Write to Alyssa at:

Mission Address:
Sister Alyssa Nicole Escalante

California Carlsbad Mission

451 W Bobier Dr

Vista, CA 92083

Monday, March 24, 2014

One More Month!

Hey Familia y Amigos!

Well, allergies started to hit me this week, so I gave in last night and took some allergy medicine, but apparently it is not the non-drowsy kind, so I've been a little tired today. Other than that, I'm feeling great. How did your student observation go? I'm glad to hear that so many exciting things are happening both in Orem and in Layton. So, do these full-time missionaries from the stake do proselyting as well, or just teach when someone give them a call? It's pretty interesting to me J sounds cool though! 

It's been a fine week. We had many lessons and many contacts, yet it still felt like we could have done better. It's a great feeling to know you're doing well but that there is still more to improve J Well, our "golden"/interesting investigator...we're still not sure what to do with her. We stopped by Sunday morning and she said she had read the night before and slept great (her spirits/harassing neighbors usually keep her up) and was planning on coming to church, but then she never showed. The members that have been fellow shipping her have seemed to be little turned off by her and don't show a lot of excitement when we invite them to lessons anymore, so we might be taking that as a hint that this may not be the best time for her. We don't want to baptize her and then leave her to be a burden on the branch, so we are alright with dropping her if that is what is best, but we'll decided that for sure this week. President Kendrick actually came with us to a lesson with her and he blessed her home and it seemed to go very well, but he still suggested that we proceed with caution. He told us he felt "Leery" of the situation and just to make sure the ward was very involved on the situation, so we will try to have a lesson with her this week with the branch President as well.

Exchanges went well last week and we have a few more exchanges this week. Hermana Williams is doing great and does well with all of the exchanges. Elder Cordery is doing better as a District Leader as well and seems to be feeling a little more comfortable with it, and we're hoping he stays humble. He still calls us all the time, but is adjusting.

We just started teaching a part member family, but the member is a returning less-active who is still struggling with alcohol, so we'll see how it goes. As a zone we have set the goal to have 75% of contacts with Family History (we're still doing the pilot program).... which is a challenge for me, since it never seems to yield much results, but it is helping. Hopefully we will see some results soon, if not, at least we are doing our best.

I am feeling the Spirit so strongly here on the mission, especially this last transfer. I feel like with every contact we have and as we talk with almost every person, and in every meeting we're in, the Spirit bears witness to me that what we are sharing is true. We had an hour-long contact in the street the other day with a man working on his car. At the beginning, he was just talking with us to get a kick out of us, to make fun of religion, and but the end of it, he took a Book of Mormon and promised to read it sincerely. I just love being a missionary so much.

Tell Michael thank you for this paragraph, and he is very funny about promising to write me every month until I get home.... ha. Well, that's just absolutely crazy that she is out biking at 8 months, but Jodi is the coolest. You're right, I am very excited to spend some time with my nieces and nephews when I get home. Speaking of, have M&J been thinking about names? I miss holding kids so bad! This last Sunday we went into Daisy's primary class (4 and 5 yr. old, I think) and talked about what we do as missionaries. It was fun stuff :)
Oh, yes. Hermana Williams is from Kellogg, Iowa and is 19 yrs. old. She loves the scriptures and we think so much a like in our studies. It's great. She is a dancer and very easy going, so we've had a good time thus far. Did I mention last week that she was trained by Hermana Sheffield in Temecula? Fun stuff. This is her 4th transfer, and she's a boss.

Glad to hear that your RS class went well and everything with STEM and observations and whatnot. It actually makes me a little jealous. I want to be in education so bad...I feel almost as passionately about it as I do the gospel...it's a little ridiculous.
Well, I love you tons and tons. Sorry my emails are a little boring, but I'm tired today.
Love you!

Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante

Preparing to fish with the District

Feeding the ducks

Duck feeding pt. 2

Hermana Williams with our turtle friend

...and cena with Hermana Guerrerro!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hey Mama!

That's so fun that we are (or were, at least) in the same state! Only about an hour or so away! J Closest we've been in a year and a half, ha-ha. No worries about Heather's parents. I don't think I need to send anything home anyway. It should be fine. I mean I could, but I don't think I will go over on luggage or anything. I just figured I could send home some books or something like that, so my stuff isn't so heavy, but I don't want to be stressed about trying to coordinate a pick up or anything like that either, so it's fine. I don't know the Copes. Sorry.

