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

Boston for the Day

alrighty lets start way back at monday. we went into boston for the day! we met up with sister cope and sister roman and got to walk around the city all day long on a beautiful boston day! can life get any better? 
this week my doctor told me that im not allowed to do things that will get my heart rate higher than it already is.... so that doesnt really jive very well with missionary work. i tried to protest, but the other sisters i live with insisted that i rest as much as possible! which made for a not very eventful week for me. basically they would take turns staying with me so i could sleep. i wouldve complained more and insisted that i go to every lesson we had! but i was submissive and let them take care of me. it must have worked because im feeling significantly better! 

on wednesday however there was no time for rest because i got to go on exchanges with sister nielson! she was companions with sister francis (my trainee) in the mtc! so i got to spend the day in worcester with her. exchanges are awesome cause we get to learn from so many different sisters. especially as an STL cause i get to go on 5 a transfer! 

friday night was incredible. we got to go to Belmont to teach a family that sister sorensen knows. the dad isnt a member, but has been going to church for several years. we were asked to go to see if there was anything we could help them with. and it turned out to be one of the most spirit filled nights of my mission. It was so strong and peaceful. He's a scientist and for the spiritual thought we talked about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today. and we compared it to the scripture "all things denote there is a God..." saying that we can find God anywhere. in science, in nature, in our relationships, everywhere. 

on Saturday we had another exchange.  i went with the portable visitor center sister to a baptism in franklin. we set up the displays and then got to watch an adorable 8 year old enter into the waters of baptism and make that covenent with God. which is always something special to witness. 

sunday was the best day of the week!! church was fantastic as always. i continue to fulfill my duty as sacrament pianist. right after church we left for Hartford Connecticut! which ended up being about 2 hours from us with traffic. there was another Joseph Smith fireside that we got to go to. "What the World Knows because of Joseph Smith". President Packards talks about his experience growing up as a boy in Texas. When it was normal for kids to pull out their Bibles at lunch and talk gospel. He says that one day another kid asked him, "what does the world know because of Joseph Smith?" and so President spends an hour at these firesides answering that question. Some of the main questions that can be answered through the restoration of the gospel in these days include..
How do we communicate with God, and how does He with us?
What is the purpose of life?
What happens to those who die without ever hearing about Jesus?
What happens after we die?
Are we saved by grace, works, or both?
Where is God's church?
President Packard shared a story about when he was on his mission. He said that one day he shared the Joseph Smith story with a preacher.  His response was "Boy, if thats true, thats the most important event since the resurrection of Jesus Christ." To which President said ,"Well why do you think i quit my job, left my school and family, and paid my way here to tell it to you?"
The thing that stands out to most to me of the knowledge we have from the gospel of Jesus Christ, is the venue of revelation. That God has not ceased communication. That He speaks! That prayer is not a soliloquy, its a dialogue. That I know that I can get down on my knees and ask God anything, what should I major in? how can I better serve my family? Is this church true? and i can know that He will answer me! and that He does so because I am His daughter, and He loves me. 

At the fireside this weekend I recieved the tender mercy to be able to sit next to Julie. Julie is 35 and is currently investigating the church. She has been through a lot and is searching for truth. She had never heard the story of Joseph Smith, but got to hear it from the mouth of President Packard. at the end of the fireside i asked her how she felt. we both were in tears as she told me "i've never felt this way. i feel so warm, peaceful, and happy! i promise these are happy tears!" I told her that I knew that what she was feeling was God speaking to her, and that He loves her.

alright thats all i have time for today! thank you so much for all of your prayers! im getting better and the medicine is finally starting to make a difference! so thank you!

