Dec 28, 2015

The Ultimate Christmas Gift

We kept hearing throughout the week that it was going to be almost 50 degrees on Christmas, but Nebraska tends to do what it wants. Christmas Eve came and brought with it a foot of snow, making sure that we had a white Christmas. So although we weren't expecting it, the snow definitely made everything more beautiful and made it feel like Christmas.

Throughout the week, Sister Chappell and I tried our best to spread the spirit of Christmas to as many people as we could. We delivered cookies, sang some more Christmas carols, and shared the story of Christ's birth. To be able to share that message with all those around us has definitely been my favorite part of being a missionary during this time of the year. People just seem to be more open to hearing our message and learning more about Jesus Christ because He is who we are celebrating.

I have always loved Christmas time, but this year really has seemed to mean so much more because, as missionaries, we focus and dedicate our lives to Jesus Christ. And because I have been able to do that, I've grown such a love and appreciation for my Savior and at this time of reflecting on His birth, I can see Him as the gift that He is. Jesus Christ is and will always be the ultimate Christmas gift given to us by a Heavenly Father who loves us so much. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He was born to this earth as our Savior and Redeemer. I know that He lives and that He loves us. I truly feel so grateful to wear His name on my chest every day and to be His representative. The calling of being a missionary is such a sacred one.

We had a dinner on Christmas Eve with all of the sisters and it felt like I was with my second family. I love them so much! When then had breakfast together Christmas morning and, of course, I got to Skype with my family which was so fun! My baby sister is looking so old (she needs to stop growing) and my parents looked so cute in their "empty nesters" apartment in New Mexico. I miss them all so much, but it was so good to see how great they looked.

I hope that the rest of you were able to have a wonderful Christmas! I want to thank you all for the abundance of love that I've been able to feel from all over. I have been so spoiled with such amazing family and friends. Have a Happy New Year everyone! 2016 is going to be the best year yet.


 But at least it looks pretty.

 Modern-day Mary & Joseph.  We had way to much fun!

 Happee Christmas Harry!

We were the only ones wore our pj's to breakfast.  No regrets!

Dec 21, 2015

The Best Way To Spread Christmas Cheer is Singing Loud For All To Hear

We had so much fun this week. At the beginning of the week, we found out that Sister Durrant would be joining us for a few days because her companion went home. It was a sweet reunion and we were able to see so many miracles! I know that I always say that, but there truly are miracles all around us every day.

On Tuesday, we were able to go to the temple with Ken to watch him do baptisms for the dead. It was such a special experience that I will never forget. While we waited for him to change after we watched him do baptisms, he actually snuck into the chapel behind us. When we peeked in, we found him praying and it was so amazing to see how far he has come. He has told us before that he would see the temple when it was first built and want to go in so badly. And now that he can, he is so excited to be able to be baptized for members of his family and help them receive the joy and happiness that he has been able to find through the gospel.

We were also able to go Christmas caroling twice this week. We went with our ward one night and then our zone got together and sang another night. I'm pretty sure that we chose the two coldest nights of the week to go, but we had so much fun! It was amazing to see the Spirit that came to people from singing Christmas carols about Christ and we were always able to leave them with a smile on their face.

I absolutely love this time of year. There really is such a special Spirit that you can feel that is full of love. I love that we have this time set aside each year to remember our Lord, Jesus Christ, and remember what He has done for us. He truly is our Savior, Redeemer and best friend. I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and know how much I love you!
 The gangs in north Omaha are so friendly.

 Reunited and it feels so good!

 The carolin' gang.

Hope you have a very Happy Christmas!

Dec 14, 2015

Oh, What Do You Do In the Summer... I Mean Christmas Time?

Last week at our ward Christmas party, the Bishop introduced us to Matt and Melissa. We had never met them before, and we came to find out that Matt is a member and is wanting to come back to church while Melissa has never heard much about the church. She seemed very interested in learning more and told us that she would love to meet with us. We were able to go over to her house this past week and the lesson went really well! It was a little interesting because she doesn't have much of a religious background and also doesn't know much about Christ. So we kind of had to start at ground zero, but it was amazing to be able to see her faith grow before our eyes. She's been to church once now and we are so excited to visit with her more.

