Well, this week has been busy but it hasn’t flown by all that much. But it’s still been a really good week. I love my companion! Sister Diaz is so great, she is so relaxed and is happy to just go along with things. It’s great to have a companion where what you see is what you get and not have to wonder what she is actually thinking about everything. She makes me feel so good too. She isn’t afraid of telling me when I’ve done a good job or what I did well. It makes me feel good and finally good to hear from someone that I’m doing an alright job! We laugh so much. We have companion study in the evening and we are both usually exhausted by the time we get round to it and she just sounds more and more spanish as the hour goes on. Also we’ve had many discussions about the Falklands. Never say “I don’t really care” about the Falklands to an Argentinian. She makes me laugh with her craziness. I found her mourning on the sofa on Wednesday night as she found out her favourite football team, Rosario Central, had lost the Argentinian cup.
We were able to watch Bill’s baptism on Saturday. It was so awesome! He was so happy and it was so wonderful to be part of it all. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to be a small part in his journey. We also had another baptism on Saturday but neither of us had taught her, she had just been transferred to us from a sister who had gone home but it was still exciting to be able to speak to her on Monday and hear all about it. We had Elder Clarke come and speak to the mission this week. He is a really good speaker as we were with him from 8:30 until 3:30 and we didn’t get bored. He told us that they only sent exceptional missionaries to Temple Square – he is from the missionary department. I learnt to much from him and how I can be better day to day as a missionary and how I can really let this mission change me for the better. I took my first tour in Beehive house this week – first time I’ve even seen the inside of the place. It looks so interesting. But we were covering so Sister Diaz did all the talking as I know nothing about the place! We’ve had so much guest services this week and although I like it sometimes it would be nice to be on the square.
We saw David Archuleta on the square. The sisters were getting so excited. He was there with his friends. He is so short! Oh and I almost forgot – I was found myself a husband this week. Sister Diaz and I are walking and this guy who is about 5’2” stops right in front of us so we start talking to him. I ask him what brings him to Temple Square. He looks me straight in the eye and says “Why don’t you tell me?”. Both of us are so confused and offer some suggestions. He then stares right at me again and says “I am here to find my wives”. We ask if his wife is here and where he last saw her. He says “I’m here to find my wives. I don’t know who she is”. Sister Diaz just laughs and goes “Well go ahead, don’t let us stop you. Good luck!” But he’s still staring at me. He starts talking, mostly mumbling, about voice control centres and how we just need to tune in and how his voice control centre told him to come here. Then he stares at me again and says “You hear the voice too. You heard it for the first time yesterday. About 3pm” I’m creeped out and Sister Diaz is trying not to laugh and we make our excuses to leave. He tells us he accepts us both as his wives. A little later we see security talking to some sisters, they had called them because the man had said similar things to them. So security come and speak to us to find out what happened when he spoke to us and turns out when the security guy went to ask him to leave he refused because, well, he was god. So security told him he had to leave or he would we arrested for trespassing. This guy, who thinks he’s god, tells him that he’s fired and leaves. SO BIZARRE.
So we hardly have anytime in the teaching centre which means we have to make the most of the time we do have! So we have been e-mailing so many people and calling so many people. I finally got a reply from Cabie (who we had been teaching in my first transfer) and she told me that she was basically only interested in the church because she was in love with a guy who is a member of the church who said he won’t marry anyone who isn’t LDS and she’s only interested in changing for him. I haven’t replied yet. I was able to get in touch with a lady in Essex who has met with the local missionaries and gone to church since I last spoke to her. She is 52 and works a lot and is really looking for something that is missing! One of her missionaries is Sister Wen who is from the YSA ward! We found a new investigator this week called Sam who seems like a good potential. He is a single father of 5 boys – his wife left him about a year ago! I invited him to be baptised if he finds out for himself it’s true and he said yes! So I had this investigator called Marie who I was about the drop as I wasn’t getting an answer ever and I was making my last phone call and she answered! And she was in dire need to speak to someone. She has had a hard life and is just in desperate need of some hope in her life. I have requested the local missionaries to visit and she has a really good LDS friend who is helping her. I am excited to speak to her again.
