Monday, July 27, 2015

Officially in the Field!

Hello everybody!

I hope that your week is going wonderfully. I will try to recount everything that has happened since my last letter, but it has been a while so I will do my best!

The last few days in the MTC were so great. I just loved all of the missionaries there so much! Our last few days were still filled with a ton of new learning. We did have the opportunity to do finding there in Manchester, which was a daunting task, but it went well! Sister Nyakoh was already a pro since she had been in the field for two months, so she made it a lot less intimidating. People on the bus informed us that people are a lot more open to listening in Manchester (which is true, I have come to find out!).

Saying goodbye to everyone on Wednesday was so, so sad. The trio was separated as Sister Nyakoh had to head back to the Netherlands for her mission. Then we took off on a five hour bus ride to London! There was a group of 17 missionaries, which made the bus ride fun! When we finally reached London it was SO surreal! All of the buildings have so much character and are so different. I love it! The mission home is right across from Hyde Park and the location is just beautiful! I took some pictures on my camera, but unfortunately I don't have a way to attach them because I am emailing off of an iPad.

When we arrived we met our mission president and his wife, President and Sister Stevens. They are just the SWEETEST people in the world and I feel so blessed that I will get to know them throughout my mission. They are very new as well, but they are doing such a great job! We were actually their first new group of missionaries that have come through, which is exciting. (Side note: They've had multiple kids that lived in Parker and were in our stake!)

Here is an excerpt from the mission letter President Stevens sent out this week:

"We have had 19 new missionaries arrive into our mission this past week. As they were welcomed to the mission, I shared some of the proud history of missionary work in England starting back in 1837 when the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation to send missionaries to England. He sent Apostle Heber C. Kimball and 6 other missionaries who arrived in Preston on Saturday, July 22, 1837. On the day they arrived, it was a public holiday prior to a Monday parliamentary election. Bands played and various groups marched with political banners flying. After unloading their trunks from the coach, the elders looked up and saw a large flag flying before them bearing the motto: 'Truth Will Prevail.' With one voice they responded, 'Amen, and amen.' They took this as a sign from heaven of good things to come. Our 19 new missionaries also arrived to their new field of labour on July 22nd! These new missionaries bring a fire and enthusiasm that is contagious. We are excited to welcome them to ELM."

Then we got to meet our trainers! My trainer is Sister Bader and we get along SO well. We both love talking so it's very convenient {haha}. She's hilarious. She is from Switzerland, but I seriously would have never guessed because she sounds 100% American. It's funny because sometimes I'll say some weird word and she will be like, "Wait, what does that mean?" Then I remember again that English isn't her first language. She has taught me a few German phrases and said I'm actually not too bad! I'm sure she's just trying to make me feel good, though {haha}. She is such a great missionary who loves this work so much! She has been such a great guide to me already, and I can't wait to see what else she teaches me.

First day of knocking doors: ACCOMPLISHED. 

I am serving in an area called Hayes and it is very close to London.  We are allowed one p-day in the transfer (every 6 weeks) to go and explore the city! I am not positive of when we will be going, but I am so pumped! And this area is just so great. The ward I am serving in is so nice and really diverse, so it's super fun to meet the different people. One member told me that there are people from 24 different countries in our ward! That is so crazy cool to me. The bishop and his family, the Gonzalveses, are so wonderful. They are Brazilian and funny, and they make some really good food, which always wins me over.

There are a set of elders that serve in our ward named Elder Convey and Elder Sowah. They are seriously the most hilarious people I have ever met - they make everything fun. I met our district for the first time (3 sets of elders and Sister Bader and I) and I can tell that it's going to be a great transfer. I am learning so much everyday and growing so much!

This week I have learned a lot about patience. It's been kind of crazy because I do not really have the whole routine down, and I don't know my way around very well, and I just want to get right into the swing of things. But I have realised that THINGS TAKE TIME. I know that as I rely on my Heavenly Father and try my hardest, He will help me. My district leader assured me, "A mission is like a train. It starts off slow, but then it will just take off." I am just going to work on being patient until it "takes off" and I am so excited for all I will learn!

If you would like to send me a letter, my new address is
66A Whitehall Road
Middlesex UB8 2BQ

Sister Bader suggested that packages be sent to the mission home just to ensure it makes it! But that's also because I am super close to central London, so I will meet there a couple of times this transfer (but I'm not suggesting I need a package haha).

I would love to hear from you all!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Going to London Tomorrow!!

Hey mama and papa and Mauri!

So we will not have P-day until Monday. Things are going great with me though! I have loved my time at the MTC and will miss it but am excited for what's ahead! LOVE YOU!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Hey everyone!

So this is my first week of emailing, and I must say that with how slow of a typist I am, it is going to be a struggle replying to everyone, so I am sorry if I don't get back to you right away!! But don't stop emailing! I absolutely LOVE hearing from everybody!

