The Mission Call

The Mission Call
Salem Oregon Mission - Spanish Speaking


Preparing to Serve

Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Called To Serve

Called To Serve

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gobble! Gobble!

Hello mom!

Wow what a great week! And sounds like such a great week for you!  How fun that the whole family is together and that you guys got to go to the temple!

Is Andrew loving his new room you painted? How is it having all the cute nephews together? Baby Abe looks so dang cute!  First, happy late birthday to Abby!  I remembered her birthday was this last week right after Pday was sorry I am late but I hope you had a great birthday Abby! And Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble gobble, give everyone hugs and kisses for me!

Please use Helaman 5:12 for my scripture plaque :) I forgot to tell you last week, Hermana Phelps is headed to Salem Oregon as well. So there is about a 90% chance we will be companions again in the field.

Saturday! We had TRC again!  It happened to be the most enjoyable experience I have had in the MTC.  We got to teach 6 primary kids that live in Mexico city. Ages 5, 8 and 10.  So dang adorable!  We taught them how families can be together forever and they knew so much about the church. They were all at the MTC for a mini mission so they had cute little fake name tags on!  The spirit was so strong while teaching these little kids, because I know that families can be together forever! And also it made it so great because I haven’t seen any kids in so long!

I know, Sarah, you’re reading this going, “she doesnt even like kids” haha but believe it or not I miss my cute nieces and nephews more than a lot of people! But anyway it was a great experience teaching them and they asked us a bunch of questions and we were able to have a conversation with him! When they left they gave me huge hugs and it just melted my heart.  I hope I get to teach some Latino families in Oregon with sweet little kids!

A few hours later we had a lesson with our progressing investigator.  It was so strange while Hermana Phelps and I were planning, we weren’t arguing but we had totally different ideas of what we should teach and what the needs were for our investigator.  And then our teacher told us it was time to teach...The lesson went terrible because we were on totally different pages…we got our feedback from the lesson and it was very negative (which it was, it was our own fault we didn’t work harder together).  We went back to the class room and the frustration got us....Everyone else had had a break down in our class but me... So I guess it was my turn haha so my companion and I both started crying basically just due to frustration.  

Our amazing teacher pulled up a video.  I think it’s called the Atonement and Missionary work by Elder Holland and Elder Eyring, if you want to check it out. What an AMAZING video. The spirit was sooo strong in the room!  My favorite part Elder Holland said was, "Why would it be easy to serve a mission when it was NEVER easy for Christ? Salvation was NEVER easy. As representatives of Christ we shall feel a token of what Christ felt." That was probably the best thing I have heard these four weeks I have been out. Why would it be easy? It SHOULD be hard!  But it is so worth it! My testimony is strengthened every day and I feel so incredibly blessed that the Lord trusts me to be a representative of Christ.

Back to my story… The elders were sick on Saturday so it was just the Hermanas watching the video…And you can probably guess...All of us were crying haha. Our teacher just looked at us...and walked out...hahah he has never seen that much estrogen in his life.  He went and got an hermana teacher that shared a similar experience she had on our mission.  We all pulled it together and now we laugh at how emotional we were but the words of Elder Holland really strengthened my testimony.

Sunday we had our leadership meeting on charity and virtue. It was a great lesson; charity is the pure love of Christ!  Our branch president challenged us whenever we have a negative thought, whether it be frustration or bugged at our companion that we quote a scripture in Spanish in our head.  I have been working on that this week and it has helped!  In Sacrament we did the musical number, “I Need Thee Every Hour”.  It was great to sing and the spirit was so strong.  We really do need the Lord every hour!  

For our devotional Sunday night it was from Elder Holland from a few years ago. He told us that one of the biggest things that missionaries have issues with is obedience.  Missionaries need to be completely obedient!  I had been completely obedient except one thing...Getting to personal study right at 7:00. It tends to be a little tricky when there are four girls sharing a bathroom to get ready in 30 minutes. But I decided if I am obedient to all the other rules I need to be exactly on time!  So this past week we have been waking up at 6:20 so that we are exactly on time… Its only ten minutes, but now we are on time every day!

