Monday, June 27, 2016

First full week in DC

I woke up this morning to a short email from Sister Galli. That was a nice surprise! We emailed back and forth for a bit and then she had to leave to go visit the Holocaust Museum. I'm really glad that they make an effort to see the sights on p-day. It would be a shame to live there for 18-months and not have a chance to see everything.

I've been especially anxious to hear from her this week because her BF (boyfriend/best friend) had some big news for her and we all had to be careful not to spill the beans until she heard it from him. On Thursday he got his mission call, so he hurried and threw a package together for her so she could find out ASAP. He sent it overnight but I'm not sure when she actually got it. The way he told her was so cute! He sent a package with three little cans with pop tops inside a tube, numbered 1-3, with instructions to open them in order and take a guess where he is going after each can. The first one had a bunch of little animals that are in that country. She knew it was somewhere in Africa at that point, based on the types of animals. The second can had a shirt with the flag of that country on it, but without the luxury of Google she still wasn't sure where it was.

The third can was spring-loaded with glitter and had a tiny copy of his mission call in it, with instructions to open it outside :) She said that it would have worked except the can got stuck in the tube and the glitter spilled on the floor of the temple visitor's center - OOPS! (They'll be finding it for months!) Anyway, *drum roll*.....he is going to Mozambique (in southeast Africa, for those of you who don't have a clue where that is), and he will be speaking Portuguese. He had been on the fence about going on a traditional mission and had wanted to possibly do some humanitarian work in Africa instead. Well, after Hannah left on her mission, he made the decision that he was going to go as well and he took that leap of faith. He got exactly what he wanted and we are so happy for him! So that has been our excitement around here this week. Luckily everything worked out with her getting his package and she found out the way he wanted her to.

Now, back to Sister Galli. Her letter isn't very long this week and it sounds like some of the newness and excitement might be wearing off as she settles into daily life as a missionary. But at least there are a couple of good pictures, so as per our agreement I will water her plant this week ;)
Here's her letter:


It's humid.
It was only really to the point of unbearable today.  Today we went to
the Holocaust Museum in DC. So, it's kinda been a depressing day, but
it's a check off the ever growing bucket list :)
Near the Washington Monument

Coming home from the Holocaust Museum

The week was pretty good but relatively uneventful.  We had one lesson
with a member talking about missionary work.  Other than that, all of
our time has been taken up by sleeping, studying, eating, meetings,
the visitors center, or knocking doors.  This past week we've probably
knocked 30-35 doors, all of which were not home or not interested.
Only a few have been slammed so most people are decent.  The area is
pretty rough, but the ward is great :) lots of families.

The new mission president is coming in this week.  It'll be
interesting to see what he changes (hopefully he doesn't take away
sleep-in P-day)

I really wish I had more to talk about this week.  I guess if you have
anything else you'd like to know, I'm happy to answer questions.  I
don't have my iPad yet so it's a little hard sharing with my
companion, but we make it work :)

Remember, after the trial of your faith cometh the blessings :)

With much love
~Sister Galli

Monday, June 20, 2016

Out of the MTC and into Beautiful DC

Yay for Mondays! I started emailing with Hannah around 10:30am. I can't imagine the patience it must have taken to be a mom of a missionary before email. I can chat back and forth with her (via email) and get instant answers to questions that I need/want to know right away. Waiting two weeks (one to send a letter and one to wait for a return) would be painful! I guess it's all what you get used to. Anyway, her email is long, which strangely she apologized for, and I'd love it if it were twice that long. Here it is (I have decided to leave all of her funny texting language in these letters because it's totally her, but hopefully the older crowd can follow along):

So much to say on this amazing day!  It feels like it's been forever since I've recapped my adventures. 

Let's start back at the MTC and chronologically work my way to where I am now - the beautiful Washington DC Visitors' Center.

This email will be kinda long so bear with me.

