Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Week

What a week. All of our work went home for Christmas, so it was super dead this week. We were still able to teach lessons, though. We have a motto: make it to January. That is when everyone will be back and when other amazing things are happening. In January, we are having our baptisms, important people (people from the missionary department, Bishop Gerard Causse, and Elder Quentin L Cook) are coming to the mission, and there will be more people to teach! Anyways, here's how our week went. And here's to hoping we make it through this next one!

Our Zone Activity last P-day was so much fun. We bought graham crackers, frosting, and  candy, and made gingerbread houses. I have pictures of everyone's house that I will send. After P-day, we had dinner with Fabiola (a less active) and Angel (her boyfriend). We also had a lesson with Alan and Phat, two members of the branch. We were then in charge of FHE. 

On Tuesday, Alan took us to breakfast. We went to a really yummy diner in Milpitas called the Black Bear Diner. It was fun to eat with him and talk. We also had district meeting and did service for the Laytons. We also did contacting, training, and had a lesson with Ali before going to dinner with Colin and his girlfriend. It was so much fun. 

Wednesday was the Christmas Eve party. It was so much fun! We got up early and went over there early to help with set-up, although it was already pretty well set up by the time that we got there. We had a great breakfast that the Laytons put together and then we took some pictures of the whole mission together. We then had the talent show. Our number was cut to save time, but we weren't too upset about that. Sister Bliss sang a really beautiful song called "Would I Know My Savior" by Sally Deford. I got a video of it. We then had a gift exchange by Zones. It was really fun. After that, we had a Christmas Devotional with President and Sister Mella. We then watched a movie! We saw "Ephriam's Rescue". It is by the same guy who did 17 Miracles and has some of the same characters. It was really good. It was so funny to watch it with a bunch of missionaries! By the time, it was all over, it was late in the afternoon! We were all hungry though, so part of our Zone went to get a late lunch. Sister Bliss and I then went to the Institute and had a lesson with Linda. After that, Sister Hill, Sister Lytle, Elder Ball, Elder Methvin, Sister Bliss, and I then had dinner with a family whose daughter is in the YSA Branch. It was fun. The Elders and the other Sisters had to leave, but we were able to stay after dinner for their Christmas program as well. It finally felt like Christmas Eve. It was such a great day!

Christmas was really good too. We got up on Christmas morning and did stockings and gifts. Thank you for the presents! I loved them! We also drew names as an apartment. I had Sister Hill and Sister Hill had me! :D We then had a group study before going to Skype. Skyping with you guys was probably the best part of the week! :D I was so glad to talk to you guys. After Skype, we had lunch with the Laytons, their family, other senior missionaries, and the Elders (the Elders were with us for meals all day). We then did some training before going to dinner with the Chandlers. One of their relatives who was over is a student at BYU and she is studying French! So, we got to talk a little. After that, we went to dinner with the Boozers. That was really yummy too. I didn't make myself sick this time! After that, we came home and went to bed. 
On Friday, I went on an exchange. I was with Sister Lytle again! We went to her area and worked. For the record, it is kind of weird to do an exchange with the sisters who you live with! But, hey, I got to sleep in my own bed. :D Anyways, we did a lot of service that day along with a couple of lessons, training, and contacting. 

On Saturday, we got the oil changed in the car and then went and did service with the Zone. We cleaned up trash in the neighborhood where the elders live. In case you were wondering, it takes four of them to get a plastic bag out of a tree! XD Anyways, we then went to lunch with part of the Zone, trained, and then went contacting at the mall. We walked around the mall and talked to a lot of people and taught a couple of lessons. It was great. We also had dinner with Anna (a member of the branch). After that, we came home and did Weekly Planning. 

On Sunday, we had Branch Coucil and then Church. After Church, we had an incredible lesson with Linda. We are helping her make the changes that she needs to make to be baptized and we are confident that she will make it to her date of 10 Jan. We then went contacting at the mall before going to dinner at the Wright's home. Their daughter, Elise, is in the branch and signed up to feed us. It was so nice to eat in a house! Also, Brother Wright served his mission in Switzerland and Southern France! So, I got to talk to him! I was so glad to find someone to talk to! We then went contacting with the elders (no one was on campus though). After that, we dd training and I passed off Lesson 3! I also lost my nametag (the one they gave me in the MTC). We found the magnet part of it outside the dumpster and we think that it landed in there when I took the trash out. Elder Ball and Elder Methvin looked in there for me (I am too short) and they couldn't find it. I am ordering a new one, and I am wearing one right now (the one that was originally on my coat) but I am sad that I lost that one. 

Let me tell you how our investigators are doing...

We had to drop Kyle's date. We haven't seen him in about two weeks and he won't be ready by this weekend. He has just been working a lot with the holidays, and couldn't meet.

Linda is doing really well. She has some struggles, but we are working on them. This week is the week that she is making all of those changes that she needs to make. We are so proud of her. 

Jose is out of town, but he will be back before his baptismal date. We are confident that we can teach him everything before he gets baptized. 

We couldn't meet with Elsie this week. 

I think that that is all for here. I need to send some pictures too.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Call

What an exciting day!!  Sister Sara Palmer was able to call home at 10:30 this morning.  We were able to connect the computer to the TV so that we had a good view without all having to huddle around a computer monitor.  Bre is home for Christmas break so we were able to have all of us in on the conversation.  It was so good to hear her voice, see her smiling face, not to mention the various expressions she makes, her tendency to start singing French "hold" music when the video cuts out, (which it did a few times), and to see the way her face lights up when she is excited. She is doing well, and wishes everyone a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I hope things are going well for everyone. This has been a crazy week and I better start typing now or I'll never get it all in plus pictures!