We got to have TWO live devotionals from members of the Quorom of the Twelve in one week!  We are so lucky!  Our first one was on Tuesday.  Elder and Sister Oaks spoke to us. One of the best things I got from Elder Oaks talk was that we are not serving to be thanked, we are to serve the Lord.  He taught us that faith and performance are the two most important ingredients in missionary work. Using these two ingredients will help us become better missionaries.
Occasionally our teachers will split up our companionships for lessons. Yesterday Elder Wilks, Hermana Christensen, Hermana Jenkins and I got to teach a lesson together! Our "investigator" was a catholic priest that read The Book of Mormon and said he had a testimony about it but had never really prayed about it.  We taught him how that we can receive personal revelation. I know that we were led by the Spirit to help him understand how to receive his own revelation… best lesson I have been a part of so far!  And after!  Guess what?  He said that he had no feedback for us!  He felt our love and he said we could not have applied to his needs better than we did!  What a great feeling that was. We as a district learned so much this last week!

Today!  Yay its Thanksgiving! And we got to hear from another apostle!  Elder Bednar! It was quite an interesting lesson! This was broadcasted to all the MTCs in the world (so was the devotional with Elder Oaks). They had a bunch of cell phones that they passed around to missionaries and the missionaries could ask any question they would like.  The questions would appear on Elder Bednar’s iPad and then he answered the questions. (They showed Sydney Sands using a phone).  Elder Bednar was talking about our baptismal covenants and agency to answer a missionaries question and he said... “People think that they have the agency to just not pay their tithing or not follow the word of wisdom”.  “Yes you have your agency but if you aren´t paying your tithing or something like that you are breaking a covenant you made with the Lord”.  “You promised to keep the commandments when you were baptized”. He said, “You are not using your agency there, you are breaking a covenant you made with the Lord”.  I thought that was super interesting.  I have never thought of it that way.  Another thing he said that I enjoyed was that now I am a full time missionary, when I return home I will be a life long missionary. This work will never end! 

Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Mexico so we weren’t expecting anything.  But we got to hear from an apostle and they had a Thanksgiving lunch for us! With pumpkin pie!  And we ate with real utensils instead of plastic!  We were all super excited about that haha.  Well Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I am so very grateful to have an amazing family that is so supportive.  I am so incredibly grateful for the Savior and the Atonement. Before coming here I thought the Atonement is only for when you sin.  But we should be using the Atonement all day every day!  I am so grateful that I get to be a representative of Christ and I can’t wait to share it with the wonderful Latinos in Oregon.
Something I really enjoyed that Elder Bednar said today was, "If you feast on the words of Christ every day and pray sincerely and consistently you will NEVER fall away. I promise!"

I hope you all of a great week! Love you lots!

Hermana Gifford

While you feast, we feast on the scriptures!

My family for today!

Hermana Unga, Me and Hermana So´oto. We go to choir every week together but Hermana Unga heads out to Virginia this next week.

Less than two weeks left with these hooligans! that I love!

It's Thanksgiving!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Week 3

Hi Mommy!

3 weeks down! This week went much better than last week!

I can’t believe that Andrew is home, so crazy! Thank you for sending the pictures!  Sarah is pregnant??? So crazy!!! That’s crazy you had a patient that had a seizure!

Are you getting everything ready for Thanksgiving? We get to have a special devotional next Thursday so I’m excited for that!  That’s crazy that Elder Ames is in Terry and JeNee’s ward.  Such a small world. 

Last Thursday night after Pday we were doing our study with the devotional and I got a super strong prompting to gather all the sisters together.  So I asked the Elders to leave our room for a little while, since there are only two of them haha...   I asked what sisters were struggling with and if anyone was having problems with other sisters.  Turns out most of them were!  We talked about it for probably 45 minutes and we talked about how we could become closer hermanas.  It has helped sooo much!  We have become much closer this last week.

It’s so crazy to see how many different personalities there are in this world. Afterwards, we had the Elders come in.  We were all close to one of the Elders but not so much with the other one... We talked about how we can all be nicer to each other and we have all been working on that and its great!

Saturday we had our first TRC.  TRC are volunteers that come outside of the gates to have lessons taught to them.  Sometimes they’re non-members, members or less active.  Hermana Phelps and I taught a 16 year old boy that is a member.  We taught him the first lesson acting like he wasn’t a member. He laughed at us the whole time trying to speak Spanish.  The people outside of the CCM speak much faster Spanish, but it was still a great experience!

