Friday, July 31, 2009
We had a devotional Sunday night and we sang Called to Serve. It was unreal!! Chills completely covered my body! So amazing!!
I found Kelsi Anderson! She is so beautiful! She glows with the spirit. She's going to be amazing!!
I don't know if the nurse called you back mom, but the doctor lowered my dose of Stratterra to 80mg and put me on Trazadone. It seems to be working, so I go back next Friday to see how it works for a longer period of time.
My teachers here are AMAZING!!! Monday I was feeling really discouraged because I'm not a good teacher at all. He gave me the most amazing quotes, scriptures and advice. Sister Gardner got to teach him and some how we totally pulled it off. I don't know how we did it. It made me feel so much better though! Brother Crockett is our other teacher and he's so awesome too. So patient and willing to answer any of our questions and give us loads of advice.
There are a couple of Elders in my district that remind me of people. Elder Brase has got the exact same eyes as Ty Burningham and it really makes me miss him :( Elder Garrett looks and talks EXACTLY like Uncle John. Oh my gosh. I've probably told him a gazillion times how much he looks like him. It's seriously creepy.
Mom-when we got my Patriarchal blessing sized we didn't realize that on the back side the left side is all cut off. Can you get that re-done and send it to me? Thanks!
We've been doing a lot of classes this week. We have one called the RC (Referral Center). It's like a call center that people can call if they see an ad on TV. Yesterday we went to it and I helped the sweetest lady. They were in desperate need of prayers so I put her on the Prayer Roll at the Temple this morning and sent the missionaries to her home with 2 Bibles. It made me feel so good! Like I really helped someone!! We go again tonight, so I'm really excited! We had a TA (Teaching Appointment) which is were volunteers come in and act like investigators. We nailed it! They were easy on us though. If we were stumbling for whatever reason they just asked us questions to help us out. They were members and really old. Definitely preparing me for the elderly in Florida!!
Oh, speaking of which, we got our itinerary (sp). We have to be ready to go by 4:00 AM!!! Our flight is at 7:00, so expect a call really early! From here we go to Atlanta, have a 2 hour layover and then to Florida. With the time changes we wont get there until 4:30 Florida time. It'll be one long day!!
Okay, I only have 9 minutes left, so I'm going to take that time to upload some pictures. I'll only upload 2. We haven't taken much yet. The first is from the first night. Me and Sister Gardner. The second is of the 4 Sisters in our district. It goes Sister Gardner, me, Sister Lowe, and Sister Brobst. All of us are going to FL but Sister Brobst. She's going to Phoenix.
Agh! 7 min!!
I love you all so much!!! Thanks for all the letters!!!Oh, tell Dezi to be ready for a ton of work! Every minute of every day is planned!!!Tell him my mailbox number and that I'll wear my lime green shirt on Wednesday. My classroom is in 8M, so watch for me coming and going from that building.
Maddi, no worries--they spoil us here. Well, at least the Sisters. I'm pretty sure they spoil the Elders too. How are things going? Email me!!
Oh, tell Michelle I said CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! I've told Jessika, so she'll keep an eye out for her.
Love, Sister (Sammi) Denson
Okay, so I tried to add some pictures but couldn't. The computers here are VERY limited. Sorry. I'll defintely do it when I get to FL. I LOVE YOU!!!! Write me!!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Hello! Hello!! How are you guys?? I'm doing good! Right now, at least. It's our first prep day and really nice to have time to ourselves outside the classroom.
Wednesday seemed like a blur, Thursday was the longest day of my life. We were in class ALL day, and I didn't sleep at all the night before, so I was really tired. Luckily, it wasn't just me. All of us were in a daze. Friday was definitely better. I got a good night's rest on Thursday so I was re-energized.
