Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I arrived in Zagreb, Croatia -- BRRRR!


I made it safely on the flight and landed in a foggy Zagreb, Croatia this afternoon. The air was so cold that we form little clouds around our faces as we breathe. The Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Rowe, are wonderful and very welcoming.

I am currently sitting in the mission home in the center of downtown Zagreb amongst all of their famous buildings and statues. I've already seen one Elder I knew from the MTC and am looking forward to the drive up to Slovenia tonight. My first area will be in a city named Maribor, which is the second largest city in Slovenia and right up [next to] the Alps just below Austria and Hungary. I've been told they have a heavy Austrian accent there. My first companion will be Sister Oakley about whom others rave so I am terribly excited to meet her.

I am exhausted, naturally, but that comes with the territory and all the excitement of being here is keeping me awake. I already had my first interview with the mission president and am leaving just about . . . now! I love you all! I will write again soon.

z moj ljubezen,

Sestra Ary

Sestra Ary's mailing address & postal rates

[yes, her address is 7 lines long...!]

Sestra Madeleine Ary
Adriatic Mission
Crkva Isusa Krista Svetaca Posljednjih
Svacicev Trg 3/1
HR-10000 Zagreb

Post cards
$ .98
First class letters
1 oz $ .98
2-3 oz $ 1.82


Before missionaries leave the U.S. for foreign countries, they are often permitted to phone home and so yesterday, (11/29) Sister Ary called collect from the airport in Washington, D.C. just a few minutes before she boarded the plane which would fly her to Zagreb, Croatia (the Slovenia/Croatia Mission Home is located in Zagreb). She was thrilled to finally be Slovenia bound and grateful her visa (and the visas of the other Elders and Sisters in her group) was issued. She told me they learned the Slovenian Embassy in D.C. is set to shut down for the month of December and had they not been issued their visas in now, everyone would have had to wait until January to finally get permission to relocate to Slovenia. Blessings are abundant for those who cry unto the Lord!

Monday, November 28, 2011

I leave for Slovenia TOMORROW!


Well, the day is finally here. I don't really know what to do with myself because I thought that I would remain in Washington, D.C. for another four weeks at least.

Today is my P-Day and I was having a meal after a day of sports with other missionaries when I got the news my visa had come through and will therefore depart for Zagreb, Croatia tomorrow!!! Zagreb, Croatia is where the Mission Home is located.

I have mixed emotions about leaving here. We currently have 14 investigators and I love them all and will miss them. I don't think they will take the Sister missionaries out of the Annandale Ward, which is good, since I don't believe some of our investigators would want to meet with Elders (they are single women and such). We have experienced so many miracles with the people whom we have been blessed to meet. Every time we go tracting we find at least one person who wants to learn about the gospel and seems ready to hear about it. Of our investigators, four are progressing, which is an unusually high number (people have a hard time deciding to do the things asked of them. It takes a while for them to catch the vision of what we are trying to teach.) I am really going to miss them as well as Brother and Sister Evans who have been so kind as to house Sister Holt and I, and the general atmosphere of Northern Virginia.

What a blessing it has been to be here when the leaves were red and yellow and orange and were falling like rain! Now the trees are bare, but the days have been warm like California, and the sky full of the strangest looking clouds I have ever seen. I am so glad that I was able to go to tour some of the monuments in D.C., and I wish I had a way to send the photos that I’ve taken of my time here to you all before I leave for Slovenia but I can’t for lack of time. I will be sending photos home as soon as I can by email, so it shouldn't be too long.

This week for Thanksgiving we had THREE Thanksgiving dinners. It was awesome. The first was with a member family and their member and part-member friends. They had spent a lot of time preparing for their Thanksgiving dinner so the food and the decor and the general atmosphere was incredible. I ate way too much even though I knew I would soon go to another dinner. The second feast was at the house of our Pakistani investigator (who came to church this week! It was wonderful. She really felt the Spirit and even cried during Sacrament meeting). I didn't eat very much there because I was so full, but I did have some of the pie. Of course… She really wanted us to meet her son with whom she is trying to set an appointment. We were careful to explain about the rules for missionaries and how we don't flirt or anything. She is so sweet.

