Monday, August 29, 2016

Pizza. Pizza. Pizza.

Hello Everybody!!

I hope you've all had a splendid week. Right now I'm honestly just struggling to think of what has gone on... give me two seconds while my brain starts to function...

Ok. I guess I can start by telling you more about our Polish friend. She's still just doing so so great. Every time we meet with her we talk about what she has read in the Book of Mormon, and she's just zooming through! She's already in the middle of 2 Nephi and she's just loving it and taking in every single word. She's had some challenges going on lately, but she has told us that she feels so happy because of the gospel. She has come to church every single week, and she told us that at the end of Relief Society, she just doesn't want to leave because she feels so much peace. I find it amazing to see how the Spirit can speak to everyone, despite the language barriers. Honestly, as we teach her we need to go very slow and use a lot of Google translate haha, but she still describes the feeling of the Holy Ghost each time we teach her something new or each time she hears someone speak. It's so wonderful! She wants to be baptised, and we are helping her work towards that goal. I'll be sure to take a picture with her this week so you guys can meet her :)

Just took some selfies to have a few more pictures to share this week...

This week we literally had pizza 4 nights in a row haha! When people ask me what my favourite food is, I'm always just like "well... I really like pizza." For some reason this week everyone just decided to respond to that and feed it to us! Now I can't say I really have anything to complain about, but it was just so odd that it was four consecutive nights.

This week I've also come to the conclusion that humidity and I are not friends. It's been quite a mild summer over here to be honest, but this past week it's just be HOT. and SO HUMID. I feel like when I walk outside I'm steppin' into a steamy sauna. I'm not a fan. But I know in a matter of a month when it's back to being cold and rainy and wet all the time, I'll probably be reminiscing on these hot days.

 This is a Sister who served in this mission, but has come back to visit. Way back at the beginning of my mission when I met her, she was like "AHHH, a fellow tall Sister!" Haha

The Sistas in the District

Sister Hudson and I got to teach Relief Society this week in one of our wards, and we focused on the talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks this previous conference called Opposition in All Things. We got all prepared the previous morning, and we go and sit in sacrament meeting and the woman talking literally based her talk on this exact thing! Same quotes. Same vibe. Sister Hudson and I just looked at each other and were like "uhhh.... well I hope they're ready for round two!" So it made me a bit nervous, but once we got into teaching the lesson, I saw that this is exactly what everyone needed to talk about. I loved hearing stories from all of these women and how they've faced opposition with hope. There is so much to learn from their experiences! Not to mention there was a big family reunion going on (I actually saw someone from the Stevenage Ward!) and so there were about an extra 20 women in RS. It was so great. Something I loved that a sister shared was that whenever women in her ward at home would face a hard time, their Relief Society president would say, "well, we read many times in the Book of Mormon 'and it came to pass...' It never says 'and it came to stay'!" It is so true! The circumstances that we face in life are always changing, but I know that opposition is part of that necessary struggle to move us closer to God and to let us rely upon the help of our Saviour.

Well, I love you all! Have a superb week!

Sister Syddall

Monday, August 22, 2016

Changing lives, one Eastern European at a time

Hello hello hello!

This week has been just fannnnnnntastic and I'm excited to share more about it with you! We are still working with that wonderful Polish woman that I talked about last week, and I just feel so much love for her and her great kids. Teaching is always an adventure with the language barrier, but her eyes still just light up when we share something, and you can tell that it just makes sense to her. She has already grown such a love for the Book of Mormon, and says that she has prayed and knows that it is true. She came to church again this past week and she just had this huge smile across her face the whole time. Everyone that has met her has just instantly loved her, and she's just such an amazing person! We are going to have to work through some things with her before she will be able to be baptised, but she is so excited and wants to take that step! She will be moving to another part of England within the next couple of months, so I pray that we will be able to see this miracle unfold before she leaves. She sent us this Facebook message, and it just brings the biggest smile to my face: "You gave me a big chance and also I nided a friend's and Jesus Christ brought you to me. Thank you for being here." Seriously, NOTHING beats that happiness that I have felt as I've seen the gospel bring so much joy to people I meet.

