Friday, February 27, 2015

February 24, 2015

Dear Mom, 

Sorry I couldn't write yesterday. We had a meeting with elder Nielsen of the seventy and brother Heaton, the MTC president. They came to talk about the iPad's since we are a test mission. They wanted our feed back before they roll out to the rest of the missions in the world. It was an awesome meeting! Something they said really stood out to me. Elder Nielsen told us that from 1830-1930 the church baptized 300,000 converts. He then told us that in 2014 alone, the church baptized 300,000 converts. Isn't that insane? The work is hastening people! Elder Nielsen is a stud. He told us that "God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He will not fail. If you don't think He will get all of His children, then you don't understand this work." Wow! That was mind blowing. Between earth life and the spirit world, he'll help His children choose Jesus Christ. It was an awesome lesson to learn.

We had such a good week! I don't even know if I can tell you all of it in the short amount of time we have to email. One cool thing was that I got to attend two baptisms this week in former areas. One was sherwood for a kid I taught named Jake. The second was in Gresham for a kid named Mason. I spoke on baptism at Mason's. It was so good to go back and see them! They are both just little guys and so so sweet!

 We had a really cool experience this week. We have been going into the homes of all the members and setting dates with them to find someone for us to teach. Elder Ballard has really been pushing that. We've been going around and doing that and the success isn't immediate I must admit. We really really needed to find new people to teach, so we decided to set a date for ourselves as well! We prayed, set our date, and went to work. We did some tracting and street contacting with no luck, but we were not faithless! As we were out working we got a call from our Zone Leaders telling us they have a referral for us! They met a lady who lives in our area and wants to learn more. Apparently she had already been reading the Book of Mormon and wants to know more! We have an appointment with her for this week so we are pretty stoked about that.

This Sunday was awesome too. A member of our bishopric spoke about how the gospel has blessed his life. In it he talked about uncle Brian! He said that uncle Brian was his favorite missionary growing up. He said that uncle Brian played a role in him going on a mission and he got really choked up! It was awesome to see how missionaries can affect people, even active members. It was really cool that it was my uncle though. It gave me yet another reason to be proud to be a Udall. We had a Skype lesson with Misa is week! Other than that I'm not sure what else to tell you. All my stories would take too long to type. I love you mom! 

Sister Udall 


February 16, 2015

Dear mom,

    The chiropractor went good! It was funny. He told me my neck and back are really flexible. Too flexible. It's cause I pop and twist them all the time! So he told me I'm not allowed to do that anymore.

I'm supposed to go back again next week. Apparently my back sucks. But the good news is we have an appointment to teach his receptionist this week! We just started talking to her and she said we could come by.

Pretty sick huh? This was such a good week! We taught so so much! We taught double the number of investigator lessons that we did last week, and last week was a good week for us too. We are seeing miracles. They are coming slow, but they're coming. We were doing service at the food pantry this week and Phil came up to us and started talking about church. There is a girl who just got home from her mission in Brazil that gave her homecoming talk this week, so we told him that was happening. He was so excited and started calling al, his kids telling them he's going to a mormon church this week and they should too! It was so amazing to see him get excited about coming. I know you're reading emails from people talking about all the baptisms they're having and those kinds of miracles. Trust me, we are working so hard to help those we are teaching be baptized. They are just so sucked in to the Portland way of life. People rarely believe in God in this city. The only thing they believe in is naked bike races and recycling. We are trying to get them to take off those hipster glasses and see the world more clearly. It makes me so sad because I see so many people chasing the temporal things in life. They chase new clothes, cool restaurants, concerts, nice houses, new cars. All things that are good, but won't last. They don't realize that us 20 year old girls are laboring with all our might, praying without ceasing, studying, and fasting for these people so that they can have the one thing in this life that will last forever. The one thing they can take with them to the next life. I was talking to my mission president about this this week in interviews. I feel like I've put more of my heart into this area than ever before and received almost nothing in return. He gave me some awesome advice! He read parts of a talk from the most recent CES fireside and I don't remember who gave the talk, but they said a quote that I loved! He said "Follow your bliss and follow your blisters." I love that! Chase what makes you happy, and anything of real value takes hard work. I instantly thought of this area. It's hard work. We labor constantly. We tract, street contact, search for less actives, teach members, put together activities, literally everything you can think of, we've tried. I've been spiritually bruised and blistered. But the fruits of that hard work are delicious! I have never been happier. I smile more than ever before and I feel more love for people than I thought possible. This is my bliss, but it's also my blisters. God wants us to work hard because hard work brings joy. It brings a feeling of accomplishment. I wish we grew as much physically as we do spiritually on our mission, cause I would be a lot taller than 5'3! I love my mission. I love my people. I love my Savior and I know He lives. I love my mom for sending me packages :) love you all so much! Have the best week ever!