We had our Christmas Zone Conference on Wednesday and we all had so much fun. At the beginning of the conference, President Gardner talked to us about our Savior and had us ponder the question, "You have a testimony in the Jesus Christ, now what? What are you going to do because of that testimony?" I didn't have much of an answer to that question at first. But as I was thinking about it, I thought about how all of us as members of His church wear His name on our hearts. As missionaries, we do it literally. But even when we aren't His full-time servants, we still covenanted to take His name upon us when we were baptized and are therefore always an example of Him. I think it's as simple as that: we grow our testimony in our Savior and then be like Him. That is all He asks of us and it is the least we can do for what He did for us.

Speaking of making baptismal covenants, Ka'Ron is now baptized! Not only that, Ken was the one to baptize him. I honestly could not stop smiling throughout the entire service. When we told Ka'Ron that after the baptism he said, "Me too! I was trying so hard not to smile in the water." He was just beaming and you could tell that he was so happy. I could feel so much joy for him! It's a type of joy that you really can't describe, but it really does make everything worth it.

It has been in the 60's this week and we have less than two weeks until Christmas. I'm not completely sure how I feel about that because it's definitely more like summer weather than Christmas weather, but I'll take what I can get for now.

 Murry Christmas!

 Happy 10 Months!

We're a little crazy...but you still love me, right?

I promise Ka'Ron was excited to be baptized. He just didn't want to show it.

Dec 7, 2015

A December to Remember

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Gingerbread Festival in Omaha and we have over 200 gingerbread houses on display at the Trail Center and about 200 more at the Kanesville Tabernacle. It has been so fun to see how many people have already come in to see them and we have been able to see so many miracles. There have been many occasions lately where I've shared the message of the Restoration on a tour and they accept a Book of Mormon with a commitment to read it. It has been such an amazing experience to be able to see people come to a Gingerbread Festival, and leave with a Book of Mormon and a desire to learn more about the gospel.

On a tour that I gave earlier in the week, I went around with a young girl named Karissa and her friend who was a member. They came upstairs after seeing the gingerbread houses and Karissa told me she had never seen the gallery before. As I took them around, I could tell that she was feeling the Spirit so strong and was so immersed with the story of the pioneers. We were able to talk about Christ and she told me that she has been a Christian all her life but felt like she has been "slipping away" for a while now. I gave her a Book of Mormon and told her how it is a gift that our Heavenly Father has given us to learn more about Jesus Christ and that by reading it, she would be able to get that hold that she needs with Him and feel of His infinite love. When I asked her if she would pray to know if it's true, she said, "Absolutely. I need God back in my life." I got her contact information and I am hoping that she will have her heart open to learning more.

We have also been able to show a lot of people the new "A Savior is Born" video that the church has put out. If you haven't seen it yet, go and watch it on It's been incredible to see the impact that it has on those that see it and feel of the powerful Spirit that it has. I love how the church has given us so many tools to use to spread the gospel to so many people and to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. I love having this time to share the story of Christ's birth with all those around me and be able to share my testimony of the Savior with them.

I know I say this all of the time, but I absolutely love being a missionary. This truly is the Lord's work and I'm so grateful to be a part of it.

I also wanted to thank you all for your prayers! They are definitely helping because I have been feeling so much better. I love you all so much! Oh... and Ka'Ron is getting baptized on Saturday. We are so excited! 
This is our attempt at a "High School Musical jump". I think we nailed it.

 Lookie what I found!

 But I'm Sister Slater right now. So this will be our little secret.

SANTA! I know him!

Dec 4, 2015

With An Attitude of Gratitude

I'm so thankful that I was able to see my Grandma Cookie this week. She and Wight were sweet enough to take me and a few other sisters out to breakfast and it was so fun to be able to talk to them about mission life. I am so excited for them to start their journey in Washington D.C. and I know that they are going to be the most incredible missionaries.

I'm so thankful that we were able to get together and have a Thanksgiving dinner with all of the sisters. I am so grateful for each one of them and that I get this opportunity to serve with them and learn from them. They are amazing daughters of God and I love them all so much.

