Friday, October 17, 2014

Another Tender Mercy

last monday was my miracle day. my sweet mother already sent out a description of what happened to most of you... so ill just copy in her email here for those of you that didnt get it. cause i really couldnt have explained it any better. lets just say that God is SO good to me. 

"Last Monday night Bonnie and her companion had a dinner appointment with some members in their ward. Bonnie just got put into the English program so she doesn't know the members in the English ward yet. On Monday night we got a phone call from a man in Boston telling us his family had just had dinner with Bonnie and that he would like to answer any questions we might have about her condition. Turns out he's an endocrinologist! He told us that when Bonnie got to the house he asked her if she had a thyroid condition because he could tell right aways that she had Graves disease because her thyroid is so enlarged.  Also, his wife has had the same surgery Bonnie will be having because she had thyroid cancer just like me. He knows Bonnie's surgeon and doctor and was able to confirm that they are the best and Bonnie is in good hands. AND they offered to let Bonnie stay with them for a few days after surgery so they can keep an eye on her. I hate to admit it but Heavenly Father managed to find someone who can take better care of Bonnie than even I can so how can I possibly feel nervous or uneasy about anything. I know she will be in good hands and I know that this is a tender mercy and that things will all work out."

speaking of tender mercies... right now our entire mission is doing a Book of Mormon challenge. we are reading the entire Book of Mormon in 3 months and highlighting every tender mercy that happens. its incredible and eye-opening. there is, without fail, a tender mercy of the Lord on EVERY page. i'm really thankful that President Packard extended the challenge. it's keeping me in the frame of mind to look for the tender mercies in my life. some of them arent as obvious as the one my mom described above. but when we learn to look for them, there are tender mercies everywhere in our lives. 

sister watts got a huge package full of just oreos from her family this week. from which we discovered that sister goncalves has an oreo addiction. its really funny watching her try to withstand temptation and then give in. and once she gets going theres no stopping it.. half the pack is gone. i wont admit how many packs of oreos the four of us have gone through this week... at least theyre gone now and it wont be a problem anymore!! 

the Elders here in framborough have been involved in a prank war.. language vs. english. the bulk of which involved them sneaking into eachother's apartments and wrecking havoc. we may or may not have been innocent bystanders throughout the entire thing... we also may or may not have oreo attacked one of their cars... we had so many after all. 

i now have reading glasses... i realized this week that i couldnt go more than 10 minutes reading without my eyes hurting/getting a headache. which makes sense with the grave's disease cause it messes with your eyes. so i got a pair of reading glasses and bada-bing bada-boom, my eyes are better. 

friday was zone conference!!!! it was GLORIOUS. i love zone conference :) and the best part of all was that we had it in Littleton! my old area. sister francis is still serving there so i got to spend the day with her. and a few of the members were around the building throughout the day and i love seeing them too! especially sister o. the best relief society president ever. AND... andrea, jon, tyler, and tessa were there! the family that lives behind the building that i taught :) my sweet little angel tessa. 

for zone conference President Packard decided that he wanted to try to condense everything he's taught us in the last two years (since he's been the mission president) in one day's worth of training. which is a lot of information. and it all boils down to ZION. the theme of the Massachusetts Boston Mission. a couple of the stake presidents came to talk to us too. from boston (President Rollins) and from nashua (President Holland). both of which are phenomenal human beings.

Sister Goncalves and i did a musical number. they asked us like three days before so we had to scramble to come up with something worthy of zone conference- and being performed in front of the Packards. but we found the perfect arrangement of Danny Boy :) if you dont know what this song is i insist that you go youtube it right now. i love it when sister goncalves plays the violin. i refuse to ever perform again without her. 

this past weekend was General Conference!!! We watched all of the Saturday and Sunday sessions in the Weston Stake Center. All of the Boston stake missionaries did because in between sessions we had choir practice. we're singing in stake conference this upcoming week. President Rollans (stake president) asked us to do it. He is the nicest man ever - he provided lunch for ALL of us missionaries, both days. 

General Conference was especially wonderful. theres something extra great about watching it as a missionary. but i couldnt really tell you why.. im so sad cause i left all my notes i took at my apartment! or else i would share some of the highlights that i picked out. but basically what i took away from it was that we must not take for granted the blessing of having a prophet on the earth today. He LITERALLY speaks for God. He stands in the place the Savior would if He were here. and we cannot fall if we follow him. Helaman 5:12 was a common theme....

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

well thats about everything exciting from my week! i love you all SO much :) i am forever grateful for your love, support, and prayers. it really does make all the difference. 

