Friday, September 6, 2013

Welcome Home Sister Wilde!!!!

Sister Wilde finished her mission last week and has returned home. She will be speaking in church this Sunday. For more information contact Annalisa or the Wilde family.

Welcome Home Annalisa!  We are so proud of you!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sis. Wilde's Last Few Weeks

Readers, I apologize, the last few weeks have been crazy but here are Sis. Wilde's last few letters. Sorry.
(Most recent on top)

Aug. 19, 2013

Hey Family,

Well I hope you all relish this email..especially Cameron.  I will try to pack it as full of Sister Wilde wisdom and knowledge as I can.  :) 

Another great week has gone by.  A little more difficult than some weeks because Sister Hawthorn was out of town..our missionary work really suffered.  You would be amazed at how that lady single-handedly (singlehandedly?  single-handed-ly?  Well you get the picture) upholds the missionary work in Glenwood and Hot Springs!  She has placed 8 Books of Mormon in the last 2 months.  She spends an entire day once a week with us and another day with the elders in Hot Springs.  Every week!  While she was gone, we got kind of concerned about Howard, seeing as he had to fend for himself all week, and we all know how Dad does when he has to do that :)  So for our solution, we made biscuits for Howard.  The best part about it was the note we put on the front.  We had caught wind of the fact that the other day Howard walked into the house and called Sister Hawthorn his "sugar dumplin".  Which is hilarious if you know Howard.  I never would have thought that would come out of his mouth.  So our note read thus, "Dear Howard,  Since your sugar dumplin isn't here, we decided to make you these biscuits to tide you over til she gets home.  Love the Sisters".  Howard loved his gift.  Job well done if you ask me. :)

I continue to see the members become more excited and involved in missionary work.  Man, just when we got things going so great they make me leave.  You really don't know how unfair it really is.  These people mean everything to me.  They have changed me because of who they are.  That's how we do missionary work.  It is an offering of our whole self to Heavenly Father.  As we submit to His will, He blesses us with a love for those we serve.  As we serve them we become instruments through which the spirit can be carried to their hearts.  That's what King Benjamin did.  As a result, the people believed his words and had a mighty change of heart.  This can only come by the power of the Holy Ghost.  I know this principle is true.  I gave a talk yesterday and told them all of this and how that's what will be needed to be able to make this branch a ward.  It will happen.  We have excellent leadership and the strong faith of the members.  It will result in miracles.  President Palmer teaches me so much about these things.  

I got a really special opportunity this week.  We had a fish fry(best thing ever!) this past Saturday.  George McWhorter fried the fish, Bessie and Opal got all the people to come, Howard brought the fun, and President Palmer and I brought the entertainment.  He got together all of these old Mormon folk songs they used to sing while crossing the plains.  He wrote speaking parts and we did a little program.  He played guitar and sang, and I sang harmony.  Yeah, it pretty much made all my dreams come true.  I keep on trying to think of how on earth I can become his daughter in law..that's how amazing he is.  He told me that he wished his boys weren't all married really is a shame.  I had such a great time with the songs though.  They were nice.  I didn't know any of them except for Come, Come Ye Saints.  The nylon guitar was perfect for the setting.  Another great part about the fish fry was that some of our potential investigators came.  Well it's a couple.  Brenda and Rick.  They are wonderful people.  They're the ones that go to cowboy church.  Did I tell you about them?  Sister Hicken and I decided that if we weren't Mormon, we would most definitely be going to cowboy church.  Cause it's really fun!  I get such a great feeling about Brenda and Rick.  The first time Sister Hicken met them she got a strong confirmation that they would be baptized.  I will pray for will be her work now.

Alice came to church yesterday.  Things are looking up!  She knows the Book of Mormon is true.  

This is what I've learned.  To participate in the salvation of souls is the most important work we can do on this earth.  That is why we are here.  Heavenly Father's work and glory is for us to have eternal life.  We are to help ourselves and those around us to obtain our highest potential.  I suppose I can do this not being a full time missionary, even though I'd rather just stay a missionary.  I thought of a great idea.  How about all of you come here and be missionaries with me?  Then we will have the best life ever.  You gotta tell me soon though, otherwise they might make me get on the plane.  

Well, I say this stuff, but you know that as much as I want to be here, I want to see you just as badly.

I love you all, and can't wait to see you soon. 

love sister wilde   

Aug. 12, 2013

What's up family.  As I've watched the transfer unfold, I've realized a few things.  My mission started to fly by again.  It's been a while since it has flown by. But I'm sitting here watching it fly, wishing I could call it back.  I'm horribly conflicted, so that's why I try to just work harder.  Remember those goals I told you about?  I'm still working so hard at them!  And all that preach my gospel study is paying off.  I understand now, more than I ever have what it means to have urgency in the work.  It's really easy to not realize the impact and importance of this work and the gospel in general I think.  But I cannot deny that as I have studied the word and labored for the Lord that it has enlarged my soul and enlightened my mind.  So I know it's true.  Man, it's pretty much the best thing ever to hear when my investigators actually read the Book of Mormon. Yesterday we had a lesson with Stacy. He actually kept his commitment to read. As a result, the spirit was there more powerfully than I've ever felt in a lesson with him. I know that because he did his part, the spirit prepared his heart for our meeting together. He knows it's true.  We just gotta work on some other stuff.

Sister Hicken and I are slowly turning into the same person.  We have the same ideas at the same time, our sense of humor is pretty much the same, and we say stuff at the same time too.  Yesterday we were at dinner with the Hawthorns.  I was really striking out yesterday because I managed to offend almost every single person in their family! Unintentionally!  Even Sister Hawthorn said, "This is not like you Sister Wilde!"  Well it was all in good fun.  We had gone to primary yesterday because my convert Cheyenna was in Glenwood branch for the day.  Megan (Sister Hawthorn's granddaughter) was being a pill in primary.  I accidentally let it slip during dinner afterward that Megan wasn't singing in primary.  I was saying it jokingly, but then after a minute, Megan left the table...and I came to find out that she went in the other room to cry.  I felt awful!!  I don't even know the last time I made someone was so when she came back I asked what I could do to make it up to her.  She said, "Well I really like chocolate".  And then at the same time, Sister Hicken and I said, "Noted."  Same tone, same everything.  Well that ended up being a reaaallly long story for a stupid ending.  sorry.

Things are continuing to pick up in Glenwood.  We had a great day in church yesterday.  The high councilman spoke and said that the Glenwood branch was really setting the pace for missionary work for the rest of the stake.  I know that the members are praying for our branch to become a ward.  I can feel their faith.  Yesterday we had sunday school with the young men cause none of our investigators came.  We have the sweetest young men in the world.  They always remember to pray for our branch and the missionaries.  That really touched me.  
However, it is not enough to just pray.  President Palmer taught me that faith always begins with a prompting from the Holy Ghost and always ends with a miracle.  Faith means action.  We are getting things going and more people are beginning to join in.

Jennifer is doing pretty good except for the fact that she had her two front teeth pulled last week.  It only made all of Sister Hicken's worst fears come true...haha.  When she got her mission call, the first thing she asked was if it was really true that the people in Arkansas don't wear shoes and have no teeth.  I don't know how many people tried to reassure her that the statement was false, but they were wrong.  It's accurate.

Oh!  Brother and Sister Bledsoe are now sealed.  Hooray!
Have I told you about Lonny?  He is this awesome guy we're teaching.  His beard might give Elliot a run for his money.  I'll show you pictures when I get home.  But it's okay cause when Elliot is 60, his beard will probably be way more impressive than Lonny's.  Well He is reading the Book of Mormon and praying!  The problem we are running into is that he and his wife are very active in another church. They live in a small town, and the church is made up of mostly their family. They are deeply rooted in this other church. Lonny's wife Sandra is hesitant about us coming. I can see on her face that she is afraid to know it's true because if she were to know it is true, she would have to change. She doesn't want to.  We keep praying!

