Monday, July 17, 2017

Video Week Again!

For lack of time and motivation to type up a group email, here's a video of me. Enjoy!


To summarize the video (for the sake of the book):
- Not a lot going on in her area
-Doing a lot of tracting (knocking on doors)
-Yesterday they had a 'Why I Believe' fireside at the Visitor's Center, which usually consists of recent converts giving the opening and closing prayers, and a couple more sharing a brief testimony. Then there is usually a main speaker who is a well-known and possibly famous member of the church. She said Mario (her most recent baptism) was one of the people who bore his testimony and it was great. (I'll include a video down below for those of you who are interested.)
- She said they will be knocking more doors this week and they have the faith to find, they just need to find.
-Zone Conference is this week and they have interviews with the Mission President, so maybe she will have something interesting to talk about next week.

Epitome of our area

Boredom leads to creativity
Mario's testimony, Part One

Mario's testimony, Part Two

Monday, July 10, 2017

Another Day of the Grind

With this last transfer, our area got split in half and it was unfortunately not split evenly. We got the half with the mansions and mile-long driveways. It's beautiful and we never feel unsafe, but it makes slim pickings for missionary work.
But back in January, Elder Ballard gave an apostolic promise to our our mission that if we talked to 20 non-members a day, we would always have somebody to teach. So we've been putting that to the test.
This last Monday evening and Thursday evening, we did indeed find three new people to teach! 
This week has strengthened my testimony of living prophets and that their words are inspired. Not only that, but God can and will fulfill their words.  God isn't kidding when He says "prove me now herewith."
This week has been a lot of finding and and lot of Tracting, but it's been a lot of faithfully pushing through!

Hope you all have a great week!
~Sister Galli

Temple flowers
Video: Normal Maryland sounds

Monday, July 3, 2017

Baptism Number 4! πŸŽ‰

What an uneventful week leading up to an incredibly eventful weekend!

On Saturday, we were able to arrange so that all 7 sisters that helped teach Mario (back in Ft. Meade) could go to his baptism!  Sister Hadley and I swapped companions and we took the trek up to Ft. Meade Saturday evening.  After that it was a party. Once at the chapel, we began by taking pictures and smashing wine and other alcohol-containing bottles of Mario's in the parking lot (the video is included). Then the normal baptismal events took place.  All the sisters who taught him had a part in the program. Two giving the opening and closing prayers, three singing a musical number, and myself, I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost.  Apparently while Mario and the sisters were making the program a few weeks ago, he thought it'd be fun to hear a talk from me because, when I was his missionary, we would always have super deep discussions.  So I felt very honored :) The ordinance went smoothly with Elder Spencer getting it all right on the first try (always a win). After getting all dried off and changed, Mario came back into the room and bore a powerful testimony that everyone knew he believed with all his heart. When the program was finished, everyone gathered to the parking lot for cookies, noise makers, and poppers because Mario wanted it to be a celebration. He also had dinner catered for his family and his missionaries of authentic Greek food that we ate in the gym. All-in-all and 110.9 miles later, it was one of the best days on the mission and a day I'll never forget.

Some days are freaking hard, but it's days like Saturday that make it all worth it.

~Sister Galli

Sisters Galli, Hadley, Hampshire, Greenhalgh, Lemperle, Rawlins and Bingham
at Mario's baptism

Each of these sisters played a part in Mario's conversion

Helping Mario get rid of his alcohol stash

Finding friends while tracting

District activity last week
Sand volleyball, frisbee golf, and lunch
Sister Galli and Sister Yang will be together for another transfer (6 weeks)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Picture Week πŸ“·

Howdy all!
Not too much in the way of exciting news this week, but I do have a
fair amount of pictures from last p-day.
Tonight is call-outs which means I'll know this evening who my 9th
companion will be.  I can never hold onto them for very long, can I?
Haha, stay good and keep pressing on!

~Sister Galli

The zoo with the trio

Lunch at Shake Shack off Dupont Circle, my treat

Off to the mall 

I caught a firefly and put him in a jar. I'm now a true American. (Don't worry, I let him go shortly after)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

No email this week πŸ™

Last week, Sister Galli mentioned that they had been given permission to go into DC on this p-day for Sister Yang's birthday. Because of this, they left early and got home after their p-day time had ended, so no official email this week. However, I have received pictures via text message from two different people this week, so I thought would post them here:

This picture of Sister Galli and Sister Yang was sent to my by a family from Ephraim, UT
who were on a road trip and visiting DC
So funny to see Hannah as the 'tall' one at 5'4" :)

Sister Galli with Sister Karren
(she was my kids' elementary school principal who is serving a mission in DC now with her husband).
I get these selfies from Sis Karren every time she sees Hannah at a meeting, etc. and it is such treat!
Definitely one of the perks of having a friend who is serving in the same mission as your daughter.

