Monday, August 31, 2009

August 31, 2009--Hello!!

How is everyone???

First Dad, I was able to read your email, and no I hadn't heard that Zack and Kenzi bought a new car. Maybe that was put in Mom's last week, but I wasn't able to read that entire email.

I opened that picture of Demi/Booger again and still can't believe how big she is!!!!!!!!

Okay, so here is how my week went.

We were at a family's home eating dinner and all of a sudden I didn't recognize the type of meat I was eating. It wasn't gross, but it wasn't really good either. I simply asked, "What kind of meat is this?" Sister Briggs answered, "Veil." Apparently I had a shocked look on my face because she hurried and asked it was okay. Haha I appologized as much as I could, but explained that I knew it wasn't chicken, pork or any kind of beef I've ever tried. Needless to say, knowing me, I had a hard time finishing it. Poor baby cow. But also, the super fun part of being at their home was they had five girls ranging from 8-11. The 8 year olds are twins. But they had the cutest little dog named Charlie. He was so cute, and of course I showed off my Charlie. They LOVED him! But we got talking and I was like, "Okay, I have this nickname for my Charlie, and I want to know if you guys use it too." I told them about Char-Char and they were all so excited becase they use it too! Oh, it totally made my day, but then when they'd call him CharChar it made me miss mine a lot. So give him a big huge butt rub right now. I'll wait.............(or do it as soon as you get home) Thank you! :) Tell him I love him too.

Zone Conference was amazing!!! The Hales continue to blow my mind each time I see them. I told Sister Hale about the packages that you send me and she loved the ideas!!! She asked me to write down each thing you sent in the greenie package and give it to her when we have our ppi's.

Sister Lowe wants the Sugar Cookie Recipie from the Lion House cookbook. We made some the other day, Marsha Boams, and I want you all to know that I made them without a Kitchen Aid. I'll attach a picture to prove it. I thought you guys would be so proud of me.

Oh, I have never been asked so many times in my life where our ancestors are from. Embarrassingly enough, I have no idea. Can you tell me that once more? I know you guys have told me before, but I never remember. The furthest I remember back is Logan. Hahaha how sad is that!!!!???

Can you also get me Brandi Reeder's address now that she is in Roy? I want to write her sometime.

Oh, in the next package you send, it doesn't need to be anytime soon-I promise, can you send "Teaching, No Greater Call," my New York and a sweatshirt with my Christmas pajama pants? The ones that Maddi and I have matching. Speaking of Maddi, I want pictures of this dark hair of yours. And have you gotten a new car yet? I got a letter from Elder Swain this week and he's CRAZY excited to get out in the field! Did you get to talk to him this week? He wrote on the back of the letter that there are 4 Elders from his MTC district that want me to write them. Hahaha It made me laugh. But they were my 4 favorites and they were all so adorable-in a little brother kind of way. I hope they see me in a big sister kind of way. Hahaha!

The first night I was here I was given a blank piece of paper and an enevelope addressed to Mom Denson. I was told that the mom that was putting the whole thing together wanted all of us to write a letter of Thank you. I hope I did that in the letter. I don't remember now because I was dead the night I wrote it. Forgive me if none of it made sense.

As of right now, no I don't need any more garments. I've only showered a couple times at night. Oh, like last night. We had no miles left for the week so we tracted all afternoon. If you look on your map we went from the intersection of Lyons and 18th St to Palmetto Park and the 441. I wore my back pack and learned to never do that again. I'll be switching it to a side bag from now on. Gross!

Um, I thought you had been posting my email on my blog for a while now. I don't see the problem with it. I have nothing to hide!

I've attached another picture of the saddest/happiest thing. The ocean. So close, yet so far!!! It's BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

We were driving on the 441 the other day and saw the biggest iguana!! I didn't have time to pull my camera out, but he was just sitting on the grass next to the road. He was about 3 feet long! Crazy!! Just running wild! It was insane. The lizards still amaze me. They run across our paths constantly as we're walking. I'll get a picture sometime.

Alright, well, I have to go. I wish I could write longer better emails, but you can only do so much in an hour. I hope you all had a WONDERFUL first week at school, and I want to hear all about it. Unless it's in the email I'll print out today...Tell Grandma and Lauren Happy Birthday! and pester Lauren until she writes me back. That dang girl!!

