Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!! I hope that you all have a real good Christmas :)
Our pday was switched from Wednesday, so Monday will be pday from now on!

This week was full of a LOT of learning experiences!
We are teaching a woman named Brandy. She was a member referral and is the sweetest. We finally had a full lesson with her and taught the Restoration. It's amazing how powerful Joseph Smith's vision is. And was cool to hear how she felt the spirit as we recited the first vision. She liked it a lot and wants to keep learning. It makes me so so so happy thinking about the ways the gospel will bless her life!

On Friday we went upstate and had a Christmas Devotional with all of the missionaries in the whole mission. That was so cool to all meet together and get to know other missionaries who are serving here as well! The devotional was exactly what I've been needing. I always know that anything that includes President and Sister Smith talking to us is going to be AMAZING. It was the perfect reminder and helped me to just focus on the Savior. To remember and have it retestified to me that Jesus Christ knows ME and each of you individually. He understands and know how everything that I go through feels. And to remember that through the Atonement, we don't have to carry things all by ourselves. Because honestly, a mission is not the easiest thing I have ever done. But I realize the ways that I am growing and learning and changing! None of us are perfect and we all have things that we can work on and improve. And I'm grateful of the knowledge that I have and knowing that I don't have to handle everything alone.

This week I had a pretty humbling experience, I'll share a little bit of it (hopefully it makes sense?) We had a potential investigator, her name is Karen. I met her for the first time one night as she was heading out. Then we stopped by a lot, left notes, texted, called. No answer for a few weeks. I figured she didn't want to learn and was ignoring us. But we went by again on Friday night and I really didn't care too much about going because we have gone by over and over again and I thought it was just a waste of time at this point. But this time when we knocked, SHE ANSWERED. Hearing about all of her struggles, everything she is going through and realizing that she wasn't just ignoring us, she hadn't been home and was just having the hardest time with life. I can't imagine what she is going through. But I'm so grateful we didn't drop her and give up on her but we continued trying and hopefully something great will come of it.

We shared Alma 1:25 with a lot of people this week because it seemed like everyone was just going through really hard things. I love that scripture because we all have to go through really hard things in life. But I love that they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments. And they bore with patience the persecutions which were put on them. And I think that is so amazing, the Lord knows what we can handle and if we have faith and know that we have these experiences for a reason. They help us grow, change, and become more like our Savior if we let them and don't give up.

Merry Christmas I love you!!

Sister Walecki

The George Washington bridge over the Hudson River we passed on the drive back
down into the city.

In the projects, a lot of people decorate their doors with wrapping paper and Christmas
decorations. I think it's real cute & brightens up the buildings so they're not so scary:)

It snowed Saturday morning, so here are a few pictures just outside our apartment
building in Harlem.

Sister Muhlestein & I at the Christmas Devotional!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Snow, members, and a little bit of patience

This week has been a real good one, its getting a whole lot colder. Although, every time I talk about it being cold to someone on the subway or to someone we're teaching they say something like, "oh baby girl, it ain't even cold yet. Just you wait" hahaha It finally snowed enough to actually cover everything on Sunday night. And walking around NYC in the snow was a dream.

The members of our ward are seriously the sweetest ever. I think I got real lucky for my first ward so hopefully the rest are this great. They love doing missionary work, help our investigators feel welcome when they come to church and activities, and they love feeding us!

We also visited an investigator her name is Samantha on Sunday.  I hadn't had a lesson with her yet because she is never available. But we were able to stop by. We helped her put away some dishes and do a little service around her house and she loved that!! Then we showed her and her 2 grand kids the Christmas initiative video. Its amazing how powerful a video can be and how it invites the spirit and can entirely change the feeling in someone's home.

On Monday, I went on my first split with Sister Evans and she is serving down at the bottom of the island so it was cool to get to go down there and see another part of New York City. On Tuesday morning, Sister Evans and I went to do service at a member's home and it was amazing. We just helped her clean and organize things and she shared her conversion story with us. The best part of being a missionary is all the incredible people I have been able to meet and the love you grow for them so fast!

