Monday, February 14, 2011

Last email from Sister Talbot

Hello family! I realized that next Monday is a holiday and the libraries are going to be closed, so this is the last you'll hear from me until you see me next Tuesday. I hope you are all excited :) I am looking forward to seeing you all and hearing about what is happening in life and seeing Aiden and going to the temple with g'ma. Lots to look forward to about being back home, but also a major adjustment. I will be looking to you all to help me because I will probably be like a fish out of water. Neely if I sit right next to you on a huge couch, you'll just have to let me for a little while :) And if I constantly look at my watch and ask what we are doing later just laugh and hopefully you'll tell me that we have nothing planned. And if I don't watch a real movie or listen to real music for awhile, alert my friend Liz and she will know what to do. Reality set in this last week that I am really leaving because we have started to mention it to members, so I don't just up and leave with no warning. And we are speculating that Sis. Stoehr is also getting transferred and we are getting replaced with elders, so there will be a lot of goodbyes...although she won't actually know until Sunday night. Mom and Dad, it makes me laugh inside when I am visiting certain people and places to think you will be with me at these places in just a few months. How do you feel about cockroaches? Oh you are going to love my areas! Let's just say it's going to be different that what you are imagining VA looking like. But of course we'll see all of that stuff too :)

Can you call the weather man and let him know I would like 70 degrees by the end of next week? That is how nice it is today!!!! We have been having amazingly nice days here lately. Last year at this exact time we were snowed in in Newport News. I am wondering if Spring is on the way.

Did I tell you that we started teaching a Nepali family? We have taught them twice so far and just found out that 8 Nepali's are being baptized in Hampton on Saturday. Awesome! The BoM isn't in Nepali yet, so luckily there are ESL classes available to some so they can translate the English books. We haven't even gotten to the BoM yet because we can only teach so much because it all has to be translated by Uma, the 17 year old senior. She does so great and really likes to learn. They have been introduced to Christianity through the First Baptist Church, so they have a basic understanding of the things we've already covered. It is so fun and it's a new thing for Sis. Stoehr to teach people who are not from America. So it's been fun doing it together!

The Segway tour was awesome. Our tour guide's name was Buzz and he's this older retired man who loves history and loves being a segway tour guide. We were the last tour of the day and he really liked us, so he took us for a 2 hour tour instead of the 1 hour we paid for. It was awesome! I really want to get me a segway...too bad they are really expensive! I'll show pics when I get home because I have 6 minutes left.

Sis. Stoehr had her 22nd b-day last Saturday and it was so fun. We took Sis. Naylor out with us for a few hours and the elders took Elder Naylor out. We took her tracting because our appointments fell through. She loved it! We love the Naylor's!

So here is the coolest thing about last week...all of the recent converts we are teaching that are of age to enter the temple were there last Saturday for baptisms. HOW COOL!!!!!!!! They were just so enlivened on Sunday and we had the best Branch Conference ever. Sis. Derricott who was baptized in October had 24 family file names and had 2 of the YM (the 2 that are the only members in their families) be baptized for 14 of the men including her dad. The restored gospel is so awesome!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hey ya'll

Hello! I wish I was able to tell you about the cool Segway tour we are going on. You will just have to wait a week for the report and pictures. Yep, we are finally going today and the weather is so nice. We are excited!

We had a great week last week. We went and gave service at the Food Bank/Meals on Wheels and it was so fun. The lady who coordinates the volunteers lived in Scottsdale when she was younger and is pretty familiar with the church. We have plans to go back and continue to volunteer there. All my other areas it was pretty easy to find volunteer/service opportunities through the members, but not so much here so we have been trying to do more community service type stuff.

We were able to have 2 lessons with Jay this last week. Both went really well and he is just progressing so well for his baptism. Pres. Perry wants us to start using more with people, so we taught the whole 3rd lesson (Gospel of Jesus Christ) using The website as far as doctrinal stuff is based off of PMG, so it's all in order and everything. It was so fun and he really liked it it seemed like. The idea behind using in lessons is to help people navigate the site. People use the internet for everything, so as we familiarize people with the site, it will be one they will use on their own. We've also been using it a lot with our members too.

