Our baby girl is growing up!
When she first arrived:
I am in Fort Collins! Kinda awesome that I'm in the town my mission is named after. We had a great flight to Denver and met President Brown. It was really fun. On our first day here we had a day-long training sesh. It was pretty long, but really exciting too. I got pretty overwhelmed. I don't do very well with change so it was an interesting day for me. And I had been up since 3AM and didn't get to bed until after 10 that night. So THAT was fun....not.
My trainer's name is Sister Seaborn. She is AWESOME. And from Alberta, Canada. So Canadian jokes are thrown around a lot. But then of course, so are Cuban ones. Haha. She has an incredible story on how she came to be on a mission. She's very admirable for the things she's been through and that she is still here. It's awesome! Both of us click really well and get along great. She laughs at me a lot, but then again, who doesn't? Haha. Yeah.
We are serving in the Terry Lake Ward. We had a meeting yesterday with the Ward Missionary Leader, Brother Briscoe. He should be sending you (Dad) a photo soon. He is very determined to get missionary work done in our ward! He has like 3 kids out right now on missions, I think. It's pretty awesome! We also met Sister Fox, who we will be living with. We are currently living in an empty house owned by Sister Fairbank, until we can move in to the Fox's home. Sister Fairbank is a sweetheart. And she has a huge dog, which of course I love. I miss my Goot.
We also met the Relief Society president, Sister Kahl. She and her family are very pro-active in trying to get less actives active again. We are going to be mostly focusing on less actives since there are so many in this ward. This is an English ward, but has a Spanish group. It seems that the Spanish members are kinda wishy-washy and need some strengthening. So we plan on really working with them. And asking them for help with our Spanish! Sister Seaborn is pretty fluent, (she's been out for 7 months) and says that if we practice talking with the Spanish sisters, I will get pretty familiar with how to speak and what not. So that will be great! I'm pretty nervous though.
Anyway, we also had dinner with the Parry's last night. They are a sweet little family. Sister Parry teaches at a bi-lingual elementary school and is very proactive in missionary work too. I think this is gonna be great! However, we have heard that the majority of the members here aren't missionary-minded at all. Well, that's gonna be changed by the time we're done with them! You all know me pretty well, and they're gonna do it whether they like it or not.(Of course, they will like it once they figure out how to do it :)) I think the biggest reason why people don't fellowship others with the church is because they don't know how or where to start. So we will definitely be focusing on doing that too!
After one week:
This week has gone by SO slow. Just FYI.
But it's been great! Sister Seaborn and I met quite a few families and went to a ward activity as well. We are meeting some pretty awesome people. We went to visit some of the Hispanic members of our ward but no one was home! It was pretty lame. Haha, but now that we met most of them on Sunday, we'll know when to see them.
I can tell the ward here is trying to be missionary minded. I can see they want to do it, maybe they just don't know how. I hope that when we get to meet with each of the families, we can help them better. I think Bishop Walton said that one of us will be speaking in Sacrament meeting about how to be a good member missionary. So hopefully that'll help too!
So on Saturday, Sister Seaborn had a major migraine and slept most of the morning. So I was like, super productive and did A LOT. I studied some Spanish, read in my Spanish Book of Mormon, watched the Restoration in Spanish, watched Finding Faith in Christ (which is SO good, I recommend it to EVERYONE to watch), cleaned the kitchen, made lunch, studied out of the training booklet, and made a help-sheet for when I have to give messages in members homes. I'm put on the spot a lot since I'm brand new haha so I made a chart with scriptures on different topics (faith, be of good comfort, prayer, obedience, etc.) so when I have to do the message at member's homes, I can just use that instead of trying to come up with something. Smart, I know. So I did all of that between like 9:30 and 12:30. Then Sister Seaborn woke up and we went and did some community service. We volunteered at Goodwill. It was pretty fun. I wasn't really looking forward to it, but it was actually fun! There were other Elders there and we made up a system to help the work move along faster. I got to practice my Spanish with Elder Calquin (who's going home this week, crazy!), who lived in Chile until he was 10! It's so comforting to have people willing to help and are so patient with me when I'm trying to communicate.
Sister Seaborn and I get along really well. We laugh a lot together, which is definitely needed. We are working hard, but having fun too. We've had a few hear to heart conversations and she's very mindful of me being new, so she's not too hard on me. She's helped with the adjustment really well. We are pretty good friends, I'd say.