My companion, as I told you is 26. What I found out after the first day is that she acts a whole lot younger. I'm trying not to complain, but I am venting a little. She sleeps in until the last second, so we're late to class a lot. She mumbles a lot, and is pretty unorganized. I feel like her mom sometimes, picking up after her. Oh, and she drops EVERYTHING! Okay, that's all the venting I'm going to do. I'm limiting myself. She's very quirky but so sweet. She's definitely testing my patience. I feel a little stressed because the other companionship of sisters is SO spiritual and united. I know we're not supposed to compare yourself, but sometimes it's hard not to. I just keep praying for patience, and keep working on building our companionship.
Anyway, the classes are awesome. We have the most amazing teachers. All three of them are really young and charismatic, so they really know how to apply the lessons to us. My Branch President is President Newsome. He is unreal--a lot like Bishop Chandler, but at the same time different. He's amazing. That's all there is to it. And Mom, don't worry. His wife is taking the "Mom role" for the sisters very seriously. Each night she walks us to our residence hall after class. She's so sweet. I'm already going to miss them in a couple of weeks.
So my district is amazing. There are only 10 of us. Four sisters and six Elders. All of us sisters but one are going to Ft. Lauderdale. The other is going to Phoenix. Her name is Sister Brobst and she reminds me a ton of Nique Wakefield. She's adorable. We're sad she's not coming with us. All of the Elders but one are going to Phoenix. There is only one going to Ft. Lauderdale. Word on the street is that there is about 17 flying out to Ft. Lauderdale. I hope it's true! That'd be so awesome!
Maddi--tell Dezi it's going to be a hard first week. I haven't felt as down as I have been in a long time, but I also haven't felt this happy at times either. It's normal for each one, but just keep praying. OK though, I'm not getting preachy, just tell him to work through the struggles.
Well, we have to prepare a talk for Sunday, because the President asked us to. I'm not excited, but luckily it only has to be 5 minutes or less.
Oh, can you send my purple flip-flops when you send my address book? I hate the black ones and the red missionary journal. I want to fill that out as I go throughout my mission.
Okay. Well, have a wonderful week!!
I love you guys!!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
How was the ride home? From the moment I walked in the door I have felt completely comfortable and loved. Walking through as a new missionary there were people at every single corner to guide you through. It felt a lot like the Temple. My companion is Sister Gardner from Washington. So far, we get along great! There are 6 of us in one room. Three of us are going to Ft. Lauderdale. One is from Texas, and the other is my companion from Washington. One sister is from Illinois and going to Phoenix. Another is from Oakland and going to New York, New York. The last is from Fiji and going to California Santa Rosa. She's like the mom of the room. She's so sweet. My companion is 26 years old, and the other sister that is coming with us is 25. They are all so nice and we get along great!
This day has been a little overwhelming with everything that we have to remember. Everyone says by Sunday though everthing will be less chaotic.
It still doesn't feel real yet. It feels like I'm at EFY, the only difference is you can't flirt with the boys. HaHA.
So, my companion is the Sister Coordinator. It's like the District Leader-ish, but jsut for the sisters in the District. Our district seems very cool so far. There are only us four girls and six Elders. Only one of the Elders is going to Ft. Lauderdale, all the rest are going to Phoenix.
I'm having a ton of fun so far! It's a lot of work, but it keeps us busy! I'll write again soon! I love you!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It's been the most traumatic, wonderful, heart-breaking, spiritual 24 hours in our family's life! Last night, Sammi was set apart as a missionary by our wonderful Stake President Cleve Dibble and his 2nd Counselor President Tim Hawkes. Our amazing support system of friends and family were there to share in the experience with us: Carl and Nancy Christensen, Scott Nelson, Bishop and Jill Chandler, Jessika Chandler, Nedra Hunsaker, Grandmas Bunn and Denson, Zack and Kenzi, Mal, and Maddi. It was such a spiritual meeting; one none of us will ever forget! Sammi glowed as she received the mantle of a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was so incredibly excited to serve the Lord and the people of Florida.
