Tuesday, July 30, 2013


So this week was awesome. Why? I'll tell you why.... EXCHANGES in FLUSHING! Sister Mann and I took a trip to Flushing and Sister Laney stayed in Woodside. Guess who I got to spend a day with? SISTER DEAN! (She's in a trio with a visa waiter too.... so I was technically paired with her companion Sister Norton who is AMAZING, but we spent a lot of time with all four of us together.)

United once more with my first companion from the good ol' MTC. :)

One of the best days of my mission. :)

To help you understand how my day was, Flushing is the area just to the east of Woodside and it's a little bit like stepping out of the USA and into China. Haha. Everything is in Chinese and the majority of the people around you are Chinese or Korean. List of my favorite things about my exchange in flushing....

1.) We started out with morning exercise...THAI CHI! Wooo... Wouldn't you love to have a video of that? The four giant white girls doing Thai Chi with 100 Asians at the park. We weren't hard to miss that's for sure...the blonde/curly hair, clear confusion about right and left, and the complete lack of flow in our moves was a dead give away.

2.) Sister Norton and I fearlessed in CHINESE and Spanish! (I know how to say, "Please come to our free English class" in Chinese.) TRILINGUAL. (Ha. Not really.)

Sister Norton is SO good at fearlessing. I'm glad I got to learn from her. She's just super brave and talks to everyone... And yet she's still very efficient and got us to all appointments on time. For those of you who have served missions, you understand that this is a difficult art to master.

3.) I got to meet an awesome member of their ward (Hermana Lopez). We talked to her about helping her less active son and non-member husband feel the spirit. She's such a strong woman, and her testimony of people's ability to change really strengthened me.  She actually got hit by a bus recently and is recovering from surgery. She's been getting around in a wheel chair. And get this, the Flushing chapel doesn't have any ramps for wheelchairs...so she came all the way to Woodside for church yesterday because our church has ramps! I was so grateful to see her again. AND her husband came with her!

Such a tender mercy for me to see them again, and to see them both together at church!

(Just a fun piece of information... They asked me if I was from Argentina because she thought I was a native Spanish Speaker. [Apparently there are lots of European looking Argentinians with blonde hair and fair skin.] Haha. WOO! Things are looking good in that regard.)

4.) REAL Chinese food! (Woodside Chinese officially became panda express junk-a-rooski.)

I have to be completely honest with y'all. I don't really know what I ate. No one in the restaurant spoke English or Spanish so I just had to point to what I wanted and hoped that it tasted good. Haha. I know I ate a couple different kinds of fish (Trust me, I know that it was fish because they still had their eyes, heads, tails, scales, fins and bones. Haha. Pretty sure I had some duck and some sort of shellfish... and a bunch of chicken dishes with curry and lot's of rice and noodles. SO good... Whatever it was. :)

5.) I love learning from other missionaries. You just learn things you never knew you never knew constantly. :)

As for other news... Graciela is incredible. She's been meeting with us A LOT. One of the biggest struggles I've had thus far on my mission is getting investigators to meet with us frequently. It's just tough. But she's wanted to be with us as much as possible. She and her husband (He's home and doing well!) have come to the church to meet with us a couple of times and it's been amazing. Heavenly Father has blessed us so much. We are so privileged to know this family. It's rare that investigators really want to pray with us. But she has gladly said a prayer with us in EVERY lesson. 

The Cortez Family is progressing too! We're doing an FHE with them this week where they'll have the opportunity to come to the home of one of our ward members, and meet some of the awesome families in our ward. Hopefully this will be the key to helping them come to the church. I know for a fact that when the ward takes the responsibility of inviting and accompanying investigators to church it works out better. That's the way it should be. The ward will always be there to support them, and we won't.

All in all things are good. I feel so blessed. The Lord is in the details of our lives!

Families are forever. And I was lucky enough to receive an email from my mom and hear about the family reunion going on... All I can say is that I LOVE MY FAMILY.

All of you! Thank you for your prayers and for your testimonies. You are all so strong. And I know that our family members who have passed beyond this life watch over us and cheer us on everyday. Never forget that your daughter/sister/granddaughter/cousin/niece/great-niece/crazy friend in New York City is so glad that families are forever... because that means I get to be with all of you. If we continue in the doctrine of Christ we will all live in eternal joy forever. How awesome is that?