The last picture is of a HUGE spider that I almost ran into last night while walking into the apartment. It was sick!

Well, I love you all and want to see pictures of all of you! I want to see you! I love you guys!!! Pray mightily everyday!! Talk to you next week!!!!

Love you!

Friday, August 28, 2009

More from Sammi's memory card and tape...

Sammi's friend from Kindergarten, Sister Kelsey Anderson, will be serving in the Taiwan mission. Kelsey entered the MTC on July 8 and will be there until approximately September 22. They were THRILLED they found each other and were able to snap this picture. Aren't they beautiful??

Flying into Ft. Lauderdale on August 11, 2009. Sammi says she can't believe how much water there is everywhere! Silly girl...she is a coastal place at sea level!!

Upon their arrival in Ft. Lauderdale, they were taken to their hotel. There were four beds in there! Incredibly crowded with all their luggage!!

Sammi and Sister Pirotta's bedroom. You can see Sammi's bed on the far left and the white board keeping track of all their investigators, newly baptized members, etc.

Sammi and Sister Pirotta's bathroom and closet. She said it's pretty close quarters in there!

And then there's their kitchen!! She said it's about a quarter the size of our kitchen!! It's really interesting if more than one of them in there at a time.

The other side of the tiny kitchen.

Sister Lowe cleaning up the kitchen.

Their living room. (Dad said he's impressed how nice their couches are!! Better than his in Georgia!)

One day Sister Pirotta and Sammi were driving down the road and saw this house. She thought the flowers were amazing and thought of Mom...all the gardening.


Thursday, when I got home from work, there was an envelope from Sammi. I had sent her a prepaid one to send me her memory card so I could upload pictures to her blog and work on her scrapbook. Well, in addition to the memory card, which was AMAZING in itself, was a mini cassette tape from her! She bought a mini recorder so she could talk to us!! Naturally, I bawled through the whole thing (Dad got pretty teary-eyed as well...don't let him kid you!!)! Not only did she tell us about her experiences and investigators, she gave us a narrative of her pictures! As she went through the pictures on her camera, one by one, she told us who was in them and what the story behind the picture was. It was such a gift!! So...I'll try to share a bit of what she sent.

Sister Gardner, Sammi's companion in the MTC, Sammi, Sister Lowe, and Sister Bropst (she went to Arizona while the rest of them went to Ft. Lauderdale).

Sister Gardner and Sammi after their "Beauty Enhancement" class.

Their room at the MTC on the day they left. She said she's definitely NOT cut out for dorm life!

Sammi and Sister Dunn. She is one of the Branch President's counselor's wives. She was truly heaven-sent to help Sammi through some incredibly difficult times in the MTC. I'm so grateful to Sister Dunn!!

Sammi and Sister Lowe on the bus ride to the airport about 5:00am August 11. She said it was a sweet ride although it was INCREDIBLY early!!

I'll post more in a bit...Blogger is being STUPID on this computer! I'll switch to another one.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I can't believe it's already been a week!

Time is flying by! It's crazy! Some days feel like a century, but all in all the week flew by. I once again compiled a list of things that I want to send in this email. You know me, I'm a "list" kind of girl. If I forget to write it down, I'll remember it later when it's too late.

Mom-Can you find me a plan of salvation display from Emma's Blog, or SugarDoodle? It's really handy to have. Sister Pirotta has one right now, but I know eventually we'll be split up :( It's sad to think about already.
Remember the Trek CD that we got you one day? It's by all the same people that did the Joseph one. Sister Magnusson had it, but lost it. Can you send 2 copies of it if you find it? Thanks!

Mal- I was wondering if there was any way I could get a copy of the 12 Apostles picture that you guys recently took. If not, it's totally fine. It's just that I'm a visual person and I want to be able to show investigators that there are 12 Apostles here on earth today just as there were when Christ was on the earth.

Lauren--WHY havne't I heard from you??? I can't accept the excuse that you're too busy. Sister I know what busy is!!! :) I just want a letter! PLEASE!!!

