five days till our hugs

Mar 30, 2017 by

Our girl comes home in FIVE days. Oh, my goodness! It is so hard to believe that her mission, the thing she prepared for her whole life, is coming to a close.

I had all sorts of goals for while she was gone. I was going to lose twenty pounds. I was going to be not passing out, not injured…I was going to have made so much improvement physically that we would both know it was a mission miracle. I was going to make her a quilt with all sorts of cool mission pictures on it. I was going to have a darling room for her. I was going to have all her emails and photos printed out and made into a book. Certainly the yard would be de-junkified, the garage organized, and the house clean. At the very least, all of her weekly emails would be posted here on my blog for the sake of posterity.

The reality is that none of those things are going to happen. Perhaps some of them could have happened if I hadn’t been hit hard this month with new injuries and dozens of passing out episodes. We are focusing on surviving and thriving on the essentials…morning snuggles, nighttime read-alouds, and people fed some sort of sustenance (most likely not made by me).

Instead of the aforementioned list, our missionary will come home to a real family with real challenges and heaps of love for her that will be shown with lots of hugs, homemade signs, listening ears, and maybe some ice cream. The Pinterest version of a missionary homecoming isn’t all that necessary and I probably shouldn’t have let myself go down that road in the first place since I can’t even figure out how to make dinner or write a blog post on any sort of regular schedule.

Richard has been able to rip out Keziah’s poorly organized closet and build a new space that we are hoping will hold two young ladies’ clothing. Keziah has purchased two new twin beds for both of them and we were able to get new mattresses and bedding. So, she has an awesome place to sleep and a place to put her clothing. Total win, right?

In other news, my body is a mess right now. A hot mess. On the 10th of March, while STANDING and watching Annesley dance her heart out at an Irish Dance performance, my foot dislocated AND a ligament tore. I was doing NOTHING at all, just standing. The next day, while shifting myself in bed, I reinjured my right hand that we have spent the past 17 months healing. I had been out of my splint completely for two months and had been working out of it for about four. It is SO sore. I am back to not being able to write or mouse or do my hair. My foot is incredibly painful. I spend a lot of time in my wheelchair. When I do walk, I am hobbling around, all taped up in an effort to hold the bones in place. My left hand is still in a brace from the fall on October 29th and my left shoulder, though much better since the stem cell shots into the subscapularis tear in January, is still hurting and not able to do much. On top of all that, these new injuries have wrecked havoc with my nervous system and it is going haywire. The prior issues of food not digesting, heart rate skyrocketing and plummeting, passing out, seizures, and constant exhaustion are now pretty constant and I am tuckered out.

This is NOT the state I wanted to be in to welcome my girl home. But it is reality. It is the ride we are on right now and I am determined to make the best of it and not give in to despair and throwing in the towel. January and February were amazing months where I felt normal and capable and had SO MUCH HOPE that I would never pass out again. Everything changed in March and I am learning once again to turn to Him, to listen to His voice of peace and love, and make the best of what I do have control over.

Five days till we get to hug our girl and listen to her stories. Five days to make peace with the reality and NOT make my family crazy for everything we are not.

Life is good. For realsies.

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week 40

Nov 26, 2016 by

Celebrating the 4th of July without my freedom-loving girl was kind of strange. She is still in America and was able to see some fireworks. I love to hear her stories of teaching. Sharing the message of Christ a beautiful privilege.

Aloha, y’all!

We had two pretty cool lessons this week. We came over to teach a lesson to a friend of someone in the ward and it was really spiritual. The friend had already been reading the Book of Mormon, and it went really well. He had a lot of good questions. We have to pass him off to the Saddleback YSA district, but it was still pretty cool.

We also taught our investigator on Sunday. Her name is Venus. She has a 7 year old son and she is really prepared. She has a really hard time getting work off Sundays, so she hasn’t been able to make it to sacrament, but she came to RS last week and this week to Gospel Principles and Relief Society. She had a really great experience there and loved the lesson, which was on ministering angels. It was really great and she was able to meet some of the members. They just welcomed her in. It was really good. Then we took her to the Music Devotional and for a tour on the temple grounds and she really felt the Spirit. We ended up having a couple young women from my previous ward there, they were awesome on the tour and it went really well.

Zone activity yesterday was pretty fun. We did it late because they wanted us in before all the crazy people got their 4th parties on. So we hung out at the stake center and ate food. I laid on the floor with some others and we talked about random stuff, which was pretty much all I wanted to do. Then we heard the fire works start. The church sits on a big hill and looks over pretty much the entire valley, so we could see maybe 10 shows going on. It was pretty great.

Love you guys!
Sister W.

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week 39

Nov 26, 2016 by

This letter is from June 27. I am so grateful she has the opportunity to learn to love people from all sorts of backgrounds. It is one of the most important lessons of this life – loving those who are different than ourselves.


This has been a good week. We are teaching Brandyne, a long time less active member who has had a pretty rough life. Her dad abused her, her son and husband died, and her family and herself really fell apart. She’s made a lot of wrong turns, and has been absolutely miserable. A while back she ran into the missionaries, and was at a pretty low place, and wanted to meet with us. She’s about to have another baby, and she really wants to give him a better situation. If we had talked to her about God a few months ago, she would not have had ears to hear, but now with the path she has walked, her heart is starting to open. After all this time, she finally has the desire to repent, and have God in her life. There’s still a long road, but she is finally seeing the light. We taught her twice this week.

Venus is great! (She is a referral we received several weeks ago. Her co-worker is has been talking to her for a while, and she finally decided to meet with us. She’s SO ready, and is very close to the spirit. Her 7 year son is named Daniel.) She was not able to come to church this week because of her work schedule again, but she used her lunch break to go to Relief Society in Live Oak Canyon, close to her work. She is wonderful. She just has so much hope, even though she’s had a lot of trials. We are so excited! :)

Diana is great, too. (She’s the one we taught a couple weeks ago, but her husband isn’t ready for the gospel yet.) We stopped by to visit with her this week, and talked to her for a while. She is so sweet, and wonderful, and just loves us so much! If her husband wasn’t opposed, I think she’d be happy to be baptized. As it is, we’re praying for her husband’s heart to be softened. We’ll do what we can in the meantime. She is so awesome. Every time we see her around the community she gets super excited! We love her.

We had a funny experience this week. We were tracting in a part of our area that a lot of Hispanic people live and their houses are all sort of clumped together. We met several really great people out there, and one guy who argued/bashed us until we could leave. So we got there and there was this little girl playing outside her house and she was really excited to see us for some reason, so we said “hi,” and proceeded to knock on the doors, and she followed us, and we kind of wondered what to do. So we walked up to a door, and she says “You’re going to my house?!” really excitedly. There was some guy inside her house fixing something, and he was super awkward. He said “I don’t live here. Ah, let me get the lady who lives here” and he was trying not to talk to us. So turns out the girl’s mom is sleeping or something, so we told her we’d come back some time to see her mom. So then we walk away, and she keeps following us. All the doors face each other, so we were only like 15 feet from her door. Each door we walked up to, she’s say “This one is [blank]’s house. It two buttons (doorbells),” “This one has no buttons” “This one has 1 button” etc. It was pretty cute. We told her we’d have to come back when her mom could talk. It was pretty interesting.

Sister W.

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week 38

Nov 26, 2016 by

My goodness, I am SOOOO behind on Blythe’s mission letters. This letter is from June 20 so I have over five months of letters to post. If it weren’t for the need I feel to have all her letters posted in one spot, I would give up! I can do it, I can do it, I can do it!

I think I just wrote to President Orgill for the last time, though it’s possible that the letters next week will still be to him. I’m not sure. It was pretty hard. It doesn’t seem real that he is actually leaving. I will miss him so much! He is incredible.

We got a baptismal date with Venus this week. She is so excited to be baptized. There is some ground work to do to make that happen, involving her job and some things she has to overcome, but she is very prepared. We are so excited for her. She is moving, and she doesn’t know where yet, but hopefully it won’t be out of ward boundaries, but if it is, then I think it will still work out well.

Gloria had a really good talk with the Bishop a little while ago. Her son died when he was very young, and had a cool near death experience, a while before he died. He told her when he woke up, that God had said he had a plan for their family to be together forever and that they would see each other on the other side. So she has always believed that. She’s been investigating for a long time, 18 years, and hasn’t gotten baptized, even though her husband was baptized about a year ago. She just didn’t see the necessity of it, because she just thought that since her son had told her that God had a plan, that it was kind of automatic, that you die, and it just happens, but the Bishop was able to explain the necessary steps to make that happen, how baptism and being sealed in the temple were the steps to make that happen, and laid it out very clear for her. They talked about how nothing in this life that is worthwhile, comes with out effort and work. I think she is close. She is very close to the Spirit, and I think when it happens for her, it will just fall into place. I am so excited for her!

We got a ton of service this week, and the last couple, which is great, because there is never service in this area, since everyone seems to have everything they need. We were helping with set up for a high school grad night. They seriously go all out! It’s insane! Set up took weeks, and a ton of volunteers. It was fun, but this weekend was take down, and that was rough. It got so hot this weekend! Saturday it was in the high 90’s. Sunday it was 103 over here, and in Mission Viejo and RSM, it was 114! It was AWFUL!!! We went knocking on doors when it like 99 Sunday morning. We purposely chose Nellie Gale since the houses are really big, and have shaded porches frequently. We gave out two copies of the Book of Mormon in about 15 minutes of each other, which made our goal for the week. One lady named Jenny, was super nice to us. She was really impressed that we were doing this even on Father’s Day, and we talked and got to tell her about the Book of Mormon, and she seemed pretty serious about looking into it. She invited us in, and gave us drinks, which was great, since we were melting. She was visiting her dad, so she wasn’t local, but she lives pretty close, and she didn’t seem opposed to talking to missionaries there, or being in contact with us. She was awesome!

This morning I was reading the Book of Mormon, in the book of Mosiah in chapter 5. In verse 2, it talks about how the people had the Spirit of God given to them and how through that they had no more desire to do anything wrong anymore. I love how, through the Holy Ghost, we can be cleansed from our past and be able to receive strength to overcome our bad habits, so we can come closer to God. Verse 12 was also really cool. It talked about how, as we follow God’s commandments, and build our relationship with God, we become more like Him, so that when He calls us, we will recognize His voice, and that when we go back to Him, we will know Him. I really enjoyed that chapter. It really strengthened my faith and understanding.

Love you all!
Sister W.

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week 37

Aug 23, 2016 by

So fun to go back and read this letter in August and to read her enthusiasm over meeting Venus since I now know she will be spending lots of time with her in the coming weeks.

Last Monday we started teaching a new investigator! Her name is Venus, and she is a friend/referral from a lady in Live Oak Canyon. She is a single mom, and super ready for the gospel. She was so excited to start reading the Book of Mormon, and was very receptive to the lesson. She has a 7 year old son named Daniel.

That is 3 Mondays, a.k.a. P-days, that we have picked up a new investigator! We’re going to call them Magic Mondays! It’s been really cool, since Mondays are often not the most productive time.

So, funny story about that. We got out of the lesson with Venus pretty late, especially since we just stopped in to contact her, and weren’t thinking she’d actually let us in. So we leave, and she lives at the end of this really long street where a lot of Hispanics live, and there is no parking ever. So we had to park down past the intersection of the main road, about 3/4 of a mile away, and we had to get back to our car quickly so we could get home, which was a 15 minute drive AFTER we got to the car, so we had to run back to the car. We got super hot, I was wearing a pencil skirt, and we almost got sprayed by a skunk since it happened to be near where we were running.

We also got a mission wide text on Friday morning, that there had been 3 earthquakes in the last 6 hours, which was “unusual” so we had to go over our emergency plan, and both of us and our roommates were talking about how unsafe our apartment is in case of an earthquake, as it is set on a hillside. It’s not really that unsafe, though. We were just having a good laugh over the image our apartment sliding down the hill. Then we were thinking that if we had an earthquake that maybe we’d be in danger of a tsunami, so we went over that plan, and talked about where we’d go if there was tsunami warning. Nothing happened, though. :)

I am also not losing my companion this transfer. For the first time in like 7 months I will have a companion for longer than 6 weeks. :)

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 36

Aug 23, 2016 by

I’ve made it to the June 6th letter! Slowly, but surely making progress. Our girl is serving and loving and growing in her relationship with God. It’s a beautiful thing.