Keep the faith and I hope all of you Poulsens and Reseighs are enjoying sunny California!

Much Love, Always,

Sister Tara Franklin

Monday, July 22, 2013


I don't know how it's been for the rest of the country but it has been similar to the surface of the sun out here in New York, 104 and 100% humidity. I've never actually prayed for an early winter before this week. Haha. Seriously though, I hope we don't have another week like this last one. I might melt. Oh, and Aunt Cheri, I know what you're thinking. And I PROMISE I'd take the Arizona heat over this ANY day. Its like a steam room up in here.
Luckily it's in the upper 80's low 90's today... the Heat Wave is on the way out.

On to bigger and better topics...
Do y'all remember the talk called "Catch the Wave" by Elder Nielsen? Great talk...and guess what...It's happening! Our ward is really catchin' the wave. Missionary work is changing drastically around here, and it's just incredible. In the last few weeks we've seen so much change in the attitude of the members and we as missionaries have really stepped it up too. Every member is a missionary and every missionary is a member. We're all getting callings and have a visiting teaching/home teaching companion. (We all know what my calling is...piano player. Haha.) We've been teaching investigators with the members there backing us up and fellowshipping like never before. Members truly are the key to all of this.
On another note... Our ward now has FOUR missionaries out. 2 in Brazil, 1 in Las Vegas, and now Carla will be heading to PROVO, UT this week. She's going to go take care of my people while I'm here takin' care of her people. Sounds like a great deal, right? :) Carla is the first Sister Missionary from the Woodside Ward ever. I am so grateful for pioneers like her who set the example for others. I'm grateful for people who aren't afraid to do difficult things! She caught the wave and is helping so many others catch it too. What a champ. All of my peeps in Provo/Utah County, watch for Sister Sanchez. She's fantastic.

We had a little FHE celebration thing for her last night at the church...the whole ward came out to celebrate. SO MUCH FUN. We played "I Have Never" ("Yo nunca he"). (For those of you who don't know what that is... it's like "Do you love your neighbor". Everyone sits in a circle while someone stands in the middle and says "I have never had/done/been/eaten/etc." and everyone who HAS had/done/been to/eaten said thing/activity/place/food/etc. has to get up and switch places and try not to be the one left in the middle.)  Since almost all the members of my ward are converts it got a little hilarious when someone said "I have never been drunk/gotten arrested etc". Haha. (The gospel is a great thing.) Elder Bills was also the last one standing for "I have never worn make up/high heels/or a dress." and Elder Van Mondfrans and I were fighting for the last seat on "I have never had a son." Hahaha. That's what happens when you can't understand Spanish very well. I guess we all know each other a little too well now.
Haha. Best Ward ever.

Now for a miracle story:
She is a new investigator, and she's just incredible. She's got a crazy story:
Her husband worked really late into the night every night and didn't usually get home till about 3am. One night about a month ago he was walking home from work and he got jumped. His attacker stabbed him 5 times in the stomach and twice in the chest/heart. Miraculously, he lived.
However, life has not been easy for Graciela for the past few weeks as you can imagine...between being at the hospital with her husband and taking care of the rest of her little family, it was just too much. She got on her knees one day and asked God to show her the way, and pleaded for some sort of relief.  That same night the Elders knocked on her door.
God answers prayers. I know he does. He is always there for us in our time of need.
She's amazing. She pretty much teaches herself in lessons. She's so awesome. I know whether it's during my time in Woodside or not, she'll be a member of the church someday.

I feel so...happy. I'm just so glad to be here. I come home every day and I'm exhausted. My brain is fried from speaking/translating Spanish and my feet ache from walking from one thing to the next. And it feels AWESOME. I love working hard, nothing is more satisfying. I owe it to the Lord for the blessings I receive everyday.

I hope everyone is "catching the wave" in one way or another. Now's the time! Congrats to my Mary on her mission call! Wooo! Look out Richmond!
I love you all! Keep up the good work. Remember to write me a letter. Thanks SO MUCH for all of the responses last week!

Keep the faith,

Hermana Tara Franklin

Enjoy this picture of our suffering out in the projects during the heat wave...the lack of AC units out there was killer. Makes me grateful. Builds Character. Check out the sweat on Sister Mann's back after wearing her back pack for only 10 minutes.

My trio with Carla. Woo! We're so proud of her.