These three pictures were taken at a meeting with a visiting general authority  (Elder Brent H Nielson).
I'm guessing the VC sisters are singing, but I'm not sure.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Service: It's Why We're Here

We got an interesting call this week from our roommates.
"Hey Sisters. Our car won't start. Can we catch a ride with you to Zone Conference?"
Um, sure. 
So they have been our passengers for the past 5 days while their car is being fixed.  
This has been a bit of a challenge as very little of our areas overlap (they're Spanish, we're English) and they have back-to-back appointments (because we're half convinced that they've committed every Hispanic in their area to be baptized).
However, a few melted jumper cables later, they have traded out their new 2017 Subaru Legacy for a...less nice car.

In life, we don't always get to choose some things--either because of others' agency or just because we live in an imperfect world--but every day we can choose our attitudes and perspectives. 
Sister Yang and I could have been incredibly upset and annoyed with our inconvenience (and it was an inconvenience) or we could have looked at this as an opportunity to serve our fellow missionaries.  And though we aren't baptizing, they are, and now that we've helped them be able to teach those people, we've helped their investigators come closer to baptism, too! We all have a part to play.

On an only semi-random note, since we are serving in the VC for full days now, we can sign up to feed all the sisters there (11-12 sisters) on one or two nights of the month and people have been really generous and also gotten very creative.  On Wednesday, we made fried rice. On Friday, the sister from Korea and her companions made Korean BBQ.   It's been fun to serve and be served in a delicious way :)

Service is in the air, people!  It adds meaning to our lives. So do it!

~Sister Galli

P.S. There will either be no email or a short email next week as we will be going into the city for Sister Yang's birthday! πŸŽ‰


Monday, June 5, 2017

What's the Point?

Howdy Howdy Y'all!

Over the past few weeks since this transfer began, I've been having a bit of a trial-some period--feeling really down with no real explanation of why.  It's been difficult to find joy in the work lately.

However, after fasting and praying about it yesterday, I received an answer to why I've been feeling this way--I didn't feel like I had a purpose, or at least I was unaware of my purpose in being sent to this new area with this new companion and going back to the VC. Long story short, through talking with some of the other VC sisters last night, I realized what my purpose is in being sent to this area. Knowing the 'what' and the 'why' has now given me the motivation to do my best to achieve what I have been sent here to do.

This must be how everyone must feel if they do not know the Plan of Salvation: the Plan that God has for each one of us.  To be sent to earth with no clue on how one should conduct their life or find any meaning from the day to day, it must be a challenge to have the desire to continue sometimes.
I feel so blessed to know what God expects of me in the long run (and now in the short run, too!).  I'd like to challenge each one of you to share God's plan for each of His children with somebody who is not as fortunate as we are.  And if you're questioning your purpose, be it big or small, ask God, and He will let you know.  He wants you to be happy and He wants you to have meaning in your life.

Love you all!
~Sister Galli

That awesome moment when your area resembles Book of Mormon geography

Made a sock cat for one of the sisters in the VC

Ah, it's always so beautiful!

We cleaned out the keyboards at the VC, and afterward I 'fixed' the keys ;)

Got Dippin' Dots from the mall

Monday, May 29, 2017

Just Believe Christ!

Not too much to report this week.  We met with recent converts, investigators, and did a lot of tracting.  I was also able to spend a lot of time helping others in the VC, from teaching non-members who had never seen the temple before, to sending a dozen referrals online, and from helping an hermana with her study of the Book of Mormon, to fixing a new sister's tablet.  But nothing too exciting or funny, so I'll just talk about the Gospel because the mission makes it so you can do that for hours.

