Monday, March 31, 2014

and my immortal spirit may join the choirs above in singing the praises of a just god.

Editors note: This is Sister Judd's last email from her mission! She's had wonderful, life changing experiences over the last 18 months, and we're so grateful for all of your support and encouragement for our missionary. She'll be home on Monday, April 7th. We're so excited!  We'd like to invite you all to her homecoming talk
on Sunday, April 13 at 9am at the LDS Church Building in Melissa. Take HWY 75 North to Exit 46. Turn right, and drive down less than half a mile to the building on the right. 

Welp friends, this is it!

I had lots of pictures to send home but wouldn't you know it, I left my camera at my apartment. Guess you'll have to wait a week to see 'em!

Here's the week in a jiff:
Wednesday was my 18 months! I've served the full course and some extra! I saw that Hermana Brown in Honduras made pancakes to celebrate, so I convinced Sister Taylor to do the same. She's a champ! 

I went on exchanges with Sister Riley in Ponderosa and I RODE A BIKE for the first time on my mission. It was actually really awesome. I just felt so missionary-like. I mean, I served a full 18 months and even sent my bike home before I rode one. How crazy is that?

We continue to meet the most amazing members of all time. I am always touched by how good and faithful the saints are!

Ramon and Miguel went to the temple to do proxy baptisms for the first time and I got permission to go too. Oh, it was joyous. Just JOYOUS! I love those boys. And my partner in crime, Sister Walton. Love that girl with all my heart. She assures me that they are on their way to missions themselves. Does it get happier than that??

I had an epiphany the other morning as I knelt by my bed to say my morning prayers. I have worked so hard on my mission and the fruit I think that should come, often doesn't. I've learned not to get discouraged but just to trust God that I am enough. That I am who He needs me to be. In my first interview with President Mullen my very first day in Spokane, Washington, I told him that I was a happy person and that I tried to stay positive. He told me I was in good company because that is how he and Sister Mullen try to treat life. And then he shared a scripture with me that has quietly carried me through my mission. He told me that even when mission life was tough and it was hard to stay positive that I remember this scripture:

33 Wherefore, be not aweary in bwell-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of csmall things proceedeth that which is great.
 34 Behold, the Lord arequireth the bheart and a cwilling mind; and the willing and dobedient shall eeat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.
I have remembered it. I've loved it so often. But as I prayed this week, I realized that President didn't just randomly choose this scripture because it's a great missionary scripture. It's sustained me so often because this is my mission. He must've known that I'd often need the assuring voice of my Father in Heaven that my work is well-done. And that I need not get weary though things hardly turn out the way I have hoped or expected. I've been obedient and willing and I've given my heart. And I know that is enough. And He trusts me. Out of small little, Hermanita Judd He lets good things come forth. I shall ever rejoice for the privilege of being a missionary and a daughter and a sister. It's been the honor of my life.

I love my Heavenly King and I will always love His work. I simply will not let that change. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. 

My hair is longer. That might be the only recognizable difference. But oh if you could see the remodel inside. I'm different and I'm dedicated. And I'm here to stay.

Love you SO, SO MUCH!

Hermana Judd

Monday, March 24, 2014

and those who died in the faith of Christ are happy

Hey loves,

No time to write. (trying to figure out my class schedule. yikes) 

We had a wonderful week. Elder Christoffel Golden came to visit to reorganize a stake and we got to have a surprise visit with him. It was incredible. Like amazing and beautiful and (maybe even better than when Elder Anderson came?!) He is from South Africa so he just had like a magical "once upon a time" voice and he said such inspired things. AND I got to see Hermana Walton and I basically cried I was so happy to see that baby girl. 

The sun is out and Spring has officially started.

I know that I'm officially the worst at writing missionary emails ever but whadya expect???

Good news is: I've been so consistent at writing in my journal that all these final weeks are recorded with love. 

peace out my friends!

