13 Mar 2014

OK, so for the update of this week! On Friday we went to the Temple at 6:30, luckily it’s only a 2 minute walk away! Live sessions are different! But good. The temple is so beautiful! In the celestial there were like 5 couples waiting for their turn to be sealed. It really is a conveyor belt at SLC! We went to get breakfast after and someone bought it for us! His daughter is currently serving in Leeds. After that we had zone conference which was really good and motivating and a reminder of how intense temple Square is!
So everyday we plan what type of people we want to meet. On Saturday we had 2 – a family that needed to see God’s plan and a single middle aged man who needs answers. We don’t particularly seek these people out but we study for these type of people. Anyway we met both of these people. A woman from Canada came in with her niece and nephew. Her niece was 20 and joined the church in November along with 2 of her younger brothers (parents aren’t members), the nephew was 7. The woman, Emma, was not a member and was visiting her sister in SLC. They had come because the niece really wanted Emma to see God’s Plan for his family (It’s a series of short films about a family and you go room to room). At the end Emma was crying and just saying how beautiful it was. The spirit was so strong and you just knew that the spirit was testifying to her. She took a Book of Mormon and we are going to call her when she gets back to Canada. We also met a guy (also from Canada) who was atheist. He had so many questions and we were able to talk to him and get him thinking about some stuff. He referred but we haven’t had any response yet. It’s such a blessing to see how the Lord prepares us through us seeking that inspiration while planning. I don’t know if I told you about Ryan last week. He’s a less active who we met on the square last week. We had written the night before during planning that we wanted to meet someone on the planters  who needed to know God, and that was Ryan.
We saw Ryan again this week. He missed our appointment on Saturday as he had a death in the family but he came in on Tuesday night. We were assigned to TC desk but he found us and it was quiet enough for us to be able to speak to him and his friend Zach. We realised that Ryan already has a testimony of the gospel. He knows everything but he knows too much. He needs to learn to trust in the Lord and make those changes he needs to but we can’t do that for him and so there’s not much we can do for him now. So his friend Zach is basically someone he’s picked of the street, quite literally. Zach is 19 and got out of prison recently and his mum basically told him he’s an adult now and needs to fend for himself. He said he wasn’t going to disrespect his mum so he left. Ryan has kind of taken him under his wing. They met in Walmart at 4am one night this past week. Zach is also less active and asked for a Book of Mormon as he had been going to church while in prison and wants to turn his life around. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a number or an address for us to be able to keep in touch so hopefully we’ll see him on the square again.
I can’t remember if I’ve told you about Joy? She’s sooooo wonderful! I love being able to speak to her! She was baptised before but had removed her name from the records after a dispute with her husband and bishop (nasty divorce). Sister Tiritilli had met her on the square and Joy is being baptised again but we don’t know when yet as its a bit complicated! We are just waiting for confirmation! It’s so good to see how the gospel has blessed her. She just moved to North Dakota from Utah and has slipped straight into life there with the help of her new ward and the peace she is finding from the gospel.
We served at the Humanitarian Center on Tuesday. We only had one tour but it was amazing! Because we aren’t actually assigned to HC I didn’t actually lead any of the tour as I never learnt to info so Sis Tiritilli did it all. It was two guys. One was a man from Utah who has been doing a lot of humanitarian work in Ethiopia. The other man was his contact in Ethiopia. 10 years ago the church put a well in his village and they have also been supplied with wheelchairs and stuff through the humanitarian work of the church. But it was just so humbling to hear about the conditions that they lived in before and how reliant they are on the things that charities provide. As a result of that well being put in 10 years ago, the majority of that village now have running water in their homes. Such a contrast to when they had to walk 6-9miles to get it previously.
We had the last of our explore time this week. We went to the church history museum and the relief society building. Some pictures are attached.
We’ve had some problems this week with our phone systems and so we haven’t been able to make as many calls and make as many appointments as we would have wanted which is quite disappointing. But we’ve had quite a few golden chats so we are looking forward to getting in touch with them again this week.
Ted is adorable! Can’t wait to meet him and I’m gutted that I can’t hold him 😦 But I’m loving the pictures I’m being sent!
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I love you all
Auntie Sister Orndal xxxxx
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6 Mar 2014

Message from Sue – Sorry for the delay in posting this. I had computer issues!