The third Thanksgiving dinner was somewhat unexpected. We were going over to a former investigator's house to show her a movie about Christ just as was done for her last year but with the elders. But when we got to her place, she had not yet had her Thanksgiving meal and had only really cooked the turkey. Her husband's car broke down, so she had no one to share her Thanksgiving with. So we stayed and taught her the first lesson while she cooked the rest of the dinner and then stayed to eat dinner with her. She is really a sweet woman and we were glad to be with her in her apartment. We have another appointment with her soon.

Since Thanksgiving was last week, I am going to list some things that I am grateful for:

~My beautiful, wonderful family who is so supportive of me in all the things that I do, and all the crazy places I go. I could not have asked for a more wonderful Mother and Father and siblings. The Lord has truly blessed me in this life with them as my foundation.

~The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of this faith I know who I am and why I am here. I have the answers to the major questions of life, and not simply because it is what I have been taught, but because the Father of the Universe has testified it to me through the Holy Spirit so that I could know within my own heart that it is true.

~My incredible friends that I have made throughout my life. These people have been here for me throughout the times that I have been slightly (or really) crazy, and have been people who have built me up and pushed me to be a better person. They are examples to me of how I can live, and how I can be closer to God. My friends are hardworking and noble souls, and I am honored to know them.

~The opportunity that I had to go to Brigham Young University, Cambridge University, the Jerusalem Center in Israel, and now to go on a mission. These things are by no means cheap, and my family has always been willing to support me in them. I know how richly these opportunities have blessed my life, and I know that the Lord has allowed me them so that I might learn the things that will lead me to be a better person who can help more people come unto Him.

~The direction God gives to me, even when I don't realize it. I have noticed throughout my life that things just tend to happen for me and they always happen for the best. I know it is not because I am particularly anything, but because the Father of us all is watching out for me. I am so thankful for that. I never have to wonder if I am doing what God wants me to do because He directs me in everything.

~The beauty and wonder of this earth. I will never get over how fabulous it is to be alive. Everything around me is beautiful, interesting--- a testament to God who made it. I am so grateful that though the Lord wanted to test us and to help us find our way back to Him, He still created beautiful things that we can see and feel edified by.

~The atonement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that the Savior of the world died for me and because of Him and what He did, I can become perfectly spotless again. I know that it is only through His mercy and grace that I am saved, and I will be eternally grateful and eternally indebted to Him for it. He is the reason for life, the light that infuses all things and which fills my soul with life. Because of Him, I not only am but can continue and can find perfect joy. I can never express my thanks enough for what He did for me, and I will serve Him eternally because of it.

I love you all, and I will write next from the great country of Slovenia. I pray for you every day and every night, and know that God knows you and loves you and will care for you all in my absence.

With all my love,

Sestra Ary

Monday, November 21, 2011

Knocking on doors, teaching about Christ and actually READING the scriptures


I had just written most of this email when mysteriously it disappeared. I don't know what happened to it. I can't seem to retrieve it anywhere and the trash folder doesn't have it at all. Unfortunately, because of that little glitch, now I don't have as much time to write, but I will endeavor to do my best.

We were able to find five new investigators this week. Four of them are a family which we met by knocking on doors my first day here and we were finally able to have a meeting with them. The 13-year-old daughter knows several of the girls in the Young Women's group at church because they are on her soccer team. It is really exciting to be teaching them and things seemed to go very well. We taught them about the nature of God, and told them that they should pray every night as a family. We also invited them to church but they weren't able to come.

