Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Very Merry Christmas ♥

December 29, 2014

Hi cute family,

First things first, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! And to those of you that I didn't get to talk EXTRA Merry Christmas! I was so glad to be able to see all of the pictures today--man, I have a good lookin' family. It was so good to hear from all of you, and thank you for all of the sweet packages. Each of you honestly made it the greatest Christmas, and I'm so thankful for you. ♥

So, just a little bit on how this week has gone:

I guess we'll start out with Christmas morning!! So, we woke up at 6:30, as usual, but opened presents for exercise...I opened Ashlyn's last, and guess what it was...


I'm not sure if I've ever burst into tears so quickly. But don't worry, it was the good kind of crying--the mixed emotion of ASHLYN'S HAVING A BABY vs. I'M GOING TO BE THE ONLY UNMARRIED, CHILDLESS ONE IN THE FAMILY. Is that weird, or what?! I already told Ash, but to all you brothers and sister, you are now obligated to have 12 children, so that by the time MY kids are born, they'll have friends their age. :) Honestly, though, I'm so excited for all of you. I don't think I could be more excited for Baby Andrew, Baby Klay, and Baby Shaylie (that's my input, if you have a girl. Or a boy.) :)

Of course, we had our wonderful phone call...but you guys know all about that. :) I've missed your voices so much, and for those that I didn't get to hear, I'll be talking to you first, nine months from now! Christmas dinner was just a blast--we had it with the Nielsen family, who have the world's cutest daughter, Juliana. She LOVES the Sister Missionaries, and wears her nametag to church every Sunday. She sits with us, teaches with us, befriends our investigators--she's the cutest. We had a blast! It was definitely a Christmas I'll always remember. ♥

Friday was a big day as well...because it was HUMP DAY! As all sister missionaries, we took our traditional "9-months along!" pictures. Enjoy. (don't worry mom, I'm just fitting in with the rest of the girls in the family!!:)

On Saturday, we started our zone goal, "power hours." Basically, we go to a members home, let them know we'll be working in their area for the next hour...ask them to pray for us while we're there...then work our hearts out. :) Well, we definitely saw miracles in the hour, and met our newest investigator, Sharon! She's actually an 80 year old Lutheran, who spent a night at temple square for a show. She LOVED it, and has been trying to find out where she could buy a Book of Mormon ever since. I'll tell you all about how our next lesson goes.

Last, but not least...then I'll let you go for the day: last night about 9:30, there was a knock on our apartment door...and guess who it was?! GRANT HERRON! I seriously about died, it was SO weird to actually see someone from back home.!! His fiance is from our ward, and so they both came to deliver us gummy bears and Coke (my favorite♥). I was SO happy to see a face from back home, I can only imagine how excited I'll be to see all of you.

I'm headed out for the day, but I hope you all know how much I love you! HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I'll see you all soon. ♥

Love, Shay Shay

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Letter from Shaylie's Zone Leader

Dear Sister Williams' Family,

You obviously don't know who we are, but we are your daughter's Zone Leaders, currently. Sister Williams is so great! I (Elder Teeples) was her Zone Leader in Camarillo when she first came into the mission, and I've always been impressed with how hard she works. She is also very mature and is a great missionary. Many missionaries, back then, though that she had been out on her mission much longer than she really had because she adjusted so quickly and was so mature. Sister Williams is also so reliable! We can count on her to do anything we ask her to do.

Sister Williams is definitely working as hard as she can in serving the Lord, and this is such a huge blessing to us all here in the mission! Especially to those precious souls she is leading back to Heavenly Father. We thank you for any and all sacrifices that you have made, and that she has made to be here. We can promise that you'll be blessed for her service! Sister Williams and your family will constantly be in our prayers!

Elder Jared Teeples
Elder Moser

Trios, Transfers and the Time-Out Doll

Good morning, cute family!!

I hope you're having a wonderful day so far, and that all is well back home. :) Things are just fantastic here, and it's been a great last week of the transfer.

Of course, it IS transfer week, so let me just start by saying: these past six weeks have been some of the greatest of my mission so far. I have absolutely LOVED being in a trio with Sister Morrison and Sister Angimarau. For some reason, it seems like all I've ever heard about trios are horror stories, but it seriously was PHENOMENAL. I don't know if I've mentioned to you in the past, but all of our beds are like six inches apart...since we all have to stay in the same room. Every once in a while, Sister Morrison would turn around to say something, and she'd be like 3 inches from my face: awkward, but we'd just laugh our heads off until we finally fell asleep! And Sister Angimarau 's singing is the GREATEST. She sings all day, ever day: quite literally. She just has the happiest personality, and it's totally contagious. Both of my cute companions have become my greatest friends, and I'm excited to see them after the mission!! (It also gives me an excuse to visit Christmas Island! :)

That being said...the transfer news is in, and I'm staying in T.O. 2nd ward! I'll be Senior Companion to Sister Brown. We were actually in the MTC together, but I haven't seen her since! I've heard a lot of really good things about her, and I'm excited! I AM a little nervous though, to be the driver again...especially because Thousand Oaks is basically a giant maze! But it will be great, and I'll be excited to tell you all about her next week!!