On Monday evening, we had a lesson with Jose. We taught him about the Ten Commandments and some of the other commandments (chastity, obey and honor the law, etc.). He agreed to do these things. We love him so much. We then went with the Branch to FHE. We went to Christmas in the Park. Basically, there is this big park in downtown San Jose where they set up all of these Christmas things and you can walk around and look. It was so fun. My personal favorite was probably when we all went into this house and talked to Santa. We even got a Branch picture and then a picture of us four missionaries with him! :D The Branch also wanted to carol to him and we sang "Joy to the World". After FHE, we also set up our baby Christmas tree. I was SO excited!

On Tuesday, my roommates (Sister Hill and Sister Bullcreek) moved out and our new roommares moved in: Sister Hill and Sister Lytle! So, I am living with Sister Lytle again. On Tuesday night, we went with the Branch to the temple. They went to do baptisms and we took Linda with us to the visitor's center. It was so much fun. We heard the Christus message (which I LOVE), watched their little presentation on the Family (Sister Bliss and I cried), and then watched The Restoration again. It was awesome. I love the Oakland Temple! :D Linda loved it too; she really felt the Spirit. I just wish it hadn't been raining so hard. It took us two hours to get there and then we couldn't walk around on the grounds because of the rain. 

On Wednesday, Sister Bliss and I went to the Institute building with the elders to welcome the new missionaries (like what they did for us 6 weeks ago). about 20 missionaries went home and we only got 8 in this time. Only 4 of them were from the Provo MTC, only 2 of those were sisters, and neither of were called to speak English. The mission is shrinking! We then took them all contacting. I went with a Tongan speaking sister and Sister Bliss went with a Spanish speaking sister and we went contacting on campus. It was great. We then said goodbye to them and went on our way to do missionary work. On Wednesday night, we taught Carmina. She is a recent convert in the Branch. We had dinner and taught Elsie. We taught her about The Restoration and invited her to be baptized. She said yes, should she know that these things are true! :D We really like her. She is so nice. Kyle wasn't there, but we were able to call him later and check on him. He's doing well. He just had to work. After Elsie, we met with Ali, another recent convert who we love! After that, we came home. 

We had a slow Thursday. Almost all of the people we planned to meet with cancelled on us! We had district meeting, and that was really fun. We then had lunch and waited for Samantha (a recent convert) to show up so we could teach her. She was running late and Sister Bliss and I fell asleep waiting for her. We woke up to Elder Layton taking a picture of us! We then worked on service for the Laytons until Samantha showed up. We taught her and did more service for the Laytons. We even called the elders to help us with the service. After a few hours of service, we all trained together (Elder Methvin is the same "age" as me. He is still in training). We then went to dinner with Guy and Ali. They took us to a really nice restaurant! We then went for ice cream and came home. It was really fun. 

Friday was another slow day. Our morning was taken up by Advanced Orientation. That is when they take all the missionaries who have been out for a transfer and have another orientation with them. It was fun to see all the missionaries who I came out of the MTC with. After that we had lunch and then ran errands before going to MCM. After MCM, we went to dinner. We ended up going to the graduation dinner for one of the members of the branch. He just graduated with his Masters in Electrical Engineering. After that, we went home. 

On Saturday, we went and did service before teaching Jose. We taught him more commandments. It turns out, he is not going to Mexico, so we have more time to teach him. He is doing really really well! We then had lunch and some training before we taught Linda. We had an amazing lesson with Linda. She is really struggling with some things right now, so we had to change gears and teach based on her needs rather than the lesson we had planned. She is really having a hard time with this change, and she is getting a lot of harassment about it from people close to her. The elders gave her a blessing and we set some goals. We weren't able to see her on Sunday because she was working late on Saturday night. I hope that we see her again soon. We then went to meet up with some other elders in the mission. Sister Bliss is singing at the Christmas party that we are having as a mission and she asked one of the elders to play piano for her. So, we met up with them and they practiced. Sister Bliss is an amazing singer and Elder Davis is an amazing pianist, so it is going to be a great performance! Our little missionary choir is singing too. We then went to dinner. We ate at a member's home and it was super fun. They have two dogs (pugs) and they are the sweetest, dumbest dogs I have ever seen. We also ate gumbo! It was so yummy. We then came back and went contacting with the elders. We contacted a good amount of people and taught some lessons! :D While we were out, we saw a rabbit just sitting on campus and the elders wanted to catch it. I wish I had had my camera and could have taken a video of these elders trying to catch a rabbit! 

On Sunday, we had an amazing Sacrament Meeting. It was mainly musical numbers in honor of Christmas. Sister Bliss sang, the Branch Choir sang, a girl played the cello while her brother played piano, and another girl played the violin. It was beautiful. We then had lunch and did some training with the elders before going to see Ceidy. I lead the lesson and it went really well! :D We then had dinner with the Jepsons. In the car, Sister Bliss and I made a bet on what we were having to eat. I won. :D After that, we came home and did our weekly planning. It went really well. I am starting to feel less stressed about companionship inventory. 
Don't worry about me for Christmas. We have three dinners for Christmas day and a dinner for Christmas Eve. We won't be all alone. I am hoping that President will send us more instructions on how the Christmas schedule will work. I am betting that is what is sitting in my inbox... Anyways, I am really excited to talk to you at Christmas. It will be great! :D

Love you lots!

Monday, December 15, 2014

End of First Transfer!

I survived my first transfer! This transfer was only five weeks because they didn't want to be sending home missionaries on Christmas Eve. So, this next transfer will be seven weeks to make up for it (it ends on 1 Feb). Unfortunately, this is Sister Bliss' last transfer. She goes home on the 4th of February. As far as actual transfers go, only one companionship from our zone got transferred. Sister Bliss and I are still in Washington Square.This week has been a wet, busy week. I forgot my planner though, so this will be really jumbled and probably less detailed.

