Monday, December 15, 2014

I'll be home for Christmas!

Greatest Family,
Although I'm so excited to see you, I'm sad to be leaving behind what I've come to know and love for the last 18 months. I was reading back through my emails to president Ames from June 2013 where I told him I wasn't doing well and I wanted to go home. I remember clearly the day that I talked to President on the phone and told him I knew I could stay in Texas as the Lord's servant. This journey has been much like the refiners fire. The Lord has shaped and molded me into the person he wants me to be, most importantly, he's made me the greatest convert of my mission. I remember coming out knowing little to nothing about what I would teach and now I have a tremendously improved understanding of why we live the gospel. I remember inviting someone to be baptized the very first lesson I taught with my trainer, Sister Tullis, and being terrified. But now I know the Lord's will and can do it without fear. I think back to the kind of member I was at home and now I know the member I need to be when I return. 
Many people say a mission is the best 18 months of their life, I say it's been the best 18 months for my life. It's made me a lot better and a lot stronger. 
I will never forget the people I have taught. I'm grateful for their faith in Jesus Christ to change their lives to accept God's will. My areas are like my babies. The members have become my family and my investigators have become my life. 
This being my last week, I learned so much. We had the opportunity to invite 4 people to be baptized, all of which are excited to make that covenant with the Lord. My companions taught me everything I needed to know for the rest of my mission and I know the Lord put us together for a reason. President Ames and I sat down for my final interview and we had a great discussion about my future, which was powerful and a most sacred experience for me. I love him. He's a servant of God and will always be a spiritual leader I look up to for the rest of my life.
I bear my witness that God lives. That Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. As his disciple I will forever strive to be like him. I know Joseph Smith restored the Fullness of the gospel to the earth. I know that the Priesthood is on the earth today for the Salvation of Mankind. I know that through the Priesthood, families can be together forever! What a wonderful gift! What an amazing gospel. I have let it change me and will continue to let it change me for the rest of my life. 
I love you with all my heart, See you Thursday, y'all! :)
XOXO-Sister Tawny Sylar
1. Everything is bigger in Texas. I did the King Kong burger challenge with all the elders on Tuesday. 2 buns, 4 meat patties, bacon, and cheese. SICK! Only 2 out of the 5 of us finished it. 
2. Got to play some guitar with one of my less actives for our last meeting
3. Merry Christmas, Y'all! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A full week of miracles!

My sweetest most treasured family! :)
Thank you so much for your emails this week. I love hearing from you, what you are up to, and how you are growing in your personal testimonies, etc. I've had a lot of time to reflect on my mission this last week for a letter I had to write to President Ames, it's been hard. But one thing I know for sure is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has changed my life and I'm so grateful and proud of the person I have become, but I still have a lot to go! 
This week was amazing. It was short since I emailed you last so I don't have a ton of things to update you on. We had an amazing Mission Leadership Council on Friday. I learned so much from the other missionaries and from President Ames as we counseled about how we can lift our mission to a higher place. On of the greatest things I learned is how to correct someone out of love. It's something that I've always struggled with as a leader, but I want the mission to progress, so we all have to be open to receive constructive criticism to become better. I often have asked myself this week "Lord, is it I?"  There are a lot of things I still have to work on... patience, humility, etc. I'm grateful that the Lord is patient with me and strengthens me so I can overcome weaknesses.
Our ward Christmas party was on Friday night and there were non-members all over the place! The ward has really taken off in their missionary efforts and have invited so many people to learn about the gospel. All 5 of our investigators came and loved it. We did "Journey to Bethlehem" we helped our Ward Mission Leader make the decorations and the spirit was so strong as we walked from station to station learning about Mary and Joseph, the wise men, king Herod, the inn keeper, and how they all felt on the night the Savior was born. I've had a lot of time to reflect on the Savior and his life during these last couple days and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to share the best gift I've ever been given with others this Christmas season!
We went over the the Stocker's last night to watch the Christmas Devotional with one of our Investigators, Jessie. She's so sweet and loves to call us "Sis" :) her parents are less active and are coming back to church. She really feels like she's at home when she comes to church and says she feels the love of God when she comes. We had our first lesson with her last night. After I shared the first vision, I asked what her feelings were and she said "peace" we invited her to be baptized on January 17th and she said yes. In her closing prayer she said "I don't want to be lead astray anymore and I pray that you will help me know if this church is true." She said one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard and I'm grateful to witness her growth in the gospel already. I'm grateful for members who are involved in missionary work and do all they can to help people in their area receive the gospel. 
I love y'all with all my heart. I'm grateful for where I've been and where I'm going. I know the Lord will continue to bless us all as we live His gospel and follow His paths. I pray y'all have a safe and blessed week. 
XOXO-Sister Sylar 
1. Cynthia (a LA who is coming back to church)
2. Quita and her kids with me :)
3. Jessie- She's so funny, I love her!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pine Cones and Holly Berries!

