Write to Alyssa at:

Mission Address:
Sister Alyssa Nicole Escalante

California Carlsbad Mission

451 W Bobier Dr

Vista, CA 92083

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hola from Sunny California!

Oh my goodness, is Grandpa doing ok? I hope he gets feeling better. They really should just move out here to Southern California and then they wouldn't have to worry about all the nasty ice and snow! I'm so glad that the worst we have to deal with is some rain and 30 degree weather. Not too bad for January. I can't wait for summer though!

That's so cool that Chrisser (Elder Pope) is an AP down in Antofagasta! I'm not surprised one bit, that kid is one of the most righteous studs I've ever met. Thank you for sending Ryan's letter. It's amazing how we are so far away, and yet having such similar experiences, and yet so different...I'm definitely not having any companions falling through roofs, ha ha.

So yes, I did get that letter, but no, I haven't gotten the package yet. The mail is really weird here. I thought Grandma & Grandpa had stopped writing me about a month ago and then last week I got 3 letters from them, all from the last month. I guess they got backed up somewhere. Also, we haven't received mail yet this week, so hopefully I'll get the package then. I feel pretty spoiled though, because I just got a package from Padre too. Full of cookies and snacks! Yum! And even a running headband thing to keep my ears warm, thank goodness. It's so cold in the mornings, I use it every day now and it's so nice.

I can't believe January is almost over either. Wow. I'm almost done training. I mentioned this transfer will be short, right? I think it has to do with all the new missionaries coming in. I will probably stay here in Temecula and Hermana Ruiz will most likely go somewhere else to either white-wash train or get ready to train the next transfer. We still don't have new roommates so as of right now we each have our own bathroom, it's really nice and spacious. J  I'm sure next transfer they will get some new sisters in though.

We are allowed to go to the temple 4 times a year, so we will probably be going in March, but I'm not sure. We have to go on a P-day and find a member to take us, so it will probably be a little crazy, but I'm excited. I miss the temple!  

P-day: we have regular studies in the morning and then time to get stuff done until 6pm and then we head out and just keep on like any other day. Tonight, after P-day, we will go visit Magaly, try to pick up some P.I.s  (potential investigators) named Martha and Melissa (they are from Utah and love us so much!), and then go visit a less-active (crazy lady who always tells us we're wrong when we bear our testimony, but she's still sweet and needs some love).

Well, I am almost out of time but this week has been...not as great as some others, work wise. Both of our baptismal dates fell through. We were sort of expecting it with Alejandro, but things were looking and feeling really good for Fernando. We went to his house to have him follow us to chapel last week for a lesson and tour, and he told us he felt anxious and didn't want to go. We hadn't been able to see him since (he works a lot) and then this morning he texted us and basically broke up with us. Sad day. He told us he doesn't feel ready for this stuff and can't meet with us anymore. Ugh. Super lame. I guess we were working hard, but Satan was working harder. It's so sad to see someone progress and then choose to reject the gospel.

Magaly and Cristian are progressing, and we're meeting with Maria tomorrow, plus we picked up a few more investigators. We have a new District Leader (who thinks we're crazy) and another new elder, but besides that the mission stayed the same. I was going to put up a picture of our district but the computer is about to kick me off, plus we need to get to district activity. I'll try to remember next week.

Hmm, I think I've answered all your questions. Sorry I don't have more time to write L I love you so much mama and I'm glad you're doing well and such an amazing example to me! I hope you can sleep better this week to have all the energy you need for all that you do! Thank you for writing me and sending your love! I miss you lots and lots and pray for you everyday J This mission stuff is crazy, but I know the Lord is here with us in the work. I love this gospel so much, and I know it is so real.

Con Amor,
Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

So little time!

Wow, sorry I have so little time this week, we'll see if I have time to write anything! :/ Hmm, this week has been up and down, like always, right? No, I didn't find my planner, which is pretty lame, but we are onto Transfer 2 already, so it's not too big of a big deal (though I'm still bummed).

Yes, there are Spanish Elders here as well. There are four of us for the branch, which covers the entire stake/area, but we split it into 2 areas for the 4 of us. We have the north half, and they have the south. We are in the same branch though, so we work together sometimes and coordinate where we need to.

 This week has been interesting. Saturday we did a car fast, hoping to see some blessings from it, but it was mostly just a hard day. We ran into a few anti-Mormons and atheists. Man, I really don't like talking to white people. There was one guy in particular that was just harassing us and going off about sacred topics and all about the ordinances performed in the temple. Apparently we don't believe in God and are ruining people's eternal salvation...good to know. But alas, the work goes forward.

Things have been good in some areas and bad in others (regarding our investigators) but I really have almost no time, sorry! I'll just say that things didn't go as well with Alejandro as we would've liked, but they are going better than we had hoped with Fernando :) We dropped Elizabeth but picked up a few more investigators, so we'll see how things go. This transfer there will only be 5 weeks, which is pretty nerve-racking, as that means I will be no longer training in 5 weeks! Wow, this week has gone by so fast. The days just get faster and faster out here.