Well I love you all.  Have a great week.
love sister wilde

Aug. 6, 2013
Hey Family,

What a week!  I learned a precious principle that changed my week and changed my mission.  The funny thing is, I don't know how many times people have tried to teach me this principle, but it didn't really click til now.  So I went to this mission leader council meeting-which was the best thing I've ever experienced!  I don't know why people don't like these meetings, because you get to feel the spirit so strongly every time and receive revelation.  As we set our baptismal goal for the month, I was thinking a lot about goals and plans and how to accomplish something.  Elder Ballard says something in PMG about how we need to learn to set goals and make plans and then live to reach those goals.  It's a way of living that helps us reach a far greater potential than we would if we didn't have goals and plans.  Sounds simple, right?  But how many of us really do this?  Well maybe you all do, but I just learned how.  So as the spirit was working on me, I realized I really needed to make the rest of my mission count.  I made important goals and then specific plans.  Then I prayed in faith that the Lord would consecrate my plan and help me accomplish it.  I can honestly say with my whole soul that I know the Lord has provided a way for me to accomplish my plans each day.  I don't know how it worked out, but I just did what I told Him I'd do, and He really did do the rest.  I have heard that so many times in my life, but no one ever told me to just make a specific plan.  Then I don't have to worry about if I could have done more or all the what ifs.  I planned out everything I could do and then I did it.  It takes all the guilt away!  Mom, you need to try this!   

Well after I had this great breakthrough, I used it on all my challenges of the days that followed.  Saturday was especially a trial of our faith.  We had been at Jennifer's the night before and Nora was throwing up.  We woke up the next morning and did not feel so hot.  Sister Hicken especially felt sick.  But she prayed and Heavenly Father told her that if she would go and do that good things would happen.  They surely did.  We went to Alan's house.  As he came out to talk with us, I could feel strongly of how miserable he is right now.  It makes me feel so sad because he doesn't know how to get out of it and I'm here telling him that I know how to help him if he would just listen to me.  The spirit prompted us to be bold with him.  We told him just that.  We told him that Jesus Christ is the light of the world and came here to teach us the way to happiness and peace.  It is simple.  We promised him that if he came to church with a question and prayer in his heart, he would receive the answer.  It was a bomb lesson.  We talked with him about the Book of Mormon.  He said he felt better when he read it.  "Did you pray to know if it is true?"  "Oh I know it's true".  Well Alan, then you need to act on it.

 We also fasted and prayed that Alice would come to church- and she did!  I'll tell you more about her next week.  But Sunday was a great day.  There were more people at church and the testimony meeting was good.  The spirit was there.  Jennifer got baptized!  It was a wonderful service-one of the best I've been to.  I was happy about it because I knew she was ready.  She was prepared by the Lord and did her part to prepare.  We talked with President Palmer after about how we can really feel things starting to happen.  It is because of prayers and diligence.

To conclude, I wish to tell you a little about my companion, Sister Hicken.  I feel inclined to write a poem, but time does not allow.  She is good for my health.  I have been thinking that my companions were strategically placed throughout my mission.  She is exactly who I need.  I also would like to tell Jessica that she has the Wilde magical powers of being able to fall asleep anywhere.  I actually think she might give Mom and Elliot a run for their money.  The other night she commented, "You know, I think the biggest struggle I have in my life is staying awake".  Haha!  The thing is, that's not even an exaggeration.  She falls asleep everywhere!  She says she's border line narcoleptic. Well there are lots of other great things about her, but I don't really have time to tell them all.  

I love you all.  The gospel is true. 
love sister wilde 

Monday, July 29, 2013

17 Month Mark

Hey Family,

Many exciting things have happened since last I wrote to you all. Breaking News:  I head butted a goat.  At the Burnetts.  Probably one of the best things I've done in the last 17 months.

My companion caused me realize that each day I talk about a different member of my family.  So one day I'll talk about Becca and then it will be my "I miss Becca Day". It changes each day-not consciously of course.  Yesterday I missed Cameron as I told Sister Hicken that he was maybe the best whistler in the family because he could whistle my classical piano pieces(which almost no one can do, especially the 20th century composers).  I missed Bethanie when I had a stroke of genius for all the things she and I will do when I get back.  I missed you all on the different days..(this is not trunky talk..I'm simply telling you how much I love you.  I'm not trunky because trunkiness is only for elephants.  hah!  Sister Martell wrote me a card the other day that had a big elephant on the front with those words.  Every missionary also must know that trunkiness never was happiness.)  

Well Jennifer is still progressing.  She was supposed to get baptized yesterday...but get this.  It's almost comical how many times this has happened to me on my mission.  The very day before someone is supposed to be baptized, they call or text us with some crazy off the wall reason why they can't get baptized.  It's ridiculous.  Another word for it is Satan.  Anyway.  She had to re-schedule the baptism because she went to the doctor the day before to get these shots in her spine to help with her fibromialgia(don't ask me how to spell that).  She apparently can't be submerged in water for at least 72 hours to make sure she doesn't get any infections due to the shots.  Of all things!  It sounds like something I could make up!  Anyway..pray for her to be able to be baptized this coming Sunday.

We have been seeing the result of our faith and the faith and diligence of the members. We made a new mission plan in our branch. The title of this plan is- The Glenwood Ward. President Palmer asked the members to ask for a few simple things in every prayer they offer. 1) Convert Baptisms 2) Reactivation of members. He stressed the importance of each member playing a part in reaching this goal. We have seen progress in the people we are teaching, found more people to teach, and have been seeing less active members return to church. The Lord will continue to bless this area according to our faith and diligence.

This week I gained a knowledge of the importance of diligence. It seems that this attribute has been highlighted in all of my scripture studies this week. Diligence is the key to being worthy to receive power and authority. And how important that is! I read accounts in the Book of Mormon from Nephi and Lehi, Enos, and Ammon who received power because they truly desired to help people gain faith unto repentance. We cannot be missionaries who are truly focused on our purpose and receive power unless our strongest desire is to serve God and bring people to repentance. Diligence in all things with unshaken faith in Christ will bring the results we desire- conversion. Not only in others, but in ourselves. Yesterday in church, President Palmer gave wonderful remarks about the Atonement. Specifically he discussed the nature of the Savior-that He wants to forgive! I think I sometimes act like He is reluctant and almost unwilling to forgive. This is not the case. He did not pay a great price to purchase a gift just to put it away on a shelf. The gift He has, He will gladly and readily give! His requirement is that we come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Then we can obtain this wonderful gift of the fruit of His atonement. Forgiveness and progression. Diligence is a necessary part of this process. 

Sister Hicken and I have been reminded and taught about the importance of the Holy Ghost and the role he has in our missionary work. It is true that the spirit is the most important element in this work. On Saturday we went to one of our investigator's homes and knocked on the door. After I knocked, a strong feeling came over me that we needed to leave right then. I looked at Sister Hicken and she voiced the exact feeling that I had. I don't know why but we knew it was the Spirit that urged us to go. I drove away feeling grateful that the spirit guided us and I knew that Heavenly Father was mindful. We drove to Beth's house(another of our investigators). It was our second visit with her. We were surprised and happy to find out that she had been reading the book of Mormon and was already to 2 Nephi 9. She has been religious and close to Heavenly Father all her life. She is reading and praying. I can see in her face that the spirit is softening her heart. Moroni's promise is real-but for it to actually work we must follow everything that Moroni admonishes. We must have a sincere heart. I know that she does. I was grateful again for the role the Holy Ghost had in that lesson. Our hearts were changed by the end of it. I had a stronger desire to do what is right, a greater belief and faith in our loving God and His Son, and a stronger testimony of the importance of this work.

Other interesting facts:  
So you know how Hot Springs is the boyhood home of Bill Clinton?  Well little did I know that my investigator, Howard Hawthorn, went to school with the man!  haha!  I guess Bill Clinton came to visit Hot Springs once a while ago and was in some parade I think...anyway, Howard Hawthorn was standing on the corner of one of the streets, Bill Clinton sees him and nonchalantly says "Hey Howard." And Howard waves.  Haha!

The Heavens smiled down upon me on Wednesday of last week.  We had our training with President Petersen in Little Rock.  I had parked at the church in Hot Springs so we could carpool with the other sisters.  Well when we came back that evening, who should drive up but my favorite Brother Griffin!  He invited us to dinner.  I got to see Sister Griffin and their granddaughter Ali who I got so close to last year.  Ali couldn't stop hugging was a grand reunion.  And good catfish.  Can Bethanie also learn how to make hush puppies?  Because those are better even than fried ochre.   

I love you all. 

love sister wilde

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Last 2 Weeks

(most recent letter on top - sorry I'm a little late posting)

July 22,2013
Dear Family,

Life is getting painful!  Am I getting old or what? I find myself being annoyingly sentimental about everything...I can't leave the South!  The trees, the beautiful country side, seeing turtles making their way across the highways, the humidity, the yes ma'ams and no sirs, walking with Brother Bledsoe, doing missionary work with Sister Hawthorn all day, fried ochra....I done did my time and now I'm movin in with Sister Hawthorn so she can teach me how to be a hard working southern woman.  She has already scoped out some property for me to move to.  She will then teach me how to milk cows, garden, take care of chickens, can, and quilt.   I'm fixin' to go hide so that President Petersen can't find me. If that doesn't work maybe I'll just have Mom teach me.