Yesterday was NUTS. We went to ward council in the morning, and then had Spanish Relief Society with the Hispanic group in the ward. I know the lesson was on tithing, and that's all I got! It was so hard for me to understand what's going on. They talk so fast and the words are like, slurred together so I can't differentiate what they're saying. (HELP!) and then we had Sunday School with the Hispanic group as well. Man, I have a lot of studying to do. We talked to a few sisters and they all said we can go to their houses and practice with her and that they'd help us become more fluent. Sister Seaborn is already really good. I just want to know it! Bah. It'll come with time. We haven't even really been using it since we're in an English ward. Towards the end of Sacrament meeting, the counselor that was conducting invited me and Hermana Seaborn up to tell the ward about ourselves and share our testimonies. I didn't really know what to say, but I guess I said what I needed to. Sister Seaborn really stressed that we can't do this work with out the members. WHICH IS SO TRUE. All of you should find someone and give their name to the missionaries. Just sayin'. After church (Sacrament meeting is last) at least 10 people or so came up to us and talked with us or gave us referrals. It was pretty sweet.
Anyway, after church we went to the Bishop's house. His son is leaving for the Argentina MTC on Wednesday, so they had a BBQ party for his open house. It was fun. Hermana Seaborn found a guitar and knows how to play so we were jamming out a bit. Haha. After that, we went to the Barrow's for dinner. They are a sweet couple. They've been married for 10 years! You can just tell they love each other so much. It was nice to talk with them for a while. After that, we called the Parkwood Ward elders to help us move a bed (we're in the process of moving to another house) so we can put twin sized beds in there. And then we went back to the Fairbank's, packed up all our stuff, and moved! So now we're in a basement of a member's home. The basement is pretty much their grandkids play room, but there is a full bathroom and a bedroom that we're gonna be staying in. Her name is Sister Fox; her husband isn't a member and her family are all inactive. She is a wonderful lady. I'm really excited to spend time with her and get to know her family better.
Two weeks ago:
Whew! What a week!
Things are really picking up. We did 15 lessons last week. And we visited a lot of people! I'm really enjoying getting to know everyone. And the Elders here are super fun too. Doing service with them is always great. I'm making friends! Y'all should be proud. ;)
We have been doing a lot of service. Volunteering at Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. It's nice to get our hands dirty and help people out. I love doing Habitat because something always needs to be done. Last week, Elder Gerber, Elder Calquin, and Sister Seaborn and I organized this tile shed. It was insane. Well, Elder Calquin and I did most of it. Haha but it was just fun to do physical work. We went again on Saturday and pretty much our whole zone was there. We were breaking glass for them and clearing things out. It was so fun! Definitely one of my favorite parts as a missionary.
So there were two lessons that super stuck out to me this past week. (All of them were great, but these two hit me pretty good.) We had a dinner appointment with the Swensen family. They are so cute! Brother Swensen is a student at CSU and Sister Swensen is 6 months pregnant, and they have a 4 year old named Allen. He is precious. That kid is ridiculously smart. He knows the first 10 articles of faith by memory! Better than me. But anyway, we were doing our message, and I was in charge of it this time. So I shared my favorite scripture, D&C 61:36. "And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one, I say unto all. Be of good cheer, little children. For I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you." Allen really wanted to help me read it to everyone, so he came over and I would say a few words and he'd repeat them. I don't know what it was, but it just really hit me. It reminded me of my kids at the YMCA and how important it is to be an example and teach them the gospel. The faith that children have amazes me. You all know that already, so I won't get too into it. I almost started tearing up when he was reading with me.
And now for the other lesson! It was on Saturday. There is a family here, the Enriquez family, and they were baptized a couple years ago, I think, and are less actives. Sister Enriquez randomly called us on Saturday to come over, so we did! She is hilarious. I love her already. They have 5 kids. We had a good time talking and getting to know them and then we were sharing a message! Sister Seaborn told me it was my turn to be in charge (oh goodness) and I was like, "AHHHH!" because I was nervous. Haha. I was going to just do my favorite scripture, but during the opening prayer, the word "Restoration" came to my mind. I was not prepared for a different lesson than the one I had been doing. So after the prayer, I took a minute or so going back and forth between the D&C scripture and the scripture of the first vision. I felt so prompted to do the first vision, so I was like, "Alright, help me out though, will ya?" and I started it. And it. was. AWESOME. Like holy cow! We talked about Joseph Smith and what he did for us as a church and it was so good! I told them I only had the first vision memorized in Spanish and that I'm working on it in English, and they said, "Just do it in Spanish! That's so cool!" So, I did. And it was incredible. The spirit was SO strong. I felt so good about it. Bah! It was just great.