It has both been a great week and a hard week. Our new, basically golden investigator from last week will not be meeting with us for lessons anymore because her husband decided he’s not ready to hear about Jesus yet. But she wants us to come by and see her whenever we can and she was really excited to read the Book of Mormon we personalized for her. So we’ll keep seeing her and maybe something will change.

This week the zone was really pushing to get 70 contacts in every companionship. This area, of course, is really hard to get contacts in, so it was a little intimidating, but we decided we were going to do it. Sister Wright planned out carefully how many contacts we could get each day so we could make the goal, based on how much time we had available to contact, which was amazing. Some days we got behind, and we were trying to make it up as we went. We really prioritized contacts above some things we normally do. Saturday rolled around and we knew this week our Sunday was booked and we would have no contacting time. We had 17 more contacts to go, had breakfast with a member, a meeting in the morning for temple tours, lunch, and then a district blitz in LH2 for an hour before we could make it back to our area. It was super hot, and we were tracting for the blitz, then we had to run to a window, where we were tracting for another hour, in which we only talked to 3 people out of the 20-something doors we knocked. So we were super hot and only had 3 of the 17 contacts we needed, though they were pretty great contacts. We had an hour before dinner, and we would have very little contacting time after that, so we were getting worried that we would not be able to make that goal. We ran to contact a referral we’d received, then went tracting for the last 40 minutes before dinner. We were super hot and still had 11 more people we had to talk to after dinner, so we ran to the park hoping that by some miracle there would be that many people at the park. There were more people there than usual. We got down to 3 more needed contacts to make it to 70. Up to this point we had seen no miracles from all this contacting we had done all week, and no new potentials from it, so Sister Wright was thinking we probably wouldn’t see a miracle from all this work, aside from the fact that we actually made the goal. We went to contact these last three people who were in this group together, and we got talking to the guy, and found out he was a former investigator from when they were reorganizing the mission 3 years ago, and that his wife and mother had just come from China. So we got his number and address. So we saw a miracle from it, and it wasn’t until the 70th contact. We thought that was pretty cool.

There’s this couple in the ward that are having some health issues, and so we went to leave them sticky notes. We showed up at like 10, and there was some guy painting their house, so we decided we’d come back later, since we were trying not to get caught. So we came back at 2, and he was still painting the house. So we come back at like 7, thinking surely he must be done by then, but nope, he was still out there. So we went back the next morning, and stuck them on the fence. The guy was still there, but he was in the garage. So that was fun.

We also finally have a progressing investigator! We haven’t had one the whole time I’ve been here, but Amy has started reading the Book of Mormon!

I felt pretty badly last night. I was feeling like I wasn’t making a very big difference and was down on myself for some things I haven’t been doing so great on. I feel like I could have been a better companion for Sister Wright. Even though we haven’t had any problems, I still feel like I haven’t done enough for her, and for the Lord. I think I’m a good missionary, I hope I am, but I want to be great missionary. Anyway, I decided to read some from the Book of Mormon and see what I’d find, and I ended up opening up to 2 Nephi 3, and it was talking about how out of our weakness God will make us strong. Then I read in chapter 4, and it was just what I needed, because the feelings that Nephi had of his weakness and struggles were just what I was feeling, and it was cool to know that even someone as great as Nephi still felt that way.

Sister W.

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week 35

Aug 23, 2016 by

This is her letter from May 31! I have so many to catch up on posting! AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH, how did I let this happen? Well, at least I am into the summer months and since it is only August that I am posting this that means have about 12 more to go. Love this girl of mine! It is so fun to reread her letters as I post them.

I cannot believe that it is week 5 of this transfer! I still feel like I don’t know the area. Wow, the time goes so fast!

So last Monday we got in to a Potential investigator that they have had for a while. She’s just let them come and given them water, but this time her husband let us in and we taught an awesome Restoration lesson! They had several questions and we were able to have a really great discussion with them. We are going to see them again tonight.

I had an exchange with Sister Bambas that was great! We had a lot of fun getting to know each other. We both really like books and we talked about all our favorites. It was awesome! We also did lots of missionary work. :)

Yesterday we talked to another potential. She’s in high school, and they haven’t caught her at home for quite a while, and weren’t sure if she was still interested, but we finally got to talk to her, gave her a Book of Mormon and she invited us to come by later today. She’s super sweet. :)

We went to the memorial service for Gloria’s husband this week. The military service was pretty cool, but a little intimidating. He was a Green Beret, and we had to walk up between these two files of Green Berets to get there. The service was cool because it was all about our trust in God, and the origins of our country. Something I didn’t know was that they give the wife three empty cartridges from the 21 gun salute, and they represent God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We will be seeing Gloria tomorrow to see how she’s doing.

I’ve been keeping a journal called “questions for God”, as suggested by one of the mission presidency. I write down my question, then write the answer God gives. It’s been a really cool experience. You should try it!

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 34

Aug 23, 2016 by

I love it when she sends long, newsy letters! She is having a wonderful time serving and spreading the message of Jesus Christ’s love for each of God’s children. I got this letter when I was in Mexico receiving stem cell treatments and was only a few hours from her.

Also, do you remember Joanie from back at the beginning of her mission? She got baptized! And Elder Everette, her grandson, was able to baptize her!


This week has been great! It’s been a little crazy, but lots of good stuff. We had a really successful window yesterday, and we talked to this guy for quite a while. He knows a lot about other religions, not too much about ours, and had a few questions about it. He was very open and was really excited to have a Book of Mormon. He suggested that HE would like to come to church and check it out and that he would like for his 16 year old son to get into the boy scouts with the ward! :) He was pretty awesome.

We had a funny experience this week. There’s this one less active lady who’s a little older and we’ve been knocking on her door the whole time I’ve been here. We went to put some cute little sticky notes on her door with some cute little notes and scripture references and right when we got to the door, before we could even get there, she throws open the door, says she only has a few minutes, but she’d love to visit with us for a minute. Now, we weren’t even planning on knocking, and we just had these sticky notes in our hands, so we tried to keep them out of sight. We also had not brought our scriptures, and we were very taken aback, as you might imagine. So we go in there, and we talk, and she tells us about this party she’s going to, and we were trying to act as if we had totally expected this, and we get to when we’re supposed to give a spiritual thought. Luckily Sister Wright had had the idea to write out the whole scripture, instead of just writing the reference for it, so she just pulled it out, and read the scripture, and it was great. So then we just sticky noted someone else. :) We also went to sticky note another less active lady who we see a lot. As soon as we got to her door, her dog started barking, and so we hurried and stuck them all on, and ran away. By the time we pulled out, the lady was standing on her porch. So we just turned around, and had a good laugh with her.

Another funny thing that happened this week was on Thursday night one of the lead Sister Training Leaders (basically girl AP’s) came on an exchange with our roommates, Sister Hunter and Sister Baker. Well, at about 10:45 we hear someone talking in the hallway. Now this is obviously past curfew, so I was a little confused. So we were like “Hello?” Come to find out that Sister Hunter was sleep walking! Yes, for real! She just really wanted to go downstairs and “turn the lights off,” and she would not believe us that they were off. Eventually we had to let her go downstairs and we all just sat there. It took like 15 minutes to distract her from turning off the lights that she couldn’t find. Then we just talked about random stuff and tried to get her to go to bed, but she just kept saying that she’d go to bed at 10:30 and wouldn’t believe us that it was past that. We couldn’t leave her alone because she’s opened the door and gone outside before. She also talked about the light of Christ. :) You know you’re a missionary when you talk missionary stuff in your sleep. It was pretty hilarious. It took us over an hour to convince her to go back to sleep, so Sister Weston (Lead Sister Training Leader) and I just looked through our giant dictionary for a while. (It was awesome. I want to keep it. It’s super old.)

We have two four hour temple tours shifts now. :( The absolute minimum time that it takes out of our week is 10 hours, between the shifts and driving to and from our area, and that’s if we are super on time, with no holdups, and traffic often makes it take longer. Pretty crazy!

This week is the memorial for Gloria’s husband. She is so exhausted between work and planning for this and everything else. She was so tired when we saw her last week.

We had a dinner with a somewhat older couple in the ward this week. He’s a Jewish convert. He talked about how when he came here, that everything was so logical, and how he’d felt the Spirit, and how the message we carry is the most important in the world. He pulled out these little cards that he has. It has 3 Nephi 27:27: “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” Then it has a quote from President Ezra Taft Benson, “Christ, then, has set us the example of what we should be like and what we should do. While many men have admirable qualities, there is only one man who ever walked the earth who was without sin… Christ is God the Son and possesses every virtue in it’s perfection. Therefore, the only measure of true greatness is how close a man might become like Jesus. That man is greatest who is most like Christ, and those who love him most will be most like him.” Then he said that he fully believed that we are those who love him most and that this quote applies directly to us. It really touched me. I don’t think I’m all that, and I’ve been seeing a lot of my faults. I have a ways to go, and I’m not what I want to be, yet, but it was wonderful to see how sincere he was, and that he saw in us representatives of Christ.

We were trying to contact a Potential Investigator in the more Hispanic pert of our area. She wasn’t home, and we were about to leave when Hermana Garcia turns the corner. We were excited, of course. She said she’d had a prompting to turn left instead of right, and there we were. They needed some copies of the Book of Mormon, and we had some, and we talked for a minute, then we went to sticky note a less active right near there, and just as we were walking away the Potential Investigator walks up! So because Hermana Garcia talked to us, we were still there when the PI got home. :) Pretty cool how God makes everything work.


Love you!
Sister W.

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week 33

Aug 23, 2016 by

WAHOO!!! A special baptism! I am so, so happy she was able to experience sharing the message of Jesus Christ with Sarah and that she accepted Him all the way in to her heart!

Sarah’s baptism was wonderful! She was super happy! Sarah was baptized on Saturday! She was super excited. Brother Greiner baptized her. She brought several family members and they were great. A lot of the ward showed up and it turned out really well. I was so excited to be able to go! It was awesome! It’s an amazing testimony builder to see not only how the gospel changes your life, but how much it changes another person’s life! It is incredible. If it can change someone that much it must be true. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” She has truly found the strength that Christ promises us if we are faithful. She exemplifies Ether 12:27, “…and weak things will become strong unto them.”


My new area is great. It’s interesting though. It’s one of the especially wealthy sections. Our boundaries include Nelly Gale, which is incredibly expensive/super fancy. The people in Nelly Gale have agents for their houses, as if they were actors, and people come to film stuff at their houses. It crazy! I’ll have to get some pictures.

Sister Wright is super funny! It’s been fun getting to know her. I’m excited! It’s been really good.

My bed is pretty uncomfortable. I mean, I used to sleep on the ground with no pad, but the bed is still uncomfortable, but oh well, comes with the job. The shower is pretty awful, too. It barely has any water pressure. One of my roommates said it’s like getting spit on. Luckily our roommates’ shower is better, so if I just shower at night then I can use that one. :) The funny thing is that this apartment is probably super expensive even with all it’s problems.

We are working with lady named Gloria and a younger couple named Amy and Anthony right now. Will update next week.

Love you!!
Sister W.

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week 32

Aug 23, 2016 by

We were able to FaceTime with Blythe during this week, which was clear back on Mother’s Day. And she sang to us with her ukulele and share her adorable self with us. It was so, so lovely to hear and see her!

This week has been great! I really like the new area!

It was awesome to FaceTime my family yesterday! It was kind of sad, because yesterday’s call was really short, but it was so fun to see you! I was super excited! It’s weird to think that I haven’t seen you in 7 1/2 months. It definitely doesn’t seem that long. I love you guys!

This week we had a surprise Luau for President and Sister Orgill, for their goodbye party :(. It was so awesome! We stood in a double line through the gym so they would walk between us, and people put leis on for them. We sang “Called to Serve.” Instead of just walking through though, they both went through the whole room and hugged each of us. There are at least 160+ missionaries, but they took time to come around to everyone. They are so wonderful! It just really showed how much they love us. Each zone did a song for them and gave a Mother’s Day card to Sister Orgill. It was super cute. At the end we sang “God Be With You till We Meet Again” and “Aloha O’e.” We were crying so much we could barely sing.





Love you all!
Sister W.

And then in her personal letter to me, she gave me a gem!

If I didn’t have you as a mom, I would have chosen you as a friend.

