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

Hastening His Work RIGHT NOW

August 25, 2014

Dear all,

Wow.  Well, here’s the thing.  The Lord is Hastening His work, RIGHT NOW!!!!
Ever since I was transferred….aka less than a week ago, I felt something stirring inside of me.  As I have studied, pondered, prayed, and worked, I have come to recognize that more and more that the Savior is running this work and He has an assignment for every single one of us that we must must must MUST acccomplish!!  He is so willing to help us if we but search and act and ask for His guidance.
For instance.  When I got here I was able, line upon line, to understand more fully my purpose for being here in this ward.  That is to help the members develop the love and skills to be member missionaries.  I have had this revelation confirmed to me over and over and over again and never in my life or my mission have I felt the burning within me of the Spirit this strongly.  It is amazing!  Our ward mission leader last night shared with us his vision for the ward which was what my vision was right on the dot.  Coincidence?  Absolutely not.  He told us he had never felt so comfortable sharing his ideas and vision before with other missionaries until now.  Until NOW.  Now is the time!!  I don’t know how else to express myself about this, but I know from the bottom of my heart that my mission is every single member of the church’s mission.  Yes, I am a teacher.  But the purpose to “invite others to come unto Christ” is for both myself and everyone else.  The approach is different, but the same nevertheless.
Anyway, today we had our Mission Leadership Council and had Elder Malm a general authority there with us to address us.  As he did, the Spirit  was overwhelming.  He had been calling missionaries up to ask them questions so we could all learn from each other.  But then he pointed at me and asked me to come up and share my Testimony of me being apart of the Hastening of the Work of Salvation.  Ultimately I said  the things I’m saying to you.  That I can see the vision much larger than myself and that this vision will carry with me even after I go home.  As I spoke the Spirit again burned throughout my soul and I could barely keep from trembling.
The point is that I KNOW.  I don’t think.  I KNOW that things are picking up right now.  And the Lord has the expectation of us who have this knowledge to do all that we can to invite others to taste of His goodness as we have.  Look to Alma the Younger’s example in Alma 36.  What did he do right after He tasted of the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness only to be obtained through living the Gospel?  Verse 24.  He shared it with others.
In the end it’s not going to matter how many hours we spent at work or school or sports.  Not unless our time was used to the benefit of God’s children by inviting them to learn of Him and act on that knowledge.
I testify simply that I know these things are true and there is nothing or anyone that can deter me from this testimony.
In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

YOU All Have a Purpose

Monday, June 16, 2014


Hey there everybody!

Sooo….awesome week?  MMMM…yes.  Yes, it was indeed.
So Sis. Frazier doesn’t need to be trained so I just sit back and relax and she does it all.  Just kidding.  Well…half way.  She DOESN’T need to be trained but I don’t sit back and relax.  In fact just the opposite has happened this transfer I’ve been BURNING with energy!  YAY!!!  First time my whole mission hahaha.  I think somethings wrong with me actually.  It’s weird.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if I left her six weeks early and she had to train someone else hahaha.
ANYWAY!  So, we got a new investigator named Isabel.  Okay, You know like…the golden investigators?  Well, I haven’t had one EVER until her!  She just EATS this stuff up like crazy and even invited a friend to FHE!  When she read The Book of Mormon she said that she feels like she’s heard this before.  !!!!!!  <—- that means I’m freakin out in a good way.  So yeah, hopefully things keep going well with her!  She’s amazing.
Also,…I forgot. Hmm well it wasn’t important then.  Here’s what’s amazing though.
What’s amazing is the Holy Ghost. I know for a fact that he testifies of truth and of our Savior.  I know that he DOES comfort us in times of need.  I know that often it’s through other people, and how I LOVE people.  God’s children are incredible, no matter who they are or their situation in life.  Faults make us unique and help us all learn and grow.  It’s EXCITING to get to know people, and what’s under their shells.  God made them the way they are for a purpose and I have grown to live to see what that purpose is.
And YOU all have a purpose.  For every single situation, you can make it worth something, even in the smallest, most subtle ways.  That’s something I’m learning.
Aaaaannnd….it’s in the 100s every day.  BUT miracle!  Today we hiked Pusch Peak again (my favorite hike that everyone else hates) and it was cloudy and WINDY!!!!! It was wonderful.  Good times!
Sis O’Donnell

“She Was Just Glowing!”