I begin my spiritual thought with a quote found in an Ensign Article given in April 1992 by  Stephen E. Robinson:
"One of the most terrifying dilemmas in the universe consists of two facts. The first is expressed in Doctrine and Covenants 1:31: “I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” That means he can’t tolerate it. He can’t blink or look the other way. The other fact is very simply put: We all sin. If the equation consisted of only those two facts, the conclusion would be inescapable: As sinful beings, we can never enter God’s presence. But that is not all there is. There is the atonement of Jesus Christ—that glorious plan by which this dilemma can be resolved. And the amazing thing is that the Atonement works in practical ways."
One of the differences between conversion and a testimony comes down to the application of our knowledge.

You can believe in Christ as much as you want, but true power and true conversion comes when you stop and take a minute to just believe Christ.  Believe that when He says He can make your burdens light, He will.  Believe that when He forgives all who repent, that includes you.  Believe that when He promises blessings, they can in all reality be ours.
In the eyes of God, we are mere children--toddlers stumbling through life.  But just like any loving parent, Heavenly Father is so excited when we make efforts to talk to Him, to walk after His Son, and to strive to be better every day.

Elder Holland said it best in April 2012 when he said,
"I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable [of the laborers], but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines."

But Christ does not eliminate our personal responsibility. Stephen E. Robinson continues,
"We all fail at living the full celestial level. That’s why we need a Savior. The Lord says, 'Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.' (Matt. 5:6.) We frequently misinterpret that verse. We think it means 'Blessed are the righteous.' It does not. When are you hungry? When are you thirsty? When you don’t have the object of your desire. It is those who don’t have the righteousness that God has—but who hunger and thirst after it—who are blessed, for if that is the desire of their hearts, the Lord will help them achieve it."

If righteousness is something we have to achieve, then we also have to put in the necessary effort.
"With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed." --Elder Holland April 2016

I would like to end my soap-box-ing with a quote from President Hinckley from April 1995, "May we go with determination to try a little harder to be a little better."

~Sister Galli

Car selfie with Sister Yang

We had exchanges! I had the chance once again to be with Sister Escobar, my MTC companion.
Video: City driving

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sister Galli Goes to China!

δ½ ε₯½!
This week marks my 8th companion, 5th area, and 4th zone! All in one year :)

For this next transfer I'll be in Gaithersburg with Sister Yang! (Say the "a" like you would in "water") She's from Mainland China and has been out two transfers, so I'm what's called "greenie breaking", which I have done once before. This transfer is sadly not a complete white wash. I had a good streak going. But we did take over another area in our ward, so it is 1/2 whitewashing.

I'm happy to be back at the VC. Something is different now, however. Instead of each companionship going in every day for half of the day, we all go in every other day for the entire day.  It will take some getting used to, but it will save us a ton of driving time and will get us more time in our proselyting area.

I'm still trying to adjust to my new area, so I don't have too much in the way of pictures or more to say, but just know, that I'm slowly turning Asian again. Today I bought seaweed, rice, and lychee from a Korean market Sister Yang likes. Time to break out the chopsticks!

~Sister Galli

Monday, May 15, 2017

Last Week in Ft Meade!

I'm using the excuse that yesterday I Skyped home with my family to not write as much today.
Happy Transfers!
This week I will be happily going back to the VC!  Don't get me wrong, I love this area and this companionship and this apartment, but the VC is my home and I'm happy to be going home :) I won't know until this evening where within the VC I'll be going though.  Maybe a 5th White Wash for me? ;)
This week, we've been mostly tracting and street-contacting without finding much while Mario is in CancΓΊn.  But when did anything worth-while come easy?
Sunday night we had a near-miss with death.  Sister Hadley is allergic to chocolate (sad, we know) but for Mother's Day, the relief society provided us all with cheesecake.  Sister Hadley reeeeally wanted a slice that had raspberry drizzle and little flecks of chocolate on it, and, though I warned her, she decided to take it and scrape off the pieces of chocolate.  But apparently she didn't get them all.  (She's denying it right now.) Thankfully this incident only required us being home for an hour or so and not an ER visit like last transfer, but that's still probably the most exciting story for the week.

I hope my lack of words can be made up with pictures!

'Til Next Week!
~Sister Galli

One of the bays in Annapolis

20th birthday celebration

We had a family history workshop, and a member made these cookies.
Mother's Day Skype (Hannah's view)

Mother's Day Skype (family's view)

Grandma and Grandpa stopped by to take a family picture for us (belowπŸ‘‡πŸΌ)

Happy family

There is a neighborhood in their area that has street names from Lord of the Rings. It's not clear in this video, but they must have found one named Mordor Street or something similar, because they created this video.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Up to Our Elbows in Cleaning Supplies πŸ’ͺ🏼

My apologies for two slow weeks in a row :\ (I got sick if that's exciting news for anyone...?)

