Monday, December 5, 2016

Tchau, Moce, Goodbye!

Oiiiii! Bula Vinaka!

Just greeting you in my companions' native tongues! Well folks, I cannot believe it. My time being a missionary has very rapidly flown by, and I am near THE END. I am just going to avoid talking about it for a bit to avoid the tears :') I will firstly give you an update on my new area and new companions! Their names are Sister Cardoso (from Brazil) and Sister Gade (from Fiji). I keep making new lifelong friends from around the world, and I love it! They're both SO amazing and we have had so much fun together already! Romford is such an amazing area. I've already grown to love the people I've met here. It's a bit heartbreaking that I have such a short amount of time with them, but feel so grateful that I've had even just this short week and a half.

Meet my companions

I also hit the jackpot because I got the ward Christmas party AND fast and testimony meeting (got to say hello and goodbye to the ward members haha) AND a Christmas carol concert. It was so much fun. I even got the pleasure of being in the choir. I'm not sure my mediocre vocals added much, and we had to sing in Italian which was quite tricky, but it was still so much fun.

District meeting this week 

Brazilian BBQ today (sorry for the blurry pics, but it's all I have)

Well... I guess the time has come for me to write my last words as a full time missionary. Typing that out hurts my heart so much. I am just SO immensely grateful for this opportunity that I have had to serve. The experiences and the lessons I've learned will shape me for the rest of my life. I love this gospel and the happiness and joy that it has brought into my life. I love seeing these precious truths bring light into the lives of others. There have been moments that have tested me and just about stretched me to my limits. There have been hard and challenging and frustrating moments. But the sweet and precious experiences that come from serving, totally and completely overpower those times. I have learned to press forward through trials, and the amount of growth that comes during them has been what has taught me to rely more upon, and find strength through, the Atonement. I know God is our loving Father in Heaven and we are His children. His love for us is perfect and incomprehensible, but I am oh so grateful for it. I love my Saviour Jesus Christ and I know He lives. And I know He loves me. He is the light of the world, and we can light the world by trying to be like Him.

I love you all so much. Thank you for the support, encouragement, and love. I guess I can say SEE YOU SOON!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Adios, Amiga


Well, do I have some crazy news for YOU. Obviously I am horrible at reminding people that it's transfers, but by now you've probably all caught on to that secret. Here I was thinking that I would get to happily end my mission in my little Gillingham 2nd Ward with the people I have grown to LOVE so much, but was I right? NO. I received news that I will be moving to Romford for my last week and a half. What in the world? The thoughts that went through my mind as President Stevens told me: shock, confusion, sadness, confusion, my heart being ripped out of my chest (ok, that's a lil dramatic), and more confusion. The ironic part was that earlier in the day we were talking to our District Leader, and he was like, "Honestly, I think it will all stay the same. Maybe Elder Meas will leave, but nothing else. Maybe, by some crazy chance, they'll move you to London to be closer so it will be easier when you're ready to leave." And what does President tell me?? "We thought it would be good to bring you close to London in preparation for you to leave." Ugh. I'm still a lil gutted about it. Our entire District is being changed, so our dear DL was slightly off haha.

This last week in Sittingbourne has been good, though. It's a shame that we aren't given more notice to see people and say goodbye, but I have made many calls to try to convey my love for people. One of the highlights of this past week has really just been seeing the progression our pal Richard is making. You can literally see a new light in him that radiates, and I know it's from growing and learning in the gospel. I am so sad to say goodbye, but he will still be in good hands :)

Well, amigos, I have to pack ALL my stuff, just to repack it all again in less than two weeks. What a joy :,) but I am going to trust in the reason God has for me going to Romford for a bit, and I'm sure I'll have some fun things to update you on next week! I don't know who my companions are -- I totally missed the names in the call (I was in shock haha), but it will be trio, round dos! So that should be a partayyyyy.

I'll end this on a cool spiritual experience I had this week! I was sitting in sacrament meeting, just pondering and thinking. You know those times when you really just want to know that Heavenly Father is aware of you at that very moment? Well, this was one of those times. Obviously I know He is always aware of us, but a confirmation is always such a spiritual boost. A scripture came to my mind, which happens to be the one on my missionary plaque.