This week I have bought my self a Norwegian PMG (Preach My Gospel) and triple. I’m determined to get passed off in Norwegian. What better time to improve my language then on my mission where we are blessed with the gift of tongues.

 
So I realised I never told you something exciting that happened at the MTC – Elder Holland came! I think I told you his son Matt Holland was speaking about Joseph Smith and I was in the choir. Well his dad came along to support him and spoke to us for 5 minutes to introduce his son. Although he was speaking about his son the things he said were still applicable to us. The thing I like that he said was to put your priorities where your covenants are. When we do that things fall into place. I know that blessings come pouring out when we keep our covenants and that we will be even happier. When Elder Holland walked in you could just feel that he was a man called of God. So many times we teach people about Prophets and they always ask how we know. I just wish that they could all feel what I felt that moment.
 
So cool story. We were giving a tour to a couple from Wigan. It was going really well. One thing Sister Tiritilli and I have been blessed with is that pretty much all our tours will mainly be teaching doctrine as the people we meet want to know. And even if they don’t at first you can see their hearts soften! Anyway we are talking about he have a Prophet and apostles just like Christ’s church in the Bible. And we walk into the Tabernacle and someone is practicing their talk for that evening. So we are like “And yeah speaking of which – here is an apostle, Elder Neil A. Andersen”. He was giving a devotional that night and was doing a sound check. 
 
Lots of good things have happened this week. We’ve really seen the Lord’s hand in this work how he is guiding us places and how he has prepared people. It’s so comforting to know that we aren’t alone in this work and that we always have the Spirit to guide us. We were in the assembly hall on desk duty and this guy walks in. He’s acting a bit odd. But I just felt the spirit leave and kinda telling me to leave too. He’s acting a bit oddly and starts asking us questions about whether the assembly hall was built to be a temple and saying he was here to see the architecture but he clearly wasn’t by the things he was saying. Sister Tiritilli asked him some questions and he said he was a member but was less active as he had issues with the church. He asked if we were familiar with a scripture in Alma – we looked it up and it was about a love of riches. He basically started ranting about the church’s investment in city creek and how our fast offerings only help the needy and really it should be the other way round etc. He began likening the conference center to the great and spacious building. Thankfully security had been there the whole time and asked him to leave. So we were safe!
 
One day we were in the assembly hall covering for someone when this woman walks in. She had been a guest lecturer at BYU. She was an artist. We decided to give her a tour even though we were covering desk and we were able to teach her the restoration. She kept agreeing with everything we were saying and then she was saying how she could really feel the spirit here on temple square. She was just so awesome and you could just see how she had been prepared with all the things that had happened in her life. She agreed to have the local missionaries come and was so keen to read the book of mormon. She said she felt as if she was supposed to be here at temple square and that she was supposed to run into us. The feeling was totally mutual. Unfortunately we have been unable to get in touch with her yet but I will keep you updated.
 
We’ve done a lot of phone contacting this week. I called a girl yesterday who someone had referred at Christmas time but no one had called yet. I rang and we had a good talk and she said she is going to read the book of mormon! We’ve also been speaking with a woman called Janet in South Carolina who has been seeing the missionaries on and off since 1963. She’s moved all over the US but the missionaries still find her and she always gives them a home away from home. She says that she may be baptised in Oct/Nov when she comes to Utah so we are trying to help her get to that point. She’s the same age as you Mamma! but 4 foot 11. She says the only issue she has is she’s not sure she believes Joseph Smith was a prophet… but she considers herself Mormon already. Only baptism is missing! We also have been speaking to a guy called Baby Ray. Yep that is his name and he’s also from SC. I can hardly understand him his accent is that southern. But we put him on date for baptism today! 
 
Yesterday we ran into a sister who used to serve on Temple Square (she said she was here the same time as Zoe but I don’t remember her name!) and it was strange because we were meant to be somewhere else. Anyway because we had been speaking to her we ran into another guy who was less active. You can see how hard he is searching for answers. And he says he is getting them but he doubts himself sometimes and wonders if there even is a God. There was a random RM that joined in with us and it was such an awesome discussion. He’s agreed to see us again on Saturday. The bonus was he had the cutest little puppy with him! It’s funny because the night before we were planning for the next day and we decided we wanted to meet someone on the planters who needed to come to know God. And that’s exactly what happened. We were sat on the planters speaking to him and more than anything he needs to know God again. The Lord works in mysterious ways.
 