So far the MTC experience has been an AMAZING one! I really don't understand why the MTC has such a bad rep! (But I do understand if you have to stay for more than 2 weeks because that would just be tiring!) And I may be a little bit biased because I am only around a group of about 40 people rather than 1000 at the Provo MTC! But getting here was one hectic journey!

So long story short, ALL United Airlines went down just as I was about to take off on my first flight, so it threw off my entire day of traveling. I was traveling alone from Denver to Chicago to New Jersey, and then knew that I would meet up with a group of missionaries. My first flight was wayyyyy delayed so I BARELY made the second flight. So when we were on the way from Chicago to New Jersey, the weather was bad and we just had to fly around. Then we had to land in Ohio and wait. At this point I knew that I would be cutting it VERY close for the flight from New Jersey to Manchester. When we landed (and I was STILL alone), I ran as fast as I could to the gate, but I missed the flight. By 2 minutes. I was crushed because I was alone and had no phone or way of contacting anyone. I was trying to borrow other people's phones, but the Missionary Travel Services line that was supposed to help if this happened didn't pick up! So it's safe to say I started freaking out because I am not one that was used to traveling so I had no idea what to do. I had to wait in this customer service line for about 3 hours... when I saw the greatest sight I have ever seen: six other missionaries!! I was SOOOOOOO happy and so I ran over to them, and (lucky for them) since I had been waiting in the line so long, we got to go right up to my spot in the front and figure it out! What was annoying was that all of those missionaries had come from Denver to New Jersey, so I was just like why the heck did I not get to go with them??? But we ended up staying in a hotel and everything worked out the next day. I met some awesome Sisters and got pretty close with one named Sister Bills and she is actually my friend Tarryn's companion! (Tarryn was my RA from BYU this past year - it's been awesome to have a familiar face around here!) I think it's safe to say I am SO glad I shouldn't have a need to be on an airplane for another 18 months!
 Here is the group of girls that missed the flight the first night. From left to right: Sister Phillips, Sister McFarland, Sister Gwilliam, and Sister Bills. And me. So glad these girls were with me!

Flying into Manchester... finally! Everything is so green!

The missionaries that had made the first flight to Manchester got to kind of relax for the first day, but the rest of us had to jump right into things, which was tiring! But my district is FANTASTIC! I am in a trio companionship with Sister Mathews and Sister Nyakoh. Sister Mathews is from Nevada. She went to BYU this past year, too, but we never met. She is serving in London as well! Sister Nyakoh is originally from Ghana, but then moved to Belgium, and was called to serve in the Belgium/Netherlands mission. Something interesting about her is that she actually served in the mission field before coming to the MTC because of visa problems, so she is PRO! Both of my companions are so, so great and we get along so well! The Elders in my district are Elders Skinner, Barton, Tobon (from Colombia), Batalla (from Argentina), Nakayimo (probably spelled wrong haha - from Japan), and Salsbury. All of the Elders in our district are so dedicated and great. And we all have so much fun together, too!

Sister Mathews, me, and Sister Nyakoh.

My district: Elder Salsbury, Elder Nakayimo, Sister Mathews, THE FRIENDLY GIANT, Sister Nyakoh, Elder Tobon, Elder Batalla, Elder Skinner, Elder Barton.

I would have to say a highlight of every day is after Elder Nakayimo and Salsbury teach a lesson to their "investigators" (who are actually our teachers), Elder Nakayimo either comes in with a HUGE smile on his face, or he lays face down on the floor. That's how we can tell if their lesson went well or not. It is seriously the FUNNIEST thing and he just gets us all laughing so hard! We can all relate because all of us have had some lessons that went less than fantastic... but we are all learning more and more every day and all growing spiritually, which is really amazing to see!

These are all the London and London South Missionaries. There are some Germany and Greece missionaries in the MTC but they are not in the picture :(

The food here is way good, but everything is SO HEAVY. It's either some meat in stew, or breaded meat, or fried meat, or just MEAT, so we are definitely grateful for our exercise time in the day - haha.

The MTC president's name is President Preston, and he and his wife are just amazing people!! They love all of the missionaries so much and are just so adorable! Talking to them or hearing from them is always a delight. Sunday was definitely my favorite day thus far because we got to hear from 5 randomly chosen missionaries (escaped THAT one), and President and his wife. Pretty much all day was just spiritually edifying! And there was no pressure to be learning and teaching a ton, so it was just great!

Me and Sister Aubuchon! She was my RA at school.

I can hands down say Preston, England is the most breathtakingly beautiful place I have EVER seen! Literally all you can see when you look outside is green and flowers - it just makes me so happy! We have had a couple of days that it has just rained and misted all day. The weather is the perfect temperature in the summer! I truly loveeeeeee it! We are right next to the Preston Temple, which is also sooooo beautiful! We actually had the opportunity to go and do a session today, which was a wonderful experience!

On our walk over to the temple...