In fact, no one was able to come to church this week, even though one of the families we teach had been assuring us for 2 weeks that they were going to come this Sunday. It was really disappointing to have no investigators show up again. I don't know exactly why it is so hard for people to come to church, but to help remedy this we are taking two of our investigator sets (one is a man and his wife, and the other is a family of five) on tours of the church building over the next couple of days. We want them to feel the spirit that is there, to know how to get there, and to understand how everything works so it is not so intimidating to come. We had the opportunity to have a really good meeting with the family who was going to come to church but then didn't. We stopped by their apartment to see what had happened, and it turned out that they had gone to a race for their 10-year-old daughter and it had been such a big ordeal that it took a lot longer than they had anticipated for it to finish. But we were then able to watch The Testaments with them and it went beautifully.

I really think they felt the spirit. Toward the end the mother was crying and she said she felt sad but she felt happy at the same time--she couldn't really explain it. Even the younger children became quiet when Christ descended. It was so cool. The Mother is going to watch it with her husband in Spanish soon so he can share in the spirit. We are hoping this will be a good set-up for tomorrow when we have our next appointment with them. We will take them on a church tour and will show them that this is what the restored gospel of Jesus Christ looks like.

We also have a new investigator who has investigated the church in the past. She is from Pakistan and is the only Christian in her Muslim family. She fell and damaged her hip, shoulder, and knee yesterday when we were going over to help her with her 95-year-old mother. We are praying she will get better soon and that she will have the willing heart necessary to read the Book of Mormon. We also pray she will make it a priority to know if the things in the book are true.

There is nothing at all we can say or do which will convince people that the things we are telling them are the truth until they undertake the necessary action of reading and praying. But when someone does do this with real intent, willing to act on the things they have heard and been taught, they will receive a confirmation and everything changes. SO it sort of just comes down to getting people to read. That is probably the most difficult thing we do. I am not quite certain why that is.

We went to into the Washington, D.C. for our P-day today. It was awesome. I got a lot of pictures but now I just have to figure out how the send them.

I love you all!
Sister Ary

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 10: In our nation's capitol and AMAZING things are happening!


The week has been incredible. It was hard to begin with and is still hard sometimes, but something happens when you ask for the Lord's help...

When I am tracting up a street at 8:30 at night and all the stars are out and the moon is bright, and everyone who answers their door is in their pajamas and annoyed that we are there, if I say a prayer, then something amazing happens. It is as if all the rejection, all the rolled eyes and closed doors don't matter as much anymore. The night suddenly becomes beautiful and even though I am cold, I feel at peace and feel warmth radiating inside. I am happy to see the people at every door and even happy when they tell us to leave. I love the people I meet from the moment I learn their names and I wonder about them and pray for them. It is incredible how the Lord is able to show His love for me by making something as hard as tracting late at night into something I can enjoy. 

A lot of astounding things have happened this last week. We found SIX new investigators! We are "white washing" the area (which apparently means starting fresh without any investigators or former knowledge of the area). Therefore, every person we’ve found is someone whom we’ve met by ourselves through tracting. But we already have SIX investigators, and one of them is even progressing! It is so cool. 

Four of the investigators are a little Bolivian family whose mother wants the children to learn about how to pray and be closer to God. We have our next appointment with her on Tuesday night. She allowed us inside after I offered to help her carry in her groceries. She didn't want the help, but did say we could come back later to tell her about the church. Her three children speak English very well and sometimes she needs her oldest daughter, who is ten, to translate for her. But she is so kind. She said that she and her family would definitely come to church next week (they were planning to come last Sunday but it turns out that she didn't want to go when she didn't have what she considered “proper” clothing for her children to wear to church). We are so excited to see them again and try to keep in contact with them as much as possible in the intervening days. Generally, you're supposed to have daily contact with your investigators. We brought them cookies one day and they were really grateful for them.

Another of our investigators is also a man from Bolivia. He lives in the same complex and has a sweet little family: a wife and two little girls. He really wants to know God and to become closer to Him. He has been taught by the missionaries before but he said that they all ran away because he “had too many questions.” We were fortunate to have an exchange person (someone who comes with us to a lesson who is not a missionary) who is fluent in Spanish. She returned from her own mission to Texas in April. It was really helpful she was with us because she was able to explain all of the things that he couldn't understand in English. He asked us his first questions, so we have been studying them to answer him when we meet with him on Tuesday just before with meet with the other Bolivian family.