This week our efforts were primarily spent in the act of finding--knocking doors and talking to people on the street. We heard through a few different sources that we white-washed this area because the previous sisters (not sure how far back it includes) had a hard time finding new investigators to teach because they'd spend a large amount of their time at members' homes instead.  To which I can hardly blame them because this area has some of the best members I've ever met in a ward I've served in, but it's about remembering our purpose as missionaries, too.  So we're putting our right feet forward and doing the hard thing, like knocking those doors.

We spent quite a few hours this week doing service for some of our investigators.  One is sadly moving to Hawaii and needed help finishing cleaning up their house before the landlords come to inspect it.  Since I'm going back to the VC soon, we'll rely on our online teaching center (TC) to stay in touch with her and make sure missionaries in Hawaii get to her! #ModernMissionaryWork 

The other investigator family we spent a lot of time serving was rotating three rooms in their home.  The girl got moved to the boy's room, the boy got moved to the spare room, and the spare got moved to the girl's room.  All so that the baby could be moved out of the parent's room and in with the spare room.  Complicated much?  But it was nice to help them out (as well as it was nice to work in jeans for a few hours).

I have a strong testimony of service and the power it has to soften people's hearts.  The Savior Himself went about doing good and serving all those He came in contact with, and just like Him, we are able to see miracles too when we forget ourselves and serve others with no ulterior motives.

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms!

~Sister Galli

We had exchanges this week, so that was a blast!
This picture brought to you by: crappy parking garage lighting

Monday, May 1, 2017

6 Months Left! 😱

Today marks my '6 months left' mark.  How did this happen?  I'm still so new and have no idea what I'm doing, yet the end is within the seeable future.  That's bizarre.  For those of you on missions or will go on missions, don't waste a second of it.  From the outside, a mission looks super long, but on the inside, a mission is incredibly short!
Panicked rant aside,

Hey Everyone!
This week was kind of a slow week.  We tracted a lot, and summer appears to be here already; this week we had two days in the 90s.  The winter was mild, so the summer will be rough, or so it seems. As for investigators, here's the scoop.
Mario was out of town this week and will be until this Wednesday so his progress has been put on hold.
But our miracle investigator happened this week and has been in the works for a while.  Our first week here, the gospel essential's teacher asked us after class if we had a guy named Adrian in our area book.  We searched it and saw that he was there but had been dropped in January due to the other sisters being unable to get in contact with him.   However, Adrian's teaching record was almost completely full (they'd taught him almost everything) and he was even on date to be baptized.  But he just fell off the face of the earth.  So we reached out to him and asked when a good time to come over and meet him would be.  At first he was difficult, so we decided we'd wait a week or so and try again. In the space of this time, Sister Spencer (the Senior sister that's over the Army Post for Military Relations) ran into a guy at the gas station and told him, "It's no coincidence when you run into a Mormon missionary."  The man seemed pretty startled at this... because it was Adrian.  On Tuesday, we were finally able to meet him and on Saturday we went back and he showed us two of his snakes, a ball python and a hog nose.  And he came to church on Sunday too! While we were at his home, without us even mentioning it, he mentioned that he'll probably get baptized soon, too.  So I have high hopes for him :)

Other than that, it's really been a slow week.  We're continuing to gut our area book and remove all the uninterested people from it #WhiteWashingProbs. So that's taking up a lot of our time.

But all is well on the Eastern Front.
Keep on Keepin' on and do it more effectively! -Elder Oaks

~Sister Galli

Nerds named these streets

Ball python

I think this is wisteria. It's pretty and grows on a lot of the trees here.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Nada Mucho this "Week"

Yes, I know the subject line is awful Spanglish grammar, but since it's only been 3 days since my last p-day, there really hasn't been much that's happened, or nada mucho.

On Saturday, we put aside planning any teaching appointments during the mid-day and early evening time and just did finding.  I wouldn't say there are any miracles from those hours of tracting in the rain yet, but we were able to talk to 50 people, which is a lot (our mission goal is 20 a day).