I love that on Temple Square we are always teaching people. People don’t realise how much we actually do teach on temple square. I am yet to take a history only tour. We get to teach the restoration multiple times a day.
 
explained many a time why I feel and have changed the way I am but things only seem to change on my part. It’s just frustrating but I’m sure it will get better! 
 
I already know that a mission is one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. The joys that I feel when I see people being moved by the spirit makes it worth it. I’ve never known the gospel to be truer. You really do see God in action here. 
 
We had a morning of exploring this week too. We looked around the conference center, went to the 26th floor of the church office building and top floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We also went up to the capital and spoke to a character who was running for president. He was a bit weird but it got even weirder when he talked about how he was going to bring back the S word and starting saying all these swear words to us! Yep we meet all sorts of people here. The weather has been beautiful. I’m loving the sunshine!!
 
Please let everyone know that we can teach people all over the world here and that if anyone has someone they want to share the gospel with we are more than happy to contact them!
 
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27 Feb 2014

So it’s been a month today since I left England – sob. And I’m a week into life at Temple Square. I love it. It’s been hard though but I guess I kind of expected it. It’s the same as before – not feeling that I’m a good enough because I’m not confident enough to speak. My problem is that I compare myself to other missionaries. I forget that it won’t come as easy to me as it does to my companion as she’s 4 transfers ahead of me! But anyway I know I’m just being silly and my goal this week is to snap out of it before I let it consume me!
Anyway, this week has been really good. On Friday we served at the Humanitarian Center. They give tours every hour – not that anyone came. But that gave us a chance to contact people and to go on chat which was good. It’s amazing what they do at the Humanitarian Center (& Welfare Square) and I never really realised how much the church did. At the humanitarian center they employ refugees and train them in a trade so that they can get another job. Part of their working day is also to learn English. You can go to the Humanitarian Center and volunteer to quilt! The most amazing thing was watching all these old men (like in their 80s/90s) sat tying knots in quilts. It’s so cute and wonderful to see that you are never too old to serve others.
On Saturday I went to my first baptism! It was up in Ogden so we had to get permission as it is out of the mission boundaries. The lady getting baptised was Janet. Sister Tiritilli had been teaching her. It was a long journey for Janet to get to baptism and it’s definitly a miracle. She came to Temple Square last night and she is absolutely beaming – hearing how her life was before you can see what a change has taken place. She can see the miracle she is and has such gratitude to Heavenly Father. She is already seeing so many blessings in her life that baptism has brought!
On Sundays we have sacrament at 7:30am (yawn) at the chapel in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. It’s beautiful! I took my first tour on Sunday! A family of 3 from Norway so I spoke some Norwegian but we did the tour in English as they wanted Sis Tiritilli to understand and for their son to practice English. I said a little prayer of thanks because I think I would have struggled to do the tour in Norwegian. It was a really good tour and we were able to share the Family Proclamation with them and show them God’s Plan for the family. The mother was crying and from the comments the son made I know they both felt something. When we asked if they wanted to keep in touch they didn’t. They said they already believed what we believed and that was enough for them.
I passed off on doing tours on Monday – woop woop. That means I know my facts! As a well done we got a voucher to go for dinner at the Lion House.
So the cool thing that happened this week so that we did Temple Service! We go and clean inside the temple. We are cleaning in the basement and it wasn’t that exciting but we moved some furniture and then we went to dust in the Solemn Assembly. Which was so COOL as its only used 3 times of the year and the majority of people will never go up there. I also went in the room where James E Talmage wrote Jesus the Christ and touched the dictionary he used. It was so nice to walk around the temple and see all the rooms with no one else there.
Yesterday we took a tour with 4 Brits. One was really interested. It was really cool to do a tour where it was all doctrine instead of history. He just seemed to be so ready. He took a BoM and agreed to read. We are going to call him in a couple of weeks. He actually has a business where he provides memorial services and life celebrations where they put peoples ashes in fireworks and do displays. Crazy. But the amazing thing was that the woman he was with (he seemed totally uninterested) also asked for a BoM. She didn’t commit to us calling her but she our contact details.
We had explore day where we took the tours at the Humanitarian Centre and Welfare Square. They make so much food at welfare square and the Bishop’s Storehouse looks just like a supermarket. Also went to DI and got a skirt for $3.
The weather has been beautiful here but today it is raining! Typically on p-day when we had planned to hike. I didn’t tell you last week but I’ve changed my name to Sister Ordnal. They spelt it wrong on my badge and I still haven’t received my new ones! We’ve been running most mornings down at a track near by. I say run. I walk more than I run but I’m trying. My goal is to run the hill behind the conference centre one day this coming week as I’m always with the people at the back walking back. Running down it is of course easy! 
I’m sure I have more to tell but I forgot my planner and it had all the things I planned to write in it 😦 Ι already feel so lost without it and it’s only P-Day. The rest of p-day is going to be spent at home I think relaxing. The best type of pday!
We have loads of phone appointments this week so hopefully I’ll have more to tell next week!
Messages of love from my Mom (Sister Tiritilli) and my roomies Sisters Bonvissuto (Italy) and Escobedo (Mexico)

