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

Monday, December 29, 2014


Hiii mommy!!

I was soo happy to get to talk to you! It was so fun to see everyone's faces, besides Lizzy's and Tytons :(

Looks and sounds like everyone had a great Christmas! Christmas was a million times better than I expected it to be! I expected to be depressed all day haha but we had enough stuff to do that made it a good day!

Happy Birthday to Danny on Sunday! Don't know how old you are..and don't care..haha jk. All the pictures of the family look great! Classic nativity scene..haha.

So, mother I will try to answer the questions that you asked! We don't knock doors too much, basically we want to find all our investigators through members but that doesn't work as well as planned.  We have a lot of referrals from other missionaries and so that is usually how we find our fabulous Latinos! Yes, Maria speaks Spanish; in fact she speaks no English. Hahah. I don't know if people just play dumb but a lot of the Hispanics say they speak absolutely no English.  It’s good for me because the more I get to learn!

Usually, if we teach a family we talk to the parents in Spanish and the kids in English.  Since we are white, the kids only talk to us in English (for the most part).  We always ask people how we can help them when we leave but they usually say nothing. We go to a food bank every Tuesday for a few hours and do service there. I don't know if that is a world wide missionary rule or just our mission.

I know you're the best nurse in the world momma!  All those kids are loving to have such a rock star nurse!  There are a lot of polygamists in Primary children's...Looks like you should start preaching ;)

Well not too much has happened since I got to talk to you just a few days ago but we had a family come with us to church!  Yay, the first investigators to come to church since I've been out!  The dad kept telling us that he wouldn't be able to wake up on time so we said okay, we will come and wake you up haha.  So, we went over there at 10 to make sure everyone was awake and starting to get ready, and then they came! Pray for Javier and Adrianna, I think that they have a lot of potential.

Our sacrament meeting has started at 11 and about 3/4's of the people get there at 11:30.  Starting the New Year our ward will start at 9.  We're hoping for the best! hahah..  Overall it was a great week and I know that I am blessed to get to be serving the Lord!

Have a fabulous week.   I love you!

Hermana Gifford

Hermana Meise's mom sent this to me.  Super cute!!!

Our apartment parking lots floods every time it like every day!  Epic picture!  haha!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

It's Almost Christmas!

Hello Family!

Just two days and I will get to see your fabulous faces!

It was a good week. We have one progressing investigator right now named Maria.  We visited with her this last week and she had a ton of great questions! And she answered all the questions in the back of the pamphlets (my companions said that never happens).  We are really hoping that she will get baptized! (We asked her and she said she will once she receives an answer). So pray for Maria and her sister Laura that they will read and pray to receive answers.

We had our ward Christmas party on Saturday! Hahaha Oh man that was a hoot.   They were doing a skit of the nativity, and suddenly they would just stop what they were doing and start dancing and doing the salsa  It made no sense but everyone was loving it. We had THREE investigating families show up!  It was super awesome. Unfortunately our ward members aren't fans of branching out.  Not a single member talked to any of the investigators there. That is where a lot our work needs to go in! But I know that over time it will get better :)

Yesterday we had our Christmas conference!  It was in Forest Grove so about an hour and a half away.  President and Sister Samuelian spoke to us about how we can spread the light of Christ.  They talked about how the greatest gift that we can give to the Lord is spreading the light and always trying to become more like him. We had a big family home evening with members and investigators that came to listen to the missionaries sing. The spirit was awesome! The Christmas hymns are awesome.

Well I am just super excited to talk to the fam! And nothing else too big happened this week!  But! Lets all try to be a little more Christ-like and share the light! There is no other greater gift that we can receive than the Savior's Atonement!

I love you all!

Hermana Gifford

P.s....They handed out everyone’s packages at the conference.  Both of my companions got 6 packages, and I got nothing.  So maybe one day you will all love me. hahah (I still have the package from you though mom :) )

P.s.s...Christmas isn't about gifts, so I am trying to not be bitter about it. hahah

I have all your notes up on my wall :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Am In Oregon!

Holy Canole!

Hello Momma!! That’s crazy that you had to speak in church! My companions are totally fluent...and then there’s me...haha.  I try to say at least a couple things every lesson but being in Oregon has made me realize that I actually don't know any Spanish haha.

Now was that great or what to get to hear your voice! When my mission president goes, well should we call your mom I got so happy! haha i didn't say much on the phone because I started crying...Hahah you were giggling at everything he was saying you little cutie!