I'm so thankful for modern medicine. It isn't the funnest thing in the world to go the emergency room for kidney stones. But I'm also so thankful for the support and love that I have from everyone here in my mission and for how well they have taken care of me. Don't worry, I'm doing much better!

I'm so thankful for all of my loved ones back home. I'm grateful to have such incredible parents who love me no matter what and to have a sister who is such a bright example to me and all those around her. I'm thankful for all of my amazing family and friends who make it so hard to be away from.

I'm thankful for my Savior and for all that He has done and continues to do for me. I'm so grateful to know that He is always there with open arms to catch me when I fall and help me back up. I'm so thankful for His love and for the relationship that I have been able to grow with Him. I love Him and my Heavenly Father will all of my heart.

I hope that they rest of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now, I can officially listen to Christmas music any time I want. Bring it on!
 I love my Grandma Cookie.

 "Happy Thanksgiving" from the Trail Center Sisters!

We kind of like each other

Me and my hospital band.  We're not friends.

Nov 30, 2015

The Best 18 Months For My Life

I'm pretty sure that I'm still on a spiritual high from this week.

On Monday night, the Trail Center sisters were able to have a meeting with Elder James B. Martino from the seventy. He spoke to us about how privileged we are to have the Trail Center as such as an incredible resource to teach people. We are so lucky to have a place where the Spirit is so strong and present and it provides such a perfect setting where we can help others feel the Spirit as well. I absolutely love being able to serve here.

On Wednesday we were able to have our zone conference with Elder Martino and, towards the end, I felt like my head was going to explode from all of the information that I was able to receive. Both he and President Gardner focused their training's on how important it is that remember who we are: disciples of Christ and children of God. Satan wants to do everything he can to make us forget that because if he succeeds, he wins. We can't let him win. Elder Martino also talked to us about how we hear sometimes that "these are going to be the best 18-24 months of your life." He then told us that "I hope that isn't true. Life should get better and better. But these are going to be the best 18-24 months FOR your life." I loved that because it helped me realize that everything that I'm learning right now is for my future. It's helping me learn how to be a good wife and mother and is teaching me how I can live a Christlike life while I am here on this earth and beyond. I am so grateful that I am able to be the Lord's missionary and for the love that I have been able to grow for my Heavenly Father and Savior.

It finally snowed this week. I'm sure that it's just a little taste of what is to come. Wish me luck!
 Group picture with Elder and Sister Martino. They're amazing!

 The Sioux City gang.

 Oh, Elders.


Best. Nativity. Ever. (And probably the yummiest.)

Nov 17, 2015

Hey, Hey. What Day Is It? HUMP DAY!

We were able to able to have an amazing lesson with Ken and Ka'Ron this week. We met them both at the Trail Center and took them on a tour to show them around and help them feel of the Spirit that is there. As we were moving around the gallery, we could tell that Ka'Ron was enjoying himself, but he was trying to put on a "I'm a cool 14 year-old" face. We started talking more about baptism and when we invited him to be baptized, he had a huge smile on his face and said, "Yeah. I want to!" So he is now set to be baptized on December 5! We are so excited for him and we can tell that Ken is so proud.

It was also transfer week and we found out that Sister Willis is headed off to Eagle Run (I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little jealous that she gets to live with Bob and Lucy) and I get to stay here in Cottonwood and I will be training Sister Chappell. I now have a daughter! I am so happy that I get to be here in Cottonwood with her. We have already been able to see so many miracles and I am so excited to see what is to come.

On Saturday, we got to go to a sealing at the temple. Elder and Sister Laing, a senior couple at the Trail Center, have been married for a year and chose to be sealed in the Winter Quarters temple while they are here on their mission. It was such a special day and I feel so grateful that they let us be a part of it. I had never been to a sealing before and it will definitely be something I will never forget. I can't really begin to describe the Spirit that I was able to feel, but I definitely was able to receive confirmation letting me know that what I was witnessing was real. That families really can be together forever and for that I am so eternally thankful.

I love and miss you all so much and I hope you have a wonderful week!
 Hump Day slash Bump Day

 Meet Sister Chappell!

 Happy 9 months!