Hermana Judd

Monday, March 17, 2014

thus they went out of the world rejoicing

Hey cuties,

Another short email because i've got other fish to fry during this time but here are the highlights:

ROSA C. has and always will be my favorite person in Spokane Valley. Remember her? Hilarious less-active from Uruguay. Oh, I adore her. Anyway, last year she was hardly moving. But now she is on FIRE! She has been coming to church and making major changes in her life. She is so faithful! She has two adopted sons and she gave them the "ok!" to get baptized this week.

We brought President Lopez with us to one of our lessons and it was perfect. The Elders visit Rosa too and they assigned the boys, Gaje (sounds like gauge) and Shane, to memorize a scripture this week. They are pretty rambunctious boys and Rosa has been hesitating to let them get baptized because she was still working on her testimony and because she isn't sure if they know enough. But then president Lopez promised her that the Holy Ghost would help them, and as she continues to grow and share her testimony with the boys, they will learn to repent and change. Then sweet little 10 year old Gaje pipes up and says, "yeah just like it says in the Book of Mormon on page 116." and we just look at him bewildered. 

what does it say?

"and the father said: repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son."

I think my heart stopped. The spirit swooped in and hit me hard in the chest. He's 10! And he hit it on the head! I was speechless. The first time in a lesson that I actually teared up. Rosa teared up too because the moment was just so perfect. Then we put them on-date for April 12th. I wanted to campaign for the 5th of April but that's conference weekend and it would be better for April 12th. It was dejavu to when Sister Hicks went home and she missed the Avila's baptism by one week. But it's not about me. And i'm happy anyway.

We have appointments set up this week with all my former investigators from last year! The Salazar family, Gloria C., Daniel M., and Marta G. I'm hoping their hearts are softened and they are more prepared this time around.

Life is good. Strange and SO fast, but good. 

We went to Winco on Saturday night just for the sake of proselyting. We went in and perused and shopped and bought stuff but we went in on a secret mission to find Hispanics. It was fun. I just love being a missionary and talking to people that i'm not sure I'll ever stop. I remember thinking once in Cheney, "if only i could enroll in some classes and make some friends with my classmates and then invite them to learn about the gospel!" And then it dawned on me that that is what members are for. I know my badge gives me courage but i'm really trying to motivate my future self to talk to everybody still and find opportunities to invite even strangers! If the missionaries deserve it and if i can help it, I will always have a referral for them.

Anyway, love y'all lots.

Hermana Judd

Monday, March 10, 2014

and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them

Hey friends of the earth,

Life in the valley is sweet. There are just so many hispanics! I'm always surprised by how different I feel about the work here now compared to last year. Life is just funny, ya know?

We had tons of trainings this week. Sister Gardiner is a sister training leader now. I was beyond happy to see her at MLC this week. Such a happy reunion. That girl rocks. 

I can't think of any thing super consequential to write about. 

This is so lame, I know! But I really can't think of anything else to say.

Here's some pictures. 

Wilsons and the Spanish missionaries our last week together

Sister Walton, and our roomies, Sister Gifford and Sister Burgoyne

Spanish missionaries at MLC.

My baby girls at MLC 

Monday, March 3, 2014

For I know the plans I have for you they are plans for good to give you a future and a hope

Howdy y'all!

It's both strange and awesome to be back in the Valley. It's all about perspective, ya know? The first time I came here to the Valley, I had come from Moses Lake (the land of Promise) and I just didn't see it in the Valley. I loved the work and the people, and I always stayed positive, but it was the refiner's fire for me the first time 'round. Now I'm here again and I feel like a kid in a candy store. The work is alive. There are SO many hispanics and potential. I'm just so excited for all the miracles and blessings in store this transfer. I will forever praise my Heavenly King for letting me come back. I've been so teary eyed lately. Everything chokes me up. God is good and the church is true.

I prayed this week to know what God would have of me these last few weeks. He just wants me to give my heart. Give all of myself to the people and the area and the sisters in this zone. Sister Taylor prayed that she'd have a companion that would push her and help her improve her spanish. So that's what I'm gonna do. Because of Sister Sanchez, I've always been good about speaking my language with my companions. I'm not perfect, but I've always tried. I think that is one of the main reasons why God called me back here. And because I also know every hispanic in the Valley. Well, a ton at least. I feel like That's So Raven because we'll be walking around a neighborhood and then I'll suddenly have a memory flash through my mind and say, "here! there are hispanics here!" I don't know how I keep remembering all these different people but hopefully we'll meet some people whose hearts' have been softened in the last year.