i love you all!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Goodbye to Littleton

i dont even know where to start with the craziness of this week.. 
the beginning of the week was spent with cleaning, packing, and running around saying goodbye to all of Littleton. which was so sad goodbyes are the worste! wednesday was transfer meeting. sister francis and i wore matching dresses because we randomly had the same one :) everyone thought that was pretty funny. transfer meeting was long because we had 31 missionares going home and they all gave their departing testimonies. i cried through the entire things. like not one glistening tear, full out crying the entire time. because my family is going home! everyone that i have served with so far is leaving. my trainers, sisters brown and hileman. my first STL, sister gomez. and SO many others that i have come to love so much. so that was hard for me. we sat next to sister hope and she cried through it all too. so that made me feel better that i wasnt the only one sitting there crying my soul out. but anyone that knows me knows that its not weird for me to be the only one crying. 
after the meeting was the usual chaos. everyone saying goodbyes, getting pictures, and getting our luggage where it needed to be. i eventually found sister sorensen and we headed to my new home in westborough! 
so about my new area. there are 10 misisonaries here that cover the 2 wards - framingham/marlborough. we all live in the same appartment complex. sister sorensen and i cover the portuguese and spanish. but there's a set of elders for each too. we go to 6 hours of church because we have to be at both wards since SP meets with one and PO with the other. 
im happy cause there are a TON of brazilians here!!! YAY! they make us yummy food :)
sister sorensen is my new companion and she is totally perfect. this is her last transfer so once again ill only have a companion for 6 weeks. but thats okay! I LOVE HER. 
this area is also awesome cause we get to do successful street contacting again! in littleton literally no one would talk to us, but here everyone does! even if theyre not interested theyre still nice. so thats really refreshing.
i also get to have roommates again which is the best thing ever! sister asay is a new missionary. and sister lee i knew at byu. we had communications class together and one day in class she told me not to serve a mission.... :) she's so funny i love her. 
theres this really cool couple here - the Pumas. He's our branch mission leader and his wife is pregnant as can be. theyre super cool and funny. im excited to work with them!
sorry this email is way all over them place. i keep stopping and then coming back to it and so it doesnt make any sense. basically im really happy in my new area and with my new companion but theres not a ton to say cause its only been a few days here! 
this week we have Mission Leadership Conference with the Packards and zone meeting. the at the end of the week we are spending the weekend in Pitsburg. We were going there anyways to go the a joseph smith fireside on saturday because sisster sorensen is in charge of the music program. so President invited us to come a day early and go to the Boston Pops Symphony with their family on friday. we're way excited for that!! so we'll be spending the weekend there!

my mission means everything to me. this gospel means everything to me. it gives me purpose. it gives me hope and faith and peace. it brings me joy and fills me with the love of Christ. because of that, i KNOW that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

<3 sister tantilllo

Sister Training Leader

alright explanation time. so President has been keeping me pretty in the loop on this whole thing. which is way nice of him and not a usual thing. so he told me i was getting transferred back to portuguese a week ago or so. and then on wednesday he told me he wanted to make me a sister training leader. which for those of you who dont know is a position of extra responsibility and we are assigned 3-5 other companionships to take care of, teach how to be more effective missionaries, and watch over their emotional and spiritual needs. anyways, so im that now. he called me friday morning and officially asked me. he also said that i would be going to an area where i would be able to use all three of the languages i have so far been in (spanish, portuguese, english). and i was like alright.. theres only like two areas in our entire mission where thats even possible. dorchester or marlborough. so i knew it would be one of those two! then later on friday after district meeting transfer texts came out! and i found out that the Lord wants me in framingham/marlborough! which is only like 20min from here and closer to the Packards. my companion will be sister sorensen. its a zebra area which means its a mix of two languages. so the two of us will cover both spanish and portuguese. it will be fun!! i called siste hileman and told her and she was like "the Lord has been preparing you for this your whole mission! this is why youve had to bounce around the languages so much!

ALSO TODAY IS MY 11 MONTH MARK! where does the time go..
we had the most incredible zone conference with our entire mission presidency. the highlight was president christensen's testimony, president's haight's humor, and president packard's talk on pride. it was so good! "pride is the great stumbling block to zion!" sister hileman gave me a birthday present at it and it was an album full of funny pictures. after the day long conference sister francis and i got to meet with president, during which he told me all of the stuff i already talked about with being a STL and where to transfer me.  

on sunday sister francis and i got to speak in sacrament meeting! and what do you know... my topic was pride! so i pretty much regave presidents talk in a 5 minute version of what took him 2 hours to say. i wish they couldve heard the 2hour version. Tyler, Jon and Andrea's son, really wanted to come up with me so i let him start my talk by saying "God loves me" and then he went and sat back down. it was way cute!