Jessika--I'm writing you back! I promise! P-days are crazy hecktic, but you're next on the list for a letter. By the way Mal, I sent you one when I sent Zack one. I was still in the MTC. I wonder why you haven't gotten it!! SAD!!!

Dad-You will be so proud of me! I can read a map!! I'm such a good navigator! I'm still working on the North, South, East, and West, but it's super hard because there a no mountains!!! It'll take some time.

The picture you sent me of the mission office is correct. It should be connected to a La Quinta. We stayed there the first night.

Mom, can you put a couple of book in the package-Our Heritage and the Gopel Art and The Joseph Smith one for RS. Also, I'm doing good on shampoo and conditioner, so you you can send them in a week or two. I'll let you know.

Okay, we have an investigator that is going to Temple Square for Labor Day weekend. She's going by herself. I was wondering if you guys would be willing to meet her one day and show her around? She's from Peru, but speaks good English. I love her! Her name is Rosa Torres. I haven't talked to her yet, but I will tomorrow. She left church yesterday before I was able to talk to her. I'll let you know for sure next week though.

Oh, can you order some more of the facial cleansing cloths from RaeLin? I LOVED them!!!

Maddi- I want pictures of your hair. And tell Dezi to write me back. I wrote him one while I was on the plane. I want to know how he's doing! If you get to talk to him tomorrow tell him I said Hi!! I can't believe he's already flying out! Oh, and if you email me I'll be able to print it out and send you a handwritten letter each week, hopefully. That goes for everyone!

Mom-can you send an email to Brady Stephens and ask how he is? I can't email him. Give him my email. If I ever get a chance I'll write him a letter.

So on Saturday I was able to attend my first baptism. I bawlled my eyes out. Of course. Sister Pirotta and I got to share the message of the restoration. Yes, I choked up right then and could hardly get the words out. The spirit took over though and I got it all out. That Vision is so sacred to me and I love sharing it with people!

The weather here is wonderful. The humidity is not bad at all. I'm a little disappointed because I still have to use lotion, but not as much chapstick. I haven't seen any more cool animals, but I have seen some wicked storms. Apparently it gets super hot before it storms, so Friday was a killer and of course we were tracting. My shirt was pretty much soaked and looked homeless, and of course I wore a colored shirt that shows the sweat beautifully. Talk about embarrassing!
The pictures I've attached are from the GREENIE package you sent me. Haha I was like "It's tough being GREEN??" The sisters thought it might be an economical package. Haha of course I laughed and was like, "No, that's not my family!" I loved it though and so did all the sisters. We opened it together! Thank you for it! I LOVED all the GREEN!!!!!!!!

One of the other pictures is from yesterday. A storm was blowing in. Maddi-You'll love the clouds!!!

And the last is of Sister Pirotta and I in front of our building. The windows to your left are ours. We're only on one floor.

Well, I have to go! I LOVE you guys! Thank yo so much for the emails!!!!!
Love, Sister Sammi Denson

Notice the "Princess Blanket" on her bed?? She HAD to take the Princesses to Florida with her! Silly girl!!

Monday, August 17, 2009


President Hale, Sister Hale, and Sister Denson
August 11, 2009

Letter from President Hale.

(If you click on the letter, you can read the text.) if that weren't enough, we got a handwritten letter from Sammi. She wrote it August 12, the day after she arrived in Ft. Lauderdale!

Hello from Florida! Or, should I be more specific? Like Boca Raton? Jealous, Maddi? You should be. It's beautiful here! My skin and myself are enjoying the moisture. My hair, not so much. Anyway, both flights were awesome. We got off the plane and "freshened up" and walked out and both President and Sister Hale were waiting for us! I LOVE THEM!!!! We went to our hotel, dropped our stuff off, went to the GORGEOUS mission home, at her version of Cafe Rio Burritos, role played while the Pres was doing interviews, had the longest orientation of my life--only cause we were exhausted, then went to bed. So we were up from 2:10 UT time to 12:30 FL time, then woke up at 5:45. To say the least, I'm beat!

