Write to Alyssa at:

Mission Address:
Sister Alyssa Nicole Escalante

California Carlsbad Mission

451 W Bobier Dr

Vista, CA 92083

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Well Hello You Beautiful People, You!

How are you doing? Good to hear from you :) We are by orange trees! Well, our apartment isn't really, but they are in our area and so we pass by the orchards sometimes. And randomly people will have orange or lemon trees in their yard, it's fun stuff. I love when I'm walking outside and I see flowers and it's green and I have to take off my sweater because it's too hot and then I remember....it's February! Ha-ha I love So Cal.

We were visiting Dalia the other night (she's kind of an investigator right now...but she works so much we can hardly see her, but she's real sweet), and her sweet father Eduardo gave us 2 huge bags of fresh-picked oranges! He works in some sort of field and I guess he and his friends were on break and wondered over and took them. Not sure how honest it was...but we have lots of oranges now, nevertheless! :) Hermana Ruiz has got me hooked on oranges with Tajin, it's so good! You should try it. 

That's so crazy that Zach is home already! Sounds like he gave a great talk :) I just realized this week that that means that my friend Brady is probably home by now too! Wow, time just flies, huh? I can't believe it's been 4 months already since I left. I still feel like I just got here, though I'm definitely feeling more and more like a missionary everyday, instead of just doing missionary things.

I still think it's crazy that Ari, Mo, and Brudder are going to Cali. Just following my example, I guess, haha. I really do love it here though. I hope they love it too! Even though they'll be further north than I am.

Wes looks good :) You should send me a picture of Ashley and her pregnant-ness! I do love baby-filled bellies :) And I'm so excited to see a picture of my new nephew fairly soon! (When is she due again? March? May?) 

Yeah, we just heard about all the new missions too, and that there will be 3 new missions in CA alone! Wow! Rumor is that we will be losing some of our mission again, but we'll see. I had been to the San Diego Temple before, but only to do baptisms, so it was my first session there. Pretty wonderful :)

So transfers are today! Hermana Ruiz kept telling me that she was leaving because she's already been here 3 transfers and she's never been anywhere longer than 3 transfers, so we were both anticipating that. I was, well, to be honest, looking forward to getting a new companion, so we were both pretty shocked when we got the call Saturday night that we would both be staying. We were about to go to sleep, and as I was praying by my bed, asking the Lord to help me out somehow because I didn't think I could do another transfer with Hermana Ruiz, the phone rang and it was the APs. We are both staying, but still have to go to transfer meeting to pick up our new greenie! Yep, we will be training her together in a trio! Crazy sauce! There are so many new missionaries coming out (35 along this transfer) that they just have to group us up where they can. It is also likely that we will only be in the trio for a transfer, Hermana Ruiz will white-wash train somewhere, and I will finish training the greenie. Wow. And I just got done training 2 days ago! It is overwhelming, but we're both feeling pretty good about it and are excited for the upcoming weeks.
Spanish Missionaries

"The District 2" haha :)

So Priscilla and her sons (Oscar and Rene) didn't come to church on Sunday :( The dad still isn't stoked on us and kind of talked the kids out of going to church and Priscilla didn't want to come alone. We talked with them yesterday though and they are still doing great and progressing a lot. I love this family so much, it almost weirds me out! Seriously, I just love them and want to help them in the gospel so much! 
La familia Villa-Sanchez! Yo, Rene Ezekial (dad in the back), Oscar, Priscilla, y Hermana Ruiz. Me encanta esta familia!

Our other investigators are doing...alright. Magaly and Cristian we will teach tonight, and hopefully we can get them a little more motivated again. Maria is picking back up - she's so sweet. Oscar...he might be moving and won't be making his baptismal date for the 16th, but hopefully we can keep working with him. Mirtha...we need to see that lady more often. She's only half in it. We have been doing a lot of finding and will continue to do that more this week.

