Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 2 – November 24th 2014

Ok well I'm just now finishing up my second week at the MTC and am going to be flying out to Minnesota earlyWednesday morning. I'm trying to brace myself for the freezing weather, but I'm not sure there really is anything that can prepare me. Here's a quick overview at week two here in the MTC...

-Today was the first day I went to the normal gym class and let me tell you... there was a reason PE wasn't my favorite growing up. But you all will be happy to know that I can still run a mile under 10 minutes and that I was able to do 60 push-ups (on my knees). But like the scriptures say, By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.
- Our little trio of a companionship had our first little struggle today, but we were able to talk things out and move forward. Being so much older and having experience in my field of social work is definitely going to be put to good use out here that's for sure! Speaking of being older... I was talking with my two companions and we realized when I first got to college they both were still in primary. HA- Kinda funny!

    First day it snowed here at the MTC! Its' about to get really snowy.
Sister Zimmerman Me and Sister Steadman 

- We met with a new investigator Melissa today and our lesson went great. I should have clarified earlier that most of the people we teach are members taking on the role of themselves before they were baptized. But for being members already they make it seem very real still. Even then some of the people we teach aren't members. They don't tell the missionaries who are and aren't.

- Speaking of investigators Carl committed to being baptized today! YAY! We are so happy for him!

- Oh and we also did a skyping lesson with a member and shared a message with her... that was a disaster, but I guess that is why we are here at the MTC. This is the time to LEARN!

-Tonight we met together as a district and we were all able to share our testimonies. It was awesome to hear from everyone and to feel the presence of the spirit.

- Then, tonight my companions talked me into being in the MTC choir. Oh my that was quite a joke! It was kinda a big deal. They recorded us and we did a practice and for some reason the camera kept coming on me! The funny part was that they put me with the girls who sing crazy high and we all know I don't do that. Anyways, I just lip synced my little heart out hopping that you couldn't tell anything was actually coming out. I totally had to pull a Milli Vanilli!

- WOW today I was insanely TIRED!!! All day long I just struggled to get through. My energy level is definitely going down and everyday when I finally get to put my head on my pillow it is a glorious moment!

- We kick-started our day by cleaning a whopping 40 toilets! That was our slot for service and we happened to be the last group that showed up so we were stuck with the toilets, but luckily they really weren't so bad. My companions and I just sang our little hearts out and chose to have a jolly time together.

- Today I also got the two shots I still needed, but I had mail to read while getting them so they weren't so bad. By the way I'm LOVING ALL OF THE MAIL I'm getting! You guys sure make me feel so loved and so special. Mail truly is the best thing for a missionary!

- Okay, so today the companionship hit another BIG BUMP in the road. We were struggling with negativity. Negative attitudes are not good, let me tell you. They really do affect being able to have the spirit. But once again we talked it out. Today was a much BOLDER talk, but it needed to happen. We ended our chat with sharing positives about each other and our companionship and that really seemed to help get us back on track.

My companions and me. Left to right: Me, Sister Steadman and Sister Zimmerman.

- Later tonight I talked with one of my teachers, Brother Lester, because I was feeling a bit inadequate and like I wasn't near ready to be thrown out in the field. After he told me he had complete confidence in me and that he would have felt comfortable sending me straight out into the field on day one, I couldn't believe what I was hearing! But I really did need that reassurance that I was on track and that I was going to be ok. Thanks Brother Lester!

- Today we spent the whole day doing an in-field orientation. The thing I was able to get the most out of it was how to best approach people and go from just talking and getting to know them to switching over to the topic of the gospel and Jesus Christ. I was able to get my creative juices flowing and came up with some good ideas.

- We taught Heather tonight and she prayed! Oh my the Holy Ghost was so powerful. It was such an amazing night with her, by the end of our lesson Heather committed to be baptized! Go Heather!

- My mullet got chopped off today. I know it was sad to see her go... ok not really. I'm still growing my hair out and am hoping to come home with some long hair, but till then I will continue to rock the awkward stages.

Chopped off that mullet. We all got haircuts.
- Brother Lester taught an awesome lesson today in class. I have to say I have some pretty bomb teachers. They do such a fantastic job and I am so grateful for them and for the things they have been able to teach me here.

- Then today we taught a couple over skype and then we also had a chance to go and visit Melissa again. Melissa also prayed for the first time with us tonight. I'm not sure there is anything better than being able to hear someone pray for the first time. Oh, and she also committed to being baptized. I'm beginning to wonder if they just have all of our converts accept baptism before we leave to boost our confidence. Either way we always leave so happy!

