Monday, September 26, 2016


Heyyyyyyoooooo pals!

What to start with this week, hmmmmmm.... This is always the hardest part about writing these emails. Do I just go straight into it, or have some sort of awkward introduction? I always seem to choose the latter and I don't know why hahaha. Carrying on.

WELL. This week we had District meeting which is always just a party. What do you get when you put together a Brit, Australian, Cambodian, German, Brazilian, and American? The Gillingham district! (Plus Elder and Sister Tuttle from UT.) Recently I've been thinking about how grateful I am to have connected with so many people from literally all over the world. It's a blessing to know all of these great people! I had to give a training on "What makes a successful missionary," which I felt was something that I needed a good reminder of. It's easy to feel a bit down when things don't necessarily seem to be going as smoothly as desired, but our success as missionaries is "measured primarily by [our] commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people and to help them become faithful members of the Church who enjoy the presence of the Holy Ghost." It really comes down to the commitment we have. We have to allow other people to exercise their own agency, but as we do our best, we can feel confident that our efforts are accepted by the Lord. Being asked to give this training gave me the assurance that Heavenly Father knew exactly what I needed to study to lift me up!

The district

If you want to know why I needed some uplifting of the spirit, it's because we had 10 appointments where people hosed us. TEN. I was seriously baffled that so many people just became uncontactable and didn't show to their appointment. But that's not gonna get me down!

We had an exchange this week, and I had the pleasure of being with Sister Swann from Australia! We came out on the mission together and have ALWAYS wanted to be companions, but I guess I'll take the one day haha. Let me tell ya, this whole day was a PARTY. I don't know if I've ever laughed so hard, she is a complete crackup. And we also got to teach some amazing lessons. We trotted around Ilford for the day, and that place is just happenin'. So many people to talk to and teach!! A little bit different than Sittingbourne...


We had a dinner appointment with the sweetest elderly couple in the ward, the Gilberts. They are from Jamaica and have been members of the church for about 30 years. Brother Gilbert has recent been diagnosed with dementia, but at this point it is not too bad. But because of this, his past Pentecostal preacher comes out and it is HILARIOUS. He has two favourite scriptures: John 3:16 and Galatians 5:1. He says "STAND FAST IN THE LIBERTY OF CHRIST" with so much conviction, and then proceeds to say it about another 10 times throughout the evening, and you just can't help but smile until you think your mouth is just gonna fall off because it's the greatest thing ever.

On Sunday evening we visited a sister named S that has not been baptised, but because of poor health conditions she cannot travel to come to church. Her caregiver, G, is a member but has not been to church for some time. Usually our meetings with them are quite scattered, but always make me laugh. S wanted to take pictures with Sister Topp and I, so we asked G to take some photos. I ended up with 147 new pictures in the span of about 30 seconds haha! And we weren't ready in about 95% of them. And the lighting was terrible. But it's the thought that counts :)

1 of the 147 pictures with S

On Sunday I also had the opportunity to talk in sacrament meeting speaking on trials. At the end of my talk, I spoke about holding to the iron rod and pressing forward through trials. I shared a story about a time when I did not hold tight to a rod... on a jet ski... and ended up with a killer rope burn. I'm not kidding you when I say, the ENTIRE congregation just about lost it from laughing. I have to admit, I was pretty astounded that I got a room full of 60+ year old English men and women laughing. Check that one off the bucket list haha! I'm glad my pain brought happiness to others :')

I guess I'll end this one with something that doesn't make sense to me in England. Here a milkshake is literally just thick milk with some flavouring in it. Where is the appeal in that?!

Ok. I love y'all. Keep smiling!

Sister Syddall

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sittingbourne's Biggest Knit

Hello family and friends!