The work is good, I'm out of time, I know the Lord loves me and answers my prayers and cares about me and about His children here in Temecula. The church is true! It really is :)

Love you all so much! Like, a lot!
Con amor,
Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Hi Everyone! I hope you like the pictures ☺

Man...P-days are usually short and I always feel rushed, but even more so today, since we went to the temple this morning. It was so good though, and so worth it. Oh man, I love the temple so much. The San Diego temple is really beautiful too. We had such a great time this morning! Briar Morgan took us (Branch President's daughter) so it was fun to ride with her and get to know her a little bit better, since she usually goes to the single's branch.

Wow, I feel like I have so much to say, but I can't remember it all. I guess I'll just start with your questions. Yes, my coat is plenty warm ☺ though I realized that all of the cardigan/sweaters I brought are 3/4 sleeves, haha silly me. Good thing it's usually pretty warm here, and either way, I have a warm coat if it's too cold. I wear sweats when we run...what a random question :P Yes, just the two of us run together. The sun is always up by the time we run, so yes, it's light. Our apartments are over in a suburban area, but pretty close to the mall and some other large streets. Target is only a few minutes away, so we're pretty close to the middle of town. We just run in the neighborhoods though. It's super safe, I promise. I think Temecula is the 2nd safest city in the States, or so I've heard. Library is pretty close too, 5 minutes by car. Laundry is in our apartment. Man, so many random questions. I hope your satisfied with those answers ☺

That's so cool that Zach gets home on Thursday! I got that Christmas card from him but didn't get an actually letter back from the last one I sent, so I haven't written/heard from him in a while. Tell him I say hi! I can't believe Chrisser gets home in August too! Wow, time goes by so fast, doesn't it? I'll be home before you know it mama, and then you won't have to be alone. I can't believe everyone is ditching you! Usually it's just me, haha.

That's so cool about Ariana and Morgan! I did get an email from her, but I might have to respond to her next week, depending on time. So what is it that Chris will be doing out there exactly? (Besides getting famous, of course). I'm glad to hear that everyone is following my lead out to Cali! It's a beautiful place, though I'll have to admit, that Southern Cal is the best, and San Fran won't be as awesome.

I'm glad to hear you'll have M,J, & D with you when they all go, and maybe Jilli too. I need to write her back too...wow, I'm awful at this writing back thing. Is she getting married anytime soon? I guess I can ask her that when I write her. I'm so jealous M,J, & D are going to Thailand! What punks! I want to go there so bad! That's awesome though. Send me a picture or two of their trip!

 Sorry to hear about Grandma and Grandpa’s house and their trip being postponed, but hopefully all will go well as they try to straighten things up. I'll keep them in my prayers.

Wow! You're going to Chicago! Sorry I'm not there to be your travel buddy. You know I'd go with you in a heartbeat ;) Take good notes for me! It sounds like it will be a great conference! What day is Ashley due again? Too bad you can't go to Beijing! That would be so cool! We can take a trip to China together when I get back, if you want :D

I'm happy to report, we didn't have many hecklers this week. Just a few Calvary Chapel Baptists telling us that we don't believe in Jesus Christ. One started going off about polygamy but we just kept chatting and being friendly with him and his friend and by the end of the conversation he was trying to get us to go out with him and get a drink...haha it was hilarious.

Magaly, actually, had a few concerns about that. We went over just to say hi the other evening and her family was there. After we left, her aunt told her that we still practice polygamy and some other stuff that wasn't true, which was pretty confusing for Magaly. Thankfully, she trusts us enough to talk to us about it and we got her concerns straightened out. We were going to recommit her to baptism that night actually, but she instead wanted to talk about all these concerns she had and we ended up feeling like it wasn't the right time. Hopefully soon though! She definitely sees a difference in her family and her testimony is really growing.

This Sunday was a little rough on me, as we had zero investigators at church. All of our baptismal dates and other progressing investigators had one reason or another why they couldn't come, and it just made me really sad. Not only that, but very few members were there also, I'm not really sure why. As the Sacrament was passed, it hit me hard that Christ suffered for us so that we could repent and overcome our sins, and yet no one was there at church to partake of that sacrifice. It was hard, but it also motivated me to work harder and help our investigators understand the eternal significance of doing things like coming to church.

