Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Happy belated Easter, week # 4 in the field

Hola Mami y familia!
Yo estoy muy bien! Lo siento for not writing to you earlier! Things over here have been a bit out of order and all over the place but i think now things will start to be going normal. On Monday we had our zone P-day so this didn't allow us to have time to write emails as well as that yesterday we had our zone special training with President and Sister H and the assistants which took all day so we didn't have time to write then either. but now i'm so grateful to have the chance to write now.

This past week has been amazing! So many miracles have happened and I have just had so much fun! 

So last Monday We had a ditrict p-day where we played humn fussball or what I call it life-size taka taka haha! We had this long plastic tubes which two people held on either side and we played soccer as if we were the football players lined up like in the taka taka table! We really had a crack up at that and my team won too yay!!

So you wanted to know the missionaries in my district. 
So first we have the district leader who is from california but has a Korean background and has been called to serve here on a Korean speaking mission. His Companion is from Utah, and he is such a laugh! Sister C and I have the most laughs whenever he is around! They are the elders in K1
Then you have the next elder companionship that live in the same flat as the K1 
Elders and they cover the area of K2. One is from Tahiti and the other is from Arizona. They are funny too!
Then we have a sister companionship in our district and they are the best! They are the travelling sisters for us and we get along with them really well! One is from Utah who also has a brother who is waiting for his mission call! and the other is from tonga! I have learned so much from them and they are hard workers!
Then last but not least we also have the zone leaders in our district. One who is also from tahiti and the other is from American Samoa! They are awesome! they inspire me all the time to do better and they share great trainings and messages with us that i know are inspired from the Lord.
So that it my district! In my zone there are 30 of us so i don't really know all of their names yet haha! And apparently from What Sister C has told me, our zone is bigger than usual!

About singing too, we had a beautiful Stake Easter Fireside the sunday before Easter. We have a lot of talented singers in our wards and one of which personally knows the singer Michael Boyle i think he is called?? I think we have one of his CD's at home. But this member has an amazing voice I will definitely take up the opportunity to sing so don't worry mum. If one arises i will take the opportunity to take it haha! Sister C and I sing all the time though it's so funny! She says she never has had a companion that just sings all the time and we had a great companionship study about this that help us to recognize maybe why we are singing so often!

Anyways My amazing miracle for this week was that Sister C and I found 3 new investigators for K2 ward!! YAY we are so excited to teach them and how we found them was such a blessing and a proven reality that God is out there hearing our prayers! The past weeks we have had some down days we we haven't ben able to find anybody that wanted to her our message but it was just on the Saturday past that we were driving around this member's home that we felt prompted to go door knocking on the street nearby. Now i knew it was the spirit telling us to tract here, because all of a sudden i started to feel nervous and i know that when i start to fell nervous that is the time when i should go up and do something. Just like testimony meetings on Sunday haha! So the very first door we knocked on we received a return appointment to teach the family more about the plan of salvation and then another two investigators were found on that same street!! I am extremely happy and can;'t wait to start teaching them!

Well i hope you all are great! I know that i am so no need to worry about me haha!  I hope you also had a great Easter! And i encourage you to always think about the Saviour everyday because i know for me it definitely makes a difference to how my day turns out!
Te quirero mucho!
Sister Valdes

P.S Thank-you so much Abuela y tata por tu package!!! I will send a letter to you both in the mail soon! Te quiero los dos tanto! xx

Oh and also, Aunty P! I met someone the other day who knew you as a missionary! They looked at my tag and recognised the name! haha They are brother and Sister A, brother A is brother to Elder A who served in our ward! 
 Letter to the president
Hi president H,
My core experience with God this week definitely was during the Easter period. Sister C and I prepared an Easter message to share with all the members that we would visit and in particularly on Good Friday we visited one family where i felt the spirit dwell with us quite strongly testifying to me that my Saviour, Jesus Christ lives! The whole meaning of Easter totally changed for me last weekend and I now have a new and better perspective on the Atonement. As i partake of the sacrament each Sunday I feel as if i now will appreciate more of the sacrifice Jesus Christ has done for me and the promises i have made with my heavenly Father. 
My best practice for teaching as Jesus taught would be that i felt as if this week in particularly, all the lessons i have taught i have done better in teaching with love and according to the needs of the people. Having love is such an important attribute to have and without it, people will not feel the spirit because the love that flows from us is the love that our Heavenly father has for them. I want to strive to continue to feel that love for them so they too can know that there is a Father in heaven who loves them even more!.
What is still motivating me from conference is the talk from Elder Ballard, about consistent, persistent follow up as well as the invitation for each family to have their own copy of preach my gospel. lately we have focused on the later point, in helping families not only have their own copy of preach my gospel but as well as showing them how they can use it and how it can relate to them in their lives right now, especially as member missionaries. I am really motivated in helping the families in our wards have the missionary spirit within them to help hasten the lord's work here upon the Earth.

