Monday, October 31, 2016

{ My Boyfriend, Cam. }

People always told me, "Don't have a boyfriend on your mission, because he'll distract you from the work!"
el. oh. el.
Little did they know that they should have said, "Don't bring a camera on your mission, because it'll distract you from the work!"
*literally every 2 seconds driving around B E A U T I F U L Fall-time, Indiana*
"THAT'S SO PRETTY!!!!! Can we take a picture?!!?!!!"
And like.
I'm driving.
Sooooo my companion really never gets a chance to answer that question before I've already parked on the side of the road, jumped out, camera in hand, and traipsing around the countryside...
She'll thank me one day.

Sincerely, Sister Soloa'i

you mean, you DON'T jump around when you see pretty leaves??

found bunches of random flowers on the side of the road. almost died.

so green. so windy. so flat.

can we talk about the trees here for a minute??

the branch harvest party! aaaaall my posse was there.

 my "oh my gosh, Mom! I finally learned how to braid!" face.

 tried to be all candid. tried too hard.

when the mailbox is as barren as Abraham's wife. holding out hope though. #Isaac
was that joke too missionary of me?

 Seeeester Nuttall

when you go to contact a referral and you pull up the "address" like...

but it's all good because, bunny.

we taught the word of wisdom to this little girl we're teaching and so we made "Kreepy Kailey" and a bunch of good and bad foods for her to choose to feed her... things got out of hand.

this cat lives outside a retirement complex we go and visit. he's pretty yucky, but he's ALWAYS on this bench. so. he's also pretty faithful.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

{ glimpsing the atonement }

I feel like I've hit the point on my mission that's hard.
That's a word that was thrown around a lot as I was preparing to serve and I would ask returned missionaries for advice. That was always the common theme: "It's hard." Everyone always had their own unique sentence they would tack on the end of it though, like: "It's hard, but you'll love it!" or "It's hard, but the miracles make it worth it." or "It's hard, but you won't regret it."
That word would frustrate me so bad! What was hard??
But no one ever had an answer that would satisfy wide-eyed, don't-know-what-I'm-getting-myself-into, freshly nineteen me.
But, almost halfway through my mission, I think I'm beginning to realize what "hard" means and why those past missionaries could never adequately explain themselves.
Their version of hard, isn't my version of hard, and mine isn't going to be yours.
Buuuuut if I could give one piece of advice to any prospective missionary out there it would be: pray that your mission is hard.
Pray that your mission at some point just beats you and you feel like you can't keep going and you question everything.
I hope you pray that your mission utterly breaks you.
Breaks the person you were and reshapes and builds you into the child of God you are. And because of that, I hope you discover the atonement in a way you had never accessed before.
I'm not saying to go looking for hardship. Best believe I'm still afraid to pray for patience.
But how blessed are we that in our darkest realms of our evermore harrowing sorrows, when we feel like we must have reached our limit of pain and we simply cannot endure any longer, we cry out and Someone is there to relieve us.
One who will succor us.
One who had never done wrong, or caused any ill.
One who was completely, supremely perfect.
One who when He cried out during His realms of sorrow, none were with Him.
Do we ever stop to think that our sufferings are sacred? That they are glimpses of the very act that saved us from our sufferings? That they are opportunities given to us so we, even for a moment, can understand what He did for us?
I believe Heavenly Father doesn't want us to just suffer though.
He's not looking down at us from Heaven going, "Heh heh heh. Suckas."
He desires us to have happiness in this life and joy throughout all eternity.
And if opposition really is in all things, doesn't that mean that when we are amidst pain we didn't think possible, that also means doors of joy once locked have become opened to us? 
I think that deserves a congratulations to whoever, right now, is dealing with trials they feel they can't survive. Your capacity to love and be happy just widened because of that pain you were called to bear.
This is life eternal! This is the journey of becoming like God!
One of my favorite, and I feel the most real, scriptures in The Book of Mormon is found in Alma 31:38, "Yea, and he also gave them strength that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ."
There is no period after the word "afflictions."
God won't just take away our afflictions. If he were to never let us suffer, we would never know Christ and if we never knew Christ, we could never inherit eternal life. John 17:3.
How wonderful the promise that we will suffer and that with that suffering, comes joy as we turn to Christ. Aaaand in turn, we become like Him.
It's really a win-win situation right there.
So again, to the prospective missionary, I hope your mission is hard! I hope you have no choice but to rely on the atonement. I hope you come to know the Savior better than you already do. I can promise you, just like those missionaries told me, you will love it, the miraclesare worth it, and you will never, ever regret it.
But, when it does get hard, the kind of hard that will be uniquely catered to you, and you ask the Father, "Why?" Just remember that someone a lot greater than us already asked that question a long time ago. And though none were with Him and He was left completely forsaken, you won't be.
In fact, it is because of His stripes we are healed.
It is because of exquisite suffering, there is also everlasting, redeeming joy.  