Wow, so little time left. Oscar, our miracle that fell into our lap, has been pretty lame. He keeps cancelling on us and hasn't come to church the past few weeks. He is really busy with work and kids and court, but hopefully we can meet with him again soon and get things going again. We're definitely going to have to push his baptismal date back, but hopefully not too far.

La familia Sanchez! Oh my goodness! I love these people sooooo much! They are the best! They were in Tijuana this weekend so they couldn't come to church, but they said they would this week and we meet with them 2 or 3 times a week. They love learning and growing together! The mom is so stoked for her baptism and Oscar (the 10 yr old) committed to baptism this week as well! Priscilla (the mom) has really been seeing the blessings in her life and is so ready to make a change. Rene (the 15 yr old son) is still a little unsure about baptism, but he's reading and praying and he loves us coming over and he's just so great. It might take him a little while to come around, but he's so ready to be baptized. We aren't really teaching the dad, but he joins us sometimes in the lessons, which is so good! He even offered the closing prayer last lesson! I love this family so much, they are the best.

Pres. Cook and Me - sorry the pic flipped!
Zone conference was last week and it was sooooo good! I love President Cook. He may look kind of dorky (see the picture), but I seriously think he's the best mission president in the world.
Sr. Cook and Me
This man is so inspired and so brilliant. I'm pretty bummed that he goes home in July and we'll be getting a new Pres., but I'm sure it's all for the best and the new one will be great too. At Z.C. we mostly focused on teaching skills. Before the conference we were required to memorize all 42 points of the lessons with a scripture reference for each point. I of course did it in Spanish (even though the whole conference was in English) but it was still really useful and I was able to do a few practices in Spanish. It was a great conference and Hermana Ruiz and I are really trying to implement all that we've learned. We've definitely been working better together, and as a result have been getting along better as well. I'm learning that I really need to get over myself and just communicate with my companion, it always works out better that way.
Zone Conference!

This past week (because it was my second to last week of training) I had to lead out on every lesson and every planning. It was a little rough, but I learned a lot and I am definitely feeling much more capable as a missionary. I can't believe only one more week left with Hermana Ruiz! It's crazy! It's most likely that she will leave and I will stay here with a new companion, but we will find out this weekend. Crazy sauce! Hermana Ruiz isn't very excited to leave, but she trusts that I'll take good care of our investigators.
Thank you again for the V-day package! You're the best! I feel so loved and spoiled by how good you are to me ☺ I wish I could send YOU a package, just so you know how much I love you! But sadly, we don't really have time for that. I really do love you a lot though. Tell my nieces and nephews that their Aunt Lyssa loves them, and all my beautiful brothers and sisters too!

This work is hard and sometimes I want to cry (or I do cry), but it is so worth it, because I know this is the work of the Lord. He is here in the work, helping us every step of the way, if we are faithful, diligent and trusting in Him. I love my Savior so much, and I love YOU all! I'm excited to hear from you next week and I'll let you know about transfers. Necesito ir.
Con amor,
Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Valentine's!

Thank you so much for the package! Sorry, I already opened it last night...oops. You're the best though! Thank you so much! Hermana Ruiz appreciates Rice Crispie Treats almost as much as I do, so she was also thrilled about the package. I also got a V-day package from Kimi yesterday too, so I felt very loved with lots of treats and gifts in pink and red J And you're right, V-day will be no different for us, so I'm sure there will be less people home in the evening and it will be harder to set citas (appointments). Oh well, the work goes on.

We finished planning really quickly last night so I had time to go over the Family Newsletter - wow, my family is so awesome! You are all so crazy and busy and doing awesome things! I don't think I realized how much Wes has going on in his life right now...wow. I will definitely keep him in my prayers. The cousins too though, it's great to hear how they are all doing! I'm so jealous that Chad and family went to Costa Rica!! That's awesome. Did I tell you that Chad was in my dream the other night? I don't really remember it, just that he was there. I have so many strange dreams on the mission.

