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