we went on exchanges this week with our STLs here. i went to billerica with siste layton. and sister staley came here to littleton with francis. it was a fun day and for our dinner appointment we got to go on an airforce base!!! cause thats where the family lived. it was sweet!

i had a wonderful birthday! it fell on a sunday which was supe lucky because i got to be with everyone at church for it! sister francis was really good about telling EVERYONE about it and i was sung to several times throughout the day. natalie showed up with cookies and a big hug where she lifted me off the ground. it was the sweetest! we have the best ward. 

for birthdays sister packard sends out a mission wide text with a bio about whoever's birthday it is. and sister carone wrote mine! it was so cute this is what it said "Now a big birthday shoutout for the nicest person in the MBM: Sister Tantillo! She comes to us from sammamish. WA!!! Did you know she sang in the last General Relief Society Meeting broadcast? She is also a piano lover! she plays like an angel, not only the piano but also the ukulele and singing! she likes to make figure 8s with a car in the snow and to speak portuguese with a brazilian accent! she's almost been in all the language progams in the MBM!! from spanish to portuguese, from creol to english! she is also a great soccer player and used to coach before the MBM. but most important shes a really spiritual person and everyone can feel it when aound her!! we sure love Sist Tantillo!" haha isnt that the nicest thing ever? carone sent it to sister packard to send out to the entire mission! except they took off the nicest pesrson in the mission cause thats just not true :)
and then eveyone in the mission is allowed to text or call you on birthdays. even elders! so i got to talk to and text a lot of my favorite people in the mission!

we had some really cool lessons this week. peter came back alive! and we had a lesson with him and taught him how to relate scripture stories to his own life,. he like that a lot. and brother christensen referred us to his neighbor who is indian. we had a lesson with both of them about our purpose on earth and he is a new investigator now!

on sunday this guy Kent randomly walked into our building before church started and wanted help finding the Lord's prayer. we ended up having a really cool talk with him and he gave us his number. he couldnt stay that day but wanted to a different day. 

its so hard to say goodbye to the people here.  i love them all so much! natalie is going to be the hardest though... wish me luck! 

i love you all! hope you have a great week :)


Its been another wonderful week in the MBM! 

Last Monday we went up to Nashua for a BBQ with several other missioanries. the Elders had a grand old time trying to force us to eat all of their food. They made us hispanic corn = mayonnaise and chili powder. rach wouldve hated it. also it was sister lewis' birthday last week and mine is this week so a couple of the elders made us a birthday cake. it was totally gross and i dont even want to know what they put in it. but they sang to both us of and made us take a bite. 

This past weekend a kid that Sister Carone and I taught in Brockton got baptized! and nobody bothered to tell us!! We found out whent the mission sent out a text saying everyone that had gotten baptized this week and we were like "Junior? like our Junior? the kid that made us cry and loose sleep over Junior? yes that Junior". so that was kinda sad cause we totally wouldve gone back and see him get baptized since we taught him for so long! but i was als SO HAPPY that he finally decided to get baptized! he was supposed to while we were there and then decided to stop coming to church ever. so im happy that that all worked out. 

We also had return and report this week! its an all day conference with the Packards that the trainers and trainees come to to return and report on how their mission has been going so far and to make sure us trainers are taking good care of them. We met in Belmont and got to listen to the Packards for hours. which is one of my favorite things to do! We carpooled with the Billerica Elders. Elder Espinola is the new missionary and he is from Paraguay and is learning English. Elder Broadhead is his trainer and he made us listen to country-gospel music the whole drive there. 

We had a tornado this week! (dont freak out mom). we were visiting with an older lady in our ward, anna mason, when we got a text from our zone leaders saying that a tornado had been spotted and to find shelter immediately and not leave. so we stayed in anna masons tiny little apartment and talked with her for 2 hours while we waiting for the storm to leave. we could barely hear her little voice over the thunder! 

We've spent a  lot of time with Barbara this week. i love her so much. she is trying to track down the missionaries that taught her when she first joined the church 50 years ago. so we're calling every bishop in mesa and boise to see if anyone has records of them living there then. not much success so far but we soooo badly want to help her find them! 