Wow, it gets cold here in the mornings (it was freezing this morning with frost and fog!) but I will stop complaining, especially after seeing the picture of Mike and Jodi's car. Crazy! I am so grateful to be in a place where there is no snow! I am so glad to hear the family is doing so well though. Remind me Ashley's due date? Have they been settling on any names yet? Will you be home for the birth or out east for the graduation? Do you have to choose between the two?

I just emailed Chris again about sending me some CDs. I know he's super busy and you just sent me a package, but whenever you guys could get those out to me, that would be super J The music rules are pretty strict, so right now we just have 3 or 4 CDs that we listen to over and over again. Because of the size of our area, we are in the car pretty often listening to music, so it would be nice to get a bit more variety. No rush though! I know you have a thousand other things to worry about, I just thought I'd let you know so that you could remind Chris if a week goes by and he doesn't mention anything about it.

On to Intercambios! Well, let's just say, I have been wasting my time and the Lord's time for the past 2 months out here in California. I am so grateful for intercambios and the power and change that come with them. Hermana Ruiz and I learned a lot and our companionship has definitely taken a whole new turn. The first 2 months here our companionship was ok, but to be honest, it wasn't a real companionship. We were frustrated with each other and hardly working well together. We get along well most of the time as friends, but we had a hard time working together. After Intercambios we talked about it a lot. I had felt that she wasn't really doing her part as a trainer, and as a result, I wasn't gaining experience that would prepare me for after she would leave. She felt that I was being too sensitive and not putting forth enough of my own effort in the work. We both agreed that we had a lot to work on, and even though things are perfect in our companionship, that we would both work so hard these last 2 weeks together and make them the best ever. It is crazy. I am actually starting to feel like a missionary...instead of just a girl out in California doing strange things that missionaries do. I so wish that I hadn't wasted so much time being scared the first 2 months I was here, because I am starting to understand what this work is all about, and I love it.

As for our investigators, we currently have 2 baptismal dates: Oscar - the Antiguo that called us last week, (I'm pretty sure I mentioned him) and Priscilla - the sweet lady with 2 kids and health problems that we found in place of an old Potential Investigator. I'm pretty sure I mentioned them last week...if not, sorry. Sad news, neither of them came to church last week. Lame. Priscilla went to Tijuana to go to the doctor (more health problems) and we're not really sure why Oscar didn't make it. We are meeting with him tonight and can hopefully understand his needs a little better, especially since he is the one that called us, and wants so badly to be baptized. Magaly was going to come to church, but one of the ladies in the RS told her not to come.... wow, members can be so frustrating sometimes! It was a big misunderstanding, so hopefully she'll be there next week and all will go well. I do love that girl Magaly, and hopefully we can help her progress a little more as we meet with her tonight.

Wow, I'm almost out of time! What else? We received permission from Pres. Cook to teach the Gutierrez family in the Elders area (remember them? Bella, the family that we tried to pass off? Well they passed them back to us because the family loves sister missionaries too much, ha-ha). Hmm, we visited a less active this week named Veraunica and she has some serious mental and emotional problems...as do her kids. Poor things. Hopefully we can help her out a little more this week. We have been doing a lot of service this week, especially for Priscilla and her family, and I love serving others. We made them dinner last week, and I made your killer mashed potatoes! They loved them :)

 Oh yeah, no temple trip today, it will be next week. I got the dates mixed up. I'm so stoked to go next week! Yay! We got hit on by another black guy yesterday...ha-ha so great. We ran into a Chinese family last night and they tried speaking Chinese to me (as they didn't speak hardly any English), but I have forgotten so much of my Chinese! Hopefully I'll be able to learn it again after the mish. Oh yeah, we were walking down the street the other day and someone in a car passing by started yelling at us and then I got hit in the back of my leg with something! They threw a vegetable at me! It hurt...but not too bad. I think it was just a pepper or something, so no big deal. Wow, people though...they are so ridiculous. Hopefully someday they will stop being so ignorant and at least be pleasant with us, even if they choose to not accept the gospel.