February 09, 2015

Hey family! 

Okay, so I just read Goodes's email and saw that he has 10 people getting baptized. That's wild! I was just about to write and say how many miracles we have had this week, but I guess 10 baptisms kinda trumps it! It was still a great week though! Ahh so many things have happened! Mom, I love my mission. If my mission was a guy I would marry it. Granted, it's hard. It's the hardest thing I've ever loved, but I wouldn't change it.

We taught more lessons this week than has ever been taught in this area since its been opened. We have seriously been working harder than I've ever worked in my life trying to find. What's frustrating is that in previous areas you can go walking down the street and talk to people everywhere! People in most parts of Oregon love to walk or ride their bikes and a lot of people literally just hang out on the streets. Even in the pouring rain. In previous areas we could tract an apartment complex and find a whole slew of new people to teach. West Linn is not like that. There are few apartments here, no one is on the street, no one is even home during the day, and many of them are wealthy and don't feel the need for change. It has been such a strange area for me and I have stretched and grown in different ways. It's a completely different kind of missionary work, that's for sure. But just because results aren't immediate, doesn't mean you can just stop trying or stop tracting. You gotta do them both more! We went tracting this week and got slam after slam. I finally had a knock one more door experience on my mission! We were getting discouraged and a little frustrated and we were about to turn around and find a better use of our time since knocking was obviously getting us nowhere, but we felt impress to knock one more door. We did and a sweet young woman and three little kids came to the door and let us in! We taught the restoration and had an amazing lesson with Annie and her little family. It was a tender mercy from the Lord that we really needed.

So for some odd reason, Portland is the church's pilot mission for literally everything. They test everything on us and soon I'll tell you about some more new stuff that we are testing. At first this really frustrated me. We constantly have to have people come out and observe us, call us, make us take surveys, and report any suggestions or problems we are having with the new program they've instituted. This week we saw a few miracles concerning the new programs instituted by the church. First, we taught our first ever skype lesson! Remember Cameron rich from high school? So I've been talking with him on facebook and he accepted to have sister Jensen and I skype him and teach him. So we did and we taught the restoration. It was amazing! We taught a guy in California! It was just really cool and now we are sending him the scriptures and continuing to teach him. How cool is that? Okay, so I'm not sure if I told you, but sister Jensen and I are the leading Just Serve Missionaries in our mission. We do 20 hours of service each week and then report on our miracles and success to our Mission Presidency and to Salt Lake so they can track the effectiveness of Just Serve. We got a call this week from a guy in the Just Serve Leadership for the church this week and he told us that our emails and reports have touched him really deeply and he wants to come out here to Oregon and come to service with us next week and witness these miracles in real life. Then he told us he might end up having a camera crew follow us around and record our work. Not sure how I feel about that but I guess if the Lord wills it then I'm in.

Okay, so one last thing. Elder Ballard wrote a follow up letter to our mission this week and president asked us to study it in preparation for MLC. In it he talked about how hard our mission is. Statistically, we are not the best mission in the States. He talked about how that is not because we don't work and hard or don't teach as well, but it is because we live in Portland: the least religious city in the United States. People live to disprove our message. For many, they don't even want to try to listen to us because Christianity is too main stream. Dang hipsters. He told us that every mission has its hardships but we shouldn't feel that we are worse because there is no other place in the world that is quite like Portland. It brought me so much comfort. One thing I love about my mission and that I will miss a lot is the refiners fire. I have spent 13 months cookin in the refiners fire. You never get out. You're always being pushed and stretched and yanked out of your comfort zone and being molded into something better. Someone better. The second you think you have it down, you'll get a new area, new companion, new bishop, new concerns from an investigator that will challenge you in a new way and make you learn in ways you wouldn't have otherwise. I have a love hate relationship with the fire, but it's so cool to watch God literally mold me into a new creature. A better disciple. I think the key to life is becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. We have to realize that we will forever be in the refiners fire. We can either embrace change and be humble enough for God to mold us to what he wants us to be, or we can resist and never reach our full potential. So, if you are currently engulfed in the flames of the fire, remember whose fire it is. Remember that He knows better, and His ways are always higher than ours. I know that to be true. Mom, I love you. I don't know what I would do without you. I hope you know how many people are praying for you! Each of my companions do. And in our nightly prayers, the couple I live with always do too. And go read 3 Nephi. Christ prays for you too. By name for specific blessings. Love you all! 

february 2, 2015

Hey mom! 