One of the fun things about the end of transfers is that you get a new planner. I don't know if all missions do this, but we decorate our planners. For my first transfer, Sister Bliss had made my planner, but this time, I made my own. We cut pictures out of the ensign (or print them off of lds.org), glue them to the covers, and then put tape over the top of it. I am going to send pictures of my new planner because I love it! :D

On Monday, we went with the Branch to the Christmas Creche exhibit. It was really nice to see the Creches again (and not as a volunteer).  I don't really have much else to say, as it was P-day...

On Tuesday, we met with Jose and he set a date! JOSE IS GETTING BAPTIZED! All of our progressing investigators have baptismal dates now! (Kyle is 3 Jan, Linda is 10 Jan, Jose is 17 Jan). I hope that everyone keeps their dates. Jose is leaving to go to Mexico this week though, so we have to meet with him a lot before then to get everything in on time. We suggested he change it to the 24th, but he really wanted the 17th. So, we'll make it work! :D I also got to try a yummy treat called Mochi. It is an ice cream ball wrapped in dough. It is really yummy! On Tuesday night, Sister Bliss and Sister Hill had some Sister Training Leader things to do, so Sister Lytle and I got to be companions for a while. We got home really late and I saw that your Christmas box had showed up! I didn't have time to open it untilWednesday morning. 

On Wednesday, we had a lot of lessons. We met with Fabiola again. She was doing better this time. We also picked up a new investigator! We had been trying to meet with this girl named Elsie. When we were at Institute dinner, a member of the branch came up to us and said that one of our investigators had come. Needless to say, we were very confused, but followed him to see a girl I had never met before. It was Elsie! She is from El Salvador. She was taking the missionary lessons, but had to stop. We were able to teach her and set up an appointment to meet this upcoming Wednesday. Yay! We also taught Kyle. He seems to be doing better. We also taught Joshua, a member of the branch. He is struggling and asked for a lesson. We gave him some encouragement. I also got to try a yummy treat called a cronut. It is a croissant that is fried and shaped like a donut. They are from Jack in the Box. Yummy! 

On Thursday, we had Zone Training Meeting. That took up a lot of our day. It was also the day we were supposed to have a superstorm. We thought that it hadn't come, until a member of the branch showed us pictures of what was going on elsewhere in California (there was flooding on the highways). We have had a lot of rain this week! I would ask you to send me my rain boots, but they are not very professional. Oh well. Hopefully the rain will stop soon. That evening, we taught Linda. We taught her about The Ten Commandments, including obeying and honoring the law and the Law of Chastity. It went really well. We only have a few commandments left to teach her.

On Friday, we went to this really awesome Thai restaurant and I got to have yellow curry. So good! I forgot how much I like it. Dad, if you are ever in San Jose, you have to try it! :D On Friday, Sister Bliss had more STL things to do and I was with Sister Lytle again. We went to MCM and had a lesson with the Branch Mission Leader, Sachin. After that, we went home and Sister Lytle and I did what we could for planning. We then ended up having to go to bed because our companions didn't get back until after 10:30

On Saturday, we started teaching a recent convert who the elders had been teaching. Her name is Carmina. I hope we will be able to meet with her more. We then went to a baptism. One of the elders' investigators, Jessica, was baptized. We invited Linda to come, so she could see what a baptism is like before she is baptized. She came and she really liked it. She said that she really felt the Spirit. It was a great baptism. 

On Sunday, we had Church and taught Jose more. Linda also fed us dinner. She is so nice! Sister Bliss and I then went to the outgoing fireside. That is a fireside that they have at the end of transfers for all of the missionaries who are leaving. We really wanted to go because the missionary who trained Sister Bliss, my "grandma", was going to be leaving. It was a really neat fireside. All of the missionaries leaving bear their testimony, as do some recent converts, Sister Mella, and President Mella. After that, we spent a lot of time talking with the missionaries who are leaving and seeing other missionaries who we don't get to see very often because of where they are serving. It was great. 

Today, we are going to finish our P-day errands and go to FHE with the branch. We are also meeting with Jose again. And guess what? We're getting a REAL Christmas tree! Sister Bliss is against fake trees and was shocked that I have never had a real tree or lights on the house. So, we're going to buy a tree and lights! :D 

Well, that's about all for here. Sorry if this one isn't as detailed as the others. 

Love you lots!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy

Hello everyone, 

This has been a really crazy, but really good, week. To give you an idea, I was on two official exchanges this week and two unofficial. I have hardly seen Sister Bliss. When we sent in our numbers last night, we had to use her planner because I haven't really been in the area! We also had that music fireside thing I mentioned in my last email and other things. Here we go!

I wrote you about P-day. We did our errands and then went to the Zone Activities where they played games at the Institute building. I sat off to the side and wrote letters. That night, however, we had dinner at home (the member feeding us had to cancel) and then went to FHE. Most of them played a game called Murder, but those of us who didn't want to play played Uno. It was intense. We then left for the exchange. I was with Sister Black. We actually stayed with her and her roommates our first night in the mission (while the elders slept at President Mella's house). It was so good for me to have an exchange with a Sister who had been in the mission for a while (Sister Black is the same "age" as Sister Bliss. They both have just a couple of months left). 