Other than that, our days are filled with other lessons, finding new people- talking to strangers on the subways and street contacting. Its always a good time. We show the Christmas Initiative video outside of the temple each day and have hour and a half shifts as companionships and I have met a couple members out there who know people from the stake at home. Its super crazy and makes you realize how its such a small world!

Each week I like to study a Christlike attribute, this week was patience.
As I studied, for me I was focused more on how patience can bless me as a missionary. Whether it's being patient with learning things, becoming adjusted, investigators and their progress and understanding, lots of different things. I've realized how over and over in The Book of Mormon it says how the people bore with patience the persecutions and afflictions which were brought upon them. We too have trials and hard things, but if learn to trust in God- that he really does have a plan and a purpose, we can come to know of his will for us and we can receive many blessings for being patient and enduring the hard things that we experience in life. I love the promise in Alma 32:41-43. and I love you all.

Sister Walecki

Snowing right outside the temple!

Just too happy because SNOW and it wasn't so cold!

They have the cutest tree stands set up on the sidewalks and the night it was snowing, all the
trees were just too cute to walk past without a picture.

Dinner with Sister Evans on the split.
Here's a picture of our district after a district meeting a couple of weeks ago!

Today for pday I went to get my hair fixed from last week and she actually destroyed it a little bit more,
so in an effort to forget about the hair disaster, dp and a chocolate chip cookie was needed......

December, Penny & Rain

I ALWAYS forget to bring my journal when we write emails, therefore I can't remember what all has happened but I'll try my best.

This week has been really good, super busy but with December now, the Christmas spirit here in New York is THE GREATEST.

I'll just share a few experiences from that past few weeks.
Last week we walked to the subway to head home but for some reason trains headed uptown were closed. So we went back up and wandered around trying to figure out how we'd get home. We decided to try and figure out the buses- we have never taken the bus home before. So we found a bus stop and a lady- her name is Penny was there and we started talking.  She was super friendly and we talked about the gospel and what she believes, etc and we ended up sitting by her on the bus and showed her the new Christmas Initiative video. She loved the video and after she told us that about 20 YEARS ago the elders used to teach her. She said she liked the lessons and they had given her a Book of Mormon but she never actually had read it. So we offered her another one and she accepted it and said she actually wanted to read it this time and wanted us to give her a call in 2 weeks to check up on how her reading was going and how she was doing! So we'll contact her again soon and see!!

Then the other day on the subway we sat by a woman named Hilda and talked a little bit but there was a language barrier so we couldn't understand each other super well. So we showed her the Christmas Initiative video as well and after she said something about our church being in her community? Then she said 2 boys used to  come to her house with tags like ours and talk to her but she moved and she lost contact with them. So she gave us her number and said call me! Because she wanted to receive lessons again. How crazy is that?! The Lord really is preparing people to hear the gospel. And sometimes, when we teach the first time they're not ready (that happens a lot) but their time comes- even if it is 20 years later. Being a missionary has really helped me to see all the little ways Heavenly Father is playing a role in my life and in every single person's life.

Also, no one told me how much it rains in New York. I was not prepared for that! But it is better than it being freezing cold and snow, so no complaints here :)
Next week I will remember my journal so it'll be better then.

I love you!!
Sister Walecki

Here are some pictures from our Wednesday pday activities.

For pday we went down and saw the Rockefeller tree--it's massive. There are a lot of people
and it was pretty busy, but it was worth it for sure.

Some day I'll come back here and actually go ice skating.

Just a 20 THOUSAND dollar Chanel coat, pocket change really.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Week of Thanksgiving

We bought cookies and put them in baggies and took them to some of our
investigators on Thanksgiving.

My boots got here from the MTC. Blessed Day!
Sister West is the best!!
We decorated our apartment and set up this cute little Christmas tree.

Just a little sticker on the sidewalk. Sometimes it's the little things that are exactly what you need.
Its says "Your doing Great"

On Monday evening there was an event called Winter's Eve. We passed out free hot chocolate.
It was a whole lot of fun. New York is great ,especially now that Christmas is coming!!

Just walking down the sidewalk to get some dinner tonight.