We had a really strange week. We were so slammed and busy but you wouldn't know it looking at our numbers. We had a girl from candy come on a mini mission with us this week which was way fun! She got to experience a couple of days in the life of a mormon missionary. It's more exciting the. It sounds! Thursday we had an amazing miracle! We were at the food pantry and one of my favorite guys asked when we could do dinner at his house with him and his wife. We picked a day and then he asked if when we came over we could mark some chapters in the Book of Mormon for him to read. We said "ha know Phil, we could always sit and read it with you." He loved that idea! So we are going to go eat dinner with them and read the Book of Mormon! It was such an awesome miracle! At the food pantry a lot of times our job is to help people out to their car with their groceries. I was helping this one lady and she saw my name tag and got so excited! She just kept saying "Jesus!" Ha I didn't know what to say back. She was old and might have been borderline crazy, but I was able to talk to her a bit and find out that she's a member of the church but hasn't been in years! Food pantry miracles, I tell ya!

So this week I got locked in my members garage. We live with her and I went downstairs in the garage to grab something for her and I got locked in! I was in there for ten minutes before anyone found me! I was yelling help and trying to pry open the door but it just wasn't happening haha. It was really funny. I thought I was going to be spending the night in there. We taught some crazy lessons this week that I just can't even explain. Some good, some not so good. It's so fun to be a missionary. We have experiences that I never would've had otherwise. I have learned a lot about agency this week. I get to watch people use their agency all the time. So use it for good, some don't. God gives us commandments to show us what things are good to choose and what things are not. After all, He knows everything beginning to end. He's a trustworthy source if we want to know what we should do to achieve happiness. I've realized that agency isn't the the power to choose whatever we want, it's the power to choose what God wants, and when we use it any other way, we're abusing the gift. We can literally choose to be happy. I abuse the gift every day, so I am extremely grateful that God took that into account before He ever sent us here by providing a Savior. When I use my agency for bad, I turn to Him and He helps me get back to where I need to be. I am so lucky that God also sent me a mom that helps me use my agency for good. I wish I would've listened to you more mom. You really know your stuff! I love Jesus Christ with my whole soul. His atonement really does cover every negative thing we could ever experience. I know that you know it but I hope that you feel it; and if you don't feel it in your life right now, use your agency to choose Christ. Choose the Gospel. Choose the scriptures. Choose Church. Choose the atonement. Choose happiness. It's true, I promise. I love you so much mama! You're the best woman God ever created. Have a great week! Pray hard, study the scriptures, and share the gospel. 
Sister Udall

January 27th 2015

hey fam! 

how's your time? mine is flying by! we had an amazing week! im writing today because yesterday was transfers but not to worry, sister jensen and i are staying together here in west linn. this week was so good. we had so many miracles and amazing lessons that im not sure if i can include them all but i will try. okay so on thursday we went to the food pantry to do service like we always do. its all part of the Just Serve initiative put out by the church. we are a test mission for it. we're a test mission for everything actually.

we have been instructed specifically that we are not to proselyte at these service projects. just serve, and if they approach you then you can teach. so thats what we do and we have made some amazing friends there! some of the best people in the world work at the little food pantry in the Methodist Church in West Linn. so we were working this Thursday and my favorite guy there, Phil, came up to us and said that he has been trying to read the book of mormon but it just has too many words and he's rather just go to church with us and see what its all about. AMAZING! then him and Lonnie, my other favorite guy, offered to take us out to dinner with them and their wives. we went and they asked us so many questions about what we believe and our missions in general. they asked about the temple so we offered to take them to the visitor's center and they said YES! not only that, but after we got side tracked on something else the wife, Kathy, pulled us back because we hadnt set up a time. they are so prepared and excited to learn more. Lonnie is the sweetest man ever and he bought us a present. we opened it and it was a picture of the temple and a bracelet that says "be your best self." he had bought them at deseret book. he literally googled it and went there because he wanted to see what it was all about and then he bought us gifts. it was so sweet! it was such a huge miracle and i am so grateful that God inspired His prophets to have the missionaries serving in the community.