Nov 9, 2015

Teach Me How To Missionary

There was so much good that happened this week. On Monday, we were able to help clean the temple which is always such a blessing. I always feel a little silly because I never feel like I'm cleaning anything because it's already spotless. It reminds of my house back home. (Thanks mom!) I absolutely love the temple and feel so thankful that I get to help keep the Lord's house clean for Him and all those who come through.

The definite highlight came on Saturday with Ken's baptism. I don't think I have ever seen a baptism run so smoothly which was such a huge blessing. Ken's mother, grandmother and uncle where able to come which helped make it a special day for him. The Spirit was so strong throughout the program and it honestly felt so natural to see him be baptized. Every time I am able to see someone take that next step, it reminds me of the reason that I am out here and it really does make all of the hard times worth it.

Saturday evening, we were able to go to a Stake Women's Conference and listen to our Stake President, President Derrick, speak to us. Something that he said that stuck out to me was that "God cares more about the process than the outcome." There are a lot of times in life when we don't understand exactly why things happen, and sometimes they don't end up the way we think that they should. But when we look back, we can see that it was the experience that shaped us, not where we ended up. I have definitely been able to learn more about that on my mission on days where I wonder why I am here and what I'm really doing. But I have a strong testimony that God has a perfect plan for all of us and, as long as we trust Him, He will lead us where He needs us to be. We just have to be willing to act.

I don't think I'll ever be able to say that I'm a "professional missionary". But I definitely feel like I'm getting the hang of things and am finally understanding what missionary work is all about. I love this work with all my heart.
 One of our hobbies: getting free bread sticks at Fazoli's.

 Meet Ken. He's a Mormon now.

Nov 3, 2015

A Week of Both Tricks and Treats... and More Treats

This week I had the opportunity to be invited to a training meeting where the head of the Missionary Proselyting Department in Salt Lake came and talked to us. He spoke to us about how we can plan better and that by doing that, we will be able to see so many more baptisms and be more successful. His name is Brother Donaldson and he was actually the Mission President in San Diego during the filming of District 2 (I thought all of you missionaries and RM's out there would appreciate that) It was such an incredible meeting! We were able to learn about how we can follow the divine pattern from God which is to plan at night, prepare in the morning and do during the day. We were told that this is the pattern that the Brethren follow and were promised that if we do the same, we will also be able to be successful and come closer to the Spirit not only on our missions, but also in our lives at home.

We saw Ken again this week and he told us that he is counting down the days to his baptism. I still can't believe that it is actually happening this coming Saturday. We have been able to see so many miracles!

And those miracles continued throughout the week. On Friday, we were able to find 3 new investigators in 2 hours and were even able to get into a house! This is probably sad to admit, but that hasn't happened for me yet when I've tracted, so that was pretty exciting!!
I really do feel pretty spoiled being at the Trail Center. Our sweet senior couples threw us a Halloween party and we even got to dress up. I found a Snow White costume at Goodwill for $5 and I'm pretty sure it's made for a 12 year old. But, hey, it fit! We had so much fun and were even allowed to watch "The Cokeville Miracle". Oh my goodness, if any of you haven't seen that movie, watch it right now. They did an amazing job with it!

I hope that the rest of you had a Happy Halloween. I cannot believe that November is already here, but there are so many incredible things coming. I can't wait!

 Sometimes we don't want to get ready on P-Day, so we play Phase 10 instead.

 Happy Halloween!

Is Sister Willis not the cutest Newsie you've ever seen?

Oct 29, 2015

Is This Real Life?

I don't think I could have asked for a better start to the week. To rewind a little bit, we have been working with Ken for a while on getting a baptismal date set for him. We told him last Saturday that he could be baptized as early as November 7, but he told us that he would pray and think about it. He said that January was still sounding good. Fast forward to Monday, Sister Willis and I just got home from emailing our families when we heard our phone beep. It was a text from Ken that said "November 7?". We freaked out a little bit. We asked him if that meant he wanted to be baptized on that day and he told us "Yes. I want to work towards that goal." It was such a miracle! We are so incredibly happy for him and can't wait to see him take this step of faith.