The other investigator we found is a wonderful young man who was kind enough to let us in to talk with him. He is probably in his mid twenties and he works for a moving company. We are relatively certain that he is in a gang, but he sincerely wants to change his life around. He said that he feels a great emptiness when he wakes up in the morning and guilt for the things he has done. We told him that the Lord can forgive all things if he is willing to repent, and that with the Lord he can have peace in his heart when he wakes up in the morning and peace with him always. He says that he isn't ready to change yet, though he knows that he needs to and he knows that he will eventually. He committed to pray every day until we see him again on Wednesday. He said that he definitely would, too, and even though he was embarrassed, he let us say a prayer at the end of the lesson. He deeply admires people who turn their lives around and are able to get out of situations like he has found himself in, but I don't know if he truly believes that he can actually do the same thing. We want to give him that hope. He doesn't read very well, so I don't know how we are going to assign him things to read from the Book of Mormon, but we will figure it out somehow.

We also have a family who wants to meet with us but who hasn't found the time yet. We met the father the other day while we were going to an appointment which fell through. It was good though because before that time, we had only associated with the mother and their little boy. There are four in that family and they live in a pretty small apartment. They are very family oriented, and the mother wants to make certain that her teenage daughter does not get in with the wrong crowd. We told her about the Young Women's program and are going to drop by a couple “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlets tonight.

There is yet another person we are very excited to teach. She is a friend of one of the ward’s MIA Maids [teen girls who are 14-15 years old] and she’s been reading the Book of Mormon on her own already. She really wants to find the right church because she says she has been feeling quite sad lately knowing she doesn't have God in her life. A minister from another church once offended her parents and they didn't want to have anything to do with religion since…but she still does. We are hoping to stop by her house a few times a week to help her with reading the Book of Mormon. We are going to have a dinner at her friend’s home along with her parents hopefully sometime next week. I am really looking forward to it. The girl is incredibly sweet and thoughtful.

We also had a lesson with a Muslim family. The son knew a lot about the church and has great respect for it because he said that he noticed that Mormons live what they preach. He wanted to know what it was we believe exactly and so we gave him a Book of Mormon accompanied by specific places to read.

We found a man who loves to read and is interested to hear more from us. He is a dog walker, so we walked with him as he walked someone's dog and we explained about the Book of Mormon and the restoration. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he assured us that he would read it. I pray that he does.

Another woman we met said she would come to church but then didn't show. We hope that she will let us talk with her again soon so we can get to know her better. Every appointment we have had with her she’s cancelled. I would love some prayers for help on this.

I made some cookies where I accidentally added 3 times the amount of salt it’s supposed to have (those darn abbreviations of Tablespoon and teaspoon!). So my companion and I made another double batch of cookies and gave many of them to our investigators and prospectives.

Our first investigator whom I mentioned last week, Dolly from Egypt, is having her birthday on Friday. I tried to make a cake to give her but it sort of epic-ly failed. It was a spectacular mess. So I think now we are going to give her a card.

I have to go now but it has really been a great week. The Lord blessed us immensely. It is hard much of the time, especially when people cancel appointments (which happens almost constantly) but the Lord is with us. If anyone wants to send me a letter while I am here in Washington, D.C., you can go ahead and send it, as I am fairly certain I will receive it before I depart for Slovenia. So please do! I would love to get something in the mail!

Z Ljubezen,

Sestra Ary

Sister Madeleine Ary
Washington D.C. South Mission
5242 Lyngate Ct.
Burke, Virginia 22015

Monday, November 7, 2011

Week 9: I'm almost to Slovenia, w/ a detour to Washington, D.C. AGAIN!

[NOTE: The missionaries from the MTC assigned to Slovenia are now patiently waiting for the Slovene Embassy to issue their visas. While they wait, they are preaching the gospel to the good folks of our nation's capitol and environs in Virginia.]


