Monday, February 22, 2016

Sister Wells...

"He was born so I can be with my family forever."

"He was born so I will live again."

This area is a dream. I love being in the city. I love walking. I love talking to everyone.

Hi fam.
What to write about this week?
The memorial Tuesday proved to be harder than I thought. Before we
started the missionaries all practiced the songs we would be singing
and I couldn't get a single word out. But when I got up to speak I
knew that Sister Wells was there that day, and I got through it. It
was a good service, centered on the plan of salvation.
The EMT and first responder from the scene of the accident came. He
said he felt the spirit in that car that day as he was helping the
sisters, so that Sunday he found the church and went. And to the
memorial. He's taking the lessons now.

This area is a dream. I love being in the city, I love walking, I love
talking to everyone. We meet the craziest people and the kindest
people. Such an adventure every day. It gets pretty crazy at night,
haha. Everyone just parties, haha. But the city is also full of Spanish
speakers. I'm in heaven. This week we basically spent every day
finding- street contacting, and tracting selectively. Because we don't
teach anyone in English, we look for clues of Hispanic households.
We teach quite a few people English, it's pretty fun. Last night I was
working with this guy, Felix, and he kept mistaking the word wife for
women. So he kept referring to his wife as his women.

Lisandra and Erick are moving into the elders area saturday. There is
so much else that's going on, but I don't really know where to start

Landa and I are so good together, we're always laughing. Which is
great because we're always walking. Speaking of- mom, I've gotta
figure out this Fitbit thing because I would kill it now. We walked 14
miles on Saturday alone haha. All over Lancaster. I want to get in on
this family competition now.... Haha.
Haha sister Landa and I have started a 'Lancaster pickup line' book,
it's so great. We've got some good ones.

Honestly this week sister Landa and I have found a huge amount of
strength and motivation to work harder whenever I think about sister
wells. The veil has felt so thin as we testify of the reality of the
plan of salvation to those we are teaching. There are some lessons I
have no doubt she was there with us.
Her family continues to amaze me. I'll forward the letter the family
sent to the missionaries here.

There's just too much to share what's going on, things are good.
Lancaster walk is the greatest area I will serve on my mission. Let me
know if you guys have any other questions.

Te amo. Cuidase.
Hermana Sears

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Eulogy shared by Sister Sears at the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission Memorial service for Sister Wells

I wish I could do Sister Wells character justice here. I have a firm testimony that with any calling in the church and in any service we are given a glimpse of those you serve through God's eyes. I got to serve as sister wells STL for four and a half months. 
Sister Wells was special. She had an undeniable love of the Savior . You  knew it just talking with her and you felt closer to Him just being around her. She was such a genuine person, she had the warmest countenance. She and I shared a love of teaching lesson three- the gospel of Jesus Christ. If there's anyone who is qualified to teach it, it is her- because she knew it, she lived it, and she loved it. Sister wells was so Christlike. I admired her ability to make anyone feel important and loved. Sister Wells paid as much service to fellow missionaries, including myself by helping me through my own challenges, as she did the people here in Pennsylvania. 
She was so much fun. Her easy going and fun but strong spirit undoubtedly touched everyone she met here. You were just happier when you were around her. I always looked forward to exchanges with Sister Wells - she was so easy to get along with, I am sure that what would have been a lifelong friend will surely be a guardian angel to us all here in this life and a friend in the next. Sister wells is proof that the worst of things in life can happen to the best of people, but I guess we all know some other examples of this idea. She was just called home early to continue her work elsewhere. 
Knowing what kind of person she was does not make this loss any easier, but it does bring peace knowing exactly where she is right now because of the way she lived her life. 

In the vision of the spirit world in chapter 138 of Doctrine and covenants, Joseph Smith described those he saw, he said:
" I beheld that they were filled with joy and gladness" 

Sister Wells was such a loving happy and fun person, we all know she would not want us to dwell on her passing and be sad, because she is not- but to move forward and worker harder. She loved life, she loved her family, she loved the gospel, and she knows better than any of us now that those things all continue. 

Like sister wells always ended her emails, we can all pay our tribute to her by the way we serve.
"Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way"

I hope you all feel the same peace and assurance that I have found and that her family now finds knowing that this separation isn't permanent, in fact, just a brief moment in our Heavenly Fathers perfect plan. The plan of salvation feels so close to home and so real. We can rest assured that she will have a sweet reunion with her special family one day. God's timing is better than ours, and His ways are higher than ours. There are amazing things in store for such a amazing a faithful person. 

