Write to Alyssa at:

Mission Address:
Sister Alyssa Nicole Escalante

California Carlsbad Mission

451 W Bobier Dr

Vista, CA 92083

Monday, April 21, 2014

Last Letter!

Hola Mamita y familia! Happy Late Easter!

Yes, I loved the pictures J my family is just so beautiful, it's hard to fathom. I did get the package (yesterday), thank you!! Although to be honest, I'm not going to be able to eat it all before I go home, so I'll probably just leave it for Hermana Williams and her next companion. Thank you though! And I loved the card J it was very fitting because we see rabbits on a daily basis here in Murrieta. I also got a letter from Aunt Noel, which was very sweet! My family is just so wonderful.

Yes, the conferences were wonderful as well. Elder Ballard and Elder Maynes were coming down for some sort of combined Priesthood training with the leaders in the six stakes of the mission. While they were down here, they so lovingly met with us as missionaries altogether in Escondido. Elder Ballard also went to Temecula to speak on Sunday morning, while Elder Maynes came to Murrieta. I guess the other stakes got gipped ;) That's why we had another stake conference so soon, by the way. It wasn't really a "stake conference", but I guess more of an after-Priesthood Leadership conference sort of thing...I'm not really sure. Pres. Kendrick and Sister Kendrick also came to speak at our stake conference as well as the Temple Pres. and Matron of the San Diego temple, so along with our Stake Pres. speaking, it was a pretty wonderful conference.

Of course Saturday was wonderful too. Elder Ballard was gracious enough to shake all of our hands and then enlightened us on how to continue forward in the work. He was impressed by our mission and the goals we have been achieving, so he mostly just focused on how we can keep it up and keep pressing forward and how if we want to help more people be baptized, we need to talk to more people. Everything was really wonderful. Due to time, I can just tell you more when I see you.

Hmm, what else did you ask? Oh yes, today is normal, only I'll be packing instead of the normal letter-writting and cleaning and what-not, but I would do that just like any other transfer. I started the other night, so I don't have too much to worry about. Tonight we have some normal appointments. In the morning, we'll do some studies, have breakfast with Pres. Del Gaiso and his family, and then teach English class like normal. After that we'll probably just double-check the apartment and finalize everything to go, and meet up with Ana (and maybe Daisy) to head down to Vista.

Hermana Inman and I are in charge of the departing missionary special musical number, so we'll be going a little early. After transfer meeting, we'll head back to Carlsbad and sleep at the mission home. In the morning we'll head to the temple (and the Mormon Battalion if we have time) and then off to the airport. I really don't have plans for when I get back, except for what you've told me that I'll be doing with you and the fam ;) I would like to get a job super soon though, and was thinking of Gymboree again. It's all the way in Salt Lake Valley though. How do you think Jodi and Michael would feel about me staying at their place de vez en cuando and helping with the baby?... if it works out better that way. Anyway, I'm not too worried about it. I'll figure it out when I get there.

We've been working hard this week, with few immediate results, but still feeling good about working hard. We actually have received several referrals and found new, and ran into some old, Potentials, all of which we have appointments set up for next week, so that's exciting for Hermana Williams and comp. I still feel like I'm going to be here...so it's kind of weird.

We found a new investigator Flor this week, she is Colombiana and pretty great. I'll be excited to hear how it keeps progressing with her. We went by to see some other investigators the other day and they "broke up with us" because we had a "toxic relationship", ha-ha it was actually pretty funny. They pretty much know that the gospel is true, but they have too many other obstacles right now in their life and too many other concerns to be ready to move forward, so we left very understanding, and with much peace. I'm so grateful that as I said my parting words to them, I felt the Spirit testify of the truthfulness of what I was saying, and I know they felt it too. They became very solemn and reverent as I spoke and the husband said "I hope that's true. I hope I'm wrong and all of what you're saying is true." I know they'll accept the gospel some day, but not every one's time is right now, and that's okay too.

I'm so grateful for the truthfulness of the gospel in my life. I'm also so grateful for temples and I am so very excited to go when I get home! I plan on going every day for the first week when I get home, just FYI. I'll have to do something to keep me busy ;) Well, I guess I'll wrap it up. Oh, I've been taking lots of pictures, but this Internet is terrible so I'll just show them to you/post them when I get home.

Well, I guess I'll see you soon....Love you, love you!
Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante

P.s. Hermana Sheffield is soooo sad that I'm leaving, she's probably more sad about it than you are excited about me coming, ha-ha. Poor thing. Good thing she lives in Lindon and is coming home this summer J
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Monday, April 14, 2014

One More Week!!

Okay, okay, here we go!