Elder Van had a Birthday... and here we are Celebrating with Sister Ochoa. :) 

Me with the youngest member of the Almanzar family, Sabastian. Love them. We talked about The Plan of Salvation. He sure does love me. Haha.

We helped to cultivate all the newly planted trees in Woodside for "Mormon Helping Hands Day" It was cool to walk down the streets in the sea of yellow vests!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Eternity

The last few weeks have felt like an eternity. It's unexplainably weird how fast and yet how slow time passes out here. I discovered a couple days ago that I'll be hitting my 5 month mark this week. Weird? YEAH. Definitely.

So A LOT has happened this week. We were able to meet with LOTS of less active families and it was SO fun. We even saw a couple of them at church yesterday. (People coming to church after a long absence always lifts my spirits.)

I had an interview with President Calderwood, and MAN, he is sure awesome. He shared D&C 93...and how I can see that Jesus Christ, the only perfect person also progressed and grew "grace for grace". So that's what I'm doin' too. Growin' "grace for grace". :)

I've been trying really, really hard to help people with small things, and be watching constantly...looking for any small acts of service we can do. We met a wonderful girl from Argentina when we helped her carry all her laundry to the Laundromat yesterday. And I CAN'T wait to meet with her. She asked me if I was from Argentina because my Spanish sounded authentic. HA! What a great compliment that was! Funniest part about it was that I had just left a Dinner Appointment with a member who told me my Spanish had improved so much since I came, but that it was still awful. Haha.

I've also taken Sis. Van Langen's place as "la mas gorda". ("The Fattest One". I know. It's awful. But it's not really an insult in Hispanic culture. I just try not to think about it too much and keep smiling. Haha.)

Sorry to switch topics quickly but there's a lot I want to say and I have almost no time today...

I have a request. I'm studying Repentance. Repentance is something that's always been hard for me to wrap my brain around. And well... I'd love some help understanding it better. Obviously it's immensely important, it's the 2nd principle of the gospel. I know it's a personal thing, but I love hearing other people's perspective on gospel topics.

PLEASE, EVERYONE who is reading this... take just a few minutes and write down thoughts about what Repentance is, why it is so important, and what difference Repentance makes in your life, or how it relates to another gospel topic, like Charity (for example.) THEN PLEASE send me a quick letter or email. I really do need everyone's help on this. Don't feel like you have to share anything too personal or take too much of your time. Whatever you want to send me! 

Thanks for everything! Sorry this update was pretty short! The Work is rolling along. Feel free to jump in. I expect lots of emails and letters!

Hermana Tara Franklin

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Home of the Brave

Hey what's up everybody?!

Things are good. TOO good. A week of miracles!

First off, I went on an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders and was in Rego Park for the day. So much FUN. It's always interesting to work in an English pool. Nice to teach in my native tongue every once in a while. Haha. I got to meet with Mou (not sure on the spelling there....). A woman from Nepal who converted to the church about 3 years ago... Used to be Buddhist. She was a suuuuper interesting gal. She asked me all kinds of questions about my personal take on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since she was raised Buddhist she still has a lot of Buddhist-ish ways of doing things. For example, she meditates for like, 4-5 hours a day. Hence, she has plenty of time to think of deep questions to ask the missionaries. Haha. Loved her.

Also met a less active guy named Byron. Such a hoot. Haha. His wife, Christy, is Catholic and they've got a cute little 3 year old boy and a brand new baby girl. Cute little family. We kind of just stumbled upon the visit, a little miracle that we actually got into their home with all of them there. I sang and played the guitar for them. (I've gotten a little better and know how to play a few hymns. Woo!) Byron said that at least one of the two missionaries in our home is from Utah, can play the guitar, or sings.... So I told him he had all three in ONE. Me.

How was everyone's 4th of July?! I was sad to miss out on all the family traditions... I'll be honest. But I still had a good day. Our ward had a HUGE 4th of July BBQ. F-I-E-S-T-A  Soccer, volleyball... and of course Brazilian Grill. Lots of Salsa and Lots of rice and chilies. Super patriotic right? ... Haha. It was awesome. We had over 10 nonmembers/investigators there and tons of less active families. It was great to see everyone there like one big family.