-Sister Tantillo

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Family and friends,
 Some of you already know some of this but I thought I'd send one email to explain to everyone. Thank you for your concern and prayers. It means so much to me and Allan to have the support of so many. Bonnie will be having her surgery to have her thyroid removed on October 24 at Mass General Hospital in Boston. Her mission president had to get special permission for her to have it there instead of having to come home. Bonnie didn't want to come home and we were concerned that it would be a difficult thing for everyone emotionally and that it would take too much time away from her mission. So, we prayed for a miracle that they would let her and they did. The other half of the deal was that I would be able to fly to Boston to take care of her. She and I would spend a few days after surgery with Allan's sister who lives a few hours from the hospital. Bonnie's mission president was great and tried hard to convince the church that I should be able to come, but the bottom line is that if the surgery is serious enough for the missionary to need his/her parents then he/she should probably go home for the surgery. Well, I'll admit I shed a few tears when I heard that I wouldn't be able to be there for the surgery, but I feel completely at peace about it now and I know that this is the right way for us to handle the situation. Bonnie asked today if Margaret and Terrie could come see her in the hospital so I'm sure they'll be willing to do that and give me a full report. She also said that either Sister Packard or her companion would stay with her the whole night in the hospital and she will be able to talk to us as much as she wants to after surgery. So, who can complain about that? The end of the story is the best part. Last Monday night Bonnie and her companion had a dinner appointment with some members in their ward. Bonnie just got put into the English program so she doesn't know the members in the English ward yet. On Monday night we got a phone call from a man in Boston telling us his family had just had dinner with Bonnie and that he would like to answer any questions we might have about her condition. Turns out he's an endocrinologist! He told us that when Bonnie got to the house he asked her if she had a thyroid condition because he could tell right aways that she had Graves disease because her thyroid is so enlarged.  Also, his wife has had the same surgery Bonnie will be having because she had thyroid cancer just like me. He knows Bonnie's surgeon and doctor and was able to confirm that they are the best and Bonnie is in good hands. AND they offered to let Bonnie stay with them for a few days after surgery so they can keep an eye on her. I hate to admit it but Heavenly Father managed to find someone who can take better care of Bonnie than even I can so how can I possibly feel nervous or uneasy about anything. I know she will be in good hands and I know that this is a tender mercy and that things will all work out. So, that's the end of the story. Please remember Bonnie in your prayers and thanks again for all your love and support.


General Woman's Broadcast

this weekend was the General Woman's broadcast! we went to the Boston stake chapel in Weston to watch it. my favorite part of the entire meeting was during Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk when he said "you can lift other's burdens while carrying your own". i think its easy to fall into this trap of self pity where you feel like you dont have the capacity to help anyone around you because youre having so many trials yourself. sometime we feel like our own problems are so huge that we have nothing left to give to anyone other than ourselves. we think that turning inward and spending the time focused on ourselves will fix our problems. but really the very act of turning outward, being lost in the service of others, can heal us mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. it was a good message for me to hear :)

so we had like a 30min drive home afterwards and none of us had had dinner before. therefore we were starving. so our plan was to hit up some fast food on the way home, but nothing fast food existed on our route home. so then we drove past this complex with a chipotle&olive garden in it. and we decided that was good enough. we parked and walked over to chipotle just as they locked the door... so then we were like alright olive garden. we'll get something to go. 

first i must explain that at this point it was 10PM which yes is late for missionaries, but we're allowed to be late on nights that we have things like general conference to go watch and havent eaten since who knows when... 

so we walk up to the doors of olive garden with this grand plan to get in and out and still home by 10:30 so we could at least be on time for bed. which actually did work out for us. anyways, what we didnt realize was that the only way to get food to go at olive garden is at the bar... so then four sister missionaries walked up to the bar. and i felt like the worst person in the world and it was so uncomfortable and i wanted to die the whole time! its funny cause if i wasnt a missionary this would be not a big deal at all. its just the whole representative of Jesus Christ standing at a bar late at night thing that made the situation funny.

in other news... i got emergency transferred this week! hah. except not really i just got switched to the english program. so we were in a trio (me, cope, goncalves) and we lived with the english sisters (watts, lee). but then sister lee got emergency transferred to a different area so i got moved to fill her spot in the english program. so im still in the same wards, same area, same apartment. just different language and companion. sister watts is a total sweetheart and im happy to be able to serve with her! and im sooo happy to still get to live with sister goncalves and sister cope :)

yesterday a boy in the portuguese program was baptized. his name is daniel nascimento and he is the tiniest 8 year old you would ever meet. he's like 2 ft high. i got to do the musical number for it and played "baptism". so that was fitting. after he had been baptized and was done changing he walked back into the room and yelled "Hey everyone! I'm back!" it was too adorable. 

