Monday, November 25, 2013

Deep in the COLD heart of Texas.

Hello from Texas!
This week's weather has been insane! We had an 87 degree day.. the next day we were at 34 and we have a freezing rain storm warning right now! How crazy. and you can only guess... in a skirt, that's stinkin' cold! I have to make sure to wear lots of layers and at this point, I don't care how goofy I look. I just love my socks and flats!
Things are so great here though. I'm loving every second of my mission! I have some great things to share with you this week! Especially about Matt. He's been going to church with his girlfriend for a year and a half. We began teaching him about a month ago and he has always been very open to learning more. We lost contact with him for about 3 weeks due to school and sickness, but 2 weeks ago at church you could just see his face light up as we went to say hi! We taught him on Sunday night at a member's house and challenged him to read the Joseph Smith History story and pray about it. I know this was inspired, he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith but he thinks that something is missing. On Wednesday night we had another lesson at the same member's house. The spirit is so strong there! We followed up on the things we challenged him to do and he said he loved it! It filled in the gaps of the story he didn't understand. As we continued talking and having a discussion about the Gospel of Jesus Christ we talked about baptism. In Mosiah 18 it talks about our baptismal covenants, to bear one another's burden's and mourn with those who mourn. What a great task we have as members of the church to build people up and bring them true happiness! In verse 10 it says "If this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord..." as we talked to Matt about this we invited him to be baptized and he said yes! :) His baptismal service will be this upcoming Saturday at 6 pm. I'm so grateful for the spirit he is able to feel as he comes to church and learns more about Christ. I get to give the baptism talk and share my testimony about baptism with his non-member family and his girlfriend's less active mom.
We have another sweet girl, Sierra who we are teaching. She has a boyfriend on a mission and was thinking for quite a while that she would wait for him before she got baptized. We had a lesson with his sister and her on Wednesday and talked about how her boyfriend wouldn't want her to wait if she knew it was true. At the end of the lesson we found out that she's scared of what her parents will think but she said "I have a feeling that if I know it's true then I should get baptized" As missionary's... those are great words, and we are doin everything we can to help her find out for herself that the church is true.
There are so many great things here, keep praying for people and missionaries in your ward! They need people to teach, fill their calendars. I'm a HUGE advocate for member missionary work... it really works! :) I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving week that I have to ponder the things I'm most grateful for in my life. I'm grateful for my Savior and his sacrifice for me to be cleansed from my every day sins so I can return to live with my Heavenly Father again. I'm thankful for my loving family and friends EACH AND EVERY DAY! I know that everyone has been placed in my life for a reason. And I'm grateful for this time I have to learn how to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless you this Thanksgiving. I love y'all so much. Be safe!
With Love From TEXAS,
Sister Tawny Ann Sylar

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hey Family



Hey Family! It's been so great to hear from y'all this week. Thanks for the many emails and sweet notes, I really do appreciate it! Things are going so great here in Keller Texas, the weather is bipolar, but it's a lot of fun to walk out and realize you need tights! Haha I don't have much time but I would like to share some great things that happened this last week! :) We had an amazing zone conference that Sister Bingham and I won the "Cleanest Car Award" that was fun, we worked really hard for that! ;) But the thing that stood out most to me was what President Ames talked about so much. He said "When you are discouraged, pray harder. Those feelings don't come from your Father in Heaven." When you feel discouraged as a missionary, the devil takes advantage of it. And as I had to opportunity to go to the temple this morning I was able to feel the spirit really tell me that my Heavenly Father is proud of me, even though I'm not perfect. He's okay with our imperfection, that's why we have the atonement. I know that His grace is sufficient for everyone! So don't give up when you're down! We also found out that we get to be part of a Fort Worth Texas mission choir on December 7th down in Arlington. We had a practice for that after Zone conference and we're really excited to be a part of it! It's a great missionary opportunity for the missionaries who are serving near Arlington! It's always good to know that you're helping someone else with their missionary work! I love it. We had dinner with Bro. and Sis. Beck on Tuesday and talked to them about teaching another one of their friends! This is a great experience that the members are getting into the missionary work as much as we are! Remember that Pres. Monson said "Now is the time for Members and Missionaries to come together" find people for the missionaries to teach and the Lord will bless your life! LJ was baptized on Saturday, what an amazing experience! He had so many people there, we had to move to the chapel and the whole chapel was filled to the back. Baptisms are a great opportunity for missionary work. It's also a place where the spirit is so strong that you can't deny it! :) We're so blessed to have been a part of LJ's story! I know that he's going to be a faithful member! He loves the gospel and has for a long time! We are still teaching a lot of people who are ready for the gospel! I know that the Lord prepares people and puts them in our paths so we can touch their lives. Either by small or big examples! I want you to know that I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I know it leads to true happiness and as you continually keep your goal on the temple you cannot go astray! I love you so much and I hope y'all have a wonderful week! XOXOXOX- Sister Tawny Ann Sylar

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yay Tawn!