Today, as we took her to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, she couldn't wait to leave us and move on to the next phase of her life! She's ready and willing to serve in whatever capacity the Lord sees fit to place her. What a wonderful experience she's about to have and we know she'll be amazing! The hard part is for those of us left behind...
Her best friend, Jessika Chandler...
Her Grandma Denson...
Her Grandma Bunn...
WE LOVE YOU SISTER DENSON!!!!!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Good afternoon brothers and sisters. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Sammi Denson and I have been called to serve in the Florida, Ft. Lauderdale mission. Now, many of you may be thinking, as I have heard it plenty of times, “That’s not a mission, that’s a vacation!” I just want to share with you some of the statistics of how much missionary work is being done in South Florida. In May 2008 there were a total of 24 baptisms for the month. In May 2009 there were a total of 56 baptisms. That’s an increase of 137%! So I really will be working while I'm there!!
President Spencer W. Kimball said of The Vision of the South, “Make no small plans: They have no magic to stir the man’s soul. This is the vision I have for the South. I believe that one day the South will baptize more people in the church than all other English speaking missions in the world together. There are great hosts of marvelous Baptists, and members of the Church of Christ, Methodists and Catholics who are honorable people and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and love him. As they see their church veering off to the right or to the left of those basic teachings, they will begin to search for the truth. And as pivotal teachers come into the church and have influence, we will see the time when we will baptize hundreds and thousands, tens of thousands in your day you will see a million members of the church in the South. There will be Temples plural in the Southern States. What a great call you have to serve with these marvelous people.” I am so grateful and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to serve in the Florida South.
When I received my topic of President Monson’s talk from the Priesthood session, I was a little confused. I’m clearly not a Priesthood holder, but after reading the talk it became clear to me why our inspired bishopric chose this topic for me.
President Monson focuses on three specific suggestions that will lead us to safety. I’d like to reiterate those three suggestions, but from a missionary point of view.
The first suggestion President Monson gives is to study diligently. He states that crash courses are not as effective as day-to-day reading and application in our lives. We need to become acquainted with the lessons that are taught and learn the backgrounds and settings of the Master’s parables. President Monson states that Nephi said to his disbelieving brothers, “And I said unto them that [the rod] was the word of God; and whoso would harken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away to destruction. Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his commandments always in all things.” President Monson promises that if you will study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased.
In Lesson 2 of Preach My Gospel it has study ideas and suggestions such as: always begin with prayer; be alert. Exercise, shower and pray before you study; study at a desk or table where you can write, organize your materials, and remain alert; pray and ask for understanding; study by topic; write in your study journal questions you have, and use the scriptures, words of latter-day prophets, and other study resources to find answers; and mark your scriptures and make notes in them. In the margins write scripture references that clarify the passages you are studying.
President Monson’s second suggestion is to pray fervently. With God, all things are possible. Remember the prayer of the Prophet Joseph in the Sacred Grove. Look at how that prayer has been answered. President Monson wants us to remember the promise found in James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given unto him.” Anyone, with any size of a challenge or difficulty needs to know that prayer is the provider of spiritual strength; it is the passport to peace. Miracles are wrought through prayer.
In his talk, President Monson shares a story of a woman who needed her prayers answered. It couldn’t be said in more perfect words, so I want to share that story with you today.
Sister Daisy Ogando lives in New York City, home to more than eight million people. Some years ago Sister Ogando met with the missionaries and was taught the gospel. Gradually, she and the missionaries lost contact. Time passed. Then, in 2007, the principles of the gospel she had been taught by the missionaries stirred within her heart.
One day while getting into a taxi, Daisy saw the missionaries at a distance, but she was unable to make contact with them before they disappeared from view. She prayed fervently to our Heavenly Father and promised Him that if He would somehow direct the missionaries to her once again, she would open her door to them. She returned home that day with faith in her heart that God would hear and answer her prayer.