Hey Family!
Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support this week. So many great things are happening in Denton! There are people who are prepared to hear the gospel being found by the elders and sisters here. :) I love being a missionary! It's the greatest blessing of my life.
Thanksgiving was really great this year! We got to go to the Mayfield's home! They invited their friend over who isn't a member, she's Buddhist! After dinner we played a little game and then sat down and had a message about the Plan of Salvation because she had a husband who recently passed away. We taught about seeing our family again after this life and being with them for eternity. I asked her if she believed she would see her husband again when she passes away and she said "I don't know." To which I got to bear strong testimony telling her that I know she will! She got a big smile on her face and I think she genuinely felt the spirit. It's so amazing to know that God loves all of his children no matter what religion they follow, they are able to feel the spirit and accept it. But I also know that God wants all of his children to having saving ordinances performed by the right authority and I help to open that gate for the Celestial Kingdom to all those I come in contact with by inviting them to be baptized! :) 
On Friday we started the "He is the Gift" initiative that the church has started. There's a video on youtube and about the Savior and his birth and his importance in our life. We went to the Denton Square and contacted a lot of people and they were so open. Many of them know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and the Reason for the Season. But we had the opportunity to share more of the fulness of the gospel. Funny story- there was a gross couple cuddling on the ground and kissing and stuff... the other sisters dared me to contact them and they didn't think I would... so I did!!!! bahaha after I talked to them the man said "Thank you, Sister Sylar" And then when I walked away they looked at the card for about 5 minutes. I know it was an awkward situation (and really funny) but I know that I'm called to declare the word to all people- including icky love-struck people! ;)
I had my last district meeting yesterday and it was so amazing. I have learned so much about the gospel and how to become a better missionary all throughout my mission because of my district leaders. I really am grateful for them and their willingness to serve their missions to bless me in my missionary work. The Lord has called some amazing leaders in the Texas Fort Worth mission and I know that he's lifting Texas to a higher ground! 
One of our recent convert families that was taught about a year ago are getting sealed on the 16th of this month and their little daughter is getting baptized this Saturday so that she can be sealed to her family. Kylie (the 8 year old girl) called me on the phone Monday night and asked me if I will speak at her baptism. We have been helping her prepare because she's been scared to get baptized. It's been such a great experience and I'm grateful I've got to play a part in teaching her some of the gospel. The faith of little children is so strong and I'm grateful for her example in my life.
I love y'all so much and pray that you have a great week! :)
XOXOX-Sister Sylar

Monday, November 24, 2014

Carpal Tunnell for Days!!!

Good morning, Family!
Oh, it's always so great to hear from y'all and see how you are doing! Things are going amazing in Denton and I'm loving the area and my companions. Miracles are happening and I know the Lord is preparing so many people to receive the gospel in Denton in the coming months.
This week we had an amazing lesson with Quita and her kids. We taught her about the temple a little bit and she said "How do I get there?" and we told her that it's important that she keeps the commitments we leave so she can be baptized. She said "turn the water on warm, I'm running to it!" hahahah I love her excitement to get baptized by someone who hold the proper authority and she's willing to change to come closer to the Savior. They didn't make it to church, which is a bummer! But I know that we can help her resolve some of her fear so she can come to church, partake of the sacrament, and feel the spirit that is there. I love being a missionary! 
Although Quita and he family didn't come to church, we had another miracle happen. The bishop gave us a referral last week for a less active/ part member family. They showed up at church and LOVED it! They all said they felt like they were at home. They were already making plans to come back next week and we will start teaching them after this Thanksgiving week! I'm so excited for the miracles that are happening right now. I know it's because the faith of the members, missionaries, and the Texas Fort Worth Missionaries!
I had an amazing interview with President Ames this week. I told him that my "dying wish" is for him to come on exchange with me (Another sister told me she did that... so I tried it) IT WORKED! Hahah I get to go teach with President Ames on December 11 from 6-8 PM. I'm so excited to work arm in arm with him and feel the spirit he carries. I really love him and know that he's been called of God. Every promise he has ever given me has happened, according to my faith and his. He said "Sister Sylar, I'm excited to teach with you and set a baptism date." WOOOHOOO! Hold on Denton, Sister Sylar and President Ames are coming! ;)
I love y'all so much and hope you had a wonderful week just like I did! Remember who you are and share the gospel!
XOXOX-Sister Sylar
P.S. Pictures are of:
1. Our country photo
2. I went on exchange with members without my companions! :) YEEEHAWW I love the Giblette's!
3. Contacting Picture!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tri Squad!