Sister Bridgewater's old imitation of me keeps coming to my mind.  In her highest voice she would throw her arms up and say, "Everything is Wonderful!!!!"  As if I really sound like that!'s getting worse.  These people really are wonderful.  I keep telling my new companion that she came to the best area in the entire mission.  Because she did.  Someday she'll believe me!  haha.  Her name is Sister Hicken and she comes from Kamas Utah.  I said, "hey I know where that is!  My best friend's grandma lives in Kamas".  Yep, turns out Michelle's grandmother lives in her ward. :)  Small world eh?  Well Sister Hicken has been...culture shocked to say the least.  I realize how long I've been here because it doesn't phase me anymore that most people live very differently than they do in Utah.  She didn't tell me all this til last night, but that first night I brought her here from the mission home she didn't know if she was going to be able to make it here cause she hated it!  It didn't help that the whole time I'm floating on a cloud introducing her to everyone and saying things like "I have a feeling you're going to be here a long time Sister Hicken."  She'll get used to it.  But we both decided I'm not leaving.  

Another fun fact: I finally saw a girl I went to high school with.  I knew she was in the mission but I didn't see her til last week at transfer meeting.  McKenna Austin.  Cute girl.  Many new sisters continue to come to our mission.

We had a great week. Our days were filled with meaningful things and we are seeing progress in our area. Jennifer will be getting baptized this Sunday. I have learned in a new way what it means to seek learning by study and also by faith. As I've contemplated how to help our progressing investigators enter the waters of baptism, I felt the prompting of the Spirit to read the Book of Mormon searching for specific scriptures to share with them. This sounds like a simple task, one that we should always keep in mind as we study. Although it is simple, it has transformed my study and my teaching. Having searched the scriptures with that specific investigator in mind, I have found truths that I can't wait to share with them. When we teach to our investigator's needs, they are more willing to listen and accept the things we teach because it is personalized to them. We have seen great success in the past week from doing this. We applied our faith to action as we fasted and prayed for Jennifer to come to church. She wasn't sure if she could make it because it was supposed to rain yesterday. Due to health concerns, rain makes it hard for her to get up and get moving. We prayed that the rains would hold off so that she could come to church. The skies were clear yesterday morning and she and Nora made it to church. They had a wonderful time. Not even an hour after church was over it began to rain. We all knew Heavenly Father answered our prayers.

As I put my focus on Preach My Gospel, I am more committed and determined to help my investigators receive the ordinance of baptism. "What more can I do to help my investigator to be baptized?" What a wonderful question to ask myself daily. Just today my companion and I were studying in Preach My Gospel the words of President Eyring. He stated that we must declare the Lord's standards boldly and without apology. This is not a negative thing-because of the blessings the Lord has for us when we reach this standard. We are promised the guidance of the Holy Ghost and personal peace in our lives. I learned then that I am grateful for the times I have not experienced peace in my life, because I now understand the blessing that it is to receive it. What we wouldn't do to obtain these blessings! We must help others to do the same.

Let me tell you a story, and preface it with "Only in the South".  We were down in Murfreesboro yesterday with Bessie Burnett looking for a few members of our church that we have lost addresses for.  We saw a cop driving by and Sister Burnett flagged him down.  She asked about the family, he knew exactly who they were and where they lived.  As he began explaining it to her he said "I can just take you there, do you want to follow me?"  When does that ever happen??  He was so nice.  He took us right where we needed to be.

Well I've rambled for far too long.  Hope you have a great week.  I love you all.

love sister wilde

July 15,2013

My family,

Believe it or not, the transfer is coming to a close.  I am going to be training a new sister for 6 weeks..and she better be good because I then have to hand her my area.  I'll admit, I'm a little possessive.  But great things are happening in Glenwood.  The Holy Ghost truly is the most important element in this work, and really in our lives.  We must live in a way that we can hear the voice of the Lord through His spirit.  It brings meaning to our days.  We will find so much greater joy as we learn to be like Samuel and say, "Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth"(1 Sam 3:10).  I witnessed this last Monday, as a dear sister in the branch (Tammy) listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  She was going to pick us up for dinner at her house.  About 15 minutes before she got to our apartment, she called and asked if we wanted to invite our investigator Jennifer and her daughter Nora to come with us.  Jennifer had had a hard day, and was happy to receive the invitation.  We had a wonderful evening of fellowship and spiritual growth.  I know that Tammy answered Jennifer's prayer that day.  A simple act of kindness, but it changed all of us for the better.  As we seek the Lord in prayer and through the scriptures, these promptings will come more often.  Our faith and ability to face trials will increase.

Have I told you about Jennifer yet?  She lives in our apartment complex.  We met her on our first day in Glenwood.  We began teaching her a few weeks ago, and she has progressed quickly.  It has been amazing to see the change in her in such a short period of time.  She is seeking the Lord.  She wants to have "bible study" with us every day and told us that she feels that God is pushing her towards baptism.  Last week during one of our lessons with her she said, "So..what changes do I need to make in order to become a member of your church?"  Music to a missionary's ears. :)  I'm not sure I've ever heard those words on my mission.  It's been a joy to teach her and see her countenance change.  I know that the gospel truly changes us-from the inside out.  I have personally seen her change.  The light of the spirit that comes into our eyes as we accept and follow Jesus Christ is real.  Nothing about the gospel is fake.  I hope that Jennifer will be baptized within the month.

Happenings in the branch:  
Me and Sister Jager had the great opportunity to speak in church yesterday.  Our joy couldn't be contained...  It was our great luck that the stake president showed up to our meeting that day. haha.  Okay it wasn't that bad.  Well he came and spoke and afterward interviewed Brother and Sister Bledsoe for their temple recommends.  After church, Brother Bledsoe walked up to me and with tears in his eyes showed me his temple recommend.  He did it!  My joy really couldn't be contained then.  They will leave in about a week and a half for San Diego.
I threw Sister Jager a surprise birthday party.  The wonderful ladies in the branch made her a cake with her name on it and everything.  We all had cake and ice cream after church yesterday.  I guess she's never had a birthday party I was happy to be there for her first one. :)
Our recent convert Adam(who got baptized last week) received the priesthood and was ordained to the office of a teacher.

We had a marvelous experience this week with our investigator Alice. Her son married a member of the church and then became a member. He referred her to us. As we talked, I was amazed and touched as she shared her experiences. She has gone to many different churches, but none of them have ever felt right to her. She said she felt the spirit might be pushing her towards our church. She has been reading the Book of Mormon before we ever got to her. As I listened to her experiences, I was amazed and honored to be able to witness the Lord fulfilling His promise to lead us to the elect. Alice is the elect! She knows what the Holy Ghost feels like. She has been close to God her whole life, but she knows something is missing. She shared with us her concerns. With tears in her eyes she told us of the prayer she offers to Heavenly Father every day- "what church should I go to? What is your will for me?" This is real intent. I promised her that as she continued to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and come to church that God would answer her prayer. She will know it is right. The most touching thing she said was a comment she made about her son. She said that she saw a peace come into his life when he married his wife. I know she can also have this peace. 

Sorry for the short letter today.  We are going out to lunch with Fred and Jane. :)  I'll get a new companion on wednesday.  I hope you all are well.  I miss you more and more each day and pray the Lord will bless you as you do much good for His children.

love sister wilde

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Happy 4th of July!


My heart is full.  I have learned so much.  The difficulties of this transfer remain...I keep thinking it will get easier, but it hasn't gotten easier.  I think I'm finally getting used to the fact that it's not going to get easier, but I've just got to figure out how to make it through.  What has changed is the way I read the scriptures, the way I pray, and the way I work.  I realize I'm making this sound very ideal and like I've totally got this..well that's not true either. haha.  It's a struggle!  But seriously I am reading the scriptures more and in a better way. As I pray, I know I am having a conversation with my Father in Heaven.  It just feels different.  Do you want to know how long I have needed this to happen?  The Lord answered my prayers in an unexpected way.  President Petersen came out with this challenge a while ago for us to memorize two scriptures for each principle in the lessons in PMG and do every personal and companionship study idea in the whole book.  When we complete it, we receive this cool iron rod thing and a liahona.  Well I started to memorize scriptures a couple transfers ago, but then I got Satan bombed.  I know, I know, that's the time that I need to memorize scriptures the most.  But I didn't.  Well I was talking to some elders in my district the other day, and they inspired me to pick it back up again.  Now here's the challenge.  I only have one transfer to do it.  That's 84 scriptures and 209 activities .  But I'm sick of not finishing stuff, so I'm going to do it.