we met with Misa again this week a couple of different times which was awesome! Misa is progressing so well and she loves the Gospel and learning about Jesus Christ. we have translators in all of our lessons which is really nice for her and us. last sunday a less active man and his wife who is not a member came to church. we got to talking with her and she wanted to take us to lunch. so last saturday we went out to lunch with her and got to know her pretty well. she is from Romania and is a anesthesiologist here in Portland. she is sooo smart. she told us that when she came to church with us she was touched at how sincere all the members were as they bore their testimonies and spoke from the pulpit. she loved it. she said that we have something that she doesnt have in her church and she wants to know more! so we were able to teach her in the restaurant and we gave her a book of mormon which she is really excited to read. she asked if we can start teaching her family ever saturday. um, of course we can! we have seen so many miracles this week! this has been my hardest but most rewarding area. i feel like i have put more of my heart and more hard work into this area than ever before and for awhile we weren't really seeing the fruits of our labors, but last week we saw so many miracles. i have firm testimony in the power of prayer. our prayers dont change the will of God, they help us to know what we can do to "be our best selves" and become what He has planned for us. God is so aware of us, especially when we are doing His work. i havent seen huge miracles on my mission. ive never seen an angel or any of that. my mission has consisted of small daily miracles, and because of the miracles ive experienced i know that this truly is the Lord's work. this week has been kind of scary in that we live in a sketchy apartment. it all started a couple of weeks ago when people started meeting by our window to sell drugs. specifically, meth. we had the cops and our apartment manager come by and ask us about it. it was pretty scary. apparently we live right by a suspected crack house. so thats been wild. on wednesday we went outside to go exercise and the big blue trashcan thing was on fire! haha it was so weird! on top of that we havent had hot water for the last 2 weeks. we have either been showering in the icy water or going to members homes. but the worst of it all is there is a creepy guy that lives upstairs. he is constantly texting and calling and telling us super weird things and he occasionally knocks on our door. it was getting a little out of hand, so we told him he cant come to our door anymore. that only made it worse. now he leaves weird books on our doorstep about not nice things and he is constantly begging us for money. needless to say, we no longer felt safe in our apartment, so we moved in with the White's! they are the greatest people in the whole world! the first night we walked in with all of our stuff and she started screaming and saying yay we're gonna have a slumber party! its so cute. we love them. okay, i best be off, but know that i love you very much! 

sister udall 


January 19, 2015

Dear Mom,

We have had quite the week! So I might've told you this last week, but I don't keep records of what I have and haven't told you, so this may be a repeat of a story you've already heard. So ha know how I get lost often? Well, that is one thing on my mission I have not been able to change thus far.

So on Monday we we supposed to be driving to the library in westlinn, but somehow I ended up in tualatin, so we just went to the library there. We sat down and starting emailing when this guy came and started eyeing the badge. He wasn't shy about it either! He was breakin his neck to read them! Then he asked if we were Jesus's sisters. We said yes and he asked if we could meet him in the mystery section at the table in 20 minutes. Seemed to be equal levels of odd and intriguing, so we waited for him there. He came over, addressed himself as Leo, and started asking questions and asked if it was too late for him to come to our church. Of course not! So we gave him our number. It was cool to see that God needed us in tualatin at that time. Getting lost pays off! We had a really sweet lesson with our Japanese investigator this week. We went to the visitors center with her and it was so sick! We had a member there that spoke Japanese to translate just in case, but the VC is awesome because the Christus statue and a lot of the videos and displays can be played in Japanese, so we listened to a few of them. She loved the Christus and said she felt peace in her heart, but what was even cooler is when we watched the restoration in the little theatre. She loved it! She said she was "moved" that her "heart felt like fire" and that she knows the Book of Mormon " is something very special." It was an insane miracle. People, do you understand what this means? She gained a testimony that God speaks to prophets just like He has always done! Isn't that amazing? Such simple doctrine and yet it is so crucial to our testimonies. Anyways she wants to be baptized and we are so excited for her! She's amazing and the spirit was so strong in her lesson, even though I couldn't understand a word of the Japanese things being said.