We had a Brazilian dinner this week! it made me so happy! it was with the Abreu family in our ward who are from brasil. They have the cutest little daughter who is so confused right now between portuguese and english and says half of each sentence in either one. its funny. 

Natalie and the rest of the youth went to youth conference this week and had a really great time! We had a lesson with Andrea and Sister Peterson came with us. Peter is still camping/fasting and hopefully will come back soon! We're going on exchanges with our sister training leaders tonight. i get to go to billerica and sister francis gets to lead this area! she'll do great! we have the entire day planned for her so she wont have to worry about a thing! and then we have zone conference in lowell on wednesday with the packards. 

we find out about transfers this friday and i'm most likely being transferred. we have a shortage of portuguese sisters because three are going home and the ones that were supposed to replace them got delayed with coming. so ill most likely be transferred back to portuguese to help fill in those empty spots. ill let you know though! 

love you all and have a great week!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's Been a Good Week

hello! okay here are some of the happenings from this past week. its been a good one! in no particular order...
1. we went to the greenfields house for dinner. they have a newborn baby named beatrice and she is totally adorable and it was the hardest thing of life to not be able to hold her! sister greenfield served her mission in japan and so she taught us how to make and roll sushi. it was super fun and i feel more cultured now. it was funny though cause sister francis doesnt like sushi. and then we had ice cream for dessert and she hates that. haha so im being a good trainer and teaching her that she has to eat whatever the members put in front of her and finish her plate! shes really a really good sport about it. i have very little sympathy cause we're fed a quarter the amount of food here than what i got with the spanish/portuguese/creole peeps. except im still too nice to her and will put some of her food on my plate when the members arent looking and eat it for her. 
2. im been telling sister francis all about pudim and we finally found a form to be able to make it in! from this brazilian lady in our ward :) 
3. so we were driving down the road yesterday just talking and all of the sudden this dumb bird comes ouf of nowhere and ran into the hood of our car and died! and ive never hit anything while driving before and i felt so bad and just started crying and then sister francis started laughing at me and she was crying too from laughing so hard. it was so sad!
4. it was 7/11 day this week so on the way back from district meeting we went and got free slurpees! and we were happy to have them because then we got stuck in good old boston traffic for an hour.
5. we had a lesson with ashok this week. the Golds came and it was fantastic. we talked about prayer and then at asked him to pray at the end. he started it by saying "hey God" and then went into the prayer. it was great.
6. we went to barbs this week (i adore her) and she shows us her enormous collection of old jewelry! it was fun looking through all of us and she gave us each a ring to keep! also she got a calling in church which is monumental for her. shes the relief society service something. haha 
7. we had a great lesson with andrea this week. we told her about tithing and fasting. and she was talking like she was going to start paying tithing. and then we saw her walking out of church on sunday carrying a huge pile of tithing slips! haha how randomly awesome is that! we got to see jon for the first time in like three weeks cause he's been working weekends too. he is as kind and wonderful as ever! we had a lesson in the church and told him about tithing too and helped him download the book of mormon on his phone so he can listen to it at work.
8. sandra howard, our sweet less active, totally disappeared for like a month and then showed up at church again this sunday! thank heavens! i almost fell over when i saw her, ran up and hugged her, and then she chastised me for now wearing good shoes with my ankle brace (shes a doctor). it was good to be with sandra again! we went to her house with the bishop that afternoon too.
9. on wednesday we went to mutual because brother gold invited us to come help out with his deacons. they got into companionships and put on badges and pretended to teach us as missionaries. it was super cute and they did such a good job!
10. peter moved into his new apartment this week! we had a lesson with him and he was telling us that after he moves in hes going to go camping for a week and do a blueberry fast to get rid of his addiction. we feel like thats a reallyyyyy bad idea and are sincerely worried that he's not going to come back. we talked to sister mcbride. the mission nurse, about it and she said he wouldnt die but that its still a bad idea and to try to convince him otherwise. so wish us luck with that.
11. we, as in i, lost the phone again this week. which always happens to me. i really shouldnt be trusted with is. anyways, when we finally found it we had a missed call from President Packard! which always is scary cause he usually calls to be like one of you is getting emergency transferred! so we finally got ahold of him and we could breathe easy again when he just had a few questions for me. 
12. we got put in charge on locking up the church on sunday night and it took us literally and hour to figure out how to lock one of the doors and we called the entire ward until finally someone answered us. 
13. alright the final and best story of the week! we were infested with fruit flies. we woke up one morning and our entire kitchen was swarmed with them and it was totally disgusting. so we rushed to the store and got this spray thing and fumigated our entire apartment. which meant that we couldnt be there for two hours while the smell went away. so we did our studies outside. and then we had do go back in and deep clean everything. like everything had to be scrubbed to get rid of the smell and the dead flies that had fallen everywhere. it was so nasty and terrible and it took pretty much the entire day.
14. oh one more thing! we had a mission wide fast this week for the 96 people being baptized this month! and president packard got knee surgery too and we're praying for his speedy recovery.
thats about all of our adventures from this week! President shared this scripture with us, he always says "lets wear out our lives in the service of the Lord, and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, for his arm to be revealed." I pray that I may wear out my life in the service of my God.
 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—
Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