Okay, so here's the scoop: My companion's name is Sister Pirotta, she's from Arkansas, has the curliest brown hair, and I love her to death already. She's amazing. We room with two other sisters, and one of them is Sister Lowe from the MTC. It makes me so happy. She's like my day-to-day mom (she's 25 & very motherly), and Sister Hale is my mission mom. I already know this transfer is going to be awesome. I have pictures of me and Sister Pirotta already.

Alright, well I hope you got the picture of me with President and Sister Hale on my first official day in the field. I have to go to bed now, but I'll tell you more about everythhing on Monday at 10:00am-ish FL time.

I love you!

Love Sister Denson/Sam

August 17, 2009--"Hello from Boca Raton!"

NOTE FROM MOM: First of all, Sammi was finally able to upload some pictures. She said she'd send more as soon as she can but these are the "important ones."

She didn't note this one but my guess is this is her companion in the MTC, Sister Gardner.
Dez/Elder Swain and his "dork dot." Wednesday, August 5, 2009 when Dezi arrived at the MTC. (Aren't they a pair with their goofy grins!)
They knew I would want a "good" picture of them together!! Good kids!!
This is the last night Sammi was in the MTC. She said it was REALLY hard telling Dezi/Elder Swain good-bye!!
Sammi and her new companion, Sister Pirotta. We can't wait to hear more about her!!
Okay, first off this has to be short. It took forever to sign-up and figure out everything to send President Hale my weekly report.

So far everything is awesome. It is so different down here! The humidity hasn't been bad, so I'm surviving, and so is my hair. The thing that have thrown me off are the houses and the animals. Not a single home here has a basement, and hardly any carpet. It's all tile or marble. They are so colorful and strangely shaped. Sometime I'll try and get a picture of one to show you. There are lizards and stange birds everywhere! Tiny little geckos and lizards. We were in the church parking lot the other day and saw the largest iguana! Rumor has it that they live in the attic of the church and eat the rats, so we're grateful for them. Last week, a lady went to the bathroom and there was a lizard or something just chilling in the water! Haha! I totally want that to happen to me! There are crazy strange birds that just relax in people's yards and walk around the neighborhoods. It's so strange!!! Nothing like Utah!!

My first week went well. A little slow, but good. It's hard to try and plan and meet the investigators needs when I don't know them and try to involve members in the missionary work when I don't know them either. I met a lot of them at church yesterday, so I personally think things will pick up. Speaking of church yesterday! It was crazy!! First, this ward seriously struggles with a modesty issue, and, of course, I struggle with that. I've never seen so much cleavage, leg, and stomach at church before! Be GRATEFUL for the modesty that our ward has. The 2 sisters I live with are teaching a couple and they are getting baptized this weekend. They are living with each other and are not married. Since you need to be married before you can be baptized, as a form of repentance, they decided to do it right there after church yesterday. It was amazing to see the choices they made because they are so willing to follow the commandments. They will be baptized on Saturday and then they'll have an official ring ceremony on Sept 12th.

Mom-make sure and note to other moms that t-shirts are not allowed. Yeah, we bought all those t-shirts, and the only way I can wear them is if I have a buttoned up shirt over them. We are going to Kohl's today to see if we can find me more. Dumb huh. Exact obedience though!!
Oh, Sister Pirotta is unreal!!!! I love her to death already! She wants a mini Preach My Gospel, and is willing to pay any price for it. Sister Lowe wants one too. I love it! Thank you so much for it!!

I'm sorry it's so short, but I'm going to attach pictures! I promise next week's letter will be better! Now that I've got my email set up and know how to email President Hale. Oh, speaking of which. I'm not sure they are human. They are TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!!! They greeted us an the airport and I felt an INSTANT love for them. Sister Hale is completely amazing!!! President is like unreal too. I don't have words to explain them. I hope you got the picture they sent of me with them on my first official day. If you have it, forward it to me because I want to see it.