My companion is....(drum roll)......Hermana Williams!! She's so great J she was trained in Temecula (where I was trained!), by Hermana Sheffield (my favorite compita!) and we get along just swimmingly. Hermana Painter went to Escondido (different area from where I was at) and is serving with Hermana McBride (who came out and goes home with me -  though we never served together). It might be a little bit of a challenge for Hma Painter, since they have very different and both have dominant personalities, but I'm sure it will all work out. Elder Olvera also left and also went to Escondido and is now her Zone Leader down there, so she was happy about that.

Elder Cordery is now our District Leader, which I think is great!... but some of the other Elders aren't as happy about it because he is so young in the mission. His new companion is Elder Gonzalez, who served in my ward when I was in Escondido and was just over in Temecula with Hermana Williams, so they came over together. He is from Oxuaca, Mexico (not sure if I spelled that right) and a convert of about 2 years. Fun changes and everything is going great here with Hermana Williams! She is a fantastic missionary and I am excited for this transfer to serve with and learn from her. She is a little quiet with members and in lessons, which can be tricky since I am so talkative, but we're working it out just fine. Plus, we think so much alike. In studies, we pretty much always study the exact same thing, and come up with the same ideas for lesson plans, it's pretty funny. We’ve got lots of comp unity already. J

The biggest thing I've learned (or maybe re-learned) this week is how very involved the Lord is in this work and why things always work out the way they do...it's all for a reason. Yesterday we had plans and everything worked out differently than we planned, but it worked out just the way it was supposed. Because our 7:00 canceled, we were able to see a less-active family that we've haven't seen in months, and because our 7:00 canceled, we asked the member to accompany us to our 8:00 instead, and she only came because our other member (whom we originally invited to the 8:00 lesson) was unavailable. It ended up being a very strange situation at our 8:00 because it was with our "golden" investigator who has a baptismal date. As soon as we got there it was so off-feeling. She didn't come to church yesterday and we weren't sure why but she told us it's because she had a horrible day and couldn't sleep all night because her neighbors were up yelling at her and harassing her. She started venting to us and telling us everything they were saying and she just didn't seem like herself - cussing and yelling and using all sorts of vulgar language and when we would try to pull it back to the positive she just went back and kept repeating herself, cussing and yelling. It was so strange.

I decided that I didn't know what to do or say, but probably because it wasn't an environment that the Spirit could be present in, so it was almost impossible for us to receive inspiration. I told her we needed to leave, but we wanted to pray with her first. She agreed and we knelt down and I prayed. After the prayer she started crying and apologizing for being so ugly and worldly with us. We talked a little bit more, and then sat back down and read a few verses in the Book of Mormon discussed how the Lord will support us in our trails, but not take them away, only give us the strength to overcome them. She then prayed and the member who ended up coming was also exactly who needed to be there and was able to give a lot of support and comfort and was able to relate a lot to her, as a convert of only 2 years. We left and set up an appointment for tonight, which we will be having in another member's home to help her feel more calm and peaceful and the other member will also be joining us.

At this point we're not sure exactly what's going on with her situation. She has claimed to have spirits in her home which we believe is probably true (Hermana Painter said that she felt them, but I'm not good at feeling spirits, I guess), but then we're also not sure if she really does have neighbors that harass her, or if that's bad spirits too, or if she may be a little mentally unstable. It's hard to tell. We may be inviting our mission president out to an appointment with us soon to seek his counsel on her situation. She is still reading and praying and promised to come to church again next week, but we're not sure how big of a situation this really could be.

Anyway, being a missionary sure is fun. J I love it. We also started teaching David's parents this week, and David continues to come to church and progress, but his parents may be a little tougher to work with. They are in their 70s and are sure they are too told to change. I think they both know it's true (David's grandparents were converts so they had gone to church in the past with them), but don't want to make a lifestyle change. We will be seeing them tonight so, so keep us all in your prayers. Sadly, there’s no real update on the Martinez family. They want us to keep coming back and are asking us not to give up on them because they know they feel something different when we come, but they just aren't progressing at this point and it's difficult to work with their schedule, but we continue to (TRY to) pray and work with them.