Finding myself assigned to the Washington, D.C. South mission was certainly a surprise. It is beautiful here with all the leaves changing colors and falling in carpets of yellow and orange.

My new companion and I live with the Stake Patriarch and his wife. They are so welcoming and helpful. They have had sister missionaries living with them for a while, but there was a short time between July and now when they did not have sisters living with them so they are glad to get us. No one knew that any of us Slovene's were coming until the day before we arrived, last Friday (the same for us) so it was amazing how well things were coordinated when we got here. The Mission President and others arranged places to stay, companions, area assignments, and everything else in under 24 hours.

My companion, Sister Holt, and I are opening a new area so we have no previous investigators but plenty of people who were once investigators whom we are checking on again. We spend most of our time tracting. I think because we are female, people are generally gracious to us but there is still a lot of rejection. The hardest times for me are when I know there are people inside but they don't even open the door or give us any sort of a chance. Fortunately, we have met some pretty amazing people. First there is Dolly who is from Egypt and is a solid Christian. She runs a homeless shelter and works to build up people and get them back on her feet. Although she is probably in her eighties, she is still really active, very vivacious, and very open. She invited us in to give us some bread with we were able to donate to the Annandale Christian Charities (Annandale is the city we are in in Northern Virginia). There she spoke with us for about a half hour about a variety of things and wanted us to wait hoping we could meet her friend Samira and taste her stuffed cabbage, and so we could try to convert her to Mormonism. When we meet with Dolly again I hope that we will meet Samira too.

While Dolly is our only real investigator right now, we do have an appointment with a mother of two who lives in an apartment complex we were kicked out of yesterday (we live with the Evans family and his father knows someone who manages that complex who can get us back in). We are meeting with her on Thursday – hopefully -- because that is when her husband will be home. If we can just get them to understand about praying, church attendance, the restoration and/or the Holy Ghost, and then have the father pray, it will be amazing. They have two children: a daughter and a son, and the daughter is old enough to go to Young Women. This is the primary reason the mother wants us to meet with them because she wants the daughter to get involved with good people who will keep her moral and clean. There are about thirty Young Women in this ward, so it should work well, right? I am really praying a lot that this new family will be willing and able to meet with us and that our lesson/discussion will go well. I pray for this with all my heart. We are hoping to have one of the ward members come along with us. She got off her mission three years ago and loves missionaries, and she has a little baby girl. Please pray that we will be able to have the appointment with them. I don't know how long I will be here in Washington, D.C., but I want them to know their way to God and their way into the church before I leave.

The ward here is so wonderful and receptive to us. They were really excited to have sister missionaries again since they have not had sisters for a long time. There were two different testimonies shared during yesterday’s testimony meeting which talked about this. The ward sisters are eager to volunteer to help us with appointments and we are glad to have them. We also got some brethren who are interested in going with us to appointments should we need them.

My next goal is to get the ward involved in suggesting people for us to teach. We are meeting with the Ward Mission Leader tonight and he will help us to know how things are going in the ward.

Today is our Preparation Day. We met up with the Elders for study, then played a little soccer and washed the cars. I had a lot of fun. Then we all had lunch together (pizza!) and came here to the library.

I find that I need the encouragement of positive stories and the scripture’s to keep my spirits up when the tracting is hard. Anything anyone can send me like that would be most welcome. Please just send it to the Washington D.C. South Mission Home:

Sister Madeleine Ary
Washington D.C. South Mission
5242 Lyngate Ct.
Burke, Virginia 22015

I love you all, and hope things are going wonderfully for you!

Sister Ary

Thursday, November 3, 2011

BIG NEWS: Departing 6 A.M. on Fri 11/4 for.....D.C.... again

NOTE: Madeleine phoned home at 8:30 P.M. tonight, Thurs., Nov. 3rd for a full 5 minutes to announce that all the missionaries bound for Slovenia will leave the MTC tomorrow morning at 6:00 A.M. bound for Washington, D.C. once again. Remember, all who apply for a resident visa to Slovenia have to appear in person at the Slovenian Embassy in D.C. twice before they are granted one.

