March 2014 Letters

Week 38: My Interview with President Rowley (3 March 2014)

So we had interviews this week. Always so good. Here is a play by play of my interview haha so that you guys can enjoy what I got to enjoy:

“How are you doing Alyssa?”

“Good!” We prayed, he asked Spanish or English and of course I said English and then we started talking about my family, how everyone’s doing. He asked me about what I learned in my personal study that morning, I said I was reading the talk about getting closer to God where the authority said we have to make God the center of our universe. He asked me how I was going to make God the center of my unverse, I said I felt I needed to improve my personal prayers. he said, “One thing I do in my prayers that could help you is just have something to write on always as you pray. That way you dont lose as much. Sometimes if you dont write it down then you lose it, you forget. Sometimes you can’t get it all down. But just always write as you pray. Work on that for the next couple weeks or months and then ask God again what you can do to get closer to Him. He will answer you.”

We talked about some other things, like if my thoughts were pure and all that good stuff. We talked about getting the members more involved in their family history. We talked about how the branch needs to hurry up giving out callings and he said, “I know you can’t give out the callings but I need you to keep things moving. Do your Alyssa thing and get it all worked out.” He asked me if I had a question for him, I said yes. I just wanted to know what he wanted me to do for Talara. he said, “You know, I have been thinking about that. I was thinking about it as you prayed. You are so incredibly talented, Alyssa. You bring joy wherever you go. You touch people so easily with your smile. Do not underestimate the importance of what you are doing for the saints here just smiling at them. You bring them so much happiness. You are doing miracles with your smile for this branch.” Then he got really quiet. He started writing and then he looked up and said, “I want to start institute here in Talara. I dont know how we’re going to do it, but I want to. I need your help.” So I have just been thinking about that this weekend. Who will be our teacher? How will we get the members involved? One thing we struggle with is that the missionaries like do everything here and it is super tempting to just do it all for them. But that is not what they need. So yah that is where I am at.

I just feel better after talking with him. As missionaries, we have this stress manual that is so awesome, so don’t worry about me not being able to handle stress. One thing that really helps me is just talking with Heavenly Father about everything. He really is my best friend. I just tell Him what happened during the day, how I feel. I ask Him what He would have us do. I can not do everything but I can do something. He lets me help Him, and that is why I am happy. There are just so many things I can not do. But He, knowing that, gives me jobs to do and lets me learn how much I can do.

I am grateful for my mission president. He loves me and he understands me, and he trusts me. And I feel happy because of that. And he knows my talents, and he wants me to keep using my personality and the brightness of my spirit to keep drawing others toward the light of the restored gospel. As much as we have here in Talara, we need more depth. Deeper testimonies, stronger members, better attendance, more involvement. And I just want to do it all for them.

I love my calling. I love Talara. I love our branch. I love my companion. I guess what I love most is that working so hard alongside the Savior makes you feel so full. It makes sin so untempting, temptation so irrelevant. It makes life so much more worth living. Yah I am stressed, I understand the Lord of the vineyard in Jacob 5, “What more could I have done for my vineyard?” But it is all good here.

I love you guys! I love showing your pictures when we teach aboiut family history. “This is my dad. He’s a dentist. He just likes to get in there and drill on people, make em hurt! This is my mom. She’s an angel. She married my dad in the temple and now we have the promise of living together forever.” It’s awesome.

Week 39: sad (10 March 2014)

I just lost my message I was going to send you guys….

Week 40: This week…. wer du eye beagin? (17 March 2014)

well. This week was good. Rough. But good!

Today we went to the beach and saw sea lions! Which in Spanish are called ocean wolves, and “wolf” (lobo) sounds a lot like the same word for “balloons” (globo). So I was really suprised when the ocean balloons I had imagined and expected to see were actually sea lions!

It’s been rough because it’s mostly been busy. We had a wedding and a baptism of a young couple. It wasn’t our investigators, it was the Elders in our branch, but still a lot of work to get it all together and still take care of our people.

Other reason is that one of our recent converts has had a rough week too. She is 15 and she got baptised in January.

She was so on fire in the beginning and she has been so on fire up until this weekend when her family started talking to her about the possibility about becoming a nun. Like pressuring her. On Saturday we went to the baptism with her and her brother and we gave her her new member package. Then she didn’t come to church yesterday and we went to her house twice to go find her, and when we found her last night she was crying and she just told us how confused she was and how she just wants to serve God and how she doesnt want kids, she just wants to be a nun and serve others. We just talked to her about how what God needs is that all of His children make and keep sacred covenants with Him and how that is the kind of service He needs! Helping others make those covenants! It made me think of the song from the Living Scriptures video about the Tree of Life when it says, “Feet on the path, hand on the rod, moving steady, moving toward God! Heart on the truth, eyes on the tree. Hey, friend, are you coming with me?”

