Monday, April 28, 2014

And the weeks roll on...

Hi family,

I just realized that I'm on week 5 of this transfer! Maybe it's just me but it seems like this transfer has flown right by! It reminds me of a quote that one of my teachers had in their room, "The best way to kill time is by working it to death." Although I'm in no way trying to kill time, I've certainly seen that manifest! Sheesh!

So there were some questions asked about the Glennallen trip and if it's in our area. Yes, Glennallen is in our area, and honestly I'm not quite sure how large our area is. I'd imagine maybe about the size of Sanpete and Juab county combined, but possibly bigger. It's pretty huge, but like I mentioned we stay in Valdez except for about once a transfer when we visit the members in Glennallen. It's truly amazing to me how many people live in between Glennallen and Valdez. There are so many hidden houses off the highway. We have addresses on our roster that we tried to find when we were going out there but people make it pretty obvious that they're trying to hide, and even if we wanted to do any tracting out there, I'm sure President Beesley wouldn't be thrilled.. haha. The members in Glennallen are part of the Valdez ward, and sacrament meeting is broadcasted to the Glennallen building every Sunday. They have a Young Man that is about Bryce's age and he blesses and passes the sacrament every Sunday. It's a pretty amazing little building and it's always amazing the technology that we have to include those in the gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter where they live.

The daylight hours are getting longer and longer! We are now to the point that it's light when we go to bed, and it's light when we wake up. It makes it nice for waking up in the morning, but we might have to put foil on our windows again this summer so we can sleep at night! There is still snow on the ground, but with the warmer weather we've been having, I'd imagine it will all melt within the next couple weeks! Remember that picture I sent with the snow almost taller than me? Well we drove past that house yesterday and now the snow is only maybe six inches deep! So it melts fast, and as the days continue to get longer that will certainly speed up the melting! 

For finding investigators we've been doing quite a bit of tracting, much more than I ever have before on my mission, but also working with the people that were former investigators have proved to be quite successful. The records were a mess when I came in so we've been really working on cleaning up the area book. We've found a ton of investigators in our area book with no drop notice on why they stopped investigating and most of them are so excited to see us and invite us right in! We also do a ton of service which has been so good in a small town like Valdez! We do much more walking then I have before as well, it's nice because the weather has been cooperating with us, and it gives us a chance to do more street contacting, and the members see us out and people have started to notice us more.

Speaking of service, we had a cool experience last Wednesday. We were invited to a volunteer luncheon for the Valdez Museum, and following the meal a lady came up to us and said, "I've seen you two walking around town and I just had to come and met you!" It was much the opposite of what I'm use to, but I'm not complaining! 

Also we were invited to a dinner with the people at the food bank and there were like 20 people there! One of the ladies there was a referral we found on our potential investigator sheet and we hadn't caught her home, but she told us she'd love to sit down and talk to us soon! Some of the people we hadn't really had the chance to talk to before were asking us question about our missions and what we do all day! People's hearts are softening slowly, but surely!

The big weekend will be this next week! President and Sister Beesley, the departing missionaries, and the sister training leaders will all be coming down for the fireside this Sunday! We've just about figured out all the arrangements for sleeping, food, and service which is good. It's been so stressful trying to coordinate everything, but it's all coming together which is a blessing. It will be so nice to have that extra boost of the spirit this next week!

C, E and J are all progressing really well and keeping their commitments! It's so fun to see them making those steps to come closer to Christ, it makes every angry word or slammed door worth it!

I love this work! In 3 Nephi 11 there is a great example we can all learn from. As we know, this is the chapter when Christ comes to America. After three days of darkness and turmoil, they heard a voice, a small voice. It wasn't until the third time that they understood it. As verse five and six states, "And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came. And behold the third time they did understand the voice which they heard.." It wasn't until they stopped what they were doing, and they did open their ears and their eyes towards heaven and looked steadfastly to that direction that they understood the voice. We know the second coming is getting closer every day. Now is the time to focus our attention on the things that truly matter-the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must never forget who we are and why we are here! The voice of the world can seem really loud, but as we focus our attention on that voice, we won't miss it.

I love you all so much, thanks always for your love and support.

Love, Sister Hedelius

Monday, April 21, 2014

Just another day in paradise

Hi everyone! :)

Each day here seems more like spring, and the weather has been to die for! Very sunny and the snow is melting in the mountains so there are lots of little waterfalls down the mountain. It's been really clear so the snow capped mountains reflect on the water and we've seen lots of beautiful bald eagles, I'm just living the dream!

The work is continuing to march forward! We had a very Happy Easter and I hope you did so as well! A chocolate-free Easter also made for a memorable experience, but it was a sweet day regardless of the continuation of the sugar fast. One of the many sweet experiences came when a nonmember named J came to church yesterday! Justin is a student at the community college here and is friends with a several members here. He has come to church previously but due to traveling and work it's been a couple months since he's been able to make it. He is so great though and seems pretty golden to me! He mentioned how he's always tried to stand up for what's right even when it's not popular, and how grateful he was to make it to church this week! We have an appointment to meet with him Thursday and I'm really looking forward to talking more with him!