Sincerely, Sister Soloa'i

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

s i s h.

thanks for a goooooood 6 weeks.

Sincerely, Sister Soloa'i

p.s. a member threw us a BYU birthday party... even though we don't go to BYU and it wasn't our birthday. no complaints. 

{ All You Need Is Loooooove }

First things first, how glorious was conference??
Can we take a moment of silence for that gift from God that was Russell M. Nelson's talk?
Thank you.

Well, friends. Story time:
lately, I had been really frustrated in this area because I felt like we weren't seeing the typical missionary success I was expecting to find. White River was filled with people the Lord had prepared and it seemed like everyone wanted to hear the gospel and we had a lot of people we were teaching and I felt like miracles were happening everyday.
Logansport is a completely different scenario and I wasn't used to it.
I was frustrated and upset that tracting wasn't successful in the ways we wanted it to be and that our investigators were using their (dang) agency in ways that weren't helping them progress.
So I was preeeetty angry. And suuuuupa sad. And basically blah. Worst of all, I felt like the Lord wasn't answering my prayers and I felt alone.
But then this week I had a much needed wakeup call:
There is a less-active woman who we have been visiting every week for the past month. She had some hard feelings towards the church due to circumstances in her past, buuuuuut.
She is wonderful.
She's like my BFF. 
I love her.
She suffers from a rare, incurable, brain disease called intracranial hypertension.
She's only in her early thirties, but some days she feels completely weighed down and that her disease has stolen her life.
Two weeks ago she told us how devastated she is that she will never get to do all the things she always planned on doing in her life.
Her bucket list: 1) Attend The Price is Right 2) Visit Italty, Hawaii, and The Holy Land
It broke our hearts as we just sat and listened and cried with her.
Sister Harris and I decided that we can't take her to Italy, but we sure can do SOMETHING!
So after we said goodbye, we headed over to the dollar store and picked out little gifts that represented each thing on her bucket list (for example, a Hawaiian breeze scented candle for Hawaii) and we wrote notes on each thing and shoved it all in her mailbox to find.
One of the gifts being a picture of Christ, with our testimony and a promise that even though she may not go to The Holy Land, the reason for The Holy Land, Jesus Christ, is with her always.
This week when we went to go see her, she told us that she had burst into tears when she saw our gifts and it touched her profoundly.
She's a spokesperson for her disease, has a large following on social media, and recently started up a non-profit organization on behalf of finding a cure.
Well she said that she was so touched that she made a video all about us, the missionaries worldwide, and the church and posted it. Well, hundreds of people watched and commented all about how wonderful it was and some said because of it, they too were going to "pay it forward" and help others in ways they could. Some also said that they could feel the love Christ had for them, individually, because of the love they saw He had for her.

M I R A C L E S.

I may not be witnessing the baptisms of every single person I see here in Logansport, but I can confidently say I'm having great, beautiful success. The reason why I came on my mission is purely about love. I know I have a Father in Heaven that loves me. I know I have a divine Brother who does as well. And I want to share that.

Love really does make the world go round, doesn't it?

Sincerely, Sister Soloa'i
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