I love you all and have a wonderful week!!1656&authkey=!ALqj6UooVN_nP-I&ithint=folder%2c.JPG

Letter #39: 3rd of July

hello, hello! so basically all im going to talk about is our 3rd of july. so every year boston has this incredible and huge firework show right on the river. President Packard told us that we could go to a show and to get back as quickly as we could, but that curfew didnt apply. he also said to stay within our stake boundaries but we got special permission to be able to go into boston! because we're not that far from it. so obviously the show was supposed to be on the 4th, but weather warning were saying that a hurricane was coming and the worst of it would be that night, so they switched it to the day before.

anyways, so thursday got here and it was a wicked humid day here in the boston area. its like being in the grips of death i tell yah. so we went to the train station to head into boston, but the schedule was weird because of the holiday weekend and so we ended up waiting there for an entire hour until the train came and we literally could have died. we got to talk to a man who was headed to england though and that was cool.

so then the glorious train with air conditioning showed up and we rode it into boston! we got off and headed straight for mike's pastries so that sister franics could experience it. i love showing her around boston! i love boston :) so we did that and then we headed over to haymarket station to meet up with sister cope and sister gomez. i have a brace thing on my ankle because i sprained it a couple of weeks ago so a guy with a bike and a carriage attached to the back offered us a ride for only 5 bucks. so we took him up on that offer and it was fun to be pulled around boston for a while! once we found the other sisters we wandered around one of the main restaurant streets for a while trying to find something that the gomester could eat. because she is dairy and gluten free by choice (who does that??). we we ended up at this yogurt place for us and then went to 7/11 for her to get fresh fruit. 
then we hopped on the T again and headed to the firework show! we sat on a blanket and played with uno cards and met up with all of the boston missionaries. the cambridge missionaries were on the other side of the river.
the show started and it was SO COOL! we stood up and moved to get closer and took pictures and loved it. The music goes along with the fireworks. It ended kinda earlier than we expected and we were kinda confused. Then a cop got on the intercom and announced that everyone needed to evacuate immediately. We started leaving and walked past another pair of cops and heard them say "gotta get out quick. the hurricane will be here in half an hour." so the we started walking a little quicker.

We hadnt gone more than 2 minutes though when i heard a huge gush of wind and looked back. I  yelled at the other sisters to look too and we could see coming straight at us from the river whirlwind of rain. and it didnt take long to hit us. People started running and screaming and we were immediately drenched. People ran to get under cover and we kept walking to get to the train station so that we didnt miss it. who knew id get to go swimming on my mission! it was crazy. i didnt even describe it well but it was crazy.
we got back to the train station and both our trains were leaving in 3 minutes. so we said quick goodbyes to the other sister. i hugged sister cope and kissed sister gomez on the head (praying that thats not the last time i see her since she leaves in a few weeks) and we ran to catch our train! thankfully we made it and at our ending station a couple from our ward were there to pick us up and drive us home. the storm had calmed down by then.
so that was our adventurous 3rd of July! the 4th we had zone meeting for most of the day. i volunteered sister hileman to do the musical number and she sang "abide with me tis eventide" and i videotaped her like the proud daughter i am! we're with her and sister lewis today up in nashua, NH.
Other stuff going on thats more missionary related haha his that Peter got into senior housing and is getting all sobered up and looks better than ever! and Andrea came to church for the first time in an month and was totally glowing! The gospel changes lives! We also got a new investigator! her name is caitlyn and she has been through really hard things and we love her. she is one of rita's barn girls. and we had a stellar lesson with our perfect natalie and she taught us the plan of salvation while we sat on a dock and ate ice cream! gotta love that missionary life :) 
i love you all!! 

