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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.

Oh my sweet friends!

What a wonderful week. SO good. SO SO SO COLD. SO snowy! I've never seen it snow so many days in my life! I'm staying warm. Hand warmers in my gloves and scarf! It's a like a legit burning in the bosom! :)

I'll cut to the chase. On Thursday we had the BEST, the best lesson with Ramon and Miguel. In MLC on Tuesday, President and Sister Mullen taught the doctrine from Alma 32 and it was so perfect. In our Zone Training, I was supposed to train on what they taught so I read up on Alma 32 and knew it was what we needed to share with Ramon and Miguel. We had already given them the chapter to read before but we knew a good refresher would help. The power of the word is better than anything that I could ever say. We had a lot of people in their lesson. We invited Brother Torres and then Elder Wilson wanted to join and then Jose Estrada wanted to too. Lots of talkers. But I just wanted the spirit to speak the most. Oh it was beautiful. The scriptures carry so much power. I'm truly converted to the Book of Mormon for life. It is my very favorite book. We read through faith and the word and talked to them about what those could mean. Then we read verse 27 about feeling swelled, enlighted, enlarged and tasting the deliciousness of the goodness of God. I asked Ramon if he had every felt that before and he smiled and said, "yeah, every time I read the Book of Mormon I feel that way." And then Brother Torres cut in and asked him to be baptized. It wasn't the first time they've been asked. We've probably asked them like 8 times. But it wasn't the right moment. The spirit was there but it wasn't the peak. And it just felt weird coming from Brother Torres, bless his heart. So we just kept reading and reading about growing faith and experimenting. And then I felt impressed to let us have a moment of silence for the Spirit to really work on their hearts and minds. So we invited them to pray and read and ponder. We sat in silence for at least 12 minutes. But I was watching Ramon and Miguel and their heads were bowed and so I didn't want to interrupt them. Finally I felt the push to ask them, "what are you thinking?" I looked at Miguel because usually Ramon is the talker and I think Ramon is more prepared and maybe some of his hesitation is that Miguel doesn't want it as much. So I knew Miguel needed to share his feelings.

He said, "I don't know why but I remembered a time in my life when I was younger. My family is Catholic but we didn't go to church all the time. But I remember one weekend I went to this thing for the youth where we sang and worshiped and prayed. I just felt really happy and felt the Spirit. Then a lot of the kids started receiving different gifts of the Spirit and good speak in tongues and were doing amazing things. I just really wanted to have that experience too. So I kept praying that I would be able to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We were getting ready to leave and even getting on the bus and I was just praying and praying that God would hear me and then all of a sudden, I felt a surge go through me. I felt tingly and alive and it felt so good and happy. I knew that God answered my prayer. During those days, all I wanted was to be close to God. But when I grew up I forgot about that and made some bad choices to take me away from God. But I want that again. I want to be close to God."

I told him that the Spirit brings things to our remembrance to help us. And he said, "yeah. because I also remember having doubts that I really would be able to feel the Holy Spirit. I wasn't sure if it was possible. But I did. And that is how it feels when I read the Book of Mormon too."

Then I looked at him and I said,

Miguel, se preparará para ser bautizado el 22 de febrero?

He paused and then smiled and said,

AHH! Happiness and Joy!
Then Elder Wilson looked at Ramon and said, y tu, Ramon?

Creo que sí

The spirit swarmed in so powerfully. SO incredibly strong. It was amazing.

I asked Ramon what he was thinking and miraculously he had a very similar experience. He said, "I also thought about a time when I was younger. My mom always took us to church and I always grew up believing and doing good things. I remembered one time that all the kids had to go through this maze to get to a Bible because it represented God. People would get lost and turned around but eventually everyone made it back to God."
Then he paused and got choked up.
"After my mom died, I was lost and turned around from God."

Then Elder Wilson said, "Ramon, the reason the missionaries found you is because you were never lost to God. He wanted you to be found."

It was beautiful. We closed the lesson there. At the peak of the spirit and we asked Ramon to pray. He didn't want to because he was crying but we waited a moment and then he said the most beautiful prayer. 

Thank you God, for finally letting us say yes. Thank you for letting us say yes and come closer to you.