sunday in general was a perfect day. literally everyone came to church. stephen reitter came who is an english ward investigator and he announced that he is ready to get baptized. daisy and geisy came - spanish investigators that had dropped off the face of the planet for a while. Father Peter- the Catholic Priest came to watch a baby blessing in the spanish ward. i was so happy! 

last piece of news for the week.  i met with a surgeon at MassGeneral to get her opinion on how best to move forward with my health. and she strongly recommended that i have surgery to remove my thyroid. so after talking to my parents and the Packards, we decided on that option. I'm scheduled to have the surgery here in Boston on Oct 24. the recovery is only a few days and then it'll all be over! good as new :) im really happy about this option and that its all working out. and im so thankful for my family and my mission family. 

i love you all :)

sister tantillo

Miracle Appointment

i dont know what to say about this week... it was weird. i got a miracle last minute appointment at MassGeneral Hospital and my new doctor is a million bajillion times better. he is going to fix me! so im pretty stoked about that. he says that my best option is to get surgery and have my thyroid taken out. bada-bing-bada-boom. the grave's will be gone. so i like that option. hopefully ill be able to wait a few more months until i get home before i have to have the surgery, but if i have to have it while im still on my mission it'll still work out just fine. im just happy to have a solution to my probelms finally! 

we've eaten a lot this week.. one night we had a brazilian dinner scheduled with the Bentos. I always love going there and they feed us a TON. which wouldve been fine except our investigator, Joame, texted us a few hours before and invited us over for pizza. i panicked, my fear of saying no returned, and we had two dinners that night. my companions were super happy with me. 

i made it up to them though at a later dinner in the week. At Nereida's house where she fed us squid. yes. squid. dear sweet sister cope does not like squid. so who had to eat her entire helping of it?? ME. i wanted to die. Hermana Quezada was there too. she always comes up to me, gives me the biggest hug and kiss on the cheek, calls me a flaquita, and asks me why i havent eaten anything all week while grabbing me by the rib cage. its a great tradition. 

on wednesday we decided to drop in on Alice and Amelio. Who promptly whipped out a three course meal with dessert. theyre good to us. we read a chapter of the Book of Mormon all together before we left and it had this warm comfortable feeling about it. sitting around the kitchen table with family reading scripture. i love it.

another highlight of my life right now are Joame and Gabby. THEYRE PERFECT. and the little boy, Geovani, who thinks he is my boyfriend. but thats okay he's only 4. they really are the most perfect family though. i love meeting people that have such a sincere desire to be closer to God and to change. theyre so pure and humble and i wish i could be more like them.

on saturday my family came to visit!! we got to spend a few hours together so we went to a seafood restaurant and then a chocolate shop. i love my family :) it was so good to be with them and i have the best mission president in the whole world for letting them come see me!! 

okay let me give you a rundown of the missionaries im serving with right now.. theyre all nuts.
Elder Johnson: the district leader. gluten free. leaving in 4 days/trunky. talks like a brazilian in even when speaking english. 
Elder Brown: visa waiter. hasnt yet accepted that he will never get his visa (just kidding i hope he does). really quiet and probably thinks we're all done.
Elder Henrie: zone leader. only ever said offensive things. 5 year old. 
Elder Orton: zone leader. nicest person in the mission. the only normal one/our only hope
Elder Catalan: the guatemalan. most everything is lost in translation. good at soccer.
Elder Pennington: the child. can't focus for longer than 2 minutes. is jealous of our portuguese.
Sister Watts: the perfectionist. her closet is like a movie. the icon of pinterest.
Sister Lee: the asian. more specifically, the korean. crazy. loud. funny. 
Sister Cope: violent. eats a lot. bullied me into being her best friend. 
Sister Goncalves: the Brazilian Saint. i dont know how she puts up with any of us.

just so you can have a taste of what im living with right now. 
alrighty thats all i have time for this week. LOVE YOU ALL! 