Mom asked about the kinds of food we eat, so …we are in a pretty diverse branch, for example we had Dominican food last night. We eat Mexican food often, as well as other varieties from central and south America.

It has been so warm this week and I've been loving it. Oh yeah, the computer was about to kick me off when it extended by 15 minutes, so that's why I'm writing this. Yesterday we were trying to find a P.I. (prospective investigator) out in the middle of wine country, it was so rad. We were driving past vineyards and orange fields and it was so beautiful, you can't even tell it's January out here :) This house was in the middle of nowhere on some crazy dirt road, miles from anywhere. It was a little sketch, but a fun adventure. And no, nothing came out of it. Oh well, we tried. Here is a picture of the valley we were driving through to get to the house.
Out in the valley

Well, I'm sorry I don't have more time. Things are going fairly well though. I love this gospel, I know our Heavenly Father loves us, and He cares for us so much. It's amazing how much of a pick-me-up the Book of Mormon is. I love the scriptures and all that they contain. They are true revelation.
Con amor,
Hermana Escalante

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Buenos Dias :)

Well, this week has been up and down, but pretty good for the most part. Some fun updates: Magali and her family (including her husband) came to church and are really starting to like it. However, the Gospel Principles teacher was sick and Hermano Perez (who is one of the counselors of the branch and super awesome) taught. The only problem was that he knows so much info about the gospel that he got really caught up in little details. He was supposed to teach about the Sacrament and ended up going off about how our spirits look like our bodies, just without flesh, and how Christ had nails in His hands AND wrists, and off about the Plan of Salvation...it was intense and our investigators were confused, to say the least. We're probably going to have to go over and re-teach the Sacrament this week, so they understand what is really is. Magali's husband has agreed to start taking the lessons as well (instead of just joining in randomly when he feels like it), so we'll probably start with Lesson 1 with him this week.

We had a great lesson with María last week (Hermana Ascue, a member, came and helped us find some of her doubts and concerns), and she committed to read the BOM every day, but she still has been having some family problems and hasn't made it out to church in a few weeks. Bummer.

We set a baptismal date with Alejandro last night! Woot! It's pretty exciting, and hopefully he'll be baptized next month. Hopefully all goes well this week as we teach him about the Word of Wisdom and commit him to give up drinking...we'll see how that goes. He knows it's bad though, so hopefully all will go well. Oh, our lesson with him last night was in the church with Hermano Ascencio and we had a church tour and it was great!

We had a "pass-off lesson" with the Spanish Elders on Sunday, sort of. It wasn't really a pass-off because they were more like Potential Investigators, as opposed to Investigators. I think I mentioned them before though. They love us (because their daughter is on a mission) and they love to hear anything we have to say, but they are pretty hard-core Catholic and have no intention of changing that anytime soon (we'll see though). We had dinner with them on Sunday with the Elders, introducing them, and helping them feel comfortable with them, and then we read and shared a message on faith. Hopefully the Elders will be able to keep a good connection with them and soften their hearts a little bit ;)

We picked up a new investigator named Elizabeth who is crazy talkative. Our lessons are so long with her because she just talks so much. Her life is kind of crazy and she's going through some really hard things, so she just wants to talk to us for hours and we can't do that, sadly. The good news is though, that she's reading and interested in what we have to teach. She is so sweet!

Well, I wish I were better at Spanish and learning it faster. I'm grateful for how much I do know, but I really need to be more disciplined in language study and speaking it whenever possible. Hermana Ruíz and I usually speak in English, so I'm not learning as fast as I'd like, but that's my fault. I need to be more humble and patient with myself. It's hard though. Oh! The worst news this week! I lost my Planner! It's awful! I never realized how important that little book is and how attached to it I would be. I have more to use, but there was so much information in that little book! Ugh. I lost it last night, probably in the Moraga apartments (where Alejandro lives), so hopefully we'll have time to go look for it today.

So the Ward Mission Leaders have been in Mexico for the last 2 months (I've never met them) and finally got back in town yesterday. We're going to go meet them and have a correlation meeting with them tonight. Hopefully they will help the work move forward even more so. To be honest, the branch here is so great. Hermana Ruíz keeps telling me that I am going to be very disappointed in my next area because no where else has leaders that are so involved and members so willing to help.

Well, I think that's all for this week. I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing and have nothing to contribute to the work...but I'm learning and trying to work hard each day. I know this is where the Lord wants me to be. He loves us, each and every one of us, and he knows us so well. His gospel is real.
Con amor,
Hermana Escalante

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Greetings from the Creepers!

Hey Mama!
Wow, fun letter this week. Ha-ha, but good to hear from you, all the same. I'm glad to hear the family is doing so well J The Bishop forwarded the Ward Bulletin to me so I got to read the missionary updates - fun stuff! I also saw the post about the Single Adult Fireside coming up, are you going? ;) I hope so! Speaking of, are you still signed up for LDS singles?  How has that been going? Any dates yet?