As a district they set this up in Central Park.
(Which is the dreamiest place)

We would stop people and ask them what they were grateful for.Then ask them to write it down and tape it up.
It was fun to read what everyone wrote!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

One Week Down

I can't decide if it feels like this week has gone by quickly or if this week felt like approximately five years BUT either way, it's going well and I am adjusting and learning how to be a missionary here in the city.

New York is sooo busy and we are always on the go. I go to bed exhausted but everyone says that's a good thing, so okay. ha! I have met the nicest and most interesting people.
It was snowing here a little bit on Monday so its nice and cold and windy here now, so that makes for a good time walking all over but its fun.

One of our investigators committed to be baptized on December 17 so that's exciting BUT he was MSA aged so we passed him off to the Elders, bummer. But hopefully he follows through!!
  This transfer, we are focusing on Christ's love. By learning to love others just as Christ would. So look up some scriptures and study about the love Jesus Christ showed to and had for the people and still for us today! It'll make you happy :) 2 Nephi 26:30 is a good one.

On Sunday the ward did a Come and See Sunday, so it was just Sacrament meeting and everyone was encouraged to bring friends or people to come see what our church is like then there was food and mingling after. 3 of our investigators came so they got to meet members of the ward! I also got to meet a lot of the members and they are all so nice and willing to help with missionary work, its seriously the greatest!!

Sorry, I feel like whenever I go to write these I just go brain dead and can't remember anything but I am liking it and learning lots :)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I love and miss you all!
Sister Walecki

We cleaned an apartment and this was the view from there.

I saw these at Trader Joes and thought of my cousin Callie so I
had to take a picture.

As a district, we stood on the sidewalk outside of the church. Handed
out papers for people to write what they are grateful for and post
them on some boards.
They call these Bronx Carts and we take it on pdays when we go
grocery shopping so we don't have to carry all the bags.
Super glamorous!!

Just another picture of the city from an apartment.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New York City

I have officially made it to New York!! I am serving in Manhattan in the Upper West Side. Our ward meets in the chapel above the temple so that's pretty cool! I am just adjusting to the subways, buses, and the craziness of the city but I'm coming to love it :)

Getting from the mission home to my area yesterday was quite the adventure because it was POURING rain the entire time. My suitcases were soaked but luckily only a couple things inside got wet! So that was a blessing for sure.

We met with a man last night, his name is Ali. Apparently he always brings the sisters a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and last night was no different! haha. Teaching real people is a little different than the MTC, but different in the best way! The spirit is so real, the people I've met are so nice! By next week I'll have more to write, but I don't have a ton of time today.

My companion and trainer is Sister Muhlestein. She is also from Utah and so so so nice!! Again, amazing companion and that makes everything so much better and easier! She is teaching me all the ways like how to be a missionary in the real world and how to live and stay focused in New York, there are a loooot of distractions here! I'm learning my way around and seeing all the blessings. I know this is where I need to be right now and I am excited to figure out why! I have loved meeting and talking to all the people. Being a missionary is seriously the best!

I know that this gospel brings joy and  is the reason for the happiness I feel everyday and I'm so excited to be able to share that with people here!

I'll try to respond to your emails- it might not be until  next week. But I miss you all!! Choose the right & remember God loves you! Have a good week :)

Sister Walecki


Because I miss Sister West a whole lot!!


We only got ice cream once, but when you spend WAY too much for an ice cream cone,
you gotta get different backgrounds, ya know?

                       Coming out of the subway into Harlem where our apartment is. It is still sooo                                                      pretty and looks like fall here.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Final week at the MTC

I can't believe another week has flown by and it's already pday again!

On Sunday Sister West and I were assigned to be the Sister Training Leaders for our zone. It has been the GREATEST EVER. We just get to take care of all the sisters in our zone and love them and help them to be happy and enjoy the MTC. It is the best!!

On Sunday night the devotional speaker was Jenny Oaks Baker, she shared stories and in between she and her family would perform songs. It was incredible. The Tuesday evening devotional was the primary general president, Sister Jones. She and her husband spoke about missionary work, obviously ha. And he said we only have 18 months to serve the Lord 24/7 so make the most of it. Such a good reminder! The MTC is way fun because with all the speakers that come, it feels like we get General Conference every week! 