I spent most of Tuesday with Sister Black. We had our exercise and our study and then went to serve at the Almaden Community Center. They have a lunch for people and we helped serve. It was really fun. We then came back home and did training before we went and visited some people in the ward. It was fun, even though we were out in the rain. It rained a lot at the beginning of the week! We then had dinner with a new family in the ward. They were really fun. We then had another lesson with a member of the ward before exchanging back. It was a great exchange and Sister Black and I are now good friends :D

On Wednesday, we had a more relaxed day. I believe you asked me what we do for exercise. We go to the Institute Building and run around in the gym, stretch, do whatever we want. Or, if we're not feeling like going over there (ie. one of us isn't feeling well) we exercise in the livingroom. After exercise we have breakfast and then do our studies. This time, we also did training before going to District Meeting. At the end of District Meeting, we had an ugly sweater picture! I will send you some pictures. Sister Bliss and I have great ugly sweaters! :D We then did service for the Laytons by decorating the Institute Building for Christmas. It was really fun and I have some pictures of our hard work. on Sunday (yay). Institute dinner went well. The Laytons take such good care of everyone. I love them so much. After dinner, we taught Kyle about The Plan of Salvation. He seemed really interested and asked great questions.
We also helped them prepare for the big dinner that night. Before dinner, we had a lesson with a less active named Fabiola. She is struggling with some things and wanted to talk. We helped her get a priesthood blessing and encouraged her to talk to the Branch President. She texted us a few days later and said that things were going better. She also came to church 

On Thursday, we had a song practice with the Elders for the fireside before teaching Jose. We taught him about The Plan of Salvation too. We plan to continue with it the next time we see him. He seemed to understand it. We really like teaching him! We then had our exchange. I was off again with Sister Lytle in Alum Rock! We went with most of the Zone to service at Lake Cunningham. We were cleaning out all of the tree limbs that they had cut down at the entrance to the park. We have some good workers in our Zone! We were there for three hours! We then went and trained. The Elders were supposed to help with that, but they were really late, so we did most of it on our own. We then went contacting, and I had to contact in Spanish again. Later that night, I asked the Hermanas who live with Sister Lytle and her companion (Sister Hill) the best way to say things. They said that what I was saying was good, and they taught me a better (and easier) way to do it. We then went to dinner at a member's home and did service for them. We then went and taught an investigator named Kristin about the temple. After that we taught some Chinese investigators about missionary work. It was really fun. After that, we came home and planned before going to bed. 

On Friday, we did our usual morning routine (exercise, personal study, companionship study) and some training before going to Roosevelt to serve. It is like the Almaden Community Center. Bre, you would love it. They have their lunch and then move all the tables aside and dance. While we were there, Sister Bliss called and said that her leadership meeting (which she was with Sister Hill at what we were waiting for to end so we could exchange back) was going to run late. She asked us to go teach Linda, which we had planned to do together, while they were in this meeting. So, Sister Lytle and I went and taught. Thankfully, Sister Bliss and I had prepared this lesson earlier and I had decided to look over it that morning! I filled Sister Lytle in on everything we knew about Linda and we taught her. It went really well. I have felt like I was being lead by the Spirit, and teaching by the Spirit, but never like that. It was amazing. After that, we exchanged back and had to run to the fireside in Morgan Hill. It turns out that this thing is huge! They have groups from all over come and sing. We sang our numbers and Sister Bliss said that we sounded really good (she was conducting us). We are going to do it again for the Mission Christmas Party. After that, we went home and planned. It was a crazy day!

Saturday was crazy too! We weekly planned that morning, as we didn't have time to on Friday (that is the usual day that we do it). We then had lunch before leaving for Palo Alto. In Palo Alto they have a Creche exhibit. They have hundreds of nativities loaned to them by members of the Church and set them all up in the Church building for people to see. They have nativities from all over the world! It is a HUGE deal. This year was the 27th year of them doing it. Look it up! We were there as volunteers. Meaning, we were assigned to a room and wandered around. We were to make sure that no one touched the creches and that we could answer any questions that people had (a lot of people of different faiths come to this). We are going back there with the YSA for FHE and I am so excited to go there as something other than a volunteer, so I can look around at all the different ones! We then came back and had dinner before going and teaching Ceydi. I really love teaching her. We then had a mini-exchange. Sister Card wanted to go to a baptism in her old area, but her companion needed to sing in a Christmas party, so we exchanged with them. I went with Sister Card to the baptism. It was great. We then exchanged back when it was over and went home. 

Look at the new hairstyle Sister Bliss gave me
Sunday was amazing! I filled out the Progress Record for the first time to take to Branch Council, and Sister Bliss helped me. We then had Branch Council and Church. Linda came again too! After Church, Sister Bliss and Sister Hill had another meeting so Sister Lytle and I were back together. We had another lesson with Linda, just answering her questions about what had happened at Church today. She then told Sister Lytle and me that she had decided on a baptismal date!!!!!!! We decided not to tell Sister Bliss, and have Linda tell her later that night. We then had Break the Fast. Yay! Sister Lytle and I then taught Samantha, a recent convert. When Sister Bliss came back, we had a lesson with Alan, a member of the Branch. It was so hard to keep my mouth shut about Linda! We then had the Christmas Devotional. It was so good! After the Devotional, Linda told Sister Bliss. She freaked out! :D I told her that I knew and she was annoyed with me ("You knew and didn't tell me?!") but I explained that Linda had wanted to tell her and I was forgiven. :D Linda is getting baptized on January 10th! LINDA IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After that, we had dinner with the Stake President's family (his daughter is in the YSA and asked to feed us). We then went contacting with the Elders (it was dark) and then came home and did our numbers and planning before going to bed. 

Today is going to be an awesome day. I have to run though, or you won't get any pictures :)

Love you lots, 


ps) 3 Nephi 11:15

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pictures - Episode 2

 My Zone with Elder and Sister Layton

Sister Bliss straightened my hair

Sisters Bliss and Palmer at the Zone mini golf trip.

Zone Activity - Ping Pong

 Sisters Palmer and Bliss 

I got Bible Bashed!