After that happened, we knew that we needed to call President Gardner to tell him the good news. When we told him what had happened, he told us "That is so wonderful! Sister Slater, would you like to have another tender mercy? I was on a phone call when you called in and I would like to transfer them over." It soon found out that it was my grandma! She had called President Gardner to get permission to stop by and see me on the way to her mission in Washington D.C., so I got to talk with her for a few minutes. I cannot believe all of the tender mercies that I have seen out here on my mission and it helps me know that my Heavenly Father really is so aware of me and loves me.

We had dinner with a family in the ward this week and while we were eating, one of the little boys brought his Book of Mormon to show it to us. He was eating his food while looking through it and his mom asked him "Do you know what that book is? Those are words from our Heavenly Father and having those words get dirty with food is probably not very respectful. Do you think we should be respectful to the words that our Heavenly Father has given to us as a gift?" The little boy looked at his Book of Mormon for a second and said, "Yes! I'm going to go put it in a very safe place!" After hearing that, it made me realize how sacred the Book of Mormon really is and how lucky and blessed we are to have it. It made me think about how I am treating my Book of Mormon and how I should maybe be treating it like the gift it really is from our Heavenly Father.

I hope the rest of you had a great week! Love you!  
 October 21, 2015. Official "Back To the Future Day". We thought the best way to celebrate was to wear our clothes inside out.

You know your Mission President's wife is cool when she agrees to take selfies with you.

Oct 19, 2015

I'm Ticked.

With the weather being so nice this week, we were able to do a lot of service. We did some outside of the Trail Center on Tuesday by trimming some bushes and pulling weeds. When I got out of the shower the next day, I found a little black spot on my leg. I picked it off and when I looked at it, I saw that it was a tick. Luckily it all came out in one piece, but I was freaked out and felt so gross! I guess my sister gets the bed bugs in Ohio and I get ticks in Nebraska. Go figure.

Ken seems to be progressing pretty well and we were even able to teach his 14-year-old son, Ka'Ron, this week as well. We had a family home evening on Monday night with the Hackleman family in the ward and they have a son who is Ka'Ron's same age. They seemed to get along really well and had a lot in common. They even found out that they both play football and were playing each other the very next day! We found out that they talked at the game and even took a picture together. Adorable, right? We are hoping that they will continue to become friends. 

Sister Willis and I have been struggling a little bit this week because we haven't been able to keep most of our appointments. But on the bright side, it means that we have more time to find people to teach which means: tracting. Oh, tracting. I have such a love/hate relationship with you. But it has taught me a lot about work and how to get to know different types of people. And you can't really do missionary work without it a lot of the time, so you learn to embrace it. Missionary work is the best. It really is.

Have a fantastic week, everyone!
 The Papillion Zone. And yes, that is a ukulele. 

Sister Savage came for a visit. It was so fun to see her!

Apparently "corn pictures" are a thing in Nebraska. When in Omaha, right?

Oct 12, 2015

Getting To Know You

I spent most of the week trying to get to know the people here in my new area. Being transferred can be tough sometimes because it almost makes you feel like a new missionary again. But I love being able to meet so many new people and get the chance to teach them.

One of those new people being Ken. He is an investigator that was found last transfer at a gas station. He has been to church a few times and seems to be doing really well. However, he is very insightful and seems to have an opinion about everything. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it sometimes got in the way during our lesson. But he did tell us that he has been seeing signs that he is on the right path and that this church is a good fit for him. So that is great start!

We were also able to meet with Stephanie and Eddie. They are a couple who have been investigating the church for a little while and have talked about baptism before. The only problem is that they aren't married. They have 3 little boys and another one on the way and they really are the cutest little family! We talked to them a bit about the Plan of Salvation and eternal families and it seemed to go pretty well. We just know how much this gospel is going to bless them and their family and we are hoping and praying they continue to progress.

I am so grateful to have the knowledge of knowing that I can be together with my family forever. I honestly don't know where I would be without them. I love ya'll so much! I also love that I get to be out here sharing that message with these Nebraskans and helping them see the happiness and joy that our Heavenly Father's plan gives us.  

I love you all so much! Have a great week!
 Happy 8 Months!

This sign was on the door of our neighbor. So don't worry anybody, we aren't going to die on his watch.