-Sister Tantillo

Letter #38: Sacrifice brings forth Blessings


okay this week has been total craziness. however, i have gained a firm testimony of the phrases "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven" and "exact obedience =miracles". as  usual, the last week of the month we are totally out of car miles. because our area is huge and they only give us so many to get by. and so last monday we were doing the math and i was like oh shoot theres no way we're gunna make it and still be able to get everything done. so we texted the ZLs and were like soooo what would happen if we went over? and they said nothing really except that we'd miss out on the miracles. and so that got us determined to do anything possible to be worthy of those miracles! and boy did they come!!

so what we did was we went and picked up our bikes from our investigator, Peter's, house. and then we biked from ayer to littleton. google it. its far. so that took about an hour and a half in the Massachusetts muggy heat. you dont know humid until you come to littleton. and then we proceeded to either walk or bike anywhere within reason for the remainder of the week. and it killed. 

BUT WE DIDNT GO OVER ON OUR MILES. in fact we came out with 40 miles to spare! a complete miracle. we ended up getting rides to places we thought it would be impossible to. and i can so clearly see God's fingerprints all over our week. when we put in the honest effort, in faith, he blessed us tenfold.

and another way He did that, which is totally unrelated, but i think he just threw it in as a bonus gift, was that we got permission from President to go to Boston for the 4th of july firework show!!! we are SO EXCITED!

for p-day we went into Boston and took the train there and back. we met up with several other missionaries (cope,gomez,harris,carone,lima,etc) lots of my favorite people and spent the day at quincy markey and on the freedom trail, the harbor and boston commons. it was a totally perfect day :) 

okay other miracle. which is attatched to a really unfortunate situation. i got pulled over for my first time ever in life. boston cops i tell yah... but it kept tradition cause my trainer got a ticket my first week with her. so i had to break the law somehow in s.francis' first week to carry that on. anyways, so the town lines here are really close together and i didnt realize that the speed limit will drop from 40 to 20 and then back up to 40 within 2 minutes. if that makes sense. haha cause in the cities (the only places ive driven) the speed is constantly whatever the heck you want it to be. but thats not really an excuse, so he pulled me over but the miracle was he only gave a warning! i dont know if i shouldve told that story.. but oh well. its a good one!

we also had the pleasure of going to clean out our elder's old apartment this week. the zone leaders e.batts and e.spears helped us and it was super nasty. i dont know how elders can live like that. we were talking to our old elders, bringhurst and ripplinger, that night and they were like oh yah that was old lobster meat in the sink. two months old! i wanted to puke. 

speaking of which, sister francis has learned the art of eating until you want to puke when members are feeding you. i just smile and tell her i love her and then secretly think about how the portuguese/spanish people feed you a million times more. but thats alright, shes adjusting. she is so stinking adorable and i love her!! we are already best friends. im soo lucky to have such a perfect baby. she met her grandma (s. hileman) and aunt (s.lewis) this weeked when we went to nashua for a fireside. it was so good President Holland put it on and it was about "why i believe". 

this week we also got a super random phone call from president packard! and i always get nervous when the happens because mostly when he calls randomly its for bad news like, youre being emergency transferred! but it was good news this time :) he had just talked to our bishop who had told him how much he loves us and having sisters in the ward and that miracles are happening here (which they are!) and so President called to congratulate us!! it was so nice of both of them!!

alright i think thats all... if i forgot anything ill include it next week! i love you all! and i LOVE my mission :) 

today in our webex mission conference president said something along the lines of "if someone falls out of the boat, dont hit them with the oars." meaning, if someone is struggling, dont be mean or judge them, help them! it will make getting back in the boat a lot easier on them!!

have a great week!

love, sister tantillo