With love, 

Monday, 14 April 2014

A week full of experiences, Week # 3

Mum and Papi thank you so much for more of your packages haha!!! I loved the photos of T's quincienera and the happy lab chocolates! Oh my goodness they are good! Sister C. and I now have a stash of lollies and chocolates that we have stored in a cupboard and we are slowly eating them haha! Sister C. has to say that those tahitian gold pearls are amazing!
And thank you for sending my setting apart blessing! When I saw it I was so excited to read and when I did the spirit was with me the whole time! All over again I felt the feelings I did that very same day I recieved it!

Aaah that's so exciting that L. is talking now!(L. is the little daughter of our friends M and C, she is three years old and it has taken a long time for her to say any words ) and the B's call is coming any moment now!!!! I can't wait to find out! 
But most of all, C AND A ARE ENGAGED!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS YOU TWO!!!!!! WOW I couldn't stop smiling when I saw that in mum's letter! i'm so excited for you both but i am a little sad too that I wont be there for the wedding! C., Sister C. has the best idea though, that you could make a cardboard cut out of me and take pictures at the wedding with it to make it seem as if i was there haha!!! Well i'm so very happy and i truly love you both so much!!! 

Okay so now for what has happened this past week! Well on Monday my highlight was at the dinner we had with a member family from K2 ward. Their little boy is so cute! And he told us the funniest story ever about eating Fruit loops! So for a period of about a month his mum gave him this cereal everyday to eat for breakfast and when we were telling him that Sister C. bought some for her own breakfast just that day he got really anxious and told us that she shouldn't eat it! of course we asked him why and he said that because he ate it for a long length of time every morning, it actually gave him, and in his own words, "green poop!". Sister C. and I looked at each other and starting laughing! Best moment ever!

On Tuesday we had a long, fun day giving service to ________. The elders in our district kept on telling stories about how big his house was and how it could literally resemble a 5-star resort. Well you could bet that it was very hard to imagine this but they were absolutely right! ________ has an enormous house with everything in it! A tennis and squash court, a huge swimming pool and the house it self is a mansion with a big entrance! Currently he is in the middle of moving house though so for our service we were asked to help clean out the house in preparation for the people who were going to come in. Sister C. and I vacuumed the carpets, scrubbed the walls, clean the bathrooms and all done of course with the spirit of singing hymns at the top of our lungs to make it fun! All of the zone sister we all close together cleaning thus when one sister starting singing a hymn we all followed! It was pretty cool i must say haha!

On Friday was a pretty big day too! because I have been out for around 3 weeks in the mission field president H. has a 3 week training for all the trainers and trainees to help out with any concerns we have and more counsel on how we can be great missionaries! I loved every single moment of it. And my love grew even more for president and Sister H.! they are such amazing people and definitely a couple who had been truly inspired from the prophet to be called as our mission mum and dad! 

Mum, i would love to answer all your questions but i left the sheet of them behind at our flat and i don't have much time to read through your email to answer them. Sorry! 

But I hope everyone is doing fine!! I love you heaps!!!!

Lots of love, 
Sister Valdes 

P.S at the moment i think i am fine with all that you have sent me, thank-you so much!