In the meantime, two young missionaries who had been sincerely praying and working to find people to teach were one day examining the tracting records of missionaries who had previously served in the area. As they did so, they came across the name of Daisy Ogando. When they approached her apartment the very afternoon that Sister Ogando offered that simple but fervent prayer, she opened the door and said those words that are music to every missionary who has ever heard them: “Elders, come in. I’ve been waiting for you!”
Two fervent prayers were answered, contact was reestablished, missionary lessons were taught, and arrangements were made for Daisy and her son Eddy to be baptized. I can only hope and pray that I will be able to have a situation as beautiful as that while serving in Florida.
In Preach My Gospel, Lesson 3 it advises us to pray often. It says: “God commands us to pray to Him. You can pray at any time in any setting. The Lord has taught us to kneel and pray in the morning and in the evening, as individuals and with our families. Our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. Through daily prayer we receive divine guidance and blessings. We should always pray sincerely. We should also pray with ‘real intent,’ which means we are committed to act on the answer that we receive.
We pray with faith to our Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ. Because He is our Father in Heaven and we are His children, He will answer our prayers. We begin our prayers by addressing our Father in Heaven. We end our prayers by saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
In prayer we speak openly and honestly with our loving Father in Heaven. We express gratitude and thanksgiving for our blessings. We may acknowledge our love for Him. We also ask for help, protection, and direction according to our needs.
As we pray with faith, sincerity, and real intent, we will see God’s influence in our lives. He will guide us in our daily lives and help us make good decisions. He will bless us with feelings of comfort and peace. He will warn us of danger and strengthen us to resist temptation. He will forgive our sins. We will feel closer to him we must learn to recognize His influence in our lives. We must learn to listen to the still, small voice of the Spirit.
We can recognize when the Holy Ghost is teaching us the truth. Our minds will be filled with inspiring and uplifting thoughts. We will be enlightened, or given new knowledge. Our hearts will have feelings of peace, joy, and love. We will want to do good and be helpful to others. These feelings are hard to describe but can be recognized as we experience them.
President Monson’s third and final suggestion is to live righteously. Isaiah teaches in chapter 52, “Touch no unclean thing…Be ye clean, that bear no vessels of the Lord.”
In the August 2008 Ensign, Elder Marcus B. Nash states, “We are commanded to ‘seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.’ Nephi saw our day and prophesied that the covenant people of the Lord would prevail because “they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” This description of our day indicates a connection between righteousness and the manifestation of God’s power in our lives. Because the righteous are favored of God and are nourished, strengthened and given means by Him to accomplish His will, we should earnestly strive to cultivate righteousness.” Elder Nash goes on to say that, “As we live righteously and walk humbly, the love of God will refresh our souls and increase our ability to endure to the end.”
President Monson states, Holders of the priesthood may not necessarily be eloquent in their speech. They may not hold advanced degrees in difficult fields of study. They may very well be men of humble means. But God is no respecter of persons, and He will sustain His servants in righteousness as they avoid the evils of our day and live lives of virtue and purity.” He then shares a story of two young men that were living righteously, and I’d like to share it with you today.
Some 900 miles north of Salt Lake City is the beautiful city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, home of the famous Calgary Stampede, one of Canada’s largest annual events and the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. The 10-day event features a rodeo competition, exhibits, agricultural competitions, and chuck wagon races. The Stampede Parade, which occurs on opening day, is one of the festival’s oldest and largest traditions. The parade follows a nearly three-mile route in downtown Calgary, with attendance reaching 350,000 spectators, many dressed in western attire.
Several years ago, a marching band from a large high school in Utah had auditioned for and received one of the coveted entries to march in the Calgary Stampede Parade. Months of fund-raising, early-morning practices up and down the streets, and other preparations were undertaken in order for the band to travel to Calgary and participate in the parade, where one band would be selected to receive the first-place honor.