Another way my prayers have been answered:  President called me this last week and invited me to the mission council.  This is a meeting for the zone leaders and sister trainer leaders from all over the mission.  It was unexpected because I've never been to one of these meetings before.  I got really excited though because I knew Sister Tumanuvao would be there.  One of the hardest things about being transferred to Glenwood is that I can't see her anymore.  When I told her that I would be attending she said, "I just got teary eyed. The Lord answered my prayer. I prayed that we would be able to see each other one more time before I go home".  I cannot express the love I have for Sister Tumanuvao.  Something President Petersen has taught me is the nature of eternal things. I have reflected this past week upon the most sacred and deep feelings of love I have experienced on my mission. They are so precious to me. They are feelings that Satan cannot take away from me, no matter how much he tries to deceive. Sister Tumanuvao gave me a sweet letter and a picture we had taken together. As I pondered upon the love I have for her, the Lord taught me something so profound. I have been praying my whole mission to understand the atonement in some way, to know my Savior Jesus Christ. Something clicked for me- I now feel and understand more than ever why I am here. Charity is the pure love of Christ. I never imagined that Heavenly Father could teach me about His son in this way-to bless me with such a love for her. This is what the atonement of Jesus Christ is. All along I had been praying to understand and what I didn't realize is that He answered me by helping my love for others to grow. It is now overflowing. I have been blessed to be able to feel and exhibit that love. I know it is real and I know it comes from him. This is what I have been praying for. I know His love is real because I couldn't have this love on my own. I want to do everything in my power for Sister Tumanuvao, my family, and my dear investigators and converts to be able to give them what they need. Christ has this love for every person. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." I am here to help people gain eternal life-which is to know of this pure and all consuming love. That evening I had one of the most powerful revelatory experiences I've had in my life. 

One mighty miracle I saw this week is the change that has taken place in our investigator Alan. He is a man Sister Gladden and I taught last year when I was in the area. He wasn't very interested at that time. When we came back to visit him this year, we started talking to him about the Book of Mormon. His wife is a returning member, and has been discussing with him about the Book of Mormon. It is especially interesting to him because he is Native American. In our lesson with him this week, his comments were evidence of the change that is working in him-a change wrought by the Spirit of the Lord. He said that since we had been visiting him, he began to pray more, and truly desire to know God. We felt inspired to share with him the story of Aaron teaching the father of King Lamoni. This story came alive as we helped Alan liken the scriptures to himself. At the end of the lesson, he had a stronger desire to pray and read. He wept at the pains of the sins he had committed and the fact that he was living far away from God. He wept for his loved ones that had passed away. I never realized how much love I had for Alan and his wife Linda until I came back to Glenwood. So badly I want for him to know the reality of repentance and that through the gospel, his life can change. So badly I want for him to experience the pure love Christ can give him.

This fourth of July was way better than last year, luckily.  I had a great day.  The best part of the day was when I met this lady named Virginia at a bbq.  We were talking about how we are missionaries and how I'm from Utah and all that stuff, and she said that she remembered a couple from Utah that came to Glenwood a few years ago.  Sister Hawthorn helped her remember that it was the Roundys.  The spirit touched me as I listened to her talk about how wonderful the Roundys were, how Sister Roundy taught her ways to fold napkins, and Brother Roundy fixed roofs for people.  I felt so happy to see the powerful effect they had upon the people here.  Virginia said "well I'm not mormon, but I really loved that couple.  I wanted them to come to my house and to be my friend".  Sister Hawthorn said that many people still remember the Roundys for what they did and who they were.  Her eyes filled with tears as she expressed her love for them and how they helped her and Howard.  What a wonderful experience.  I'm grateful for the example that the Roundy family has been to me throughout my life.  Uncle Kelly's parents have truly blessed generations by their faithful service.  Sister Hawthorn said she was coming to Utah this Christmas because her daughter lives in Payson.  I invited her to come visit my family and to meet Elder and Sister Roundy's son, my uncle Kelly.  :)  I am SO stoked.  She loved the idea.  Can we set two more places at our dinner table around Christmas time? :)

I love you all.  Have a wonderful week.

love sister wilde

Monday, July 8, 2013

Last Week

( Sorry I was out of town, here is Sis. Wilde's letter from last week)

Dear Family,

What a week!  Things have been picking up in Glenwood, but not without our blood, sweat and my tears.  Sister Jager never cries.  Well, she didn't, until I softened her up.  I think I have begun to rub off on her because she cried when she was telling me about the movie "Touched by an Angel".  She said, "Oh no, what is happening to me?"  And I just laughed an evil laugh.

I got to go on exchanges this week with a sweet sister named Sister Jardine.  We did a 48 hour exchange rather than the normal 24 hour ones.  It was so nice to be with her.  She reminded me a lot of Becca in the way she spoke and the feeling I got from her.  It felt just like home.  I got to show her around and introduce her to my precious Glenwood friends.  We went to Sister Farlene's funeral which I got the opportunity to play at, went to lunch with the Bledsoes, passed by a camel farm on the way to contact a referral, got chocolate milk shakes :), taught some great lessons, and felt the spirit.  This is what life is all about! haha.  It was fun.  Felt sorta like a vacation.

This week we began to teach Adam Crow(14yrs) who is the son of a man in the branch.  For some reason he hasn't been baptized yet but wants to be baptized before he goes back to Montana to be with his mom.  He is getting baptized this sunday.  It's been a great experience to teach him, especially with the help of his dad and step mom who have great testimonies.  Yesterday we taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We talked about the marvelous gift of the Holy Ghost- how blessed we are to know of and receive this comforter to truly walk with us and bring things to our remembrance.  One of the many things President Palmer has taught me is this: "The Holy Ghost sounds like remembering".  This sanctifying power is available to us when we are baptized.  We asked Adam why he wanted to be baptized.  Being the thoughtful person he is, he was quiet for a minute.  He didn't say much, but I felt the spirit powerfully.  Tears filled his eyes as he said "I've been wanting to be baptized for..."  He didn't even finish his sentence.  It is for moments like these that we work and strive to be diligent.  I felt the joy that comes into a person's life when they truly and deeply feel the spirit.  There is nothing sweeter!

The people in this branch have changed my life.  They are examples of the kind of person I want to be.  I had some wonderful experiences with them this week.  First let me tell you about LouElla Hawthorn.  Do you remember when I told you that Sister Boston from Bartlett was the Southern version of Aunt Denise?  Well, so is Sister Hawthorn.  If you want to learn the value of hard work, talk to one of these three ladies.  Sister Hawthorn is always going.  All the time!  She has a 200x300 ft garden that she tends to each day-complete with radishes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, green beans, new potatoes, green onions, sweet potatoes, egg plant and more.  Every Thursday she picks us up and takes us to the appointments with non-members she scheduled for us.  She supplies most of our referrals and new investigators :).   Then she takes us out to lunch, gives us things from her garden, and drops us off.  What an amazing person she is.  The reason she does this?  She has a burning testimony of the gospel and the light it brings to her life.  As we expressed our gratitude to her she said, "Do you know how much my spirit soars when I'm with the missionaries?".  Each day I feel that I gain so much more from these people than I could ever give.  

On Saturday we had our branch social in the park.  It was wonderful!  There were more non-members there than our own members!  Sister Burnett and her sister Opal invited a lot of their friends from the singin's they go to at different churches around the county.  The best part was when one of the visitors brought out his guitar and we all sang some gospel songs.  I'm learning them!  I wish I already knew them all.  I had a ball.  I made friends with them easily because that's the kind of people they are.  Brother Bledsoe requested "our song" (the one we performed at his baptism) "In the Garden".  I just loved the whole thing.  The next day at church President Palmer asked if I had a good time with the singing.  I said, "It's one of my favorite things!".  He said it looked like I was having fun. Also our new investigator Jennifer came with her daughter Nora.  Teaching her has been going very well.

