Monday, November 28, 2016

Letter 5 Gila Bend, AZ November 28, 2016

Hi everyone!!

Happy late Thanksgiving! This week has been a crazy one! 
This past week, I FINALLY got my cast off! I actually lost all motion in my right arm. It hurts a decent amount, but that will subside soon. Because the ligaments in my arm won't allow it to move, the doctor gave me a fancy brace thing. It is to help me regain movement slowly but surely. My companions say I look like a robot haha! But it definitely draws more attention from people on the street, and they stop and ask what happened. Then, we're able to slip the Gospel in the conversation haha!

We had an amazing Thanksgiving! We had 2 different Thanksgiving meals, and they were so good! But now we're so excited for CHRISTMAS!  Check out to watch the new Christmas video the church put out!! 

The other day, we went to a member's house for dinner. She had 7 cats, 2 dogs, and a partridge (or a parrot) in a pear tree... it was so fun!!  

Cant wait to see the new adventures that lie ahead of me!

Abigail finally gets her cast off! YAY!
(I would say that is a bit of a nervous smile!)

Traded her cast for a robotic arm!

Abigail and a feathered friend!
(Is that the same nervous smile?) :)

Hermanas Edmondson and Valenta

Teaching kids 

Thanksgiving Day in Ajo, Arizona
(This is a picture that was sent to us -- thank you to whoever did that!)

Questions From Mom

How was it getting your cast off? :) Is your arm weak from being in a cast for so long?
It was seriously the scariest experience ever! The doctor had a little saw, and it was terrifying watching him cut sooooooo close to my skin! I only had one cut from the saw, so está bien! I have lost motion in my arm... so now I have my new weird robot arm!

What did the doctor have to say about your arm?
He said it would take about 2 months to get the complete motion in my arm back!!

What is your PT schedule and where do you go for it?
I don't have my schedule yet! We will have to drive up to Maricopa for it though!

What did you do for Thanksgiving? We got a picture of you and your companions that I think might have been taken on Thanksgiving Day! :) 
We drove down to Ajo for Thanksgiving! We had a Thanksgiving lunch, and then a Thanksgiving dinner. They were both so good! I am glad you got the picture! A member sent that right before the Thanksgiving dinner started! 

Did you get some pumpkin pie? :)
Yes!!! But pumpkin pie in Arizona will never be as good as good as the pumpkin pie my Mom makes!

I am stuck in the past thinking about your brother’s missions and how they had to go to a library to use a computer to send email. You have an iPad so do you have to go anywhere to have access to WiFi?
We don't have wifi in our apartment, so we have to drive to the church building to access internet. 

Do you have to write your mission president every week? What do you write about?
Yeah! We just update him on our area, our companionship, and how we are doing personally! I love President Christensen. He's awesome!

When you post to your Facebook page, do you see the responses people give? Are you allowed to answer then back or not?
I have to unfollow everyone that I am friends with. So I don't see what others post on their own timelines. I see the things people comment on my posts, but I am not allow to respond back unless it is for proselyting purposes.

How often do you post to FB?
Usually about 1-2 every week maybe? We usually don't have a lot of time to sit down and type something out to post though :(

Will you get to have a Christmas tree in your apartment? 
We will have to buy a little baby tree! But transfers happen on Dec 7th, so we don't know if we'll all still be together for Christmas or not :(

Should I send some peanut butter, taco shells, nutella….anything like that in your Christmas box? :)

What are you most thankful for this week?
The church just put out their new Christmas video initiative! We have been able to show it to everyone we see. We have had so much success with the video, and people are inviting us to come back to meet with them again! I love the spirit of Christmas!
Check out the video on and use the hashtag #lighttheworld 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Letter 4 Gila Bend, AZ November 21, 2016

Hey everyone!

I don't have much time to write today! But I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve a mission! I am truly learning more about the love of our Heavenly Father más y más cada día. I am thankful for all of you!

I get my cast off tomorrow!!!!

