Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Transferred to West Linn, Oregon New companion and a calling to be a Sister Training Leader

yes, mom. i have been transferred. my daughter, sister russell is all grown up and taking care of the area! sad and happy. bittersweet. we had an awesome week though. there are many things i anticipated about a mission, but i definitely did not expect to be taken care of so well by all the members! i had a birthday party every single day last week and multiple parties on my actual birthday. i was given so many gifts, hats, candy, cakes, and a birthday enchilada! but best of all, the elders serving in my ward surprised me by bringing me a cow to milk! #farmlife #backtomyroots haha it was so funny. so i milked that little mama dry! it was so fun.

we were able to teach some awesome lessons last week, one of which was a tour of the church building. we are teaching a young man who has some anxiety and the thought of going to a unknown building with at least a couple hundred unknown faces didnt appeal to him like we hoped when we extended the invitation. but, not to worry, for there is a nifty little trick called a church tour, and missionaries, like myself, have keys to said church, so we can get in when no one else is around. that is exactly what we did! timothy and a couple of members came with us down to the church and we showed him around the whole thing! he saw where all the bathrooms are, examined the pictures on the walls, and peeked in each classroom. we gave a brief description of each room. my favorite thing to show people is the chapel, so i save it for last, because ive heard once that best is always last. the spirit in the chapel is so strong when no one else is around. as we went in and sat together timothy kept commenting on the feeling of the room. we said a prayer all together and then let him stay in there for a minute alone to say a prayer for himself. timothy came out of that chapel a changed man! his confidence seemed to increase a ton! it was amazing.

 i knew i was going to be transferred, so i wasnt surprised to get the call. i am now serving in west linn in the Willamette ward with sister jensen! i served in aloha with her, she was in the other ward, so we are excited to be together. she is from alpine utah and is tons of fun. im a sister training leader now which is kind of wild but im excited to be here. west linn is the second richest city in the state of oregon, so it will be different than any other area i have served in but im pumped about it. i was so sad to leave gresham! i love mt hood so much. #hoodlife. im just thankful that i can go back and visit. i have a few members that are arranging for me to marry their sons and grandsons when they return from their missions. thanks for everything you sent me mom! and everyone else! youre all the best people! love you so much!
sister udall

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Happy 20th Birthday Kylie!

Dear mom and dad
Sorry this is so late! I'm the worst person. I forgive myself though so if you don't then you have the greater sin!

We had a great week! Ahh I love being a missionary so much. I love wearing my name tag, I love the weird stares we get, I love the awkward questions people ask, I love it all! I love having my name right near the Savior's and truly feel like I am helping others come unto Him. This has been a great week for that. We were able to teach quite a few lessons. I have been in a constant pursuit to be on the same page as God my whole mission. I'm striving to be a tool in His hands, so I want to understand what He needs me to do and where He needs me to be. I prayed really hard that I would be guided as I planned, that I might be in the right place at the right time to be an answer to someone's prayer.

Well, God surely answered my prayer. Thursday night we were planning and I felt strongly about two things: we needed to do some finding at the grocery store around noon and we need to see a certain part member family at 7. It wasn't a pressing feeling, the thoughts just came to my mind to do them. So we went to the grocery store and it was awesome! We saw some of our Ward missionaries there and we were able to talk to them for a bit. The man is so sweet! I'm not saying this to brag, I only say it because I was so touched when he said it. He told me that they have had a lot of good missionaries in that Ward, but I was the best, and he really meant it. Somehow God knew that I really needed to hear that and he just kept telling me the things that he thought I was good at. It was seriously exactly what I needed! I thought for sure that was the reason we were meant to go there, but I found out that God was killing two birds with one stone there. We saw one of our less actives that we teach as well! She was standing outside waiting for her ride and we were able to whip out our scriptures and teach her a lesson right there! It was great!