That's so exciting that Marita and Nick are getting married! Haha that's crazy!...and weird. If all goes my way, I won't be getting married until I'm 25 or 26...but things never work out my way, only the Lord's way, so we'll see. I'm excited to see them at their reception though before they run off. Will they be living in our ward boundaries after the wedding or moving else where?

I loved the pic that Chris sent me. J So fun! Sounds like you had a great study this Sunday. We had our Branch Conference, which was great, but I felt bad for our members. Our Stake Presidency doesn't really understand the concept of speaking slowly so that the translator can keep up. Poor things. It'd be nice if they would write out their talks and give us time to translate them, or at least slow down a tiny bit, but overall it was a great Sunday.

For General Conference, we all go to the Stake Center. There is a room for Spanish, but we can watch it in English if we want. We do everything we can to get investigators there with us, but it is definitely not a requirement. It is only a requirement that we watch all the sessions, with or without an investigator. We were planning on having a baptism that Sunday, in between the sessions, but we'll see how that goes.

We are having a District Activity today at the park. The Elders wanted to go fishing in the pond, but Hma Williams and I don't like fishing, so we're just bringing some bread for the ducks. J We're also having a picnic lunch together. Should be fun!

Well, I feel like I'm out of things to say...so I'll just wrap it up. Tell Grandma and Grandpa that I love them and I hope they both feel better from surgeries and epidurals. Keep on keepin' on! Tell the whole family I love them too - Even my siblings and cousins who never write me.

Happy birthday Chase and Happy St. Patrick's day! Yes...I forgot to wear green. Oops. Oh well.

Love you!!!!!!

Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante

Monday, March 10, 2014

Daylight Savings and Last Transfer!

Hey everybody, how are ya?

I'm pretty good. It's been a good week with warm weather, lots of lessons, and full of the Spirit. I didn't appreciate losing an hour of sleep, but I made it through all right. I'm sorry to hear you are coughing! I hope you feel better soon! And no, I seem to be doing just fine. You're right, it is sort of Spring all year. Every once in a while I feel my allergies acting up, but nothing too big. I'm pretty spoiled here in California.

Yes, transfers are tomorrow. Hermana Painter will be leaving, and I have no idea where she's going, though I might guess to Temecula with Hermana Eskeets or to Vista with my baby girl Bennett, but I'm usually wrong, so who knows. And my guess is that Hermana Moffit will be coming here with me, or Williams, but like I said, we'll see. I'll let you know next week. I'm very happy to stay in the area because we have some fun things going on and I quite adore the branch, they are just so great.

As far as members and leadership goes, this has definitely been my favorite area. We had breakfast with our Branch President and his wife this morning since Hermana Painter and Elder Olvera are leaving, and they are just a great, I love them all. We were exchanging mission stories with Presidente and he was telling us all sorts of crazy stories from the ghetto of New York...makes California seem pretty calm and quiet J

Yes, Ariana did email me this week actually! She told me about her new roommate and her upcoming trip - so exciting! She also told me about her expected venture to Argentina this fall, which sounds so awesome! I'm so glad to hear how great my family is doing J I know the promises in my setting apart blessing of my family being blessed are so very true, and I'm grateful for how many blessings the Lord pours upon us daily.

I'm glad to hear that your class is going well as well and I am very excited for General Conference as well. I used to be excited about it when I was young because it meant waffles for breakfast and long naps and dinner at Grandmas.... but now it's like going to Disney Land! I look forward to all the answers I will receive, the Spirit I will feel, the inspiration I'll feel, and the revelation I need. I'm so grateful for a living prophet and for 12 apostles and other church leaders who are close to God and help us come closer to Him through their inspired words. 

We are currently working with a young woman we met in our apartment complex and she is very spiritually prepared...in some ways. She is actually extremely receptive to the gospel and understands it very well. She is open and loves to read and teaches herself and writes down questions and what she learns from studying the Book of Mormon on her own accord. However, like everyone, she has her hold ups as well. It seems that she has some spirits in her home and that follow her around. She may also have some mental issues, but we're not sure yet. We do agree that there are presences there that we have felt, but also that they leave when we pray with her and she truly does love the Holy Spirit that she feels when we come and wants it more in her life. She came to church yesterday and received a blessing afterwards, so we'll see where it goes from here. Feel free to keep Selene in your prayers.