Oh, my stinkin’ heck, I cried my eyes out when I read those precious words. Blythe and I have always been close, but we haven’t always gotten along. There were some days we didn’t like each other much at all. But we both stuck it out and kept trying to behave in loving ways to one another. And the love eventually won.

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week 31

Jun 20, 2016 by

I’M BEING TRANSFERRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am in shock. I’ve only been here 2 transfers, and with Sister Shober for 1. They normally leave YSA missionaries in for like 6 months! I am so confused!

Anyway, Sarah is being baptized on Saturday and I will not be there for the last lessons! I’m super sad, but I will be able to come for her baptism. She is doing awesome! She finished the Book of Mormon and loved it! Bro. Greiner, the institute teacher is baptizing her and she is just stoked!!!! She’s starting the New Testament. She is AMAZING! And her family are being very supportive.

We taught Nina again this week, and it was awesome. We brought a member, who’s name is also Nina, who is convert from an Indian background. She shared her testimony and experience with Christ knowing her individual circumstances and how He has shown His hand in her life.
We’ve had a few awesome people fall into our laps this week, who are really prepared, but I will not be here to see it. So sad :(

I am sad to be transferred and am striving to live by these words this week from 1 Nephi 3:7.

I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them, that they may accomplish the things which He commandeth them.

Love you!!!
Sister W.

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week 30

Jun 20, 2016 by

Trying hard to catch up on these mission posts! My hand injury got me so far behind and I am just starting to get back on top of my life. Her never-ending use of the word “chill” cracks us all up…and now she is calling Gladys Knight “super chill!”

We just hit week 6 of this transfer! That is insane! Inconceivable! :)

This week was pretty weird. I was in my area the whole time, though, so that was good. We didn’t get a ton of lessons, but the ones we did get were really awesome! We met with Sarah and I finally got to meet the referral from the other elders for the YSA girl. She’s pretty awesome and we’re super excited to keep teaching her.

I have been trying really hard to love these people here. I don’t know why, but it has been way harder. In my last area it was so natural, and that’s never really been a struggle for me, but I’ve been feeling like my heart is closed lately and I couldn’t figure out why. My first transfer in this zone there were problems going on in the zone that I didn’t really know about, but I could just feel that it was not as unified as RSM. I was really feeling like an outsider, and I missed feeling like I had real friends here. And I was having a hard time loving both the members and investigators, which was so odd for me. I was praying about that the last few weeks, and finally just asked to be able to have the love He has for them, and the next lesson we had I just felt so much love for that person. The zone now is a lot better, and we are pretty much as close as RSM was, and I have felt a lot better about it. They really feel like my family now.

Also, something funny. At the Gladys Knight thing, we were standing in line, and I suddenly saw these two missionaries walking past, and it’s Michael Francis who I trained at the carwash!!! I was like “Elder Francis?!” and we freaked out a little. I was lucky I saw him first, because he was so shocked that he blurted out my first name! :) It was pretty funny! I think he got to come, since he is in the Orange YSA, and they cover Irvine, even though it’s out of their mission. Anyway, that was pretty hilarious!

Sister Shober was asked to play the piano for the elders in the YSA in sacrament meeting and then to sing a song there. She was also asked to play for a baptism service, and there are a few other songs she’s involved with coming up, so every spare moment we had this week were spent practicing. Sunday was even more crazy than usual, with the musical numbers for YSA, and right after church we had to run to the baptism, then right after that we met with the zone to practice another song. Crazy.

This week was good though. The Gladys Knight Devotional was awesome. She’s super chill and it was just so good. We’re still waiting to see the results, but people really liked it!

We got to go the temple on Friday. It was awesome, but crazy, because we went to the later Gladys Knight devotional, and didn’t get back to the apartment until 12:00. That was weird enough, being out that far past curfew! President Orgill knew, so it was fine :) But we had to get up and leave for the temple the next morning, and we were so tired! But it was awesome. I love being there!

Sister W.

Beautiful flower picture she took.


Her zone at the temple…love seeing her happy and loving her mission!

Mission Temple Trip

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week 29

Jun 20, 2016 by

Oh my goodness, I have fallen so far off the blogging wagon, I don’t know if I can get back on, but I am going to try hard to get back into the swing of things. I have two months of Blythe’s letters to post, plus a gazillion stories from our lives to share, craziness! Goal for the week, get Blythe’s mission posts caught up!

This letter was only the second one we have received so far with sad news and hard times. She didn’t mention it in this letter, but also got really sick this week and spent hours puking on one of the days she wasn’t with her companion and that was super hard as well.

On Saturday I hit 7 months! Oh my HEAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week was crazy and a bit rough. I have only spent 34 hours in my area, including sleeping, meal breaks, and weekly planning. I have only slept in my bed twice in seven days. Sisters’ Shober and Whimmer have had a ton of STL (Sister Training Leader) stuff and have had to meet up every day to plan for meetings we had and to go on exchanges with the other sisters, so I have spent pretty much every day with Sister Whimmer’s companion in their area.

It was a little sad because I missed being able to take Sarah to the temple grounds and didn’t get to teach our new golden investigator we got from the Los Alisos Elders, who already has a baptism date. She is dating the less active son of a bishop in the stake. They were able to have him at a lesson with the family and her – it was great. Sarah is doing awesome. I think she’s in 3 Nephi and loves it! She is learning so much, it’s seriously like teaching a member. She is recognizing the pride cycle for herself and talked about the eternal perspective she’s gained before we could even say it. She is amazing. I’m just glad to be able to be able to see her grow. She has such faith, and she talks about how all the temptations she used to have are just gone. She has no desire for them and they have no hold on her. She has truly given her heart to God.

By the end of the week I was feeling pretty beat. My spirit was just dragging, having not been able to be in my area, and not being able to do much real missionary work. On Saturday I got very low. I was so tired and I didn’t get to go back to my area until late that night. That night I was very discouraged and I sat on the floor of our room for a very long time after the lights were out. I had been really struggling getting up and going, especially since I was so discouraged. I prayed to God, asking Him to remove that exhaustion so that I could do what I needed to do. I didn’t have any crazy spiritual experience, but after I sat there for a long time and prayed, and I got back in bed, I felt the burdens ease, and I felt more able to continue. The next morning I was able to get up just fine, and felt better than I have for a long time.

This week promises to be awesome! We don’t have to go on exchanges, we get to go to the temple, and we’re having Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices coming to the mission! For those who don’t know (’cause I sure didn’t) Gladys Knight, the singer, was baptized into the church several years back, and she has a choir, and they come to missions/stakes that invite them, and it is an incredible missionary tool. They will rock out, and it’s gonna be a little weird, because it’s in the stake center, but from what we hear, it is an incredibly spiritual experience. They carefully track every ticket and everyone who attends will receive a gift bag, with a Book of Mormon and Restoration video. There will be tons of self referrals and on average it will bring 24 new investigators to each companionship. It’s gonna be awesome!

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 28

Apr 12, 2016 by

Our missionary is teaching people how wonderful it is to know we are loved by God and saved by the atonement of Jesus Christ. Such JOY! I have been teaching about councils for the past several months in our Stake Primary training meetings and I am so happy she has started having a family council with the other sisters in her apartment.

I think this might be an activity with the Young Single Adult Ward she is serving in right now, but I’m not sure! It was posted on her Mission’s Facebook page.

Mission pic 4_11_16

Her zone went on hike for P-Day. It looks like a heavenly way to get some exercise.

Mission P-day

Mission P-day 2

Mission P-day 3

Mission P-day 4

Someone in her area had a group of missionaries over for dinner and sent us this picture along with this message, “We sure do love having Sister W. serving in our area. She gave a wonderful message tonight. I appreciate the spirit she brings into our home. And I love her sweet laugh. We laughed so much at dinner and her giggle is contagious. She is a doll.” Oh my goodness, it makes me so happy to hear good things about our girly! We love her so much and it touches my heart that other people are loving her, too!


And now her letter…

Sarah, the really golden referral we got last week, is crazy awesome! SO much more golden than we could have even guessed. We have already taught her twice and she’s been to church and General Conference. We set a baptism date, and she was already having promptings from the spirit to move it up, and fasted about a closer date to be baptized! She falls asleep reading the Book of Mormon, and is nearing the end of Alma! YES, Alma! She has started The Doctrine and Covenants and we’re taking her on a temple tour on Wednesday! She loves the Book of Mormon! She keeps telling us all of these amazing experiences she has had. She can feel the Spirit so strong. She was talking about the eternal perspective it has given her and she is recognizing very clear promptings. She has already experienced the protection of the Holy Ghost. Someone she respects was bashing on religion, and she said before it would have affected her more, but she literally felt this barrier between her and this person, protecting her from the effect of their words. She is experiencing the power of Christ’s atonement so powerfully. Some decisions that have been really hard to make in the past have become so easy as she follows God. She feels His love for her. She has had many of the same questions as Joseph Smith, such as “If Christ taught one gospel, why are there so many Christian churches?” She’s really been looking. Her insights make it seem like we’re talking to a member who has had all this knowledge their whole life. She even talked about how this doesn’t feel like new information. We talked to her about how we lived with God before we came here, that we knew His plan of happiness for his children, and how we as missionaries are just reminding people of it. It is just incredible!

Also, our roommates and the two of us have implemented that talk from general conference on Family Councils. :) We have “Family” Council every Sunday, and we have chore chart, and we do a “Family” Home Evening sometime during the week with the lesson and activity. It’s super fun!

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 27

Apr 5, 2016 by

She is teaching and preaching and loving. These are such glorious, heart-filled days for our family as we have a missionary in the field. Every Monday we are checking our email hundreds of time a day waiting for her little bit of news to arrive. Every morning and night, before each meal, and many more times a day she is prayed over. We have a whole group of loved ones serving missions right now and we pray for them and rejoice with them as they learn to be His hands and to lift others with the hope that is in Christ.

Yippee! She finally uploaded pics to her dropbox account!

Inci must have brought them more Turkish Delight. She says it is scrumptious, just like Edmund says in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.


This snake looks humongous. I need to know the story behind this picture!


Her old zone with Sister Hollenbeck.


I have no idea who these people are, but if our missionary loves them, I love them.



I think she is sad at the packing she needs to get done.


She must died from packing. She truly hates packing.


Showing us she survived and is still smiling. Gotta love someone who can pack clean suitcases with clean clothes in clean house and survive. Nothing like first-world problems, haha!


Isn’t this a darling statue?


I have no idea what she is sewing or why or whose sewing machine she is using. She is fairly competent at sewing and super competent at figuring things out, so I’m sure she solved the challenge.


With her just-transfered-out-of-their-companionship companion, Sister Christensen.


We had some pretty awesome stuff happen this week! On Thursday Brother Greiner, who is one of the institute instructors for the YSA, called me into his office, and gave us an amazing referral. I guess there was a guy who used to go to institute and he has a friend named Sarah. He gave her a Book of Mormon and she read it. While she was reading in the account of Lehi’s dream, she had a very strong impression from the spirit that she needed to be baptized into this church. She called Brother Greiner and asked him what she should do. He was teaching mission prep that night, and invited her to come. She did and they read Mosiah 18:8-10; “…as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light… and comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places… that ye may have eternal life…. what have ye against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him?” (Brother Greiner is very bold.) He asked her right there if this was the desire of her heart and if she was willing to bear others burdens and take upon her the name of Christ, and she said yes!
We were freaking out! She came and watched General Conference on Saturday! On Suday she wasn’t able to come to the house where we were watching it (with the YSA elders and a bunch of the YSA members), so she watched it on her computer. She said she loved it! We are meeting with her on Wednesday.

We also had wonderful lesson last night with a family. They have a niece who is a convert and is now going on a mission. Their daughter has been to Girls’ Camp with their niece. They said that if they were to be baptized they would want to commit to it fully, and really put forth the effort to gain a testimony, and pretty much be all in, and we were just like YES! That’s how it should be! We taught them the Restoration, and talked about modern prophets, and Thomas S. Monson, which was so cool, since we’d just been watching him speak. When we told them about the First Vision I felt the Spirit so strong. It was like my chest was filled with fire. And it didn’t leave for the rest of the lesson. I knew it was true. Even writing this brings a part of that feeling back into my heart.