Hey Y'all!
Another week of missionary work that just shocks me. The miracles I'm seeing every day are things that I would not want to exchange for the world. I wish I could carry y'all with me so you could experience exactly what I'm experiencing. I know that the Lord works in small and simple ways and as we count little miracles in our missionary work, much success can be seen! :)
It's been quite a busy week. We had many lessons with our investigators in people's homes! The spirit is so strong when that is able to happen. Our investigators are growing in faith and really learning the attributes of the Savior. We taught our investigator Sierra, who is turning 18 this week, about the plan of salvation at a young woman's home and she just loved it. She eats it up every time we are meeting with her and I know that the Lord has prepared her heart to receive the truth. :)
We got a referral from the Dallas State Fair... you know, the goat buttermilk people? We went and did some family history for them and holy cow, you would not believe what we found! So much interesting stuff. We went back and shared with them and they loved it! They wanted to take us with them to find one of the pictures of the gravestones we found in Arlington, but we can't leave our area. Haha but they were so sweet. She took us on a tour of her huge backyard to see her goats too! I know it's small and simple, but family history is a great way to share the gospel! Keep that in your thoughts as you reach out to people and do missionary work! I can't wait to get home and work on more of my family history!
We got a referral from a member a couple months ago and have never been able to go see her, her name is Susan. We were walking one night and had a feeling that we should try to stop by her house, so we did and although she had never met us before, she opened the door and let us in, offered water and talked with us for an hour. She told us about her husband who had passed away from an asthma attack in the middle of the night at age 46. she has so much faith in Christ and to see how much she has turned her life into since he's been gone is an inspiration to me. I know that Christ gives us strength in the hardest times! I know that because since I've come out on my mission he has made me stronger.
We went to visit Sherry on her birthday and gave her a little candy gram. She is always so thankful for everything we do for her. Her dogs were so dirty that Sister Bingham and I didn't want to touch them... so I offered to wash them and she teared up and said it was too much to ask of us. But, I insisted and in a skirt, I washed 3 dogs who terribly needed baths. But it was worth it, because seeing the smile she had on her face afterward, was the only reward I needed. I know the Lord prompted us to go there so that we could serve her and help her feel of the Savior's love.
LJ had his baptism interview yesterday, too! He sat by me in sacrament meeting and told me that he woke up at 4 in the morning and stayed up for hours because he was so nervous for his interview! As the sacrament came, both the water and the bread ran out before he got it and he turned to me and said "what is going on?!?!" haha we both just laughed and waited for him to get the sacrament. Then after his interview the district leader said that LJ said "that's it?" and "well, do you want to play a trick on the sisters and tell them I didn't pass?" Oh my heck, he is so funny and so humble. He's so ready to be baptized. Hey, I guess Jehovah's Witnesses make great Mormon's according to what I've seen! :)
We are making sure to work through the members every day and continue to strengthen their knowledge of missionary work. As I've reflected this week on the many family's we've seen and the blessing the gospel brings to their life, I've thought about the things Mama and Stephen have done to raise me and my family. Family home evening, spending time together, etc. I was so against it at the time, but now I realize how important it is to raise family's in a good environment. I'm so blessed to have all my parents who support me, my cousins, my friends... I count my blessings every day, but just like Nephi, I never forget to thank the Lord for all he's given me and the deliverance I receive from my trials. I love the gospel, I know that it's true and being a missionary is the best time of my life and I'm so excited to continue working! 5 months down, I hope I have eternity to keep sharing the Gospel!
I LOVE Y'AL!!
XOXO- Sister Tawny Ann Sylar

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tattoo?!

Hello family!
It's been a wonderful week here in Texas! Sometimes I'm even wearing short sleeves.. hope y'all are enjoying the beautiful snow! I know that I would be if I were you! :)
We had the opportunity to go out a lot this week and try to find new investigators to work with. We have a great teaching pool of about 14 investigators, but with football in Texas, nobody really has time for missionaries right now. We are working with meeting with them more frequently! :) LJ is getting baptized on the 16th and that's something I really am looking forward to. It's amazing to see people have so much desire to follow the Savior's example and be baptized and to be a witness of the great miracles of God. I'm so blessed to be here at this time and I know the Lord needs me here!
Yesterday was fast Sunday and there's a family in the ward that's quite large, there's 6 girls and 1 boy (sounds like Sis. Bingham's family ;) ) The little boy, Jacob, got up and bore his testimony and said "I know that no matter what sin or how many times you sin, Christ is there for you and he will forgive you, because he wants you to be happy" That really struck me. Seeing such a young man have such a testimony about the Savior is a blessing. In my times of trial I always remember the sacrifice that the Savior made for me and how much mercy he has toward me. Remember that his arms are always stretched out for us if we are willing to accept Him!
Joey was at church yesterday! It's been about 2 months since we've seen him. He moved out of his dad's house and has been having a really hard time financially and emotionally. I'm grateful for the faith he has. When he saw me, I shook his hand and he just gave me the biggest hug and apologized for not keeping in contact with us. He's a great young man and I'm blessed to be a part of his story. In Sunday school he was reading the scriptures the whole time, through his trial I think it's been hard for him to come to church and study the gospel, but I know that the testimony Jacob bore in sacrament is exactly what he needed to hear. I'm grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord that gently remind us that he loves us.
I found out this week that the ward thinks my scar is from having a tattoo removed. BAHAHAHAHAHA I laughed so hard when I heard that. I then found out that Sis. Ramage mentioned it in passing to someone cause she and I thought a good story would be funny... people took it seriously and now people ask me about it more than they used to. :) It's so funny to see people's reactions when I tell them the real story. That was one of mine and Sis. Bingham's laughs of the week.Halloween was wonderful as well! We had to go in early for the night and were home from 6-9 doing our weekly planning session. It was really fun because we got to pass out candy to the trick or treaters as we planned for what we are doing in the upcoming week!
As I've been reflecting this week on the time I've been out so far it has really flown. I'm grateful to be out here serving the Lord, finding his children and teaching them about the gospel. There's no better way I would rather spend my time right now. I know that the tough times we have as we serve in our area are to make us stronger missionaries and although at times missionaries don't feel adequate to share the gospel, through God's grace and mercy he will forgive us and help us become more like him. I'm grateful for my wonderful family and friends and their support. I know I wouldn't be the missionary I am today without their testimonies and their love and support. I know the gospel is true. I know that God loves us!
Thank you for all you do. I love y'all so much! :)
XOXOX- Sister Tawny Ann Sylar