- Today I was called on to speak at church. They had us all prepare a talk on how to recognize the spirit and Elder Judd and I were both called to speak. I was grateful I had the opportunity to speak, but I have to let you know I was so impressed with Elder Judd. When Elder Judd first got here he was so shy, quiet, and homesick and now just 11 days later he stood up there and spoke with such power. When he bares his testimony it is amazing! I can't begin to express how much I have loved being able to see the growth in these Elders in my district. They make me so proud!

- As a district we went on a walk up to the Temple and that was fun. It was cold, but there were a TON of missionaries up there so that was kinda fun to see us all together.

MTC Zone on the temple trip.

Funny Temple District.

- Tonight we had to say goodbye to our four elders in our district that are going to Texas. It's amazing how close we have gotten and how much love you can develop for people in such a short amount of time. I truly do love those boys and pray that they will be the best missionaries they can be!

- Ok, lastly this is just kinda of interesting, but after my talk about recognizing the spirit, Brother Bahr (from my branch presidency) came up to me and told me that while I was speaking he was touched by the spirit and had an impression. I told him I thought that was great... I really didn't know what else to tell him. But then he went on and asked me if I would contact him in a year and a half once I got home. I wasn't really sure what he was saying, but I told him I would. What on earth do you think the spirit impressed him with?! And why did he feel like it was so important to ask me to contact him after my mission? Whatever it was I guess it must have been important. I made sure I got his contact information so once I am home I can give him and call.

My District.

My District.
I found Kate's mom (Sister Bass) at the MTC!  She is going to AZ on her mission!

This weeks highlights:
- Elder Koster told the BEST embarrassing story of all time!!!
- Sister Kirkby's Mom sent her movie theater popcorn and let me tell you that stuff has never tasted so good!
- A few of us bought matching CTR Superman shirts. Yeah we are just that cool!
- I got scared to death one night when I thought I heard a bunch of birds flying into our classroom window. Turns out it was just the rain. (However, this morning when we were walking by we did happen to see 3 dead birds just chillin' on the ground outside of the windows so apparently those windows are a problem.
- And lastly I have been craving grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup all week long! That just might be one of the first things I make once I get out to Minnesota.

Until next week- I love you all!
Sister Larson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 1 - November 17th 2014

I don't even know where to begin... the last few days have been a blur. I have been here for six days and I feel like I have been here forever. Not in a bad way at all, I just feel like I have done so much, grown so much, and have build strong relationships with my mission district here.

To start off I just want to say, I LOVE THE MTC, I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY, AND I LOVE THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS!!! This week has been so powerful and such a testimony builder for me. God is blessing me in so many ways!

First off, I have been blessed with two amazing companions, Sister Steadman and Sister Zimmerman. They both are 19 years old, but they are awesome! We make a great team and are learning so much from each other. These two sisters are such examples to me in so many ways! I love how in tune with the spirit they are. Not only do we make a good team working together, but we have FUN! We know when to work and we know when its ok to be silly and laugh. I'm loving all the memories we are getting to share together here.

I honestly, don't have much time to write this week so I'm just going to bullet point some of the highlights from the last six days...


- I got to meet my district (District 6). We have 6 elders and 5 sisters. Everyone is going to Minnesota besides four of our elders are going to Texas.

- We had the chance to teach our very first night here. We were in a group of about 40 missionaries who took turns jumping in and teaching an investigator. It wasn't going so good, so towards the end I jumped in. Our investigator wasn't really connecting with us which made it hard for him to feel the spirit and to know that what we were testifying was true. I was able to stand up and tell him about a personal experience that touched him and got him to trust me. I then was able to teach him about prayer and how to pray (Thanks Andrew for teaching me that- you totally had me prepared for this) and then I asked if we could pray together and he said YES! I got up in front of 40 missionaries and prayed. Oh my gosh, the spirit was so strong! It was powerful! Everyone in that room could feel the spirit. After I got tons of complements and our investigator came up to me and thanked me. He expressed what he felt and how I had brought him to tears. I promised him that what he was feeling was the spirit and that he just needed to keep praying. It was so cool! First day BAM!

- I totally didn't sleep at all my first night (but since then I have slept like a baby every night)... you get tired here!!!


- It SNOWED today! Ahhh! Minnesota here we come!