2 Nephi 4:20
"My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep."

 Set up a lady's tree for her

This is a picture from exchanges! I love them so much!
      Sister Edmondson, Sister Chavez, me, Sister Cloward, and Sister Julian 

More food pictures

Abigail didn't say what this was but it looks like a 
coyote just walking down the road! 

Questions from Mom

Cast off tomorrow? :D :D :D

Do you know if they are going to transfer you closer to a place that you can do PT? You mentioned Casa Grande being where you had to go but that is quite a distance to travel.  Do you get more miles than the average missionaries since you are so far away from things?
They actually don't think they're going to transfer me... they said I would just have to make a trip to Tempe (2 hours away) every week :(  We get more miles than the rest of the mission because we're so far away.. we get 3,000, but we would don't get more to go to Tempe, so we just have to use them wisely

When do transfers happen?
The transfer started Oct 26th, and it goes for 6 weeks! But training takes 12 weeks, so I'll probably be here in Gila Bend and Ajo for another 8ish weeks

Don’t tell your companions but we’d like to put a little something in your box for them for Christmas. Any ideas? Favorite candy? Favorite anything else?
They both LOVE Reese Cups! I'll find some more things they like this week!

Is the person that you challenged to baptism still on track for an upcoming date? :)
She actually has unofficially dropped us. Each time we come up to her house, she sees us, grabs her grandson, throws out her cigarette, runs inside, and slams the door. Then she pretends she isn't home even though she knows we saw her... but it's fine haha

What the best thing about your area?
The stake president lives in Ajo, and he is a transporter for a huge ice cream business. He has dozens and dozens of ice cream pints in freezers outside his house that he saves for us! So on Saturdays (our final day in Ajo during the week), we go grab a bunch of ice cream!

I was thinking about how small your branch is and it reminded me that you have had an experience with a small branch when we were called to attend Monticello for 14 months when it was an hour and 45 minutes one way to get there!
I told my companions about that, and they were in shock! Hey are both from big parts of Utah, and have never heard of branches before they came to the field!

What was the best experience of your week?
I got to go on exchanges with another Hermana to Casa Grande which is an only Spanish area! I spoke in Spanish the whole day! It was really scary, but I loved it so much!

Tell us 2 awesome things about each of your companions, Sister Edmondson and Sister Chavez!
 Sister Chavez- she is so cute and sweet! She started training me the day after her training ended! She is a natural born leader! 
Sister Edmondson- she is so funny! She has a huge love for the people and just wants to serve! She hit her year mark about 2 weeks ago! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Letter 3 Gila Bend, AZ November 14, 2016


It is great to read your email. I appreciate them more than you know.

I am glad you got that picture! I looked pretty rough in it, but está bien. The lady who sent it is in the ward in Ajo! She is super sweet, and has her own daughter on a mission in Florida.

This week has been a game changer, for sure. 
Adjusting to missionary life is a pretty hard thing, and I was definitely feeling the effects of it. I was feeling pretty discouraged, and feeling like maybe I had made a mistake coming out here. But then, we had a member of the 70 come and speak to our mission on Friday. His name is Elder Pearson (he actually spoke in General Conference a few sessions ago! His talk is called Stay by the Tree... you should definitely listen to it!) (I remember this talk that was given in October 2015 General Conference!)

Elder Pearson's training on Friday was tailored completely to me, it was crazy! He explained that the first month is always the hardest, but don't take that one month and multiply it by 18. He promised that this will be the best 18 months/2 years of our lives, IF we let it. The Lord wants to bless us so much, but sometimes we get in the way of that. 

During a break in the training, the AP (assistant to the mission president) came up to me and gave me a slip of paper. The paper said that Elder Pearson wanted to have a one-on-one personal interview with me. I was 1 of 4 missionaries to be chosen from the whole mission. 

In my personal interview, Elder Pearson and I connected on a personal level. We cried together, and he gave me some beautiful advice that I will forever hold near to my heart. He reiterated some of the points from the training. He told me that he knows that the reason he came here to the Tempe AZ Mission to speak was because he needed to meet me. He said I reminded him of his daughter, and that all he advice he gave to me was the advice he would give his own daughter. (yes, my heart was melting and my eyes were leaking!)