2 Nephi 31:20: "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 

Then our Stake President got up to bear his testimony. He told of how he had gone to France the day before to work at the refugee camp. He said as they were shovelling rocks, a little 4 year old Kurdish boy came over and picked up a shovel that was bigger than him. He started to shovel away, only able to manage getting a few rocks at a time. President Hunt then went on to say that although the little boy's contributions were small, he kept on going, and in the end his contributions did add up. Then he shared the very scripture I had been mulling over in my mind, adding how we can continue to "press forward" no matter if we feel we aren't moving as fast as others or contributing as much. He focused on how, as long as we keep going, our reward will be oh so sweet. The Spirit just hit me so strong, and I felt enveloped by God's love. I knew that was His answer to my silent prayer that I would be able to feel His love at that very moment.

I love you all!

Sister Syddall

Wednesday, November 23, 2016



Long time no talk. We are a bit late with the emails this weeks because WE GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE. TODAY. Can I just express how much I have missed that place for the past 17 months?? Definitely the most peaceful place on the earth. The beauty and serenity of it all was breathtaking. The Tuttles were kind enough to take us (love them with all my heart).

President Thomas S. Monson said, "As we attend the temple, there can come to us a dimension of spirituality and a feeling of peace which will transcend any other feeling which could come into the human heart. We will grasp the true meaning of the words of the Savior when He said: 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you... Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.'"

How true that statement is! Loved today. Never wanted to leave! It was also great because a family from Mildenhall Ward came and surprised me, so it was fun to take some pictures with them and catch up afterwards.

Due to that fact, I'm running on a tight schedule to email, but I'll leave you with some highlights of the past week and a half. The funniest moment was one day when Sister Garcia and I were going out to talk to people in town. Along the way, Sister Garcia was asking me to correct her pronunciation of different words, so after I shed my knowledge of the English language on her, I approached an old woman and began to talk to her. Then she very rudely proclaimed, "LEARN HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH!" Now, normally I would probably feel a bit of a sting from the strong rejection, but Sister Garcia and I just started cracking up as we walked away. Laughter takes the sting away for sure.

The uplifting statement from the week was from our pal Malcolm in our ward. He said to us, "Sisters, it's not about the amount of baptisms you have, it's about the seeds you've planted!" That is exactly what we needed to hear. God is good, my friends! He definitely inspires people to do or say something that we need. I LOVE YOU ALL! HAVE A FABULOUS WEEK!

Sister Syddall

Monday, November 14, 2016

"Stay friends, Mexican and American!"


I'll start off by stating that this week was much better than last. The funny part is that people weren't necessarily more receptive, but Sister Garcia and I have just focused on having a positive attitude towards every single thing we do, and it has made all the difference! Perspective is what it's really all about!

Happy post elections week as well! Lemme tell ya, these English folks are VERY passionate when it comes to American politics. Everyone and their dog has been asking me about what I think about it, and I'm just like "uhhhhh... I don't hear about anything over here, so I have no opinion." It's been a great conversation starter when people hear my accent. A woman asked Sister Garcia and I where we were from, so I said America, and Sister Garcia said Mexico. The lady was like "ohhhhhh, not very good between you two then..." We were both laughing SO hard. And then as we were leaving, she goes "STAY FRIENDS, MEXICAN AND AMERICAN!" Ohhhhhh man, funniest moment of the week for sure.

One of my not-so-great moments of the week was when we were talking to people in good ol' Sittingbourne. I approached this dad with a little kid, and I said, "oh my goodness, your son is so cute!" ...and I'll bet some of you can predict where this is going... he proceeds to very defensively say, "well, it's my daughter, but thanks." I felt soooooo bad! But no lie, this little girl was wearing a boy's coat! And she had very short hair! It turned into such an awkward situation so fast hahaha.

We got to to on exchange to Illford this week! I had the pleasure of being with Sister Soulier, and I just love that girl so much! She's from Utah, and I have known her since she was born in the mish, but I learned so much from her and I'm pretty sure we were laughing practically the whole day. Illford is SO different from our area, so it was fun to be around such a fun variety of people!

I'll end this with a little thought from Elder Tuttle from District meeting this week. He had us read Jeremiah 16:16 "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." He spoke about how in some missions they are fishers -- there are lots of people that want to get baptised. Then he went on to talk about how in this mission we are hunters. We have to search on every mountain (more like a mound of grass in England) and hill! We will try to avoid the holes and the rocks (that's a bit sketchy), but we need to keep on being hunters. This pumped me up!

In honor of Sister Tuttle baking over 10,000 cookies since February. She's a ROCKSTAR!

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Love you all!

Sister Syddall

FORGOT ONE IMPORTANT THING: I won't be emailing until Wednesday next week because guess where I'm going that day?!?!?!?!?!??? THE TEMPLE!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bonfire Night

Hiya, you alright? (17 months in this country and that greeting still makes no sense to me haha)

Well, well, well, this week has honestly been a pretty tough one, but hey, you can't smell the roses without feeling the thorns, am I right? Now that I've started this off with a cheesy metaphor, I'll go into why this week was rough.

