Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Festival! πŸŽ‰ Week 4: Christmas!

What a week it has been!
(Looks like you all are getting a typed up email again.  I have to
record the videos the night before when I still look good, lol.)
With school now being out for winter and the average temperature at
night being around the mid-40s, Festival of Lights has been an
absolute madhouse.
Last year for the entire month of December, 90,000 people came though
our little VC doors.  Thursday night we had just under 9,000 people
come in which was a record high.
On Christmas day alone we had another 9,500 people which was a
staggering, unbelievable new record high that nobody was really
expecting.  That night, the VC sisters had put together a short 30
minute musical program (because nobody wants to perform on Christmas
day) but both shows sold out and were full-houses.  So yeah, I
performed in front of 1000-1200 people in one night. (Stick that one
on the resume.)

The highlight of the week was definitely talking to my family over
Facetime.  It was nice to see that everything was as it should be back
home.  EXCEPT Hayden (my 13 year old brother) has a man-voice now.  D:
That was quite the surprise.  They're also both significantly taller
than me..... time, stahp.

Another cool experience from the week was, starting as a mission
around the beginning of November, I was able to read the whole Book of
Mormon and complete it just last night.
I'm not sure how many times I've read it cover to cover, but every
time my testimony is strengthened about how I know it is so true.  If
nothing else, it's far too intricate to not be true.  Christ himself,
as a resurrected being did show himself unto the ancient inhabitants
of the ancient Americas and did minister unto them.  Christ loves all
mankind and invites all of us to come unto Him and become more like
He was lifted up upon the cross so that at the great and last
judgement day, Christ can lift us up before the Father and report to
Him that our works, thoughts, and desires have been just and good.
Although we are far from perfect beings, we have the promise that if
we come unto Christ, we can become perfected in Him.  And perfected
does not just mean to be without flaw, but it also means complete,
whole, clean, healed, without scars, having no traces of anything in
our past that leaves us with a feeling of guilt.
Christ has promised to take that all away; all we have to do is come
unto Him and try our very best to follow Him.
What a great message this is to share around the very birth of our
Savior, Jesus Christ.

Let us all strive to keep the Spirit of Christmas with us, not just in
December, but all year by remembering that the Spirit of Christmas is
really just the Spirit of Christ.

Love you all and Jesus Loves you too!
~Sister Galli


Sister Galli and Sister Barr

Riding the nativity camel :)

The group of missionaries she flew to DC with back in June

The director of the VC reading Luke 2 to all of the VC sisters on Christmas Eve

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Festival! 🎁Week 3: The Sisters Meet the Sisters

Hey Everybody!
This week, I've decided to write an email instead.  There's a lot to
talk about but I just kinda wanna lay down... so typing it up it is!
We had some really fun moments this week.  Friday we went Christmas
caroling for an assisted living home.  We sounded pretty mediocre.
But that's okay :) We had fun.
On Saturday, there was a snow storm here (but here it's more like tiny
frozen rain droplets than it is snowflakes) and because of it being
the first snow, they don't really have snow plows here, and nobody
knows how to drive amidst this foreign white substance, there were so
many wrecks.  Luckily not us.  But we were told that we weren't
supposed to go outside until noon when it was supposed to melt off.
But Saturday morning was Mireille's baptism and we had miraculously
gotten permission to attend that a few days before.  So we called up
President and somehow, we got special permission to drive the 16 miles
of highway in the snow to attend a baptism that we also had to get
special permission to go to. #miracles
It was amazing to be there.  Mireille's whole family was there too and
they were all very supportive.  Her husband only speaks french so we
invited the French Elders to attend and afterwards they were chatting
with him :)
She is going to do amazing things in the Church.  She has such amazing
faith in Christ and it's a bit refreshing in this crazy world to know
that there are just good people out there.  There was certainly a
reason I was meant to go tract that one street in the 100 degrees,
100% humidity August heat.
Sunday night at the VC was the busiest night thus far with a
staggering 6800 people, the night before being 5800 people.  So glad
I'm not claustrophobic.
And then last night was a cool story.  The picture kinda explains it
all.  But pretty much the group of sisters came in and a group of us
sisters were able to have a really good long conversation with them
about what we do more than religion.  They were really excited to
learn more at the temple model.  Although we know that they don't have
the full truth, I've decided that you can't be a nun and be a bad
person.  Those ladies were amazing people.
But that's about all for the week.  I'm thinking the pictures say it a
lot better than me anyway.
Love you all!
~ Sister Galli

First 'snow' 12/17/16
Sisters with Mireille
Sister Galli and Sister Watkins with Mireille

Sister Galli spent the first (almost) 6 months of her mission in the Kentlands area

Brooke and her family went to visit on 12/17/16

Smelling her hair for me :)

Her favorite tree

Pointing to the Mozambique flag on the International Tree

International Tree

Christmas caroling at an assisted living home with her district

I love this pic! The Sisters meet the Sisters

Hayden got these socks last week and when Hannah saw them in a pic she said she really wanted some.
So, Hayden packed them up and sent them off to her :) That's love!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Festival! ⛄️ Week 2

Good morning, one and all! I got a pretty good response with the video last week, so I guess I'll keep doing that for a while :) Hope you enjoy!