I had a blessing from my zone leader several days ago. It was wonderful and one of the longest blessings I’ve had. It was all about how God was pleased with my efforts and that He was proud of me and was with me. At the end of the blessing he said that there were many ministering angels around me, seen and unseen, many of who were my ancestors. Then he said he was especially impressed to tell me that my grandma was with me, watching over me. It was
really cool.

Love you all,
Sister W.

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week 26

Mar 31, 2016 by

This week was Easter and I missed serving my girly Creamed Eggs and talking about the atonement and resurrection of Christ with her. We have always had the best, deep-discussions and I so miss hearing her passionate articulations. But I am tickled that she was able to share her deep thoughts and vibrant testimony of Jesus Christ with the people she is teaching in California. She STILL has not sent any more pictures to us, but on Sunday evening a member in her area texted me this picture of a group of missionaries sharing an Easter message, so at least I got to see her face. She is in the green skirt and her new companion, Sister Shober, is next to her in the yellow skirt.


So my new companion is Sister Shober. She’s super cool and chill and I’m super excited! She’s my first companion who has been out longer than me, (other than my trainer), which is just crazy! It wasn’t a problem to have such new companions, but it is nice to have her experience.

We actually caught Alberto at home on Saturday! We didn’t get to teach them, but he said that will probably be available later in the week. He still wants to hear the lessons. I was just super excited to actually see him, and not the grandma who doesn’t speak English. I think she was getting tired of us. :)

Also, last Sunday this Chinese family just walked into church, and Ben (our Ward Mission Leader) speaks Chinese! They taught them this week, and they liked church, and I think they’re going to be baptized! He is also working with another Chinese family who recently moved here and they are really interested. They are super cute and the mom came to the General Women’s Meeting Broadcast with her daughter and really liked it.

Other than that I don’t have a lot to report, but HAPPY EASTER! We have been talking about the atonement a ton and it has been really cool to be so focused on it. My ponderizing/Easter scripture is Isaiah 53:3-5.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 25

Mar 31, 2016 by

This letter was from Blythe’s last week with Sister Christensen. She is really going to miss serving with her. Here is a picture of the sisters in their zone (at least that is what I think this group is!). Her “hang loose” hand signs crack me up. Nearly every picture we get has her hands in some variation of it.



Sister Christensen is being transferred. :( She actually is going back to my old zone, though not my area. I’m so jealous! This zone is nice and our zone leader is awesome, but it’s not like my old zone. That zone was crazy, but they are the closest knit zone I know. I’ve felt a little lonely in my current zone and now I won’t even have my companion. It’ll be fine, though. I’m getting Sister Shober. I pretty much don’t know her at all, but our roommates do and say she’s pretty cool.

Sister Christensen sort of felt like she was going to be transferred so she decided we were going to “give everything” this week. It’s been awesome! We’ve been trying pretty hard to “wear out our lives in the service of God.” On Friday, when we were supposed to have weekly planning, we had like 6 of the members of the YSA ward that needed us to come and help them. They are all kind of having their own crazy stuff going on and it was great to be able to help them. We literally drove from appointment to appointment all that day and our dinner cancelled on us which turned out for the better since we really didn’t have time for it. We did not take a break for lunch or dinner and just ate something quickly as we drove to the next thing. I wasn’t freaking out or anything, but it put us under enough stress that the next day I discovered that I had pulled a muscle in my neck from tension. Let’s just say we didn’t have weekly planning that day. Like, at all.

We were able to “tract” into Matt’s door. He’s been too afraid to tell his parents that he wants to be baptized or even that he’s taking the lessons. He’s an adult and doesn’t need permission, but he’s still really worried about it. So we planned a meeting out with him so we could meet his mom and he’d have a less intimidating way to bring us up. She asked him a few questions afterward which was really the point.

We had a tour of the temple grounds with Sydney and she really liked it. It was super cool.

We did get an investigator to church yesterday. She’s Hindu, and I don’t know how much she understood, but we tried to explain what the sacrament represented, and she had a few questions afterward.

There was this super awesome guy we met this week. His name is Mohammad and he’s from Sudan. He’s super cool and might want to come to some of the activities. Also, there’s this girl who hasn’t been able to come to church for a long time because she has been fighting depression and it was hard for her to be there with a lot of people. She’s been working herself up to being able to handle it. Sister missionaries have been meeting with her every week for two years. This week we had an awesome lesson with her and she said she thought she could handle coming on Sunday and she knew that being able to be there would help her so much. On Sunday she came! We were so excited for her!

One of our most promising investigators may possibly have dropped us. She sent a sort of odd text and we asked her if she still wanted to meet with us and she didn’t respond. We’re still hoping though. She really seemed to love what she was learning and said how much it helped her. I’m sure she felt the Spirit. We’ve had some amazing lessons with her. So that was tough.

I’m nervous for this new transfer. Being split between the two wards means that I really don’t know people that well and that makes it a lot tougher to work with the members. At the same time, I’m sure it will turn out alright.

Love you all!
Sister W.

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week 24

Mar 31, 2016 by

Sorry for the delay in posting her letters lately! I injured my hand and my computer usage is really limited because I can’t use my hand without heaps of pain. March 16 marks 6 months of our missionary serving. I feel just as shocked as she does. It is so hard to believe that the thing she has been preparing for her whole life is now a third of the way over. We were sent some pictures of her zone this week. She is on the far right side and her companion is in the middle with the black skirt and curly blond hair. Those two have nearly identical hair!


In one very short day I will be at my 1/3 mark. That is completely, totally and in all other ways inconceivable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have not yet been able to meet with Alberto and Andre, despite our best efforts. I’m beginning to see that us finding them together at home, at the same time, was a miracle in and of itself. They still really want to meet with us, but Alberto is traveling constantly and we’ve had a hard time keeping in contact. That has been one of the biggest struggles of this mission is that people are always busy, running around constantly. They are just too busy all the time. We would appreciate your prayers that we will be able to meet with them.

We taught Glyna the Restoration lesson this last Friday. We brought a member with us who happened to know her daughter who passed away and they were able to connect really well. She’s been texting about how she feels really comfortable talking to us about everything especially the loss of her daughter. She really hasn’t had anyone to talk to about it, especially about God in all of this, and she says that it’s really helping her. Brother Chamberlin was able to help in the lesson so much. It changes everything to have a member there. The Spirit was really strong.

We also had a lesson with a guy named Jo, who we met on campus. Most of the time people we contact there will set up a time to meet with us, then never show up, but he actually came! We had twin sisters there who just returned from their missions and it was amazing. We taught him the Restoration, too. We’re meeting with him again this week. It was a really powerful lesson and I really felt the Spirit.

This week we taught Sydney about the power of the Priesthood. She just loved it! Part way through the lesson her eyes just got really big, and she was like “Whoa, this is so cool!” and we’re like “Yeah!” :) She thinks it’s so cool how a blessing is a message just for you from God. She is just so enthusiastic. It’s awesome!

Love you all!
Sister W.

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week 23

Mar 8, 2016 by

Still no pictures. Bah-humbug! She keeps promising to send some, but she must be too busy to send them to us! Her ARGH at the beginning of her letter is because she is sad her time on her mission is going so fast. She wants it to last forever. We are about one week from her 6 month mark. I am hoping she doesn’t really notice the date come and go because she will realize she is 1/3 of the way done and be sad.

Argh!!!!!!!!!! It’s already March!!!

OK, so some cool things that happened this week. Do you remember Andre and Alberto who I briefly talked about last week because we got a call in the middle of email time last Monday? Now we’ve been in contact with Bishop Hunter and he told us the same story that our ward mission leader told us. Alberto says they had an amazing experience when we tracted into them. We honestly didn’t do anything and didn’t really teach them anything, but Alberto said it was one of the most spiritual experiences they’d ever had. I think that’s where the “It’s not about you” comes in, because we could not have given them that experience, especially without even teaching them anything, but the spirit touched their hearts and they recognized it. The son of the Bishop who contacted us is on Andre’s soccer team and had been a really good influence on this family, especially Andre. The Bishop’s son doesn’t play on Sunday, and when the team tries to convince him to, he tells them about his beliefs and why he doesn’t do that. He has invited them to church and to read the Book of Mormon. Because he’s been such a good example they have been prepared for the gospel.

We also taught a lady the Plan of Salvation and she got all excited and is arranging it so we can come when her kids will be there. She’s had a lot of death in the family and they’ve all really been struggling with it.

We taught Sydney last week about fasting, then had a special fast with her and several ward members for her mom’s heart to be softened so she can get baptized. She was so happy to be fasting and thanked us for teaching her about it. She’s wanted to fast for a long time. She was so excited, and said she wasn’t even hungry. We also taught her about temples, and she just lit up. She says she’s always wanted to go the temple. She is pumped to go visit the temple! It is amazing!

Sister W.

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week 22

Feb 29, 2016 by

Boohoo for us…she promised pictures and still no dice. But lucky for us, a stranger in California took a picture of her this week and sent it to us! She must be working so hard she simply doesn’t have time to take pictures, upload pictures, or send lengthy emails!


Haha, yeah. Ok, This is gonna be the fastest weekly email ever!

This week has been crazy. We basically had zero time in our area this whole week until Friday. Tuesday was full of meetings and an interview with President Orgill which was so wonderful! I just love that man! He is just wonderful and it came just when I needed it.
Wednesday we were on campus contacting for the institute lunch class, then we had temple tours which took most of the day. Thursday I was on exchanges and met a newly YSA aged girl who is trying to decide whether to come back to church. We had a really great visit and she really opened up to us. Also, we saw a recent convert who is 90-something and we taught her the new member lesson for the Plan of Salvation. She just kept saying how beautiful it all was and I nearly cried when she said the closing prayer. I could feel God’s warm approval of her making this step and how proud He was of her.

We began working with 3 new investigators this week, and had several really great lessons with our current investigators.

Just while we were sitting here emailing we got a call from our Ward Mission Leader. The boy, Andre, and his family, that we tracted into last week, apparently knows a bishop from another ward, and his son has been a really good example to Andre. I guess that Alberto, the dad, told that bishop that when we stopped by that they felt the spirit so strong and all want to learn more. We were shocked because all we did was talk to them for about 5 minutes and gave them a Restoration pamphlet, and left, but I guess they had a huge spiritual experience. Will update next week.

Love you!!!
Sister W.

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week 21

Feb 28, 2016 by

Last week I got Blythe’s letter after I was already on my way to Mexico, so I wasn’t able to post it. Then when I got home, I forgot! Sorry for the delay! Once again, no pictures! And a super short, fast email. I keep asking her to write more, but she says she doesn’t have enough time and has to type her thoughts as fast as she can.

I am absolutely astonished that it is already 4 weeks into this transfer, but it just keeps going super quickly.

This week has been amazing. We tracted into two new investigators who just let us in right there and we taught them the first lesson and they want us to come back. One family is from Syria and one was a young lady who is Indian. We also tracted into a guy who wants us to come teach his son, who happened to have been to church before with someone from our ward.

We had an amazing lesson with the investigator (that I believe I told you about last week) who was having a problem with black people and the priesthood. We took him to our Institute teacher who is just plain awesome. Brother Griener had a whole lesson just on that subject and went through how it’s God’s power and He chooses when and who to bestow it on. He taught how it’s been restricted through history, first to the Levites, then to only Israelites, and so on, and how each time the priesthood was extended to anyone it came by revelation, and went through that revelation in 1978. He also really brought it down to the basics, that it’s all based on our beliefs in prophets and revelation, and the Book of Mormon, and how it is either true or it’s not, and that he has to find out for himself. Derrik, the investigator, IS more interested than ever in learning, and is also very interested in family history.

Love you all!
Sister W.

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week 20

Feb 18, 2016 by

February 16 was Sister W.’s 5 month mark! She only has 13 months left. CRAZY! It is flying by so fast for us. These past few weeks many of us have been ill and this week we are all finally feeling much better and were able to go to the Provo City Center Temple Open House. While I was inside, I kept thinking how much Blythe would love that temple if she had been with us and I remembered back to the sacred days she and I were in temple together before she left. Having children choose to make covenants with God and delight in serving him, that is some serious JOY! Still no pictures this week. Boo! Hiss! I don’t know if she is too busy to take any pictures or just too busy to upload them. Either way, I am hoping to see some pics of our girly soon.