Well, I was going to attach a picture from Intercambios but I am just about out of time, so I'll have to throw it on next week. I love you all so much! I know this gospel is true! Trust me...I wouldn't be out here if it wasn't. It so wouldn't be worth it, but I know that it is worth it because I know how much our Father in Heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ loves us. I love sharing that love with the people here and helping them to fill their lives with His Spirit.

Con Amor,
Hermana Alyssa N. Escalante

P.S. Thanks for the thoughts from the Pope's! They are such great missionaries and such great examples to me! :D

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Buenos Dias!

Buenos Dias Mamita, Familia, y Amigos, J

Thank you so much for the scarf! It's beautiful! Don't you think? ;) 
All scarfed up and ready to go!
 You're so great to me mama. The other picture is of my district last transfer (plus Zone Leaders in the front). It is still pretty much the same missionaries, except we have a new DL (District Leader) and one Elder replaced (I think I mentioned that last week, didn't I?) Anyway, my district is pretty hilarious and I quite enjoy them.
Ta DA!

We have district activity twice a transfer and they are always a lot of fun. We usually do things like play Volleyball, Frisbee, or Chair Soccer, though last time we played that game where you tie balloons to your legs and you try to pop other people's balloons. It was pretty hilarious. Sadly Elder Neily is going through some rough times right now, medically, and will be going to the doctor today to get some testing done. Hopefully he will be able to stay out and not have to go home early. We are all praying for him.

That's so exciting that Christine got her call! Woot! Tell her I say "Felicidades!" She is going to be a super great missionary and I am very excited to talk with her in Spanish after our missions. J That's cool about ReyLynn too! It seems like everyone is coming to California. Elder Neily's girlfriend also just got her call to a California, Spanish-speaking mission. "El campo blanco esta ya para la siega" (D&C 4:4), especially here in California! Although there is a bit of opposition here too.

Even now, sitting here at the library, there is a man who keeps yelling out every few minutes, saying things like "Mormon's are so stupid, how can you be so stupid?" "Jesus Christ loves us, why are you teaching lies? Lucifer isn't the brother of Jesus!" Yeah...it's interesting. He also keeps warning everyone who walks by to be careful because there are Mormons here and that we might teach them lies. Good stuff, huh? Oh, being a missionary is so fun sometimes. J

We have seen some great blessing this week though! Well, first off, we texted Fernando yesterday just to see how he was doing and we were really confused by his response. He basically told us that he was so sad and his heart was in a thousand pieces because we stopped coming to see him. Yeah...I was just as confused, especially because he is the one who told us to stop coming because he didn't feel ready. He is a little emotional, as you can tell, but hopefully we'll be able to see him soon and help to resolve his doubts and concerns. He has a ways to go, but I'm sure he will accept the gospel some day soon!

Also, an investigator fell into our lap this week that is very promising, named Oscar. He called us actually, being an "Antiguo" (or Former Investigator), as he used to be taught about a year ago. He is having some hard times in his life right now and decided to call us, because he remembered how good he felt when he used to meet with the missionaries. Apparently he was almost baptized but didn't go through because his wife had no interest and didn't support him. They are now separated and he very much wants to be a part of the church again. Another blessing came with Oscar, as he told us to please go visit his neighbor. We talked with her and apparently she was baptized back in college, hasn't been to church in 10 years, and has no idea where her records are, but wants to come back to church. She says she never doubted the church was true and still has a testimony, but she is now ready to live the life that the gospel requires. She is so sweet and we are so grateful to help her back into the gospel.