Sister Ary said that the news about their travel and visa plans was announced just this morning to the Sisters and Elders who have been in the MTC since the beginning of September. However, since no one knows how long it will take for the Embassy to actually issue their visas, the missionaries will stay at the Mission Home for the Washington, D.C., South mission until their red tape is cleared. Her best guess was, "We have no idea how long it will take!" so that answers all of your questions as to how long they will be waiting in the nation's capitol, right? RIGHT!

As soon as we hear from her about a new mailing address, we will let everyone know. Thank you all for supporting Sister Ary as she embarks in the service of the Lord, helping to share the Gospel to a world thirsty to know the truth.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week 8: My last week at the MTC (sort of...maybe) & quick jaunt to D.C.


What an amazingly crazy and awesome week! Before I write about my time in Washington, D.C., I have to tell you about the talk that Elder Richard G. Scott (a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles) delivered just after the last time I sent out an email.

He came and spoke here at the MTC, mostly about how we can be closer to the Lord through scripture study and prayer and so forth. But the amazing thing was that the entire talk was pretty much him asking questions to the people who lined up at the two microphones. I eventually got up, realizing that the entire talk was going to be people answering his questions with him commenting on their answers. So when I got up to the microphone, it was just me, Elder Scott, and the 2,500 missionaries in the MTC. My face was projected on the big screen so everyone could see it and was broadcast throughout the campus to the overflow rooms. Needless to say it was a little nerve-racking. But I had to get up there because I didn't know if I would ever get a chance again to speak face to face with Elder Scott, one of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He asked me to comment on a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants which says that you should not seek to preach the Lord's word, but first seek to obtain His word and then you can open your mouth to speak and the words will be given you what to say. I pretty much said that I believe that means that we must apply ourselves heavily to the studies that we do so that we might obtain the word of God, and thereby be able to speak it. Without study, we cannot have an abundance of the Holy Spirit and it is not us which teaches (or if it is, it usually goes really badly) but the Holy Spirit which speaks to the person whom we are teaching. So I said that with study, we can have the spirit and the spirit can then communicate to the person being taught the truthfulness of the message. He asked me a clarification question, and then I moved on. It was amazing though. I really felt like I was just talking to him, and like everything else was blurred out. When I sat down, I spent about the next half hour asking my companion over and over again if I was clear and if I answered the right question and so forth. I am so grateful to have had that opportunity.

And I went to D.C... visit the Slovenian Embassy.

You know, them's the Slovenian rules in order to get a visa.

There is so much to say about it but I only have 15 minutes left to write.

I fasted the day before I departed so I would have the courage to open my mouth and would know what to say. When I got to the airport early in the morning, it was just me alone having to find my way around. I was able to speak with a couple of people, help a woman find her car, help a man who had fallen off the escalator, and speak with a woman from the Philippines who works in Saudi Arabia. I wish I could have given her a pass-along card, but for some dumb reason I had stowed my cards in my backpack. She disappeared before I was able to get them out. I sure got them out for the rest of the trip.

I ended up sitting next to two Mormons on my flight to Chicago, so I wasn't really able to preach the gospel to them! But when I was in Chicago, I felt strongly there were a few people I should give cards to. I wrote a note to them on the back of the cards and gave each of them a card with a note written just for them. Usually the note said something like, "God is your Heavenly Father and He notices you and appreciates everything you do." I spoke with one flight attendant on the plane about the Ankh earrings she was wearing. She said that she loved the symbol of the Ankh because it represents eternal life and eternal happiness, which is everything that she wants. I was really excited about this, and so I wrote on the back of another card that the doctrine of eternal life and happiness is central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that in this at least the Egyptians had it right. I asked another attendant give it to her because I wasn't able to get to the back of the plane again.