Wow! Today is my 5 month mark. I can’t even believe it! It doesn’t feel like I’ve been out that long and it’s going way too fast. I love it. I wish I could have that extra 6 months that the Elders get!

We are still crazy busy. Planning is hard since we’re trying to get everything done in both wards. We’ve been so busy I didn’t even get to unpack for about a week because I couldn’t unpack that first night. We’re barely ever in the apartment long enough to organize and straighten up. We often don’t even go back for lunch because everyone wants to take us out for lunch.

Sunday was great! We had a broadcast from Salt Lake, so we didn’t have the usual Church block. Instead of going to all the meetings during the day and then having church for both wards, we actually got to go out and proselyte. We had four really awesome lessons just that day.
We’ve been working on getting appointments with a lot of people and should be able to see them this week.

I was also in a very awkward lesson with a recent convert this weekend. :) She didn’t seem to want us there or she felt uncomfortable but wasn’t really telling us why. Then we had a lesson with this young guy and he was asking if people were mean to us sometimes and we said yes. He asked us if that made us mad or if we got discouraged by that and was so surprised when we said no. We told him that when that happens we don’t get mad because we are trying to see people as children of God, to see them as He sees them. He couldn’t understand how we could be so forgiving of people, but it really doesn’t get to me. I’m not worried about others opinions of us.

Our zone theme this transfer is “Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.” Our district theme is based on Matthew 26:39 “‘And He went a little further…’ Will You?”

Love you!
Sister W.

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week 19

Feb 8, 2016 by

Sister W. is all settled in to her new living quarters and doing wonderfully well. We have heard from some moms in her mission that her YSA Bishopric is super fun and the ward is really active in trying to share the gospel and build relationships, so I think it will be a great experience for her.

The YSA Ward Bishopric…looks like a bunch of crazy guys!

Saddleback YSA Bishopric

Alright, so I love my new areas. Yes, multiple areas. It turns out I am covering both the YSA ward, and a family ward, and we also are temple tour sisters this transfer. My new area is bigger than my whole old zone! I cover both my old stake and this stake, so we are everywhere.

Yes, the YSA bishop is pretty hilarious. We had to leave Ward Council early to make it back to Las Flores in time, and he pulled out the scripture about not being able to serve two masters. Haha :D We’re looking for a scripture to throw back at him about God being over all, or something. :) He’s pretty great.

We are super busy. We go to all the YSA and Institute activities and classes and it’s super fun. Sundays are crazy! They usually are on your mission, but since we’re covering two wards, it’s even crazier. One ward starts at 1:00 and the other starts at 2:00. We have to go on splits every week so we can be at both, and the whole first half of the day is filled with meetings. We have zero time. We are super busy, which is good as a missionary. :) We have received several really solid referrals from members this week for people for us to teach, and we were also able to pick up a new investigator. His name is Emilliano and he’s 14. We have been stopping over there and showing him some of the Mormon messages, and he really likes them. We were able to teach him an abbreviated version of the restoration, gave him a Book of Mormon and he says his mom could possibly be interested. It’s been really cool getting to work with all these new people.

I really like my new companion. Sister Christensen is really chill, and we just go for it. It works out. Super excited to work with her.

This transfer is the first where I actually had friends going home. It was tough to say goodbye. I actually got to go the morning they were leaving because Sister Hall, the sister I replaced, was going home. So we got to drop her off and got to see everyone going home. (Sister Hall trained Sister Shumway, by the way.)

Love you!!!
Sister W.

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week 18

Feb 2, 2016 by

Blythe is being transferred to a new area for the first time since she arrived in California back on September 29. I think she is sad to leave the many people she has come to love, but is handling it well and ready to get to work in a new area. We are hoping she was able to pack up all her stuff tonight quickly and easily. She really hates packing. So moving to a new apartment today was probably really hard for her. We are trying to put together a little Valentine’s Day package to send to her and the ideas on Pinterest are all a little WAY overwhelming to me. I think maybe a Jamba gift card will suffice!

Well, I’m leaving my area. :( On Tuesday I will be going to the Young Single Adults ward. My new companion will be Sister Christiansen. She just barely finished her training, so I am again greenie breaking. :) The YSA ward is supposed to be really awesome and conveniently I’m still covering this area because the ward boundaries are both Mission Viejo and Santa Marguerita, though I will officially be in a different zone.

Yesterday at church the bishop was gone, so it wasn’t announced in sacrament meeting that I was leaving. All throughout the day, one by one the word got around and it was announced in the classrooms, so people kept coming up to me and like “You’re leaving?!?!?!” and there were some tears. :( And hugs. This ward has become home to me.

There was a mission farewell for Luke Taylor, who’s going to Japan Negoya Mission, and his talk was wonderful. They had a lot of non-member friends there and the spirit was really strong. At the end they sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again.” He’s up there crying and I’m down in the congregation trying not to cry, and we both have our tissues out, and I’m wondering why on earth they needed to sing that song of all songs. I always cry when they sing that song. Actually, no, I really did appreciate that song, and I love it. It was kind of cool to have that song for my last Sunday, even though it was more for Luke than me, of course.

It was cool to have everyone tell me how I have strengthened them and to see the difference I made in their lives. That was good to know that I was making a difference here. To see how much they don’t want to lose me is probably the biggest testimony that I have done some good here. I have not had baptisms, and only a very few of the less actives I’ve been working with have actually come to church, but that is not the measurement of success. I have been able to build real relationships with them, and come to love them, and that’s what really matters. I’m going to miss it, but I think this new ward will be wonderful too. The YSA wards are some of the busiest and my area will be huge. It’s going to be crazy!

By the way, there’s a house we found that is decorated like Jurassic Park with huge metal dinosaurs and the gate and everything.

Love you all.
Sister W.

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week 17

Jan 26, 2016 by

We have been praying hard for our missionary this week. I know her heart has been hurting so much. It was lovely to hear from her on Monday and see that her spirits are lighter and she knows she is in God’s keeping. We were able to mail her some exercise videos this week that she can do in her apartment and she is super excited to be able to do something a little more engaging than just the push-ups, sit-ups, and other boring stuff she has been doing.

This week has been really good. My companion and have been able to work our struggles out and this last week has been great. I know it was the Lord working through us, because we, or at least I, couldn’t have done it.

Transfers are next Tuesday and we’ll get the call this weekend. I am praying so hard not to be transferred right now. Of course, I would never want to leave this area, but I really hope I can stay to help the Collins right now, because Sister Hollenbeck barely knows them since we haven’t been able to go by as much lately. But whatever happens the ward is still stepping in and helping and they’ll be alright. I was thinking of the verse that says “I have finished the work thou sent me to do” after the funeral. Leslie brought all those kids here and I believe that she has finished her work from God. I want to be able to say that when I go home that I have done all that I was called to do.

The funeral was very nice. The local Presbyterian church put it on and the room was packed. A lot of the ward members attended. It was a beautiful service, but also sad, because they don’t know about the plan of salvation and the opportunity they have to be united eternally, to be a family after this life. The three wards that have been in contact with Leslie’s family and a lot of the stake came together to put on the reception afterward and it was really good. There was the most beautiful sunset that evening too.

Random little miracle. Early last week after we’d found out about Leslie and we’d been having problems and I was having a hard time, we were contacting and I was really thirsty. I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining so I didn’t say anything for a while. Eventually I just said I was thirsty and Sister Hollenbeck said she was too. Within about a minute a water delivery truck pulled up and the guy asked if we would like some water. He gave us a bottle each, and we talked to him for a minute. He said he always tried to give the missionaries water when he saw them because he knew we walk a lot. So God really is looking out for us. :)

Sister W.

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week 16

Jan 20, 2016 by

Our girly is hurting. She could use oodles of prayers and love. Please pray for her companion and for Leslie’s family. Please pray Blythe will know how to comfort Leslie’s family. Please pray that they will experience the peace of God and feel wrapped in His arms of love.

On another note, I apologized to Blythe this week for the many times I was angry or exasperated with her when she was a teenager. She responded with such a lovely…and grownup note of love for me. “You don’t need to apologize for anything. If I had any other mom I would have a very different life. Few other people would have adjusted so much to fit my needs and few other people are as dedicated and passionate as you. You’re awesome. I’m sorry for all of it. :) It wasn’t nearly as bad as a lot of people experience as teenagers. Love you <3" I cried happy tears. My girly has learned a lot of wisdom in the past four months.

So I have some bad news. Leslie passed away on Thursday night. In case anyone doesn’t know, she was one of our investigators. She has seven kids and has been battling cancer for two years. I am overwhelmed a little with the responsibility to help their family get through this time, but we will try our very best to support them and love them. We didn’t find out until Friday night, and I had to make the calls around to the other missionaries who had worked with them. I feel so sad for them. Friday through Sunday were really hard. I felt very unproductive, and I came to that point like where I really did feel like I was wasting my time, not because there’s not work to be done, but because we can’t seem to do it. Saturday was hard. We didn’t make a lot of visible progress and I was still thinking a lot about Leslie’s family, and it was just a bad day. It is sort of scary, because Leslie had priesthood blessings that promised healing, and they were not fulfilled in the way they expected them to be fulfilled. Now I have some understanding of it, and know that those blessings were not wasted, or even unfulfilled, but I’ve been worried how to explain all of that to them, as they probably don’t believe in priesthood power and now have reason to believe that it’s not real. But it’s been cool because as I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve been able to find other ways to teach about eternal families, like focusing on the temple. When I was thinking about the questions they might ask about why the blessings didn’t heal her, I thought about how ancient Israel was waiting for the Savior to save them from their physical enemies, but that He really came to save them spiritually and how those blessings she received were not wasted.

Cevik’s back in town, and we taught him last Sunday. When we invited him to be baptized he said they weren’t really interested in converting, but he wants to learn more and says he will read the Book of Mormon. We also gave Minoo a Farsi Book of Mormon and she says she’s been reading it.

We went to the temple on Friday Morning and I had a really sweet experience there. I was one of the last to leave the celestial room. When everyone started heading out, I was just thinking how I just didn’t want to go, that I just wanted to stay right there and feel the peace. As I was thinking this, I felt the words “I am always with you” and I knew that He would be with me, even though it was hard, and even though my companionship relationship is hard. That came at a time to prepare me for the challenges the last few days, because later that day everything started sort of falling apart. Then that night we found out about Leslie and the next day was just was hard. Sunday I was still having a hard time and I just did not want to get up early and go to meetings, which are of course earlier since church starts at 9:00 now, and we hadn’t finished progress records. But in ward council that day Brother Nielson said to put us missionaries on the prayer role. I think that is the first time that has happened and the prayer for us was exactly what I needed. I’m sure he was inspired. The day before when I’d felt so useless, I’d heard something or read something that was talking about how Heavenly Father takes us as we are and works with us so we can become better. Then in Ward Conference on Sunday they referenced the quote “Our direction is ever more important to Him than our speed.” Those things are exactly what I needed to hear at those moments.

With the last couple days of these challenges, I have had multiple witnesses that God is mindful of me in my trials and is watching over me. Thank you for your prayers and faith.

My ponderizing scripture is 1 Nephi 13:37: “And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.”

Love you all.
Sister W.

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week 15

Jan 12, 2016 by

We have more snow than we have had the past several winters and Blythe, who loves snow, has none in Sunny California. I almost didn’t dare tell her about the snow, but I finally let her in on it this week and she said “I am personally offended!” She isn’t really though, probably just shocked that we are getting so much. She has been teaching a woman (Leslie) with cancer and it looks like she might pass away this week. We are praying for Leslie’s family this week that they will feel the love and tender care of the Lord while they go through this experience.

Blythe with her first companion, Sister Shumway.


She must be making artsy journal entries for every transfer.


Artsy stuff for transfer 2. She is coming up on transfer 3 soon.


So this week there’s been some pretty awesome things. Cevik’s back in town, and we taught him, though it went sort of awkwardly. We’ll be seeing him next Sunday, and we are hopeful we’ll be able to bring one of the couple of members that he knows.

We saw a family that missionaries have been knocking on their door since before I got here with no response. They’re a part member family and the mom (who’s the member) didn’t really want anything to do with the church, though she has several friends in the ward. We talked to the son, Chase, and he was really friendly, and we were there for about 10 minutes just outside talking.

A less active lady we’ve been working with came to church yesterday. She really likes us and has set up multiple appointments which have always fallen through. I didn’t even see for a long time after I got here. But we finally got in this week, though we were on exchange so I wasn’t there, and she came to church and brought her daughter. So I was super excited!