At the end, he said that he felt impressed that I am very close with my dad, and he said that if my dad were there, he would give me a hug. So, he gave me a long hug, and kissed me on the top of my head, and promised that everything would be okay, and the Lord is watching over me. It was an experience I will never forget.

We met a lady yesterday, and I taught her the Restoration, and extended the invitation to be baptized, and she ACCEPTED! She even cried!! She is the first person who has accepted the invitation right off the bat! I cant wait to see how she progresses!

Thank you for all of the prayers. They are definitely felt.

I love you all!

Hermana Valenta 

 We were on exchanges with the Sister training leaders!

This is this weird soup we ate. It is cow soup..... it had cow pieces in it, and chunks of bone the size of my fist! It was... interesting haha!

Questions From Mom

Any news on when you get your cast off and do physical therapy?
I go to the doctor on Nov. 22nd, in a town called Casa Grande and hopefully I'll get it off that day!! And then I have to drive an hour to Casa Grande for physical therapy probably once a week!

Do you have some place that you can go to replace your stolen skirt and your jewelry? That is sooo lousy to have your things stolen. :(
 We have to drive an hour to a Walmart, but that's about it haha.. but I'll look and see if they have anything there

What do you typically do on your P-Days?
 We play sports with our zone and district! Last week, we went bowling haha! Try doing that left handed!!

Do you have a lot of members inviting you to dinner through the week?
Más o menos (more or less)... we have about 3 nights each week where we have members signed up to feed us

Are you cooking anything fantastic on your mission? :) Are you cooking at all? :)
Noooope... we don't have any time to cook anything, and all the food we have is food that members made for us, and drop off to us!

This week I was most blessed by…………… 
The training by Elder Pearson!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Letter 2 Gila Bend, AZ November 7, 2016

Abigail sent a letter for the blog.... :)
Hey everyone! 
This week has been pretty packed! We had a double baptism on Saturday! Mardes and Robert are mother and son, and they couldn't be happier after their baptism! I loved teaching them along this journey of theirs! 
This week has had a lot of ups and downs. I think I am finally starting to adjust to missionary life. A mission is definitely hard, but when you're focused on helping the lives of others, it becomes so fun! Gila Bend and Ajo are my areas right now! They're both itty bitty little towns, but I love it here! My Spanish isn't exactly great, but I'm improving each day! 
My testimony of the Gospel has grown so much in these 2 short months. Families are so important to our Heavenly Father's Plan! I know that as we are part of our own families, we are also part of our Heavenly Father's Family as well. He loves you individually, and knows you by name. We are given trials and challenges to become strengthened, and to demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ. His Atonement is real. I love this Gospel so much!
I love the scripture in 2 Nephi 4:20. 
"My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep."
I know He has preserved me upon the waters of the great deeps in my life, and He will preserve you as well.

I love you all! Until next week!

Hermana Valenta

Questions from Mom

Last week you gave an address of where you are in Gila Bend but there was a street address AND a P.O. box…which one do we use?
You just put down that entire address, and it'll get to me just fine

What is your daily routine (time you get up, when do you tract?)
We get up at 6:30, exercise for 30 minutes, and we get ready until 8, and then we study from 8-11 or 12. Then, we drive to Ajo on Thur-Saturday for an hour, and then proselyte until we have to be home at 9!

Do you speak a combination of English and Spanish during your day? Which do you use more?
A combination of both, but a little bit more English than Spanish right now

How big is the ward or branch there in Gila Bend?
In the Gila Bend Branch, there are about 20 on a good day. But half of them are from Maricopa because Gila Bend is so small that they call members to be in the branch instead of their normal wards. (This is what we did as a family for over a year and a half! We traveled an hour and 45 minutes away each Sunday to attend a small branch. I am sure it reminds Abigail of the days that we did that very thing!) 