What to say....hmmm, lots to say. Well, I know I will see you next week and we can talk about it then, but I would love to do the dual-immersion and I know that before the board was talking about an arts-cohort, but has that not happened yet? I will take what I can get, especially because I have no idea what my work schedule will be like. Brudder emailed me and I told him that I'd take a job at tie-one-on with him, as long as his manager knows that it's just temporary until I find another job. I know I'm speaking next Sunday; do I have an assigned topic?

Hmmm, well the Noche De Hogar went well. It was a Noche de Hogar de la rama, so it was for the whole branch, but of course, not everyone comes. It's more for us to invite our investigators to and allow them to fellowship and get to know the members better. None of our investigators came, but the Elders had a great investigator family come and the members really loved it. We took them on a tour of the life of Christ and focused on His resurrection. Sadly, I did not get pictures. Sorry! It was pretty cool though. We started in the YW room and talked of Mary and his birth. We watched a Bible Video about Mary and read the nativity in Lucas as the kids acted it out, dressed in towels and what not. We headed on over to "Egypt" and back to "Nazareth" and over to the "River Jordan" and to the "Sea of Galilee". We watched short videos throughout and had activities and scriptures and trivia questions with candy-filled eggs as prizes. My favorite room was "la ultima cena" where we set up the room with (fake) candles and set out unleavened break and grape juice and discussed the significance and the washing of the feet. We ended in the chapel as we had those with the selected number come up and open an Easter egg with had a small object and a correlating scripture (examples of objects: nail, twine, white cloth, sacrament cup, etc.) Afterwards we had treats J it was fun, but a lot of work and I'm so glad it's over with!

We didn't have time to eat dinner before because we were setting up, but I had a granola bar in my purse and so we split it and blessed it and asked Heavenly Father to allow it to fill our stomachs so we could make it through the night (since we hadn't eaten since 11 that afternoon and had been walking around in the sun all day). He is merciful though and we ended the night without feeling hungry J

Oh yes, and the ridiculous part. So, before we set up, we were racing to meet Pres. Del Gaiso to get the keys and he said to me "You lose these and you go home tomorrow!" (jokingly, he's super funny). With poor judgment, I responded with "Oh shucks, it'll shave off a week!" - bad mistake. So at the activity, we start out and I ask the question to the kids "Do you know what is happening in a week and a half?" (Looking for the answer: Easter, of course. But Pres. then yells out "You're going home!" Jeez, so now all the members there know. Along with that, he asks me last minute to speak in Sacrament meeting, so I spoke yesterday and since we're having another Stake Conference this Sunday, it was like my last Sunday in the branch so they announced that I’m leaving there too, so now everyone and their dog is talking to me about going home. It's a little ridiculous. Oh well.

We found some cool, new investigators this week, and one of them said she wanted to be baptized, but then when we went back, the Book of Mormon was on the porch with a note basically saying "no thank you". Bummer. Oh well. The other one is way cool though. He is Puerto Rican and his wife is Dominican. Lots of potential, so we're stoked for them! They have the CUTEST little boy! I don't know if I mentioned Veronica last week, our other investigator, but it's been crazy with her. We walked past her house the other day and cops were there and then we couldn't get a hold of her for a few days until she called us. A member came with us and we picked her up and went to the church and then she told us all about her abusive husband and her immigration issues and all this crazy stuff. She ended up going back with the member to her house and then went back home but left her son with the member and then went back to get him but then just walked off with a backpack, nada mas. Then we didn't hear from her for a few days, but we just got a few texts from her (like just now), but we can't read texts from smartphones on our lame little cell phone (lame, I know) so we'll need to call her and see what's up. I feel like we always get the crazies ;)

Well, running out of time, but here is the exciting news!!! .....(Drum roll).....we are having a mission conference this Saturday with Elder Ballard! I'm so stoked!!! What an awesome way to end the mission, ¡¿no?! I love it! I'm so stoked! Anyway, should be great.

For Easter Sunday, we will be having stake conference with Pres. Maynes (of the Seventy), who will also be at our Mission conference. Elder Ballard will be in the Temecula Stake Conference on Sunday, so obviously something is happening, but we're not sure yet. Maybe changing stake boundaries? We'll see. Everyone is joking about looking for land to build a temple, but I HIGHLY doubt that. Funny though J

Well, I am pretty much out of time. Yes, I am happy to see you next week.
Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante

P.s. A few days ago, I flipped though my planner and realized that I only had a matter of DAYS left and I screamed and started hyperventilating (never done that before). After I could breathe, I got super light-headed and started bawling. Hermana Williams held me for a while, and then I got a hold of myself and we could continue with nightly planning. Ridiculous I know, but I'm all right now J

I drew Hermana Williams during studies...I promise it was a productive study sesh! J

Found a new investigator!...she loved it! Said she wanted to be baptized! Went back for our next appointment...found this on her porch. Awesome.

Close up of the note
How we feel at the end of the day ...