We are also working with a Lithuanian woman, and she's just so sweet! She is a young mum and her schedule has made it hard for us to see her very often. Our mission is making a very big push on using Facebook to help people in their progression, which has really helped us with her. We brought her a Lithuanian Book of Mormon a couple weeks ago, and her eyes just lit up when we gave it to her. When we visited her this past week she was like "sorry I haven't been able to read very much..." and then she proceeds in her broken English to give us a perfect synopsis of everything she read. She told us all about Nephi and how he was righteous but his brothers were not wanting to listen, and then she told us all about Lehi's dream. And she just said she loved it! She is going to Lithuania for a few weeks, but we hope when she gets back we will be able to help her progress more. She did say she wants to take the Book of Mormon with her, though, so she can keep reading it.

This week we saw many miracles of meeting a lot of new great people! Some Spanish, some Venezuelan, some Portuguese, American, English, and of course our Eastern Europeans!! The Lord has been blessing us immensely, and I am excited to see what more will come with these wonderful people we have met.

Me and Sister Matthews; Sister Hudson and Sister Wright 

Sorry... these are kind of lame pictures!

I also got to go on exchange this week, and had the opportunity to be with Sister Matthews from South Africa. She just served in Thetford, so it was wonderful to get more advice on how we can continue to strengthen the area. And, of course, exchanges are always a load of fun!

We are sadly car-less again... but we hope it will be back within the week! Feels good to walk every once in a while, though, I must say.

I hope you all have a stellar week!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tropical Paradise


So, today we are embarking to the nice, tropical, hot, sandy beaches of England. Hah, PSYCH! Pretty sure it's gonna be lots of rocks and cold andddddddd anything but tropical, but hey, I'm sure it's still gonna be a grand time! So due to that fact, I don't have a lot of time to write out a long and profound update (although I'm pretty sure they are never profound haha) but I'll try my best!

So I wanted to write about a little MIRACLE that we saw this week! It was a cold and wet day, so no one was out and about in the town, so we decided that we could do a little bit of tracting to find someone who might want to learn more. A member had told us we should tract a specific road, butttttt we could not find it. So we found another road and we were feelin' it. We were ready to find some prepared souls! We met one very kind woman who wasn't interested but told us her neighbour might be. So we go over to her neighbour's house, and this SUPER friendly woman answers the door. Her English wasn't the greatest, but as soon as she saw "Jesus Christ" on our name tag her face lit up and she was like "Oh, come inside! Come inside!" So we went in and found out she was from Poland. She was so excited to show us her Bible and we told her we could get her a Book of Mormon in Polish. She was so happy, and we set an appointment to see her the next day. When we brought her the Book of Mormon, she was ecstatic and then we invited her to church, and she came with her two sweet little kids! And she LOVED it! She brought her Book of Mormon and Polish Bible with her and she showed us that she had already read 6 chapters! Sister Hudson and I are so so grateful for this amazing miracle we saw! We are excited to see how the gospel can bless her.

Alright, now let me tell you the side story about the picture with me and the other Sisters laughing. We were outside at our zone meeting, gearing up to take the group pictures I sent last week. So I'm standing by them and put my arm around Sister Hudson and then put my other arm behind Sister Smiddy, and no joke my arm reached all the way over to the right shoulder of Sister Powell. She obviously thought it was Sister Smiddy, but then she realised it was just good ol' me with my monkey arms! We all just burst out laughing, and I realised how monkey-like my limbs were haha!

{insert P-day trip to the beach here}

Okay. Now I have a couple minutes to write about the beach. It was indeed very rocky. Very painful to the soles. And there's a bunch of little mounds of sand on top of the sand. Yeahhhhh, found out that's essentially worm poop. But these are no regular worms. They're HUGE and gross and the Elders went digging for them and they were just disturbing. So yeah, lots of worms under the sand. But HEY! It was still fun!

I hope you all have a stellar week!

Sister Syddall

Monday, August 8, 2016


Hello everybody!

This week has been a bit of blur to me, so sorry if this email is a letdown! But I'll try to think of some good stuff...