-Sister Tantillo

Happy 1 Year!

we still get to be in a trio!!!! so on monday we got a phone call from the Packards asking us if we would be able to still have a third companion and we were like yessssss why? and its because another sister had to go home and sister cope was going to be her companion. but since that didnt really work out now she is with us!!!! IM SO HAPPY!!! this is called when you pray real hard and God is good to you and you get to be companions with your best friends. this is the most golden trio that has ever existed. ZION i tell you. ZION. 

funny story though.. so all of this happened after transfer text came out which meant that where sister cope would go needed to change. she knew that she was going to be sent to one of the portuguese areas which has like 5 options. but President and Sister Packard for some reason decided to tell us that she was coming and they forgot to tell her! good thing we called and warned her! they remembered at transfer meeting and frantically/apologetically told her then :) she was a good sport about it haha. 

On tuesday we met Father Peter. He lives here in our area and has been meeting with the missionaries/President Packard for quite a while. He is a Catholic Priest who believes the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. Its a really interesting situation. we sat on his front porch and talked for a while and he gave us a pocket sized book of the four gospels + Acts. 

wednesday was transfer meeting. we got a ton of new missionaries! i love it when the greenies come in. theyre so pure and on fire and really theres nothing better. my sweet companion, sister sorensen, is going home. as tradition, all the departing missionaries bore their testimonies of the Savior and their mission. And Sister Sorensen did a musical number on her violin. She played Meditation which is a beautiful piece- but even more beautiful to our mission because if it's emotional ties to President Packard. It's a long story that I could never do justice, but I'll just say that it was the song played at both his sister's and mother's funeral. 

Okay now i must tell you about our most wonderful investigators Joame and Gabby! They are Brazlian mother and daughter and so cool! We've taught them a few times now and they came to church on Sunday. They're both on the verge of having baptsimal dates! and we get to go see them tonight!

we have 10 missionaries here in framingham/marlborough and almost every single one of the Elders we work with changed this past transfer. and theyre all crazy. all of the Sisters are on strike and we cant stand a single one of them. just kidding thats mean we love them. but they are a bunch of 5 year olds. i guess this transfer we're learning patience. 

saturday night we got to go to a wedding in cambridge! we took the T there and sister goncalves (the saint) provided the music. she played the violin for at least 5 hours straight. and they only gave her a days notice!! sister cope and i had fun though. listening to the pretty music and eating brazilian food all night :) 

on sunday the Packards came to church! they did all of sacrament meeting and each of the kids talked too. second hour the met with us and the ward council, and third hour all of the adults got to have an "ask any question you want" session with President. and those are ALWAYS good. we had sunday dinner at the Bentos (brazilian family) with the Sorensens. they came to pick up sister sorensen and were spending a few days in boston! it was so fun to meet them theyre all just like her! 

i think thats about it for the week!

i dont remember if ive sent these pics yet but happy year mark to me! and these are my new best friends aka the cutest girls ever.

Mass General

Dear everyone I love,
okay we'll start with a quick health update. my medication still refuses to work but all of your prayers are working and i somehow miraculously have more energy! President and Sister Packard are being wonderful and protective and decided to send me to MassGeneral Hospital to get better care and a better doctor. so ill make that switch this week. 

yesterday we had a baptism! It was for Miguel Gonzalvez who is the husband of a member. He's in the spanish program. It was such a blissful and wonderful day! Sister Sorensen, Sister Goncalves, and I did the musical number with me on the piano and them on their violins. I've decided that from now on i always need a violinist playing with me too. it makes it so much more magical! 

On wednesday we had MLC - the all day mission leadership council. I love getting trained by President and Sister Packard all day! We were there especially long this time because President wanted to end the meeting by reading a chapter out of the Book of Mormon with us - Alma 34. which ended up taking 2 hours to do because he had so much incredible insight on each verse! i was in heaven! and then i had a headache after from thinking too much.

we spent all of thursday planning with Elder Orton and Elder Rogers for zone meeting the next day. We train the zone on what we got trained on at MLC. and i must say it turned out to be the most legit zone meeting ever. we made it detective themed and turned the gym into a rope course! each companionship had to go through it but one was blindfolded. the purpose of it was having faith to find. after zone meeting we all went to lunch at a mexican restaurant. and we took up the whole restaurant. and then transfer texts came out!! sister sorensen is going home but other than that our apartment is staying the same. SIster Watts and Sister Lee, me and Sister Goncalves. They decided to release me as a sister training leader because of my health. which makes sense. President said he wants to call me as an STL again as soon as im better. but for now ill enjoy the break from the extra stress! 

on saturday night the members threw a surprise going home party for sister sorensen! except i totally ruined the surprise... woops. what happened though was that we had told her that we needed to be at the church at 6 that night to practice for a musical number with one of the members. then we went on exchanges all day and when we were getting in the car to drive to the church after she tells us that she had actually scheduled another appointment and we needed to cancel the practice. and i panicked and im bad at lying and so i was just like "uhh we cant do that cause the entire spanish and portuguese groups are waiting for us at the church". but hey it got her there. everyone is really sad that she's leaving! 

i feel like more has happened this week but for some reason this email is really short.... im sorry next time i'll be better! 