Good Morning, family!
It's been such a great week! It  was so hard to say goodbye to my sweet sister Meiners, but it was so fun to welcome my 2 new companion's into the Denton 4th ward! This week has been challenging, I'm learning so much! But it sure has been fun. Also, it snowed here in Texas last night and it was FREEZING COLD!
When Sister Johnson and Sister Wells first got into the area we had to do a double exchange because one of our sisters was sick. So Sister Johnson and I went and taught an investigator that the elders felt we should teach. She is so sweet, she's a younger woman with 3 kids, a 10 year old a 7 year old, and a 7 month old. As we taught her more about baptism, the sacrament and the importance of having the right authority, we extended the invitation for her and her children to be baptized in December and she accepted! Now, the work starts! We are going to prepare her for her date and help her understand more about the importance of The Gospel of Jesus Christ!
On Saturday night all of our appointments fell through so we tried to go contact some less actives. Nobody answered the door (they probably thought we were crazy walking around in 30 degree weather!) and I felt that we needed to go see a man that Sister Meiners and I taught a while ago and see if he is ready to hear the gospel. As we sat down and talked with him, he brought up some questions he had about the Book of Mormon, we resolved his concerned, listened to the spirit and understood what he needed to prepare to live with our Heavenly Father again. We invited him to take the lessons and come to church! He said yes to both! Sadly, on Sunday he didn't come to church. We called him after to ask why and he said " I was in the parking lot and I sat there for a while and then I saw a man walk in in a suit that was nicer than mine, so I went home." My heart was so sad!!! Really, to think that Satan held him back from coming to church because someone had a nicer suit than him. That darn Satan! I know he will definitely feel the spirit when he comes to church. I don't know when he will come, but I pray it will be soon so he can receive answers to his prayers.
A few weeks ago I also had a prompting that in order to get members involved in missionary work they need to know how. Then I asked myself, how did I learn how to do missionary work? The thought came that I learned most at the MTC! I brought up the idea to Sister Meiners a while ago, talked to the Ward Mission Leader and Ward missionaries and they carried it out! Last night we had the first Denton 4th ward MTC night and it was awesome! We role played to get them familiar with questions we get asked and we talked about things we can do to approach our friends and family about the gospel! I'm grateful for the success I've seen with the wards missionary efforts since I have been here and I know I have been called here for a reason!
Sister Wells and Sister Johnson are awesome. If y'all could be a fly on the wall you would laugh the whole time! :) I'm so grateful for them and I know they have been sent to me for a reason, I have received that confirmation from the Lord. 
I love y'all with all my heart. I pray that you stay safe and become the best missionaries you can be! 
Have a blessed week,
Sister Sylar
p.s.  picture 3- LEG WRESTLING!
Picture 2- MTC Night


Monday, November 10, 2014

And then there were 3

Good Morning Family!
It's been such a great week. This week we got transfer information. I will be ending my mission here in Denton and I'm so excited... the crazy news? I'm getting 2 new companions! I'm going to be in my first trio. I know it's happening because I have something to learn for my last transfer. I've always wanted to serve in a trio... I'm nervous but I'm so excited for what's to come!
I met Sister Wells, my Ssister Training Leader companion, earlier this week at MLC. She's so cute and sweet and excited to work. I know that she's being sent to Denton for a reason. My other companion is Sister Johnson. She's new, 3 months out, and is coming from the South part of the mission so I haven't met her, but I'm excited to follow up train her and help her continue to grow as a missionary!
One of the things I have really been grateful for this week is the opportunity I have to work with the Less active members of the ward. I really have grown to love them and because of this love I want them to have the gospel, live it, and feel the blessings that can come from it! I know there are changes that many of them have to make but I also know that the Lord wants all his children to return to live with him again.
When I think of our Heavenly Father and how he will greet us, I think of the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) President Ames always shares with us that when we see our Heavenly Father again he will run to us, throw his arms around our neck, kiss our cheeks, and walk with us the rest of the way back into his mansions above. I'm grateful for this knowledge. I know God loves us and wants all of us to return to live with him again! 
Mission Leadership Council was amazing this week! We learned so many things about what we can do to help bring more people to the Savior. Our baptism goal for 2014 was 820. We are too far behind to reach the goal with only 2 months left. But we look back at where we have been... the changes we have made. We now know 1. how to plan effectively 2. how to use time wisely 3. things we can do to improve and 4. the importance of Members in the Work of Salvation. We are proud of where we've been and look forward to where we can go in the Texas Fort Worth Mission! Sister Meiners and I talked in sacrament this week and it went really well! We talked about member work. I was assigned a talk by Elder Oaks from 2001 which talked about 2 things we need to share the gospel... 1. desire 2. divine assistance and 3.know how to do it! As I addressed all these things I know the spirit was helping me say the things that I needed to say! Sister Meiners talk was also inspired. She has truly sprinted to the end of her mission. At the end of sacrament many people came up to us and asked for pass along cards and copies of the Book of Mormon! I'm excited to see what the members do to become better missionaries. I know the area is ready for it!
I'm so grateful for the time I've had to serve with Sister Meiners. She's truly been one of the greatest and most inspiring companion's I've had! We had some rough patches, as all companionship's do, but through it all we set goals to improve our relationship and we talked openly with each other. We both tried our best to make it work and as a result we have become eternal friends. I'm grateful for all I've learned from her and pray that she will take the spirit she has back home to her friends and family! 
I love the gospel, I know it's true. I'm grateful for the time I have to be a missionary, it goes by too fast and I'm not ready to give up. So I will sprint to the end cause I know there are people who are ready to receive the restored gospel.
I love y'all with all my heart! Have a blessed week.
XOXO-Sister Sylar