After the picnic, it was about 8:50.  Sister Jager asked me if there was any place I felt we should go.  I thought of this white house I felt prompted to go to 4 weeks ago.  So we went.  We knocked and were immediately invited in and welcomed in such a warm way!  We met a wonderful family- Brenda and Rick, their daughter and grand kids.  They go to the cowboy church here in town. :)  I've really been wanting to meet someone who goes to cowboy church!  Rick added us on facebook, the little grand kids sang songs for us, we prayed with them, and they said we could come back to see them.  We were so happy.  On the way home Sister Jager said, "It's that 9:00 magic, I'm tellin ya".  True.  

I know I'm giving you too much information...but I wanted to capture some great moments I had this week. 

All my love,

   sister wilde 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Address in Glenwood

Sis. Wilde
224 Betty St. #7
Glenwood, AR  71943

Week full of things

Dear Family,

My week was full of lots of things.  Fun things, new things, old things, hard things, special things, and things I'm glad I did.  

Fun things: Walking in the morning with Brother Bledsoe at the park next to our house was one of the highlights.    Describing this man is pretty much impossible-you have to meet him to understand the fullness.  I cherish the time I have to spend with him.  I love hearing about his exciting life, complete with stories of how he was an arson investigator, pilot, firefighter, police he holds the priesthood and 4 callings!  He just got called to attend our weekly missionary coordination meetings to help us coordinate with the elders quorum.  What can I say?  I'm kind of in heaven.  Sister Jager tells me that we both light up whenever we see each other.  

George McWhorter invited us to a fish fry he was cooking at down at the baptist church in Lockesburg.  We had a big time with all the baptists. :)  The fish was good, the people were wonderful, and the best part was the singin they had at the end.  We sang a lot of old time gospel music.  I even went up to the front to sing one.  (A man named Floyd made me..I wasn't too happy about it.  I dragged my companion and Sister Burnett's grandson with me.)  We're having a branch social in Glenwood this Saturday and we invited all the baptists to come.  

New things:  Sister Hawthorn gave us some green onions from her garden.  We started making these delicious sandwiches and putting the onions on the sandwich.  I have never done that before but it's the best thing I've ever tasted!  I have been thinking about it all week.

Old things:  Do you remember my investigator from Hot Springs, Tiffany Martin?  Her mom lives in Glenwood and she was visiting the other day.  I got to see her and Cheyenna again!!  It was wonderful.  We read the scriptures together and enjoyed catching up.  Cheyenna told me that she had 3 birthday wishes.  I think the first two came true, and her third one was that she would get to see me again.  I was touched.  And it came true too!

Hard things:  I'm going to go through this fast.  Basically I had the chance to come home in July so that I could go to Brother Bledsoe's sealing in San Diego in August.  I really wanted to.  There were also other factors concerning my decision.  I prayed and told Heavenly Father that I would do whatever He wanted me to do, but asked if He would tell me what that was.  I was worried that I wouldn't receive a feeling either way.  I decided to fast and ponder about it.  When the time came to make the decision I knew what I must do.  And it is that I must stay.  I'm grateful that I received an answer to my prayer.  Even though it was not the answer I wanted.  But there are things to be done here and happiness to come I believe.

Special things:  I heard Brother Smith give a prayer in church yesterday.  As he closed in the name of Jesus Christ, I felt the spirit and power of those words and the meaning behind them.  It's incredible to think that when we pray or speak in church or impart anything in the name of Jesus Christ, we are representing His love, feelings, and characteristics.  When we have faith and believe that we are truly representing Him, the Holy Ghost can take that unto the hearts of those who will hear.  

Things I'm glad I did:  Farlene Tallant (91), a dear sister in our branch, passed away Friday evening.  We called her Sister Farlene.  I really liked Sister Farlene.  Just before she died, she gave us about 10 referrals of old friends.  She loved the Lord and His work.  We got the chance to visit her on Tuesday, and I'm so glad we did!  She was in a lot of pain but we didn't know how bad it was.  I will never forget the end of that visit, when we sang "Count Your Blessings".  She sang every word.  Off key but so sweetly.

I love you all.  Have a great week.

love sister wilde  

Back in Glenwood

(sorry it is is a week late)

Hey Family-

I am happily writing to you NOT from the senior center.  We got a key to the church and we're using the computer in the mothers' lounge converted into the family history center.  Well things are looking up here in Glenwood.  I think by the time things get going real good will probably be around the time that I will have to leave.  We've got some great things planned for the next few months.  I've gotten more member referrals in the week I've been here than the entire last transfer.  It's fun to see the branch get so excited.  I realize that I have been a very spoiled missionary.  For 9 months of my mission I lived closer to a temple than I did when I lived in Provo Utah.  And after that President let me go back home to Glenwood Branch. :)  The branch feels like home..the town though?  Not so much.  I think I'll get adjusted eventually.  It has been getting better...but I do not care to go back to the beginning of the transfer!  Man it was hard.

I learned a little more about opposition this a hard but valuable way.  I can't really describe to you the hardships of this week except that I felt the adversary threatening to completely overcome me.  When you are going through something like that it is sometimes hard to identify what is actually happening.  Satan is real!  I felt such darkness and sorrow and lack of hope.  I prayed hard, cried hard, and used all the strength I was a hard week. By the time Friday came, I was so overwhelmed that I did not know what to do.  It was that night that I felt the mighty prayers offered by many of you in my behalf.  I went to sleep that night with a profound sense of comfort in my heart.  I share this with you to testify to you that no matter the depth of the darkness we face, there is a light.  Christ is the light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.  It may be a long time before we can experience that pure light, but I have faith that it will always come.  It's not to say that this week won't be even harder than last, but I gained something so powerful this week.  I know that the comfort I received came from God. 

Last week I got the great opportunity to go to dinner with some of my favorite people!!  Sister Hawthorn and her stubborn husband Howard (do you remember me talking about him?) and Sister McWhorter and her stubborn husband George.  We had a great time!  We sat around and joked and laughed.  I told them they could run but they couldn't hide because I'm back to finish what I started and get them baptized!  It was all in good fun but I am not kidding.  We got talking about how the McWhorters just built a new house and President Palmer(who is a carpenter-and a good one at that) was in the process of making cabinets for their kitchen.  Well, they weren't quite done yet and George was pretty grumpy about it.  As we talked about it all George said, "well President Palmer is gonna have to lay his hands on those cabinets before he can lay his hands on my head!"  I said, "We can arrange that!"  :)

I got to see a part member family I used to visit last year-Alan and Linda Myhill.  It was fun to see them again.  Alan is the one who is native american.  He showed us things about his ancestors, the jewelry he makes, taught us to play his flute and dance the rabbit dance while we tried to teach him about Jesus Christ.  Well the trade didn't go as well as we had hoped.  He wasn't really into the whole prayer thing.  When we visited him on Saturday I was surprised at what happened.  Not 5 minutes into our visit he told us of his dear friend who is dying.  He was very upset about it.  He asked if we could have a prayer.  We testified to him that God could give him a comfort that he could not find anywhere else if he would pray to Him.  I hope this door stays open and that he will be receptive to our message.

I hope you have a great week and if you get tempted to complain about hot weather just be glad you aren't in Arkansas. :)  haha.  I love you all!

love sister wilde     

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Back in Arkansas!