Another exciting week in San Jose. Let's get started, shall we? *grabs planner*

Monday was an important day. An insurance guy came to look at the car and recorded the damage (barely anything). We then finished cleaning (we try to clean our apartment once a week) and I emailed you. We also went grocery shopping and then we had do go meet with Sister Hansen. Sister Hansen and Sister Bliss are both in charge of some Christmas fireside that some of the missionaries are singing at. A few missionaries from three different zones are to sing. Elder Ball, Elder Methvin, Sister Bliss, and I are representing our zone! The fireside is this Friday.We then went to the mission office and then to a Zone Activity. For the Zone Activity, we went to Golfland and played mini-golf. It is owned by a member and free to missionaries! It was so much fun. 

Once P-day was over, we taught Jose more about the Restoration. We showed him the DVD of it and he seemed to understand that better. We also had a member with us named Shane who helped give insights from when he joined the Church and how he came to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Yay for member-present lessons! We then met our new investigator, Linda. Let me tell you about her. On Sunday, when we were driving to a dinner appointment, a girl called us. She said that she used to be a member of the branch and asked us to teach her friend Linda. So, after dinner, we called Linda and set up an appointment to meet on Monday evening. Linda is amazing. She just hit her one year of sobriety and she knows that God helped her stop drinking. She is looking to change her life. We taught her about the Atonement and hope. She really liked it. 

We were then in charge of FHE. Because of the holidays, there weren't many people so one of the FHE coordinators asked us to take everyone contacting. Towards the end, I met my first "Bible Basher". I asked this young man if he wanted to go to church with us and he asked me which denomination I was. I told him that I was LDS or "Mormon". That's when it all went down the drain. He told me that we worship Joseph Smith. I explained that we don't; that he was a prophet. He then asked if I had a Book of Mormon and then if I had a Bible. He then attacked me for saying that the Book of Mormon helps explain the Bible. He said that we devalue the Bible by placing it on the same level as the Book of Mormon. Sister Bliss, who had missed the beginning of this while she was talking to someone else, came to the rescue. She asked the man if he had read the Book of Mormon and he said that he had read parts of it. He then asked if he could see my copy of it. He assured me that he wouldn't abuse it and I handed him my copy that I use in missionary work (my triple copy). He flipped through it and was impressed that this one didn't have a "white Jesus" (referring to the pictures). There was then some conflict about "white Jesus" and Sister Bliss was able to say that we really needed to go. She offered to shake his hand, but he refused, saying that he wouldn't say "God bless" to people who don't believe in God! I was able to stay calm until he walked away. Then, I was completely shaken up. I did, however, not want to end the night on a bad note, so I screwed up my courage and invited a woman to church. She sounded interested and I gave her the information. I haven't seen her since, but she made my night so much better. What a blessing!

On Tuesday, we had service at Veggilution (it is a farm where people can volunteer). We worked in the field and I was covered in mud. :D We then went to the Institute Building for lunch and then I went contacting with Sister Lytle (Sister Bliss and Sister Lytle's companion are the Sister Training Leaders and they had a meeting to go to). The elders were nice enough to go with us because they knew about what happened last night (we have fantastic elders). We then had some training before interviews with President Mella. We talked about my Bible Basher and other things. We then had a lesson with Samantha about the plan of Salvation before going to the Packards' for dinner. They are the nicest elderly couple! They invited us over for Thanksgiving too! We then did more service at a craft night. A girl in the branch got married this weekend (29 Nov) and we helped make paper flowers for the reception (so frustrating). 

On Wednesday, we had a short lesson with Jose. He is waiting for a sign that The Book of Mormon is true (he is more accepting of Joseph Smith as a prophet than he was before). We talked to him about faith and signs. I think it helped. He went out of town for Thanksgiving, but we hope to see him again today to set up another appointment.

We then had District Meeting. During District Meeting, they do what is called a Spotlight. Where a companionship sits in the front of the room and everyone says nice things to them. It is really awkward, but nice too. We also watched the new "He Is The Gift" video. Have you heard about that and what all the Church is doing? They really want to get the missionaries involved! Check it out (christmas.mormon.org)! We then had another lesson with Linda and taught her about The Restoration. The elders had given her a copy of The Book of Mormon and she had begun to read it! She was very receptive (to the point that Sister Bliss and I were amazed). We then went contacting and taught three lessons on the street!

We then had a very interesting "lesson" (more of a discussion) with Mohammed. I mentioned him in my last letter. It was Elder Ball, Elder Methvin, Sister Hill, Sister Bullcreek, Sister Bliss, and me talking to Mohammed and two of his friends. They don't seem very interested. That is to say, they were just being nice listening to us. They love Islam and they want to stay Islam. And that is fine. The way I see it is that we cleared up some misconceptions and were able to talk about what we have in common. So, if they ever decide that maybe Islam isn't what they want (long shot, I know) then they will remember that we have similar beliefs. I also found a way to break the language barrier. During the "lesson" I felt that I needed to ask them what languages they spoke (they were struggling with English). So, afterwards, I asked. One of the men spoke French! I explained to him in French that I speak French as well and if we ever met again, I would be more than willing to help him translate things into English by going from Arabic into French first. I doubt I will ever see them again, but I was so glad that I could offer to be his interpreter should we ever meet again. 

We then had institute dinner and another lesson with Kyle. He is still working on his issues and we are doing the lessons with him over again. He seems much more interested this time! :D

Thanksgiving nearly killed us. We didn't do much in the way of missionary work because you can't go contacting when there is no one to contact! We did however make sure to share messages with all of our dinners. You read that right. We had THREE dinners. We had dinner with the Laytons, the Packards, and the Boozers. I was so sick at the end of the day! But, it made them happy, and we didn't want to say no. I have learned some tips for what to do when you have to eat a lot in one day, so I won't be as sick next time. We have leftovers in the fridge too. 