Messages of love from my Mom (Sister Tiritilli) and my roomies Sisters Bonvissuto (Italy) and Escobedo (Mexico)

With Janet after her baptism and two of the Elders serving in the Ogden mission who also taught Janet.

With Janet after her baptism and two of the Elders serving in the Ogden mission who also taught Janet.

Today on the way to RS - we are only allowed to take pictures on the square before 8am. This is the best of a bad bunch!

Today on the way to RS – we are only allowed to take pictures on the square before 8am. This is the best of a bad bunch!

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With Tiritilli and Sister Bomgren

With Tiritilli and Sister Bomgren

21 February 2014

Argh I have 30 mins so have to write like crazy now so I can get it all in! So I sent you a load of pictures. I haven’t sent you captions for each but all the girls pictures are from visitor center training! And pictures from when I first arrived at Temple Square. Unfortunately I’ve not had much time for more pictures and I don’t have one of my new companion yet!

 

So today is day two on Temple Square and it’s going well. I already love it!! And it’s P-day so at least I’m not having to wait ages again to check my email.
So this past week has flown by and I actually can not remember what I wrote last!

 

On Saturday afternoon we went to Temple Square. When we got there we were paired off with a sister from Temple Square and basically went to the Square to talk to people and went to the TC (teaching centre) to do some chats. I was assigned with Sister Bonvissuto from Italy. She was so much fun. She even bought me dinner as she wanted to save me from MTC food which was really sweet. It was a good day as I got a referral both from a chat and from a visitor. Not much has come from either but we’ll see. So the last few days at the MTC was more training on how to teach using history and resources. Quite helpful really. We also did a lot more chat which was really good. Only problem with chat is that some people use it to be hateful and abusive. Or to try and knock your testimony by telling you things that are not true or that are exaggerated or just completely out of context. We spoke to one man who didn’t believe in marriage because of 1 Corinthians 7 and basically it seemed his whole faith was fixed around this chapter. The conversation progressed and he was saying how he felt that people shouldn’t know about the suffering that Christ went through for our sake. He thought it would be better to not let people know and just let them be happy as knowing would make people upset or guilty. I expressed how I felt it was vital for us to understand what Christ went through so that we could understand the Atonement and how it was for us. Christ’s sacrifice is central to God’s plan for us and without it life would be very different. Those feelings of upset and guilt are signs that we need to Atonement in our lives and that we need to come closer to Christ and repent. I’ve thought a lot about repentance these last couple of weeks. I think sometimes I am guilty of thinking repentance is just for serious sins. Things that I’ve actually done wrong. But the fact is that repentance is all about returning to Heavenly Father and aligning our will with His. Repentance is all about turning and returning to Heavenly Father and turning from things we shouldn’t be doing (like not studying our scriptures!). It’s always a cycle and not something we need to wait to do!

 

Sister Fiso learnt some Spanish from a Sister who joined us in our district. She just kept repeating the 5 phrases/words she learnt over and over when we were going to bed. We turn the lights out and we hear her whispering the words she learnt over and over. After a while Sister Lytle says “Is Sister Fiso praying in Spanish?!” Everyone burst out laughing. Apparently she was just repeating everything to herself so she wouldn’t forget! Anyway, the next couple of nights she told us “Buenos Nachos” despite us all telling her it was noches. You’ll be happy to know she now says Buenas noches.