First of all, the week started right off with me getting a nasty cold that was just RELENTLESS, let me tell you. My nose was pretty raw by the end of it all from the constant tissue blowing that I had to do. I was also just exhausted 24/7, but I refused to sit inside because of this, and I tried to keep working as hard as I could. On top of that, I was unable to taste for a solid 3 days, and what is life without tasting food? BUT I am happy to say I survived, and my dry nose is recovering.

Second unfortunate event of the week was that Sister Garcia fell and hurt her ankle pretty badly, which hindered her ability to walk. Due to the fact that we walk, and walk, and walk, it put us in a slightly tricky situation. But we put our thinking caps on and figured out how we could still get work done. With some good support for her ankle and a lot of prayers, it's a-ok now. Yay!

Third challenge that was faced was that it was WET. And COLD. And DARK. With this combination, most people do not want to listen, and since this area consists of finding, finding, and more finding, it can be a real struggle. But it's alright! I've got to say, even after doing this for quite some time, I've learned that rejection (I should specify in particular RUDE rejection) always stings. We are at that point when if you knock on someone's door once it's dark, they yell at you for knocking at such an unruly hour... and I'm just thinking "uhhh... it's 6:00..." We went out this week not anticipating rain, but man oh man, did it RAIN. We were soaked through to the core, but it was still a fun adventure, I suppose haha.

OH, and I can't forget to mention that we had NO HOT WATER, and our heating wasn't working soooooo it has made for some chilly nights and mornings. Thank goodness for blankets and warm socks!

A funny story I have to share with you all is when Sister Garcia and I were walking home yesterday evening after attempting to find people. It was pitch black, and we were following our little GPS on our iPad to get home. We were in an unfamiliar area of town, and as we began walking along the path it wanted us to go, we walked up some steps and all of a sudden realized we were in a cemetery. Now, I do not even know why it startled both of us so much, but we RAN the other way, and my heart was just racing soooooo fast. I could only imagine that seeing the whole scene would have been hilarious. We were yelling "run, run, run!!" and our faces probably looked a tad scared. Then we proceeded to laugh for a good 30 minutes, and found another way home.

This morning as I was reading the Book of Mormon, I came across a verse that helped me so much amid the not so grand week. It's in Alma 34:41:

"But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions."

As I read this, I was reminded that I need to exercise patience, even amid the hard days and the trials that I face. Missionary work is not easy, but then again, I never expected it to be! Elder Holland says it best: "Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience!"

Have a great week!!

Sister Syddall

P.S. It was Bonfire Night this week, so lots of fireworks... celebrating a man who tried to blow up Parliament, but failed. Nice. (Another thing that makes no sense haha.)

Monday, October 31, 2016

White Cliffs

Hiya everybody!

So today for p-day we went with a group of missionaries to a place called "the White Cliffs of Dover" and it was sooooo beautiful. But also soooooo exhausting. One of the elders had a monitor thing and he informed us that we walked almost 8 miles... up and down and up and down. So my apologies right from the get-go if this email is a bit brief, but I really can't think at the moment because I am pooped. And I only have some low quality ipad photos to share because I don't have a connection to a computer for my camera... so when I get the chance I'll try to send some from my camera. These pictures don't do it justice, so I suggest you just pop over to England to come see it yourself :) or google it. That could do it too haha.

This week has been good! We are currently teaching a nice chap named Richard who just called us and pretty much scheduled his own baptism date... haha such a great guy! We met him back when I was with Sister Topp as he was walking through town with a half gallon of chocolate milk, and we've been teaching him ever since! He is shooting for the end of November to be baptised, so please keep him in your prayers! It would be so special to see him make that covenant before I hop back across the pond.

The flat we live in used to be an Elders' flat, so there's all of this weight lifting stuff, and I have decided I am going to take advantage of it hahaha. Every morning I've been puttin' up some reps to try and get those toned arms and legs. I know 6 weeks will transform me ;)

There is a recent convert we have been meeting with that informed us that the only movie that's made him cry is Pokemon when Ash dies... and so of course he proceeds to show us... and of course I cannot hold back the laughter because it's a CARTOON. And ASH COMES BACK ALIVE. So now the recent convert thinks I have no feelings. But it's alright, he's over it. Seriously, how was I supposed to hold it together??