So the flight here was a little rough.  I was feeling super sick...and they didn't have barf bags...and we were going through terrible turbulence.  Like I didn't know it was possible to fly when it was so bad we were bouncing everywhere! Soooo...The seat next to me was the toilet.  Yes I got to throw up in the seat next to me the whole flight.  So nasty!  But I will probably never see those people again…so yolo.

Thank you for the packages mom!!  I was so happy that I had a pillow to sleep with!  And I almost opened my Christmas package...but then I pulled myself together. haha  So I will see what that is on Christmas!  

One of the mission rules here is to take a strength test! So I got to take that today.  My top two strengths are competition and woo...who would've guessed hahah.

My companions are awesome! They are also the Sister trainer leaders of the zone so they are the best of the best!  Hermana Meise is from Philadelphia (blonde) and Hermana Cardon is from Orem! They are super genuine girls! They are also super quiet so we haven't had lots of joking.  But when I can get them to laugh it makes my day haha!  They have already helped me a lot being here!

Oh momma, can you send me the recipe for Swedish pancakes please? :) If anyone wants to send me a letter like you said Sarah or Kenzie just send it to the mission office!  Then they forward it to our apartment! I don't think that I am allowed to send out the apartment address.

We get fed by members almost every night!  It’s super awesome but these wonderful Latinos fry all their food.  I am going to be so fat.  Some of the girls here have gained 20 to 30 pounds...but my companions have been here for 10 and 15 months so they're trying to lose it all so they like to wake up at 6 to get extra exercise. Its tricky waking up those extra 30 minutes but I will get used to it!

Yesterday someone let us in!  This last week no one let us in their house until yesterday. One of my companions felt prompted to go tracking in a certain area and we met a lady named Laura.  She is going through some problems and she is super interested in hearing about the church, so I hope things keeping going well! It was super cool to see how an actual lesson works!

Quick story, the first night I went out with two sisters (that aren't my trainers). We went to a couple houses and then they said, “Okay Hermana Gifford, you are in charge of this one”.  A man opened the door and starts yelling.  Like bad, saying he hated Mormons and that he never wants to see us again.  Then he comes up to me and yells, “So what you're one of them”? “What a Jehovah Witness too?”  And I said courageously as possible said,  “Actually no, we are missionaries of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints”.   And then......they all started was a joke!!  He was a member and just messing with me.  I wanted to start crying.  I was like holy cow my first night and I get yelled at??  But it was a joke.  And I guess it helped me learned what to say when that really happens!

Oh and my area is North Salem! We are in a Spanish area that covers a huge area...There are 11 missionaries in the ward! Pretty crazy. A LOT of work that needs to be done!

I love you mom! Have a great week! Oh by the way we have a Christmas party next week so it’s possible that I don’t have p-day on Monday so you might not get an email from me til later in the week!

Hermana Gifford
There was a fire our last night in Mexico!
This was Hermana Webber for the MTC.  She was supposed to be our teacher but got moved so she was our teacher for only a week.
​The rock- This is our "moto" the scripture is D&C 6:34. we got to have a experience at the ocean

Another rock Picture

This is in the atrium in the temple.  Don't worry, pictures are allowed :)

Thanks for the decorations, mommy  :0 

​This is Hermana Meise and a family that is a potential investigator. I took the picture because it was Hermanas birthday and the moms birthday so they had us over for cake

This is our companion Christmas card lol

This is our zone

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

President and Sister Samuelain

Dear Brother & Sister Gifford, 

Sister Samuelian and I were so pleased to greet your missionary at the Portland airport!  Upon her arrival we had the opportunity to take her to the beautiful Portland Temple.  (Attached you will find a photo)  Your missionary will have the opportunity to attend the Portland Temple while serving here in the Oregon Salem Mission 

All letters and packages for your missionary should be sent to the Mission office listed below.  We encourage you to correspond weekly via e-mail or letter with your missionary.  We will ask that they also send you an e-mail every week on their preparation day, which typically is on Monday. If you feel there is an emergency which requires you to speak with myself or a member of our office staff, you can contact us at the address and phone number below. 
Oregon Salem Mission Office
700 Deborah Road
Suite 260
Newberg, Oregon 97132
(503) 487-6387

We thank you once again for sending your missionary to us.  We will take good care of her and know the sacred trust you place in ourselves and in the Lord.

Kind Regards,
President Michael Samuelian
Sister LuAnn Samuelian
Oregon Salem Mission

Sister Samuelian, Hermana Gifford, President Samuelian

All Missionaries arriving 12/10/14.

Hermana Gifford arrives in Oregon!