Also, Minoo, who is the one from Iran – we’re hoping to teach her soon and we found out that there’s a guy in the ward who speaks Farsi from his mission! The apartment complex in our area is such a melting pot and these things just keep lining up. It’s just crazy!

I also had my first really beneficial exchange this week. The other comp exchanges I’ve been on kind of felt like they were just filling time. We didn’t make much progress, I felt like. (In case you don’t know what an exchange is, it’s where you and your companion split up and go with your sister training leaders, who are sort of like a Sister District Leader. And they’re supposed to measure your progress and give you some pointers.) The other exchanges I felt like we were just doing it because we were supposed to, but this time, with Sister Fetui (who is awesome) I really felt like she was trying help me in the best way she could. She put a lot of thought and effort into it and it really helped me. It was crazy, though. She was supposed to go on 2 exchanges in 2 days and her Sister Training Leader companion would go on the exchanges with the other two Sisters. So the plan was they would each go with one from each companionship. They had to be done this week, but her sister training leader companion got super sick, and couldn’t do any of them, so she had to do half exchanges with us, for half the day and the other for the second half of the day. And then she would have to do it with the other companionship the next day, but then Sister Robison was too sick (she was in the other companionship) so Sister Fetui didn’t get to do it the second day.

Love you all,
Sister W.

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week 14

Jan 4, 2016 by

First time sick since she left. I’m hoping she used all the herbs and oils and vitamins I sent with her! I’m sure she is pretty self-sufficient and can take care of illness herself, but I still would like to have more information about the whole thing and give her tips on how to get her immune system up to full speed again. Once a mom, always a mom! Blythe is doing well – loving and serving and teaching – and we are so happy for her!

Well, this has been an interesting week. We got to see Lori on New Years Eve and she seems to be doing a little better. She’s been having kind of a rough time, but we took her some Martinelli’s and talked to her for a minute. We had an early curfew that night, so we had a zone activity, and that was super fun. I’d had a headache and stuffiness Wed. and Thur. but was doing OK. Fri. morning we woke up and Sister Hollenbeck was super sick and was throwing up. I felt OK, just the headache, but by about 11 I felt pretty sick with the same thing she had. We couldn’t go out, and it was frustrating to have to stay in the apartment, but we were just too sick. We had two companionships of elders come over that night so they could give us blessings.

Two really cool things happened this week. We were walking around the apartment complex in our area and were on our way to see stop by to see Joanie. We passed this apartment where this lady was outside on the porch. We’d seen her a couple days before briefly and we just said “hi.” She instantly said “Come in, come in” and we went in and talked to her for quite a while. She is from Iran and came over for a few months to see her son, who lives over here and who we actually saw several nights ago. She doesn’t speak English great, but enough. She speaks Farsi. She has a daughter with some sort of disability. She told us all about the different parts of Iran and told us about the cultures (There are a lot! I had no idea about the diversity there!) and the different languages, and about her family. Then she talked about the Christian churches they have there, and she asked if we were from the church, pointing to our tags, and we said “yes.” And she said, “I want to go to church with you, not this week, but next week.” And we said, “We would love for you to come to church and we’d love to have you there.” and then we talked for a little longer. She should be coming next Sunday! I am super excited about her. It was just so cool. We didn’t ask to come in, we didn’t invite her to church, she just said she wanted to herself.

The other thing that happened was when we were tracting. We knocked on this one door, even though it had a sales lock on the outside (but there wasn’t a sign out front), and this little Hispanic lady answers the door. She said, “You are Mormons?” and we said “yes”, and she just said, “Ohhh! I am Jehovah’s Witness! You are my sisters! And she gave us big hugs and invited us in and gave us soda. We talked for quite a while. She spoke very little English, and my Spanish is pretty sad. Sister Hollenbeck speaks a little, and we could generally get what she was saying, but I could only catch bits and pieces. We told her there are sisters who spoke much better Spanish, so we’ll refer her to them, but it was just really awesome.

Something funny that I’ve been forgetting to say is that we got a sort of referral for Justin Bieber! Francsca told us that he’s been going to really popular restaurant/bar that is up in the canyon and that he’s been driving either a red or a yellow Ferrari. We about died after that.

Anyway, love you all!
Sister W.

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week 13 – first christmas without her

Dec 28, 2015 by

Seeing our daughter over FaceTime on Christmas Day was amazing! It was so, so good to see her bright, shining face and to see her healthy and happy and glowing. She sounded wonderful. We were able to talk for about 90 minutes and she shared her testimony of the Savior and of missionary work with us. We were able to have family prayer together and we all cried a bit. My heart rejoiced at how much love she has for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has always loved Jesus, but her love for Him has grown as has her love for the people around her. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of. Ahhh, I love this girl of mine.


Christmas was wonderful. We had a ton of contacts this week, more than we’ve ever gotten I think, with everyone coming in to town and visiting and going to the park with their families. It’s been great just to see so many people actually outside!

We saw Francesca again on Christmas Eve and it was probably the most wonderful visit I’ve had on my mission yet. She is so open about God and loves Him. She talks about Him like a friend. She says some funny things, like “blessings be upon you” and “protection be with these people.” She is very passionate in her belief in God and has a ton of faith. She talks about miracles all the time. We just love her.

Christmas is really a wonderful missionary tool. It’s been great in the work because of the people it has put in our way. My testimony of the Savior has been strengthened this season with the assurance that He came for us and knows exactly what we personally need at this very moment and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to share that belief with others.

My Ponderizing scripture this week is D&C 121:7-9. I also read a wonderful chapter about missionary work this morning in Alma 26.

Love you all and Merry after Christmas!
Sister W.

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week 12

Dec 22, 2015 by

Our missionary is doing well. She had transfers last week and was assigned to stay in her same area, but received a new companion. She loved her last companion so very much and now she gets to learn how to love a new one just as much. Missionaries are allowed to call home twice a year on their missions – Christmas and Mother’s Day – so we will get to hear her voice on Friday! Wahoo! We are hoping to be able to Skype with her and actually get to see her face. It is really, really strange to have her gone at Christmas, but even with the emptiness, my heart is still so happy she is on a mission serving the God she loves.

So you remember Sister Hollenbeck from the MTC? Like the one who came out with me? She’s my new companion and we’re totally new and green together. It’s been a very tough adjustment. It’s hard leaving a powerhouse team. Sister Shumway and I worked extremely well together and our strengths made up for each others weaknesses and that was such a blessing. But I’ve had some very clear reminders that God doesn’t give us impossible tasks. I think we’ll learn to work together well, but it will take some getting used to.

We’ve had some success in the last few days. We tracted into this wonderful lady named Francesca. Apparently she is some sort of humanitarian mission pastor. We talked to her for a good 20 minutes and Sister Hollenbeck shared Alma 7:11, and Francesca loved it. She took the Book of Mormon and invited us back for dinner. She is super friendly and very thoughtful and kind. The funny thing was she was at the top of this one very long, steep driveway, a 10th of a mile back from the road, and we couldn’t even see if there was a house up there. We were just like “We’ve got to get up there and see” and it turned out to be great!

Our Christmas messages are going very well. There’s a lot of great opportunities to share meaningful messages about why we celebrate and what we can give to Jesus. It’s been wonderful, even if it puts several people on hold who will be out of town and traveling, including Inci. She’s going back to Turkey for a month, but will be back before the end of the transfer.

My ponderizing scripture this week is Ether 12:27 “If men come unto me I will show them their weakness. I show unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Love you all, and hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
Sister W.

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week 11

Dec 14, 2015 by

Week 11 in California is a wrap. This Wednesday, the 16th, marks exactly 3 months since we dropped her off at the MTC, which also means she has completed 1/6 of her mission. That is feeling like a big deal this morning. This past week they had a Mission Christmas Party and posted lots of photos and videos. It is so fun to see her! If you want to mail her anything for Christmas, do it this week! I am hoping to get my package of Jamba gift cards for her and her companion in the mail today.

Her zone all together at the Christmas Party.


Blythe and her companion, Sister Shumway, are together on the left. I see Sister Smith with the plaid shirt, she roomed with her at the MTC, but I don’t know the other Sisters.


Some sort of Rudolph Nose competition?


Found this in her Dropbox account – What the cow is that? Some sort of ear shaped cookie? Candy?


Another Dropbox find…is she asleep from exhaustion or hugging the computer with great love and gratitude because she gets to email us?


So, we got transfer calls on Saturday, and Sister Shumway is being transferred. :( Very sad, but I’m sure it’s for the best. I will miss her. We’ve become such good friends. I’m not with my new comp yet and won’t be till tomorrow afternoon or night and Sister Shumway doesn’t know where she’s going. We go to the transfer meeting and they announce everybody’s changes, new comp, area, designated driver, and everyone switches around, and crazy stuff happens, and we leave. Pretty awesome! :)

This week has been great. Inci gave us Turkish Delight. Yes, the real thing! I wasn’t even sure if it was real, but it is. She also came to Follow the Star, which is a live nativity, with real animals and actors, and it’s really great. They’ve had some wonderful stories over the years.

She also brought her son Cevik (chevik). She speaks Turkish, German and English and here’s why that’s important now: Emily, a Laurel who did a study abroad for language and speaks Turkish, has become great friends with Inci. We introduced them earlier this week. When they came to Follow the Star she met the rest of Emily’s family and they were talking and amazingly her mom speaks German! We were just blown away! We’re like “Hmm, who should be her friends, I wonder…” Inci is here for only a year from halfway around the world, Emily speaks Turkish, her mom speaks German, the way we found her is pretty crazy anyway, etc. There is no way that is a coincidence.

We also finally saw an investigator we’ve been trying to teach since even before I got here. He went to Follow The Star and supposedly he went to seminary with his friend this morning (he’s 18).

There’s another teenager who is friends with a girl in the ward, who basically has no religion. She came (her name is Ana) with her friend and is willing to hear more. She’s super cool and her friend is planning on giving her a book of Mormon to read on her flight she’ll be taking for Christmas.

At Follow The Star last night we met Elder Clayton, the one who spoke in the Christmas broadcast. He’s one of the seventy, so that was pretty awesome.

There was a lady there with her friend (who is a member) who we’ve been doing community service with and she brought her daughter. They are both really great and we hope to teach them.

Basically, this week has been full of work and the Lord’s help. There is so much good going on.

Love to all!
Sister W.

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week 10

Dec 7, 2015 by

It felt so empty without her here for Annesley’s baptism on Saturday, a good empty, but boy, howdy, it sure felt like one of us is missing! This Saturday she will find out if she will get transferred to a new area and/or to a new companionship. Our most recent package arrived and she now has fingernail polish, some love notes from Annesley, and some beautiful music to listen to…hurrah for fast shipping times in the U.S.A.! She asked again for her violin. Does anyone know anyone driving to Southern California?

Well, this week has gone by in a rush. We’ve had a ton of service opportunities, more than ever before. Friday was the ward Christmas party and it was Who-ville style. Lots of the little girls had Who hairdos and it was super cute. That night Sister Shumway was asked to play the piano for Elder Forthman, “Where Are You Christmas?” for the program, then at about 8:30 play at a convert baptism going on in the same building. She got the music that morning and we spent a great part of that day, and several others during the week rushing from meeting to meeting, to music study for missionaries, to service opportunities. It has been very full.

In the midst of that we taught Inci again,and next time we go over we’re hoping to bring one of the young women, Emily, who miraculously speaks Turkish. We’re really excited about that.

Yesterday was also very full. Joanie came to church with her daughter Kristen, Elder Everette’s mom, who he baptized since he’s been out on his mission. She bore a very sweet testimony and the whole testimony meeting was wonderful for which we were very grateful. Joanie liked it a lot and I think she did feel the spirit. They stayed all three hours and Kristen bore a sweet testimony to us about how it has been Elder Everette’s calling to bring them to the church. (If you’ve forgotten, he was adopted and grew up in an LDS family. He was baptized a year before he left on his mission and is a fabulous missionary.) Another thing with him – last night we got to call him to tell him that Joanie came to church with his mom and he was so excited. He also told us that he has found his dad. He was transferred in to Dana Pointe, where his dad lives, and they found him, and taught him, and showed him the new Christmas video. It is so wonderful to be able to be part of this, having his family be brought to the gospel.