Hey Family,
Sorry about the late email.  I have found myself in different in the smallest town ever!  Population:2,228.  Glenwood feels a lot different now that I'm living here, not just coming to visit a few times a week.  There are many wonderful things about it, but it is just weird.  We tried to find computers to do our emailing, but the public library was closed.  The next thing I know, I'm sitting at a computer at the senior center trying for over an hour to connect to the internet.  When I finally did, I had to wait for about 30 seconds for the computer to catch up every time I typed a couple of words.  Then the senior center closed, so we just had to reschedule the rest of our emailing.  Probably more information than you ever wanted to know! 
Well...the first week in a new area is rough.  Cameron knows how it feels- but I also know how Cameron feels to be transferred right before your investigator gets baptized.  Although I couldn't be there, I am overjoyed to know that Debbie got baptized!  Finally!  I snuck to her house right before transfers last week to say bye to her.  She hugged me like I was the prodigal son.  We were so happy.  She thanked me for never giving up on her.  It almost didn't feel real to hear her say that.  She knows it's true and she did what she needed to do.  I was very sad to miss her baptism, but I heard it went well.  I still organized her musical number and told her that I would be there in spirit in the form of Elder Keddington.  (we were supposed to sing on her original baptism date).  I hate to say it, but it just wasn't the same. 
Now I'm back in Arkansas and it feels completely different.  Going back to the Hot Springs/Glenwood area brought back soo many memories.  In some ways I'm glad to be back.  Everything is all worth it because of what happened last Thursday.  I went to pay Brother and Sister Bledsoe a visit.  My heart was pounding the whole drive there.  We arrived at his house, I jumped out of the car, and then ran to his door.  I wondered if anyone had told him I was here again.  As he opened the door, my feelings overcame me.  Tears streamed down his face and mine as well.  I sat at his feet just like I used to do and witnessed the change that has taken place in this man's life.  There he was talkin like he's been a member of the church his whole life!  He told me promptings he'd received from the Holy Ghost.  He told me about how he has read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and he's now reading the Book of Mormon for the second time.  He is going to the temple to be endowed and sealed the first week of August.  It was great to just be in his presence again and feel the spirit with him-something that was not present a year ago.  I cannot describe the feeling that came into that room.  I have never felt so happy in my entire life.  I say that with all honesty.  I find new meaning in the scripture that says "If it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father".  I can say with no trace of doubt that I felt pure joy that night. 
And ever since then, we've been inseparable!  Yesterday we went out walking with him for our exercise in the morning.  Now you remember that this man is a walking champ, don't you?  He's competed in all the surrounding states and won medals and trophys and everything under the sun for the senior olympics.  He still teaches walking classes at the YMCA.  Well, we walked.  And walked.  And walked.  And Brother Bledsoe talked.  And talked.  And talked so long!  We had to cut him off early because we had to go do our studies.  I won't lie to you...I got out-walked.  By a 90 year old man!!!  My goodness.  I will cherish that.  He walked us back to our apartment and saw a couple a few apartments down who were struggling with a chair they were setting up in front of their house.  He said, "oh I wonder if they need help!"  He rushed over there and we helped them.  He probably would have done that before, but he really has changed.  I love the scripture in Moses that talks about how the spirit "maketh alive all things".  Well Dick Bledsoe was pretty alive before, but I'm not sure he'll ever stop now that he has the spirit!  We're both brought to tears every time we see each other.  We're kind of a mess. haha.  During our walk, he told us about last year (his final year of the senior olympics).  He said he would have taken first in everything but he didn't.  Then pointing at me, he said, "and it's all your fault!".  I really couldn't remember why...but he went on to say that the 5-k that he usually won was held on Sunday.  He chose not to participate in it because he had just been baptized.  I don't know why I forgot that sweet story..but there it is.  I am glad I could come back to spend this time with him.  He is so dear to me.
Well I am training a new sister.  Her name is Sister Jager from Oregon.  She lives close to Salem.  I told her my brother served his mission there.  I wasn't sure the exact area, but I knew it was in the same mission as where she lives.  She is completely different than I am!  It's a good thing.. but we are adjusting.  We have been finding and working with the members who are excited to have us.  I don't think I'm ever very good at telling you about my companions...if you want to know anything in specific, just ask me.  I will try to remember to answer your questions.  Maybe that's the problem.  haha.  sorry. 
I hope you are all doing well.  I will leave you with a question my mission president asked us today.
Are you willing to follow Jesus Christ and perservere through the trials that come?  The way to do that is to focus all of our thoughts on Him.
love sister wilde

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Things are shaking up in the mission"

(sorry it is a few days late)

Dear Family,
Things are shaking up in the mission.  I think we have 25 missionaries coming this week..something like that.  I am training and about 12 or 13 other sisters are training too.  It's hard to believe that my transfer in Lakeland is almost over- I hope my experiences here have been in preparation for opening Glenwood next transfer.  We've done a lot of finding and I got to feel what it's like to start from scratch.  It wasn't completely scratch, but compared to what it is now it seems to have been.  We've done a lot of work!  I'm not as nervous going to Glenwood as I was for Lakeland because I feel like I'm ahead in that I already know the members.  I can't even tell you how excited I am to see Brother and Sister Bledsoe.  This is a pretty sweet deal. 
Lots of changes are happening.  My MTC companion Sister Edwards had to go home early because she was sick.  I am sad because I really wanted to go hom with her. :(  Sister Martell is actually being transferred out of Bartlett.  She's unhappy about it.  She just told me some great news about Debbie!  So Debbie got up in church yesterday and bore her testimony that she knew the Book of Mormon was true.  Then, unbenounced to Sister Martell, she announced that she was getting baptized on June 8 and invited everyone to her baptism.  It's hard to describe the joy I experienced when I heard this.  I think it is a joy that only a missionary knows.  It seems so many days that what I do doesn't make a difference, doesn't help anyone.  But when I am able to see that Debbie has obtained such a precious knowledge-a knowledge that can only come through the hardest of work. This knowledge requires deep soul searching, pondering, and the most sincere prayer we can offer.  It is only then that we understand how precious the knowledge is because of what it took to get us there. Everything we have to give to someone else will always be worth it because of the feelings and knowledge of the spirit that we gain.  It is meaningful to me to think of what I love most in my is the people.  My family and those I serve with and for.  That is the reason I will give what I have to give. 
Now a few thoughts I had this week:
You know you've been a missionary too long when you're driving on the freeway, glance over to see a building with a big word printed on the wall that actully reads "Laminates" but you thought it said "Lamanites". 
I commented- "Oh my gosh, did you see that building? It said Lamanites. I can't believe that building says Lamanites!  So weird!"
You know you've been a missionary too long when you're sitting at dinner with members, and their 14 yr old son starts talking about the scout trip he's going on where he'll travel by sailboat- with fishing, anchors and everything- and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is "Sweet, Alex you're gonna be like a disciple!  Think of all the spiritual parallels you could draw".
Do you want to hear a good joke?
Knock knock.
(who's there?)
Joseph Smith.
(Joseph Smith who?)
Well let me tell you about him!  :)
Isn't that the best joke you've ever heard???  Elder Webster made it up. hahahaha.
I love you all!  Pray for me....I'm going to the furthest reaches of the mission...I don't know if I'll come back alive.
love sister wilde

Friday, May 31, 2013

Going Back to Glenwood!!!!

Dear Family,

Wow I can't believe Elliot and Jessica's baby is already here!  I fear that by the time I have children all the good names will be taken by the rest of the family.  Kate Ryan is the cutest name I've ever heard!  Now watch everyone copy Jessica like they always do and name their kids Kate.  Ah well..Kate and I will meet.  Soon. :)

Believe it or not this transfer is coming to a close.  Looking back it seems like it's been such a short time, but it has honestly been the longest transfer of my life.  I have absolutely loved living with the Longshore's though.  They took me in like family.  They even call me fat head.  (Apparently its a term of endearment.  I'll take it I guess).  You will meet them someday.  I especially felt like family yesterday when I came home to find out that our dog Rosie had to be put down.  I cried and cried.  I've never had this experience before because I usually don't really care about dogs.  But I really loved Rosie.  I am still pretty upset about it.  She had a seizure and there was no other choice but to put her down.  Now I don't get to guide her to the door and watch her run into things.  I bet she is happier now though.  

Well, I'm getting transferred.  I've known for over a week now..President is sending me back to Glenwood!  Before when I was there we covered Hot Springs and Glenwood, but now the area will be split and I will be opening Glenwood.  (Since the sisters are doing practically no work there right now).  I am training a new sister there.  President Petersen told me that when he told President Palmer(branch pres) that I was returning, he teared up a bit and was so excited for me to come back.  I cannot tell you what that means to me.  Those people are dear to me.  I am anxious to see Bro and Sis Bledsoe again and to baptize stubborn old Howard Hawthorne and George McWhorter.  It's gonna happen this time.  President Palmer has called a new branch mission leader and 6 branch missionaries!  They are pumped.  Small but strong.  There is a very special spirit in that branch...I'm excited to go.  Some ladies in the branch even made quilts for the missionaries' beds.  That is very sweet.  I'm not sure where I will be living..but it will be an adventure.  It does feel sad and weird to leave Memphis though.  

What life really boils down to is the primary answers.  God lives.  He loves us and hears our prayers.  Jesus Christ is our Savior. The scriptures are true- if we did not taste the bitter we would not recognize or understand the sweet.  The more I learn about trials the more real of a missionary and person I will be.  I have come to understand in greater depth the power of love.  There are sometimes that I doubt, but there are some things that I know.  I know the love that I feel for my family- that it cannot be erased.  No one can persuade me that that love is not real.  I have felt a remarkable measure of love this truly has the power to heal broken hearts and souls.  I have experienced that healing.  Thank you for your love and prayers.  Love is the reason we can do miracles.  We sacrifice out of love, we serve and share out of love.  For in those moments that we truly give of ourselves in Christlike love, we feel a light come on inside of us.  An energy that gives us the motivation to keep trying, keep giving, keep loving.  This is the Spirit of the Lord.  In this process the Lord will guide our lives.  How grateful I am to have received love from each of you.  Your lives of devotion to your families and our Heavenly Father have made an eternal impact upon me.