1st Trainers:  Sister Meise, Sister Gifford, Sister Cardon

Monday, December 8, 2014

Time For The Field

Holy cow Mom hahaha thanks for sending me a pillow! That is very nice of you.  I was just planning on not having one the first few nights but should´ve remembered I have the best mom in the whole entire world!

I think that I am going to be okay with weight…well not really...I am putting my 20 pounds of books in my companions luggage and then I will take it out once we get to Oregon! Thankfully her heaviest bag is only 20 pounds!

I will make sure to remember to ask my mission president about Christmas! I need to see my mommy :) We have to have a bag right at the top of our suitcase ready to go proselyte right when we get to Oregon, crazy! When you get the chance could you add Jared Vargas, Alejandro Hernandez Livera, and Luis Roberto Palma Abrto...They were my teachers here and I made them promise me to send me an invite on Facebook to their weddings haha.

Well, I have so many crazy emotions going on right now. I am so excited to go and actually do real missionary work, eat real food and start my journey! But I am also sad...The first two weeks in the MTC were not my most favorite and then I decided I needed to change my attitude. These last 4 weeks have been the most amazing spiritually blessed weeks I have ever experienced. I have absolutely loved feeling the spirit several times, basically constantly throughout the day, and I have heard it’s not the same in the field.

I also am sooo grateful for our teachers. They helped us in so many ways and always had the spirit with them. I really do feel that we got the best teachers in the whole CCM.

Friday we had meetings for 12 hours J  It was a long day, but super helpful! The meetings were all about situations that will happen in the field and how to deal with it.  It made me feel a little more prepared, maybe not the Spanish part...but doctrine! Hermana Phelps and I are super excited for our 4 hour lay over, we are bringing a bunch of pass a long cards and are ready to start spreading the gospel!

I will have my new companion for 12 WEEKS. haha that seems like such a long time, I am hoping and praying that we can work really well together.

Saturday we had our last TRC. The most insane, spiritual experience. It made me so excited for the field and to have real experiences. It opened my eyes to see how huge of trials people go through and I have gone through nothing in my life!

Sunday, the last Sunday in the CCM! Our MTC presidency meeting was by President Tenorio and he talked to us about celestial marriage, exaltation and faith. He shared an experience how his first-born baby was born while he was gone away for a work trip. His baby daughter died the next day and he never got to meet her. He explained how people would always ask him why he wasn’t so depressed about losing his first child and he would explain to them that he was married in the temple and he knows he will get to be with his daughter once again. What great faith!

Our devotional was a talk by Elder Bednar on how to become a Preach My Gospel missionary and he gave us five steps of how we can do that. Understanding that we are serving Jesus Christ, always be worthy, treasure up the words of eternal life, understand that the Holy Ghost is the ultimate and true teacher, and that teaching is much more than talking and telling. He said multiple times in his talk, "You can do this!"

For our movie night we got to watch the first presidency devotional!! Was that great or what? I loved the music. We aren’t allowed to listen to any music at the CCM so I am excited to start playing my MoTab :) Some things that I enjoyed was from Bonnie Oscarson when she said open your hear with kindness. The way to share Christmas spirit is to be generous.  I have been working really hard on being nicer to everyone.  I loved the story that Elder Christopherson shared and I really liked how President Eyring said the light of Christ shows through purity. I hope we can all have the light of Christ especially during this Christmas season!

Well I have always heard that you always either love or hate the MTC.  I LOVED it.  Easily the most spiritual experiences I have had and my testimony has been like thrown up and blown up a million times (meaning that it has been strengthened so much haha)

I am going to miss hearing gun shots...haha fireworks go off like every thirty minutes and we hear gun shots a few times a day, party in Mexico haha.
Time for me to start the real journey in Mexico! Wish me luck!

Hermana Gifford

My companion and I with the Presidency

This is our district with the Branch Presidency.  The man in the very middle is President Alvarado and he is the Branch President.  To the right is President Juarez who is the 1st counselor and on the left is President Zirker.  President Zirker is the one that gave me the pkg from Debi Martin and he works for the FBI.

This is his face of frustration because I am such a "girly-gir".  Really, it's just that all the other Hermanas are Tom-Boys.  Hahaha!

Going to miss them all!

He's 4'11".  It kills me!!!  hahaha!

Hermano Palma and I

Hermano Palma!  Such a great teacher!

This is Hermano Vargas.  He wasn't one of our main teachers, but spent a lot of time in our classroom.

I already miss her so much!  She is going to kill it in New Jersey.

For our last night all together we did Hermana face masks!  haha!

Mi companera

This isn't very missionary-like, but don't worry Mom, I'm still a Diva!  haha!