Ahh we had too many miracles this week I don't know how to consolidate them all into this tiny little email. I love being a missionary. Missionary work is the greatest work of all time. I know that you know it but I hope  you can feel it, and if you don't feel it then start doing it. Confirmation will come. It always does. You are the greatest family ever.

January 12, 2015

hey mom!


okay, so this was an awesome week. so many things happened i don't even know where to start! we were so privileged to have Elder Ballard, the apostle, come visit our mission this week. i have met elder christofferson and elder ballard since ive been out here. i am so lucky! it was amazing! he said so many awesome things and i learned so much from him! we met with him friday morning from 8-11 as a mission, and then we had an MLC meeting with him from 12-3. but wait, there's more! we also had a fireside friday night from 7-9 and then another meeting saturday morning for the mission leadership, the stake presidencies, high council, bishoprics, ward mission leaders, and ward missionaries. man alive it was eventful! i wish i could explain to you the feelings i had during that meeting. he answered so many questions i never knew i was asking. the coolest part was MLC on saturday because it was a small group and he interacted with us a lot. it was so nerve wracking when he would ask questions specifically to me. i have no doubt that he is a true apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  He talked a lot about missionary work, obviously, but he said that the problem with the members of the church is that they know what Gethsemane is, but they've never been there in their minds. He said that if each day we take a mental journey to Gethsemane, if each day we remember the One who endured all for us, if each day we would put that in the front of our minds, we would never be as selfish as we are currently being when we forget or even refuse to share the gospel. he said each time we bring someone to baptism we are literally bringing them to gethsemane and to golgotha, because now they have unlocked the atonement and can receive remission of their sins. he also said that we should be setting monthly goals for ourselves of how many people we are going to invite that month. i thought that was genius!

earlier this week we went on an exchange and had the funniest experience. it all started two weeks ago. so there is a sister that we are over that was sick,so we brought over some treats and cards and doorbell ditched them. they never said a word about it, so we thought that the elders that live in the same complex must have stole them. anyways we show up at their apartment two weeks later for the exchange and they will not answer the door! we started singing and knocking really loud. at one point i rapped all of fresh prince of bel air while sister jensen beat boxed. still not answer. but will we shrink or shun the fight? NO! so we kept knocking and finally the door opens, only it isnt the sisters, its some lady who does not look happy. we were so embarrassed! we apologized and she lightened up and gave us directions. we had already parked and it didnt sound far so we decided to walk to the apartment from where we were. turns out it was a good 3 miles and we were so lost! the good newsis we got to talk to a ton of people and find some new potentials as we walked. but yeah, it took forever haha. we exchanged with some of the visitors center sisters, so i was a VC sister for the day! it was so weird. it was fun but i dont think i could do it. sometimes it was really slow and we sat and waited awhile. it was fun for the day, but heavenly father knew i was not cut out for the VC life!

we had an amazing miracle this week. so remember when we did volleyball? well we had a girl from japan show up. random i know. we were able to get a return appointment with her and we taught her the first half of the restoration this week. normally we would teach the whole thing but she doesnt speak much english so we really had to slow it down for her. we invited a guy from our ward who speaks japanese and he helped translate at some points. it was amazing though! we talked about the atonement and about Christ being baptized and she said "i know that this is good. it feels good to my heart." at the end we were talking about prayer. she told us she has never prayed in her life. then she asked if she could try praying! it was amazing! the spirit flooded the room! she cried a little as she spoke to God. it was short and simple, but it was so sincere. i felt the spirit reminding me so strongly "you witnessed her talk to God for the first time in her mortal life." i felt like a private detective helping someone find their parents. i seriously felt so blessed that i got to be there when she said her first prayer. she accepted the invitation to be baptized! we are so excited for her. we had an investigator go to salt lake this week so she could go to temple square (shout out to mace). sister jensen's family took her around. how cool is that? and i spoke in church this week on the book of mormon which was great since im new to the ward. now they all know me. ahh i wish i had the time to tell you all the miracles we saw this week because ive only scratched the surface! congrats on the job dad! im so excited for you! mom i sent you something today. someone gave me a pass to the columbia employee store and everything is at least 60% off there. i love you all very much. i hope you never forget that i told you this church is true. the atonement is real. you dont have to be a missionary to see miracles, you just have to be involved in the work! love ya!

sister udall