I guess I'll start off by sharing a little miracle that we had this week. We were out doing finding, and Sister Hudson and I decided beforehand to think of who it was that we wanted to find. I've found throughout my mission that when I have a vision, it helps me focus and remain motivated. So we said a prayer and felt that we should be looking for a male that has heard about the gospel before. We began our finding and had the faith that God would place someone in our path. We were talking to EVERYONE. We got a few people to stop and chat, but for the most part we would get a scoff and a sneer, and it was just getting discouraging! We kept walking up and down the tiny little high street in Thetford, just trying to find someone, ANYONE, who would listen. Our finding time was coming to a close, and we were feeling a bit discouraged that we didn't find the person we had prayed for. We were literally just about to walk into the door of Subway for lunch, when all of a sudden we see a familiar face! It was a man that we had met the previous week. When we originally met him he was in a rush to get somewhere, but he said if he ran into us again he would have a conversation with us about the church. And here he was!! We were able to introduce the Book of Mormon to him, and he really had the desire to learn more about it, so we set up another appointment to see him this upcoming week! We are so excited! And it was a direct answer to our prayer. Miracles are real! And to make it even better, his name is Karzan. Yeah, I know, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't Tarzan too... but Karzan is a pretty close second haha.

Hmmmm... what else. Well, I got super glue all over my hands this week. That was a miserable experience. I think by the end of that mishap I had practically taken off a layer of skin all over my fingers. Nice. I also burned my neck with my curling iron. I have a cool scar to prove it. Nice. We took a zone picture where we were all jumping, and when I went to look at it, realised my whole skirt came up. Nice. Deleted that picture faster than anyone could say "wait." So luck wasn't on my side this week haha! But it was still great. Life as a missionary still ROCKS.

 Zone pictures!

I read an address by President Gordon B. Hinckley this week that I particularly liked, especially due to the fact that sometimes the work [of missionaries] can be discouraging. Sometimes it feels like you're just trying all day long to share this amazing message, and people are just kickin' you to the curb. President Hinckley said to the missionaries in the Provo MTC in 1998:

"You ought to take advantage of every opportunity in the world to speak with people about why we are there and what we are doing, and give them some taste of a gospel message. You never can tell that, while they may not join the Church at that time, a later missionary may bump into them, and he will remind them of a time when they met a former missionary, and that may lead to conversion and baptism.

"I know of a family exactly like that in Germany. My son tracted him out, and it wasn't until seven years later that he joined the Church. But he still harks back to that first contact that he had so long before. So we just work at it. We don't get discouraged. That is easy to say, but you don't get discouraged in the mission field. You don't get offended. Brother Sterling Sill, who was an insurance man, once said, 'I've been spit on. I've been sworn at. I've been kicked out the front door and right onto the ground. But I've never been insulted.' That's the kind of attitude that we use when we are in the mission field. We may be spit on. We may be sworn at. We may be kicked off the front porch. But we'll never be insulted."

I loved this little tidbit from his address. Sometimes it is easy to feel so downtrodden by the way people react, especially when it seems that everyone is so quickly moving away from God in general. But I just remind myself that maybe they're not ready now, but in the future some of those individuals WILL be ready. And they WILL remember the time they met the missionaries in the past. Sometimes it's easy to ask why the work is so hard, but as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says, "Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience!" So I'm gonna just keep on sharing this great message, and I know the spirit will do the rest!

Love you all! Have a superb week! Oh, and GO TEAM USA! And alright.... I'll root for England too ;)

Sister Syddall

Monday, August 1, 2016

Macaroni and Chocolate Cake

Helloooooooo familia and friends!!!!! So. This week has been super duper wacky. Let me walk you through the craziness.

Like I mentioned last Tuesday, Sister Wilson was being transferred and Sister Hudson was coming here. We got all prepared that day for the move and had a lovely dinner with one of my FAVE families everrrrrr, but for some reason, that whole day I was just feeling sooooo tired and had no appetite. The struggle was real. So we get home that night and planned, and then I was just like "ok I have GOT to go to bed" and so then, only an hour after falling asleep, I awoke, and let's just say my stomach was NOT feelin' good. I guess a nice little round of stomach flu decided to hit me, so I was awake allllll night long. It was a party, lemme tell ya. I finally got one hour of sleep, and when I woke up again I knew that traveling for two hours on a train (and that's only one way) was not going to agree with me, so we called up Sister Stevens and she said to NOT travel. That would not have been a pretty sight, I'm sure. Finally I was able to get some actual sleep and a nice member brought me some Gatorade and saltine crackers (thank you America). It was a very long night/day, and I felt horrible that I caused this jumbled up mess with transfers, but, by some miracle, Sister Wilson and Sister Hudson were simply just trading places, so it only affected one companionship.