Our most progressing investigator is Mario.  I'm not sure if I've talked about him much, but he's fun.  He's in his 60s with a Catholic-ish background, and he initially began learning more about the Church in an attempt to prove it wrong.  So he whipped out his Bible and is reading the New Testament alongside the Book of Mormon. Well, he's about 1/4 or 1/3 of the way done and instead of finding fault, he's gained a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith.  Oops  ;) He came to all three hours of church yesterday and he loved it all (he's been to just Sacrament meeting in the past).  One of the speakers in church was a guy from the Stake High Counsel named Ken Niumatalolo.  (If you've seen Meet the Mormons, he's the coach for the Navy).  Really cool to meet him, and Mario recognized him too.  After church, we saw Mario jump somebody's car for them in the parking lot. We remarked that he's already a Mormon.
Sunday Evening was the monthly Why I Believe fireside at the Visitors' Center (so it was so great to see all the other sisters) (I say that every time I see them because it's so nice).  But the main speaker was Mason Wells.  He's the guy that was a missionary and was injured in the Brussels bombing just over a year ago. His testimony was so incredibly powerful!  He shared his story and everybody in that auditorium was moved.  And guess who we brought along?  Mario.  We got a text from him this morning.  He said, "I got an answer.  Sort of.  In the form of a parable."  We inquired what this parable was to which he replied, "When you are on a sinking boat and another boat comes by to save you, you don't worry about the color of the arrival or whether it had scratches. I woke up in the middle of the night with this.  Tells me I have been going about this all wrong by focusing on the little details."  He further went on to say, "It all depends on the prophet thing.  If the prophets are true then nothing else matters.  So that should be my focus."  We said we'd love to help him learn more about prophets at the Visitors' Center when he's back in town next week.  We are so excited for him!  Even in just the 2 short weeks we've known him, we've been able to see the difference that the gospel has made in his life.  The Church is true, man!

Sorry about the shorter email, but that's what you get when my week was 3 days!

Love you all!
~Sister Galli

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Love to See the Temple 🎢

"Sister Galli, why are you emailing on a Thursday?"
Because our p-day got pushed back 3 days so that we could go to the temple this morning! :D
I love the Temple.  It always just feels like I'm coming home.

Good Mid-Week everyone!
The weather is starting to feel nice again here with the past week having a few days get up to 80°.  The humidity is only beginning.
I feel like a lot more should have happened in an email covering 10 days of missionary life, but I guess we'll see what I can come up with.

The Fort Meade area has been known to also be called "Fat Meade" or "Fork Meade" because all the members want to do is feed you.  Every night.  This is a complete 180 from my last area.  But I guess every area has its respective challenges.

I'm still not entirely sure of the reasoning why, but on the army post, we can't proselyte in any way.  Which includes but is not limited to: knocking doors, street contacting, or even wearing our nametags.  I'm not sure why being on a military base for a government that fought a war over the right of religion and the freedom of speech would somehow make it so we can't even wear our nametagsand be under threat that we'll be kicked out and make it impossible for missionaries in the future to get passes to get on post if we do.  A member said it clearly, "The war in heaven rages on earth today."  So we're really trying to promote member missionary work for those that live on post (which is about 75% of our members).

We got into the homes of 14 families of our ward in the last 10 days.
At a member's home this week, a member said something that I thought was profound.  The questions was raised of why do bad things happen to good people?  Why is life so hard?  Why me? 
This member, from her own experience, was able to sum it up to three reasons.
The first two are similar, being death and sin.  Because we are mortal, our bodies are subject to death and all manner of afflictions and diseases.  That's just the way we are since the Fall of Adam and Eve.  
The second is sin.  We all make poor decisions ranging in seriousness, but some people make poor decisions that affect others.  "Why would a loving God let people make horrible decisions?" Because He loves us enough to not force us to make correct decisions.
The third is Joy.  "But I thought the question was why bad things happen to good people."  The scriptures do a great job of illustrating why we need suffering to know joy: "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so... righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one;" --2 Nephi 2:11
You never appreciate breathing as much as you do the day after a head cold and not being able to breathe.  
We suffer so that we can know joy.
Oh how great the plan of our God that we may be able to know for ourselves the good from the evil and see how they are closely associated to happiness and misery respectively.

All in all, it's been a great week!   (And I'm happy next p-day is in 4 days!)

~Sister Galli

We pooled our resources and dyed eggs!

We found a corner of our area that has more horses than people in it.

What to do with excess Easter candy

TBT when Sister Hadley and I went up to Annapolis my first transfer in the mission