The rest of our Easter consisted of normal missionary work, but we did have a wonderful dinner at the Christensens (one of my favorite families in the ward!) and the Lewis' (another favorite family and the ward mission leader) joined us as well! It was fun and the Christensens have five kids so they were telling us all about their Easter! :) It was cute!

All our investigators are still doing well! One of my favorite visits this week was with C! We wanted to talk more about prophets specifically with her. She watched General Conference and had mentioned she like it. I ask her how she felt when the prophets and apostles were speaking and she said, "I feel like just this weight was lifted from me. It's the same feeling I get when you girls come over, or that time I went to church." It was the perfect lead in to talking about the spirit and knowing if what we are teaching is true! She is so sweet! 

I know this church is lead and directed by Jesus Christ! I love teaching this truth to everyone I see! Just this morning I read Alma 30:44, "The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator." What a wonderful witness we have of God's love. We have our scriptures with us as a witness of God's love, we look out the window at all of God's beautiful creations, and each new day is literally a gift from Him. What a wonderful life we have!

Have a happy week and Happy Easter!

Love,  Sister Hedelius

Monday, April 14, 2014

I saw Glennallen!

Hi everyone! :)

First off, big shout out again this week to the little people! Breanna sweeping 1st in every single dance both solo and team, and Bryce receiving two gold cups this weekend for his amazing piano skills! Ya'll are amazing!

If the snow continues to not melt, I may not have a summer! The locals have been explaining that it's not uncommon for there still to be snow on the ground late into June and sometimes even in July... So yes, even in mid-April there is plenty of snow on the ground-more then we ever see in Utah. It appears that the four seasons in Valdez are beginning of winter, hard winter, coming out of winter, and pretending to not be winter...:) It does make for neat p-day explorations however! Last p-day, for example, we hiked out to some really neat ice caves! The ice was like pure glass and very smooth! We were warm enough too that we only had to wear a light jacket and that kept us warm!

So you're all probably saying to yourself at this point, "yeah, yeah enough about the weather, get to your email title already!" Glennallen is a little town about 2 hours away from Valdez, it's part of our area and there are three active members that we like to visit about once a transfer! It's known as the "hub" of Alaska or the potty stop to Fairbanks! We drove up Saturday afternoon, stayed the night at the church, and then drove back Sunday after church! They have a cute little fun sized chapel there! Sacrament is broadcast over a speaker system and we just listen to Valdez ward, and then have Sunday School together. For the sacrament, they turn off the sound and bless and pass it just to the people there. It's really neat! I'm so impressed with the faith of the members there. They go to church because they know it's true, and it's where they'll feel peace-not for social reasons, to impress anyone, or even to fulfill a calling. I'm grateful I got to meet them and feel the spirit of their meeting there! A fun miracle that happened while I was there too! We stopped at the gas station when we got into town and I heard someone call my name-I was a little shocked because I wasn't expecting anyone to know me! But, sure enough there was L! He was an investigator from Inlet View! He was in Glennallen for the weekend to visit and help his grandma! We went and talked to them for a while and the grandma mentioned that the next time we're in town we should stop by her work and say hi! What a fun encounter and miracle! 

Another cool miracle happened yesterday when we were out and about after we got back to Valdez! Three people right in a row were just really mean and hateful towards us, it's never the most encouraging thing that's for sure. They hold an evening sacrament meeting here for all the fishermen that we sometimes attend, and it was about 30 minutes until then after we talked to all these people, and part of me just wanted to go early to that and just make phone calls or copies until then, but I know the Lord blesses us when we keep going even when times are tough! We decided to stop by a part-member family with a couple kids that were baptized recently and they let us right in. The nonmember dad is the police chef and we started asking him if there is any service that he could think of for when the big team of missionaries come in! Turns out there is a huge emergency preparedness project that needs to get done and he could use the man power! It was such a relief to have a big project to keep the missionaries busy and so happy to be a big help to the community! 

We are teaching some great people that I'm really excited about! 
C is roommates with a member, E in the ward! She's been visited by the sisters for a while but never agreed to missionary lessons. When we stopped by and I realized that she wasn't a member, I invited her to take the lessons, which apparently she's been asked before and always turned down! She accepted which I didn't think was too big of a deal, but Sister Dotson was telling me it was! So that's exciting! We're able to meet with her several times a week and she's loving the Book of Mormon! She has great faith and really wants to do what's right and change her life for the better. They're the cutest little old ladies and best friend, and they even have a bird named Curious that imitates what people say! He sounds just like C and E when he laughs! It's so funny!

We were also tracting one day and we tracted into a Jehovah's Witness named Gab! We talked to him for quite a while on his porch and then he invited us back. He's really nice and seems to be really open to us. He is pretty firm in his beliefs but is polite and listens to us!

We were also trying former investigators, and we felt like we should try the F! They saw us walking up to their house and they came outside to greet us! They invited us right and and were so friendly and happy to see us! They know lots of the members and seemed eager and willing to learn. Mrs. F works as an elementary teacher so we had that bond right off the bat! I'm excited to continuing meeting with them!