Letter to the President 

Hello President H,

I would have to say that this week has been a week full of some good experiences. My core experience with God this week would have to on thursday when I was on exchange with Sister M. We were finding at the bus stop and i was talking to this man who was from Iran. He asked some really good questions such as what was my aim in life and what things matter most to me. I answered his questions saying that i am a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints and my purpose is to help others come closer to Jesus Christ he was a very firm man in his own beliefs and was rejecting all of my answers saying that i was wrong and was explaining what he really thought my purpose is. I was getting pretty frustrated with him knowing that he was rejecting my testimony and the beliefs that I hold dear, but I still tried to be nice and not offend him in any way. At one point though he kept on telling me that he could somehow feel that i had this sort of energy about me, that he couldn't explain where i was getting from. I knew it was the Holy ghost and i tried to explain to him that it was but he still turned it away. I was glad though that he could feel of it's presence and it strengthened my testimony to know that the Holy Ghost is always by my side when i am testifying of truth and to protect me in any way.
My best practice for the week as teaching as Jesus taught would be when Sister C. and I taught our investigator O. on Friday night. We taught about the Godhead and prayer and drew pictures to help explain. Because she is only still young, i thought it would be a challenge to help her stay focused on our lesson but with the help of the holy Ghost we were able to engage her and help her understand the importance of these principles. 
What really touched my heart the past weekend during conference was the talk president Uchtdorf gave on Sunday morning. I was taught that what makes our lives be filled more with peace and joy is if we strive to develop a spirit of gratitude. Knowing this, my mission will change in the way i will look at things. That no matter what challenges or circumstances come in my way that i will always stay grateful for all that i have and that by having gratitude, it will be a catalyst for me to try to develop more chirst-like attributes that will help me serve better in this calling that i have from the Lord.

Con mucho amor,
Sister Valdes

PS. FINALLY the SD card with all her photos so far have arrived! so look back at the previous posts where I would have attached the relevant photos to the email!!.....Including the one with the Missionary's ripped pants!!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Hello, hello , hello!!, Week # 2

Okay I have spent my time wisely and I actually have a descent amount of time to write to you all haha!!! 

So very first of all I want to say my very big THANKYOU'S!!!!!!! 
1. Thank you so much Mummy and Papi for sending me the suitcase with the rest of my things! I really appreciate it and it came all intact! 
2. Thank you Sister P. for your gift! You really didn't have to give me anything but I am truly grateful! I hope you and you're family are doing great!
3. Very big Thank you to the Bishop and the whole B. Clan! I received your package and I got to say that I did get a few jealous stares from some missionaries when it was given to me haha! I've only been out for a couple of weeks and already I received a nice package where others have been here a lot longer and not even their parents have sent them anything some told me! So I am truly grateful! It really made my day as well reading all your letters! They were and will continue to be an upliftment to me! Oh and my companion Sister C. and I will definitely enjoy eating all the munchies!
4. Another big thank you to Sister J. for your gift as well! I really appreciate it and   I too loved the scripture you shared with me, I think it is now one of my favourites too! 
5. And a enormous thankyou to all those who have sent emails to me! To Brother R., D., Aunty P and T, Aunty S., Sister K., Sister B. and of course to my Papi! Thankyou! Your words are what keeps me going and you have given me some great advice as well so thankyou!

Haha well it made me laugh so loud to hear that D. is staying in my room and wearing my clothes hahaha!!!! I hope your enjoying it D.! I really don't mind at all, it actually makes me really happy that i'm still of some use over there in Melbourne when i'm not even there!

And about C's call!! Wooohooo I am so happy for him!!!! That's truly amazing! Sister C. says that she hears it to be a beautiful mission! (her cousin in America got called to the Denver Colorado Mission!)

I'm too so glad to hear that J. is doing great! and having heaps of his own miracles!

Alrighty, so on to how things are doing over here! I do not know if you have heard already but Sister C. and I are in two wards covering both K. 1 and K. 2 ward areas. And what shocked me the most when i found that out on the very first day arriving here is that we had been chosen to open the area up for Sister missionaries!! hearing from the members it has been around 7-8 years since they had sister missionaries in the ward. And all are so excited to have us! But this means we have a lot of work to do! And so far it has been great! Lately we have been trying to visit all the member on both wards and taking your advice Papi we have been getting around to meet all the auxiliaries from both wards as well. We have had a tone of small miracles every day but also a couple of down falls. One of this downfalls is quite funny now when we both look back on though and I would like to share it haha! So it was on a day that we planned to go trackting using the new survey approach that was brought out in that book you bought me mum "the highly effective missionary" for Christmas! The mission has been using it for quite some time now and it has brought many a lot of success! This day we were only had one door open to us but the Man who opened was so lovely and by using the survey we found out so much about him and his life so far! We talked with him for a while and near the end of our conversation we found out that he actually has his own copy of the book of Mormon which he says that he has been casually reading and is now up to Alma! Now when I heard that I was speechless haha! No person reads the book of Mormon casually and reads up to Alma unless they really like it and are feeling of the spirit when they read it! So immediately we asked him if we could come around again and teach him more about the book of Mormon and to have time to answer of the questions he had about it. Sadly he said no because of his wife who was anti-church so I now pray that one day it will be the right time for him to hear the missionary discussions!
After trackting we then had an appointment with a member family in K 2 ward that lived close by so as Sister C. was driving out the car to get to their place we realized something sounded funny with it and it wasn't running as smooth as it normally does! I quickly got out of the car and I see that we popped one of our tyres noooo!!!! Haha knowing that I have had so many people teach me how to change a tyre through school and church during mutual was like, "yes I can do this, I can change the tyre! Sister Valdes to the rescue!". However as I was really thinking about it i did not remember one bit of how to change a tyre haha! I couldn't even find the jack hammer in the car  haha! That meant calling the elders! And to our surprise they arrived super fast to our rescue!! Both elders from K 1 and 2 (K1 & K2) happened to be all together when we called so all of them arrived! The question that was asked was how many elders does it take to change a tyre? You would think 1 or 2 but it really took all 4 of them to do it haha!!! Sister C. took pictures of them so I'm going try to get them off her so I can send them to you! But really the elders that we are working along side with are so nice! To me they really feel like my actual brothers, maybe because they remind me so much of Elder V. and J. haha!!

