December 8, 2014

Dear all,

Well….yep!  This is it haha.  My last email!  AH!!!  This is the absolutely weirdest thing I’ve ever done.  EVER!  Coming on a mission was a piece of cake.  Enduring on a mission was difficult and joyful.  Ending a full time mission just plain stinks.  There were points on my mission that I wondered if I would be one of those missionaries who would come back and say, “I LOVED my mission!!!”  But I can truly, honestly, 100% with total confidence, say that I have both needed, and LOVED MY MISSION!!!!!!!!!  There are deep truths that I have learned that I personally could not have learned any other way.  I have come to learn about my Savior, and the fact that I have SO much more to learn from Him.
I wasn’t perfect.  At all.  I made PLENTY of mistakes.  I had trials and challenges that I didn’t ever even dream I would have whilst on my mission, and some of them I KNEW I would have.  But the Savior has been with me every step of the way.
I can’t fully put into words what this all means to me and I don’t think that I ever will.  As I was buying a ring that reminded me of Tucson, I realized at first that I was buying it as a way to remember and to almost prove that I served a mission.  But I hope that when I come home that the person I’ve become shows that I’ve served a mission.
You know how incredible people are?  They are amazing.  Every single one of us is such an individual and we are all so beautiful.  The people who sit next to me aren’t strangers anymore.  When you look into their eyes you can see that they have existed for an eternity.   I hope that I always remember that.  They are my family.
 Thank you everyone who has prayed for me and supported me.  I have felt many times the strength of your prayers and I needed every single one of them, so thank you.
Enough of that!
This week was harder but we finally met with a man named Anthony who is INCREDIBLE!!  Apparently, his son came to him in a dream before he was even born and told his dad that he was coming.  Anthony callled his wife and said, “You’re pregnant.”  She found out 4 hours later that that was the case.  Anthony wanted to name him Zion but his wife didn’t want to .  So they settled on Darion which Anthony had never really heard before.  And when they looked up the meaning of the name with that spelling, it means something along the lines of, “strong leader of the Mount Zion”…!!!!!!!!!!  Yeah.  Crazy!!!!  Anyway, Darion is 12 now and apparently he’s a saint and wants to learn more about religion.  HEHEHE!! YAY!!!!  They are so amazing.  SO amazing.
Yep!  It was awesome and they’re awesome, and life is awesome!!!
Sister O’Donnell

I Believe in Miracles

September 15, 2014

Well hello there!

So this week was fun and stressful and miraculous and exhausting and by Sunday Sis. Clark and I were only carried through because of the strength of the Lord.  We were BEAT!
But we found a family to teach!! OH they are so precious!  There are four girls, the oldest being 11 and they soooo want to come to church and get back into religion and the mom, Jennifer is basically already a member…she just has to get baptized, ya know?  It was so great!
Also, there was a huge guy with no shirt, lots of tatoos, smoking a cigarette and reading a book.  The sister I was with at the time had hesitations about talking to him, and I myself was slightly uneasy about talking to him at night…but we did!  And guess what?  He was reading a book about Revelations! Hahahah he told us how he had turned his life around and his family was getting back into religion and all sorts of things.  HE said his cigarettes was the last nasty habit he had to let go of!  AW man, he was so cool!  We will be seeing him tonight! 😀
Also, I just want to say that I believe in miracles.  They happen!  This is the Lord’s church, so of course they happen!  It’s all about faith which comes from personal righteousness.  And how the Lord blesses His righteous children so that they can help His other children who are struggling.  I just love this gospel!
Going to the temple tomorrow!  Ah!! So excited!!!!!
Sis O’Donnell

An Incredible Pillar of Strength and Faith

Monday, November 4, 2013
Dear All,
It’s amazing how much being sick can bring a missionary down.  After trying to keep going, my body finally gave out and I ended up not being able to leave the apartment on Thursday at all and most of Friday.  I got a blessing on Wednesdaywhich I believe helped but I’m still trying to get the energy levels back to where they were before.
Well, in general things are pretty good.  My comp is super enthusiastic about this work and just a ball of missionary fire.  It’s great!  There hasn’t been much update on anyone because we had to cancel so many appointments this past week due to my illness so this week will be a lot better.
One thing that I have been pondering a lot is family.  We met with a woman who’s husband is a recent convert to the church and while we have met with her and her husband on several occassions I have never heard her open up so much.  This time, I was just entirely amazed that this quiet woman who was probably looked over so many times, was the most incredible pillar of strength and faith I’ve ever met.  She shared a miracle that changed her life when she was 9 and while her life hasn’t been very easy at all since then, she explained that she never could blame God for anything of what happened.  That Satan kept trying to make her angry with Him but she never could feel that way about her Creator.  Tears pricked my eyes as I listened to this woman desperately trying to help her family, who’s husband was in a slump of discouragement and while they had next to no money at all and lived in a trailer with all seven of them…my heart was overwhelmed with love for this woman and admiration.  All of the small and simple things that she sacrificed and did for her family have built up in the years and she is now a powerful powerful instrument in the hands of God.  She’s quiet yes, but powerful.
I guess I just want to give a shout out to anyone who feels that their efforts go unnoticed and who feel that their struggles and sacrifices don’t seem to be getting them anywhere, that you truly are noticed and loved by your Heavenly Father.  He notices EVERY effort you make and with every struggle and trial and disappointed hope or dream, He is building you to be a powerful beacon of light to everyone around you.  It’s beautiful, and you are beautiful.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week!
~Sis O’Donnell~