Later when we went to the part member family's home, we found that they had some friends over. We were able to teach the whole bunch! It was great! I've seen Gods power so much lately it's insane.
I love my area so much, but I think I might get transferred. I have a birthday party planned for every day this week! The members keep inviting me to come over to celebrate! Today the sweetest lady ever took me shopping and bought me a present and tonight this family invited me to celebrate again with them. And then every day of the week someone has either offered to take us out or invited us over. I feel so blessed here! The Lord really takes care of His missionaries, and He does it through amazing members! I love you all, I love the Lord, I love Oregon. Love, love,love. Next time you see my face, it'll be 20 years old! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cancer Isn't Stronger Than That

We hear everyday the things cancer can do
the word "cancer" itself makes my heart split in two
But my mom's sweet embrace seems to mend it all back
And cancer isn't stronger than that

Chemo and radiation, she took them both on
Making her sick from dusk until dawn
But instead of complaining, she smiles and laughs
And cancer isn't tougher than that

She gathered us kids all together one year
And showed us the meaning of holiday cheer
We gave up our gifts for families that lacked
And cancer doesn't serve more than that

Money isn't a good gift for my mother
She forgets herself and spends it on another
She'd give anyone the shirt off her back
And cancer doesn't love more than that

Mom goes down in the school hall of fame
Six kids playing sports and she's not missed a game
She's my biggest fan when I'm up to bat
And cancer isn't supportive like that

Mom can do any accent known to man
From southern, to Irish, to Mexican
She'll have you laughing till there's pee where you sat
And cancer isn't funny like that

Mom can cook better than anyone I know
She could legitimately have her own cooking show
Her cheesy potatoes will make you fat
And cancer isn't talented as that

Seems anytime I tried sneaking out of our home
Her mom senses would tingle, and she'd call up my phone
I could never get away with doing something bad
And cancer isn't psychic like that

Mom can make friends anywhere that she goes
In fact, I don't think that she has any foes
She's kind to all, even our evil cats
And cancer isn't friendly like that

In family baseball games, mom is the king
She's known for her aggressive base running
She keeps on running if she's out or gets tagged
And cancer isn't athletic like that

Mom's the epitome of "ride for the brand"
She sticks up for her kids as much as she can
She's gentle and kind, but she's got my back
And cancer isn't loyal like that

Mom cries in everything. She's got a big heart.
Any movie she watches, the water works start
She's a good hearted woman, and that's a fact
And cancer doesn't care more than that

I think of our Savior, who took on Himself
The pains and the sickness of everyone else
We can overcome all through His great sacrifice
And cancer isn't stronger than Christ

When we measure them up it's easy to see
Who's really stronger? Mom or the disease?
In the Plan of Salvation we learn the outcome
That cancer will not beat my mom

No matter the results, we have peace of mind
God promised to exalt the faithful on high
We've been sealed in the temple, a seal with no cracks
And cancer can never break that
Biggest John,