The hymn be still my soul is something I've turned to in various stages of my life and I certainly have turned to it this week. I want to end by reading the last verse of this song. 

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

The Obituary for Sadie Danielle Wells- provided by the Wells Family

Sadie Danielle Wells

Sadie Danielle Wells Obituary
Oct. 19, 1995 ~ Feb. 9, 2016
Our beautiful daughter, sister, and friend was called home by our Father in Heaven as she was faithfully serving Him as a full-time missionary in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission. Her work in the mission field and upon this earth ended way too soon in a tragic car accident as the vehicle in which she was riding was struck by a school bus. Sadie is survived by her dear parents Lee and Pam and her older brother Bryton and younger sisters Maisie and Olivia.

Sadie will always be remembered for her bright smile, her silly socks, adventurous spirit, her kindness to all and her outgoing and loving spirit. She was a proud Dart, graduating from Davis High School in 2014 where she left her own special mark on both the Cheer and Track Teams. She also loved and graduated from the LDS Seminary Program and received her Young Women's Personal Progress Award. She held a variety of jobs before her mission ranging from tumbling coach, lifeguard at Cherry Hills, and working at Lagoon. After graduation, Sadie attended Utah Valley University for a year where she was majoring in photography before receiving her call to serve the Lord in Pennsylvania.

Sadie had an outgoing, fun-loving passion for life that always brought a smile to those she crossed paths with and met. She was always on the go seeking fun and adventure with family and dear friends. She loved spending summers on and in the water with the family boat and winters on the snow, boarding in the Utah mountains. Sadie and her family also shared many fond memories visiting St. George and Park City, Utah.

Sadie enjoyed painting, drawing and had a passion for photography. She truly cherished and adored her many close and loyal friends, they all meant the world to her. Above all, Sadie loved her family and the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all her heart as both were a central part of her life.
Sadie lived her life to the fullest and was dearly loved by all of us whose lives she touched and made better because of her loving and kind spirit. We, as a family, are so grateful to our loving Father in Heaven who sent her to us and our Savior Jesus Christ who makes it possible for us to be together as a family again one day.

Monday, February 15, 2016

"Sister Wells was very loved, a very special missionary"

Sister Wells was very loved, and a very special missionary.  I'm not talking her up when I say she was unlike anyone I've served around before. 

I have a strong testimony that with any calling in the church comes the ability love those you serve. You are able to not only magnify the love you have for them, but also feel the love God has for them.

Mi familia,

Feliz día de San Valentín. ¡Les quiero! So first I'll update you on the situation with the sisters. Two of the sisters involved have been released from the hospital to recover at a relative's house here in Pennsylvania, they plan on staying out. Sister Young has a long road ahead of her. She has been in and out of surgery still since the accident. She's still in critical condition. 
The Wells family have been amazing through it all. They have immediately forgiven the driver of the bus and told authorities they want no part in prosecution because they know "he is going through a trial of his own right now." This is the statement they released. 

" We are deeply saddened by the loss of our daughter and sister, Sadie Danielle Wells.  We will miss her smile and vibrant, fun-loving personality.  Our concern is for her mission companion and the other sister missionaries involved in the accident, and we pray for them and their families. Sadie loved life and loved being a missionary.  Her letters home were filled with her vibrant personality, love for the people of Pennsylvania, love of the gospel and love for her Savior , Jesus Christ.  We draw comfort from the belief that Sadie is with her Heavenly Father and that she continues the Lord's work with the same vigor and enthusiasm that she did in life.  Sadie ended each of her emails with the words of her favorite primary song, " Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way."  We ask all to pay tribute to Sadie by living their lives this way."
Her memorial service for the mission is on Tuesday. I was asked to read her obituary and give my own eulogy. I will send those later today with my thoughts of sister wells. It will be such a hard day. 
I have a strong testimony that with any calling in the church comes the ability love those you serve. You are able to not only magnify the love you have for them, but also feel the love God has for them. 
Sister Wells was very loved, and a very special missionary. I'm not talking her up when I say she was unlike any one I've served around before. 
If I hadn't gotten transferred I would have been responsible for clearing out and packing up her apartment as an STL. I don't think I could have. 