Finally the day for departure arrived, with the eager students and their leaders boarding the buses and heading north for the long journey to Calgary. While en route, the caravan stopped in Cardston, Alberta, Canada, where the group remained for an overnight stay. The local Relief Society sisters there prepared sack lunches for the band members to enjoy before departing again. Brad, one of the band members, who was a priest in the Aaronic Priesthood, was not hungry and decided to keep his lunch until later. Brad liked to sit in the back of the bus. As he took his usual seat there in preparation for the remainder of the journey to Calgary, he tossed his sack lunch on the shelf behind the last row of seats. There the lunch sat by the rear window as the July afternoon sun shone through. Unfortunately, the sack lunch contained egg salad sandwich. For those of you who don’t understand the significance of this, may I just say that egg salad must be refrigerated. If it is not, and if it is subjected to high heat such as that which would be produced by the sun beating through a bus window on a sunny day, it becomes a rather efficient incubator for various strains of bacteria that can result in what may commonly be referred to as food poisoning. Sometime before arriving in Calgary, Brad grew hungry. Remembering the sack lunch, he gulped down the egg salad sandwich. As the busses arrived in Calgary and drove around the city, the members of the band grew excited—all except for Brad. Unfortunately, all that grew within him were severe stomach pains and other discomforts associated with food poisoning. You know what they are. Brad, however, did not. Although he knew his fellow band members were counting on him to play his drum in the parade the following morning, Brad was doubled over in pain and was too sick to leave the bus. Providentially for him, two of his friends, Steve and Mike, who had recently graduated from high school and who had also recently been ordained to the office of elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood, found that Brad was missing and decided to look for him. Finding Brad in the rear of the bus and learning what the problem was, Steve and Mike felt helpless. Finally it occurred to them that they were elders and held the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood to bless the sick. Despite their total lack of experience in giving a priesthood blessing, these two new elders had faith in the power they held. They laid their hands on Brad’s head and, invoking the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, in the name of Jesus Christ utter the simple words to bless Brad to be made well. From that moment, Brad’s symptoms were completely gone. The next morning he took his place with the rest of the band members and proudly marched down the streets of Calgary. The band received first-place honors and the coveted blue ribbon. Far more important, however, was that two young, inexperienced but worthy priesthood holders had answered the call to represent the Lord in serving their fellow man. When it was necessary for them to exercise their priesthood in behalf of one who was desperately in need of their help, they were able to respond because they lived their lives righteously.
If we study diligently, pray fervently, and live righteously we will be prepared for life’s journey, no matter how difficult.
I want to testify that when I study diligently, pray fervently and live righteously I too feel prepared for any difficult challenge. I cannot wait until I am able to get to South Florida and start sharing this amazing Gospel. It is such a blessing in my life and I want others to know how it can bless their lives too. I want to thank my family for all of their support. For standing behind me 110% on this choice I’ve made. We all knew it was coming, but who knew it would be here this fast! I appreciate so much, the chance that I was able to serve in the Primary. I learned so much more from each class than I ever taught them. They softened my heart and taught me how to share the gospel on simpler terms. I love each and every one of you. Your support means more to me than I could ever tell you. I say these things in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
My one request was that Mom get me a "Dick's Cake." White cake with raspberry filling. YUM!!
One of my bestest friends, Lauren Johnson! Love that redhead!!
Saying good-bye to the Potter family. We talked about how old the kids would be when I get home...Kobe and Carsen would be passing the Sacrament, Tyson would be almost old enough to do it, Logan would be turning 7, Sydni would be ready for pre-school! HOLY COW!!
My cousins Brigham and Becky Denson.
Cousins Mysha, Jason, and baby Ella.
Great friends Travis and Linda Webb.
My baby sister, Maddi and her "honey" Dez. (I consider him my little brother and will see him in the MTC two weeks after I get there!! YAY)
It was a GREAT day!
THANKS EVERYONE OF SHARING IT WITH ME!!