Both she and Oscar came to church on Sunday, as well as Magaly and the kids, but we are still having a hard time getting her husband Christian to come, as well as Maria and a few other investigators. But we are very grateful for those who are coming. J  We got to teach the Gospel Principles class this Sunday, as the teacher was sleep deprived from working so late. Hermana Ruiz mostly taught, but I added a little, and it was fun stuff. We have also had a lot of "hijackers" in our lessons lately, so we're thinking of having training on how members participate in lessons. Hijackers are those members who come and don't let you talk and feel that they need to teach the whole lesson for you...it's pretty frustrating. Especially when we spend 4 hours every morning in our studies and preparing for this lessons with careful prayer and consideration. Hopefully we fix the hijacker problem soon.

So Intercambios (exchanges) are tomorrow! I'm not really sure why, but I am once again, going to Escondido with Hermana Schwegler! I am so stoked! I feel like it is a tender mercy from the Lord, and He knows how much I learned from her last time and I know I am going to learn so much more, once again. She is also training this transfer, so her Greenie will come here with Hermana Ruiz. We set goals for every exchange, and I'm excited to see how I can help Hermana Schwegler, as well as get some great insights from her. She is so crazy...ha-ha I love it. We had a Zone Training this week and we are now trying to work on more effective planning. We also have Zone Conference next week, as well as our Temple day (which I am so STOKED for!) Woot! It will be great!

Oh, random, but I was going to tell you to feel free to send talks for me to read mama. J In the MTC I really didn't have time, and here I still don't have a lot of time, but I can squeeze them in here and there ;) Our mission president expects a lot from us, so we definitely keep busy, even during our "down time". I am still working on the Book of Mormon Challenge in Spanish (I told you about that, right?), I'm working on updating and organizing the P.I.s in the area book, and we also have a new challenge to memorize all 42 points of the 5 lessons with a scripture reference for each point. It's fun stuff! I am so trying to keep up my reading in Our Search For Happiness, and hopefully get started on Jesus the Christ soon. (All of these, by the way, are not to be done during study time, only "down time", like Lunch, or at night after planning - so it's a challenge to get it all done, ha-ha).

Well, I love the Vidals, they take such good care of us, just know that J Hopefully I'll get a picture with them soon. The Branch here is pretty great though. I am glad to hear things are going well, and that Grandpa is good J Tell my cousin Chad I say "Hi Chaddy! You were in my dream the other night!" Ha-ha, he was. I don't remember the dream, just that he was there. Oh, speaking of dreaming and sleeping and stuff, I am no longer having any problems with sleep or staying awake during my studies. How awesome is that?! Such a tender mercy from the Lord. For some reason I wake up around 5:20 every morning, lie in bed, half dreaming half awake, until the alarm goes off at 6:15, and then I am so awake the whole day. It is so weird, but I won't complain one bit! I hope you can get sleeping better too mama! You are seriously my hero mom, did you know that?

Hermana Ruiz respects you a lot too, just because she knows how much I admire you J I miss you tons. Thank you again for the package, for all your love, and your emails! Remember to send more pictures, and I'll try to remember to take more (sorry, I'm really bad about that). Plus, my camera isn't that great, so maybe I'll buy a new one for my birthday or something. We'll see. Oh, tell Jilli thank you for the letter and I will write her back either this week or next. The mail system here is so lame...we just got the mail yesterday for like the last 2 weeks. Oh well, at least I get it eventually, I shan’t complain.

I wish I had my study journal here with me, so I could share some of the wonderful things I've learned this week. Perhaps I can just share my testimony about the Book of Mormon, and how it truly is the keystone of our religion. It is so powerful, full of the spirit, and truly evidence of the restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for the Atonement in our lives, and that it is through "faith unto repentance" (Alma 34:9-17,) that we can truly use the Atonement in our lives. I am grateful for the ability that we have to change and better ourselves through His love and sacrifice for us, and how real His gospel really is.

Con amor,
Hermana Escalante 

P.S. I love my siblings...please tell them individually how much I love them J and Grandma and Grandpa too!