  The other day I sat Lauren down and had her read the Book of Mormon to me".  I sure hope that his 6 year old doesn't read better than he does.  That would just be sad.
So we have the best district ever this transfer!  I hope nobody moves next week, because I love all of the missionaries we are with right now.  Our district leader is the best I've ever had.  And get this.  We have had 4 baptisms in the last 9 days!  Each of the 3 companionships have baptized.  Pretty cool.  Speaking of baptisms, I got the opportunity to go to the baptism of a little girl in the ward named Ruby.  We worked our tails off to get investigators to come with us, but they all bailed.  It was a really nice baptism.  I felt the spirit witnessing that it is a true ordinance.  The sweetest part was that Ruby requested that I should say the closing prayer.  This really touched me because I haven't even talked to her that much.  I felt special that she wanted us there and that I got to say the closing prayer.
We also had stake conference yesterday.  It was good.  What I liked most is that a member of the 70, Elder Giddons I think, told a story about how his wife prayed every day of her son's mission that nothing would happen to his grandparents while he was gone, so he could see them again.  The grandparents ended up getting in a car accident, and died.  She wondered if she didn't have enough faith to receive what she was praying for.  But then she realized that her faith needed to be in Jesus Christ and his atonement.  When we do that, our perspective changes, and even the things we pray for can change.  It reminds me of the words to the hymn "O Savior Thou who Wearest a Crown"  when it says, "no fear of death alarm us, We live O Lord through Thee".  I know this is true.
I love you all, and hope you have a wonderful and fulfilling week as you remember your blessings and the love that surrounds you.
love sister annalisa wilde