Zone Conference pictures... and a video :)

Highlight of the week was when we were meeting with J, a woman who has not come to church in a very long time. Sister Garcia was VERY tired, and J's home was VERY dim and VERY warm, so as we were talking, I would glance over at Sister Garcia and she was just dozing off every couple of seconds, and as soon as her head would fall, she would jerk back up super quickly. Poor Sister Garcia was trying SO HARD to stay awake. At one point J and I were talking, and Sister Garcia just all of the sudden started telling some story about how her brother was a very small baby when he was born, and her sister was really big. I was just trying not to burst out laughing because it was SO random and out of the blue. We had a good thirty minute laugh about it once we left. I think J just didn't know what was going on hahaha.

Okay, I realise this isn't short even though I said it would be... but it's probably a bit confusing, so I'm sorry about that! I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!

Sister Syddall

Monday, October 24, 2016


Hello hello hello!

Currently emailing in Starbucks sipping a £2.65 small cup of hot chocolate #ripoff. The things you'll do for wifi haha. This week has been pretty weird to be honest, getting back to the swing of things in Gillingham. It was quite a weird experience to serve in another area for a week, and then BOOM be back here. It was almost like a mini vacation... yet it wasn't a vacation because we still did missionary work... but I am still looking forward to what this transfer has to offer!

Sister Garcia is just soooo amazing! She's been on her mission for six months, but this is only her second area (just like what happened to me) so I know it is an adjustment for her. She just never has a negative attitude. She's such a trooper for keeping the smile on her face despite the [tons of] people that tell her this area is a bit... rough. She is indeed from Mexico (wasn't sure last week), and she's just so much fun and such a hard worker! I couldn't think of a better companion to have as I near the end of my mission. I know that we will see miracles here! And I'm learning some Spanish along the way! She's so great, though, and she said she'll make me some authentic Mexican food #score. I'm really feeling the hashtags today, so I'm just going to apologise in advance.

Also with a new transfer comes a new district! Some new faces, but also some that stayed. Elder Meier (my mission son) is still sticking with me. I think he'll stick around until the day I die (in mission terms of course). Elder Meas is staying as well! Just found out this week he can literally bark like a dog. Back home in Cambodia he had a chicken farm and he would scare off predators by barking like a dog, so he perfected it hahaha. I'll try and get a video this week for your viewing pleasure. And we got my good friend Elder Nakaima from the MTC! NO one probably recalls since it was so long ago, but he is HILARIOUS. Japanese people, man. They're the greatest. And I now have a fellow American, Elder Andrews from Boston. Everyone is great and this will be a super fun transfer!

This week I had some interaction with my least favourite species, cats. #ew (sorry for all you cat lovers out there). We went to a couple of homes and they all had cats, and for some unknown reason they were ALL over me... jumping on my lap, rubbing up against me, the works. I am VERY allergic to cats, so immediately my eyes started watering and I started sneezing, but I tried to hold it back. Man oh man, that affected me for nearly 2 days. But I'm willing to take some allergies on if it means preachin' the good word.

We also went out this week and couldn't find our normal set of keys (ok fine, I'll be honest with you, they were upstairs and I was too lazy to go get them #thestruggleisreal), so we grabbed the backup set and upon our return to our flat, realised that the key to the flat was BROKEN. Now who would keep a broken key I just don't know. It resulted in doing our mega long weekly planning session in the hallway where lights automatically turn off about every 2 minutes. It was a joy. But someone came and saved us, so all was well.

Well, folks, I love being a missionary! I love my Saviour. I am so grateful for this opportunity I've had to be serving as a missionary because I don't think I would have quite the same appreciation for the Atonement if I was not here. I truly do "stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me." I have been reflecting on last year when I was really struggling. It was the first time I had ever struggled with any depressed feelings, feelings of anxiety, and honestly just feelings of mental distress. I was feeling like I was treading water, but that I had bricks tied to both of my feet and was slowly sinking. Each day was filled with pleading to my Heavenly Father that these feelings of sadness would go away. And then, in a way I can't quite describe, happiness started creeping back into my life. I received a priesthood blessing and was promised that I would be able to return to my happy self. When that blessing was promised, I started seeing things in a new light. The Atonement began to change me. I felt the healing of Jesus Christ. Each time I took the sacrament I could literally feel a weight being eased from my shoulders.

Something interesting that I found in my studies this week was in Alma 7:12: "And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." I learned that "succor" literally means "to run to." As I reflected on my experience, I was able to see that Jesus Christ was literally running to me. The Atonement is something that is so magnificent and indescribable, but it is something that I am so eternally grateful for.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

I you all! Have a wonderful week :)

#love #peace #happiness 
Sister Syddall