Oh and i have big news for you all too!!! It was so great to have been able to watch the Women general conference the other day. I felt of the spirit so much and I really thought of you a lot too Mum! Just like President Eyring asked all the daughters to do at the conference I do to you too! I am smiling a big smile of love all the way from here, expressing how grateful I am to have a beautiful mother like you! I know that I have taken you for granted so many times but I really want to say Thankyou for everything and that I LOVE YOU!!! I am really excited to see the next women's conference that would be coming up with you when I get back home!
The real big news for you though haha! Is that you may see a picture of me in the ensign!!!! AAAhhh how cool is that?!! A brother from our ward is a photographer and a lot of the times the Ensign asks him to take pictures of big events in the church that occur here in Australia and this time it was taking pictures at the women's conference broadcast! He took a lot of pictures of us sister missionaries so I'm betting there may be one in the upcoming ensign magazines so look out for it!

Also i wanted to ask if you could please continue to send M's emails to me? I would still like to read them and actually having read all his emails from #1 on the plane has helped me a lot now on the field! There is some great hidden advice within them!

Hey and J.!! Where are you???? I want to hear from you!!! How is school going anything funny or cool happened recently?

I also want to reassure you that i am living in a beautiful area!!! K. and the suburbs around it is so pretty! It feels like I'm living on cloud 9 haha because where I am serving in at the moment is quite a rich area and all the houses are mansions and the trees and bushes that surround them is magical! Currently we are living in a granny flat behind a member house! They are most loveliest couple ever! They are brother and sister S. and we love them so much. Sister S. especially keeps on calling us her daughters and actually goes out shopping for us and has bought us so much fruit to eat and has made us a lot of our dinners! So I'm really getting spoiled here! Food is really coming out of my ears too! We are having dinners appointments nearly every night from the members in the wards! But you have to know that I'm sticking to my goal to not get fat! Every morning I have been hard core exercising such as going for runs and using the exercise equipment the S's gave us too! So J., when I get home you'll see that I will still weigh the same haha!

I feel a lot better now that i have sent you a decent size email for your liking now mum haha!! I hope everything is fine and I love you all!!!! 

Con mucho amor,
Sister Valdes

P.S would you also be able to send me the Spanish dictionary and a Spanish hymn book by any chance please? We actually have a lot of Spanish speaking families in the ward and I want to improve on my Spanish so that I can talk with them a lot more. If you can't, there is no stress. 
Oh and I am going to try to send you my photos on the SD card in the mail today! 

I love you!
Letter to the mission president:

Hello President H.!

My core experience with God this week would have to be the day that Sister C. and I visited a lady named J. who was a referral from the church office. As we got to know her we definitely felt the spirit so strongly in her home and we actually felt as if the Savior's presence was with us! It will be a feeling I will never forget!
My best practice for the week in teaching as Jesus taught was with E., a progressing investigator who you may remember. We taught her the principles of faith and repentance and I felt the spirit teaching through me as I taught her more about faith and how, this principle is really what will built our trust and love for Jesus Christ in our everyday lives.
The greatest difficulty I had this week would most probably be from the disappointment of a lot of members not being in their homes when we have gone to visit. All this week we've tried hard to meet with the members in K. 1 and 2 wards so that we may get to know them better and progress is going really slow to meet them all and to put their names to their faces. However how we overcame this trial a little bit was calling up the members and making appointments with them so as when we do knock on their door, they will be home yay! And that has been the case for a couple of member families.