 

So my trainer is awesome! Seriously could not have asked for a better one if I had prayed a million times! She’s called Sister Tiritilli from California, she’s 20 and is just awesome. I can already tell that she’s a hard working missionary and I hope that it rubs off on me! I know there is a lot I can learn from her. I already love her! She’s so loving and caring and I can’t wait to spend the next 6-12 weeks with her!

 

Our flat is just a short walk from Temple Square – we are sharing with another companionship….. Sister Bonvissuto & her companion! The flat was a mess from the last sisters that lived there so we had a clear out and have now all unpacked. The sisters here move every transfer so that is one way of keeping it fresh!

 

We had Relief Society this morning at 7:45 – it’s like church back in your day Mamma, church during the week! And P-day began at 1 so we haven’t had much time to do much as we have had study time and some meetings. But I’m excited to get stuck in tomorrow. I’m seriously excited.

 

Sorry for the short e-mail. I ran out of time and the pictures took a life time to send. Next time I’m not doing as many!!
Manne 1 Manne 2

Sister McKenna and I!

Sister McKenna and I!

Manne 8 Manne 9 Manne3 Manne4 Manne5

Love,
Sister Orndal xxxxx
Arghhhhhh I have like no time to write!!!!

But Happy Valentine’s Day!

First wanted to say thank you for all the Dear Elders I have received this week. Thank you for the cinnamon buns Mummy and Alex! They were really good. I have loved receiving mail this week. Makes me feel really special! And it’s always good to have those little pick me ups. Mamma you’ll be happy to know that you are winning the letter writing competition and you are both even stevens on the package front. Alex, you are failing on your promise!

So this week has been quite the roller coaster. There have been a couple of tears (yes I had a breakdown), some really happy moments and some side splitting moments. After I wrote the e-mail on Wednesday we were able to go to the Temple! The Provo Temple may resemble something from Star Trek but it’s beautiful inside. I couldn’t get over how big it is! But I guess they are probably a lot busier than Preston.

So we continued to teach Kyle and Zach (our teachers), we had no idea how it was going with Zach but with Kyle he was really making changes to be baptised. So my breakdown came after a lesson we had with Zach where Bro Nottingham had said it was our best lesson we had done. My companion had monologued a bit and I had just shared a couple of scriptures and asked questions. When he said that it was our best lesson I felt like I had not contributed anything and that it was pretty pointless me being there. I felt like I wasn’t really good at this missionary lark and felt I would never get any better. And you know how good I am at beating myself up! So yeah, there were many tears. But I really do know that prayer is real and that Heavenly Father sends the comforter. Especially when you ask for it! Also my district is so cute they gave me a heart attack – lots of hearts with nice messages.

Anyway, I got over it pretty quickly when I realised how much work I had put into that lesson. I had studied extensively and thought really hard about questions we could ask to get Zach thinking about what faith in Jesus Christ meant to him.

Also on that same day we had a difficult last lesson with Joy. She is such a lovely lady but she has a lot of difficult questions! Like why God set us up to fail. Why everyone keeps killing each other in the Book of Mormon. About false prophets and the list goes on. She asked me if God asked me to kill someone if I would do it. Caught us of guard and I think because of that I began to panic a bit and stopped listening to the spirit. But she’s still a wonderful lady and some other sisters in our Zone are now teaching her and luckily we were able to warn them about her questions so I think it’s gone better for them.

So on Monday the Elders that we arrived with (another district in our zone) left for Raleigh, North Carolina. It was quite sad as we had all grown really close. They are all young lads but its strange how when they are missionaries they don’t seem so young. Maybe it’s because everyone assumes I’m 19! I don’t mind anyway.