Fridays are really slow for us because all we really do is weekly planning and have MCM. We did, however, have a lesson with Ceydi (a member). I love her so much! We also had training. Sorry, not a super interesting day.

On Saturday, we had our usual study and training before going contacting. We taught two lessons on the street and got some referrals to send to other missionaries (usually we're the ones receiving referrals since we cover a YSA). We also had a lesson with Linda about The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We then did some new member visits and went to the wedding reception. We stayed at the reception for about an hour before going to dinner with Carolyn (a member). We then came home and I was able to be certified to teach The Restoration! Basically, as part of training, you work on being certified to teach the lessons (knowing the chapter headings and what to make sure you teach about each one). I did it! I can teach the first lesson! :D Saturday was also my "one month". I almost missed it with everything going on!

On Sunday, we had no branch council, so we got to have a longer companionship study. We also had two investigators at Church! Kyle and Linda came! We tried really hard to make them both feel welcome, especially Linda. We ended up teaching Linda a lesson after Church because she had questions. It was great. We then had a song practice with the elders and did training before going to dinner at the Melvilles. We then had a lesson with Colin and Michael (all three of them are members of the branch). We then came home and had planning before going to bed. 



3 Nephi 5:13

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MTC Pictures

Sister Palmer with her district

Sis. Palmer and Sis. Lytle at the Provo Temple

Sara at the Big Map in the MTC

Welcome to San Jose

I ate a Cricket!

Hello everyone, 

Another week has flown by in San Jose! I'll give you a quick thing about last P-day (I wrote you an actual letter about it) and then I will dive into the rest of the week. *pulls out Missionary Planner*

We had a super busy P-day last week. I had to go to the podiatrist (which went well), bought groceries, did laundry (yay!), ran errands, wrote home, and spent most of our time in the mission office. We had to fill out an accident report for what happened in the accident and it took longer because there was another pair of sisters who got in a car accident who needed to do their paperwork too. I will be so glad when this whole accident is behind us. Someone came to look at the damage to the car today (it is very minimal, scratches on our bumper) and will be working with the mission office. Hopefully, this is almost over! We also taught Jose about The Restoration. He has some concerns, as he was raised Catholic and doesn't believe in prophets. We then had dinner with a member/recent convert named Carmina. We then went and taught a member named Ceydi. Ceydi and I are a lot alike and we are already good friends. I think that we are both good for eachother.

On Tuesday, we did service at a farm called Veggilution. We do our service in the mornings and then we go and teach and contact in the afternoon and evening (well, we don't contact in the evenings unless there is someone else with us). We then had lunch at the Institute Building and showed The Restoration video to an investigator named Michelle. She's not looking to convert, but she is interested in learning about the Church. Maybe we can change her mind? :) She is also studying Farsi! How cool is that?! Sister Bliss then had a meeting (she is a Sister Training Leader) and I contacted with Sister Hill's (the other Sister Training Leader) companion: Sister Lytle! We went contacting on campus and I was able to teach a lesson on the street! :D We then had two more lessons, one with a member and the other with a recent convert.

We then went to dinner with a recent convert, Ali and her boyfriend, Guy (he is a member). We went to this Mexican place and I ate a cricket! You read that right. They had an appetizer where you could eat crickets. The elders and Guy ordered it, and I was brave enough to try one. I have a video of Elder Ball, our District Leader, eating one. They don't really taste like anything. They're really crunchy though...

On Wednesday, we had District Meeting. We reported our numbers for last week and introduced eachother. My district was super excited when they found out that I speak French and I was asked to say the Closing prayer in French! After the meeting, we went to this ice cream place called Cream. You pick two cookies and a type of ice cream and they make it into an ice cream sandwich for you. It is super yummy. I also got to go to a Greek place and get gyros! We then did some training and such before coming back to the Institute for dinner. They have a big dinner at the Institute on Wednesdaynights and we get to go.

We also had an amazing lesson with an investigator named Kyle. According to Sister Bliss, they had been teaching him for a long time and he wouldn't commit to anything. This week, we had a talk and decided to drop him if this lesson didn't go well. Last Sunday, the day after the Elder Bednar devotional, he texted us and said that he had an amazing experience there. So, when we taught him on Wednesday, we tried to focus on that. He said that that was the first time he had really felt the Spirit. We invited him to be baptized, and he agreed, but he was hesitant about the date. Sister Bliss asked him why and he finally opened up. He started to cry and told us what was going on. We are now praying for him that he can resolve this. This was probably the high point of our week!

On Thursday, I went on my first exchange! As an STL (Sister Traning Leader), Sister Bliss has to go on exchanges with sisters about once a week and help them. Sister Bliss and Sister Hill thought long and hard about what to do, since they are both training, and decided to put Sister Lytle and I together anyways! So, I was in Alum Rock (Sister Lytle's area) and we did what they had planned for the day while Sister Bliss was with another Sister in our area. Sister Lytle and I went to lunch and then did some contacting. 

The weather was bad (it has been raining the last couple of days) so we didn't get much contacting done, but we met the Zone daily goal. I even contacted a woman in Spanish! I walked up to her and started talking when she said "No ingles". I told her who we were and invited her to come to Church in my rusty Spanish. I had a hard time understanding her (I accidentally mixed up my pronouns) but I understood her in the end. It was so cool! 

After contacting, we had an appointment with a man named Raymond. He lives in a home for people with mental illness because he has schizophrenia. He was really nice and we had a good conversation with him. I would love to teach him again. That is, if he doesn't run away again. We then went back to Sister Lytle's apartment for dinner (no appointment) and then left for another lesson. We got lost on our way to the lesson and had problems at the gas station because we didn't know how to use the gas card. Thanks to a very helpful gas station attendant, we were able to fill up and go to our appointment. Sister Lytle was able to talk to him about the Church too. Maybe that is why we had so much trouble! After that, we had a member-present lesson with two Chinese guys. They were so fun to teach. I also saw Alisa's grandpa! I thought it was him and I stopped him to ask if he was Alisa Flaherty's grandpa. He said that he was and I told him to tell everyone "hi". It was so nice to see him, but sad that it had to be while I was on exchanges!