My new area is amazing. I met the branch Saturday night at a baptism and yesterday at church. It is very small, but such a tight knit loving group of people. It can be difficult because every person is from somewhere different- Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Guatemala, etc- and each have different accents and sometimes different words. So you have to learn them all. I spoke in Sacrament meeting my first day in the branch. 
The work here is slow right now because the sisters here have been sick for weeks. There's so much to be done. We spent much more time than I would like in the apartment this week, but sister Landa- my new companion- and I are going to be so good together. We already get along so well and work well together. I've only met and taught a few people so far, but my first lesson we committed our investigators to get married and baptized, so I'll be planning a wedding here soon haha. 
That lesson was interesting. Erick and Lisandra are refugees from Cuba. We taught eternal marriage and families, and the law of chastity and the member who was with them started grilling them when she found out they weren't married. "You're not married? Why not, do you not love eachother?" Turned out Lisandra's divorce to a man back in Cuba had never gone through. "Okay, I want you to call down to Cuba tomorrow morning and get those papers so we can start planning this wedding." At this point I expected them to throw us out and never let us come back, but I looked at them and they were nodding and agreeing and totally accepting. Another reason I love Hispanic people- the only thing you can do to offend them is to not take seconds of their food when they feed you. Haha. 
The only bad news is they are an amazing family, so prepared. But they will be moving into the elders area right before they get baptized. It's okay though, they are still in the branch. They are just the only progressing investigators in the area. Lots to do here. 
The members are great. I've gotten really good at that cheek kissy thing hahah. A member we're teaching gave me a hand knit scarf to keep me warm that her mom made just before she passed away. 
I am adjusting to being in a walk area. It is cold. Haha. Some days it gets down to -17 windchill. And with the humidity here it just freezes you down to the bone. All those warm clothes are coming in handy. The average day I wear three pairs of leggings, three sweaters, and my biggest coat, gloves, and a hat haha. I love it. I really love being in a walk area so much, I love being able to be out and talking to everyone. Especially in a city like this. 
Downtown- our area, feels like a little Pittsburgh. It's a cool place. Look it up. I did pull my mace back out, haha. I'll leave it at that. 

I'll send sister wells eulogy later today. Thank you for the kind emails of support and concern, but please focus your thoughts and prayers on the wells family and the recovering sisters. 

Cuidase, Dios bendiga 
Hermana Sears 

Ps. "Pizza pie cafe" locations will be donating 1/4 of their profit to the sisters me families involved in the accident, so please go support our Pittsburgh sisters. 

Tuesday, February 10,2016

By now the news may have reached you of the fatality here in the
Pittsburgh mission. This afternoon during transfers there was an
accident. A bus ran a stop sign and hit the car of four of our sister
missionaries traveling. Sister Sadie Wells was killed instantly. The
three others are in the hospital, one in critical condition.
I was very close with sister wells, I served as her sister training
leader for the last four and a half months here in Hanover. Sister
wells was the kindest, sweetest girl and one of the mission's best
sisters. We had many plans together. What would have been a lifelong
friend will surely be one in the next life.
We were instructed to email family to let you know that we are okay. I
am in shock. I was supposed to be in the car involved in the accident
for transfers today, but got moved to another one last second.
Because of the accident I am staying the night in Hershey
Pennsylvania. Sister Douglas, young, and Faamaile are in the Hershey
hospital, and I hope to be able to see them tomorrow. I was just on
exchanges with sisters Douglas and faamile this week..

This morning I warned the APs that conditions were not good here in
our zone for traveling, twice. But we were all told to proceed.
Please keep the family of sister wells and the three recovering
sisters in your prayers. Please. I will be traveling the rest of the
way to my new area tomorrow.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Adios Hanover

Marianna & Family

Gino translating

Laura y Juan and Family

Dinner with Marianna

Hanover Branch!

" I know the Spirit doesn't speak a language, but I'm telling you- it sure loves Spanish!"

I have been busy busy packing all day. I am getting transferred! I
will be going to... Columbia! It is in Lancaster here out east. Which
means I will be in theeeee Spanish branch in the mission! It is a walk
area too, so it's a dream come true. Looks like I'll finally really be
needing all my cold weather stuff- coats, boots, gloves, etc. I will
not be teaching ANY English- all will be referred to the English
elders. I will be teaching ONLY in Spanish now on.

No car+ solo Español= Hermana Sears dream!

Okay, now for my last week here in Hanover. It was kind of like a
grand finale- we spent so much time with the members, and our Spanish
investigators this week. One of the highlights of my week was
Wednesday- Mariana invited us for homemade enchiladas verdes. It was
so fun spending time with their family- we were joking around and I
told them I wished I could hear what I sounded like to them with my
greenie accent. They all looked at me funny and told me I didn't have
an accent. Marianas sister said that when she met me she asked her if
I was from Mexico- hahaha. Made my life.
Sunday was amazing- it was fast Sunday so like I did in Butler I got
to say goodbye to the ward, and again bore my testimony in Spanish for
our special people.