We continue to work with the Martinez family, though they own a restaurant and they have been having some struggles this past week, so hopefully this next week things will calm down a little bit and we'll be able to see them more often. Pues, life is good, the church is true, God loves us, the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ... and so do I! Have a great week! Love you tons and tons!!

Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 6 of Transfer 11!!

Hola Mamita and Everyone,

Well, this email will be a bit shorter. I was a bit selfish and spent more time reading emails and the newsletter than I did writing, so maybe there wont be as many details, but it was a good week. It was storming all weekend, which was sort of a fun change since the weather is almost always the same: it’s usually hot, warm, or kinda cool, but always sunny. I mean, I'm not complaining, I love it! But it was fun to watch the rivers flow down our apartment parking lot. It poured for about two days straight - which was such an answer to many prayers here in California in regard to the drought. We all felt very blessed and humbled. Though the rain was a blessing, it also caused a few problems with some flooding and some trees blown over, broken fences, and lots of mud in the roads, but we're all alright. I'll try to attach a picture of one of the complexes we were in after the storm. Even in the rain, we were out and about, but thankfully spent most of the time in doors teaching lessons and it helped us feel even more grateful for our car! Poor Elders without cars...though they said that they got into a lot more homes because of the rain, so they were grateful.
After the storm

The Martinez family is doing alright, but could use your prayers. I feel very strongly that they will accept the gospel as a family and be baptized, but it may take a little more time than we originally thought. The members here are so great though, even though we often times feel frustrated with our investigators. I feel like this is the best branch I've ever served in! The members are so great, and I love the leadership. If you can get an investigator to church, the deal is sealed! But the problem is getting the investigators to come to church.... we feel like our investigators are letting our members down. The members are eager to join us for lessons and do some great fellowshipping, but our investigators always seem to be canceling and are very flaky. It has been frustrating, but we continue onward. Elder Olvera is a great District Leader though, and we've been talking with him a lot on how to improve personally as missionaries and in our area.

Being an STL has definitely been a learning experience, especially as of late, but it's been great. One of the sisters who I am over was struggling a lot and we talked a lot during our exchange because she very much wanted to go home. After some prayerful decision, she decided to go home this last week, so that has been hard, but I know she will do great back with her family and will continue to be a great missionary back East. The other sister who was struggling is doing a lot better, so it has been a good and humbling experience to work with her and help her in whichever way I can.

We went to the temple this last week, which was fantastic, of course. I love the San Diego temple, though I am very excited to go back to the Manti temple when I get home - it has still been my favorite so far. We went with the Miller family to the temple, a cute young couple here in the branch. She is from Mexico (though she looks way whiter than me) and he is from here in California, but speaks Spanish perfectly. They are very darling and we loved going with them, though we didn't get a picture with them, sorry. We have actually been seeing them fairly regularly because they requested us to come and re-teach them the lessons, just to refresh their memories and have the Spirit more in their home. I thought that was pretty neat and our discussions with them are always spiritual and uplifting and we are working with them on their own personal missionary work as well. He is a life long member, but she is a convert of about four years. Oh, and I'll try to attach a picture of my district really quick from the temple. They are all so great!
The District (but not the one on BYU TV)
Storm's a comin"

Transfers will be next week and I will most likely stay here and Hermana Painter will go. I'm so glad we had another transfer together. It has been great fun working with her and I feel like we have learned so much together!
With Hermana Painter!

 I am excited/nervous to see who I will be serving with next transfer, as I really want to end on a good note J I am so excited that it is March because that means that General Conference is only a month away!!! But that being said, it is very strange to think that I will be home next month. I'm not really sure how it has all gone by so fast. I love my mission and I love the gospel so much. I think my biggest disappointment as of late is that every morning I just wish I had more time to study the scriptures. There is never enough time to study the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so beautiful and fills my soul in a way that is difficult to explain. I have been studying many different topics as of late, but my favorite chapters this week have been Alma 12 and Galatians 5.

I love you so much Mama (and all who are reading)! I'll try to put the pics up real quick before I run out of time! Love you sooooooo much!!
Hermana Alyssa Nicole Escalante