May you pray with more sincerity, give with your whole heart, and know that I love you with all of mine.

love sister wilde

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hot in Memphis

Dear Family,
The muggy hot humid weather has begun.  It's part of the Memphis charm..this really is like its own country.  The culture and attitudes are unlike any other place.  A lot of the people here really are very good though.  We met this great lady named Lillie.  I can't really describe her except by saying she is a really cool spunky black baptist lady.  We were immediately friends.  We had a great lesson with her last week about how the restoration is like putting all the puzzle pieces together.  She really wanted to come check out our church.  She said, "So do you have a band?"  and I but maybe we really should look into that.  We really need more passion in this church- like a gospel choir.  And what's wrong with a few praise the Lords or hallelujahs?  Mr. Mendenhall always talked about that-we needed more excitement in church.  (He served his mission in the south).  I think he's right. Well maybe I've been thinking about it because this past Wednesday was the Gladys Knight devotional.  It was wonderful.  She is an astounding person.  She truly has a light, and she shared it so beautifully.  She bore her testimony through song and words in a bold but humble way.  I wish you could have been there...her husband also bore his testimony.  They both talked about how it was hard to join because of the image that the church had (in regards to the African American community), but that they realized that it was about the truth.  That we are all brothers and sisters and that God needs people in His army.  Her husband said, "The process is easy.  You have to read the book, pray and ask if it's true.  Once you get your answer, then it gets hard. This church puts you to work!  That's why we got caller ID so when the bishop calls..." :)  He was really funny.  Probably the funniest thing he said was when he was talking about after he got his answer that the Book of Mormon is true.  He said, "My question after that was, God, if this gospel is really true, why did you have to give it to a little white boy?"  hahahaha.  He said his answer was that He didn't give it to a little white boy, he gave it to his brother.  They were entertaining and full of the spirit.  Did I tell you that Gladys Knight's grandson is in my mission?  He's a great kid.  She called him up during the devotional when she was talking about her grandkids serving missions.  He came up and it was just really sweet.  He bore his testimony.  You could tell she was so proud of him.  She was so kind about the missionaries.  She straight up told the audience to let us in when they saw us.  She had us all stand up and they applauded us for the service we do.  I feel like I really don't do that much, but at the same time, we really do give up our lives for kind of a while to do this.  It was a great experience.
I know I talk about this a lot, but I have been thinking again this week about how meaningful small acts of service are.  There is a lady in this ward who has been an angel to us.  She doesn't even know how much it means to me.  She calls us at least twice a week asking us if we need a ride or a meal or anything at all.  It has made all the difference for me. 
Great news!  My whistling skills have drastically improved!  You don't know how awesome this is.  I've been working on it every day as we walk around.  I started with hymns and primary songs and then graduated to whistling beethoven, mozart and debussy.
Okay, so do you remember when I told you that I had accomplished two things on my mission: I got over the fear of inviting people to be baptized and throwing up.  Well last Tuesday was quite the day.  So I started getting a migraine and I knew how it would end.  It was only a matter of time.  A lady from the ward came to pick us up for dinner.  I thought I was gonna lose it in the car...and then I had to eat dinner!  It was bad...right after dinner I excused myself and threw up in their bathroom.  First time at a member's house.  I actually made it through the rest of our appointments that night.  Probably it was a miracle.
I love you all.  Have a good week.
love sister wilde 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Happy Mothers Day!

Dear Family,
It was so nice to see you yesterday.  I really wish we could have gotten Becca and Jeremy's family on there too..oh well I guess.  They will just have to come to Utah in August.  :)  I'll try not to get my hopes up too high, but they have really got to come because their kids are getting way too big.  They did not ask my permission to get older.  haha. really was nice to talk to you all.  I have been in Lakeland for 3 weeks now.  It's pretty nice I suppose. The best thing about living at the Longshores is that they have really nice laundry detergent that makes my clothes really soft and smell wonderful.  It's downy.  Also Rosie, the blind dog.  And the Longshores of course. :)  The ward is very nice- I like that I can make lots of little connections because I know everyone in Bartlett too.  Last night we went to dinner at the Thomas's house.  They are one of those families that have been here in Memphis forever and they have a bunch of family.  I knew one of the grandsons and his family in Bartlett 1st ward.  His wife Micaela invited us to dinner at the grandparent's house.  The grandparents live in Lakeland ward.  It was really fun to see Micaela again.  She was one of the people in Bartlett who was truly an answer to prayer.  I don't know if that story made any sense..but I had a nice time at dinner.  
This week we did a lot of finding.  I think I have actually gotten way better at talking to anyone and everyone.  Most of the time I really don't want to do it, but when I choose to do it, I meet the nicest people!  Then I am so glad that I decided to open my mouth.  There are so many people we pass by every day-and when we don't talk to them, we never know if we could have made a great friend or shared a special experience with them.  This weekend we met the nicest people.  I met an 84 yr old man named Willie while he was fishing.  We met Manny from Mexico and Supriya from India.  I am hoping they will allow us to come back and share the spirit with them.  I think these ones will.  On Saturday as we walked down the street, we saw a lady(probably mid 20s) and a little girl who looked about 5 or 6 sitting out on their driveway.  We tried to talk to her...she wasn't having it.  I asked if we could give her a card.  She said no at the same time the little girl nodded her head and said yes.  Then she looked at the older girl and said "yes, please?"  I didn't want to give her a card because the older lady said no, so we thanked them and walked away.  About a minute later the little girl ran up to us and asked if she could have a card.  So I gave her a picture of Jesus.  It was really sweet.
We are starting to teach this guy named Phill.  He is the nicest southern man I think I've met on my mission.  Well, one of the nicest.  We went over yesterday to give him a ticket to Gladys Knight.  As we talked with him, he started talking about how the Jehovah's Witnesses come to his house every couple weeks, but that he hadn't seen them in quite a while.  They finally came over last week and Phill said to them, " Patrick, where have ya been?  The mormons done got you beat!  They got these cutie pie girls comin over now."  hahahahaha.  He said the Jehovah's witnesses were nice but the mormons have got his heart.  I think there really is such a thing as sister charm.
I hope all is well at home.  I love you all.
sister wilde     
ps.  I had to tell you..While we were walking on Saturday, we heard the sound of an ice cream truck.  Sister Williams said, "oh my gosh!", and turns around in amazment as the truck passes us on the street.  She then told me that that was the first time she has ever seen an ice cream truck.  In. her. whole. life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Long Week

Dear Family,
I apologize in advance for the longness of this letter.  I'm pretty sure this has been the longest week of my life..but I guess I've realized the truth of what Sister Dalton said once.  The Lord doesn't like comfort zones.  Because I am out of my comfort zone I am forced to work hard.  I am forced to keep pushing when I really don't want to.  I have no other choice but to work hard.  It is really true that the more people you talk to and ask for referrals, the more success you will have. What a simple principle.  Obvious.  I've heard it taught many times.  But after this past week, I understand it more clearly than I have before. We talked with a lot of people, prayed a lot, and were able to find 8 precious souls as new investigators. I care more about these 8 people than I have ever cared about a new investigator.  Because I know that Heavenly Father hand picked them for us.  We prayed to know which streets to go at which time, and we found people who would listen to us.  I pray that they will continue to be receptive to our message. I think that was the highlight of our week.  I don't even remember the last time I found 8 in one week.  That is sad.  Well, good thing this is a gospel of repentance.  Every time I've opened the Book of Mormon lately I have been severly.  I opened up to Helaman 12 and read the words, "Sister. Wilde.  You. Are. Prideful."  But I then read verses 22-23.  I might have been'll have to check.  "And may God grant in his fulness that men might be brought to repentance and faith.."  or something like that.  Then He promises that we will be restored grace for grace.  Not sure what that means yet, but I feel like when I repent and give all my efforts (consecration), then I will obtain His grace.  That's pretty good.
So I am making lots of little connections with people in the ward.  We went to the Relief Society President's house for dinner the other night.  She has a daughter named Bethany.  Doesn't quite spell her name right, but I'll forgive her.  I said, "Hey, I have a little sister named Bethanie!"  Then I really missed Bethanie!  Turns out that she has a birthday in October.  I said, "my little sister's birthday is in October!"  Now get this.  Her nick name is Boo.  I said, "Okay, this is getting freaky."  :)  
I had congo bars this week!  It was awesome!  I decided my comfort foods are toast, milk, and congo bars.  I felt right at home.
Sorry for the lame letter-Cameron's gonna wipe the floor with me this week.  :)
I love you all,
sister wilde