We went to First Fridays this last Friday and it was quite the experience. It was not as good as before, but it's always an adventure. It reminds me of when I would go in Phoenix. We just stop everyone we see and give a pass along card and we had free hot cocoa too. That's always a big winner with the crowd. Our message wasn't so much though this time. I talked to one man for awhile and he believes that we have no personal responsibility for our choices and that we will automatically be forgiven. A lot of people I have met believe that. The more I learn about Christ and the gospel the more and more those people drive me nuts, because I know it's not true! We are responsible for our choices. If we weren't, where would the motivation come from to do better and be better? But experiences like First Fridays strengthens my testimony!

Almost out of time, but quickly...we did some inspired tracting on Sat. and found a family from Bhutan and a lady from Tanzania who we are teaching tonight and tomorrow. I'll let you know how they go next week!

Love ya'll,
Sister Talbot

Monday, January 31, 2011

Hi Hi Hi!

Here is a funny story to start my email...we were in this super baptist neighborhood following up with a former and the house that we were knocking on had one of those super heavy metal doors that hurt so bad to knock on. So we rang the doorbell and waited. Nothing. Then we pulled out the pink golf ball and knocked on the metal door and waited. Right before we turned and walked away the door opened and this lady starts going off..."why you knockin on my door like that? you ring my doorbell and we didn't come. why you knockin on my door?" It was so funny and then Sis. Stoehr says, "uh we are missionaries" and then in midst of the lady going off she's like "please forgive us". Haha. It was a good time. Especially when we talked to the neighbor across the street who was walking up to her house. She said "I'm trying to keep my religion by being nice to you." Haha! Richmond is so funny.

Church was cancelled yesterday. During the 9am ward sacrament meeting someone drove their car into a power pole about a mile away and it kicked the power off during the middle of a lady's talk. When we pulled into the church there were only a few cars and we look at each other like what in the world. They cancelled church because they thought the building would get too cold. It's strange, but it doesn't take much to cancel church out here.

We taught Jay Rollins again this week and we had a really great lesson with him on the Plan of Salvation (PMG Ch.3, lesson 2). He is awesome and has really felt the Spirit. He set a baptismal date for 19 Feb! And Margaret from last week's email also set a date for 19 Feb. So I am excited - that just happens to be my last weekend in the mission.

Tuesday through Friday of this last week I was on exchanges in the Gayton area. So I have officially seen country! The Gayton Ward encompasses Goochland (country) as well as the city. We were only there for a few hours, but I'll take it. It was fun being with Sis. Niemela and Sis. Schorzman. I've been on prior exchanges with both of them. It was good to come back to Richmond!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hello, Hello

I hope you all had a blessed week. We had a really wonderful week. I am going to tell you about our Saturday. It was the best day ever and it's those days that I will miss about being a missionary when I come home and those days that I hopefully think of when I think of my mission. On Tuesday we received a text to our phone stating that Margaret Harker requested a missionary visit. We called her and left a message and then Thursday morning she called us back and we scheduled a lesson for Saturday. She had a mature sounding voice, so we thought she was probably 40-50 years old or so. We arranged for Sis. Flanigan to come with us and this was her first time ever coming out with the missionaries, so we were really excited for her. She's a cute mom with lots of personality, so she is a great member to have come to lessons! Margaret lives in a locked apt complex, so she said she'd meet us outside. When we walk up we see this young college girl who is cute and blond and she walks up and says she is Margaret. We definitely called her age wrong! Haha. She was really nice and bubbly and it was really easy to get to know her. We asked about her knowledge of the church and she had a friend gowing up that was a member and would always answer her questions. She is here in Richmond for Law School and has a friend in school that goes to the singles ward and he answers her questions too. She grew up Methodist, but went to 11 years of Catholic School and the area she grew up was mostly Jewish. This winter she went skiing in SLC and toured Temple Square and learned a lot there. She said over the last month since being home from SLC she has really felt something push her to figure out where she belonged and what church she should go to. Hmmm...what could that be I wonder? So she got on and that's where we came in the picture. We had an amazing lesson, possibly the best of my mission. She was eating everything up and she understood everything we taught her. Before we started teaching she mentioned that she wanted to feel God's presence everyday. How wonderful when we committed her to read and pray everyday! She is going to become a member and I hope before I leave. After the lesson comes the sad but happy part. Because she is a young single adult we had to pass her to be taught by the elders in the singles ward. So happy that she will fit right in in the Singles Ward, but sad because we can't teach her anymore. But I am so grateful the Lord let us teach her first lesson and to hear her story and be a part of it. It's going to be so cool in 15 years when she is RS Pres somewhere and telling her conversion story and testifying of the power of the Spirit in pushing her to learn more about the church. She went to the Singles Ward yesterday and we heard she fit right in and had great friendship right away. Oh Margaret! We were on Cloud 9 all day! After the lesson Sis. Flanigan asked if lessons were normally like that. No, nope. We would have way more members if so!