Last Friday, June 10 is where we lay our scene...
I woke up sick :(  Sore throat.  It certainly made my last few days at the MTC less than enjoyable.  On Saturday, however, I was feeling sick to the point that I was able to miss class in the morning #BlessingInDisguise ;)

But Saturday evening was super cool!  (Totally "forgot" to tell anyone last Friday).  We (as 40 VC sisters) went up to Temple Square to get some "in-field" experience with working in a VC.  We took a shuttle to the FrontRunner station and then FrontRunner to Trax.  We passed my house 2x that day :/  so that was kinda tough.  Good to know it's still there though ;)

Waiting for the train at Temple Square

Passing by home :(

My last day at the MTC was Monday.  On Mondays they get someone to cater for dinner so my last meal was Taco Bell and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that.... :I    But I redeemed it by eating a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles for dessert :)

BEWARE THE FOOD AT THE MTC!  It's really really good.  Like so good that I gained 12 lbs there in 28 days................
You have been warned.

That night, after packing and needing to be at the Travel Office at 4:50 AM, I got about 3 hours of sleep :T
There were 15 of us in our travel group (14 going to DC, 1 just coming to the airport with us).  We flew on a non-stop Delta flight so it was nice to not have to worry about a lay-over.  However, I did have a scare when my carry-on got stopped for a few minutes at security :|
Apparently books that are packed tightly can set it off because they can't see clearly or something?  IDK, they opened it and did a sweep but they sent me on my way after that.

At the airport

I loved being able to call my family and Tanner from the airport.  Made my day and it'll give me a good boost for a long while :)

On the plane, I had an aisle seat and the two on my right were missionaries, but across the aisle, there was a group of 8th graders and a few chaperones from Nevada going to DC for an end-of-year trip (who does that?).  So I got to talk with one of the parents there for a while and she was super nice :)  I wasn't really sure how to go about talking about the gospel, but towards the end, I did read a scripture to her and gave her a pass-along card with the offer for a free Book of Mormon.  I guess it's good to get the bad one out of the way, right?

When we arrived in DC, we were met by my mission president and wife at the gate, as well as the assistants to the president (One of them is actually Gianna's cousin).  The President is so good :)  I'm really sad because they're actually ending their mission at the end of this month :(
But they're staying in the area--the ward I'm actually serving in--so I get to see them for a little while longer than anyone else ;)

It's a completely different world of driving out here.  Traffic combined with crazies = it took us over an hour to travel 12 miles....  Add in 3 hours of sleep, being mildly sick, and traveling all day and then staying up until 11:30, I wanted to die.  I don't think I've ever been that exhausted.

We stopped by the Temple and the VC and that temple is HUGE.  I kid you not, it looks large in pictures but it is absolutely gigantic.  You have to see it in person.

That night, we had dinner at the Mission Home and 4 of the sisters stayed down the street at the First Counselor to the President's house: the Lorenzanas. 

The next morning, we had breakfast at the Mission Home, and then headed to the Stake Center (right next to the VC and temple) where we were assigned our trainers :D
Initially I got paired with Sister McArthur, but because she's from Haiti, she can't drive and I do NOT feel comfortable driving in this crazy city just yet :|
So a few things had to be switched around and I got Sister Williams as my trainer instead :)
She's been out 16 months, and if all goes well, I'll be her last companion before she returns to Rexburg, Idaho.

The area we're in is called Kentlands and we're white washing (White Washing: Neither companion has been in the area and therefore we know nothing).  Because of this, we actually went tracting (knocking doors) on Friday and Saturday.  No miracles there, but we did talk to a few nice people for a minute or two.

Her apartment
 Friday night I saw fireflies for the first time :D  They're really cool.  #ItsTheLittleThings

Working in the VC has been fun :)  I've given 3 tours now to three completely different types of people.  It's so cool to see how the Spirit can work differently depending on the person.

Worst news, however, is that I won't get my ipad for about 5 weeks because it encourages the companionships to learn how to work together better.  -.-   So yay.

I have a lot of pictures to send so I'll do that quickly.

Have a great day!  I know this email was kinda beefy but a lot has happened and I'm so glad to be here in DC :)

Love you all lots and lots

~Sister Galli

NOT the official weekly update

I haven't heard from Sister Galli yet this morning other than a quick email from someone else's iPad and email account saying that she will be online later today to communicate with us. Meanwhile, I have been lucky enough to get a couple of random updates this week from other people, and since I'm planning on printing this blog out at the end of her mission, I want to include them on here. I have already posted a couple of these pics on Facebook and Instagram, so I apologize if you've already seen them.