And of course, I just needed to take a minute to tell you about the "time-out doll." It's become our running prank of the week. So, a member in the ward left us this terrifying, faceless, time-out doll a few weeks ago, to try and scare us. And it DID. It's the creepiest little thing, and we hid it in a closet for the transfer. UNTIL a few nights ago, when it somehow turned up in my bed as I was going to sleep...then was waiting outside the bathroom after Sister Morrison's shower...and was hiding in Sister Angimarau's cupboard. It's like the Elf on the Shelf gone terribly wrong. And it's just as scary every time.

I have to head out in a few minutes, but I just wanted to send a quick hello, and tell you all I love you!! I'll try to have a slightly more spiritual email next week...but until then, the church is true. I promise. :) Love you guys!!

♥Shay Shay

Nearly Christmas!!

Well hi!!

I hope you're all having a wonderful day--and a happy Monday (cause Monday's are ALWAYS happy, right?!) :) I don't have a whole lot of time this morning, so I just wanted to send you a quick little note to remind you how much I love you all. ♥

It's funny to think it's almost Christmas, when it's still 80 degrees outside! But it's a good thing we know it's not all about snow-covered Christmas trees. :) As missionaries, we've been going around sharing the video, "He Is the Gift." By now, you've probably all seen it, but if you haven't, DO. It really is wonderful, and reminds us what this season's really about--I think we all need a little reminder, some days. :)

I hope you are all staying warm and cozy...and today, Mom reminded me that I get to talk to you in 17 days! Time is really flying, and from there, I know it will just continue to fly by. I'll be seeing you in really no time at all. I love you. ♥

Love, Shay Shay

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Happy Week After Thanksgiving!!

Good morning, everyone!!

Well, as always, it's been an absolutely wonderful week. So, I guess I'll just start from the very beginning (a very good place to start). :)

1. Zone Activity--I don't remember if I mentioned last Monday, but after emails we left for Zone Activity at Sister Taylor's house. The barbecue was a total success, and it was so much fun having everyone there together! It really isn't very often that we get to gather in big groups of missionaries, so when we do, we love it. We all made tie-dyed shirts (I'll have to send you pictures next week!), and played some good old kickball. I thought I'd be SO sad to have to leave my Lompoc Zone last transfer...but Thousand Oaks is pretty good, too. :)

2. The Interfaith Celebration--So the day before Thanksgiving, we had this celebration with all the churches in the community. We had been inviting people to it for weeks, but they were a little concerned about the turnout...this is the first time the committee has let our church actually host the event. We expected about 600 people to come...guess how many came? FIFTEEN HUNDRED. No joke. It was crazy. It was lucky that we held it at the T.O. Temple, because when the first cultural hall filled up...we just opened the second. And then the third. And then the second chapel. And then the fourth cultural hall--it's honestly a little bit ridiculous how giant that building is. But it was such a neat experience! It started with the Islamic call to prayer, then a bagpipe procession. We heard from pastors, rabbis...and it was neat to see everyone come together for it. We're having a Christmas devotional on the 7th, and the turnout is supposed to be even greater. Man, aren't the holidays just magical? :)

3. THANKSGIVING--I won't tell you TOO much about it, since I already told you the whole game-plan last week. But it really was a blast!! The Bakers are so much fun! We had about a 10 minute game of "Who Can Hold a Spoon on Their Nose the Longest." You guessed it--me and my ski-jump of a nose lost pretty quickly. But I WAS a pro at catching chickens, which was our post-dinner game. :) It was weird to be away from home, definitely...but I can't complain too much. It really was a wonderful day!

4. Sacrament Meeting--So guess who sang in Sacrament Meeting--TOTALLY LAST MINUTE!! Yep, that'd be us. They called us Saturday night, letting us know they needed us to sing "Nearer, My God, To Thee" the next day. Luckily, we already have a fun version of that from Solvang...So we just practiced Sunday morning. The tough thing was, when we performed it in Solvang, there were 4 of us...and the song has 3 parts. So I played the piano, and the other 3 sang. This time, there were only 3 of us, so I had to sing, too. YIKES. The sisters sang at the podium, and they gave me a microphone at the piano. It was SO SCARY. But, it turned out well. :)

I wish I had more time to tell you all about everything--this really has been a crazy week! But for now, I have to get headed out. So, I'll just remind you that I love you, and I'll be talking to you soon!!

♥Shay Shay

Happy Thanksgiving♥

Happy Monday, everyone. ♥

I don't have a whole lot of time's sort of a crazy week, but I wanted to let you each know how much I love you, and how grateful I am to have you in my life. I hope you each have a wonderful Thanksgiving--you'll all be in my thoughts this week!

Thanksgiving holiday will be a LITTLE different here, but still great. :) The evening before Thanksgiving, we are having an "interfaith Thanksgiving" with the whole community. It's a tradition here in Thousand Oaks, and it's going to be really neat! It's held at our church building, but there will be sermons from MANY different religions--an Islam call to prayer, readings from the Jewish prayer books, etc. We've been looking forward to it for weeks, and it's finally here! And of course...the missionaries get to serve homemade pie after, so that's always a plus!