The Preston England Temple... it's BEAUTIFULLLLL

Lily pads are everywhere here... is this place even real life?!

Me and Sister Nyakoh 

It is so fantastic to see this group of missionaries here. Even though we are all SO different, we all still just get along so well. We are practicing a musical number where we sing I Am a Child of God in our native language (woohoo English! haha)... there are NINE different languages we are singing! This is such an amazing time to meet people from all different places and all different walks of life. AHHHHHH! I just love it :-)

On Sunday night we had the chance to watch a devotional by David A. Bednar from an address he gave at the Provo MTC in 2009. It was called, "Is it the Spirit or is it Just Me?" The advice he gave us on that question was to QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT. He told us that we just need to press forward with faith and do what comes to our mind, because if we are being good, we will act correctly. He also said that at some points you may not realize you are receiving a spiritual prompting. Even when you act on it, you may not realize the impact it has made. I LOVED this message and think that everyone can just remember they need to PRESS FORWARD and ACT on those thoughts you have (as long as they are positive) because amazing things can come out of it! That's my little spiritual thought for you :-)

I apologize that this letter is all over the place, but I hope it gives you a glimpse of what is going on across the pond (haha)! If you didn't get anything out of it... just know that things are hectic around here!

Love you all! Thank you so much for the support, prayers, and emails!

Love, Sister Syddall

P.S. I just thought I would let you all know I had my first experience going to a store here - it was England's version of Walmart and everything is SO different. AND I can't use my curling iron or straightener here, which stinks. Driving here is like reallllllly scary - like Utah x 10 (I am so scared for when I have to drive). AND I'm sitting next to a missionary named Sister England and she's from England... quite ironic! I hope your morning is going well - we are about to eat dinner (haha). LOVE YOU ALL!

Friday, July 10, 2015

I made it!!!

Hey mom and dad!

Just want to inform you that I have FINALLY made here safe and sound :) Thank you for being there yesterday for me when I was so scared! Talking to you guys helped. I am so so grateful my prayers were answered and 6 other missionaries were with me. What a BLESSING! After a nice night in a hotel we were able to go back and sit in the airport until our flight. And now that I'm here I can say I think I'm going to love it!! The 6 missionaries I have been with have been awesome and I am excited to meet the rest of them. Weird though, all of the missionaries that were with me flew from Utah to Colorado to New Jersey so I was just wondering why the heck I didn't get to be on THAT flight?! Oh well though, it all worked out :)  Everything here is so beautiful and green, and peoples' accents are a bit hard to understand, but awesome. Oh, and we were told we aren't supposed to say "awesome" {haha}. Instead we are supposed to use words like wonderful or marvelous, so that will be an adjustment! I just want to let you guys know I LOVE YOU! Tell the rest of the fam I love them too :)

Love, Shilo

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

T-9 Hours

Well this is it! In a little less than 9 hours I will be on my way to England! (with a couple of layovers on the way)

Today has been one full of all different emotions! I have been INSANELY excited for all of the amazing experiences ahead of me but there has been a little anxiety/nervousness that has hit. And let me just tell you, saying goodbye to family and friends is not very easy and there were definitely some tears shed. I can't even imagine how hard it is going to be as I say goodbye tomorrow morning to the rest of my family at the airport (but we'll have to see if I can even comprehend what's going on, 3:30am is a pretty early goodbye!)

Today my family and I got all of the little last minute items I needed, and then we all headed out to one last dinner (Redddd Robin, YUMMMMM). And then the most important event of the night, I was officially set apart as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! It was one of the most amazing experiences ever. The Spirit in the room was so present. I had some nerves before I got set apart and I just felt all this pressure building up inside of my chest. But right as President Lyman (my Stake President) began the blessing to set me apart, ALL of those nerves diminished and I immediately felt peace. There were so many blessings promised to me if I commit to giving 100% effort.

This is what I am going to be living out of for the next 18 months, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to pack all of my stuff back into these babies. Transfers will be interesting...

Our last dinner together for awhile. Of course we had to document it with a family selfie.

 I have a feeling this little sister of mine is going to look quite a bit different when I get home!

I am SO grateful for the amazing blessing that the Gospel is in my life. I know without a doubt that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith restored the Gospel to the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that if you study and ponder it, you can too come to the knowledge of its truthfulness. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the true and living prophet on the earth today. I know that Heavenly Father created a plan so that we could have the opportunity to return to Him someday, and if we strive to keep His commandments and endure to the end, we will have eternal blessings. I know He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for the sins of the entire world so that we could repent and be made clean of the mistakes we have made. I know that Heavenly Father knows me and you individually, and He LOVES you. He knows our struggles, doubts, fears and trials, and is always there to listen if we turn to Him in prayer. I am SO excited to share the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for all of their children in England. I know that Heavenly Father is preparing people now that need to hear this message from me, and I am so ready to go and find those people! I love you all!