Monday, January 26, 2015

thoughts from Mom.....

Each week Schyler has sent me a handwritten letter in addition to her email....I usually get this on saturday and post her blog information on sunday/monday.  These have come to me with a letter on top addressed to "Dear Mom".  As I read Schyler's letters saturday I had to pull over and read them several times and stayed put because I couldn't see to drive .....a flood of tears came a pouring.  I cannot express to you all the feelings you have of complete JOY and happiness as you send a missionary out and see the changes take place so quickly, so powerfully and so amazingly.  It has to be the ultimate reward of parenthood.  Beyond words!!!!  She is learning so completely and so wonderfully the power of charity and service to others.  Several of us here at home challenged her to seek others out to serve - hoping that by worrying about other people her tremendous struggle with the language would melt away and that eventually it would come.  Although the language isn't easier or coming any faster for her her attitude has shifted to a tremendous outpouring of love and empathy for others and a huge desire to teach the gospel.  She has shared with me some small amazing miracles happening in her little district - she is recognizing the hand of God in so many areas of her life.  Missions do bring miracles believe me I am wittnessing this.  I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.  I LOVE HAVING A MISSIONARY OUT THERE and it is so inspiring for us here at home to step it up and do better!!!!!!! Thank you Schyler for your choice and for allowing us to be such a close part of what is happening.

Be Still My Soul

January 22, 2015

     Well, family and friends.  Three whole weeks have gone by.  I am a third of the way done here at the MTC and a 1/27th of the way through my mission.  I miss you all so much, but know there are so many people who need me and more importantly need the gospel. I am so ready to GO share my true conviction and love for the gospel with them.
     But, first things first....I have to learn Finnish. It seriously is the hardest language ever, but I am grateful it is pushing me and humbling me.  I am grateful for the time I have here at the MTC to prepare myself to be the best missionary I am capable of being.  Our time here really does mean: My Time with Christ (MTC).  That's what the MTC is about.  Yes, it prepares you for the language and how to teach, but you can't do all that without spending time with Christ and asking for his help.
     So, on Tuesday we had another huge devotional. Elder M Russell Ballard spoke and gave lots of advice to missionaries.  I feel so privileged to be able to hear from such amazing men.  I also was able to sing in the choir again.  It is truly a neat experience.  SO, to all you future missionaries - make sure you take part in that if at least once while in the MTC.  You won't regret it.  I mean, plus,  if your might get your face on the big!  So all the other MTC's around the world can see your smiling face!!!!
     I got called to be one of the new Sister Training Leaders on Sunday.  The Hungarians, who we have become so close to are leaving on Monday, and on Wednesday we are getting 25 new missionaries in our branch.  They will consist of Hungarian, Estonians, and Albanian missionaries.  It's really neat that three of the elders in our district got called as the zone leaders.  Our whole district are the leaders!  It's really awesome.  Oh, and in case you didn't know there are 2 districts of Finns, 1 Hungarian district in our Branch right now, but they are leaving. My district (one sister tripanionship - mine and one elder tripanionship).  The other district has a set of sisters and 2 sets of elders. Altogether there will be 12 of us leaving for Finland about March 2nd it looks like.  We are all very close. It is so awesome.
     Sunday last week our branch president spoke on the atonement of Christ.  I want to share a quote I found later that night that has helped me so much.
     Russel M Nelson - " ....I recognize that on occasion some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered.  We wonder why?  I know that feeling!  I know the fears and tears of such moments.  BUT, I also know that our prayers are never ignored.  Our faith is never unappreciated.  I know that an all wise Heavenly Father's perspective is much broader than ours.  While we know of our mortal problems and pain, HE knows of our immortal progress and potential.  If we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it - with patience and courage, Heavenly Father's will can take place in its own way and time."

My time is short, but know that I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! a mission is changing me in so many good ways.  I am so grateful for this experience!  I love you and I am grateful for your examples and love!!! Have the best week ever!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Picture from Jake's mission buddies !!!!

Jake's Mission buddies with Schyler and companions at MTC
Practicing the language in mock discussions !!!!