- Today I worked all day and just felt on fire. I could feel the spirit with me all day as I studied. I felt on fire and was getting pumped to be a missionary!

- I really have fallen in love with being at the MTC and it didn't take much time! I love the spirit you feel here and the constant learning.

- I also have fallen in love with my district. We have started getting close and have begun to feel like a family. We truly love one another!

- I have to say I am also noticing that Heavenly Father is blessing me with strength and energy and also confidence. The spirit is carrying me here and I can feel it!


-Today we teach each other how to pray. I was able to pair up with Elder Koster and teach him how to pray. He took on the role of "Brian".... I didn't found out until after that he was playing himself. He expressed to me that Brian believed in a higher being, but really didn't have a testimony of God and Jesus Christ. I talked with "Brian" and you could tell he had a desire to know! The spirit was there as I taught him how to pray and he got on his knees with me and asked God to know if God and Jesus Christ were real. It was simply and sincere, but powerful. Elder Koster was brought to tears. After praying he expressed how he was feeling and I told him that was the Holy Ghost and that was God answering his prayer. He then told me he wasn't playing a role, but that he himself was Brian. And that he had just had his pray answered. He went on to tell me that I changed his life and that I was the reason he will be staying on his mission. He told me that he was my first convert. My heart was so touched and overwhelmed I couldn't believe what I was hearing! Talk about powerful! The Holy Ghost is real. God listen and answers prayers!


- This morning my companions and I had the chance to teach Lexi (she is a member of the church who is getting ready to get sealed in the temple next Saturday). While we were talking with her I just looked at my two companions and saw how in tune they were with the spirit. They seemed to know exactly what to say and how to say things. I said a little prayer at the moment and asked Heavenly Father to help me be more in tune that I too might know what to say to Lexi. Sister Zimmerman had just finished talking about doing temple work for the dead and I just jumped in and started talking to Lexi about her sealing and how excited she was to be sealed for eternity. I then went on and talked about how she has family members in Heaven who also want to be able to enjoy those blessings of being sealed together with their families. I then threw out the challenge to Lexi to do her own family history work that she could bless her family who has passed on before. Lexi started to tear up and tell me how that was inspired and that was exactly what she needed to hear. She went on to tell me that she has known she has needed to do family history, but that she has continued to put it off and when she heard my challenge it was a reminder from God that she needed to be doing that. I realized in that moment that God does help me be led by the spirit and it that very moment the Holy Ghost was able to guide me to know exactly what I needed to say at that moment for Lexi. What a testimony builder for me!


-Church was great today. In relief society we were able to watch an incredible video of Christ blessing others. It was very touching and left most of us in tears.

-Later Sister Zimmerman got a really bad migraine to the point and Sister Steadman and I had to help her walk. She had us ask two of our elders in our district to give her a blessing. Our whole district gathered around to support her and support these elders. It was Elder Darlings first time giving a blessing. You could see how nervous both elders were. I have to say it was one of the sweetest and most powerful things I have seen! As those elders laid their hands on her head you could see their hands shaking, but you could also see the power of the Priesthood work through these two young boys. It was absolutely an incredible experience for our entire district!

-That night Sister Zimmerman was feeling much better and so the three of us decided we needed to run back to the classroom to pick up our stuff that we had left there from earlier this morning. We were already in our PJ's since we had a sick sister... so we kinda had to do a little undercover James Bond kinda thing which was so hilarious! We had fun acting all sneaking as we went to the other building to get to our classroom. We really were doing nothing wrong, but since we were in our PJ's we felt like such rebels. It was so fun and a great way to end the night!

Monday (today):

- My first P-Day!

- We started the day off great by getting to go to the temple (which is all the way on the other side of the street) ;) However, it was freezing walking over at 6:45 am

- The best part of the day was I got to wear my backwards hat, my flip-flops, and my jeans! Oh and let's not forget the 30 minute nap I got! Naps are a forgotten thing here on the mission!

- We also got to do our laundry and had a few good laughs there.

Some random fun facts:

- I love the food here at the MTC (And don't worry Mom I'm eating nice and healthy) :)

- They also have great chocolate milk!

- I have done a few early morning workout classes with my companions (Kickboxing and Yoga)

- And can I just say I LOVE wearing my MISSIONARY BADGE!

Love you all and hope things are going well back home!

-Sister Larson

Sister Larson before she entered the MTC.
Thanks Jessi for the picture and taking our girl to the MTC.

Sister Larson and one of her MTC teachers.