After her lesson we went and role played with Sis. Lyons. She is about to hit her year mark in March. The YW pres. asked her to teach the lesson on Sunday and we've been working with her for a few lessons on it and the result of the last one was she was quitting and not doing it anymore. So we went and acted like teenagers while she taught us. It went well and it is such a neat opportunity for her. She has never really been in a church before and she has definitely never taught before. She has bad self esteem, so it was wonderful on Sunday when she taught and it went well. We have a unique group of YW and they were just perfect in volunteering to help and I think Sis. Lyons felt good about it too! The Chuch really provides so many opportunities for us to grow and to become like Jesus Christ and in this case He is the Master Teacher.

Next was visiting the Bauserman's. They are an older couple who live in an old folks high rise type of building. Their tradition is to take the missionaries to the dining hall for dinner. This was at 4pm and we had a scheduled dinner at 6:30pm, so we look at each other with fear in our eyes when she heads to the dining hall. I've had a few double dinners on my mission and the best thing to do is pray. This was Sis. Stoehr's first double dinner. Haha, it was awesome. She we were sickly full falling asleep Saturday night. When we got to our scheduled dinner she dished it up and brought lots of food out for us. Lima bean and ham soup, coleslaw, 3 big biscuits and 3 big brownies. Luckily we were able to take the brownies home. Haha. Sis. Stoehr was really full, so when Sis. Sanders went to get our brownies, I had Sis. Stoehr pour some of her soup into my bowl. We both survived. We watched the Testaments and had a chance to lounge for an hour and not move. Oh it felt good. We were super full. Haha. Saturday was awesome!

I hope you enjoyed the play by play version of my Saturday. It is fun to be a missionary and to have days like this one. I wouldn't be having these experiences were it not for my mission!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


So you've all probably noticed that my email is a day late. Our libraries were closed for MLK Day, so we had to wait a day for email. Good things are worth waiting for, right? Thank you for your emails. It's the concern of every missionary going home that people at home will forget to write because they'll see us in a few weeks. But I shouldn't have to worry about not getting emails and letters. Right?

We had our interviews with President Perry earlier today. We used to have them every transfer with Pres. Millburn but they have changed it to every other transfer and with other meetings popping up we haven't had "official" interviews in 3 transfers. He is such a great mission president and even though he has to talk to 200 missionaries and discern concerns and needs he always treats us like we are the only one on his mind. I didn't really have much to talk to him about, so he just told me about what is going on in the future transfers and etc. It was fun to hear about it all. When I leave there are 11 English sisters coming in I guess. Or that is the projected number. That means pretty much all sisters will train this next transfer because there are about that many going home and only a few more than that will be left. It's going to be a sister changing transfer it sounds like. How fun! And the mission is going to be receiving French speaking sisters here in a couple of transfers. How cool! His concern for me and for all the missionaries going home is keeping the focus. But I keep reminding him that I have no idea what I'm doing when I get home, so there isn't much to think about on that front. Haha. But I can see where he is coming from because I have seen trunky missionaries before!