Sunday Hermana Phelps and I taught the leadership meeting on hope and faith.  It went really well!  We had a lot of participation so that helped a lot! Alma 32:27.  After the meeting a member in the branch presidency comes in with a big princess bag!  And guess who it was for??  Me!  Debi Martin sent me a giant bag of M&M´s!  Soooo dang nice! Please make sure you thank her again for me mom!

For Relief Society and it was on Elder Eyring’s talk "continuing revelation".  It is very important that we realize when we receive revelation and thank Heavenly Father for it!  Sacrament meeting the speakers talked about the restoration and the Spirit was great.

One of the districts in our zone left this week. They are all headed to Peru. They were AMAZING examples to all of us. Sunday night we had a testimony meeting with them and all the missionaries that left bore their testimonies and it was wonderful.  We already miss them.  They would come in our classroom every night to help us with grammar and other things. We also watched a devotional from Elder Bednar it was great, always turn yourself out to others as Christ did.

Tuesday we had a devotional with Elder Pieper who used to be a mission president in Russia!  His devotional was mostly on how to help investigators. My favorite part of the devotional was that he had us think for a minute what Christ would be doing, how He would be serving, and the words He would say. And then he told us all to act how we see Christ for the next 18 months because it’s such a privilege to be a representative of Christ!

My whole district new I was having a little bit of a hard time on Tuesday so we had Family Night! We all went around and said what we loved most about our family. We only spent like 15 minutes but it was great to express how much I love all of you :)

I feel like we got the best teachers ever!  They have helped us out so much! They help teach us in a way that we’re not robots but also that we can learn so much!  Thank you for all the prayers!  I really can feel them here!  It´s been about 75 degrees everyday this last week so it’s crazy to think that its snowing!

I hope you all have a fantastic week! I love you all!

Hermana Gifford

PS...Someone should send me a letter on Dear Elder...Even if its short..:)

​10C= best district ever!

​Mi compaƱera

My princess package from Sister Martin :) 

Quick funny story...I get probably three times a day that I look like a Disney princess..From Latinos and Americans haha its a hoot. Anyway this elder is from Mexico and asked if he could take a picture with me to send to his family because he thought I looked liked Elsa.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Week 2


How was this week for everyone? How is work going mom? I forgot to mention last time, congrats to uncle Pete being the new Stake President.  That’s awesome!

Wow what a week!  So much to tell you!  So many ups and downs as you can expect from a missionary :) but the positive outweighs the negative by a landslide!

So last Thursday after I had my first p day I was feeling a little down.. but in a weird way!  I was having some doubts… not doubts about being on a mission but doubts like am I worthy enough to be a servant of Christ...I kept thinking like I have made mistakes in my life; Am I letting everyone down.....But then at the same time I was like, But I am worthy.  A ton of crazy things running through my head!  It carried through until Friday.  Every night we have a devotional with our zone.  Friday night Elder Davis, the zone leader who has been a great example of hard work to me, gave the devotional.  He read Joseph Smith history 1:20.  It was so amazing!  He told us how Satan puts things in our head to give us so many doubts to bring us down.  The spirit was sooo strong as he spoke to us and I felt such peace and knew that Satan was trying to get in my head.  The Spirit comforted me then to tell me that I am striving to be like Christ and I am exactly where I need to be! That was one of my favorite highlights of the week.

SUNDAY. Sundays are like Heaven in the CCM.  It’s what we all look forward to. For Relief Society we watched the conference talk Approaching The Throne of God with Confidence by Elder Jorg Klebingat.  I don’t know why I don’t remember that talk but it is one amazing talk and you should watch it :)  My favorite part of the talk was, "Spiritual confidence increases when you take responsibility for your own spiritual well being by applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ daily."  The spirit was incredible and it uplifted me a million times more!  