Here's some of Alma 34 that President shared with us!
And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety...

i love you all!

-Sister Tantillo

Crazy News

Hello everyone! first of all the reason i am writing today is because we get to spend all of tomorrow at the temple! and then the rest of the week is absolute madness and really this is the only time we have to do it.

okay so we'll start with the craziest news of the week first... we have a new companion!!! on Wednesday we were in the mission office using President Packard's computer to write to President Packard about the exchanges we had been on. He wasn't there obviously because while we were there he called us! which isnt that strange of a thing at this point, it would be more strange if we didnt talk at least three times a week. haha. anyways he and Sister Packard called and told us that an emergency transfer (when someone has to leave immediately and leaves mid-transfer)  was happening in Cambridge and that we were getting a new Sister to stay with us for two weeks. Most likely her and I will still be companions because Sister Sorensen is going home. So on Thursday we went to Cambridge to pick up Sister Goncalves who is Brazilian! Her companion, Sister Fuentes, went to Dorchester with Sister Cope and Sister Roman. They'll cover both Dorchester and Cambridge for the next couple of weeks (until transfers happen again).
Anyways, we are SO happy to have Sister Goncalves. Imagine the kindest and most compassionate person you know and then times that by ten and you have Sister Goncalves. She's been through a lot this past transfer but she's excited to be here now!

on tuesday we did exchanges with the English Sister that we live with! which is the easiest exchange to do ever. we even get to sleep in our own beds! it was a unique exchange because we decided to swap in the morning and then again halfway through the day. So i spent the morning with Sister Watts and the evening with Sister Lee. The coolest part of the day was when Sister Watts and i got to teach Daisy. Daisy recently started investigation the church, but she has caught onto it sooooo quickly! She wants to be baptized. She's already planning a time to get married so that she can get baptized. its so cool :) we talked to her about the questions "where did we come from" and "why are we here". Those big plan of salvation questions that everyone has! She ate it all up and was like "how did i not know this before? it feels so right and makes so much sense!" it was incredible. i love her :) as we left she told us that she was going to take a shower, get comfy, and spend the night studying 2 Nephi 2! my personal favorite :) 

thursday we prepared for sister g to come. we managed to get another bed and desk into our apartment with only a day notice! we also went out to lunch with Priscilla, one of our portuguese members, at a brazilian BBQ. so that was a really happy thing :) then we saw Darlene and continued to help her learn the young women's theme in english. and then we met our spanish elders (Wenner and Catalan) at the church to plan with them for the upcoming week! I served with both of them in my first area.

Friday we spent most of the day with the Elders at Nereda's house doing service. she needed help setting up a ton of stuff for her yard sale. so we spent the day digging stuff out of her spider infested shed (Elder job) and organizing them on tables. Today was really good! We only had three hours of church instead of 6! because one of the wards is on a camping trip and theyre having church there. so we got to enjoy a sunday morning of studies. also Sister Lee and I made Hawaiin haystacks for us all to eat for lunch. we considered sharing with the Elders but somehow that didnt end up actually happening.. in church today we did a musical number! me on the piano with Sister Goncalves and Sister Sorensen on the violin. we played "I Am a Child of God". We practiced for 10 minutes before church started but it turned out great i think! 

Miguel is getting baptized next week!! YAY! his wife wasnt coming to church but starting coming back and so did miguel. she taught a class today at church and it was beautiful! and Miguel is getting baptizted! we're so happy for him and for his family! 

exactly one year ago I was entering the MTC. I can honestly say that I had absolutely no idea what I was signing myself up for. But, as always, the Lord had a far better plan in store than I couldve ever imagined. Everyone told me that a mission would be the hardest thing I have ever done. They were totally right! but I will always consider my trials to be the most sacred times of my mission. the times when i felt closest to my Savior. the times when Christ taught me to be more like Him. This has been the happiest, most rewarding, and spiritual year of my life. I'm thankful to have another 6 months of the same :) and a lifetime to apply what I've learned on my mission! 

i love you all! 

i've been thinking about this scripture a lot this week. Being willing to give away everything - my desires, my talents, my time, even my sins- to know God.
            Alma 22:18
"O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day."

- Sister Tantillo