Inez's baptism went really good and she was so happy. We've had some pretty awkward lessons with her...we think she just isn't used to young people teaching her about the gospel (not totally sure!)...but on Saturday and Sunday she was happy as can be and was really friendly and not awkward at all. She even wore a nice dress to church on Sunday. That is one funny thing about the Branch that cracks us up...totally active members will show up in pants or the men in jeans randomly. It's normal for the investigators, but just funny when the members do it. I'll send an email with pictures from her baptism. One of the pictures will be with Sis. Ibrahim...the member who fed us the whole fish and who introduced Inez to the church.

Here is a funny quote from this man we met...well the story then the quote. We were tracting around a former investigator and met this guy named Dustin who is probably late 20's or so and he grew up Episcopalian but doesn't have a particular faith now. We said we were missionaries and he asked us what a missionary was. We weren't sure if he was being sarcastic or facetious or what. So we kept talking to him and told him that if he desired to find and/or strengthen his faith in Christ then we could schedule a lesson and come back. We shared about how faith without works is dead and he said "faith without works is death?" Okay now that I am typing the story and quote I realize that it is probably a have to be a missionary type of funny. So sorry if that isn't funny to you, but for some reason we thought is was hilarious that he said that. Moving on...

We were finally able to schedule a lesson for this Wednesday night to teach this man named Jay. He is a part member and I met him after I had been in the Branch a week at the Trunk or Treat, but he would always avoid talking to me whenever we would see him. It must have been the badge... But we had a lesson at his in-laws a few weeks ago and he was there and then last Sunday I cornered him (well not really, but I yelled his name and chased him down) and he excitedly said he wanted to schedule a lesson and he would call or text us. And he actually did. A little different than avoiding us! So we have high hopes for him and he has had lessons before, so he knows our purpose and knows what he is getting into.

There is another member referral, Tanya, a member's cousin, that I've talked to a few times and this last Sunday she came to church and I went to talk to her and she was like "remember me? I want to set up a lesson for this week." She also has had lessons before and was actually supposed to be baptized back in the Spring. We teach her on Friday.

The Lord is really blessing us with wonderful people to teach. Richmond is a hard area for sisters because there are a lot of areas we are restricted from going into and it's hard to find when it gets dark at 5pm and we don't have very many members to just stop by. So we have been very blessed even with all the opposition and the challenges. We may not be teaching a large number of people, but the people we are teaching are getting baptized and getting involved in the church. So it's really quality or quantity here in Richmond. Good way to be!

I'm sure there are more stories I could share, but I have to save some for when I get home right? I love you all very much and am grateful you are my family. I am grateful for your support and love and for taking care of me while I am in VA. I miss you all and look forward to seeing you at the airport when I get home (kids don't have bedtimes anymore right?!)...or sometime in the near vicinity. I have loved my mission and will probably talk about stories from it forever, so I hope you never tire of them. Today as we were driving to interviews I was thinking about some of the highlights and some of the big challenges I've had and I really do love everything about my mission. I read in Our Search For Happiness today a section that said something to the effect of while missionaries are out we have trials that turn into triumphs, adversity that turns into adventures, and challenges that turn into opportunities. I love that and feel like it is so true! My mission has taught me so much!

You are great! And I love you!

Monday, January 10, 2011


So you didn't send me any transfer predictions! Sis. Stoehr and I predicted right. We are staying together in Richmond for my last 6 weeks. Yay! It's going to be a great way to end my mission. We have some fun ideas to help this transfer be awesome! Including baptisms of course :) Inez Thornton who we have been teaching since Sis. Stoehr's first week here is getting baptized on Saturday. She's really cool and so different from anyone I've taught. She is really independent and isn't the type that needs us to call her everyday. She has started to make some friends at church, but if it was up to her she would be fine solo. She's really friendly with people and can talk your ear off, but really independent at the same time. She is really excited about getting a calling and giving service. She always talks about working in the ministry. When we hear the word ministry we both cringe a little now. Haha. We met her because she is friends with Sister Ibrahim...the lady from Nigeria. Inez used to drive city bus and Sis. Ibrahim rode her bus for a long time and they became friends and she invited Inez to the Branch Christmas party. And the rest is history.