What is the weather like, still hot or cooling off?
It is pretty warm to me, because Mexico was so cold!! But everyone here is already wearing jackets and complaining about the cold haha

Will you send us more pictures? :)

What was your most memorable experience from this past week?  
We had a double baptism on Saturday!!!

I am beginning to think about Christmas….anything you can think of that you’d like?
I love Christmas!! Maybe some clothes haha... so funny story.... a skirt and all of my jewelry was stolen from my bag in Mexico I think.... my room in the MTC was completely empty when we left, we had everyone make sure. And I remember putting that white flowy skirt (NO! Not THAT skirt! UGH!) AND distinctly my foldable bag of jewelry in my suitcase. And now, they aren't there.... I am really sad... the mission president's wife has been searching for them everywhere in her house where I stayed the first night, and the car where our luggage was, but it's not there ☹️

Do I ask too many questions? :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Letter 1 Gila Bend, AZ October 31, 2016

How was your trip getting to the mission home? 
Pretty scary!!! I didn't know Spanish well enough to get around a Mexican airport haha. But, when I got on the plane from Texas to AZ, I sat next to a Baptist jail preacher of 55 years. He definitely didn't like that I was Mormon, but he said he was happy I at least knew God existed haha. He literally didn't stop talking for the whole 3 hour long flight!

Did you have to pay fees for your luggage from Mexico to AZ?
My card was actually declined in Mexico, so the MTC driver who was helping me paid for my baggage! (Also my card was declined in the airport when I tried to call home, so that's why I wasn't able to. And the pay phones would only take cards, no change.) (Ugh....We checked with our bank ahead of time to be sure there wouldn't be a problem with her using her card in Mexico and they assured us it would be fine. The best laid plans.....)

Did you get the package I sent to the mission home?
I did!!! Thank you!!!

Did your camelbak arrive at the mission home?

Do you know when you will see a doctor about your arm --- how long has the cast been on? Do you know how they will handle doing physical therapy for you yet?
In 3 weeks! Tomorrow, it will be on for 3 weeks, so I am Half way done!!  They will probably be transferring me to Tempe in 5 weeks so I can receive physical therapy there instead of having to drive from Gila Bend to do it.

How do you wash your hair, write in your journal etc.
I am now left handed haha!! (I always wanted a left hand kiddo like me but not this way!) 

Have you spoken to investigators in Spanish yet? How did you do?
Yes! But, there were two that I spoke to in Spanish both started attacking the church, and we had to leave because the Spirit wasn't there.... but all is well!!!

Did you ever get my letter that I mailed to the MTC in Mexico?  I was wondering about that!
I got your talk! I read through it, and it was AWESOME!!! You're a natural!

Tell us about your new companions!
They're really sweet! They're both from Utah and speak Spanish really well. They are amazing teachers! My trainer Sister Chavez is originally from Peru, and has only been out for 12 weeks! But she's such an extraordinary missionary that they already made her a trainer!

Tell us about Gila Bend, AZ!
Gila Bend is waaaaaaay tiny! We actually cover Gila Bend and Ajo, which is only a few miles from the Mexican border!! We have to pass through Boarder Patrol each time we come back to Gila Bend from Ajo.

What was the best experience you’ve had since arriving at the mission home?
We were teaching a man outside his house, and after I introduced myself, I realized that my name tag was missing. I started freaking out and I couldn't focus on the lesson. I heard a voice in my head promise that if I forgot myself and focused on the investigator, I would be able to find my name tag. I did just that, and the man actually accepted a return appointment. Afterwards, we all started looking for my name tag, and we had no luck. We got back in the car, and HOLY COW, I looked down at my arm, and in the pocket of my sling was my name  tag. It was literally impossible that it could have ended up there. It was incredible! The Lord keeps His promises.  

Do you have to be in your apartment early tonight because it is Halloween? :)
Yeah, 6 pm!!

What is the address of where you are now?
(Of course I am not going to put her address here but rest assured we have looked it up on Google Maps to see where she is!) :D