After sacrament meeting Gino was in tears thanking us for following
the prompting to talk to him- he said he would not be here if he
hadn't had the opportunities he had to teach Laura and Juan with us-
and again said that he knew that God has reached out to him through
us. I can't help but feel like I was meant to be here for Gino. You
connect with some people more than others.
Gino and Juan also found out they are related.. From Peru. It is
amazing how they both came into each others lives at the perfect time-
same struggles and needs.

Our gospel principles class consisted of Hermana Smith and I, Gino
(Peru) Juan (Peru) Marcio (Brazil) Yolanda (Mexico) Sister Stough
(Mexico)- aka the future branch of the Hanover ward!!!!!!
It was amazing- the spirit was thick as smoke in that room. It turned
into more of a testimony meeting than anything. I know the spirit
doesn't speak a language, but I'm telling you- it sure loves

Tonight we will end on a strong note with five Spanish lessons
tonight. So many goodbyes haha. I am the worst with goodbyes- it's so
hard to stop and drop relationships with the people you have grown to
love to start all over again in a new place with new people.
Hermana smith is getting an English comp which makes me realllllly
nervous for what will happen with our Spanish investigators here.

Columbia (PA) here I come! 🇲🇽

Hermana Sears

Ps. My new comp and her previous one have a nasty virus and warned me
I'll probably be catching it. #prayers

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ellie and Diana

Ellie- left, Diana- right

Testimonio de Juan

Mi familia,

Things are good here. Juan and the girls came to church yesterday and
it was so great. Little Dianita (Diana) is basically my best friend.
She always follows me around holding my hand, I love her so much. It
can be a challenge sometimes in lessons when she wants to play ,haha.
Gino translated for Juan and another guy named Juan we've started
teaching who also happens to be a less active Peruvian RM. A member of
our ward from Brazil who speaks a little Spanish also joined us, and
brother Atkinson who served in Argentina and still speaks Spanish. I
was in heaven, we had our own little Spanish corner.
Gospel principles was in Spanish. Juan basically sat and bore his
testimony of the Book of Mormon. He described the feelings he has when
he reads and when we teach.

     He also told us that a few weeks before we knocked on their door
he had a dream   where he was overwhelmed with light and the words
"Mesías." (Messiah) He said it was a sign to him that he needed to
find Him, and that he feels as though he has.

     I have absolutely fallen in love with everything about the
Hispanic culture- such kind, loving, people. Everyone we meet has
faith and a strong love of God deeply ingrained in them. It's just a
part of who they are. They are the most prepared people you meet,
softened hearts. Those Spanish speaking country missionaries don't
know how lucky they are.(; I may only see a few of the miracles that
happen working with them in my state-side Pennsylvania mission, but I
am SO grateful that I get to experience a part of it.

D&C 3: 16 Nevertheless, my work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the
knowledge of a Savior has come unto the world, through the testimony
of the Jews, even so shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my
17 And to the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the
Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers--
18 And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites,
and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief
because of the iniquity of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered
to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their iniquities
and their abominations.
19 And for this very purpose are these plates preserved, which contain
these records--that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which
he made to his people;
20 And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their
fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that
they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ,
and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their
repentance they might be saved. Amen."

On the other hand these past couple weeks we have been working on
contacting every single name on our ward records. Hahaha such a
contrast. It has not been the warmest of welcome to say the least....
Probably the most opposition/ anger I've encountered my entire mission
has been in the last two weeks by the 'members' themselves. We've
been told by at least 1/4 to have their names removed from the
records. I just wonder what happened. I still love this quote and have
to return to it often as we encounter these experiences.

"Let the elders be exceedingly careful about unnecessarily disturbing
and harrowing up the feelings of the people. Remember that your
business is to preach the Gospel in all humility and meekness, and
warn sinners to repent and come unto Christ. Avoid contentious and
vain disputes with men of corrupt minds, who do not desire to know the
truth. Remember that 'it is a day of warning, and not a day of many
words.' If they receive not your testimony in one place, flee to
another, remembering to cast no reflections, nor throw out any bitter
sayings. If you do your duty, it will be just as well with you, as
though all men embraced the Gospel."
        ⁃        Joseph Smith

Anyway, on a positive note- here's some pictures of Diana (right) and
Ellie- a member in the ward. Fellow shippers come in all shapes and
Also enjoy these pics of the house we moved this weekend. Testimony of
the word of wisdom so strong right now..... One day there was enough
to never pick up a cigarette haha.

Hasta la proxima semana,
hermana sears