On Wednesday we got to be hosts for the new missionaries coming in. I loved being able to be the person there at the curb to welcome to the MTC and take them from their families. It was super fun and brought back lots of memories from 2 weeks ago. Going on a mission was hands down the best decision I've made. I can't wait to get to New York and actually teach real people now!!

After a really long day a few days ago, Sister West and I were walking back to our room for bed but decided to just stop by a patch of grass and lay down for a minute. Haha it was chilly outside but we just laid on the grass in silence and looked at the stars. I love when we just slow down for a minute and think. And the simple reminders of how blessed we are with everything that we have. Through Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we have the strength to do hard things and get through the hard times in life. I'm SO grateful for that knowledge!! So just remember this week to slow down a bit and remember how blessed we are! Along with that in class we read Matthew 26, you should read it. After reading that, our teacher shared that Christ suffered for us so we don't have to have a bad day. What a HUGE blessing that is! I love being a missionary and I love you all!!
Sister Walecki
Our whole zone on Sunday

We were pretty pumped about our new assignment
as Sister Training Leaders.

Our investigator, Jen. she committed to baptism but we think she was already a member..?
haha but she had lunch with us and we just love her a lot!!

Just a little district selfie

We packed matching coats, so that's pretty fun

New Missionary Host... So fun!!

Alive & Thriving at the MTC

YOU GUYS. The MTC is ahhhmazing. I love it here. I'm not really sure how to go about writing this because it's basically impossible to put into words the things I've learned and the ways I've been able to grow in just the past 8 days here at the MTC but its been INCREDIBLE. My testimony has grown x1000 in just one week and the spirit here is the best. I love being a missionary, & in all the ways I never thought or knew I would. I'm basically always exhausted and my mind is usually fuzzy, especially in the mornings...someone shared 1 Nephi 1:7 and that's basically how I feel every time we get to go back to our rooms for bed every night. But overall the days fly by and I can't believe I've already been here over a week!! If time continues going this fast, I'll be home in no time! 
My companion is Sister West, she is seriously THE cutest. I love her. We just clicked the first day and its just been the greatest. Heavenly Father is breaking me in easy on the whole 24/7 companion thing because I don't mind it one bit! BUT she is serving in Virginia so that's basically the worst news ever. She's so sweet and always is positive, its just what I need, especially on the long exhausting days. She also likes to workout every day so exercise is basically me dying trying to keep up with her and then being sore for days but gotta work off all those chocolate chip cookies the cafeteria serves, ya know?
My days consist of hours and hours in a classroom, studying, learning how to teach, and then actually teaching! Luckily our teachers are the best and make it fun and enjoyable to be there! We have one teacher, Sister Mitchell that seriously brings me to tears every.single.time she has an inspired comment to share, she always knows exactly what it is I need to hear. So you can tell Colby my tally marks for the number of times I've cried is more than 0...haha and I'm not even in New York yet. how embarrassing.
Tuesday night we had a devotional. There was a rumor it was going to be an apostle, but no one actually knew for sure. When the devotional was about to start, in walks President Russell M. Nelson. Everyone stood as he entered and the spirit just filled the room. Listening to he and his wife speak to us was amazing. And getting to sing Praise to the Man in a choir of 1,000+ missionaries with an apostle there was possibly my favorite thing ever..even if singing is quite possibly the last thing I should be doing, ever hahah.

Everyone always says, "There is no growing in a comfort zone and there is no comfort in a growing zone." and the MTC is definitely a growing zone for me but its so so good.
I miss and love you all a whole lot!!
and since I know you just came for the pictures, I can provide...
Sister Walecki

The sisters in my District. Sister Goulding, Sister Bitner, and Sister West

Packing that Kneaders pumpkin bread was the best idea ever. Saved us during the long hours of studying and cafeteria food.
Part of our District
They put up Christmas lights on some of the trees and I LOVED it, but we asked some Elders to take our picture for us,
and when you ask the Elders to do something like take you picture...sometime this is what you get haha
Brown paper bag lunches, its the little things that get you excited here.

All three of the sisters in my District are going to Virginia :(

Our District Temple walk on Sunday!

I LOVE and feel so lucky putting this on every morning!!

Halloween felt like every other day, until evening time
there was a knock at the door & this just delivering some candy.

We Love Jesus