Sister Taylor is adorable. Seriously, so cute and so loving. She loves the people she serves and she loves all the sisters. She's already been a great example to me. I miss Hermana Walton terribly though. We were just so similar and we served so long together. It's strange not to have my little buddy around. 

I love coming back to see the growth and change in this area and the people. There is the new branch here and it's a true miracle to me. Seeing how much has happened in the last year is a testament to me that this IS God's work. 

I don't have so much to say because it's been a VERY snowy week and we've stayed indoors a lot because it wasn't safe to drive. bleh. I just want to work and work and work. Being indoors drives me nuts. 

I love this gospel. I love the lessons I've learned on my mission. It's so personal and so individual and I just love the mission God has given me. 

Hermana Judd

Monday, February 24, 2014

Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea, and perhaps until the day I die

Hello loves,

Great Scott! I'm going BACK to the Valley! I was honestly shocked. I thought for sure I'd finish my mission here in the West Stake. I'm still surprised. But super happy. I've grown SO much in the year since I served in the Valley. I get to apply all these good things and see all the people I taught and loved. It's a surprise but a true tender mercy. I'm not at all the missionary I was when I first got to the Valley. I've changed so much. My heart is so much softer now. I just love this work.

I'm really going to miss Hermana Walton. She's been my best friend these last six months. We were expecting her to leave. It's my fault. I've been talking up the idea to her for the last few weeks. So she's a little stressed to stay. But she's going to be amazing! We found a family last week! We actually just had tons of beautiful miracles!

First and foremost, the most beautiful baptism of all time! Seriously, Miguel and Ramon were so prepared, so happy! The spirit was just so strong. Everything went smoothly. We even sang a musical number (it rocked! I'll try to send the video) and they bore their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. So solid! They wore white shirts and ties and new shiny black shoes to church. All that was missing was their missionary badges! And I will do everything I can to make that happen! I'm sad, I won't get to teach them anymore, but I'm also excited to be their FB friends in a month. Is that so crazy or what? (editor's note: 42 days, but who's counting?)

Ok, so we fasted last Sunday as a mission to find, and I can just see the Lord working here. We've met more spanish potentials in the last 3 weeks than in our entire 3 transfers here combined. Incredible! Last week, one of our lessons fell through and we felt impressed to go to the Windsor Crossing neighborhood. It's old military base housing and they don't allow missionaries to proselyte there but we saw some members' names on the english ward list and we thought we'd give them a try. We weren't even sure if they were active or not. We tried three families and none were home. I just felt like maybe I'd heeded the wrong prompting and we weren't actually supposed to be there. So we prayed and I felt the impression that we needed to be diligent and keep trying! So the next house we try there was a little hispanic boy, AJ,  standing at the door. I was floored. They had JUST moved in that same week! And we asked him if they went to church. "yeah, we used to go to the mormon church." I knew it was NOT a coincidence. His mom wasn't home so we tried back again this week. When his mom, Jessica, answered, she was not very warm. We stood on her doorstep and politely asked her a few questions about why she stopped coming. Then she let us in and we stood in her front entryway talking a little more. Her heart was softening and she said, "If you MAYBE wanted to stop by-but I'm not promising anything! And I need some time-but if you maybe were to stop by you could come on a Saturday." And then we asked her if she had a Book of Mormon and she let us give her one and then she said, "And so if you WERE to stop by on a Saturday in a FEW weeks from now, you could mark up some scriptures for us to read and give us a list or something." and then she said, "do you want to sit down?" Her heart had softened SO much. ALL in a matter of minutes. So we shared Helaman 5:12 and talked a lot about how building her foundation in Christ will bless her family. She loved it. And then we asked if there was anything we could do for her family and she said, "well, AJ needs a tutor for school. could you help with that?" And we were like HECK yes! And so she said, "well if you were to find a tutor, you could stop by earlier than Saturday, we'll be home after 7pm" HAH! So God is good. We asked a sweet sister in our branch to help and she is more than willing! I am excited for Sister Walton to bring this family back to the gospel! 

