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 

Monday, April 10, 2017

From Africa to Annapolis ⛵️

A week ago, last Monday night, my companion and I got a call from our mission president saying that I'd be leaving the area as I was told a few weeks ago, but contrary to what I expected, I'm not back in the VC and rather, I am stationed for my second "out-bound" transfer up a little farther north in an area called Ft. Meade.  The name comes from the fact that just under half the area is a large multi-branch military post.  My companion is also Sister Hadley (she's the one that actually raised me my first transfer).
So that means I'm whitewashing for my fourth time.... FOUR TIMES. I do have to say though, you get better at it the more times you do it. (At this point in my mission, I'm wondering if I'll ever have a normal transfer.)

So I packed up and shipped off, but not before meeting with Suzannah again on Tuesday night.  Two really amazing things happened; 1, she made me a birthday cake from scratch that was a chocolate cake with raspberry center and white frosting and sprinkles.  It was awesome.  2, we put her on baptismal date for May 13 πŸ˜ƒπŸŽ‰  She is so excited, and I got permission to go back and be there for that :) What's actually funny is that her boyfriend (the less-active member) is in the army and sometimes they come up to Ft. Meade, so I gave them my new number and told them to shoot us a text if they're ever in the area.  She was thrilled that I was going up to this area because A) it's close and B) she told us she knows a lot of people who live up here that could use the gospel.  Let the referrals flow. 😁

For all of those that have white washed before (when you jump into an area and both companions are new), Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were primarily spent planning, contacting investigators, making maps, and meeting members.  The other sisters' most progressing investigator is named Mario and he's a hoot.  He likes to ask the deep questions (my favorite to help answer) and he likes to talk a lot too.  He's slowly coming to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is true but has expressed concerns with the Word of Wisdom.  We're pretty sure he already knows that he's going to be baptized one day.  He's cool :)

Getting on post for the first time was pretty scary because there's a lot of NSA and DISA offices, and civilians like us would get kicked out, arrested, or shot if we go down a wrong road--no pressure or anything.  However, we're pros by now and know where the off-limit areas are.

SATURDAY WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!! πŸŽ‰πŸŽπŸŽ‰πŸŽˆπŸŽ‰  It was also the 🌸 Cherry Blossom 🌸Festival in Downtown DC that all the missionaries in this mission got to help volunteer at, so I got a parade for my birthday.  Beat that.  
But as much as I like parades, the best part was that I got to see and chat with all the sisters in the mission which is awesome, because it's hard being full-pros and not seeing all your favorites every day.

This upcoming week, enjoy the egg hunts and the chocolate and the Easter Bunny, but just remember that the true meaning of Easter comes from something that gives you more joy and more peace than any Easter activity ever could, and that is the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Remember Him.  Love Him.  Obey Him.  He wants nothing more than for you to return to His presence and that comes from two things: His Grace and Your Obedience to His Commandments.  Who knew that eternal bliss requires oh so little of us--we just have to Follow Him!

I love you all and I love my Savior.  He will always beckon for us--we just need the faith to listen.

~Sister Galli

Cake from my awesome investigator, Suzannah!

Here's half of my area!

Birthday glasses on the Metro, brought to you by my last roommate, Hermana Noyes

This beautiful thing accidentally happened in downtown DC
(Sister Vespucci with her distant relative, Amerigo Vespucci)

Mission picture after volunteering at the parade 

The elders in red shirts were balloon carriers, and they unfortunately got stuck carrying this one in the parade.

Birthday flowers from my Favorite 😘

Monday, April 3, 2017

"Shape Up or I'll Send You to Africa!" 🌍

The title of this email comes from an experience we had this week while tracting.  My comp phrased it so well so I thought I'd just copy what she said:
"There was this one mom screaming so loud I could literally hear her from 3 floors away. I kept saying, we have to rescue that kid! Eventually, I convinced my comp to knock on the door with me. As we approached the door, she was screaming through the door, 'If you don't shape up, I will send you to a boarding school.. or back to Africa!' We knocked and heard her say, 'Clean up your face!' This little 7-year-old answered the door, obviously the one who got verbally abused. Then the mom came to the door, and she had a striking resemblance to Ursula from The Little Mermaid, she even had pointy, spaced apart teeth which was terrifying. She was from either Cameroon or somewhere else. She said they were Muslim and thus not interested. At least we got to give the kid a break." --Sister Vespucci

We've heard that threat a couple times here, now 😢  ...who knew?