Jacque is doing so great. Since I first met her, her countenance has just changed. She just has this new light in her eyes that just gets brighter each time I see her. Just shows what a difference of finding an answer for yourself makes! When I saw her 2 days ago she just says “I know Jospeh Smith was a prophet. I know he restored the gospel” When I asked her how she knew she said she finally prayed about it and everything changed. Good news yesterday – a less active I met in my first transfer is putting in his mission papers in on Sunday!!!!! He was really struggling when I first met him as he was having a hard time and didn’t feel like anything he was trying to do was working. We talked a lot and I saw him every week as he came by temple square after work. I hadn’t seen him for a couple of weeks and gave him a call yesterday and left a message. A little later one of the sisters tell me he is on the square! So exciting!
Anyway, that is all for now.
Today we have zone activity and we’re going bowling and to stuff our faces with food. So it’s going to be good fun. I’m a little bit nervous about Monday’s transfer conference. I feel Sister Peñalba and I are finally at a point where we know how to work well together and that we are getting closer so I really don’t want to change and adjust to a new companion! But who knows! The Lord puts us with whoever he needs us with. We have 34 sisters returning from outbound next week and only 4 going out so there’s going to be a lot more sisters here! So I’m guessing there will be a lot more changes.
This week has been really good and we’ve seen a lot of miracles. As always it’s had it’s ups and downs but I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of this missionary malarkey.
A bit of sad news, that isn’t that sad, is that Bill has postponed his baptism by 1 week. The reason is that the guy who referred him wants to be there and Bill doesn’t want him to be away from his family on Mother’s day. We are of course sad for selfish reasons as it would have been amazing to have a baptism this transfer. Jose is not on date yet and we haven’t actually been able to see him this week as he has had to work but he is still going to church and reading the Book of Mormon! We finally spoke to Shauna on the phone! We didn’t get to speak too much as she was in the ER with her daughter (they still aren’t well) but the good news is that she received her Book of Mormon and said she will begin reading it.
We have another investigator in Mexico called Oscar and we taught him last night and he told us he is getting baptised on 25th May! But he says he wants to wait longer, like a year. We asked if he had prayed about the date and he said he had. We asked him how he felt and he said that he felt that 25th May was the date he was supposed to be baptised. We had a really powerful lesson with him about trusting the Lord and I think he feels more confident in the answer he received. We also have an investigator in Peru called Judith (Who-dith!). She is just wonderful! We met her on chat, she came on and said that she had watched the women’s conference and that she wants to learn more and she wants her daughters to have the gospel in their lives. Her aunt is a member and her 6 year old daughter has a friend at school who is a member and apparently she has been nagging Judith to be able to go to church. So we’ve been teaching her but she has never been able to attend church because she works on Sundays. Well she told us this week that she has spoken to her boss and told him that she wants to go to church on Sundays and worked her last Sunday this Sunday just gone!
We’re so excited about the progress our investigators are making and so we are hoping we are together next transfer so we can keep teaching them together!
We went to the temple on Monday morning which was really nice. It was a nice reminder of why I was on a mission as we saw a young family being sealed.
Sorry this weeks e-mail is so short!
Things have been good this week. We had the second half of our exchange last Friday, so Sister Peñalba went with our district leader and I was with Sister Chen. She’s from Taiwan and speaks very little. It was an interesting experience as it was my first tours and lessons in Mandarin. It’s really difficult to get involved when you don’t speak the language and as Sister Chen’s companion is Mandarin speaking too she is not well practiced in the whole translating part. So I was a bit frustrated by the end of the day as I didn’t feel like I had accomplished much in the day.
We met Jose again at the square. Not awkward this time as it was just him and us – not a million of other people! He’s not ready to be baptised this Saturday so we’ve postponed it but not got a new date. He is taking it very seriously – so that is good. But he feels that he needs to truly repent before he gets baptised as he says he has a lot of pride. The problem and concern we have is that he feels a lot of pressure from the Elders he’s meeting with and so we have to always work to remedy that!
We’ve not been able to call Shauna this week as her family are still sick and she’s been busy herself. But we’ve kept in touch over text and she is very keen to keep learning. I really do love her and I can’t wait until we are able to call!
Bill is doing wonderful as ever. The elders are finishing off the last of the lessons with him and everything is set for 10th May. We called the member who referred Bill (Bill was his limo driver when he was on business in NYC) and he was totally ecstatic of how things have gone and might even make it to the baptism as he is going to be in that part of the country. We are also looking at the possibility of being at the baptism via skype.
We also have some investigators who things have been progressing with – Judith in Peru, Henry in Argentina and Oscar in Mexico but it’s all been in Spanish and I wouldn’t say I have really been involved as I have no idea what is going on. But we had a LONG talk about it in companion inventory this week so it should be improving.