The day after she arrived in Washington DC, a group picture of the new missionaries popped up on a moms and dads FB page for this mission. It was good to see her there, looking so happy. What a great looking bunch!
New arrivals in the Washington DC North mission on May 18, 2016

After that little treat, we went back into 'waiting' mode, counting down the days until we could hear from her. Then, on Friday night, out of the blue, I received a picture and a text from the bishop's wife of the ward they are serving in.

Sister Galli and Sister Williams

It was so fun to see a picture of her with her new companion. Strangely enough, this is the daughter of a mom that I met on the moms and dads FB page for this mission back in February. She answered a lot of my specific questions and was super helpful. When I saw this girl's picture I thought it might be her, and then when I zoomed in on the name tag I knew for sure. What a huge coincidence! This sister is nearly done with her mission so Hannah is lucky to be able to train with her and learn from her.

There is also a mission blog that the mission president's wife maintains (they are leaving at the end of June however). I've pulled a few more pictures off of that blog so I can have them here as well, but if you want to check it out the address is

Sister Galli with President and Sister Cooke
All of the new missionaries and some of their trainers
Sister Galli and Sister Williams at the temple
Well, that's all I have at the moment. I will update later today after I hear from her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sister Galli goes to Washington!

Riding Frontrunner to the airport
Today was the day for Sister Galli to finally leave the MTC and travel to Washington DC. She had to report to the travel office at 5:00am. They put her and her two companions on Frontrunner and sent them to the airport.  It made me chuckle when my mom asked me if they would have an adult with them, and even though I knew what she meant, I had to remind her that they are adults. I'm sure you always see your children and grandchildren as 'kids'. Anyway, we knew we would be able to talk to her once she got to the airport, so that was fun to look forward to.  Her friend Tanner had decided to send her a cheap Walmart phone so she could have as much time to talk as possible.  We weren't sure what time she would call so he came over at 6:30am (with Einsteins Bagels) and we waited until 8:00am for her call. I need to back up though. I actually woke up at 6:00 am to the sound of a text. A nice lady on the train had taken a picture of her and sent it to me. After we got off the phone with Hannah, I sent the lady and text and thanked her for the picture. I told her I am going to try to do this more often as I see missionaries, because as a mom it is such a treat. Here's what she said back to me:

"I would have loved it when my son left on his mission.  I ride the train every morning to work.  I get the pleasure of seeing so many of these amazing missionaries leaving to go serve the Lord.  I get an hour and a half of time with them.  I play a fun game with them and send photos home to their families.  Sometimes I bring snacks.  I enjoy these special times with these wonderful spiritual giants. I receive so many blessings from being with them.  Thank you for sharing your daughter with me today!!!" 

It's strange because I made it through the entire phone call without crying, but hearing from this lady afterward and seeing my daughter through a stranger's eyes like that makes me teary every time I read it. I thanked her again for this simple gift and told her how much it meant to me. I told her about my tender mercy journal that I'm keeping and that this would be my next entry. She told me that Hannah reminded her so much of her niece who is serving in Detroit Michigan, and that it was a sweet tender mercy for her to be able to be there this morning to listen and to observe and visit with her.

Anyway, Sister Galli called us at 8:00am. She sounded so happy and so grown up! It's weird how much a few weeks can change a person. Luckily, these are all good changes. She was an amazing person before, but everyone has room to improve in different areas. We passed the phone around to everyone a couple of times for about an hour, and then it was time for her to get on her plane. In the shuffle of saying goodbye to everyone, I didn't really get a chance to because I wanted to be last and she ended up needing to go quickly. I felt kind of bad, but knew that I would be able to hear from her soon on her p-day. Well, she ended up having a few minutes while she sat on the plane so she sent me a quick text. It was nice for me to be able to wrap things up with her like that. I guess it was a flip phone and she had to text the 'old-fashioned' way.  She said using a brick to text was a pain. That right there is a first world problem. 

Her flight left at 9:40am, and it was a direct flight to Washington DC. They landed there around 3:50pm (Eastern time), and I assume was picked up by the mission president and his wife. I'm pretty sure they were going to take the metro home, so I would think someone familiar with it would help them the first time. I may or may not ever get the details, and I guess it doesn't really matter. Hannah just doesn't find stuff like that to be very interesting, so she doesn't understand why we would and tends to leave them out.

