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