Okay, I can only attach a couple of pictures because I can only do it one at a time. Dumb. I will get all of them to you some time. Sorry! I got the important ones though.
I love you guys with all my heart and pray for you always. Don't forget to say your prayers-you wouldn't believe the help it's brought me!!-and read your scriptures too. Oh and write in your journal! Some days will be boring, so just write something you are grateful for!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 11, 2009--Amazing Airport Phone Calls

Yesterday was a highly emotional day as we received two spectacular phone calls from Sammi/Sister Denson. She called the first time at 6:05am and we were able to talk for about 25 minutes before she had to quickly hang up and board the plane. It was incredible to hear her voice, feel her spirit coming through the phone, and listen to great reports of the MTC. However, it was gut-wrenching to hang up with phone with no warning. The only thing that got us through it was the hope of another phone call from Atlanta.

We watched her plane travel across the country on the Delta website and then once it landed, we all sat around the phone waiting for the next call. It finally came through at 11:20am. This time, we weren't rushed at all and were able to talk to her for 66 minutes before she had to hang up and go get something to eat. That experience was HORRIBLE!! I'm not going to lie...knowing we wouldn't hear that voice again until Christmas was excruciating! It had been so wonderful just to relax and talk to her then to have to stop and know we have to wait four months...AWFUL!!

Here are some of the highlights:
  1. After checking her bags (she only had to move a towel and her straightener from one bag to the other to meet the weight requirements), they all went to find their gate before making the phone calls. As she was walking down the concourse, she saw Roy and Rosalie Millard (our neighbors across the street) walking toward her! They were on standby for a trip to Florida to visit friends they had met on their mission. Again, WHAT ARE THE ODDS??!! They were able to talk for a few minutes, get hugs (only Rosalie), and send a hug home to me (can't wait to get it). They ended up on the same plane but Sammi lost track of them after they landed in Atlanta. She said it was great to see a familiar face from home!
  2. Her experiences with Dezi/Elder Swain were wonderful! She said it was so fun to see him each day and to be able to give him some advice. He's been struggling a bit but she was able to advise him on how to overcome some of those obstacles and she thinks he's going to be a GREAT missionary!
  3. The MTC was WONDERFUL!! She said the food was unbelievable--she's never eaten that well and probably never will again. She didn't gain any weight because she was eating three good meals a day. She was very impressed with that! She said the Spirit there was beyond anything she could have imagined. They work them hard but also give them so much support and help with their concerns. She just kept saying how "AMAZING" everything was, how "AWESOME" the people were, and how strong the Spirit was all the time. She said they kept them so busy they don't have time to get homesick. We're grateful for that...
  4. She said one of the missionaries in Elder Dezi's district, honestly one of her favorites, is our Stake Patriarch Barney's grandson. She said he was adorable! The Elder she sat next to on the flight from here to Atlanta is President Allred's (our first councilor in the Stake Presidency) nephew. I believe he's going to Ft. Lauderdale Spanish-speaking.
  5. No one believes she's shy!! She said she would tell the other people (missionaries and teachers) that she is really shy and no one believed her! She asked them if they wanted evidence from her family but no one bought into it. I can't believe how much she's changed since she began this journey!! Brother McBride, one of the counselors in our Bishopric, said he spoke with her in March or April at a Stake Baptism. He said the person who spoke at that meeting and the one who spoke in our Sacrament Meeting on July 19 (her farewell) were two TOTALLY different people! I can only imagine the difference between that person and the one who landed in Florida yesterday! She said the Lord has definitely given her what she's needed to survive this!
  6. She PROMISES to send pictures as soon as she can once she arrives in Florida. As soon as she does, I'll post them on here.

We can't wait to hear where Sammi is assigned and who her companion will be. We do know the Hales are ready to help give her a great experience in the field and will take GREAT care of her while she's there. The hole in our family, here at home, is HUGE but we love trying to fill it with letters and thoughts of her. We're so lucky to have a wonderful daughter who is willing and able to serve the Lord.

Now, to wait for P-day on Monday!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009--"WHAT ARE THE ODDS??!!"

