Monday, June 24, 2013

1st Week in Pittsburgh

Hi everyone!!
So first off, I wanted to tell you about my crazy travels! We left the MTC at 9:00pm, flew all night long (with a layover in Atlanta) and then arrived in Pittsburgh at around 8:30am. I am so bad at sleeping on planes that I didn't get ANY sleep.... rough. So we got to meet President Topham, he is such a nice guy, and he took us to the mission home! His adorable wife fed us breakfast and he conducted interviews. Once we were done interviewing, he let us find a spot in the house and nap until we went to the church for instruction. The next day we had a little more information given to us, and then we met our trainers and we assigned to an area!!! My trainer's name is Sister Thompson, and I have been assigned to serve in the E-town(Elizabethtown) North area. She is 5'0'', from Utah, has a twin named Holly, and has only been out in the mission field for 12 weeks. Haha. She is really sweet, and we are learning together as we go.
But anyway, the people here really do talk so funny! It's mostly the older generation, but they do say "yinz" all the time and the best part for me is the way they ask questions. Everywhere else that I have lived, people usually use inflection at the end of the question, kind of going up at the end to make it sound like you are asking something. But here, they accentuate the word in the middle of their question! It's so goofy! It makes it sound like they are confused or something. Haha But yeah, the area is gorgeous. Driving to Elizabetown, which took us over 6 hours-craziness, was so beautiful. Everything is so green here, and we had to drive through their version of mountains. They just look like HUGE hills that are completely covered in trees. Another aspect of this area that I love so much, are the fireflies. Every night, they are everywhere! It's so fun to look outside in the open area next to our apartment and see little yellow lights flashing everywhere.
This first week has been so crazy! After arriving, the first few days were not the best. I didn't really know what we were supposed to be doing, so I was getting frustrated that we were hardly talking to any people in the area and we only had one investigator. I had been told time and time again that if I did everything I could, Heavenly Father would help and provide me with people to teach. I also felt that the most important thing we could do, is try and find people to teach. Sister Thompson has very little motivation to go tracting, but after a lot of explaining how I felt, she agreed to it. We tracted for about 5 hours over the course of 2 days and found zero success. We met very interesting people, but none that were interested in hearing our message. This was extremely disheartening for me and felt that I was doing something wrong, but couldn't figure out what it was. I kept praying with all my heart that we would be prompted to find those people that were prepared to hear our message. Finally Sunday came and our one investigator came with her mother (a less-active) to church. This was a huge blessing because she had a friend in the ward and immediately felt comfortable being there. The second miracle that we saw yesterday, was that we received a referral from our Ward Mission Leader's daughter. This strengthened my faith in the power of working hard, and never losing trust in the Lord. 
One thing that has helped me get through this week, was actually a talk that my beautiful cousin Jessie shared with me before I left. It is by Thomas S. Monson and is called, "Finishers Wanted." There is a poem in this talk that has really helped me refocus in those moments when I have been frustrated or sad during this past week. It says:
Stick to your task til it sticks to you
Beginners are many, but enders are few
Honor, power, place, and praise
Will always come to the one who stays
Stick to your task til it sticks to you
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too
For out of the bend, and the sweat, and the smile
While come life's victories... after a while 
I love you all! This work is hard, but I love this gospel with everything that I have. I will do everything I can for the time I have been given here in Pennsylvania, and I know the Lord will help me do it. 
Love- Sister Walborn
p.s. The pictures! The one where I'm blowing a kiss, I had to take because I wanted to show everyone some of the things that day that reminded me of home- quilt from tammy, ugly doll from halle, inspiration quote/decoration from britter, necklace from grandma, and nametag from alex :) There is one in front of the Elizabethtown sign with Sister Thompson, a picture of 3 of the missionaries I was traveling with(they actually fell asleep the lucky bums), and there is one of me with my amazing MTC companion Sister Williams. Yay for missionary work!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