I waited patiently all day to hear from someone (phone call, email, text, ANYTHING) telling me she made it safely. Finally at about 8:45pm our time, the mission president called and said she was there. They feed the new missionaries dinner and they keep them at the mission home that first night. Then tomorrow she will meet her new companion and go to her new apartment. I won't be able to hear anything from her until Monday now, because that will be her p-day for the rest of her mission. It's okay - Mondays need more help than Fridays do anyway.

It has been a good day! It's nice to have her in the mission field now and actually doing the things she has been taught and trained to do. I'm really excited to start seeing pictures of her in Washington DC. She is going to have such an amazing experience!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Home stretch at the MTC

We are on a family vacation at Lake Powell right now. I've never been as concerned about having access to the internet as I have been for this trip. I knew we would be gone for her p-day, and it's her last one before she heads off to Washington DC next week. I really wanted to be able to chat back and forth with her over the email to find out a few of the details for when she goes to the airport, etc. The house we are staying in has randomly available wifi, but luckily I have a decent signal on my phone and I was able to communicate with her that way this morning before we headed down to the lake. She is flying out on Tuesday and has been given permission to call home from the airport using a pay phone and a calling card. I'm really looking forward to hearing her voice, even if it's just for a few minutes. Her letter was great and it sounds like she is ready to move on to the next stage of her mission.

June 10, 2016
Week 4 - Final Stretch

Holy Cow, it's almost been a month since I've been out.  There's no way.  Time is flying by oh so fast.

So I got my travel plans this week for next week -- looks like I'll be flying out Tuesday morning around 7 or 8 ish (Yeah, I know the exact time, just don't have the paper on me at the moment).
Sounds like it's normal to leave the Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday morning of the week you leave.
The poor elders from my district that left this last Wednesday had to report to the Travel Office at the MTC at 2:30 am.  Luckily mine is at 5:00am so I'll actually be able to get a little sleep.

Last dinner with the elders

Last day of regular classes

But yeah, our elders have left us for Des Moines.  It's been really sad actually.  The night they left, we all had a tear fest.  They gave us all blessings that night which was really sweet.  I'm so happy that they are both willing and worthy to hold the priesthood.  They also gave us all picture frames with a picture of our district in it.  Needless to say, many many tears were shed.  Afterwards, we sat in our residence and ate away our feelings with pizza and ice cream.

Drowning their feelings with pizza and ice cream

Her district, minus the elders

But the work must go on.  We're now in Visitor Center Training -- a week of learning how to be a good tour guide.  However, something I didn't know is that when we're at the VC, we're not always on the floor giving tours; half of the time, we're on computers taking calls and chatting with those that contact  It's really fun.  I didn't get the chance to take a call or a chat last night in a 60-minute window just because of the sheer number of people on (Our old district was 8 people and our new one is 40).

So yeah, there are 40 sisters in my district representing about 20 countries and over half are going to Temple Square.  From Bulgaria to Peru to France to Korea to Ghana, it's crazy.  Surprisingly the language barriers aren't that difficult to overcome.  

But something cool that I learned this week.  I asked the French sister if she thought my last name was French-based because that's what my dad has always told me, and she said she didn't think so.  I've always thought it was Italian or Latin.  So I asked a sister from Italy and she said it totally was.  She even knew and Elder Galli in Italy.  Galli in Italian means Roosters (plural) which is why our family crest always has a rooster on it.  (Told you, Dad).

Last Tuesday was one of the coolest I've ever had.  
(I can send emojis?)

It was also cool here at the MTC.  Elder Bednar, indeed, came to speak.  
Our district was dead-set on getting good seats to the point that the devotional started at 7 and three of our sisters were sitting by the doors at 4:15 while the other three grabbed dinner and snacks for those saving our seats.  BUT our effort was not wasted.  We got first and second row seats right behind where the children were singing so we each got a lot of camera time.
We were in the choir of 810 missionaries and we sang the new Primary song he wrote called One by One.  It was a really powerful talk and song.  Unfortunately, I think because it was an MTC devotional that the outside world probably won't be able to see it. :/

His talk was on how Jesus taught one by one and how that's how God sees us.  He sees, knows, and loves us as individuals.  Personally.
I have four quotes from it that really described the message
"There's no such thing as a coincidence when you're on the Lord's errand."
"We go out two by two to teach one by one."
"You are a one and you are going out to teach one."
This last one is my favorite because when he said it, he looked exactly in my district's direction
"The Father and The Son know you as a one."
And I know that's true of all of us.