I loved your email! I'm so glad the Udall family continues to mourn the Thanksgiving Pie incident of 2012, a date which will live in infamy! I'm sad that mom isn't feeling well, but I wrote her a poem this week and I'm sending it today! I hope she enjoys it :) we had a great week! we did some major work in our area! we've still been doing a lot of finding. we felt impressed to go see a less active family, so we stopped by and they let us right in! miracle! we asked if we could set up a time to share a Christmas message with them, and they were all over that. the best thing is that their non member son was there. he's in his 30's or so. he was really happy to see us and was the one setting up the appointment around his schedule so he can be there. i was so humbled. the Lord really will use us as tools in His hands to touch the lives of those who are prepared. we had an awesome lesson with one of our investigators. she is so close to baptism, but those cigarettes won't leave her alone. we talked with her about the blessings of the temple. it really really hit her. Recently president Ballard has talked a lot about how baptism isn't our goal for people. our goal is the temple and baptism is just a prerequisite to that. how blessed i am that my family is sealed in the temple. we can be together forever as we live worthy of it. anyways, she prayed for the first time in one of our lessons and it was so powerful! I cried. Crylie is stronger than ever out here. we also had another miracle. a former investigator couple has been having a really tough go lately. their health, finances, and life in general seems to be falling apart. well, she called us this week and asked if we could meet somewhere, so we chose dairy queen (don't judge). she opened up to us about the many trials she is enduring, but along the way she realized the good in every circumstance. we were able to share with her the love that God has for her. she asked for a priesthood blessing so the elders are going to give her one tonight! exciting! we had thanksgiving at two houses. The first was mysha poche's cousin, the ritz family! I love them so much! there is six kids in that family from teenagers to toddlers, so I felt right at home! we played games and had so much fun with them! Then we went to the sieburts, a recently baptized family. They are awesome! We got to see Lois there and we played games with them as well. let me tell you, for an old blind lady, Lois is dang good at operation. she got second place! she beat me! I guess any dreams I had about becoming a surgeon are shot. I reflected a lot that day on the things that I'm truly grateful for. I'm grateful for a family that prays for me. I know you pray for me. I can literally feel your prayers. if anyone else has experienced that, then you understand that there is nothing more humbling than to literally feel the prayers of your righteous mother buoying you up when you feel hope is lost. when you feel no one cares. I have the greatest mother in the whole world! I'm grateful for the times dad woke us up at the butt crack of dawn to read scriptures, even though his tactics for waking us up are annoying as I'll get out. Im grateful for a mom who loves unconditionally. She pre forgives. no matter what I do, I know my mom will forgive me and help me correct my mistakes. remind you of anyone? thats right, my mom is Christ-like! im grateful for my oldest sister Cammie. I'll forever be jealous that she got the blonde hair, that is something I'll never have. But i strive every day to mimic her work ethic. Cammie is driven and so accomplished. I hope to be just like her. I'm thankful for christie and trev for my nephew and also for teaching me to play poker. mostly though, I'm thankful for their example of a temple marriage. I'm so grateful for Rulon for going on a mission and setting the example for me. I'm grateful for baby boey (Ryan). he's always been the rock in our family. He's the spiritual giant and I'm proud of the man he is. and I'm grateful for baby Kate! I love that tiny girl! she has the biggest heart and the best sense of humor. I just have the best family in the whole world. despite our trials, I feel so indebted to God for our many blessings! I know God loves us and i know the atonement is real. Christ does live. The church is restored. I know it.
I love you!
Sister Udall
Dear mom and dad,
It's been a great week here in Gresham! I love this area and I'm sad to say that I'll probably be kicked out of it come transfer time. I feel like I just got here. Five months flew by! We have had a stellar week. We have taught a few awesome lessons and been able to find a few new investigators. For sure one of the highlights though, was that I got invited to attend the baptism of one of my best friends in the whole wide world. She was one of my first lessons as a missionary and I've never had more fun at someone's house. I've never met a family more similar to my own and who have treated me like one of their own. She decided to be baptized and messaged me on Facebook and asked if I would say the opening prayer at her baptism. So I got someone to take me down there and we went to her baptism! It felt so good to see the family again! Her baptism was simple. It consisted of an opening prayer, the baptism ordinance, testimonies, and a closing prayer. I have a testimony that sometimes less really is more. When I saw her I just was overcome with joy. As I watched her get baptized i realized that if this was the only person I saw get baptized, this entire mission would still be worth it. If she was the only person to let me in her door, it would still be worth it. I felt like the luckiest missionary in the world that I got to be there. I also gained a sure knowledge that God knows me. This is where I am supposed to be. If someone would've told me before my mission that I would find a family that would mean as much to me as my own family, I never would have believed them, but I have come to know that our God is a loving God. He has blessed me more than I could ever imagine. I was really hoping I would get called to some exotic country to serve my mission, but now if I had the chance to choose, I would choose the OPM without hesitation. I serve the best people in the world here. I have also learned that we aren't called to a place. We are called to people IN PLACE of the Savior. He loves us all equally. We serve a really cool God, ya know that? This is the true church. It's gotta be. No mere man could have called me to this specific mission without receiving inspiration from God to do so. It just couldn't have been this perfect if it wasn't from God, and if it was from God, that means our prophet is His mouthpiece on the earth today. After she was baptized, we each had the opportunity to bear our testimony. Mind you, she only invited about 8 people to her baptism. If you know me at all, you know that I always have something to say, but in this instance I was completely speechless. I am so humbled by the grace and mercy of God. I love Him. After the baptism the family offered to take me and my ride to dinner. It was so much fun just to spend time with them. I love them! The rest of the week was awesome too! We taught a few sweet lessons and had a lot of ice and rain. Missions are the best. They are just the best things to ever be invented. Serve God. You won't regret it. Thanks for the package family! I love you all! 
Love, Sister Udall