1st and Last P-Day in the MTC

Oh my goodness gracious!
I can't believe that it has only been a week and one day since I entered the Missionary Training Center! Time is very weird here because a day feels like a week, but at the same time a week feels like a day. It's very odd. But everything is going so well! I have the most amazing District! There are 10 of us total, and all of us are going to Pittsburgh. Six of us are Sisters and the other 4 are Elders. The coolest part about it is that three out of four of our Elders are only 18 years old, and four out of the six Sisters are 19. So the majority of us would not be here if it hadn't been for President Monson's announcement in October to lower the ages for missionaries to serve. It makes it interesting though because since the Elders are so young, it kind of feels like we are all their mothers! We all love each other and have had so much fun spending so much time together! It is probably pretty much impossible to not become close to the people in your District because we are all together so much, spending 8+ hours in the classroom together, we always sit together at meals, and always doing activities together when we get to go to the gym or the field!
Well, the first thing I really wanted to tell you about is my teacher Sister Clark. She was the first teacher our District had here in the MTC and she is officially one of the most wonderful people on this planet! She got back from her mission in Washington D.C. North/visitors center about a year and a half ago and she is so passionate about the gospel, it is impossible not to love her! She gives the most wonderful analogies and is always dancing around the classroom, engaging us and giving us the greatest desire to get out and serve. It is really funny though because she is a ballerina, and is incredibly thin with really pale skin and dark brown hair. The funny thing about that, is that she is actually Brazilian..... haha. Her mother is full blooded Brazilian and Sister Clark spent part of her childhood growing up in Brazil(so, naturally she speaks Portugese beautifully and we asked her frequently to speak it for us). The sad thing about Sister Clark, is that she has not been able to teach us this week. She is taking an exit exam this week for her Masters Degree and had to take off this week to study for it. She also had an appointment early this week because of a severe tumor scare in her eyelids that she has been really nervous for. So before she left us on Saturday night, the Elders in my District gave her a priesthood blessing of health and comfort to help her during the time that she couldn't be with us. It was a very special experience, that really brought us together as a District. We pray for her daily and have fasted for her as well. We get to see her in two days and we all are SO excited!!
Even though Sister Clark has been gone and we have missed her phenomenal teaching skills, we have still been learning and growing so much!! Every teacher here in the MTC takes their job very seriously and wants to do everything they can to help us become the best missionaries we can possibly be. They are so inspired and we all come away from every lesson feeling spiritually enriched and motivated to invite and help people come unto Christ.  Last night, in our 6:00-9:00pm class, we had our 2nd subsititute, and he was amazing! He taught us so much about how Christ taught during His earthly ministry and how we can apply those characteristics in our teaching (I recommend reading 3 Nephi 17, it is really amazing to imagine feeling what that multitude felt as Christ came unto them).
But I want to tell you about the Sisters!! My companion is the most adorable thing in the whole world! She is from Nephi, Utah and her name is Sister Williams. She is such a goofball, so giggly and just a wonderful person to be around! We have gotten to know each other really, so we have gotten good at reading the other and recognizing when we are frustrated, distracted, down-hearted, etc., and it has been such a blessing! We are so open with each other and we have been able to build a lot of trust in each other, and our teaching has become so much more effective because of it. I love her! I love all the Sisters in my district! We are all in one room here in the MTC and we have really become very close. We all are very different and have unique backgrounds, but our love for the gospel brings us together and has made us an unstoppable force! We have so much fun talking in the room, learning about each other and being silly when we get back to our rooms and our brains are about to explode from information overload! Haha
I love you all so much!!

Sister Walborn

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

1st letter home from the MTC

This letter came in the mail to us from Abby, so I decided to type it out for all to enjoy!

Mommy & Daddy~

HOLY COW! Today has been one of the most wonderful days of my life! The MTC is truly a magical place. My companion's name is Sister Williams and she is the goofiest, most fun person! She giggles at everything and is so friendly to everyone we meet. She is from Nephi, Utah and is the first missionary to serve out of her siblings. But anyways, today has truly been wonderful. The MTC president and his wife are such sweet people and they told us that we have been the largest group to enter in the history of the MTC. Over 900 missionaries entered the MTC today, June 5th,'s so crazy to think about.  I saw over a dozen of my friends from BYU and with each one came an excited squeal and hug followed by a conversation about my first day. (OH, JK, I didn't hug the Elders.:))

My district is wonderful and both Sister Brown (who I met in the Denver airport on my flight out to the MTC) and Sister Burnett (who I met in the Celestial room of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple the day I took out my endowments) are in the same room as I am! (BIG SMILE!)

Tonight we had a "teaching experience" where investigators would come in and we had the opportunity to answer their questions and tell them more about the gospel.  It was so wonderful!  I am surrounded by some of the greatest people on earth!! Miss you!

Love, Sister Walborn

Saturday, June 1, 2013

So MUCH to do!

Woohooo! It is finally becoming real! I get set apart in 2 days, leave for Utah in 3 days, and enter the MTC in 4 days! It is so crazy! Packing has been a doozy as well, I have made multiple lists of everything that I need to make sure I bring/have in addition to the ones given to me in my mission packet. I am so excited to finally be heading out! This has been on the horizon for months now, and it is finally becoming real! I am so excited!

But anyways, I wanted to post this to:
1) Make sure I am doing this blog thing right
2) Show my beautiful mother how to post my letters as they come each week
3) Complain about how crazy it is trying to pack for 18 months (haha)
4) Have at least one post on here before I head out

Well... now that I have accomplished all those things, I will finish up. I love the Lord and I can't wait to serve the people of Pittsburgh!