Oct 6, 2015

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We started our week off with exchanges. I was with Sister Brower here in the Eagle Run area and we were able to see so many miracles! We had some time to tract a little bit and we as we were passing by a house, we felt like we should knock but heard a baby screaming. We figured it wasn't a good time and continued down the street. As we were making our way back, we felt like we should knock again and when we did, a man answered the door and after looking at us he asked, "Are you from the same church as those two boys?" It turns out that the elders in our ward had been meeting with them but hadn't seem them in a month or so. So we took that as a sign and made an appointment to the see them again. They are the cutest little family! We are so excited!

On Thursday, I got the news that I am being transferred to the Cottonwood ward. I really am so sad to leave Eagle Run. The people here are all so sweet and loving and I am especially going to miss living with Bob and Lucy. They are amazing and I really do love them a lot. But I am also excited to be in Cottonwood with Sister Willis and to start a new adventure. It is going to be awesome!

I'm pretty sure that Conference Weekend will be a National holiday in my house from now on. It seriously felt like Christmas! I feel so blessed to know that we have a living prophet and apostles here on the earth today and that we are able to receive guidance and direction from them that comes from our Heavenly Father. It was such a great experience to see three new apostles be called and sustained and it never ceases to amaze me how much I'm able to learn. I think what I mostly took from this conference was how important it is to keep the Sabbath day holy and that the commandments we receive from God aren't meant to take away our agency, they are there to help us learn how we can use our agency wisely and correctly. Our Heavenly Father gives them to us because He loves us more than we will ever know and wants us to be able to progress every day. We just have to be humble enough to submit to His will, although that is much easier said than done. Also, did anybody else cry during Elder Holland's talk? Because I did. A lot. I love this gospel so much and am so thankful to have it in my life.

It is now time to ask the question: Because of this conference, how am I going to change myself? There are so many things that I know I need to change, but I'm so grateful that I have a Savior who knows how to help me along the way. Through Him, it really will "all work out". I also want to thank President Monson for all of his dedicated service and for his love. I can't imagine all that he has to deal with every day, but I love that man with all of my heart and I am so eternally grateful for him. I know that He is a prophet of God.
 This is Sister Willis, Isn't she the cutest?

 Every single sister at the Trail Center received a new companion. Nobody can remember the last time that happened!

Sep 28, 2015

Keep Moving Forward

While we were over at Tatiana's apartment this past week, we were able to talk with Erika for a little bit. Erika is a friend of Tatiana's who has been staying with her for the past month, so we have seen her the last couple of times we have been over. But on Wednesday, she started asking us questions about the church and said that Tatiana has been inviting her to come. Right before we were about to ask her if she wanted a copy, Erika asked us, "Is there any way that I could get a Book of Mormon?" The Spirit is working so hard on her! We could see it and are excited to see what happens.

Unfortunately, Mary Ann wasn't able to be baptized this week because she let Satan get to her a little bit and had some coffee and cigarettes. President Gardner has told us that investigators must follow the Word of Wisdom for at least 3 weeks before baptism, so that pushed Mary Ann out to being set for October 10. It is so hard to see somebody get so close to the finish line only to trip and fall, but that is exactly what the Atonement is for. Christ is there to pick us up and help us finish. We know that everything will work out for her good.

The General Women's Conference on Saturday was so good! I absolutely loved the parable that President Uchtdorf shared with us and it definitely taught me how I can keep enduring through life: by moving forward and upward. Life is a crazy adventure, and even though every moment isn't going to be exciting and fun, we can always choose to be happy no matter what occurs and look at how we can learn from even the boring moments we go through. We have to learn to embrace the now because "now is part of eternity" and we are never going to get this time back. When we can learn to do that, we will be able to always find joy in the little things and get an idea of the perfect plan that our loving Father in Heaven has created for us.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for General Conference this weekend. I wanted to thank Elder Scott for his years of service and wisdom that he shared with us. It breaks my heart to see three of our beloved apostles return back to our Heavenly Father, but they will always be loved and remembered.
This is Judy. We call her Grandmother Willow and she calls us her minions. She takes such great care of us!

 Why not camp out on your driveway to watch the eclipse?

It didn't get very red, but it was still so fun to watch!​

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