So far though this week has been great, we have had a tone a little miracles here and there and I feel that Heavenly Father is with us every step of the way!

Hope you are well!

Sister Valdes
PS. from me...guess what?...no photos again!!! 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Shannen's week # 1 in the Mission field

Finally! Shannen's first email from the field, as you would read I was right at been expecting to hear from her yesterday but I went to bed very disappointed!!
Enjoy the reading!!
love you all

 I am here in Sydney!!!

I am so sorry for having you wait for my first email! Our P-day was today instead of yesterday because it was our day for our zone to go to the temple! Which is a funny story that I have to tell but unfortunately I have already run out of time to write all that I want to say to you all because I spent it all in writing to president! Aaah i'm so annoyed! So next time I have to use my time wisely,because time flew by fast!
But details you want to know are:
My companion is: Sister C. she is from Texas!
My area is: K. 1 and 2 areas in the B. Hills Stake
okay so I have copied and pasted my email to president, which is down below.
Hello President H.,
I am so very happy to now be here in the Australia Sydney North mission! My core experience with God this week would just have to be how much I have felt at peace and ease in settling into missionary life. I have really felt of God's love for me through the area I have been assigned to serve in (being a very beautiful area), the flat that I am living in (also being so nice and comfortable!), my companion of course (Sister C. who is absolutely amazing, I have already learned so much from her!), the elders who we are serving alongside with (they have been extremely amazing in making us feel comfortable in the area and helping us out heaps!) and also how much love I feel from all the members in both K. wards! Because of all this I feel like I have been spoiled so much! And I am wondering why am I receiving all this when I feel I haven't done anything right! However I am truly grateful and I have been thanking heavenly father constantly for all that he has provided me with at the moment. I have so blessed!
In saying this, the last couple of days Sister C. and I have had a couple of miracles which has made my very first week in the mission field even better! One of which occurred yesterday when sister C. and I went to visit an investigator named L. She was a referral to us from the K.1 elders who only met with her I think only once or twice and thought that she would get along well with us sisters. L. is from Ukraine as well so her English is not very good but when we introduced ourselves to her at the door she was so nice and welcoming and was very enthusiastic about what we had to say. We gave her a restoration pamphlet in Russian and taught her a little about it when all of a sudden she asks if she could come to church! Aaah Sister C. and I was shocked for a second or two and said that we would love to have her come! What made my heart swell even more for her was that she was already planning in her head to walk all the way to the chapel from her house which would have taken around her around 1 hour or even more! We didn't let her continue to think about this further and offered to have someone from the ward pick her up! So now I'm so so excited to see her this coming Sunday and I hope that she will feel the spirit when she comes!
My best practice for teaching this week I think was in my role play with Sister C. during our 12 weeks study. I taught her about the restoration and I thought that was the best I had ever taught it! I was really surprised that by the end of teaching, I felt as if the right words had just flowed out of my mouth, making sense and asking what I thought were some really good inspiring questions! I know that this was the spirit teaching through me and I was thrilled that for the first time I was able to bring the spirit into my teaching. I want to be able to do this with all the lesson I teach with Sister C. so I will be working hard to continue to have the Holy Ghost with me always!
What I think caused me the greatest difficulty this week was trying to be a good passenger in the car for Sister C. in directing us where to go for our appointments and visits. As you may know, Sister C. has a fear of driving and can get easily stressed. So we have had some times getting a little stressed because I felt that I hadn't directed her properly which lead us into a few troubles with getting to places late or having to take a lot of turns out of our situation to get back on the right path. I feel that by saying a prayer in my heart so that heavenly father can help us have a safe travel and get to our destination with ease has helped a lot! because by the end of our day I have felt at peace that everything has gone well and that tomorrow will be another day that will too be fine.
I have nothing confidential to share.
That is all for now President.
With love,
Sister Valdes
P.S Mum I will send a letter through the mail describing everything that has happened so far! I'm sorry for making you wait!!! Oh and I will too send my SD card with all my pictures!
Love you heaps!!
Sister Valdes!

Note from me: NO photos again!!!...she is killing me!!( the photos you see now have been added to this entry after she sent her sd card in the mail)