If you haven’t already seen it, which you probably have, the #ASaviorIsBorn video is amazing. We use it a lot.

Love you all!
Sister W

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week 9 – pics galore!

Nov 30, 2015 by

First major holiday away from us…and it is good, really, really good to think about our girly going out into the world and spreading joy and love on Thanksgiving day. She sounds so happy and fulfilled and THAT makes my heart explode with joy. Seriously, this missionary mama thing is the best! Super exciting this week is that she set up a Dropbox account and sent us a ton of pictures!

She is in a beautiful area!

BM ocean

BM traffic

BM clouds

BM flower

BM tree

Giant oranges…yummy!

BM orange slice

Glad to see her desk is a bit cleaner than her one here at home.

BM desk

How sweet are these notes? A member must have left them some treats with a note of thanks for their hard work.

BM thank you note

BM thank you2

She got to go to the temple with a girl in her mission who is about to leave on her own mission.

BM Newport Beach Temple

Blythe and her companion, Sister Shumway, at the temple.

BM Sis Shumway

Love this Star of David Seal of Melchizedek on the Newport Beach Temple!

BM Star of David

And here is her letter:

The time is going way too fast. I can’t believe I’m almost 3 months in. I feel like I just got here, at the same time feeling like I’ve always been here.

This week has been amazing! In 5 days we picked up 6 new investigators, which, especially for this mission, is nothing short of miraculous. Several of them are families and we’re always shooting for that. We have a huge list of people to work with and we’re kept busy. We have been very blessed lately with people to work with.

Thanksgiving was really good. Bishop Owens’ family (his daughter lives in the ward) always go down to the Marine Base and have two Marines come spend Thanksgiving with them, which I may have already mentioned. So he really likes the missionaries to come over for a while and talk with them. It was an interesting experience for me, being our same age but with the military haircuts and talking about drills and stuff. They were pretty cool though and we stayed over there for a while. Their names were Josh and Chris. It was a new experience getting to know them.

We also went to Raquel’s. She’s Filipino and her whole family was there. She has 9 siblings, I think, though maybe a few more, and her parents were there, and all her siblings’ children and all her children. And they were all similar ages, since her younger siblings overlap with some of the older siblings’ kids. They span from 33ish to 10, but it’s really hard to tell how old they really are. Her mom still looks pretty young. They introduced all the kids at the same time, and whose child they were and it was just fun and a little crazy. They have a really fun family. I really enjoyed it! Kenny, (Raquel’s brother) has a really good voice, and his whole family just loves hearing him sing, so after some friendly pressuring he sang for us. He sang “I Stand All Amazed” and an upbeat song that I didn’t recognize (big surprise). He was super good and that visit was just really fun. They also had this Filipino dish called cevici or something – shrimp and fish in something like salsa. It was yummy.

Since we couldn’t go visit many people since they were having family time, we also went through our whole list and left little notes for them and a couple people have replied to us about those. A bunch of people in the ward just got mission calls. One of the Mauss girls is going to South America, there’s another girl who’s up at school, and a guy is going to Japan. They’re all just dying with excitement, so that was fun for us. I got to go to Hollie Mauss’ endowment since they invited us and we’ve been working with her. She helps us a lot with missionary work, so we got permission to go.

This week should be really great. We have a lot to invite people to as they start all this Christmas stuff.

Love you!!!!!
Sister W.

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week 8

Nov 28, 2015 by

Blythe is working hard and learning much. On this Thanksgiving week we are especially thankful for her commitment and dedication to the Lord. We are grateful for her protection and the many people who are blessing our daughter’s life right now. She has been on her mission for ten weeks and in California for eight!

At the Newport Beach Temple with fellow missionaries.


I think her look of shock is at the humongous size of the orange?


This week has been really good. We taught a lesson last night to a lady named Nora and her 3 little boys (who really like us). It went really well and she had some good questions after. We showed them Because He Lives in Spanish since they’re Hispanic. It was really cool.

We will be going to see Keri, who we placed a Book of Mormon with, last week later this afternoon.

We’re seeing Angie, who is from Turkey, who we placed both an English and Turkish Book of Mormon (that one was hard to find) with. Her real name is Inci, but sounds similar to Angie. When we first contacted her she said she wasn’t interested – that she was Muslim though not very religious. We just said “Hi” to her whenever we saw her and she became more friendly. About 2 weeks ago the Elders texted us and said she’d told them that she was doing college application stuff for her son, but when that died down “it would be good for her to learn about the Christian religion” so we’ve been stopping by and she is super sweet. She Skypes her husband and daughter, who are still back in Turkey, every morning.

We’ve also visited several of our less actives and I just love Raquel B. (the Filipino mom). She let us in again, and we had a great conversation.

We saw April, a return missionary from Venezuela who has a nonmember husband and 2 kids above the age of 8 she wants baptized, but hasn’t taken a lot of initiative to get it done. We taught them Lehi’s dream and her kids are great. Zane, Zach and Zoe. :)

We had a lot of success. The only bad thing is that Liz texted and might drop us. She said she’d meet with us again though so maybe we can keep seeing her. She is really nice, and if she drops us I’ll try to stay in contact.

But really, we were able to do a lot this week. I feel back in the game now. We weren’t doing badly this transfer, but this week was a lot better.

Sister W.

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week 7 in cali

Nov 16, 2015 by

I have been asking Blythe all sorts of questions each week, but she never has time to answer them. Today she tried extra hard to answer me, wahoo! Today marks two full months since the day we dropped her off at the MTC. Craziness! I need to get a package in the mail to her with some fingernail polish, some instrumental music, and some recipes. If anyone knows of anyone driving to the Irvine area, please let me know because she really wants her violin. She refuses to let it be shipped, so it needs to be driven to her.

Mom, to answer your questions – Sister Davis wrote me once and Madi writes, but nobody else.:( The ukulele is awesome, and several people have music that I can copy for it. If you could, I’d love an inexpensive tuner, since the only place I can tune with a piano is the church, but don’t worry too much about that. We normally eat every night in a members home, though this week has had a lot of open nights. I cook lunches and dinners when we’re not in a home. We do laundry at Tina O.’s house, and she is fantabulous! She has the funniest impression of her mom walking, of Disney characters, and anything else you can think of. She found out that Sister Shumway loves popcorn and gets popcorn of varying flavors for us to try. Of her and Carlos O. we say she wears the suit and he wears the dress and totally agree.:) She has all the power tools and is always doing some project in the house. Carlos likes cooking and always gets out stuff to make Italian sodas when we’re over for dinner. They are both hilarious! Tina is currently switching her front door to face the other way, and Carlos tore out all the carpet in the living room so they could put in a new floor. They always have projects going. I like all my clothes. I can’t think of a favorite, but if Old Navy still has those navy flats, I’d love more, they’re my favorite.

Now on to the important stuff. This week has been a little weird, because we worked really hard, and actually did some really good things, but they weren’t in the direction we thought it would go, which sometimes happens. Our key indicator numbers look really bad, but that’s mostly because we weren’t able to contact most of the people we were hoping to. We haven’t been able to contact Liz for 2 weeks, not since our last appointment. Her baptism can no longer be on the 5th, because she didn’t come to church yesterday, and she has to come 3 times before she can be baptized. It looks like we still have some ground to cover there, but we’re working on it. Hopefully we’ll see her tonight!

We actually got an actual appointment with Jennifer for this next Friday! Super exciting! Set appointments are really hard to get. I’m crossing my fingers.

Joanie is always busy, but absolutely forbids us to lose contact with her, especially with this last possible transfer. But we are setting up a dinner with the Mausses (who know her and her daughter, the mom of Elder Everette). We keep visiting her and one of these days I’m sure it’s going to pay off.

A lot of our success this week has been with less actives. We had another awesome visit with the Miskinyar/Gudmaunsen family and each time it gets a little better. We also got in with Raquel B. She’s always traveling and it’s super hard to see her. She’s Filipino and we have a Filipino Elder who has been trying to get an appointment with her. We got a time he could come by and we talked to her for quite a while. Her husband is a big businessman and doesn’t like the church. She tried to come a couple times, but hasn’t made it yet. She asked us to come by for a while on Thanksgiving when her family (who are active) will be there. She’s super friendly and I like her quite a lot. She’s also seriously pretty and has an adorable little boy who is basically a monkey. We’ll also be able to stop by soon again hopefully.

So for Thanksgiving we’re going to Raquel’s, and the bishop’s, at least for a minute, since they bring marines from the base south of us to have Thanksgiving in their home, and he likes us to come meet them, and having dinner with the Cheney’s. We’ll be well taken care of, I’m sure. :)

We picked up a few potentials, and one of them conveniently is friends with several of our ward members, and gave both of them a Book of Mormon! Yea!

Alright, so the Mausses. They live way out in the rolling hills away from the city and in fact are outside the mission boundaries. We have special permission to go out there once a month for dinner. You have to go up this skinny little road perched on top of a mountain. I’d hate to be pulling a trailer! They are loud and fun and hilarious and great singers. One daughter is expecting her mission call any day and the whole family is highly involved in our missionary efforts. Basically, they’re awesome!

It’s been really cool recently because several ward members have gone out of they’re way to tell us that they really appreciate our sincere efforts and that they can tell that all four of us work well together and are really engaged in the work. It’s great to know that they see that.

My emails may start being shorter, since everyone here just learned that they want us to keep our emailing under an hour.:( I’m not that fast at typing… Anyway.

Love you all!!
Sister W.

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week 6

Nov 9, 2015 by

Blythe is just finishing up her sixth week in California and eighth week since she left. She had her first transfer and she isn’t being transferred, but is staying right where she is. Still no pictures from our girlie. She has very little time to email us and hasn’t been able to carve out enough time to get pictures sent. But the good news is, we have been sent some pictures from people in her mission! This week I have been feeling her absence in our home more keenly. I miss her music and her silliness and her love of the scriptures and contributions to our family scripture study. I miss her giggling with Fisher and Annesley. I miss her. And I’m grateful she is serving God. And I love her more than I can begin to express. All the tender feelings are here today.



IMG_2857 (1)

This week has had some challenges. Appointment after appointment fell through. But it’s also been great. We got a baptism date w/ Liz on Mon.!!!!! We’re so excited and she is so awesome. And guess what? We’re shooting for Dec. 5! I was blown away when you said that’s when Annesley is getting baptized!

We finally got in contact with Joanie again and we’re calling in the troops (the Mausses who know her and Bishop Hobbins) from the ward, since we’re having a hard time progressing with her. I think it will be good.

We also finally got back in contact Jean who is less active because she was taking care of her husband who has heart problems. She’s a convert and only member of her family. She wants her mother’s temple work done. I’m planning on giving her your email, Mom. She’s just getting started. We brought a family history consultant with us to help her and she’ll be going to the family history center on Tuesday!

We got in contact, visited with and taught a mini lesson to a less active convert who we haven’t been able to contact for the entire transfer and in the process contacted another less active member who she knows really well.

Well, today begins my second transfer. I’m staying here with Sister Shumway and there are only two people in our whole zone getting transferred. Unfortunately, one is our amazing district leader, Elder Dayton. He’s awesome and sad to go, but he’s been in this area for 6 months, ever since he got here. I guess it’s time.

Please pray for Liz and Joanie especially. Liz’s schedule is crazy and it’s hard for her to keep commitments involving time because of that. We’re also struggling to get in to teach Joanie again, because they’ve been really busy w/ Michael’s doctors.

Love you!!!!!! I am so sorry about the lack of pictures. I finally went through and got which ones I want to send you, but I’m not sure if I’ll have time today!! :(
Sister W.

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week 5

Nov 2, 2015 by

Blythe has now been in California for five weeks and gone for nearly seven. It is pretty amazing to me how fast the time has gone. Our house feels more empty and her zeal for truth, input in discussions, and beautiful music she was always creating is greatly missed, but right now we are still so happy for her that the time is going quickly.

I haven’t even started the process of cleaning out her room…yes, she didn’t get it done before she left…and I have a big goal to get it all emptied and clean so we can either use it as a guest room or move Annesley to it. My goal this week is to get some of our favorite recipes sent to her.

And her P.P.S. down below? Be still, my heart. That right there is payback for the long years we walked our own path to the beat of our own drum. Tender tears…

I have less to report this week. We haven’t made much progress, but we set some good groundwork for the upcoming week, so it should be better. I still loved it, though.