Thanksgiving will start with...district meeting. I think we'd still have district meeting, even if the world was ending. :) And, I'll be giving ANOTHER talk on gratitude! Luckily, I already have one written from last week's sacrament I'm already prepared! We'll go to Thanksgiving lunch with the Bakers, who are a lot of fun, so that'll be great! We'll head off to a service project with the students from Cal-Lutheran...then head to Thanksgiving with the Taylors. Woohoo!! Lastly, we'll be going to spend the evening with Sister Petrie, the sweetest old lady I know. Her family's far away, and her health isn't good enough to fly to see we'll be visiting her for the night. :)

Things are great here. I wish I had time to tell you about everything, but for today, just know that I love you. Herodia and her family are doing great, the Peggster's just as funny as usual...I love my companions, but I love you guys most. :) I'll be seeing you before we know it. ♥

Love, Shay

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hello cute family!!

Well, good morning, and Happy Monday!!

What a wonderful week it's been!

Can I just say again, how much I love my companions?! They are seriously the greatest. Sister Morrison reminds me SO much of Ashlyn!! I'm laughing my head off pretty much 24/7. And we spend most nights talking about silly things til 11:30. Sister Angimarou is the cutest--she sings all the time. But really, all the time. And sometimes, when it gets quiet during a dinner appointment, she starts to sing. The members get a kick out of it, and we do, too.

Some fun and exciting events of the week:
Well, we'll start with the picture Sister Sorensen sent you--sewing backpacks for kids in Africa!! It was an activity we're going to start doing each week as part of our JustServe program--there are members in our ward that go to Africa every few months to do humanitarian work. Cool, right? Well, funny story about that picture--behind our smiley faces, we all got secretly injured. Sister Angimarau accidentally stabbed herself in the leg with scissors...Sister Morrison got her finger chopped while trying to fix her bobbin...and I put a needle straight through my middle finger. Yep, who knew sewing could be so dangerous?! We didn't want Sister Sorensen to know, because we didn't want her to we all kept our little secrets til we got back to the car. The African kids might find out, though, cause there's probably a little blood on those backpacks. We had a lot of fun, but obviously, we're not pro-seamstresses.

We are, however, pro at teaching the ukulele!! Well...not really...but it HAS become our newest finding activity! We found out there was a pretty big group of people in the area that wanted to learn to play, (who would've thought?), so we're going to start teaching! I have no idea how to play...but Sister Angimarau does. So she'll teach us, then we'll teach everyone else. We'll see how it goes this week!

In other news, we've started doing a program called "The Legacy" at the senior center next door. Basically, we go and visit the seniors, and they just tell us about their lives. We consider it service, but sometimes they talk about the gospel with us, too. :) We're paired up with particular seniors to visit, so we meet with Chuck each Wednesday. We also read stories to Dorothy, because she's lost her sight with age. It's so much fun, and we LOVE them.

The Peggster's doing great! We're still visiting her twice a week, and she's just as confusing as ever!! She knows the Book of Mormon like the back of her hand. She's been working on this Jeopardy game for months now--there's 30 questions for every 10 chapters in the Book of Mormon. Seriously, if you asked her Pahoran's shoe size, she could tell you. As far as seeing how it will help her in her life...we're still working on it. :)

Herodia's doing just wonderfully! We taught her the Restoration on Wednesday, and on Sunday, she came to church for the first time. Not only that, but she stayed for ALL THREE HOURS, and brought her two adorable sons, Anthony and Giovanni. By the way, Giovanni is the world's cutest 4-year-old. Both of the kids LOVED primary, and are super excited to come back. Herodia loved it, too. Her only concern was in 3rd hour, when she said, "Man, do you guys ever get hungry during church?" Why, yes, yes we do.

I DID speak in church this Sunday, and it went better than expected. I always stress for the week I have to PREPARE the talk, but once I'm actually up there speaking, I'm just fine! Funny how that works. I spoke on having an attitude of gratitude, and how it leads us to selfless service. It gave me a chance to meet a lot of new members, and they've finally figured out that I'm not temporary. Sister Taylor, our Relief Society President, is the GREATEST. She has her house decorated exactly like ours back home, and it totally reminds me of you Mom! You guys would totally be friends.

I wish I had more time to talk, but I'm running a little bit low. We're headed off to district sports in just a few minutes. OH. Fun fact: the church building here is GIANT. It's got two floors, and each of them have a chapel, a gym...EVERYTHING. People just refer to it as the T.O. Temple. And guess what street it's on? Mormon Way. No Joke.

All is well, but I sure do miss you guys! It's weird to think that Thanksgiving is next week...especially when it's 65 degrees, and just as green as it was in the middle of the summer. What are you guys doing for the holidays? We'll be having dinner with the Bakers. They're a great family, and a lot of fun. Of course, not as fun as YOU guys, but it'll do for now. :)

This week, we'll be having Zone Conference, so I'll tell you any exciting news next week!! I love you all, and happy ALMOST Thanksgiving. :)

Sister Shaylie ♥