On Friday, I was returned to Sister Bliss (I spent the night with Sister Lytle). Fridays are a fairly slow day for us. We had a lesson with Manny (a less-active) and received a call from the mission office while we were eating lunch. Apparently, President Mella wanted to talk to us. We did some contacting and then left for the mission office. President Mella knew that I was struggling. He wanted to talk to me and then to me and Sister Bliss to help me figure out ways to cope. He really cares and he just wants to help me. 

We were then supposed to have dinner with a member and her fiance, but she has been so stressed with wedding stuff (the wedding is this weekend) that she just asked us what we wanted and brought it to us. It was nice of her. We then helped the YSA set up for their activity that night. They were having a movie night and turned the place into a movie theatre! Sister Bliss and I worked in the concession stand and then went home. It was fun. 

On Saturday, we did service before going to lunch with a member named Alan. He's a really nice guy. We then had training and did contacting. We then did our weekly planning because we didn't have time to on Friday. We then had dinner and visited a recent convert/less active named Chris. He's a really nice guy. We wish he would come to Church though. As forSunday, we had Branch Council, Church, contacting, dinner, and training. When we were out contacting we were able to teach two lessons on the street too! We were going to meet with a referral from the sisters who live with us, but he never showed. His name is Mohammed. He gave the sisters who live with us four copies of the Koran, so we got one too! It is in the original language, so I can't read it, but it is so beautiful. The cool thing about Mohammed, is that he is willing to change religions if he believes that this is what God wants him to do! Wow! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Picture Day

When Sara arrived in the mission field her Mission President, President Mella, took a couple of pictures and sent them to us.  Since pictures have never been high on Sara's priority list we are excited to get anything.

Here's Sara with her companion Sister Bliss.

And here is Sara with President and Sister Mella

Monday, November 17, 2014

My first P-Day, Elder Bednar in Oakland, and a lot left to learn


I have made it to my first P-day. Well, let me back up to how we got there...


My last week at the MTC was fine (not counting the fact that I was sick). Sister Lytle and I taught our investigators and they were making progress. We were really sad to leave them. The other sisters in our zone also came and said goodbye to us. Sister Lytle and I also made a vending machine run and I got ice cream (yes, they have a frozen food vending machine. It is awesome) to celebrate my last night in the MTC. Don't take that the wrong way, please. I loved the MTC! 


According to our travel itinerary, we had to be at the Travel Office at 3h35. So, we got up around 2h30. We then got ready (thankfully we had packed and cleaned the night before) and made sure we had everything before we left. We wheeled our stuff to the Travel Office (of course it has to be the farthest building from us). We then got on the bus and the bus took us to the train station in Provo. We then got on the train (it left at 4h30) and traveled to our stop in Salt Lake City. We then went to the Salt Lake airport. Once we had our boarding passes, and were checked in, we went searching for our gate. The Salt Lake airport is HUGE! (Then again, so is San Jose International). We found our gate and then Sister Lytle and I went to buy some food. We were standing in line to buy some food when a man came up to us and told the woman who was taking our order to add it on to his and that he was paying for it! We thanked him and he told us to have a great mission. They love missionaries in the SLC Airport! :D

The flight was fine. The flight was about an hour and a half and we landed in the San Jose airport around 9h30 (left at 8h30 Utah time). We then wandered through the San Jose airport toward baggage claim, where we were told that someone from the Church would be waiting for us. On our way, we ran into a bunch of San Jose missionaries going home and they almost attacked us! They told us repeatedly that we were going to the best mission ever. We continued on our way and found a huge group of people waiting for us! It was President Mella, Sister Mella, the Assistants, and the couples who work in the mission office. The first one to great me was President Mella. It was amazing. 

We then went to baggage claim and President Mella told the elders to grab the luggage off the carousel. He said that if any sisters touched the luggage, the elders would be in huge trouble! We then all took the luggage to the cars waiting for us. We put our luggage in the transfer van and Sister Mella took all of the sisters in a big van. We went to the Institute Building in Downtown San Jose. 


When we arrived, we had an orientation by President Mella and his Assistants (Elder Fisher and Elder Black). We were then informed that we were going to go out and do some street contacting! Because we don't do tracting here, we do contacting. We talk to everyone we see on the street and invite them to hear a message about Christ, come to Church, or be baptized. I couldn't believe they wanted us to do that on our first day! We hadn't even been in San Jose for an hour! Sister Lytle and I went with Sister Bliss (one of the Sister Training Leaders) and we went out to contact on a nearby University Campus. We were really scared, but Sister Bliss encouraged us, and I was able to open my mouth and contact people! 

We came back and then went to the Mission Office for lunch. We met more of the people who work in the Mission Office and ate. After lunch, we went to President Mella's house and got to take a nap. We all slept on the floor in sleeping bags. It was one of the best naps I had ever had! I woke up about two hours later (around dinner time) and did a recording. Apparently, they record you when you first come in and then again when it is time for you to leave. I am excited to see how much I change. I then had an interview with President Mella. I LOVE President Mella, he was so nice. He's like a Dad to all the missionaries.  I told him everything that I was worried about and we talked a lot about it. It was very comforting. We then had dinner and a devotional before the sisters went to stay the night at some nearby apartments (the elders got to sleep at President Mella's house).