E is an investigator the sisters were teaching before, he grew up Southern Baptist but has been sincerely reading and praying about the Book of Mormon and he knows when he's ready the Lord will let him know it's true. We taught him the Plan of Salvation and he loves it! He mentioned it's much better than what he grew up believing (hellfire and brimstone, which is 7 times hotter than fire in case you're wondering!). He's in his 60s and just a blast to teach!

We saw the northern lights this week too! It was pretty neat! They were a really pretty white color and we watched them dance out our apartment window for a couple minutes! I love the beauty in this world! 

The work is really going great here! We are teaching about 20 additional lessons to what the sisters were teaching last transfer so we've been busy! It's been a huge blessing and we're really seeing the hastening of the work take place here!

I love you all! Always remember that as we share the gospel that we succeed in the invitation and follow-up, and the spirit's job is to testify and teach!

Have a happy week!


Sister Hedelius

Glennallen Chapel 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday, P-day! Is everybody happy? Well I should say!

Snow in Valdez
Hey family!

First off, shout out to the nerd squad- Breanna and Bryce! Sounds like you both just killed it at the Math Competition! I'm a proud big sister! 1st place for Bryce, and Breanna getting 3rd, AND placing above all the high school freshman! Ya'll are geniuses. :) It sounds like Manti High School just must have the best math teachers. ;)

Some how I guess I made it sound like I was training, I'm actually not. Haha. Sister Dotson was in Valdez previously so I'm just joining her here. :) And things are going really well! Valdez is beautiful! It reminds me so much of Manti it almost freaks me out.. even the city code is 835...  yeah. Trippy! I would say it feels more like a small town than Manti though. There are a lot of people that live a few miles out of town, but for the people that live in town geographically it seems much smaller than Manti! Valdez is also known to be the snow capitol for the world-i.e. there is a lot of snow! It's April and the snow is still taller than me in some places. It hasn't been too cold though! Definitely not as cold as Fairbanks, and at times even warmer than Anchorage!

We flew to Valdez in a tiny plane.. it was a 21 passenger plane but there were only 12 people on board.. including the pilot and co-pilot!

We volunteer here a lot like we did in Sitka. It's been a really good way for people in the community to recognize us and realize we're just ordinary people with an extraordinary message. :) We volunteered this week at the city museum and food bank. Everyone has been so nice, I've been really impressed!!! There are a lot of churches here for being such a small town, but we are known as having the largest congregation so that's kind of fun!

Since the missionaries that are going home next transfer won't have a Zone Conference they're all coming to Valdez next month with President and Sister Beesley and putting on a fireside with us and volunteering in the community! It should be really neat! I'm a little intimidated since they'll be all coming into our area and we're in charge of finding things to keep them busy...but I know it will be good, and the ward council is all brainstorming on things for them to do!

Transfers were this week as you know! It's always sad and hard to see friend go, there were a couple elders in particular that I was sad left, Elder Hancock that served with me in Fairbanks, and Elder Van Bibber that was the one that chopped off his finger! After transfer meeting we got the opportunity to help clean the temple which was really neat. We cleaned the light fixtures in the sealing room and it was pretty neat. It's amazing all the details they go into maintaining the temple!
Tuesday night after transfer meeting we always have Sister Training. Sister Bullen and I helped plan and orchestrate everything, and since it was on a April Fools we joked about following up from the previous sisters training on modesty. A lot of the sisters weren't thrilled to be talking about modesty so to lighten the mood we wrote a song, I though you might would get a kick out of the lyrics:

One More Toss

What am I doing with my clothes? Am I wearing them, or tossing them, or sending them home?
Clothes can weather rain or snow, but when they get to tight, you've gotta let them go!
Why did I gain so much weight? These clothes are all I had at first, but now it's too late.
Maybe I'll try some self control, watch me if I don't! I'll eat another roll!

Oh.. I will change my clothes and cry, let myself, slowly die!
Soon these shirts will be far away and my closet will be so bare..
but at least I'll still have my hair!
What have I learned from Sister Beesley?
Obedience can be so tough, but nothing will beat the Savior's love!
The sisters closet gives one more chance, to slowly change my wardrobe and have a testimony at last!
Oh.. I will change my clothes and cry, let myself, slowly die!
Soon these skirts will be far away and my closet will be so bare..
but at least I'll still have my hair!
Sister Beesley have pity on me, these clothes are all I have, I can't change that quickly!
Soon my pride will be far away and my closet will be so bare.. but at least I'll still have my hair.. and maybe my companion will share
What am I doing with my clothes? Am I wearing them, or tossing them, or sending them home

The sisters seemed to love it.. lots of laughing. :)

I loved General Conference! We were the only ones that were at the church for the four general sessions... haha I think Elder Bednar's talk was my favorite. It's easy to get discouraged when our load seems too heavy but I know each challenge can be for our good if we humble ourselves (Ether 12:27)- always a good reminder!

I love you all so much,

Sister Hedelius
Watching General Conference!

Little plane!

Good bye to Elder Van Bibber and Elder Hancock!

Good bye to Alborns

Sister Dotson, new comp.

Laughed at this BOM lingo anyone??

It's so pretty!