I hope you've all had a splendid week! This week has had its challenges, but hey, that's life, right? This area has posed to be a challenging one. As I mentioned last week, I've been told it's the "refiners fire," and boy, have I felt it! There really are no solid people we are teaching right now, and we just seem to be getting hosed for most of our appointments. No [investigator] has come to church in a very long time, so that's another challenge. And the people in this area are just not very open to hearing anything about the gospel. I know if I keep the faith, we will see MIRACLES. As I thought back to all of my other areas, I realised how everywhere I have gone has started with essentially no teaching pool, but the Lord always had a way of getting things moving. Sometimes I find myself not understanding why I've never been able to go to an area where it is just booming with people eager to learn and progress, but then I take a step back and see the amazing things I've learned in each and every area I've served in. I know that I am here for a reason, and at this point, things can only go up! This will likely be the last area I serve in (not guaranteed though), so I am going to make the most out of it! The bright side is that Sister Topp is so great, and the ward is all so lovely!

This week the weather has also been whack. It started off just BLAZING. I'm talking pushing 90 and tons of humidity. I thought I was about to die haha. I was telling Sister Topp how much I wanted it to be rainy again. Well... my prayers were answered because overnight it did a complete 180 and it was pouring and windy and our umbrellas couldn't stand it. Not exactly what I had in mind, but now it's nice and breezy and autumny, so I can't complain!

Now to the title of my email. We stopped by a less active man's home and this adorable little 5 foot old man answers the door. We started talking to him and he's just hilarious. He's wearing a silver chain necklace and a white t-shirt and was talking to us about how life had been going. Then he all of a sudden begins talking about how he had knitted 5 feet of a scarf that day. I was just sitting there thinking about how much knitting that was, then he goes on to tell me he holds the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest knitted scarf. And it's TWENTY SIX MILES LONG. Yes. You heard that right. 26 miles. Then he told us that they call him "Sittingbourne's biggest Knit." How excited he was as he told us about his knitting just made me smile so much hahaha.

Hmmmmm. What else. Well, I forgot to mention last week that:
we don't have a shower (baths for dayssssss),
we sleep in the kitchen (yes, our beds are in the KITCHEN),
and our fridge is about the size of a small cupboard.
Living the luxurious life haha!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sister Syddall

Monday, September 12, 2016

Week of change

Hey everybody!

So this week has been super weird, actually, but it's also been good. I'll just jump right into it!

As I mentioned last week, I am in a new area. I live in a place called Sittingborne, and it is SO different from my previous areas! But overall I think it's a super cute lil place (and actually when I say "lil" it's way bigger than my last area haha), and there are some of the cutest houses ever, and it's right by the sea, so it's a fun change. We also cover an island in our area - although I think it's a solid 200 metres away from the border of land haha. But that's still an adventure! The island is super weird honestly. It's infamous around the mission for having very strange people, and I have to say it kind of feels like you're in an old 80's movie when you're there. Blast into the past for sure hahaha! I have also been told that I am in the "refiners fire" because it's a tough area, but I'm sure all will be well!

My companion, Sister Topp, is from England! YAY! My first Brit companion :) She's helping me perfect my accent so I can wow everyone when I get home haha. I mentioned last week that she's just been in the field for 6 weeks, but she's a ROCKSTAR. Seriously killin' it. Unfortunately our time together will not be very long-term because she is waiting for her visa to go to HAWAII. Pretty sweet, right? But that takes me back to earlier in the week to explain why it's been so odd...

On Wednesday, Sister Hudson and I began the trek to London from Thetford for transfers. I'm pretty sure my bags keep putting on weight, and it just gets harder every time I transfer. We finally made it there, and as we were all gathered, Sister Topp arrived and she's like "Oh, we are staying in London overnight because I have an interview at the US Embassy tomorrow!" I was a bit confused because no one had mentioned it to me. So we, along with another companionship who has a sister waiting for a visa, made our way over to the mission home and waited to be told what was going on. I was a bit annoyed because, had someone told me, I would have packed much more smartly to have the stuff I needed overnight together, but all was well. While we were just waiting, the APs came up and are like "Sooooooo. There's really nothing for you to do today, so go take another p-day and look around London!" So we went to Buckingham Palace and Harrods (aka the great and spacious building... seriously... look it up) and had a fun day! It was definitely the most spontaneous day of my whole mission. And we all came to the conclusion of why having plans is so important... because otherwise ya just end up wandering around.