The next morning, we packed up our things again and went to the mission office for breakfast. After breakfast, we had an orientation about vehicle safety and about medical information. We now have a mission nurse: Sister Conner.

After orientation, we went to the chapel where we would be assigned our companion/trainer and our new area. I was really scared and kept praying that I would have a nice, understanding companion. President Mella made some remarks and then had all the greenies line up at the front of the chapel before reading off who their trainers would be. He said, "Sister Palmer, your trainer is Sister Bliss." ! I was so excited. According to Elder Rich, an elder who was helping us out, I lit up. I was so excited to be with someone I knew! After everyone was assigned, there was a quick presentation and then we went to get pictures with our companion and with President and Sister Mella. We then grabbed my stuff and put it in the back of Sister Bliss's car (yes, I am in a car). We then went to lunch with other members of the Zone. Sister Bullcreek and her companion live with us, and Sister Lytle and her companion are in my zone! Sister Pattison isn't in our area though (sad). 

That afternoon, we had a Zone Training Meeting, so I got to meet the other members of the Zone. It took a few hours, so we had to cancel some of the appointments that Sister Bliss had had planned for that day. We did, however, get to teach a recent covert named Samantha (she was baptized on the 10th) and a nonmember named Mark. Later, we took my things to the apartment and Sister Bliss gave me a quick tour of it. We then went to dinner with a man named Isamel. He is a recent convert. It was us, Ismael, Sachin (another recent convert. He's the branch mission leader), the elders (Elder Ball and Elder Methvin. Elder Methvin came to San Jose with the rest of us), and Ismael's friend Jose (a non member). We ate and shared a spiritual thought. After dinner, we were going to visit some people, but all of our plans fell through, so we decided to visit a less active named Manny. According to Sister Bliss, we had a miracle lesson with him! She said that he never participates in the lessons, but he participated this time. When we got home, Sister Bliss and I did some daily planning and I unpacked before going to bed. It was a very busy day!

On Friday, we studied and then went and did service at the park. We need to do ten hours of service a week. So, we served at the park for a while, helping organize things and then came back home for lunch and planning. Oh my goodness, weekly planning takes a long time. It is very useful. I like to know what is going on for the week, but it takes a long time. We then had to go to MCM (Missionary Correlation Meeting). We met with Sachin (the branch mission leader), the Laytons (the elder and sister who are in charge of the Institute Building), and others. We basically prepared for Branch Council by letting Sachin know what we were up to. After that, we  had some training (greenies have a twelve week training program) before it was time to leave for our dinner appointment.  I learned that I am expecting too much of myself. I need to be patient and let the adjustment come naturally. I hate feeling like I don't know what I am doing though. ><

We had dinner with a member family with the elders and with Sister Hill (the other Sister Training Leader) and Sister Lytle. It was fun to talk to them. They are the Merkleys. I asked if they are related to our Merkleys, but it doesn't look like it. The only family they have in Washington is in Bremerton. Also, he grew up in Blackfoot and said that he knew Walt Harper! We were then going to have an appointment with Samantha, but she cancelled on us. 

Saturday was one heck of a day! We had personal study and companionship study before doing some training and going contacting. Sister Bliss taught me more about contacting so it was easier this time. We didn't have much time though because we had to go to the Oakland Temple to see Elder Bednar! He had a three hour meeting with us missionaries. He asked us questions about the talks that he had asked us to read before we came and then we got to ask him questions. It was an amazing experience. Elder Bednar is so funny and he is much bolder with us missionaries! It was amazing to see the Oakland Temple and to be able to be in the same room and spend time with an Apostle of the Lord. 

I was considering not telling you this, but I need to with all the blessings that have come from it. On the way home from the temple, we were in a MINOR car accident. We were in stop-and-go traffic when the sister who was driving behind us was rear-ended by a guy going too fast and not paying attention. She then rear-ended us before bouncing back, hitting his car, and rear-ending us again. It scared me really bad, but none of us were seriously hurt! All ten sisters in the Zone and no one is hurt, what a miracle. Sister Bliss called the Zone Leaders and our Zone Leader said "Sisters, I see you" before pulling over and jumping out of the car. We had to fill out an accident report and give all of our information to the police (that was interesting. "No officer, we aren't headed to Prom. Yes, we always dress like this. We're missionaries."). The other two cars had to be towed (the guy who hit the other sister had his air bag go off and couldn't drive and the other sister's car had some damage). Sister Bliss had also called President Mella and he showed up almost at the same time as the tow truck. He made sure we were all okay and we drove to a nearby church building. President Mella made sure we were all okay and told us to text him as soon as we were home. We ended up missing our dinner appointment so the entire Zone went out to eat before we went home. I cried when we got home. It is super scary to be rear-ended when you don't see it coming!

Let me explain my area or this won't make sense. We serve near a university and we serve in a YSA Branch. I am in Downtown San Jose. 

On Sunday, we went to Branch Council before teaching a new investigator! We are teaching Jose (Ismael's friend). Samantha was also confirmed and Ismael and Sachin were endowed on Saturday. Good things are happening in this branch! We had our regular Church meetings and then had lessons with a couple of Branch members who are struggling. We then had lunch an d did some more contacting. We actually ran into a girl who was interested in meeting with us! Her name is Rosie. Can't wait to meet with her this week. We then had dinner and went to a broadcast of the temple fireside with Elder Bednar. It was good. We then went to see Colin. He is preparing to serve a mission and we go through PMG with him. He was ordained that day too! It was great. 

Well, I got to run. My hour is almost up. I have some bad news: I didn't have my camera with me, so I can't attach photos this time. I AM SO SO SO SO SO SORRY. I also found out that we can only use church approved websites, so no DropBox. I will have to attach my photos to emails to you. Although, next week my email shouldn't be so long! I am emailing you about a lot of things! 

Love, Sara