Then when I was on another plane, a plane from Chicago to D.C., I sat next to an agnostic astronomer with whom I spoke about the logic of the Gospel. I don’t think I did as well as I could have, but I did tell him that if he becomes interested in religion again, he should pick up the Book of Mormon to read. Then the same man whom I had sat by on my flight to Chicago, who happened to be a Bishop from Salt Lake City, helped me find my way to the Washington, D.C. North Mission President and his wife who were waiting to pick me up. They are such wonderful people, President and Sister Matsumori (I don't know if it that is spelled correctly)! First they took me to dinner. When we finished eating, we needed the check so the President Matsumori went to find our waitress. He couldn't find her, so he spoke with a different one. When he told this other waitress that he is a missionary, she said that she used to be an investigator of our church and she had wanted to join but her father had not let her. But now she was looking for that same feeling of truth and peace again and she was out of under her father’s control so now she could make her own decisions. She said that she would take the presence of the Mission President as a sign from God and wanted to be taught by the missionaries again. How cool is that!?! President Matsumori told me he was only there because of me and therefore said this is pretty much my first convert! Whoa. I actually did nothing, but he was really gracious about it. He is going to e-mail me to tell me how it goes with her. That was so awesome!!! The way it sounded, she is probably going to want to get baptized soon. : ) : ) : )

The Matsumoris took me to the Mission Home. The next day, after I slept wonderfully under their hospitality, the President had a fabulous senior missionary couple (who were on the first day of their own mission) take me to the Slovenian Embassy. All I really had to do was give my papers, my fingerprints, and then leave. Then this lovely missionary couple drove me to all the most important memorials, so I was able to see them at least. I was able to take pictures in front of the our nation's Capital and the Washington Memorial. They were so wonderful to me and so obliging. I really owe them a lot. It was a terrific experience.

President Matsumori asked them to take me to the D.C. Temple afterwards so I could attend one session and then he would pick me up. The Washington, D.C. Temple is just incredible! I was stunned by how beautiful it is on the outside and the inside. The stained glass, waterfalls, the walkway with windows overlooking the forest, the Celestial Room--it was, really was magnificent. I was so blessed to be there. I had lunch in the downstairs cafeteria and then went to the Visitors Center where the President called to see if I was ready to be picked up. While there, I spoke with the Sister missionaries who are assigned to the D.C. Visitors Center. They were wonderfully sweet and also obliging.

President and Sister Matsumori weren't able to pick me up, so he sent his three Assistants to the President to fetch me. They told me some fascinating stories about their work and really seemed excited to teach. They were also incredibly gracious. When we arrived at the airport, they took me to my gate and gave me some more pass-along cards because I had run out of the ones I had purchased from the MTC bookstore. On the tram to my terminal I met a woman whose mother is about to die. I spoke to her briefly about how we believe there are eternal families, and asked about her religious background. I gave her a pass-along card too. I really hope things go well for her and that she turns to God.

Then on the plane I think I really messed up because I had to opportunity to speak with someone but I didn't use it to talk about the gospel. Instead I just asked about his life for two hours. He was great though, and I gave him some pass-along cards too. I should have done better though… I hope he has another opportunity to hear about the Lord’s church.

Then when I finally arrived back in Salt Lake City, I was waiting for my car to take me back to the MTC. I spoke with a woman who doesn’t know much about our church but says she always notices something different about people in Utah--how they are somehow more thoughtful and considerate. I told her about how we believe that everyone is a child of God and is precious in His sight and how service is important in our faith. I gave her a card too, but I wish I had given her my Book of Mormon instead. I should have talked about Joseph Smith, but I fooled myself with the excused that I was too tired. I could have, should have done better. I ended up leaving my Book of Mormon with the driver of the car who drove me. I left a note in it for him about what parts he should read and how the Lord loves him.

It was an awesome time, but I could have done better if I had spoken more about the Savior and about the Restoration of the gospel. I will do better next time.

I love you all!

Sestra Ary