3rd P-day !!!!!! 1/22/15

If anyone has a moment to read an article I read today in LDS Living entitled "A New Normal: Finding Hope after Most of My Family Died"  please READ.  I thought about sending it to Schyler, although the part about this sister losing her family while serving a mission might be disturbing to Schyler (and lets face it - its disturbing to all of us) -  she,  Sister Parrish managed to see the bigger picture which so often most of us miss completely.  This is the part I felt was so important for Schyler to read and understand and really  something we all need to be reminded of.  I sat and balled when I read this, but the miracle is that this gal gets it.  I wish to be more like that and really "get it" when things get hard.  This is not an easy task by any means.  Please read - let us know what you think.

We heard from Schyler today (briefly), but WOW ! that is such a great sign that she is delving into the work and THE PREPARATION !!!!  A moment of sadness to not have her there via email a bit longer, but really it was just a moment.  I am so happy for her.  The language is slowly slowly coming for her but her spirits are up and she is determined.   Attached are a few additional pictures from this week...
Temple Trips with Companions - Harris and Wunderli

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It's a Process......Just Have Faith!!!!

Well, everyone, another week down here at the MTC! It literally feels like it has been a month or more here.  BUT it's true what they say, the days go by super slow and the weeks go by fast. This week has flown by.  It's crazy!  on Monday, I'll only have 6 more weeks here.  Which is still a lot, but at least I'm a third of the way done at the MTC. Really, last Thursday was a big changing point for me!  I realized that if I was going to be here I wanted to give it my all.  Yes, Finnish is extremely hard, and there are days I feel like I'll never get it.  No Offense to Jake, but sometimes I think, "Jake got through this and learned Finnish, why can't  I? How did he do it?"  I remind myself that we are all different and maybe this time Heavenly Father doesn't want me to learn it so fast that its easy.  Which leads me to tell you all about this last week.

On Tuesday, we had a really huge devotional.  Elder Russell M Nelson and his wife talked and also a member of the seventy. President Nally, the MTC president got released this week!  Slightly, a big deal!!!  LOL  He was here when the missionary age change happened, so he's been here through a  lot.  Really sad to see he and his wife go.  I actually know him and got a picture with the two of them.  They are related to Amanda and her Mom, Barbara Farnsworth and they knew who I was and wanted to take a picture. The was a really cool moment. I also sang in the choir at the devotional. There were about 500 of us that sang.  We sang, "Joseph Smith's First Prayer." It was amazing!  The devotional was broadcast to all the MTC's around the world. Yes, I was on TV!  LOL 3 times my branch president said!!!  Elder Nelson's wife gave a really awesome talk that I knew was just for me.  She talked about desperation. She talked about how in Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ's lives - in their greatest moments of despair all they could do is turn to their father in heaven for help and comfort. When we are desperate....things change......we find focus, we find energy and strength we thought we didn't have.  We find time and our willingness to turn to others for help increases.  We have vision and distractions fall away, our pride falls away and we change what we pray about.  When we are desperate for the gift of our Savior's help, we then turn to him.  When you finally are desperate enough you will turn everything over to him- distractions, wants, needs, everything!   I realized that is what missions are really about.  That's why the MTC is so hard. That's why learning Finnish can seem impossible and hard.  We learn to turn to him and become desperate for his help!!! We learn to have faith in the Lord, but first we must struggle.  I know this to be true and it is changing me in ways I never thought possible.  I am grateful for my struggles and know that with time they will become blessings.  For now, I just need to trust in God's timing and know that all I need is faith and hard work!  I may not know the most or have the biggest Finnish vocabulary or speak the best Finnish, but I know I have a testimony of this gospel and how it changes lives!  Essentially that is all I need!!

Well, the rest of my week was about the same.  I am in my one and only classroom just about all day. I have breakfast, lunch and dinner in between and about 45 mins of gym time where I either play basketball or volley ball. I love that.  I wake up at 5:45 and go to the gym and work out with one of the Hungarian sister's in my zone because no one else wants to get up that early and work out. They all usually wake up about 6:30am. The food is starting to get a little old, but food is food and we have to eat.  We have lots of goodies for now, so I probably don't need any more of those for a while.  Letters are AWESOME though....keep 'em comin' when you can!!!!