Okay, I have the most exciting news on earth. I was standing in line on Wednesday night for dinner looking for Dezi. He came walking up to me cuz he saw my lime green shirt. It was SO exciting to see him! He looked incredibly overwhelmed and exhausted. I don't blame him. Anyway, so he went and ate with his companion. I was eating dinner and talking to my zone leaders when they told us they thought the new district was going to Indiana. Yes, I know what you're thinking. I GASPED!! I hurried and finished eating and went and found Dezi again. I was like "WHAT DISTRICT ARE YOU IN???" He found his envelope that says all his information. You guessed it! WE'RE IN THE SAME ZONE!!!!!! I see him ALL the time! He eats every meal with us, we'll have Sacrament together, Zone Activity/FHE and our classes are right next door to each other. Can you believe it?? What are the odds! There are like well over 100 zones here and we were put together! The Lord has definitely blessed us! No worries, we got pictures on his first day with his dork dot, so I'll send you pictures as soon as I have a chance to in Florida. Speaking of which. Oh my gosh, I leave in 4 days!!!!! I'm really excited, but really nervous! I'm mostly excited to meet the Hales. They've sent us a lot of letters about how excited they are for us to arrive.

Mom, I think I want my Florida clothes there when I get there. That way I can just take them to my apartment.

Here's my list again of all the things I've thought of this week that I want you to know:

First, can you send a refill of Relpax in my package to Florida? I've honestly had like 3-4 migraines since I've been here. It SUCKS! I feel like I'm slowing down our companionship. Sister Gardner is very patient with me though. We're getting along MUCH better.

So remember the "Beauty Enhancement" class Wendy Kremin told us about? Yeah, we went to it yesterday. The lady told me I was doing everything right (go figure!!), she just added a little bit of purple eye shadow for eye liner on the bottom. I really liked it. They gave each of us a set of make up. It's called Nu Colur (sp). Apparently it's very high in quality and expensive. They said the bag they gave us is worth over $200. CRAZY! I was most excited for it because Sister Gardner doesn't wear a drop of make-up, so now we can make her! Sister Lowe, who is going to FL with us wants to play make-up in the airports. Haha we think we'll be too nervous to preach! Haha

I thought I told you about the Temple. Sorry! We went last week and this week. Last week I did an Endowment, but this week I did Initiatory (sp). One of the Counselors wives in the MTC Presidency has done a ton of geneology and had like thousands of names, so Sister Lowe and I offered to help. It was really nice to do those again, since I haven't done them since I went through. It was amazing.

The sisters in my room LOVE all of your packages! They love the peanuts, but their favorite is the Snickerdoodles. Sister Lowe wants the recipe because she loves to cook. She also wants the Chocolate Chip Cookie one from the Lion House Cook Book. Oh, speaking of cook books. Since I wont be spoiled with MTC food once I get to FL and will have to cook for my companion and myself, can you send me the ward cook book. I think mine is in my hope chest, or on my bookcase.

Dad-I want to know what you thought of the MTC. I know our lessons are taught completely different, but I want to know your opinion of being here.

Maddi-what is your email address? Is it *****? I can't remember and don't have time to take chances. Sorry, it sounds like a lame excuse. Don't worry. Dezi is doing great!! He has definitely got the missionary glow. He's adorable. I'm so sad that we only have until Monday night to see him. :( He was a little homesick the first night, but he's really doing great. He's totally taken the dive into the work. He told me all about Monday night (the same day I got your letter too). That is totally adorable how he asked you to wait for him. What ring did he pick? I know he had 3 in mind, but he never told me which one he went with. I'm so glad that you guys were able to have a ton of fun before he left. Make sure and send me some pictures of Monday night!!!

How's Char Char, Libby, and Demi?? Is Demi huge? I want her to stay puppy size. I hope she's keeping you good company.

Oh, I just went to the doctor at 1:00. I told him I had a ton of 100mg of Straterra. He said to take that, but if it keeps me up at night to call him and he'll get me a lower dose. Dude, I'm taking the 100mg regardless. We paid for it all, I'll take it all. He's also going to order me 100 Trazadone. Stupid. I'll be obedient and take it, but then we'll see about the Lunesta when the time comes. No worries, he made sure and told me about drug overdose and that I shouldn't take advangtage of it. NARF! I've been of sleeping pills for year!! Gosh. I hate going to new doctors.

Okay, well I'm pretty much out of time. I love you guys and I can't wait to talk to you on Tuesday. I'm off to get your package!!! Yay!

Thank you! I love you!
Love, Sam/Sister Denson
PS Dezi/Elder Swain says Hi!!