Mom Minute (summary of the video for her book):
- Doesn't feel like December there with the rain
- They are at the VC 5 out of 7 nights. They stand up in the front by the Christus or by the temple model. They also go back into the theater where there are 55 nativity sets from all over the world. They also stand in back by the house video and where they show the Light the World video. It's fun to talk with people and get to know them.
- They are doing good at meeting their goals.
- They are inside the entire night which is good because it's cold even though it's not snowing.
- They made brownies for a sister's b-day.
- They are teaching a guy named Maurice. Sister Barr met him before Hannah moved there. He took his kids to the festival and he has started reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. He got the answer that he should keep looking into it.
- They had a conference about 27 miles away and it took them over an hour to get home. Traffic is brutal there. She feels like drivers are more alert there so there are less accidents than a place where everyone is on their phones.
- Mireille (a sister that Hannah and Sis Watkins found in Kentlands), is still set to be baptized this Saturday. Hannah can't attend because she will be on shift at the VC, but she talked to the mission president and he has given her permission to participate over Skype, so that's pretty cool. Mireille is one of those people that proves that God is preparing people to hear the message of the gospel. They found her while tracting on a miserable, hot day. Hannah says it was totally worth it.
- She asked us to keep them in our prayers, not for them necessarily, but that the people who have been prepared will be put in their path.

Also, lots of pictures (Sister Barr likes to take photos)
#cars #BestPlace #PhotoShoot

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Festival πŸŽ„Week 1

Hey remember when I said last week that I wasn't sure how I was going
to do with not being able to speak loudly during Festival of Lights?
Well, here's a video of how I did.  I recorded it last night and since
then it's gotten worse to the point where I can't speak but that
shouldn't last too long.

Thoughts on having me type out something versus sending a video where
I talk about my week? Pros, cons?

Love you all very much :)
~Sister Galli

Mom Minute:
For the sake of the book that I want to print out at the end of her mission, I am going to summarize what she said in her video:
- She's losing her voice from trying to talk loudly over the couple thousand people around.
- She got transferred on November 30th to the Kensington area. The temple is now is their area so they only have to drive a couple of miles. She also got a new companion. Her name is Sister Barr and she is from Syracuse, UT. They are whitewashing the area, which means both of them are new to the area. Her apartment is much smaller than her last one, but much nicer. They also share it with another set of sisters from the Spanish program. 
- Festival started last Thursday and it's been a really good week. This has given them an extra boost of energy for missionary work. They are getting lots of referrals and are ahead of their goals. On Tuesday (11/29) it was a VIP night. There were ambassadors from many countries and Elder Gary E Stevenson was there from the quorum of the twelve apostles.

With her new companion, Sister Barr, from Syracuse, UT.

Trying to stay warm


She bought a buddy for her plant.
Looking out her new apartment window.
They are on the 16th floor.
Festival of Lights at the Washington DC Temple

Many (if not all) of the sisters who serve in the Visitors Center, with Elder Gary E Stevenson

Monday, November 14, 2016

She Finally Broke Me πŸŽ…πŸΌ

Hello everyone!  I miss all your beautiful smiling faces :)
To be honest, I miss any smiling faces.  Nobody smiles in DC.
Especially after Tuesday (There are more democrats per capita in
Maryland than any other state).  But I digress!

Not a lot has happened since I emailed last week on Wednesday.  Friday
night ALL of our appointments fell through, which is a huge bummer,
but what can you do.

The decorations at the VC for Christmas are almost entirely done.
There's a lot of cool trees.  There's 12 or so trees in the VC (the
12ft tall kind) and two are decorated with dolls from all around the
world.  The other 10 or so are decorated by each of the surrounding
stakes each year.  I'll have to grab pictures of them this week,
because they're really cool to look at :)

The Chinese Elders had a baptism on Sunday and they invited our
investigators to attend.  Our family of 5 came and watched but they
had to leave quickly after, so we hope that when we follow up with
them, they'll have positive comments and maybe feel like it's right to
be baptized soon :D

~Sister Galli

I made it so close to going until after Thanksgiving before starting
to listen to Christmas music. Today Sister Watkins found my iPod and
started playing all my Piano Guys Christmas albums... So close...