My companions are really good and honestly I think its just the fact that we are together 24-7 for 9 weeks that makes you get irritated with stupid things.  Being in a tripanionship has its benefits and its downside too.  But I've come to love all of the sisters going to Finland as well as the Hungarian sisters.  I know there will continue to be moments of weakness and struggle as expected, but I know I can get through it!  Thank you all for your love, support and advice getting me through these first two weeks!  I love you all and I am grateful for your examples!

Until Next week-
Rakkendella (Love),
Sisar Jordan

P.S.   Evankeliumi on tosi! (The gospel is true!)

I wanted to share with you my progress LOL!!!  It's not much but I am trying.  This is what I can say and remember off the top of my head!!!!!
My testimony:
Mina tiedan etta evankeliumi on tosi ja etta se tuo onnea.  Mina tiedan etta mormonin kirja on tosija etta se on Jumalan sana.  Mina tiedan etta Joseph Smith oli fosi profeettaja etta han palcutti kirkko.  Mina myos tiedan etta han kaanti mormonin kirja.  Kun uskomme Jumalassa me olemme siunai.  Mina tiedan etta Jumala auttaa meita viva kaiki meidan koettelemus jos meilla on uskos.  Mina tiedan etta Jumala vastaa meidan rukouksia ja han halua auttaa meita.  Mina tiedan etta Kristus sovita meidan syntista,koska han rakastaa meita.  Mina tiedan etta Jumala antoi meita tahdonvapans oppia ja kasvaa. Mina rakastan minun Vapahtaja, Jeesus Kristus ja minum Taivallinen Isa. Mina sanon taman kaiken Jeesuksen Kristuksen nimessa. Amen

Rakastan Sinua!    Have a great week!!!!!

Schyler and favorite early morning exercise buddy.....a sister preparing to serve in Hungary.

The other Hungarian Sister

Schyler with companions and MTC President Nally and his wife

Sisar Jordan and Sisar Harris

Sisar Jordan and Sisar Wunderli



Friday, January 16, 2015

2nd P-day!!!!

January 15, 2015
Well, its exciting to see the changes taking place for Schyler.  This week was so much better.  Tuesday there was a  huge devotional/farewell to the MTC president Nally and his wife who are being released. Pres. Russell M. Nielsen and his wife spoke and the devotional was broadcast around the world to all MTC's. Schyler got to sing in a choir and was joking around about being on TV.  She is still struggling with the language but hasn't given up.  Her relationship with her district sisters is fabulous and she loves her branch presidency very much.  
Her big letter for this blog arrives today, so I will post pictures and her latest update by tomorrow.  Thanks for all your love, support, letters and prayers.  She is forever grateful for this - as are we.  

Monday, January 12, 2015


Jan. 8th, 2015
To Friends & Family:
"TERVE!" (all I can say - WOW!)  In the famous words of my handsome man, Jake Brown, "I'd be lying if I said........this was the greatest week ever! Honestly, I think it has been the exact opposite!  I think for a lot of sisters, they love the MTC, but I have had nothing but an emotional rollar coaster crash of a week. I don't want to be a Debbie downer, I just want to be honest! When I got here they whisked me away to all these different places with this dumb orange sticker on my name tag that pin pointed me as one of the"NEW" missionaries.  So, of course all you get for the next 24 hrs is ...."Welcome to the MTC Sister" with this huge cheeser grin on their faces as if I'm in for the time of my life. Yesterday (Wednesday) when all the new missionaries arrived I made sure not to say that to anyone because I knew how much I hated it by the end of the day. Anyway, I then found myself with about 5 lbs of books in my arms in a classroom overwhelmed with Finnish where I did my best to follow what they were saying.  The rest of the day.....I just really want to forget.

First, I want to share with you somethings about my companions.  I am in a tripanionship with Sister Wunderli from Sandy and Sister Harris from the Bay area, California.  Total complete opposites and I fit in somewhere in the middle.  I thought at first like my last weeks letter said, that I would have a hard time with them, but in only 7 days I have come to love them both so much - especially Sister Harris.  We are the most alike out of any of the Finn Sisters, but I love them all.  We've all been able to be there for each other.  My district consists of 6 people. Our threesome and the Vanhimmat (elder) tripanionship.  I love all of them as well.  There are two Finnish districts which makes a total of 5 sisarettes (sisters) and 7 Vanhimmat (elders) going to Finland. Our branch also includes the Hungarians (Hunns) and the Estonian missionaries for right now.  I have really become close with some of these people and will be extremely sad when they leave in three weeks!