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Address

Here is Sis. Wilde's New Address:

Sister Annalisa Wilde  
8902 Carriage Creek Road
Bartlett, TN   38002

This Week's Letter

Dear Family,
I decided a few things.  First, I'm getting smoked by Cameron's experiences.  I'm starting to feel really guilty about driving everywhere.  We walk sometimes...but we definitely don't bike 30 miles a day.  If there is one word of advice I could give anyone that I personally don't know how to accomplish, it is- stop feeling guilty.  But I am humbled to read of Cameron's experiences and touched by his testimony.  It is remarkable that young men give up absolutely everything for 2 years to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Well, I'm in Lakeland.  It's really close to Bartlett- like half of my area is in Bartlett.  But it's just far enough to be painful. And I'm not gonna has been painful.  I think I'm the worst missionary in the world at being transferred.  We've been trying to figure everything out since we whitewashed the area.  Pinkwashed I guess.  It isn't as hard as opening an area, so I really shouldn't complain.  But I have noticed a few really cool things.  We walked into the area with a baptism planned for Saturday.  So we got the opportunity to plan the whole thing and call people in the ward to help out with the program and things.  I think it was a great way to start getting to know some of the people in the ward, especially our ward mission leader.  I actually know a handful of people from Lakeland ward already, having served in Bartlett for so long.  It's also cool because a lot of the people in this ward know the people from Bartlett, so we have a lot of common ground.  I wish you could meet all of these people- they are incredible.  Some of the strongest converts I've met.  The conversion stories are amazing, especially because they live in the south.  So this past week, we prepared for the baptism of Maxey Maxamillion Maxwell.  (Please do not laugh, I'm pretty sure he will hear you.  And if he doesn't, the angels will.  I really believe that.  They record the bad stuff you say so always remember to be nice). We also had the opportunity to participate in a stake young mens activity.  It was an MTC Experience.  The young men got a chance to learn about different facets of serving a mission-like culture, how to cook nutritious food, how to conduct music...Sister Williams and I and the Arlington elders got a chance to teach them about Lesson 1-the Restoration.  Oh yeah.  My companion is Sister Williams.  From Blackfoot ID, third of 6 kids, first 19 yr old in Arkansas Little Rock mission...did I cover everything?  Oh-she's my first companion that is shorter than me.  That's exciting.  And my district leader is Elder Randall (who Elliot worked with at RC Willey).  He's a funny kid.  Anyway..  We taught them about the main doctrines, how to create a lesson plan, did some role plays, bore our testimonies and got to hear some of their testimonies of the Restoration and how it has changed their lives. It was a great experience. Then they got to teach their own mock investigators.  Our investigator Max was there for the whole thing.  Which is awesome because he got to fellowship with the boys and learn about missionary work.  Because missionary work is legit.  If there is another word of advice I can give you it is- please be a member missionary.  The spirit will touch you more frequently and deeply as you share your witness of the truths you know.  Anyway.. After the activity, Max was baptized.  It was sweet because everyone got to be there for it. 
After Max's baptism, we rushed to Bartlett to Kendall's baptism.  I'm so happy that he got baptized.  I got to play a musical number for it.  I was glad to be there..but it was painful.  I just felt like I came home..and after it everyone from Bartlett gave me hugs.  I really feel a lot of love from them.

We were spiritually finding yesterday when Sister Williams felt prompted to go to a certain house. We knocked on the door and no one answered. We waited for a minute and then the lady that lived there actually drove in. She got out with 4 kids along with her. She had the most beautiful family! I can't even describe the beauty I felt as we talked with her. We asked if she would like to learn more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She said yes and invited us in. She is hispanic and had to have her daughter translate some of the things we said. We asked if spanish speaking missionaries could come back and she agreed. She told us about how her brother is suffering from leukemia and that she is going to visit him in Chicago soon. I for some reason felt prompted to tell her of my experience with Ryan. I don't normally tell anyone...I almost hesitate to bring it up now, but I felt like I really did understand what she was going through. I testified to her that there is no way I would still be here doing missionary work if it wasn't for the love and sustainment of my Father in Heaven and His son. There was a special spirit there. I know she was touched because tears came to her eyes after the prayer. I hope the spanish missionaires will be able to teach her.
I have more stories..but maybe I will do them next week.  I love you all. 
love sister wilde

Last Week's Letter (sorry it is late)

Hey Family,
Sorry I didn't write yesterday.  I had a crazzy day.  Also, I forgot my list of all the things I needed to tell you this week.  It's in my old planner...let's just say that I think I am starting to turn into my mom because this week I keep thinking things like I just want to run away from home and I think I'm losing my mind.  Because I really am!  It has been nuts..It is so much harder for me to leave this area and these peopel than I even anticipated.  And I already knew I was kind of a baby.  But this is embarrassing.  I took it upon myself to write letters to some members and investigators to express my love and appreciation.  There are far too many for me to even packing, plus telling Sis Martell about all the investigators that have fallen through the visiting all the people that want us to come visit them before I go..I know I know, not a bad problem to have.  I'm sort of having a really good time even though it's stressful.  But Sister Martell is about to train!  I'm proud of her.  I will have a grandchild, I just can't believe it.
Yesterday a lot of missionaries that I really love went home.  We had a great day at the temple.  Then Brother and Sister Lackey took us on a fun outing.  We went to Collierville where they have this little historic square and a train that you can walk in and stuff.  We took lots of pictures and then went to a fun old fashioned burger place after.  Now Brother Lackey is the man that had married 2 or is it 3 mormon women but he will never become mormon.  He is the sweetest man though.  He doesnt come to church because he works on Sunday, but he came to our Ask in Faith Devotional and really enjoyed it.  I can't really describe Brother Lackey except that he is just Brother Lackey.  But you will all meet him because I already planned for them to come to Utah to stay with us and then we will go to Yellowstone. 
Okay so I'm feeling really lost without my list.  It had all the spiritual things I wanted to say and all the funny things I wanted to say.  But I will tell you this funny story.  A few weeks ago after our devotional, President came up to me when I was talking to Sister Longshore from the Lakeland ward and out of the blue said, "You're going to be living with her".  That threw me for a loop..So the elders in Lakeland (which is the city literally right next to Bartlett) live with Bishop Longshore right now.  So if I were to live with them, that would mean that the elders are out.  Then Sister Longshore got really excited.  And I got really excited. I love living with members.  So there we go, I'm whitewashing Lakeland.  I'll probably die in Lakeland.  But then President told me not to tell anybody because he doesn't want the elders to stop working.  But then get this!  I tried to keep it a secret for as long as I could, but then the next day our zone leaders called about something and then asked me if I was getting transferred...and I held on to it for another day...and then I cracked the next day.  But then they were talking to President about it (pretending that they didn't know) and he straight up told them I was going to Lakeland.  So I figure if he is telling people that I can tell people.  And I dont' think the Lakeland elders know about it.  Not that it really matters now because I'm going there tomorrow.  But anyway.  Sister Martell is relieved that I won't be too far and that I can still help her.  The cool thing about this all is that I can feel that I should be there.  I know this sounds cheesy, but it's almost like I feel it calling to me.  I can feel the title "Lakeland Sisters" settling upon me.  haha.  But there are two individuals that I have met in the past 8 months that I really connected with, but they live in the Lakeland boundary.  I didn't want to turn them over to the elders because they need sisters.  I feel a repsonsibility for them and I just want them to be mine.  And now they are mine. :)  I know this is what needs to happen and so I will do it.
I have been reading Cameron's letters and I am so impressed.  I always share with my companions the things that he says and the testimony he bears in his letters.  I feel like I need to step it up!  Well this is what I  will share.  The more I eliminate distractions, the more meaning I feel in pondering and understanding simple truths.  The life of a missionary is simple-you worry about one thing.  Just one.  Inviting others to come to Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for this time that I have away from my life and the things of the world to learn to live in a more simple way.  The gospel is truly the only thing we need.  Jesus Christ knows who I am and loves me.  How many times have you heard that?  How many times do you actually allow that into your heart?  How much more this truth means to me when I have felt alone on my mission, not having the luxury of talking to my loved ones.
But I really do get to talk to you soon.  Woo!  I love you all.
love sister wilde