OH! so happy! And yesterday after church, we made a brainstorm list of all the people in their lives that they could invite to their baptism. They thought of more than 200 people combined. And they are SO excited, SO happy. All their doubts and reservations are out the window. It is a TRUE MIRACLE!

Adriana dropped us a couple weeks ago and we were pretty shocked and bummed about it and we finally decided it was time to stop by to see how she was doing and it turned out that the last time we stopped by (she wasn't there, we left a note) she got pretty mad. It was a big misunderstanding and we felt REALLY bad and she felt really bad and then we had a nice lesson with her and she felt the spirit again. I wish so badly she'd soften her heart and take the step of faith to come to church. It would bless her immensely. She forgave us but we're still easing back into things with her so hopefully we'll get to teach her again.

Hispanics are popping up. It's a good, happy work! I love it. And I love my Savior. And boy do I LOVE the Book of Mormon.

Hermana Judd

Monday, February 3, 2014

And thus the work of the Lord did commence; thus the Lord did begin to pour out his Spirit upon them

Howdy y'all!

What a beautiful time to be a missionary. I love it the most, the most!

My life has come full circle. Yesterday was Stake Conference in the West Stake and I was there LAST YEAR for the same stake conference. I mean. I've been serving in this Stake for a full year without breaks! So crazy! I remember sitting in the audience last year thinking "this Stake President sure seems missionary minded" because all the messages were so focused and purposeful. And now, after a year full of experiences with President McCombie I just feel so full of love and gratitude. He's incredible! Every session of conference was inspired and beautiful. I think it's church wide that youth are invited now to the adult session and that rocks. And I think the theme church wide is "hastening the work." which totally includes the youth because they are the most courageous missionaries! In the Saturday session they had a youth choir but they were a little worried that there weren't enough voices so they asked the missionaries to join in so we got to sit on the stand, right behind my bffs, President and Sister Mullen. Looking over the congregation I seriously felt like Ammon when he reunites with his old pal, Alma.

 17 Now the ajoy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the bexhausting of his strength; and he fell cagain to the earth.
 18 Now was not this aexceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker ofbhappiness.

I love these sweet, farmer folk. They are good and kind and I just love 'em. The West Stake is mine, forever. And because we cover the whole stake for Spanish work and because I served in Cheney for 6 months, I really have come to know so many people. Before the Saturday meeting we had a soup and bread dinner and we could hardly sit down to eat because people were stopping to talk and say hello to us. It just feels nice to be loved and appreciated. 

President McCombie made both the Saturday and Sunday sessions interactive. He had people write down their impressions, share with their neighbor and then he put mikes out in the audience so people could stand up and share what they were going to change and do differently. It was a really great learning experience. And so many beautiful insights for missionary work. I just feel excited to follow up with the different families in the stake to help them keep the fire.

One sister missionary in our stake was asked to bear her testimony and she said, "they will have to drag me out of here to get me home, but among the the two things i'm looking forward to most about going home are my family and being a member missionary." Can I just say, "amen!" I love my full time missionary status and I love my badge and the confidence it gives me and I love the miracles and the growth and everything. I LOVE being a missionary. But I'm grateful that in the Lord's wisdom, He let me go at the beginning of my life to experience and learn all these things because I want to forever more apply them and lead a life of service and love and I want to focus on inviting people to Christ ALL my life. That has changed about me. Of all the things, my perspective has changed and my motives are different. This is the work and glory of God and it matters most. 

We found someone new! Lauro! He was a semi-referral from some cutie cute members in the Spokane 1st ward. They are managers of an apartment complex and they told us about him but then they glumly told us that we weren't allowed to proselyte in the complex but that they would continue to invite him to activities and talk to him about church if he ever brought it up. But their little six year old chamaco hinted that he shared walls with other members, the Stringhams, in the complex. And so one night we were driving around, heading to try some members and I thought, "we should visit the Stringhams." because sister Stringham speaks Spanish and she could become his friend and SHE could invite him or something. So we went. And then as we were leaving I just thought, "ah heck. this is God's work. "no proselyting" or not, I'm knocking it" and Lauro answered and just loved us! We have been focusing on using the Book of Mormon in our street contacts and now it's all I use because the Book of Mormon just carries the Spirit and can teach way better than I can! So anyway, we introduced the Book of Mormon and taught the whole restoration on his doorstep and he just kept joking and loving it. Le cayemos muy bien! Y el nos cae muy bien tambien :)

But the lesson I really learned is that God knows me. Because I had been wondering if I receive promptings or if I follow them well enough as a missionary and then, he prompted me and I acted. As if He was telling me, "I do trust you, little one."