I had to drop the guy who had called in while I was in the MTC. He is willing to read the Book of Mormon but not willing to do anything else and seemed to get a little bit offended when I invited him to attend church and he says he has made a promise to himself he won’t change church again. It’s so frustrating because he says that he doesn’t even like his church and how the people there don’t even speak to him, yet he won’t go to another! Maybe I’ll try calling him in a couple of months.
Last transfer we took a chat from a girl named Sage and she referred. When we tried to call though we never got an answer and when we did she wasn’t available. Anyway I tried again this week and left a voicemail. I log on yesterday and she’d called back in! We were able to call her last night and teach her. She is so sweet! She’s 18 but sounds like a little girl and is just awfully polite. She said the missionaries used to come when she was younger but her family never progressed. But she said she had read some of the Book of Mormon when she was younger and felt that it was true then and so now she wants to learn more! I’m really excited about her and she’s already got a special place in my heart!!
I love being a missionary here on Temple Square. I know that I laughed when I was called here and didn’t know what to expect. But every night I express my gratitude for being called here. I LOVE serving here. I love being able to meet so many different people. I love we are able to teach in an environment where the spirit is already present. I love that people come to Temple Square for answers and we are able to help them. Mostly I love it because I know I was called here by inspiration and this is where I’m supposed to be.
This past week I’ve been reading in Alma. I was reading about the people of Ammonihah and how everything they had was just taken away in an instant in Chapter 16. Verse 10 talks about how it was just left desolate in one day. This had been something that had been recurring for a while, how everything that we have and often put the most value on can just be gone within a moment. The temporal things we have on this earth that we believe brings us happiness can so easily be lost. I thought about the cases we saw at work about people who had these businesses and they failed and they would end their lives because they just couldn’t see what they’ve got. The only constant is our relationship with Heavenly Father and our Saviour. Sister Ficquet (France) wrote me a card and it says “If it’s not eternal it doesn’t matter”. Only the eternal things really matter, they are the only things that will stick with us through this crazy life on earth.
And I can see how all these thoughts and studying is already helping – on Tuesday night we met a woman on the square. She was just cutting through on her way to the homeless shelter. The only clue to her being homeless was that she was carrying a sleeping bag. We spoke to her and she told us about how she had lost everything and has been homeless for about a month. She has only just moved up to SLC a week ago because she thought that it might lead to a better life. But I could see how my studying the days before had really helped me to understand her situation and be able to know how the gospel can bless her. We have texted a couple of times and we are hoping she will come down to the square soon so that we can possibly teach her.
Oh I announced on Sunday. Nerve racking! I got it right the first time but messed up the second time.
We’re supposed to introduce ourselves and say “There’s so much to see her on Temple Square and I’d love to show you around and share with you some of the history and basic beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Come see me after this presentation. Or you can speak to any sister missionary here, we all speak english. Or if you would like a tour right away speak to the sisters with the signs over there”.
As I said, first time fine. The second time it gets to my turn I got to the “Lot’s to see on Temple Square” part and my mind goes blank. All I can think is “WE ALL SPEAK ENGLISH!” as it’s Sister Ellis’ favourite line because people assume we don’t. So I basically say “There’s so much to see her on Temple Square and I’d love to show you around and share with you some of the history and basic beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Come see me after this presentation. Or we all speak English. Thank you”.
Sooo a little request, if anyone wants to write to a missionary – my lovely companion Sister Peñalba is a little discouraged as she has only received 1 letter in the mail since coming on her mission in August. And I always feel so bad if I receive something. I have asked some sisters to write her some so that she has something in her mail box but it would be awesome if something comes in the post. She has never received a letter or package from home.
Don’t think there is much else to report on!
Sue says: apologies for not updating this for a few weeks. I am repenting and will bring them up to date soon! Pictures will follow! Thanks to those friends who reminded me of this sacred responsibility! (Please don’t tell Manne!)
It’s p-day again! I don’t think time has ever flown by as quickly has it has this transfer. I don’t know why but I kind of hope it doesn’t keep getting faster!