Monday, November 3, 2014

No Subject.... Thanks Tawn :)

Hey my favorite family!
Thank you so much for your emails and letters this week! I love hearing how y'all are doing! It's starting to cool down here in Texas and it's almost time for me to break out my tights! This week has been great and I have learned so much as a servant of the Lord. The area I serve in is tough number-wise, but I count my blessings and miracles I see every day.
Halloween was so fun! We went to the ward party and dressed up as senior Sisters. A lot of the members thought that someone brought their grandma and their great aunt. BAHAHA we pulled it off so well. we went to an elderly sister in the ward and asked her for baby powder (to make our hair grey) nylons, and 2 pairs of glasses and guess what?...she had it all! Bless her heart ;)
I went on two great exchanges this week with our amazing sisters. I truly have grown to love them each individually and want to serve them in any way possible. We were driving down the street the other day and I know Sister Meiners thought I was crazy because I randomly said "I love our sisters." I know I have been sent to serve them at this time.
The first sister I went with is such an awesome missionary! As we went forward with faith, we taught a great lesson to some awesome member missionaries and we also ran upon a sweet elderly couple who formerly investigated the gospel. I have felt for a few weeks that we needed to go visit them, and we acted on that prompting. Hiba was with us as our exchange for the night, and as we knocked on the door a sweet man told us about how Sisters used to come over and teach them, but they don't fully agree with the things we teach. As we sat at the door step and explained the gospel... he opened up to us and told us that his wife is really sick and she doesn't get out of bed often. The Lord gave us an opportunity to share about the resurrection and open the spirit up to that man and his home. When we were getting ready to leave I asked if we could leave him with a prayer. He said "Yes! How about you come inside and pray with my wife, too?" The 3 of us went inside and Sister De la Cruz offered an amazing prayer for us and for the couple we had visited. As we were leaving their home he said "I can tell you one thing, the quality of the people in the LDS church is amazing!" I know that although we had a  hard week, this was exactly where we needed to be, the one person who needed us and to feel the love of the Savior. I know we were an instrument in his hands, I'm grateful he allowed us the opportunity to be worked through.
My second exchange was with a sister I came out with. She is such an awesome missionary and I know she is training a new sister the standards and vision of the Texas Fort Worth Mission! I learned so much from her. We are having a lot of the same struggles but a lot of the same positive attitudes! She is working hard and on her way to continue baptizing!
This week has been really tough for me. I had a breakdown during planning.. haha I laugh because it was pretty funny looking back. I'm having a hard time because we aren't finding people to teach. Every time we get a referral they aren't in our area or they are not interested... and I understand that because I've been a missionary long enough! I also feel the weight of how much time I don't have to do the things I need to do and become who the Lord wants me to be. As I talked with Sister Meiners about this discouragement she reminded me that we aren't going to see fruits of our efforts all the time. She also reminded me that although we may not be finding success in our area, the sisters we are working with are doing great and we are helping them to become the best missionaries they can be. I have been called to serve them, and serve in my area. I still need to learn to count little successes along the way. 
I am so grateful for the trials I have been given as a missionary. They have changed me and they have changed who I want to become. I know the gospel is true! I love it with all my heart and can't wait to see what else the Lord wants me to learn as I continue to serve him with all my "heart, might, mind, and strength."
I love y'all, have a great week!
XOXO- Sister Sylar