THEN another day we were trying a family in a trailer park but they weren't home. But the Spirit nudged me strongly to stay. So we prayed to know which side of the park we should knock. It was clear. Go Right! So we got out of our car and walked right and THERE was a little mom with her baby chamaca girl! A new Hispanic family! Like, prayers answered. Crazy! So Chayla let us in and we pulled out the Book of Mormon and showed her the pictures and explained how it would help her family come closer to Christ and she said, "how can I get one of these books?" YAY! And she said, "my husband only speaks Spanish. your church is in spanish?" HECK yes it is! She was loving the whole message. It was amazing. 

I'm so grateful the work is moving along and that Sister Walton still has her whole mission FULL of miracles ahead of her. I'm going to be with Sister Taylor, Hannah's old roommate. I'm really grateful because I needed a little change so that I'll stay totally focused to the end. Because I was really not expecting it I didn't even really say goodbye to a lot of people but it's better that way. God knows my heart. And I love Him for that.

I finished the Book of Mormon this week. This was the BEST transfer reading it so quickly. Oh, I love that book! I love the Gospel. Watching Miguel and Ramon get baptized was one of the highlights of my mission. This is TRUE! 

I love y'all! I will send some pics and hopefully videos in a bit!

Hermana Em

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

And they did look steadfastly towards heaven

Hola Queridos,

The sun came out this week and melted all the snow. It was a spring tease and it was glorious! We loved it and drank it all in. Instead of three layers of tights, only one! Pea coat instead of the big black one! And flats instead of boots! Glorious, I tell ya! And then it rained and rained and rained. Asi es la vida.

But it really is always like that. Missions are full of happy and HAPPY and SUPER HAPPY but mixed in those days are plenty of rainfall. But I love my Father in Heaven. I love Him for loving me and giving me experience to grow. He's letting me learn how to stand on my own two feet and more importantly, kneel on my own two knees. I've been praying A LOT this week. It wasn't an extraordinarily hard week. Not like the week the mission split. But I just needed my God and my Savior. Ramon and Miguel are getting baptized this Saturday and Satan is giving us a run for our money. But seriously. everything is happening! We are just not letting our guard down for one second!

On Wednesday, we had a lesson at the Wilson's (they are a senior couple in our branch that we just adore!) and also the Bomans came along. We had Zone Conference on Tuesday (my last one! Welp!) and we talked about using Family History work with our investigators and new converts. So we took the counsel and ran with it. Miguel was sick so only Ramon came along but he LOVED it. The spirit of Elijah was there. It was just incredible. Ramon's mom past away in March and he shared an experience that he had a dream his mom was standing there, beaming, just smiling from ear to ear and he woke up and thought, "I wonder why she is so happy. OH! It must be because I'm getting baptized." Amazing! And he just COULD not wait to start his own family history work and go to the temple! It really was SO cool. 

Then, Satan came along and tripped things up and they didn't come to church on Sunday. It really stressed me out. I mean, they've come for the last 2 months so it wasn't like that big of a deal, but we still had lessons to teach and things to do to plan their baptism and so it was just overwhelming. And then I went on exchanges to Cheney Sunday night and Monday's lesson was left in Sister Walton's hands. And I totally trust her and wasn't worried but I knew she'd have a stressful day and SHE did. Satan still worked hard to fiddle with our appointment and plans. But she was amazing and made it work and taught a stellar lesson and things are good! 

We printed off invites and had them write their testimonies in them and OH! it is precious. I will send one home for y'all 'cause you're going to love it! Ramon invited like everyone to come and he has aunts and his sister and the whole gang coming! I'm so excited!

We also had a mission fast on Sunday to find new investigators. Miracles are already on their way! Two families on our line up this week and we knocked into some less-actives! So great. 

They are kicking us out of here so I don't get to finish my email time. Sorry!

Sure do love ya! And the gospel! AND the Book of Mormon. I'm finishing it this week ('cause it's the last week of the transfer! Crazy!)

Hermana Judd