Anyway, we received 8 referrals this week! I mean it's like crazy! We'll find this family the Condons trust us to find. I know it!

Con todo mi amor,
Hermana Em


this is from our last zone training like beginning of january.

sister walton, sister kunkel, and i. this was the day i was throwing up so i just look lovely, i know.

sister gifford, sister kennach (who is samoan and from temple square and she was SO excited about jacob serving in a samoan ward)

sister walton's mom sent us matching pjs for christmas. we wear them every day. we've also been told by 10 people now that we look like sisters. what the crazy??

 it's been snowy all week. like everyday it snows more. ALL my life (and even last year here in washington) i've only ever seen it snow one day and then stop and then another random day and stop. but it snowed like 4 days in a row here. and then there was sunshine. so fun!
so here's a bunch of shots of sister walton and i, and our roomates a cute little bridge by our house. 

k all my pictures. the snowy pictures are fresh from today. so you can have an almost real time idea of what i look like and what i'm wearing. seasonably fashionable enough for y'all? :)  jsyk i took my coat off for the pictures! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!

Hey Dollies,

Having pday on Wednesday and then again today just made the whole week so fast. But the weeks here just go faster and faster. It's a little bit of panic mode but I try not to think about that.

Sister Walton and I had a breakdown on Friday. There are three sets of missionaries in our branch and it feels like we always seem to pull the short straw. We are SO happy that the other missionaries are having success in so many ways, but sometimes, it bruises my heart. Can't we see all the same miracles too? Can't we please just find people to teach?? Couldn't the Lord just transplant a trailer park from Moses Lake over to our area so we'd at least meet hispanics? We work hard, we try our best. I pray earnestly everyday that we will do our best and do what the Lord wants and sometimes we just come up empty handed in terms of numbers. So we just knelt down the other night and cried and prayed together. Then the next morning in my personal study I opened up in Mosiah and read King Benjamin's address and my heart was healed and filled with the spirit. 

I realized that I am not on a mission to receive the "reward" of lots of investigators or baptisms. I am not here to receive any reward at all, though it's certain I'll board the plane with my pockets overflowing with blessings. And maybe initially I did come for those reasons. I wanted to improve my Spanish, I wanted to know my scriptures better. But over time, the reason I'm on a mission has truly become because I love my Heavenly King and I want to serve him. He has given me everything in this life. How sweet and remarkable and miraculous that I have a faithful, eternal family! And how wonderful that I have the Book of Mormon to turn to and find instant peace. And how glorious that I will forever be blessed by the priesthood and this truly restored Gospel. The reward is the Celestial kingdom with my Heavenly Father and my family. That is the reward that I'm working toward. And so I'm here to serve. Serve and serve and serve and be obedient and faithful. And I can't expect anything. I have already been blessed so much. I know miracles will always happen because this is the work of the Almighty God. But, if my mission isn't filled with the success I imagined for myself, it's not to say that God doesn't love me or trust me. He does. He loves me a lot. And He knows far better than I do that the stretching and growing I've done in the last year and half has been exactly what I need so that I can return to live with Him.  

And President Condon continues to assure me (me personally!) that I will find a family. A prepared, happy family that we can teach and baptize and take to the temple. And I have the faith to see that. I will work and serve with every effort to bring people to Christ. That is why I'm here.

Juan (who wants us to call him Miguel now) and Ramon are doing great. Keep them in your prayers! And keep the Colombians in your prayers too! A few families have been popping up from Colombia and we want their hearts to be soft! There really is a lot of potential coming out of the woodwork. The Lord does bless the missionaries. He always looks out for us. I'm grateful for that.

The Book of Mormon is true! I hope you are all reading it. It is the most beautiful, most inpsired book I've ever read. I love it. I love my Savior! May the Lord bless your soul!