The most exciting part of our week was tracting! Woo! πŸŽ‰
Just kidding.  We did do a lot of tracting, though, and it is exciting to play the game of "listen to the screaming Africans behind the door and guess the country of their nativity"--we're getting really good at it! 😁

Speaking of tracting, we were tracted into by, you guessed it, Jehovah's Witnesses.  That was an interesting experience. Because our apartment complex's doors are paper thin, we heard them from 7 doors away, so we were quite prepared and had my iPad recording the audio by the time they knocked on our door.  Now don't get us wrong, we are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ nor that we are members of His church. However, we were curious what they do on a normal door approach so we covered our name tags with our hair.
They knocked on our door and we waited a polite 10 or so seconds before opening the door.  We couldn't help but notice that they were dressed head-to-toe in black with one of them sporting a "" pin.  
Once Sister Vespucci opened the door, they told her to come to a "event" that would be 30 minutes long and would discuss the death of Christ. She literally had to ask three times what it was, and they couldn't answer. She asked, is it a play? A musical? A broadcast? Each time, they said, "no, it's a discourse". What does that even mean? We were questioning if they even knew what it was.
Sister Vespucci decided to move on from the topic and politely asked if she could discuss some inquiries we had about their faith.  
Around this time, I came up behind Sister Vespucci and stood there a few feet back, appearing to be intently listening.  One of them spotted me and said, "hello" and then asked if we were sisters.  We replied we were indeed sisters (but we did not tell them it was not in the way they were implying).  I told them to continue on their conversation because I loved to discuss religion. (Note: they made no attempt to then ask me what religion I was nor why I enjoyed discussing religion--a seamless opportunity they unfortunately didn't take.)
They continued on their robotic spiel for around 10 minutes, and poor Sister Vespucci was still waiting for them to ask her anything, literally anything, about what she believed or even her name. They asked if they could do a "free, in-home, Bible study" with us, and without letting her answer, went on and on and on. When the lady finally let her answer, Sister Vespucci flipped her hair back, revealing her missionary badge, and said, "Well, I'm actually a missionary right now." 
They tensed up a little bit, and the lady stuttered, "are—are you a Mormon?" The thinly veiled terror on their faces said it all. Sister Vespucci took that as a time to explain a little bit about being a Mormon missionary because they were momentarily speechless. Once they recovered from their initial shock, they made a quick get away, abandoning all the other doors in our building, but not before asking, " this your territory?" 
After the fact, I remarked that we should've said, "Yeah, this is our territory. Now, Get Out." I never would have, but it would have been priceless to see their reaction. 😁
The next day, we knocked into someone who said, "Are you Jehovah's Witnesses?" We said no, and then the name of The Church. He said, "I'm a Jehovah's Witness. I'm really not interested," and then slammed the door. Well. That's awkward. We spent a quarter of an hour politely talking to your people, and you couldn't even listen to us for 15 seconds. 
Judgement Day is gonna be real awkward for some people.

General Conference was great!  We were able to carpool with our roommates to the VC and therefore got to see all of our people again!  This transfer we got lucky being outbound because we had so many reasons to go the VC and as a result, not feel so utterly and completely isolated.  I don't know how all you full-proselyting sisters do it.  Kudos to you.

If you didn't get to watch General Conference, even just one session, make it a priority to watch it as soon as it's released online!  I think my favorite 3 or so talks were all from different sessions, so who knows what you missed? πŸ€”

Not a lot happened this week, but we did take a lot of pictures.  Enjoy!~❤️

~Sister Galli

Blossoms while out tracting

Sister Larson's last Friday on the mission

Car selfies in the rain

Roommate pic

Roommate 'Twinning is Winning' pic