We have a really awesome Branch Presidency. Thurs/Friday mostly consisted of language study all day, every day, except to eat.  From day 1 they only talk to us in Finnish.  My teachers are Bro. Christiansen and Sisar Egan.  Sisar Egan knew Jake and when I mentioned him on Friday she perked up and said she knew him and loved him - everyone did she said!!! She had known the gist of mine and Jake's story somehow and had hoped I would serve my mission still and was proud of me for choosing to serve.  I broke down in tears of course, but it gave me much comfort to hear what she said.  My teachers are awesome and SO patient with me!  I thought I was rather smart when I came here, but I've found out quickly that that is not the case.  Finnish is so hard and I have struggled with it and continue to, but press forward as best I can.  Hopefully with time it will come.....for me it's just learning to be patient and rely on the Lord and not just my own abilities.  Definitely one of my weaknesses.

Everyone says if you make it to Sunday you'll be alright, but honestly it didn't get a whole lot better.  Sunday was spiritual and good to have a break from language study, but still I am really missing everyone.

Gym time is my saving grace!  I get to play basketball and run and it relieves stress and takes my mind off everything else for a short period of time.  Thank the heavens for gym time!!!!! It was funny because no one knew or expected a girl to be half decent at basketball here, so when I busted out with my mad skills they were all in shock LOL!!!! (JK)  But gym time helps me a lot.

On Tuesday, we got to go to LA for fingerprinting at the Embassy.  We had to be on the bus to the airport at 3:45am.  Talk about no sleep and too much stress.  While there we were able to meet some really cool people and gave away a book of Mormon. We also got to go the LA temple and walk around and through the visitors center.  It was hard being back in the real world, but a nice break from the stress of everything at the MTC. We arrived back to Provo about 8:30pm.  Got something to eat, read fast and to bed.  (MOM, I REALLY miss your cooking!!!!)   I had been struggling throughout the day, especially on the airplanes to keep the tears in.  Finally, I asked Elder Martineau, one of the Hungarian elders I've gotten to know for a priesthood blessing. It really helped me feel more peaceful and that night I actually got a decent nights rest.  I woke up Wednesday morning and the day just started off bad.  I was tired and couldn't understand what the teacher was saying.....everyone else could and finally I just broke down with her and our class about how frustrated I was.  Sometimes its hard for me to realize I've only been here 7 days and I shouldn't expect so much. This is very difficult to do.....particularly when everyone else is getting it and remembering everything so much faster and easier.  I know I just have to stay positive.  Well, the day worsened when I found out about Maggie's suicide.  That's when I lost it. I think this must be how the Lord is humbling me.  I've realized that this is the magic of the mission.  You are stripped of all your desires and wants and needs and distractions so  that all you have left to strengthen you is to turn outward and help others!!!! The magic comes in forgetting about yourself and serving others.  For me, right now that's  a really hard thing, but I'm trying to just take one day at a time and not look at how far I have to go, but how far I have come already in 7 days.  This makes me think of a scripture in Either 12:27-28.....God gives us weaknesses so we can be humble and come unto him and be made strong!  Anyway time is short!  I am sorry if I don't make it to all your letters and emails.  Its super busy here and a lot of work to be done! I love you all so much and I am grateful for your examples and support!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

one more picture !!!

First Email and Pictures !!