Monday, March 24, 2014
WOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!  Shannon got baptized on Saturday!!!! 😀  Oh my goodness it was WONDERFUL!!!  After all our prayers and working with her and the Lord just…being amazing, Shannon joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The experience was incredible.  The Spirit was just sooo incredibly powerful and definitely a million answered prayers!!!  GAH!!!! It was so wonderful.  It’s amazing to see the Lord’s Hand in other peoples’ lives 🙂  At the end when she bore her Testimony she said, “It feels good.  I feel….I don’t know, lighter?  Does that make sense?”  This was incredibly significant for me and Sis Halle as Shannon had previously mentioned she was very very nervous that she wouldn’t feel anything when she was baptized.  And she obviously did!!  She was just glowing!  I may or may not have teared up…along with Sis Halle.  It was so touching.
Also, today we hiked Pusch Peak!!!  It was AWESOME!!!!!!!!  It was a long longer, more difficult, and steeper than any of the hikes I’ve been on so far and it was so totally worth it.  God really has blessed us with so many beautiful wonders of the world 🙂
Beyond that I got nothing else to say other than just how grateful I am for my Savior.  How grateful I am that I get to start over…over and over again.  He is wonderful and constantly reaching out to us.
Love you all!
Sis O’Donnell

“He Will Give it to Us”

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dear all,
Whelp!  It was a pretty awesome week.  We are teaching a girl named Shannon who is supposed to be baptized this Saturday, but we think she got into some “anti” reading stuff from one of her friends (UGH!) so we’re a little nervous.  She’s so cool though and basically lives all of the standards anyway!  We’re going to meet with her tonight so hopefully all goes well….and her baptismal interview is supposed to be right afterward haha.  We will see how this goes.
One thing that just amazes me though is how much the Lord helps us to love each other if we really make the effort.  No matter where I go I have been able to just LOVE the people sooooo MUCH!  It’s just so much easier to love than hate.  It really is. 
Also.  The Book of Mormon really really TRULY is the keystone of our religion!  I’ve realized that more than ever before.  Before I got into the area, Shannon hadn’t really been reading the Book of Mormon at all and was really doubting her decision.  I explained that the Book of Mormon was another way in which the Spirit could speak to her and to read it every day (basically) and she has started doing that.  In a week she’s now on 1 Nephi 11 and is totally understanding it!  But the amazing thing to me is that even if she decides not to get baptized…which normally would devastate me…I would be okay because she has the Book of Mormon and I just know that if she reads it, she’ll be guided by the Lord.  It just has SUCH an incredible impact on our lives in so many different ways! 
Well, I just want everyone to know how much I LOVE the Book of Mormon and how I know it’s true.  I know that revelation is very real and we have a lot more success in life when we follow it.  I also know that the Lord would not have us look down on ourselves for our weaknesses but He would have us turn to Him for help and support and in some way, shape or form, He will give it to us.  We all have our own challenges and experiences and more and more the Lord has shown me that judging others is NOT the way to go.  In fact, usually the people I judge end up becoming people I really enjoy being around. 
Basically I know that the Savior is just…incredible.  I love Him so much.  I know He loves all of you and wants you back!  He has NEVER forgotten you, nor could He ever.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 “I’m King of the Rock!!!!! And there’s nothin you girls can do about it.”  “Oh Yeah??? Well I think Ping and I can take you!!!”  “I really don’t wanna-” Just kidding I’ll stop.  Yeah we went hiking today and some of us kept going to this rock.  It was GORGEOUS!
P.S. HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY!!!!!!!  Also….last week on Wednesday (gulp) I had my 9 months 😦  EEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!  Yes, I took pregnant pictures but silly gmail won’t let me send more than one picture at a time.  Maybe next week!

“This is what I need to do. I can be baptized.”

Monday, October 21, 2013
Dear wonderful children of God,
Crazy week.  Just crazy.  Let me just start out by saying that the saddest day of my mission thus far was Tuesday.  It was also one of the best days of my mission.  Confused?  Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. 
Basically some people very near and dear to my companion and I’s hearts are getting a divorce and it’s heart breaking to see.  We also had a Less Active shut the door in our face (my first time!!! ) after we said we wouldn’t come into her house because she had bed bugs.  Then we had a scare when Sandy, the really incredible one told us she decided not to get baptized.  We pretty much died for a few seconds……   But don’t worry!  We talked about it and addressed her concern and the Spirit led the entire discussion!  In fact I’ve never felt so guided during a meeting with an investigator ever.  By the end she ended up changing her mind and said, “This is what I need to do.  I can be baptized. I have self control.  There will be no more doubtings after this.”  PHEW!!!!  so yeah, MIRACLE!!!
Oh yeah!  We totally had a baptism on Saturday!  Actually two.  Zhoee and Zander 10 and 8 were baptized by their returning to activity father Robert.  It was awesome.  Super glitchy but us newbees are learning.  It was still awesome to see him baptize his own kids.  Very precious.  For real though.
Also, Tucson is crazy.  Just throwin that out there.  Our most recent lesson with Sandy was accompanied by her friend named Felicia (HIS name is Felicia..) who was dressed up as Madonna.  He did his makeup and nails himself.  …That was definitely a first. But if it wasn’t so crazy I wouldn’t love it so much.  There are SOOOO many wonderful people here and while they may be different than what I’m used to, all you really have to do is look into their eyes and recognize their beautiful soul as one of God’s precious children.  He loves us all so completely and so equally, it must be difficult for Him to watch us all bicker and fight and hold grudges.  Thankfully we have the Atonement to help us heal, learn and move on from our past and courageously move forward with faith.  How I love my Savior.
Love you all!!!