Next was sacrament! I was asked to give a 5 minute talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost in Spanish.  I was feeling pretty good about it... and then....walks in... President Pratt and his wife (MTC president) and the other members of the Presidency.  They all came to our branchs’ Sacrament Meeting. Let me tell you President Pratt is not a warm fuzzy kind of guy so I got terrified…But it went well, I felt that the spirit helped me talk and I felt that others felt the spirit as I spoke. Our district also sang The Spirit of God for the musical number and that was great too. I can’t describe the spirit here.  It’s just so overpowering and amazing!  We get to watch a video every Sunday night and we got to watch The Restoration!  It’s a great movie and my testimony of Joseph Smith was strengthened mucho by watching it.

For some reason Monday just didn’t want to be my friend.  When we very first walked into class one of the elders in our district told me that I looked homely…He wasn't kidding....So I was like well that wasn't very nice but I tried to just shake it off.  Next we had our first lesson with Marcellino (really our teacher Hermano Palma). I felt like the lesson went pretty well but for his feedback he told us that we taught too much doctrine for the first lesson and that he felt like we didn't love him.  So I was like shoot, I can't even make a fake investigator feel loved??  But me and my companion talked about what we could do better and what we would fix it for next time (which we did, we taught him again Wednesday and it was 12 million times better).  Any way after that it was time for gym and I was like okay good I can get my thoughts together and get my feelings back to normal!  So we walk out of our classroom and our Branch President, Hermana teachers, MTC presidents wife are in the hallway and I was like hmmm that’s strange... and what do you know they call my companion and I in!  My companion has had some issues with modesty and flirting and has not liked the encouragement from myself or teachers to change that.  Sooo we got to have a meeting with the big guys.  They showed the whole website about dressing and what not.  They didn't get upset with me but they told me I need to be more stern with the sisters about following rules.  I didn't want to tell all this to you to make you feel bad for me.  

We went back to our casa after that meeting to change for gym and I took the time to pray about the whole day.  While I was praying I remembered about the Relief Society lesson we had and a meeting we had earlier with President Pratt. PRAY! I was feeling like everyone was ganging up on me (really they weren't, I just need to learn how to get over myself and not be sensitive).  I expressed all my thoughts and feelings to Heavenly Father and I KNOW that he listens to our prayers. We can pray to him about ANYTHING!  I am so grateful for our Heavenly Fathers love!  And then the end of Monday went fabulous, staying positive out here is so important!

I have had a couple very spiritual experiences the last two days. Last night our districts heads were all about to explode because of so much espanol haha. We had 30 more minutes before we needed to go home and we decided to take that thirty minutes to sing hymns. (Oh I am in the choir, might as well be uncomfortable in every situation possible, I actually really love it though.) I have never felt the spirit so strong while singing hymns!  It was amazing!  I ended up crying while singing (still a baby) but I had such a strong feeling while singing that Grandpa and Grandma Nielson, and Grandma Gifford are all on the other side helping me.  I had a feeling as if they were there singing with our district. One of the most amazing experiences I have had yet.

Today!! We got to leave campus!!  The one time of the six weeks!!  We got to visit the Mexico city temple. The temple is closed for about a year for reconstructing so we spent most the time in the visitors center.  While we were in the visitors temple we watched a video on families.  It was showing a persons life, birth, growing up, marriage and then death.  The message was about eternal families. And once again, so spiritual!  I know that we can all be together forever but we MUST endure to the end.  I want to be with you guys forever so help a sister out and endure to the end :)  Family! I am so grateful for you and I love every single one of you!

Random fact: There is an elder in my zone that is from South Dakota and he knows Tod Kirton!  Its a small world here!  Turns out a girl in my very own district is in Uncle Eric's ward!  She's a hoot.

Well anyway, I love you all!  This week...PRAY.  Heavenly Father is always listening to you and answering our prayers.  My favorite quote of the week, "With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from good things. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now.  Don´t give up when the pressure mounts. Certainly, don’t give into that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness.  Face your doubts.  Master your fears.  Cast not away therefore your confidence.  Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you." Jefferey R. Holland

Love, Hermana Gifford

We were pretty excited to leave campus

Beautiful Mexico Temple

Our District

Glamour Shot

My 1st letter in the MTC - Thanks Liz!!!!

The Book is true, no matter what language

The best chocolate in the world! - Bueno Bars

What I eat every day for lunch and dinner - I've lost 5 lbs - hahaha!
What everyone else eats

Hermana Christensen and I - Uncle Eric is her dentist and home teacher!