Well, the day arrived and we heard from Sisar Jordan!!! via email.  I will just let you know briefly what she told us and will follow up in a day or so with more information coming from her in a hand written letter.  Suffice it to say it has been the longest, most difficult week of her life.  As most of you  know Schyler is a perfectionist, but more importantly most everything -  if not everything in Schyler's life came to her pretty easy. What I mean is she picked up on things quickly and it didn't matter what it was - musical instruments, dance, clogging, horsemanship and riding horses, sports - basketball, volleyball, track, etc, english, math, whatever the subject was she got it figured out pretty fast. Well, for the first time in her life something is extremely difficult and that would be the Finnish Language.  She wants to speak fluently yesterday and wants to feel successful and productive and now feels very inadequate and is struggling with that.  She could use the encouraging words from many of you via mail or email or letters . "Letters are blessings", she says.  It also appears in her pictures that a group of them were shipped to California to be finger printed at the Finnish Embassy and while there made a trip to the LA Temple.  Attached will be some pictures from the MTC, etc.  We'll fill you in on more as we get more info.
Schyler and companions she rooms with at MTC

Schyler's District


Schyler and companions at LA TEMPLE

Sister Wunderli, Sister Jordan, Sister Harris
On flight to California for fingerprinting at Finnish Embassy

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Letter !!!!!!

Jan. 3, 2015 - We recieved our first hand written letter/first contact today !!!!!!  Neat surprise.  Nakomie went to our box to get the mail while Trayson and I were busy stamping statements to go out for the clinic.  She had taken the pile of mail to the car while we were still stamping envelopes.  Next thing I know she comes running back into the Post Office  with the envelope already open screeching with excitement that it was a letter from SCHY!!!!!  So, Schyler is extremely busy, is in a threesome companionship - one sister from Salt Lake and one from California.  The letter was written wednesday night (her first night at MTC).  Her P-day will be thursdays for the next 9 weeks.  

To the Missionary Training Center (Provo,Utah)

After a fine "Last Supper" at the Olive Garden by special request from Schyler - we then ran up to the Provo Temple to freeze our bums off for a bit .... while taking a few photos.  Then off to the MTC.  We were assigned purple post -it # 14 and sent to the far left of the entrance.  Bags unloaded, Hugs and tears and then another Sister Missionary showed up to escort Schyler on her way.  As we pulled out of the entrance we rolled our windows down and hollered "We love you Schyler"  It was a brief, quick glance back at us, but not a moment too long.  She was happily and busily chatting away with the sisiter who came to fetch her.  And there she goes...................... Hyvaa Jatkua Sisar Jordan

The Big Day

Dec 31st, 2014
Early to rise and off we were to the stake center (7am) where Schyler was set apart by Pres Robinson.  Those present were:  Lori and Megan Robinson, all 8 of us, Grandma Luke, Uncle Dave, Grandpa and Grandma Yardley. Its for real!!!!!   She's officially Sister "Sisar" Jordan now.

Packing the Bags

Well, nothing like waiting till the night before you leave to pack your bags for an 18 month adventure!!!!!  Needless to say Schyler and I were up till the wee hours of the night or morning whichever way you want to look at it.  BUT, we got it all into three suitcases......A miracle.  Imagine packing a gal for subzero weather - scarves, glove liners, mittens, beanies, wools socks, wool tights, wool leggins, insulated/waterproof dress boots - not to mention all the other lovely shoes of which were not "granny shoes".  Then there is the 11 skirts, shirts and cardigans and 4 heavty warm sweaters, a puffy super duper insultated/waterproof dress coat,  a dressy raincoat, umbrella's, blow dryer, hair STUFF, 18 month supply of Vit D3 and any other possible meds for colds, upset stomachs and you name it - BUT 18 months worth stuffed in those bags......Ya get the idea?!!!!!!  Then there were the fancy shoe insert that needed trimming...thanks Dad for the Help on that one. And somehow she is suppose to fit another 8 lbs of missionary (MTC) study material into those bags.  W0W!!!Good luck with that one Schy.  We had loads of fun !!!!

Missionary Farewell

December 28th, 2014
9am at the Beaver Stake Center we all had the great pleasure of listening to Schyler address us at her misionary farewell debut.  The most awesome talk about the Atonement with several great examples.  Shayla Osborn Beck sang flawlessly and most beautifully with Schyler accompanying her on piano. Brianna Elwell concluded by sharing her missionary experiences and testimony. She just recently returned from her 18 mo mission to Denver, Co.  Following our 9 to noon block we had  a house full of about 80 or so friends and family who shared in a great soup in bread bowl/salads galore luncheon.  What a fabulous day it was.  We are so blessed!