Hermana Judd

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.

Hey loverlies,

This has been wild week. I caught a stomach bug last Monday night and I stayed home from the work for the first time in my mission! But I got a blessing and was feeling fit as a fiddle on Wednesday. And Ramon was sick too and we got sick the same time but he kept feeling sick so we finally offered a blessing to him on Sunday and the Priesthood power was so real. I think it was a tender mercy from the Lord to help him recognize the truthfulness of the Priesthood. 

We had dinner with the McCombies, Condons and Bautistas. We each bore our testimony of the Book of Mormon and it was very sweet. I think they know it is true but they are afraid of the changes in their lives and so they are avoiding praying about these things. Someday they will be ready to accept it. 

I've been feeling SO full of love for the Book of Mormon since we started our challenge as a mission. It truly has impacted every part of my life. I am just so filled with joy for the work. And I love the Book of Mormon SO much. Even holding it in my hands gives me a sense of peace. I know God loves me when I read it. I feel my Savior's guiding influence as I turn the pages. 

I've been trying to be more in tune with the spirit this week so we took the music out of our car this week. I'm trying to train my brain to be still. Because I'm always thinking or singing (hymns or otherwise) or talking. And I just want to be still and let the Lord guide us. I'm constantly trying to trust him more. 

I know I keep saying it these days but I'm just full of contentment at this point in my mission. I have done my best, I've been obedient, and I'll keep working hard and that's enough. Every part of my mission is where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to have. God is in charge. He wants me right where I am.

Which is the feeling I'm trying to adopt for my future. Can't fear. Just trust in God and He'll place me right where He needs me. 

Sorry this is short! I just love y'all lots. 
This mission is the honor of my life. I'm full with tender emotions as I think about how richly I've been blessed to be able to serve the Lord.

Hermana Em

Monday, January 13, 2014

I seek not for honor of the world, but for the glory of my God

Welp loves,

It's so great to be a missionary. I pray that the time will just slow down a bit. This is a moment of my life. A season of happiness. And there will be a thousand more different seasons of happiness but I just want this one to stay a little longer.

Elder Neil L. Anderson came on Saturday. He was so kind and so funny! It was just a treat to hear from him and shake his hand. He took the microphone and walked among us in the chapel. He was so personable and his message was so perfect. About the mercy and merits and grace of Christ. He just had really great insights. Elder Paul D. M. Christensen of the Seventy came and spoke to us too. He shared this neat story about monks in Uganda. The church is true!
But probably the highlight of the experience of having an apostle come was actually moments before he arrived. He asked to take a picture with us and so we all lined up (it was quite the feat because we have SO many missionaries) and then after we were situated for the picture President Mullen suggested that we sing some hymns while we waited for him to arrive. We started with "We thank thee o God for a prophet." I have never felt the spirit so strongly or profoundly in my life. We were like the armies of Helaman. I just felt to happy to be a missionary, to be singing praises to my Heavenly King.

Oh, our trio ended on Tuesday. A Temple Square sister came in and so she was Sister Gifford's temporary companion for the week. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. But it was good too because it's nice to focus on the Spanish work. Sister Walton and I are grateful we're staying together because no one loves our area the way we do. It's special to me. I've spent most of my mission hidden in the folds of Cheney and out in West stake. I love this place. I love these people. And I just—I know the heart of this area. I hope I can stay here for the rest of my mission.
I "fear busted" (when new missionaries go out knocking on doors for the first time) a little fire cracker this morning. Sister Gosdis. I am already obsessed with her. She's 23 and a convert from Salt Lake. She is incredible. So humble, so in tune with the spirit. She gave me a boost. But at the same time I just want to steal her moment and let it be mine again. You are only a new missionary once. Can I say it one more time? My mission means everything to me.
We are starting a Book of Mormon challenge this week. We will read the whole book, cover to cover in the next six weeks. That's about 14 pages a day. Y'all in? I promise you that as you read it, you'll feel an increased measure of the spirit. I'm so excited. It's my favorite book. I want to read it all my life.
Juan and Ramon are doing great. Ramon is so close to baptism. He just knows it is true. I think we'll see a miracle with him this week. They are such good, humble young men. I am so grateful to teach them.
In the Manito ward we took this guy, Tom, on a church tour. He has been prepared all his life. He has always wanted to know about the LDS faith. One of his best friends from high school was a member. And he has always felt compelled to learn more. He read us this statement he typed out, “I am very serious about joining your church”.Incredible! I mean like he is a well-to-do business man and he wants to join the church. He feels the spirit. He loves it. In his closing prayer he said, “help me find the way.” Oh, so sweet!
Well, so much happened this week. This email was all over the place, sorry! MLC was perfect, per usual. LOTS of snow. I'm happy and loving life.
I love this gospel. I just love my Savior.
Hermana Judd