Or, other good song, “He Sent His Son,” when it tells us, “What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say? Have faith, have hope, live like His Son, Help others on their way! What does He ask? Live like His Son.”

We are going to have a family home evening with her tonight with another active family and we have decided we are going to talk about recognizing the Spirit. I think I am going to tell her the story of how I decided to serve a mission. Because even though I never felt like super sure about it, I didn’t feel confident when I thought about other options. I just felt super comfortable and confident when I thought about serving a mission. And I just felt like if it wasn’t what God wanted, He wouldn’t have sent me a call. And then after I had entered the MTC I got a blessing that said that I was EXACLTY where the Lord wanted me. So we kind of have to act in faith, and doubt our doubts.

Other thing is Sister R. Last night we had a good long talk that just really helped me understand everything we have ever talked about together up until this point. She told me how sad she was that she felt like she was leaving Talara after having 6 months here and that no one was going to remember her or be sad when she left. She said that her whole life all she has ever wanted was for people to love her and she has never been able to feel the love that she longs for. I know that feeling! I think everyone does!

We ended up talking about how when we do our service just to glorify God and not ourselves that is when it is really valuable to Him, when it has eternal worth. And how much better for us if we never get anything here on earth for our service! Because the Savior taught us that when we start trying to accumulate acclaim and reward here on earth we lose eternal the reward and opportunities to grow! She seemed a little better this morning. She said that she is happy that we have spent our time together serving those who aren’t necessarily the kind who do and can throw farewell parties. I wanted to stand up and cheer.

So yah, lots of tears this week but it’s all been worth it. I love you guys. I love you Aubrie. I love you Mom. I love you Dad. I love you Kayla. I love you Grandma Cardon. I love you Grandma Sherri. I love you Grandpa Bob. I love you guys so much!

Week 42: CAMBIOS! (24 March 2014)

OK so Hermana R. left this morning at 5:30. I cried…. a lot… like to the point I actually almost think she was embarrassed to be with me in the bus station haha our zone leaders were like, “Sister Cardon! Wipe those tears away! Your new companion is gonna come and feel super bad!” Of course that was totally a liberal translation on my part of what they actually told me.

Right now I still miss Sister R. a lot. But I’m not gonna tell my new companion Sister M. (from Buenos Aires) because she is brand new and I don’t want her to feel bad. Plus she seems really awesome! She just finished her training and she had six baptisms in her first three months! Which is awesome because we had one haha…. but righ now we have eight with a baptismal date which is stressful-exciting.

We are juggling a lot right now I feel and we just got another part added onto our area! But I am happy, I think we are going to be able to do a lot this transfer.

I love you guys! Sorry I dont have more time!

Week 43: Talara (31 March 2014)

I dont know what I want to tell you guys this week! I guess just that I am happy. My new companion is really great. She is definitely an Aubrie.

We have had so much fun this week with our investigators. One of them is a young couple named L. and J. They are MARRIED and they have a little baby. I feel the Spirit so strong when we teach them and they really get what we teach…. the problem is they still think of themselves as like people that are just willing to listen to the word of God. I was really sad because they haven’t been reading the Book of Mormon but we’ll see what happens. I can see they have a lot of unity as a couple, they are really special to me. They told us they feel closer to God since they started listening to us.

Other investigator that is awesome is named Junior. He was walking in his neighborhood when he heard us singing “I am a Child of God” in his neighbor’s house and so he decided to stand outside the house and wait for us to finish the lesson so that he could meet us. Sounds creepy but it wasn’t at the time…. He is really super prepared in that he believes that there is only one true church and he is looking to find which church that is. He is also helping one of our less actives (A.—we were waiting for his neighbor outside his house and we saw him on his balcony and he didnt have a shirt on and then when he saw us he went inside to put his shirt on and so then we thought, “Ok we have to talk to this guy because clearly he is listening to the spirit.” And then he told us he was a actually member and he got baptised in Lima! We want to help him get back to church. His problem is that he is SUPER into boxing and he usually fights Saturday night and sleeps all day Sunday so that has been a problem.

Another investigator that is named V.R. He is a sweet little old man he used to be a professor and now he is really excited to get baptized on the 12th.

Another investgator named Victor Hugo was watering his garden when we met him and he told us he always felt something inside him that made his feet want to enter the chapel but he never let himself enter seems really promising. He is an economist which makes me happy because we got to talk about how much we love Adam Smith for a little bit. This is going to sound weird but it is exactly how it came across to me: I feel like he was really just using us to get a copy of the Book of Mormon because as soon as he saw me take out my copy he started acting really antsy and then I let him read from mine and he wouldn’t let it go and then I told him he could have another one that I had in my bag and then as soon as I gave it to him he asked if we could have the closing prayer. Hahah it was pretty hialrious to me. He has been in Lima this week but we stopped by on Saturday to see if he was home yet and we ended up teaching his sister and she said that it is a miracle that we found him because he needs our help and she wants it too. So I am excited for them too.


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