Sounds like you had a fun date with Kimi and Sharron to see Les Mis! Ha-ha I'm glad you enjoyed your popcorn. I'll be honest, that is the first movie I want to see when I get home. I'm so excited for it! Should be so good! But don't worry, I'm fine with waiting another...15 months. I'm sure it will be just as good then as it is now.

Wow, sounds like a fantastic testimony meeting. Ours was pretty great too. There always seems to be some underlying theme in every testimony, and ours was the temple. Sadly, only one of our investigators (Magali and her kids) was able to make it to church this week (we were hoping that 4 of them would come), but the testimony meeting was very powerful and really touched her. Her husband lost his job last week and since then has been a bit more humble and willing to listen to what we have to say. He would listen to us before, but not take it very seriously. He committed to coming to church this Sunday, but I guess he was stuck up in Perris where his parents live, without a car, so he didn't get back in time for church. Magali was pretty upset that he said he would come and he didn't, so that's good news that she cares and wants him to come so much.

Also, she and her kids stayed the whole time this week and I think her kids are really warming up to it. We went and visited her that evening and she seemed so much happier than usual! We can feel the gospel and the support of the branch lifting her spirit. We had a lesson with her last night as well with her uncle (recent convert) and Anel and Rigo (the ward mission leaders). Anel and Rigo were baptized last April and are on fire! They are so great and want to share the gospel so much! Anel and Magali are good friends and she is such a good support for her. We were talking about the Family Proclamation last night and how we can bring the Spirit into our homes. Magali was having a hard time, crying, and talking about how her kids are crazy and she doesn't feel any support form her husband. Anel helped so much with her testimony and counsel, as well as the spirit that was present and the scriptures, of course. We can tell that Magali really wants to be baptized; she just has some more steps she has to take. Hopefully we will see those blessings soon :) We are having a dinner/FHE with her family and the Piñeda family tomorrow night and are excited to help her husband warm up to the members and the gospel.

Another tender mercy: Maria has been really hard to get ahold of since Hermana Vidal (her good friend) went out of town. She has canceled on her appointments, hasn't come to church, and hasn't been very responsive. After the lesson with Magali, we had planned to see Nubia (a less -active), but I suggested we go see Maria instead. As we were visiting with her, she received some really hard news about her nephew who is bi-polar, he wants nothing to do with the family, and is alone somewhere in LA (they have no idea where). She was crying and asked us to pray for him. We shared a scripture, talked about the support of the Lord in our lives and in the lives of our families, and prayed together. Wow, what a tender mercy that we were there right as she received that news and were able to help her feel the comfort of the spirit. We are meeting with her in a few days and hopefully setting up a date for baptism J

Did I tell you about Fernando last week? Well, we're not really sure how he's doing. We're supposed to see him tomorrow, but haven't been able to get ahold of him much this week (bad sign), so we'll see how that goes. We also picked up a new investigator Alejandro who didn't seem very promising at first. However, when we arrived for our apt, he was waiting for us and was excited that we were there! He was drinking during the lesson, but was still very involved, was asking a lot of great questions, and even offered a prayer with us. We committed him to baptism and he says he will if he finds these things are true. He didn't come to church on Sunday, but we saw him last night and he has been reading and had more great questions for us! Neither of us was expecting much out of him, since he's usually drunk or drinking, but we're excited to see how things go! We love him already and are exciting to help him change his life and come closer to Christ!

 We recently received a list from Hermano Piñeda (who works in real estate) of all the houses with Latino last names out in French Valley. We spent quite a while there yesterday, tracting the list. Tracting isn't something we do all that often and man, it's tiring. It wasn't very fruitful, but we did get one return appointment for today. French Valley is very rich and the people there are not very humble, I'll tell you that. We'll see how much we get from this list, but I know that if nothing else, blessings will come from working hard.

We had interviews with President Cook this week and all went well J I'm sad that he'll be leaving in the summer - he is a great mission president. He complimented my Spanish and is very pleased with how I'm doing J It's comforting to hear things like that, as some days are pretty rough and I feel anything but confident in the work. Nevertheless, this is the Lord's work, and it will go forward J The English sisters are moving out this week, so we will be a little lonely in our apartment, but only for a little bit, as new sisters will be coming in next transfer (in 2 weeks, I believe). There are going to be so many new sisters in the next few transfers...it's going to be crazy.

Well, I better wrap this up, but I just want to share how much I love the scriptures - the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the D&C, and the Pearl of Great Price - all of them, side by side. They are so amazing. I hope all of you take advantage of the words of God that we have available in our hands. They truly are amazing and they guide us so much. This work is crazy and kind of weird, but it's awesome. We feel like "creepers always creepin", but Hermana Ruiz prefers to call us "righteous stalkers" ha-ha.

I hope all is well with the family. Tell Ariana to email me! Ok, I have to go for real. LOVE YOU!!!!
Con amor,
Hermana Escalante