Our main missionary training has ended. Although I’m sad to not be teaching Zach and Kyle and being taught by Bro Nottingham and Sanders I’m enjoying the change of scenery that is visitor centre training! We started it on Wednesday with a visit to Temple Square. It was quick but I loved it! Can’t wait to get out there. The highlight of this week though has been doing the mormon.org chat! We are actually speaking to real people! With real questions!! The first person we spoke with was ‘Juicy’ who asked us what we were wearing so it has the expected trolls of course but they just make us laugh. We had a girl who was doing a class project asking about prayer and how we see it. We were able to ask her how she felt about prayer and she ended up saying how she loved the emphasis the church has on family, that we use multiple scripture to deepen our understanding and she loved the missionaries! It was great as we were able to invite her to read some of the Book of Mormon but as it was one of our first chats we messed up on sharing our contact details before she disconnected. We also had questions about the Godhead, someone who wanted to know how they could know the Book of Mormon was true (from India) and someone wanted to know about revelation. The only downside is that sometimes they will just disconnect in the middle of talking. It’s also fun to do chat as while we are waiting for new chats we can watch mormon messages, conference talks or study using lds.org. We even get to use headphones!

Tomorrow we are going to start taking phone calls too. Guess my call centre training will come in handy!! Tomorrow I am also going to be a missionary on Temple Square! We have been practicing talking to strangers and getting to know them and applying doctrine. They are volunteers that come into our pretend visitor centre but it’s so exciting!
I sang in the MTC choir this past devotional. And get this Mamma, I sang alto! First time ever. We’re doing it again on Sunday, we are singing an arrangement of Praise to the Man. The devotional is being given by Matt Holland, son of Elder Holland (who may or may not come to hear his son speak…) and it’s apparently going to be amazing so I’m quite excited.

Although this week may have had its hard times, the happy times and joy that comes from sharing the gospel definitely out weighs it.  I forgot my Book of Mormon so I forget which scripture I wanted to share with everyone. But I have really loved having time to study and suddenly likening the scriptures to myself and others has become so much easier!
Thank you for all the love and prayers being sent my way. Definitely feel it!

Lots of love,

Sister Orndal
Sister Galgiani, Sister Lytle, Sister Fiso, Me of course, Sister Black

Sister Galgiani, Sister Lytle, Sister Fiso, Me of course, Sister Black

Me getting ready for chat!

Me getting ready for chat!

Me, Sister Lytle, Sister Wog, Elder Allen, Sister Black, Elder Kiddle, Elder Coons, Elder Powell (half face hidden) Elder Gardner, At the front Sister Galgiani and Fiso/

Me, Sister Lytle, Sister Wog, Elder Allen, Sister Black, Elder Kiddle, Elder Coons, Elder Powell (half face hidden) Elder Gardner, At the front Sister Galgiani and Fiso/

Cinnamon rolls!!

Cinnamon rolls!!

Always nice to see a friendly face!!!

Always nice to see a friendly face!!!

My district love me!!

My district love me!!

 

 

 

Finally P-day!! It’s been such a long week but at the same time it’s flown by. It’s a bit annoying as my next p-day won’t be until Friday next week! So you will need to make sure that you send me letters or use Dear Elder to send them. I’m the only one yet to receive a letter so hint hint. My address here is (the mailbox is 169).

FEB19 UT-TMSQ
2009 N 900 E Unit 169
Provo UT 84602

My journey over here went so smoothly. My dilemma about watching films was solved for me as it didn’t work! When I got here 3 other sisters had been in the same situation and none of their screens worked either…

Amanda picked me up from the airport, we went for food at a place called Hires… so good! Then we went to Walmart to pick up some stuff. Before coming to the MTC we went to a place called Kneaders for french toast. Best. French. Toast. Ever. Was wonderful to see Amanda again.

MTC life is crazy! I’m so tired but I’m still loving it.
My body isn’t enjoying America I can tell you that! My eczema is really bad up my arms, on my back and legs. I’m guessing the dry weather, change in environment and toiletries has made it worse. I also have some on my chest! I told my zone that I’m allergic to America. Their response was that I was allergic to freedom. My body isn’t liking the food too much and there is a severe lack of vegetables in the canteen. But shockingly I’ve been working out at the gym! Sister Galgani (from California) has been my personal trainer and has really been pushing me so my muscles ache! During gym time we go to the gym… I call it a sports hall but whatever… and upstairs there’s a track that goes round the hall and it’s got a load of exercise equipment up there too. Anyway we were trying to run a mile, I got a bit too into it and ran straight into a weight machine. I have a wonderful trophy bruise to show off now though – I’ve attached a picture. I don’t bruise easily so you can imagine how hard I ran into it. But it’s fun to wind up Sister Fiso by telling people she did it to me when they ask about it.