So we got some big news on Sunday! Remember that I told you that Bill was finally going to church? I was worried how he would progress as he didn’t want to set a date for baptism and wouldn’t do it unless it was his idea. We spoke to him about a date and he just wouldn’t say yes or no. Just that he would keep going to church. On Friday we had a really good lesson with him on Friday all about the Saviour and what he has done for us. We shared the ‘Because of Him’ video with him. We committed him to pray about a baptism date and if baptism was what Heavenly Father wanted for him. Well we text him on Sunday and asked him how church was. He texted back saying it was great but he had some bad news and good news. The bad news was that he didn’t take a picture as proof (like he did the week before) but the good news was that he has chosen a day for his baptism!!!! Bill is getting baptised on 10th May!
We met Jose on the square on Saturday. It was SO awkward. We met a guy on the square and we talked to him for a bit as he was preparing a talk and so we discussed his topic. We end inviting him to be a member present at our lesson with Jose (he served a spanish speaking mission) which he accepts. We had really struggled lately to get member presents and we wanted Jose to know there were normal people in the church and people who care. Anyway, Saturday comes round and the member present texts and asks if he could bring his brother who also served Spanish speaking. No problem. Then before the lesson Jose tells us he invited the local missionaries along. So they turn up and they have brought along a member as well. So basically there are 4 missionaries, 3 members and little Jose. And they all speak Spanish except me! So I didn’t contribute much because the situation didn’t allow me to. But I felt like it was the first day of my mission again where I have no clue what is going on, I don’t know what to say and I’m so nervous about it the one thing I do say is so STUPID and I spend the rest of the lesson wondering what possessed me to say what I said. Anywayyyyy, despite that all Jose loved it. And he is on date for 3rd May. We are doing all we can to support him – his family is catholic and he’s worried how they will take it. But we are seeing him again on Saturday!
So I was absolutely heart broken the beginning of this week because Shauna has not been answering the phone. I spent days wondering what I did wrong, what had happened, what had she read online. I decided that we better text her as we’ve had no response to calls and the e-mail. She text back straight away saying that her family is all sick with the flu and her past week has just been filled with looking after sick kids. She said that she wished she lived closer because she grew up in a tight knit church community and missed that since moving to Dallas and being on temple square was the first time she had felt that peace a connection since. So I invited her to attend church this Sunday. She said she wanted to learn more first but that she wanted a Book of Mormon. So I invite her to have the local missionaries come. She declines again! Arghhh I just want to help her so much to have that spirit in her life every day and I don’t know what it is I can do to help her do that. I already know that Shauna will most likely be someone I will always remember from my mission and who I will stay in touch with, she is so special. It’s one of the hardest things as a missionary to just trust in the Lord and allow people to have agency. I hate agency! But then again I hate Satan too.
We have a couple of potential investigators and so we are working hard to see how that goes. Still upset because Cabie (from NZ) hasn’t been in touch and she was on date for 10th May. I’m just praying she is still meeting with local missionaries. Cool story from yesterday. When I was in the last week at the MTC I took an inbound call for someone who wanted a copy of the Bible. I sent it with a Book of Mormon and local missionaries but never followed up as there were always other people to call and he didn’t seem all that interested. Anyway I called him yesterday and he tells me that the missionaries did come round and that he is reading a chapter of the Book of Mormon each day. He isn’t meeting with the missionaries anymore. We talked for quite a while about the importance of prayer and I share Moroni’s promise with him. He just thought it was wonderful. He had to go and said he didn’t have time to pray on the phone. Today I have a long voicemail from him saying thank you for helping him on his journey to come closer to God and that he is sorry that he didn’t allow me to pray, he wished he had. He had said no to going to church but in the voicemail said that he might go now as he knows that he can get a lot from it. So we’ll see how that goes!
In other news, we went to music and the spoken word on Sunday. Unfortunately I only got to hear the choir’s performance of the Messiah as I passed by on our way to the teaching center. But they performed ‘Hallelujah’ during music and the spoken word and it was wonderful. There is nothing like hearing the choir and orchestra in the tabernacle. I mean they were good at conference but nothing compared to the tabernacle!!
Love you lots,
Sister Orndal xxxx
Time goes by so quick! I can’t believe I’m writing yet another e-mail home.
This week has been so good with lots of things going on.
“I am very blessed to have you sister and the elders in my life at this time and the thought that came into my mind as I entered the church was that after 26 years that I have finally come home.”. He still won’t commit to baptism but we know that him attending church was a big step! I know that Bill will be baptised but it will be when it is his decision and not because we asked him.
Hola! Mi nombre es Hermana Orndal. Yo soy en Inglaterra. Mucho gusto. Como fue eso?