Anyway, so since Sister Seaborn is the Sister Training Leader. We have to go on exchanges A LOT. Which means when someone new comes to our area for the day, I'm the senior companion. Which freaks me out. I'm not ready for that! Haha. But the first exchange last week went really well. We're going on 3 this week. I'm wondering if this is preparing me for something. I feel like it is. I'm scared. Hahaha. On the exchange last week, I was with Sister Passey. She came out from the MTC with me, so we're both new. We had about an hour of nothing really going on, so we went to the Stake Center parking lot to do some companionship studying. We found Sister Seaborns list of "Signs of the Second Coming" and HOLY COW. We spent over an hour on that thing! Y'all, this stuff is legit. We were reading scriptures and cross referencing like crazy. It was awesome. :) We both decided that it made both of us really want to be as faithful as we could on our missions and in our lives.
Now, I'm gonna share a scripture I really like! It's from the Book of Mormon. It is Alma 32:21-22. Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge! We don't know what exactly is going to happen or what is in store for us. But if we have the faith that God will provide for us, He will! I am really learning to rely on Heavenly Father for a lot of things since I've been on a mission. Especially as far as my future is concerned. I can't be in control during this time in my life, and I have been kinda freaking out about it. Like where to go for school, if I'm getting married, etc. I can't do that! I'm learning to truly give it all to the Lord and just do the work. It'll all work out the way it needs to. I'm trying my best and I know He'll cover what I can't do. And that if I do this right and the best I can, He will bless me tremendously. I feel his support and comfort every day.
Whew! Holy man this past week went by so fast! I hope time keeps flying! So let's see, what happened this week...
We have been visiting people like crazy! I've really been thinking about my patriarchal blessing and I've read it a few times. It says that I will have the ability to see people as children of God and why they are special to Him. And I'm beginning to see how true that is! There have been a lot of times where we'd talk to people and I can just feel my heart soften towards them and it comes to my mind that they are a son or daughter of God. It throws me off a lot, actually. But I'm seeing myself be more Christlike because of it.
We went on splits with a couple ward missionaries. I was with Sister Swenson, she's 25, married, has a 4 year old, and another one on the way! She's gonna pop any minute, I feel like. She's so little! We visited a member together and we worked pretty well together! She is a wonderful woman. We had a very deep discussion while we were driving around and like I said before, I could just see how special she is to Heavenly Father. These members we're working with are really trying, it seems. They're all very relieved to have sisters here (they say that one set of sisters is equivalent to 5 sets of Elders haha) and seem to be very receptive to us. So that's great!
We actually went to a funeral for an 18 month old on Friday. I know we went to Papa Ernie's funeral, but I don't remember much of it. The little boy passed in his sleep a few nights before. It was pretty emotional. Sister Seaborn and I were sitting with a bunch of Elders and we all teared up. It was so sad. The service was very heartfelt and also uplifting. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of the Gospel and the knowing that that little boys family WILL see him again. The Plan of Salvation is an amazing thing, let me tell you.
On Saturday we went to visit a member in the hospital. She was getting groceries out of her car and then got her 10 week old out too and fell and dropped him on the driveway. We found out Friday night and went to see her as soon as we could. The baby is fine, thank goodness. A couple Elders were there the night it happened and gave him a blessing. He's bruised up pretty good, but he is going to be fine! What a blessing. Seriously. We talked to his mother and she was being pretty hard on herself. It was an accident though, and we know she is a wonderful mother. Seriously, I've been taking notes watching her with her kids. She's incredible.
We also had Pioneer Day! Yes, they celebrate it here. Haha that's new. It was a stake activity so our whole zone was there. It was SO much fun. We all got facial hair face-painted on us. Haha it was pretty legit. It was fun seeing members of the stake all get together and talk about their heritage. There was one woman who is related to Elizabeth, from the movie 17 Miracles, that escaped her abusive husband and then found the jerky with the man in the wilderness. That was pretty sweet.
So TODAY. We hiked a MOUNTAIN. Horsetooth! It was SO ridiculous. It rained haha. It was super fun but man it was hard! Remember our hike at Mt. Zion's National Park? NOTHING on that. Seriously. I'm gonna be way sore tomorrow. At the very top you're legit rock climbing. But the view was AMAZING. Of course, I was kinda freaking out because I'm scared of free-falling/heights/falling off to my death. I felt so very accomplished and like I conquered something incredible when I got to the top. It was a great feeling. It was cloudy, so we were literally high enough to be in the clouds. A cloud came up over us and were like, in it. It was crazy. :) I'll attach a picture so you can see.
I know I've said it before, but I just LOVE my zone. All of us get along great and I'm so glad to have awesome people around me. Hermana Seaborn and I were the only sisters hiking today, with like 12-16 Elders. It was so fun. It rained, we got in a mud fight, you know, normal stuff like that. I'm glad to have opportunities to do things like that though. It's definitely needed!
Please write her at:
Sister Yiselle Wilson
Colorado Fort Collins Mission
5285 McWhinney Blvd
Loveland, CO 80538