We have been having a really great week getting into member's homes and teaching them about Family Mission Plans. They've all been receptive and there have been a few families who have gotten really excited about it. The Watson's (who we LOVE) are assigned to the Branch and we had lunch with them the other day and taught about a FMP. After the lesson she said she felt so empowered! It was so fun to see her excitement. Some members have realized that missionary work doesn't have to involve face to face interaction with strangers. That's been fun to see them realize that!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it's 2011? I just got used to writing 2010 on my planner and now I have to write 2011. That's just so weird. I hope you have all had a great start of the new year and have set some really wonderful new year's resolutions. If you can remember way back when I used to love setting resolutions. For 2009 I set the goals to learn to play the harmonica and to learn to cook some good foreign food. Well I did not accomplish those in 2009, but I did in 2010 thanks to Bro. Mitchell in Norfolk and Sis. Adaniya! My priorities changed in 2009 I guess! I think it was twice in my singles ward that I had to give a talk on the Sunday regarding the new year. I don't know why, but I just love the New Year. We have been sharing lessons with members about deciding on a 2011 Family Mission Plan. It's been really wonderful. Now we just have to follow up and see what they have decided to do. Pres. Perry teaches that mission plans should be 1-3 items. They need to be actionable items and ones that we will take accountability for. Yes, why set a goal and then plan to fail by setting too many or unrealistic goals. Some ideas that we are sharing is to use Preach My Gospel once a month for FHE, giving away 1 pass along card a month, go on exchanges with missionaries once a month, fast for missionary work once a month, 100% visiting/home teaching, etc. We are encouraging each family to decide what they think they can be accountable for and what they will actually make a point to do. There was this family in Norfolk and the first time I walked in their door I saw a small white board in the first room that had their family mission plan written on it. I liked that a lot! It's good to remind ourselves of our goals and track what we actually have done. Tracking could be done by tallying the number of pass along cards given away or by marking down the chapters in PMG that you have read. Doing this helps us to see our success and that we are accomplishing goals. We have been commanded to share the gospel, but the Lord has not limited us in how we do it. So whatever goals we set to help build the kingdom of God will be pleasing in His eyes! As a full time missionary, Sis. Stoehr and I set daily and weekly and transfer goals. I want to encourage you to establish a 2011 Family Mission Plan (if you haven't already of course!). Here are some missionary work scriptures that might give some inspiration and motivation to share the gospel: Mosiah 28:3, Alma 29:1, Alma 17:2, 3, 11, Moroni 7:37, Helaman 10:4-5 One thing that I have been thinking about lately is the sacrifices of people who have gone before us. We read of hundreds and thousands of people in the Book of Mormon alone who sacrificed their lives for the preservation of liberty and religion. We are not asked to give our lives, just some time and stepping out of our comfort zone. I know you will find more happiness as you share the gospel. And I would love to hear of experiences you have! There is nothing more exciting to a missionary than hearing of our family and the members having awesome missionary experiences.

We had to be in at 6pm on New Year's Eve and we had our weekly planning session. We had some custard nog (even better than egg nog!!!!) and cranberry Ginger Ale to celebrate. And Sis. Sanders provided us with some poppers. And we hit the sack before 11pm. Yep, we are exciting party people. And our neighbors downstairs are too. Not sure what time of the morning we heard them, but they were having a little too much fun! Haha.

This wasn't one of those weeks where anything huge happened, so here is a list of some of the little wonderful things:

Vernitta bore her testimony on Sunday

We had dinner at the Donahoe's house and were able to talk to their son in law about having the lessons and he is ready and actually seemed excited. I've been trying to set up a lesson with him for 2 months!

We had a dinner with the Henderson's (RS Pres) and it was so fun and we laughed till we cried with them. And then she referred her neighbor to us who we contacted the next day. He didn't set up a lesson, but said he would talk to Sis. Henderson some more and on Sunday she reported he came and talked to her and she invited him to learn more and so we will most likely get to teach him in a couple of weeks.

We had the Naylor's come to a couple of lessons with us this week and we got to be a quadruple companionship!

I got to do Julie's hair for the wedding/baptism the elder's had last Monday. It turned out cute and she looked good in the red flower.

Happy New Year!