The girls in my district are wonderful. Sister Lytle is from St George. She’s barely turned 19. Apparently she fasted and prayed to go to Temple Square. Quite the opposite reaction from me! Sister Galgani is 20 and from Cali. She’s really cool and level headed. Sister Wog is a 19 year old girl from Oklahoma. She injured herself first day at gym so she’s found it quite difficult to settle in. Sister Black is 19 and from Farmington Utah. She is amazing! And reminds me so much of Becky, always making me laugh with her quick quips. Shes the only one not going to Temple Square- she will be going to Washington DC and will be part time visitor centre. And then Sister Fiso is 23 and from Brisbane. She’s the best companion. Very eager!

So I’ve been learning so much. It’s great to be somewhere where you can always feel the spirit. It’s hard to explain what lessons are like but it’s a lot about learning how to understand people and how we can apply the gospel to them and how it can help them, how to introduce doctrine and the book of Mormon and stuff. Our teachers are really cool and they really know how to get the best out of us.

We’ve been teaching 3 investigators. 2 of them are actually our teachers who are pretending to be investigators they met on their mission. So we are teaching Zach who is meeting with us because he wants his children to grow up knowing God and his wife is a less active member of the church. We always feel good after the lessons but it’s hard to actually know how we’ve done! We are also teaching Kyle. He was in an accident 6 months ago, doesn’t remember much of his life before but has read the Bible twice since coming out of a coma. (dramatic hey? but it’s a real story!) He already has a testimony that Christ is his Saviour so it has been great to teach him as he is quite accepting of the gospel. He has already committed to baptism (so has Zach but its hard to read how he’s feeling about it as he won’t tell us!!). It’s been wonderful to study and have them in mind and to prepare the lessons. It seems to give it so much focus to my studying.

Our third investigator is Joy. She is our TRC – I’m not sure what that means but it’s our “real life” investigator. Basically they are all paid actors but only about 15% of them are not members of the church. They are usually playing themselves before they joined the church. So Joy is probably in her 60s. She’s quite an inspiring lady. At 39 she started mountain climbing and has climbed loads of mountains all over the world along with her husband. She’s lived in Provo her whole life but never been involved in church much. Her husband became disabled 3 years ago and he has begun investigating the church too but Joy wants to see the missionaries separately. Each time we have prepared the lesson and ended up doing something totally different as the spirit has directed us. The first lesson we taught the plan of salvation. We committed her to read Alma 36 as she doesn’t believe that Christ was anything but a good man. When we saw her yesterday she hadn’t read it so we basically spent the whole lesson reading it with her and getting her to talk about what everything meant to her and she seemed quite touched by it. I’m excited to see her again tomorrow.

We have had 3 devotionals while we’ve been here. The first was with Elder Martino of the seventy. He talked about member missionary work and how vital it is. He shared the story of Alma and Amulek and how missionary work was successful when the member (Amulek) taught with Alma. It really made me realise the value of member misisonary work so get involved! Be the Amulek for the missionaries! Second devotion was with Shane Littlefield who works at church headquarters and is the one who sits with the apostles when assigning mission calls! He talked about the importance of being teachable. After that we watch an old MTC devotional by David A Bednar titled ‘Characteristics of Christ’ I’d really recommend that you read it. It was wonderful and made me want to strive to have the characteristic of Christ and turn outwards instead of inwards. Last night’s devotional was by Elder Evans of the seventy. He spoke about how we’ll be called to defend our faith and how we need to be prepared. He was basically briefing us on how to react on questions about marriage, sexuality and other family issues. He focused on the Family proclamation to the world. I didn’t get much from the talk as it was happening but afterwards on reflection I realised that it really didn’t matter what I think, it matters what Heavenly Father thinks. He has given us the doctrine on this through revelation. He set the rules a long time ago and that doesn’t change.

It’s really hard to write quickly and I’d love to go into more detail but it’s hard. Hope everyone is well back home and missing me like crazy! Please pass the email on to family. I havent got time to reply to emails i’m sorry!