Now, let me back up and give a little background information...We tried to give "Church Tours" for an Elliptical Finding Activity a few months back. It was a HUGE fail. BUT, Elder Van Mondfrans had a dream that we did Church Tours again and 100's of people came to the church...(yeah, he's really embracing the Hispanic culture...). We discussed it, and decided to give Church Tours another chance. A perfect opportunity came for us to give it a go. There was a big street fair on Woodside Ave. right near the church on Saturday. We stood on the corner amidst the crowds of people and gave out free water and offered to take them on a tour of the church. As it was 7,438 degrees Fahrenheit outside... TONS of people came in, if only to get out of the heat. But hey, everyone loved it. Looks like Elder Van Mondfrans now has a testimony that dreams really do come true. Haha.

To top this week off...we had 5 LA/investigators come to church! WHAT a great Sunday. I couldn't stop smiling. Miracles DO happen.

Sister Mann got up and bore her testimony in Spanish. Made me cry...She doesn't know many words in Spanish but she's walking proof that by simple means GREAT things are brought to pass.  I'm SO proud of her...She works so hard. I'll miss her more than words can say when her Visa comes. I'm secretly praying it never comes. Shhh! Haha. 

 My spiritual thought for this week is about Family Home Evening. I love FHE. I know sometimes it might seem like it's more work than it's worth. But I've seen how it really holds families and even wards together. Satan is working on our family relationships double time. We've got to do all we can to keep our homes sacred places to be. Mom, I would like to publically apologize for all the times I made it difficult to do FHE. I was an awful kid. Haha. But seriously, everyone have a GREAT family night tonight, okay? I promise blessings come from setting aside one night a week for the family!

Love, peace and blessings to all of you! You're all in my prayers!

Hermana Tara Franklin

P.S. Got a wicked Sunburn. Next stop- FARMERS TAN. Promise I'll wear sunscreen from now on, Mom. Haha.

P.S. I hope you enjoy this picture... Not sure what kind of Beetle he is. But his name is Ronny. Named after the Cashier at Rite-Aid. Haha. He was HUGE. I have no idea how long he was just chillin' on my bag before I noticed him. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Come What May and LOVE It!


I got hit in the face with a curve ball.

I'm a trainer. A TRAINER. After TWO transfers…

I'm still in a trio. I'm training Sister Mann with Sister Laney...from my MTC district.

So if you do the math here, this companionship consists of 3 girls who have each been out in the field 3 months to the day, or LESS.

Sister Mann doesn't speak Spanish, and Sister Laney has been serving in an English Ward for the past 2 transfers. As you can imagine... I've been doing A LOT of Spanish speaking and a lot of getting us everywhere we need to go.

And well, to be honest, it's been the hardest most exhausting week I've had yet.

Despite how difficult it's been I've grown SO fast – Not that I really had a choice.

Before transfers I prayed and asked heavenly father to put me in whatever situation would help me become my best self.  I guess this is it.

There's a talk I've been focusing on this week called "The Fourth Missionary" I encourage everyone to get a hold of it and READ it. It's incredible. It helped me think about what I have ahead of me in a very different way. I've been able to flip a 180 and have a much brighter vision for what will come of all this.

This is a quote that has helped me brush myself off and just get up and keep going:

"The Fourth Missionary is the only one who can lose himself in the work, because he forgets his own concerns, he lets go of what he wants. When he lets go he then is free to think of others. He is the only one who does not count the cost."

This transfer my goal is to forget myself. Quite frankly I have way too much work to do to be worryin' about myself. This is all for the Lord. I am on the Lord's errand. And I am entitled to His help. I know this is the truth. There will be days that are easier than others. I know that, but I know the Lord is trying to tell me that He trusts me. He's giving me the opportunity to be so much greater than I've allowed myself to believe I can be.

I can and WILL be The Fourth Missionary.

Read the talk! It's inspiring... I believe it applies to more than just full-time missionaries.

(Here is a link that I found for the talk – at least I think it is the one. – from her mom) http://www.scribd.com/doc/34660140/The-Fourth-Missionary

Love you all, keep praying for me! I'll need it this transfer!

Hermana Tara Franklin

P.S. Just some random information from this last week:

I did the musical number with Elder Hogge at transfer meeting... Everyone cried. Haha. Pretty sure we should cut an album when we're both home.

My whole Timpview Posse went home and ditched me... Enjoy the picture!

Had THE BEST food I've had in my life. Brazilian, of course.  Tucanos looks like 5 Buck Pizza compared to this place. Haha.

And I gave my first talk in church...went pretty well!