Spontaneous London p-day! Me, Sister Mcfarland, Sister Topp, and Sister Maughan.

Group selfie at Buckingham Palace

Me and Sister Mcfarland! We actually sat next to each other on the plane ride to England :) TIME FLIES!

That's allllllll store.

Harrods. Enough said. 
(BTW, that's over $69,000)

This outfit only costs my life savings...

Another treat of this whole day was that I got to spend time with Sister Searle! She's training a new Sister, so do you know what this means?! I am a grandma!! And since we were around London all day, I got to meet my granddaughter, Sister Oo. And she's awesome!

My daughter and granddaughter. 

Thursday morning we headed to the embassy and got that all sorted out, and Sister Topp and Sister Maughan were.... APPROVED. We were worried about that one because they seem so sketchy (hah), so now it's a waiting game to see how long I get to keep Sister Topp. Hopefully at least for the transfer, but we shall see!

Now I am once again surrounded by the Brits, and I've got to say I've missed these folks :) AND I get English meals again. SCORE. I've missed my English roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding.

The cute houses in Sittingborne. 

A better quality picture with the Parks (from last week)!! I'm going to miss them so much!

Well, I'm sure next week I'll have a little bit better of an idea of what this area is like and such. I hope you all have a fabulous week!

Sister Syddall

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Hello everybody!

I'm sorry for forgetting to mention last week that it was transfers... but to update you all on that, I will sadly be leaving this great area and will be follow-up training a sister in Gillingham! I will be in the wonderful Canterbury Zone, and other than that I have no idea about anything haha! I'm sure I'll have much much more to update you on next week. But besides that, it's been a super great week! I want to start off by talking about a little miracle:

In our mission we do something called "mind the gap," or for a shorter term "gaps." I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but it consists of doing four little 2-minute role plays each day with our companion where we teach different principles and we choose one of our current investigators and try to act as them. Every meeting that we have as missionaries they choose a companionship at random to stand before the other missionaries and teach a "gap." One night, as Sister Hudson and I were beginning our gaps, I said, "hey, let's think of someone we will meet in the future and teach them a gap!" At the exact same time, Sister Hudson and I said "STEVEN." Now, don't ask me why we both thought of the name Steven, but we took this as a sign. We were DETERMINED to find Steven! Over the next few days, each time we would begin our finding, we would say a prayer that we might find Steven. A few days passed and we still hadn't found him. BUT THEN, one beautiful sunny day as we began our finding, right off the bat we met a super great guy. He had so many great questions and was seeking to find truth. I bet you can guess where this is going... as we set up a return appointment with him, we were like "hey, what's your name?" And he said "I'm Steven!" Right at the moment I just couldn't help but to smile so stupidly, and Sister Hudson looked at me with a big grin on her face. Thinking back, he was probably a bit weirded out, BUT nonetheless, he was willing to meet with us again! Since then we've seen him twice, and he is SO great. I'm just sad that I won't get to see his progress :( and actually, neither will Sister Hudson. Elders will now be covering one of the two wards we covered, and Steven is in those boundaries. But hey, at least all of us are on the same team!

This week we also had a lesson with our Polish investigator, and we Skyped in another Sister missionary that is Polish to help us out. Let me tell ya, I don't think I've ever felt so lost hahaha! They were just jibbering away in Polish, and Sister Hudson and I just sat there like a pair of llamas. She is still doing great, and I am so so sad I won't be here to see her progress towards baptism :( but it will still be wonderful!!

This is the Ellis family -- they have been so so great. We always feel like we are at home when we are with them!

This is the Whittle family -- another one that I love. I am going to miss all of these people so much :(

One more -- The Parks! I'm going to miss them SO much!

Saying goodbye to people is just so sad and hard, transfers are never easy! But I know that I will be where the Lord needs me to be :) and I am excited to have even more new experiences!

Oh. And I'm going to miss the American food. And candy. And the people, of course! But I'm on to new adventures!

Have a great week everyone!

Sister Syddall