Love you,

Sister Orndal xxxx

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Farewell Talk

When I stop to take a moment to reflect, I’ve still not got used to the fact that in just over a week I will be a full time missionary. I still surprise myself that I have made the decision to make a sacrifice to serve in this way. I’ve come to realise that I have been preparing for this my whole life, I just didn’t know it. The way my parents raised me, the trials I’ve faced, the people I’ve met and the mistakes that I’ve made and learned from, these have all got me to where I am today. And for this I am grateful.

Since beginning my papers and receiving my call I have given a lot of thought to the type of missionary I would like to be. The more I studied the scriptures and Preach My Gospel the list got longer and longer. At times over the last couple of months I have been overwhelmed, doubting my capabilities and worried that I had set myself up for failure. I’ve always felt that I’ve been mediocre at life, that I was never quite hitting the target I was setting for myself. I’ve found it comforting to know that it’s not as complicated as I make it sometimes and the things expected of me are quite simple – to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

The final verse of In the bleak mid-winter by Christina Rossetti says:

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.”

The heart signifies the real, inward person. It symbolises our true desires. As we give the Lord our hearts, we are showing our willingness to serve Him

Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita of the Seventy listed three things that are necessary for us to bring on our missions. 1. A desire to preach the gospel. 2. Develop your testimony. The Lord requires your “heart and a willing mind.” And 3. Love others.

Dallin H Oaks explained that it is important to not just consider how we serve but why we serve.

Some may serve in hope of earthly reward. They may serve to gain recognition or to gain prominence or power. This is service but our hearts are in the wrong place. Serving with our hearts involves bending our true desires toward serving God. And as we do this our motivations will be based on eternal reward and out of love for our Heavenly Father and Saviour.

In Moroni 7:47 we learn “Charity is the pure love of Christ.”. The Book of Mormon teaches us that this virtue is “the greatest of all.”

1 Cor. 13. The apostle Paul said:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. …

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, … and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

From this we learn that even the biggest acts of service, for example giving everything to the poor, counts for nothing unless it is motivated by the pure love of Christ – it must be done through our love for God and a love for his children. Moroni 7:48 says that we should pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart that we may be filled with love. Charity is a gift from God that we should desire. In Preach my Gospel it says “Charity like faith leads to action. You will develop charity as you look for opportunities to serve others and give of yourself.”

So how can we make sure that we are looking for opportunities to serve?

Our baptismal covenants can be found in Mosiah 18:8-10.

8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

 9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

As we strive to keep these covenants we are showing the Lord it is the desire of our hearts to serve Him through serving others. We show our love for the Lord as we keep the covenants we made and by extension our desires change to be in line with the Lord.

President David O. McKay, quoted in Preach My Gospel, said: “True Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men. This is the spirit of missionary work.”

Do we see sharing the gospel as serving others?

If I had a friend who is struggling, maybe going through a hard time or maybe just felt they wanted something better in their lives, I might decide to serve them by buying them some chocolates. You know the big bag that says “Great for sharing” across the top? I would do this for my friend because I love them and I think that the chocolates will make them happy.

Fortunately the Gospel also comes with a “Great for sharing” label too. We may have friends who may be having a hard time who need direction in their lives. We may have friends who are already happy but who may need that extra injection of joy. We love them, so why would we want to deprive them of the thing that can give so much joy?  Preach My Gospel says that you have been a successful missionary when you love people and desire their salvation. When we love our fellowman and see them through the eyes of our Father in heaven we will desire to share the restored gospel with them so that they too can come unto Christ.

As we serve with all our heart the Lord blesses us abundantly. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes we may truly wish to serve with our whole hearts, only to feel bogged down by life’s challenges. Henry B. Eyring promises us this:

“For those who are discouraged by their circumstances and are therefore tempted to feel they cannot serve the Lord this day, I make you two promises. Hard as things seem today, they will be better in the next day if you choose to serve the Lord this day with your whole heart. Your circumstances may not be improved in all the ways which you desire. But you will have been given new strength to carry your burdens and new confidence that when your burdens become too heavy, the Lord, whom you have served, will carry what you cannot. He knows how. He prepared long ago. He suffered your infirmities and your sorrows when He was in the flesh so that He would know how to succor you”

What a wonderful promise. As we turn our hearts over to the Lord and let Him work through us, we will be blessed and have our abilities expanded many times over.

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