Thursday morning I was feeling well enough to travel, and we finally made it to transfers! Turns out that one of the members in Sister Hudson's previous area was just PRAYING so hard that she could just have one more day with her, so I guess if me getting sick was the way her prayer was answered, I'm ok with it hahaha! We also got to pick up our car finally (even though neither of us could drive yet haha). We headed back to Thetford and had a dinner appointment. My sense of appetite hadn't fully returned, but the family we were going to were known for making light, healthy meals, so I thought my stomach could handle it. I still hadn't eaten a full meal up to this point, but I was feeling alright. So we arrive and the first thing that comes out of the member's mouth is "ok, I'm just warning you this is not a healthy meal tonight." THEN she pulls out this huge pan of creamy, cheesy, gooey homemade mac and cheese. Now normally I would be jumping for joy, but I was a wee bit nervous as I dished up my plate and began eating. And this was HEAVY stuff. With each bite I took I could feel my stomach saying, "HALT. STOP. DON'T EAT MORE." But I didn't want to offend the member and didn't want to mention that I had been sick, so after very many smallllll bites, I finished what was on my plate. At that point I was just saying HALLELUJAH that I survived, THEN she brings us these massive slices of rich, dense, cream filled chocolate cake, which again, I would normally loveeeeee, but my stomach was already in shambles. Then she jokingly says "this is going to be like Matilda, and I'm going to force you to finish this cake" and I nervously just start laughing and, once again, start in on my little bites. I {almost} finished the whole piece, but I just couldn't do it. I knew one more bite would've been the end of their nice clean white carpet. I managed to hold it down, but my heart was definitely racing, and I was just constantly thinking of all my escape routes if I was going to.... toss my cookies haha. That was definitely a night I won't forget.

FINALLY by Friday I was feeling almost 100% better and we were able to go to district meeting and have a full day of missionary work! Man, did that feel good! Saturday morning Sister Hudson had to drive with an instructor for three hours so that she's legal, and then we again were able to be missionaries! What a good feeling. Being sick makes you a lot more grateful for all the amazing things we get to do each day!

Sister Hudson is great! She's from Washington and has been out on the mission for 3 months. She's getting more and more comfortable with driving on the wrong side of the road, and she's been so great! I think we will have a wonderful transfer :)

Now, let's leave this on a spiritual note! I was reading in Helaman 5, and then I was reading from the Institute manual, and came across a quote by Elder Bruce C. Hafen that connects with verse 12:

"Someone once said you can't visually tell the difference between a strand of cobweb and a strand of powerful cable - until stress is put on the strand. Our testimonies are that way, and for most of us, the days of stress for our testimonies have already begun. It may not be the death of a loved one. We might not yet have been asked to give up something that is really precious to us, though the time for such a test may well come to us by and by. Our current stress is more likely to come in the form of overpowering temptations, which show us that a shallow acceptance of the gospel does not have the power to cope with the full fury of the powers of darkness. Perhaps there is a mission call to a place of illness and disappointment, when we had planned on a mission to a place of unbounded opportunity. Or perhaps there are too many questions to which our limited knowledge simply has no answer, and those who claim to know more than we do taunt us with what appears to be a persuasive certainty.

"When those times come, our testimonies must be more than the cobweb strands of a fair-weather faith. They need to be like strands of cable, powerful enough to resist the shafts of him who would destroy us. In our days of stress and trouble, we must be built 'upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, ...that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, ...and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you, ...because of the rock upon which ye are built.' (Helaman 5:12)"

I just simply love this! We know that as a part of mortality we will face challenges and trials and obstacles, but if we make our testimony that powerful cable, it will be able to withstand those times that the adversary attempts to defeat us. When we build our foundation upon Christ, nothing can overpower us.

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

Sister Syddall