We had an awesome visit with Eileen M. (married to Max) and Sister Shumway played a few beautiful arrangements of hymns for them. It was so cool because Max came out and listened. There was a really sweet spirit there.

The visit with Liz last Monday went great! We didn’t teach perfectly and it was a bit disorganized, but she really felt the spirit. She was very open and loved the message. At the end of Lesson 1 (restoration) we asked if she had any questions. She asked what we believed about the afterlife, and we explained the lessons, and that the next lesson was the plan of salvation and asked when she’d be available to do that lesson. She asked, “Actually, could we talk about it now?” It felt right and we ended up teaching her Lesson 2 right there, gave her a Book of Mormon, and she prayed at the end. We’re meeting with her again today. I can’t believe I have to wait a whole week to tell you how it goes. We’re hoping to invite her to be baptized. Also, she said she’d teach her parents the first two lessons last week. We were just blown away!!

We also tracted and met with no success, but I think Liz makes up for it. :)

Also, we got all the C. family, the investigators with the mom who has cancer) to the Trunk or Treat. Now I know what you’re thinking mom, but it was great. :) We went over beforehand and helped all their kids get ready. Hopefully we can start teaching them soon! It’s just hard working around her treatment, but she really wants to do the lessons.

Love you all!!
Sister W.

P.S. I don’t have Mikelle’s email, otherwise she’d be getting my emails, too. Please inform her that I still love my hair, and it’s worked out great! I can’t even see my roots growing in at all! :)

P.P.S. Also, thank you so much for how you raised me. The way we lived our lives has made the transition to missionary life almost seamless. I had very little trouble adjusting, and that’s because of you. <3

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week 4

Oct 26, 2015 by

Blythe received her ukulele last week and we heard today she loves it. Her face lotion also arrived, WAHOO for modern day delivery schedules! It is SO fun being a missionary family. Today in Annesley’s letter to Blythe she said, “Are there snakes in California? My reading and math are improving. I have been working hard on them. Are there a lot of people in California? Are the people in California nice? I miss you. I love you. Last night we finished the book of Mosiah. Love, Annesley.” I love seeing our children grow in love and thoughtfulness for their sister. Tomorrow marks four weeks in California and six weeks on her mission! It is flying by so fast.

This week has been a week of miracles. On Tuesday we tracted into two really promising potential investigators. One, Jennifer, was very open to our message and we talked to her for a while. We also ran into a lady named Linda. She works from home and was really busy getting ready to leave on a flight, so we just gave her our number and talked a little about what we believe. (Also, at some previous point her son wanted to learn about the church though that seemed to have cooled.) We turned to go and she asked “Don’t you guys have like a book?” And we were just like “Yeah, like this book?” She took a copy and we bore a brief testimony of it and before we could ask she said that she wanted to start reading it. We placed 3 Books of Mormon that day!

On Wednesday we went to visit Joanie. She was busy with something, but we were able to talk for a minute and had a good visit. As we were walking away from her we saw a guy. He was this big, young-looking black guy with long hair in braids pulled back into a ponytail. He was the last person I thought would be interested, but I said hi and we started talking to him (He had a puppy by the way!). We told him about Christ’s ministry among the Nephites and he got really excited and was a little shocked that we would give him a Book of Mormon for himself. During the conversation we also met his dad. So then we left and we saw his dad pulling out in his truck. He rolled down the window and asked what we’d given his son and we were a little worried. The son is probably 25ish, but we thought maybe he wouldn’t want him to read it. So we explained it and he thought it sounded pretty cool and said he might read the one we gave his son so I asked if he wanted one for himself and he said yes. We had just given the one we had to Jason, the son, but we were close to the car so he waited for us to get another. Please pray for them both. Jason said this morning that he wants to research, which is great, but we were also worried. We told him that we’re excited that he wants to learn more, said there’s a lot of fraudulent info out there, and that as questions arise that we would love to help sort them out. We told him about the church websites. The dad’s name is Steve.

We visited Linda. They were doing a family thing, so we just got her number, then texted her ours. She replied with “Thank you so much for stopping by. I want to start reading the Book of Mormon this week. Will you follow up with me on Wed.?” We were freaking out! It was so awesome!

Liz’s appointment fell through on Thursday because of a concert and we got worried for a bit, then she texted us and set up another for tonight. So we’re back on track and have high hopes.

On Saturday we had an awesome training at the Stake President’s house and it was awesome. But the point is this story. One of our Zone leaders, Elder Fetuani from Tonga, was so, so sick and lay on the couch the whole time. Elder Fetuani works super hard, and can’t stand not to be. When his companion, Elder Hook, had surgery for an ingrown toenail he went on splits so he could still work. He came to the U.S. not knowing any English, not knowing anything about CA, the only member in his Family, and he fully believed, with no info about CA, that he could very well die on his mission. So he had to be very sick. Afterward, when quite a few people had left, the Stake President asked if he wanted a priesthood blessing. His response was “Yes. I have faith to be healed.” He asked (former) Bishop Hobbins, (who I’ll have to tell you all about) to give the blessing. He gave a very powerful, direct blessing, and said “According to your faith you shall be healed, and rise upon your feet, and go out and do the work of the Lord that He has set you today.” The Spirit was so strong and Elder Fetuani stood and was completely better. He had the most shocked expression on his face. We saw them that night and he said he’d been fine all day, and they’d done service and tracting, and lots of other stuff. God is a God of Miracles. I know it. We have seen His hand so prevalent in our lives this week.

Love you all!!
Sister Blythe W.

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week 3

Oct 19, 2015 by

Our girlie has now been in California for nearly three weeks and left our home almost five weeks ago. It is going by so fast. We mailed her a ukulele this week, have to say Amazon Prime is AMAZING. Click, click and two days later it is delivered to her. Her mission president served for a long time in Tonga and Hawaii and he has created a Polynesian feel to the mission. They have ukulele lessons on P-Day at the mission home and she was dying to participate. Now we need to put a package together with pictures from home, piles of drawings from Annesley, more of her facial lotion, and her nutritional supplements. She must be being diligent about taking them if she is already in need of replacements. We are SO happy for her and are enjoying being a missionary family. It is wonderful to hear our children praying for their sister with fervency, faith, and heart. It is wonderful to think of her throughout the day and imagine what she is doing. It is wonderful to think carefully about what we should say to her each week in our letters. Since she only has a few minutes to read our emails, we want to make sure we share the things that will help her the most.

I have really enjoyed this week, though it’s been a little hard. We were not able to make much progress with anyone and spent a great deal of time trying to get in contact with people with less success than we hoped. But this upcoming week should be better. We were able to make contact with our referral, though it took most of the week and were even able to set an appointment! We had an awesome visit with Eileen M. (who married the Muslim man, Max) and her mom, Bernice. They both are exceptional seamstresses and make amazing things. We asked them about it and they showed a ton of their things and got super excited. Eileen made her tribal wedding dress for the Muslim wedding and it is amazing! She showed us this gorgeous quilt Bernice made her. It is the most beautiful quilt I’ve ever seen with vibrant aqua blues and greens and every square has these beautiful embroidered flowers of various kinds. SOOOOO pretty!!!! Then we were able to slip in President Uchtdorf’s talk about our desire to create and make it a very natural part of the conversation and showed the video to go with it.

We were not able to teach Joanie again. Her son has a mental illness, as I think I mentioned, and his meds were switched and were not working. This week has been crazy for them trying to get that fixed, but we stopped by to see her on Friday and it happened to be her birthday. We couldn’t stay long, but we’re keeping in contact. Should happen this week.

On Saturday we went on exchange with the Sister Training Leaders and for the first time that week we had absolutely nothing to do. I was staying in our area so I was in charge of knowing where to go, what to do, etc. and we had contacted the LAs and none of our potentials could meet with us. We actually ended up getting quite a few contacts and were able to get in contact with Samantha B., an LA who is good friends with Liz S. (our referral)! Super exciting! We actually talked to her dad, a non-member, who was working on his rose bush. He was really abrupt, and not terribly sociable, which is interesting since his job is a salesmen. I’ve since been told he’s very outgoing at work, but as soon as he gets home he’s a hermit. The funny thing, though, he was wearing flip flops and his toenails were totally painted in stripes. As soon as we were gone we just died!!

We have a few possible potentials among the friends of the YW within the ward. (Tell me if I’ve told you about the Mausses yet.) One sounds like we might get a whole family. One of the other friend’s parents are staunch Catholic and don’t want her learning about the church. The mom said (not to us) that she sees how happy her daughter is when she’s learning about the church so she’s going to shut it down now, because she knows that if her daughter goes she’ll get baptized because she’s so happy there. It’s very unfortunate because the girl is quite miserable at home and school and loves the gospel.

Sister W.

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week 2

Oct 12, 2015 by

This week has been really good. Some days were less awesome, but we’ve seen some exciting success. On Wednesday we finally made contact with this lady named Joanie, who we’d tried to see pretty much every day since I got here. Her grandson, Elder Everette, is serving in this mission right now, though he’s in a different area. I’m not sure why, but she hasn’t seen him since he was little and his mom saw him recently and he got to baptize her. His dad is also somewhere in this mission. Anyway, we met with her and just talked a lot about God’s love and she seemed really open and her beliefs are already very similar to ours. We went back on Friday and taught her the Restoration and she was totally open to our message and we talked a lot. She is so, so sweet and grandmotherly and she even called us later that day to see if we were doing alright. She’s very centered on family and we are so excited to teach her the Plan of Salvation this week, either Wednesday or Thursday.

We got a referral for the first time which is a miracle because they’re hard to get and street contacting is sometimes not very effective – I’ll tell you why. In the whole time I been here we have hardly seen anyone walking the street. On Saturday we spent six or more hours walking and went through most of our available contacting area. We saw about ten people in all and only got eight contacts. People don’t come outside, not even in the parks. I am firmly convinced that the sidewalks here are purely for decoration because no one uses them. I’m not sure why they’re so proud of their California weather if they don’t go outside. Also on Saturday it was 100 something degrees outside. This is completely unusual. (Quick side note: It had rained twice since my trainer got here. It has rained twice since I got here. Normally the weather is really consistent.) It had been even hotter on Friday. with not a breath of air, so we had prayed that it wouldn’t be as bad, and that we could bear it walking for so long in the heat. That day was really hot and really tiring and the sun was merciless, but there was just enough of a semi-cool breeze that would come up every little while so we had some relief. The breeze isn’t even supposed to be cool at all. Apparently the winds blow off the desert toward the coast and it’s supposed to be hot wind. So I think that was a direct answer to prayer. Also, I was wrong about there being two gated communities in our area. There’s actually three. There are no major gathering places for people to walk around. It’s kind of like walking through a very well manicured, extra large ghost town. Even in the gated communities there are very few people outside. Our goal for contacts last week was 56. We got 20 and that was significantly better than the week before and we try to talk to almost everyone. We are seeing miracles, though not connecting directly to that. I know that God is rewarding our righteous efforts. The referral we received was after a long hard day and was totally out of the blue. We’ve been trying to get a referral for two weeks.

We are also trying to teach the Collins family. The mom, Leslie, has cancer. They want to be baptized, but we have to wait for her to feel good. There’s this awesome girl named Charlotte who had told a member that she wished she could go to church and the member was like “Well, you could come with me.” She wanted so badly to learn about the gospel, but her parents won’t let us teach her or let her get baptized, but they let her come to church and we do lessons for the young women on Preach My Gospel that she gets to come to. She read all of PMG and the Book of Mormon and is awesome. They’ve had her as an investigator for a while. We have to wait till she’s 18 and she’s only 16, but she is doing all she can.

Also, I forgot to tell you, but I saw Nick Huston and Marcus Perrenoud in the MTC.

Since I’m not learning a language, I got myself a Tongan Book of Mormon just for fun at the MTC. Then I got here and there is this awesome Elder from Tonga who I’ll have to tell you about sometime. I’m already understanding some of the words. But don’t worry, it’s not distracting me from the work. AND YES I TOTALLY WANT A UKULELE!!!!!!! Almost forgot that.

Oh, Thanks for the letter Annes! That’s super exciting about your math book! Love you.

Fisher, that’s so crazy about Sister Flora! My mission is going good. Sorry about the kittens.

Love you all!
Sister Blythe W.

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