I've been loving my mission thus far.  It's been really hard to only contact the outside world once a week, but I know I'm where I should be doing the Lord's work and bringing joy to the lives of those that don't know the truth only because they know not where to find it.

With much love

Sister Galli

Friday, June 3, 2016

Another Week Flies By

This email was a bit harder to wait for this week because school is out and we are home relaxing instead of being busy. The past two weeks her emails had surprised me while I was at work and I had to find a minute here and a minute there to read them. Today I woke up and started waiting for it to come. Luckily she sent me a quick message at 8:30, responding to a few specific things I had asked her. I joked back with her that she was sure up and going early this morning, to which she replied she had already had breakfast and her laundry was almost done. Who is this person?

Anyway, her 'official' email came around 10:45 while I was at the UPS Store trying out their same- day MTC delivery service. Last night, we each chose something at the store for her and put a package together. Guy made his famous no-bake cookies (which was why I wanted to get it there ASAP), I found a chocolate orange (which she loves at Christmas time), Hayden chose beef jerky, Brandon chose Muddy Buddies, and then I also threw in some Five gum and some Werthers hard caramels. I suspect she stays full and can get just about any snacks she wants down there, but I just wanted her to know we are thinking about her and love her. And who doesn't love getting a box full of snacks?

Now for the real reason you are all here....her letter:

6/3/16  Week 3 - Days Flying By!

The days start flying by so so fast!  It's crazy that I'm now the oldest bunch in my zone.  Two districts below me.

I had the amazing experience this Wednesday to be a New Missionary Host.  That's the person that grabs the new missionaries at the curb and takes them to their room and then their classroom.  I was able to help two girls (there were 468 new missionaries on Wednesday).  So that was super fun :) I love helping people.

I love TRCs (where you teach actual investigators).  I love being able to address concerns and answer questions and teach them about hope.  I love it.  I got two new ones this week.  They're both American and I just have so much love for them. So far, the two from last week and the two this week have all been committed to baptism :D

My district is truly the best.  This week at dinner, we decided that we would all figure out what animals we were based on their personality.  I got Honey Badger (Honey Badger don't care), Sister Escobar was a black leopard, Sister Green was a Ferret, Sister Little was a Fox, Sister Fuhriman was a hyena and Sister Erasmus was a bunny.  Our Elders, we decided, were Timone and Pumba from the Lion King, which is so accurate that we hurt ourselves laughing so much.

The devotional speaker last Sunday said something absolutely profound that I'd like to share.
Every time a person experiences a significant change in their life, they go through four stages.
The first phase is the Honeymoon Phase where you love everything.  This is the greatest experience ever and everything is awesome.
However only a few days later, you experience phase two which is the Hostile Phase.  This is where you just wake up one morning and you hate everything.  Everything is wrong and everything irritates you.  It's characterized by the phrase "I want to go home."  This phase has the ability to last until you drive yourself mad.  This phase is where all you can think about is yourself and how YOU'RE not having fun and you hate everything.  
The only way to escape that detrimental phase is to do something nice for someone else.  Look outside yourself.  Once you decide that you'll stick around, that leads into the Grin and Bear It Phase. This phase, you need to just forget about yourself and worry about nothing but serving others.  This is also when you have to find something that you like about where you're at.  Look for the good, that silver lining.
Eventually the third phase transitions into the Endure to the End where you realize why you're here and what your purpose is.  It's also when you can be happy and continually look for the good.

A mission will be difficult.  Not easy by any means.  The speaker even went so far to say that you'll probably experience these phases every time you have a transfer even.  However, it ultimately comes down to forgetting about yourself and getting to work and you're able to be genuinely happy.

But I have some really exciting news!  This last Sunday in choir practice, we started to learn a new primary hymn that Elder Bednar wrote.  It's about how Christ loves all the children and in the Book of Mormon, called them forth One by One.  The MTC choir will premier it next Tuesday at a worldwide devotional (me included).  What else is cool is that a few of Elder Bednar's grandchildren will be there to sing it with us.  So that makes you wonder who the speaker will be (wink wink) ;)

Loving the MTC but can't wait to be in the field :D

~Sister Galli

Her district in their patriotic red, white, and blue attire for Memorial Day