Monday, January 6, 2014

Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall

Happy day loved ones,

I really like being in a trio. It's been like a blast all week. I think it helped that we've all been roommates for the last 2 transfers so we're all BFFs but really, we've been working in unity and seeing lots of tender mercies. I'm a little nervous that it's Sister Walton and I's last week together. Of course, we've been together the last 3 transfers so it would logically follow that one of us would leave but she's my best friend right now. There are only 6 Spanish sisters so the transfer will just be a little switcharoo between us all. But I just feel like I know Sister Walton the best and we get each other's jokes and teach well together and I wouldn't mind at all if I finished my mission with her. But that kind of thinking is exactly why the Lord would switch it up. Change means growth. Means learning news things and becoming better.

Well...let's see this week...Oh! We watched Prince of Egypt on New Year's eve. Our list grew this year and lots of Disney movies were included but we decided on Prince of Egypt because it would remind us the least of home. And it actually turned out to be so inspirational and spirit filled. We went to the Manito's ward mission leader's home and it was just so fun. Spinach artichoke dip and chips and salsa. Needless to say, we have decided to only eat sugar on p-days now. The holidays were a sugar overload. ALL food overload actually. Carrot sticks and brown rice for the rest of my mission!

We've been having lots of blessings. Juan and Ramon came on a church tour and they've been coming to church every week. They both know the Book of Mormon is true but they are not quite ready for baptism. They came to a baptism on Saturday and both LOVED it. Afterward we walked them around the temple (usually our baptisms are at the stake center but there were too many baptisms scheduled that they had to go to the valley. We have good problems in our mission :)) And they really seemed to like it. We texted them last night to see if they had received an answer to their prayers about Joseph Smith and Juan said "yes, I will tell you later!" Ahh! so we'll find out tomorrow. I think it's a good answer. They are both so honest in heart!

And also last week, we invited Adriana to church and she sent us a reply back about how we don't need church to show God we love him. We felt like maybe we had said something wrong but we really didn't know what. We were hesitant to try back and especially because we cover two areas now it's harder to get out to Airway Heights as often. But we stopped by on Saturday and she was so happy to see us! The kids had been asking when the hermanas would come back! Turns out her friend had texted us back against Adriana's wishes and it was just a misunderstanding! I really have a good feeling about their sweet family. Oh, I just love them so.

We are teaching a 17 year old girl in the Manito ward and she is incredible! We taught her the restoration on Sunday and by Friday, she'd finished 1 Nephi. She knows it's true and is getting baptized on Feb. 1st! I'm super excited. It's been so rewarding to teach in the English area too. We don't teach as many lessons in the Spanish so I'm just happy to be teaching people and inviting people closer to Christ!

Our mission is reaching President Mullen's vision. We've been having accountability calls each night and it's totally helped us improve. It's like truly miraculous all the things that have been happening across the mission! Elder Anderson is coming on Saturday to talk to us about how we've been reaching and achieving our goals. My first apostle on my mission (well, Elder Bednar came to the MTC but this time I'll get to shake his hand!) and I am so thrilled. 

I love this work. Now more than ever before. I just get so tender thinking about even all the mundane aspects of missionary work because this time is just so precious. I'll be home and at BYU and married and all those great things someday but that will be life forever. My mission is a moment. I want to treasure it forever.

I sure do love you. and the Lord. and especially the Book of Mormon. I'm finishing Alma this week and I just cannot.get.enough. Too good!

Hermana Judd