One of the trees with dolls from around the world.
I bet ya can't guess why she chose this section to take a picture of....

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Temple Trip

Howdy y'all!
Funny hearing from me on a Wednesday, no?
Well, this week, my p-day got swapped for a Wednesday instead of a
Monday so we could go to the temple (it's closed on Mondays).  It was
so nice.  The inside of the Temple is always so peaceful and
enlightening.  I invite all of you to either go or to work towards
being worthy to go inside a temple. It truly is a little piece of
heaven on earth.
Today has been really full, so this email will be more of a tiny
update than anything else.
We caught two more mice this week, giving us a grand total of 6.
There's no sign of others, but we'll probably go buy more traps
Like, I said, we were able to go to the temple 😊
We got flu shots and I didn't cry πŸŽ‰
We're still working with our Polish famly as well as this
relatively-new lady from Camaroon.  They all want to get baptized but
in December, so I may or may not be in the area. 😐
That'll be hard to see if I've worked on this area from absolutely
nothing to greatness and not be here for the harvest.  We shall see
We found that a great finding activity is raking peoples leaves for themπŸ‚
As for the rest of the week, it's been a lot of the same--checking on
less-active members and visiting former investigators.  We've been
teaching a lot though and that's been great.

We can feel your prayers for these investigators.  Thank you and keep
up the good work!

~Sister Galli

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bonus Blog Post

So, I (Natalie) found out yesterday that two of my best friends (Brooke Thompson and Brittany Weibel, who are practically sisters to me) both have plans to visit DC this month. I knew Brooke was heading up there in December to see the Christmas lights at the temple, but she ended up needing to travel up there this weekend for a funeral as well. Brooke only lives 5 hours away in NC, so it's not that surprising, but I also recently found out that Brittany (who lives in CO) has plans to travel there for a family vacation. WHAT?!? I guess that would be one of the perks of your child going to a mission that attracts tourists - VISITORS! In fact, she is serving in the VISITOR'S center at the temple, so that makes it even more convenient. With such short notice for Brooke's visit today, there was no way to let Hannah know and to hear back from her regarding her schedule at the VC. It was a matter of them just showing up and hoping for the best. Brooke said the traffic was unexpectedly light and they made it to the VC before the morning shift went home but just before the afternoon shift would be showing up, so both possibilities were covered.

She kept texting me pictures as they got closer. I was having serious butterflies at this point.

It seemed to me like they found her pretty easily and quickly. I was so thrilled!

Selfie first!
Love this pic! Notice the picture-perfect matching outfits :)
She hugged her and smelled her hair for me, just like I asked her to. She also took a few videos of her for me:

She told Brooke this is her favorite thing about the VC.
It's a model of what the temple looks like inside.
 Then, Sister Galli took them on a tour of the Visitor's Center.
Pioneer Women Past and Present art display

Apparently there's a 'house' in there.

Media Room
I saw more of the Visitor's Center in the hour that Brooke was visiting than I have seen in the 5 months that Hannah has been there. I guess she didn't think it would be interesting to us, but I love seeing where she spends her time. When you want something done, Brooke is your gal! 

Time for the Thompsons to leave, but they'll be back again in December to see the lights.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Frenzy with Furry Friends 🐭

Happy Monday, all!
I hope you all are well rested for this great Halloween evening.  We
will be spending it in our apartment studying the scriptures...with
candy! :D

The biggest fiasco we had this week was that in a single 24-hour
period, we've caught 4 mice and will most likely catch a few more
before too long.  They're doing a lot of work on our apartment complex
so that's probably where they came from.

Something that's really excited this week is that we put our tracting
miracle, Mireille, on baptismal date for December 17.  She could be
baptized a lot sooner, but she wants her husband who works in Cameroon
to be here to support her.

Our family of 5 still comes to church and church activities regularly.
(I wonder if they've fallen into the eternigator category yet?)
(Eternigator = eternal investigator).  We've been starting to meet
with them more often and yesterday we took them to the VC for a lesson
on temples.  We ALMOST got them to commit to a baptismal date.  They
just don't understand the importance of the priesthood fully.  We'll
get there.

We've seen miracles with these investigators this week so please keep
praying for them!

That's pretty much the extent of the news for this week.  This morning
we had a three-hour meeting about how we're going to handle Festival
of Lights--where on the temple grounds there are Christmas lights on
every tree (Like Temple Square) and the VC has nativities and trees,
etc.  I can't say too much, but the Church is coming out with some
pretty cool videos for this Christmas season :)

Until next week! (On Wednesday instead of Monday because we'll be
going to the Temple)

~Sister Galli

Car selfie

Eating ice cream with other sisters in their surrounding area

Sister Galli and Sister Watkins

Finally...an accurate door mat