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Conference!!

Holy Moly Mama! How are ya’ll?

Yes, you're right, I did absolutely adore conference. It was wonderful. The only part I didn't like was when it was over. I wish we had them quarterly so I didn't have to wait so long for the next one. I think my favorite one was Elder Holland's actually, and yes, I did think of my "produce experience" as well. Made me laugh J

 I also really loved Pres. Uchtdorf's talk, which I am gravely trying to implement and always be positive and grateful. In fact, yesterday, when we went by to see some investigators that ended up giving us back their Book of Mormon and telling us to not come back, we walked away and I looked at Hermana Williams and said, "Well, I'm so grateful to not have mashed potatoes in my hair!" J

I also loved Pres. Monson’s and hope that many members will be able to take it to heart and truly reach out and be kind to everyone, regardless of their beliefs or lifestyles. Also, I absolutely adored Elder Corbridge's talk. I have heard great things about the Priesthood session and am looking forward to reading those talks when they come out, especially Elder Oaks' talk. How grateful I am for the pure truth and consistency of the gospel that does not change with the opinions and matters of mankind.

It has been an interesting week, that's for sure. We were assigned to do a special service project with a local food bank, working with St. Martha's Catholic church, so that was fun. We have felt a little frustrated as progress among our investigators seems to be near impossible, though we feel like we are doing near everything we can to help them. It has also seemed very difficult to find anyone willing to listen to our message or even to find anyone (including less-actives and investigators) at home. Sometimes we just have to face "Zion's Camp", as Hermana Williams would say, and just keep persevering, even when nothing seems to come of it. 

Last night was very interesting. We were finally able to see an inactive family that we met a few weeks ago. Their records are not in our branch, as they were baptized years ago in northern California and quickly became inactive after their baptism. They were open to us coming by, but we weren't sure what to expect. They were kind and courteous and not argumentative at all, but it was still one of the strangest and hardest experiences in a lesson. At this point in their lives, due to a some strange literature that they now obsess over, they believe in reincarnation, the visitation of aliens, that the devil does not exist, and that Joseph Smith is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Yes, it was that ridiculous. It was difficult to keep from laughing, and yet at the same time, it was difficult for me to hold back tears as we talked with our confused brother and sister. They wanted nothing to do with the church, because they claim it is just a business, and they said we could come back, but it seemed as though they merely wanted to tell us more about their book.

Afterwards, I cried quite a bit, thinking about how confused they were even though they once had the truth. I just found it so depressing and strange. I just continue to pray for them and am saddened by the deceit of being so confused and into far-off doctrine, or "scripture mingled with the teachings of men". How grateful I am for the gospel and for the clarity of the words of our beloved apostles and prophets. Though this week has been hard, I feel as though I am doing my part, testifying with the Spirit, and constantly and boldly inviting everyone. Even though I am so very frustrated, at the same time, I also feel at peace, because I know that we are working hard. The Lord is aware and I know there is a purpose for it all, but sometimes it just seems overwhelming in this mortal perspective we have.

This week I attended my last MLC and that was a little hard because I had to say goodbye to some people, not knowing if they would be at the transfer meeting or not. That included Hermana Sheffield, which she did not appreciate.  
Hermana Sheffield saying goodbye
However, now that we heard about how many missionaries are coming in, it sounds like she actually will be at the transfer meeting, so we'll see. Should be fun. We have Zone Training Meeting this week, as well as the Noche De Hogar de la Rama, which Hermana Williams and I are pretty much putting together by ourselves, so we're definitely keeping busy. Hermana Williams is boss though, she is just awesome.

We've wrapped up all our exchanges for the transfer, so things should be a little more calm, especially after Friday. I think I had my exit interview this week actually. We had the normal interviews with President and then he asked: "How long do you have again? Do you go home next transfer?" To which I replied, "2 1/2 weeks, President". To which he replied, "WHAT?!" Haha, it was pretty funny. Anyway, so we talked a little bit about my long-term and short-term goals and he gave me some dating advice and congratulated me for not having a boyfriend at home waiting for me J ha-ha, good ol' President. He's great. 

Well, I'm running out of time again. Funny how that always happens. Oh, Hermana Williams and I ran into the skunk again this morning, while running though, and she was just as freaked out as I was, so I didn't feel as silly as I did last time
J Tell Grandma and Grandpa I love their letters, like always! Tell brudder I'm so proud of him and can't wait to see him! Well, that goes for all of you! Love you!

Te (les) quiero muchisimo, mas que puedo expresar!
Con amor,

Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante
Self-portrait of Hermana Williams and me
The Miller family - She is from Mexico, even though she is pretty white.

My favorite little girl in the branch, Kimberly 

Hermana Sheffield

Hermana VillaseƱor

Sister Fluckiger