Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 7 – December 29, 2014

Ok, I have no time to waste so I am going to jump right in and tell you all about my Christmas week! Last Tuesday, the 23rd, Sister Bone and I got to go out to lunch with Brother Longstreet. He takes us out to lunch every week to a place called “SNUFFY’S”. I just have to say Snuffy’s is something I look forward to every single week. It’s a burger and malt shop and boy is it GOOD! Anyways, the point is it really is the small things in life that can bring us so much joy. Let us not forget to notice the small and simple things in our lives that truly bless us with happiness.

Later that afternoon, we did some tracking and then went to visit one of my favorite investigator’s Bob. Bob invited us over to meet his wife. We were so excited to meet her because we had heard so many wonderful things about her. When he opened the front door to greet us he informed us that he hadn’t told his wife we were coming by. Instantly, I thought to myself, "Oh no this isn’t going to be good!" He took us upstairs where he told his wife Carol that they had some guests over to visit. But to my surprise Carol welcomed us with open arms and big hugs! She had been baking away in the kitchen and before you knew it they had us sitting down at the kitchen table with about six different plates of different kinds of Christmas cookies in front of us and big giant mugs of cold milk to help wash them down. Carol had outdone herself! I think these were some of the BEST Christmas cookies I have ever had. While we were eating our cookies were able to share a Christmas message with them.

Pretty soon it was time for us to go head back to the house to grab some dinner. When Bob found out we were going home for dinner he simply insisted we stay for dinner! Oh Bob! Any-who, Carol whipped up the most Minnesotan dish I have had yet, “left over hot-dish”. But once again, Carol’s cooking was absolutely amazing! Somehow in the little time she had she was able to create this gourmet meal for us. While she was getting dinner ready Bob took us on a tour of their house and showed us all their amazing pottery collection. They have well over 400 different pieces. Their home is incredible! It reminds me a lot of Kandis’ cabin. It is very rustic. They have a loft that Carol uses for her own art studio (she is an art teacher). And they use their pottery for all of their dishes. Having dinner there was so fun because of how eclectic their taste was. Bob and Carol remind me of these free spirited grown adults who seem to have their lives put together (minus the gospel of course) ;) Maybe one day if I’m cool enough I can grow up and be like them! ;)

Christmas Eve we spent most of the day going around doing ward visits and tracking, sharing Christmas messages with people. We went to visit the Rigby family and we ended up meeting their mother who was in town visiting out in the driveway. She explained to us that she needed to round up the chickens that had wondered out of their yard so… what did we do… we did just that—we went out and gathered chickens. First we tried to lure them back by feeding them bread and then we gave up on that and I simple ran around them through the trees and tried chasing them back towards the house. Sister Bone and Sister Rigby were getting a good laugh watching me that’s for sure. You will be happy to know that, eventually all of the chickens made it back home.

That night we went over to the Kucera’s (my favorite family here) for Christmas dinner. Brother Kucera looks just like my Dad! Seriously, they could be brothers. And what is even funnier is that as soon as I got here he started growing a beard. I’m always telling him he looks just like Papa Larson ;) The Kuceras also invited Carmon over for dinner. Carmon is an older, little lady, from Peru, who doesn’t speak any English. She is super sweet. She welcomed us with big hugs and kisses on the cheek and seemed happy all night. None of us spoke Spanish so that make it very hard to communicate to say the least, but even with the language barrier we were able to have a pretty incredible experience with Carmon. After dinner we gathered in the living room where Sister Bone and I were able to share a message as well as our testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ. You could feel the power of the Spirit in that moment. Even though Carmon didn’t know what we said she could “feel” the Holy Ghost. The next thing we knew she started speaking in Spanish. You could tell she had been touched. She got emotional and choked up as she tried to speak. She probably talked for at least a good five minutes, but as she spoke the Spirit only grew stronger in that room. It was such an amazing testimony builder to me of how the Spirit truly works. The Spirit is the teacher. As missionaries, we are here to share the truth of Christ’s church on the earth today, but it is ONLY through the Spirit that people are able to learn for themselves that what we are sharing with them is true. What you say or how you say it, isn’t necessarily importantly as long as the Spirit is present. It is the Spirit that touches hearts and converts people to come unto Christ.

CHRISTMAS seemed to come so fast this year! And it didn’t really feel a whole lot like Christmas since there wasn’t any snow out here. That has to be a first for Minnesota! But hey you don’t hear me complaining! This morning we woke up at our usual time- 6:30 am… but today we stayed in our PJ’s and opened our gifts under our little Christmas tree. THANK YOU EVERYONE who sent me cards and packages (you all know who you are)!!! You all were so thoughtful and it was because of you I had some fun things to open this year!!! I have to say my very favorite was just being able to hear from people. Hearing from you has to be one of the greatest gifts ever!

Christmas Tree.
Stockings from Aunt Shelley.

Nativities from Peru from Steve and Keri.

More presents.

Mittens from Stacey.

Hats from CJ.

We went to the Hosteter’s for Christmas breakfast and that was a lot of fun. The elders also joined us there. After breakfast, it was that time… I GOT TO CALL HOME!!! I was able to talk to my parents and all of my siblings aside from my oldest brother CJ (I tried CJ… I promise! Just know I love you!). I actually was able to facetime my parents so that was pretty fun. Oh and Mom, I forgot to tell you, but you looked so pretty! I really did notice that. Papa Bear is one lucky man! ;)

Sister Larson's Christmas breakfast gathering with the Hostetler family. 
They do this every year for the missionaries.
This afternoon, we had the chance to take the afternoon for ourselves and what did I do you might ask??? I took a NAP of course!!! And oh my goodness, can I just say that was the best Christmas present I could have given myself! Those two hours were absolutely HEAVENLY! Then we finished the night off with going to dinner with the elders over to the Nelson’s. (The husband and father, Mike, isn’t a member, but has been coming to church for years- so it was great to be able to get the missionaries over there). We are hoping that maybe that can turn into our very own little Christmas miracle. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall, it was a FANTASTIC CHRISTMAS!

Friday morning, December 26th, we woke up to about 4 inches of SNOW! Ha—how about that—the day AFTER Christmas of course—go figures ;) But it was fun to finally get some very Minnesota snow that everyone has been talking about. Sister Bone and I had a zone service project this morning at Feed my Starving Children. It was so awesome! There were a little over 100 volunteers who help package up food that gets shipped to over 70 countries around the world. It’s pretty sweet and it was fun to be able to get together with some other missionaries.

First snow!

Saturday, the 27th, we were able to go and visit this sweet dear sister in our ward, Sister Erlindgsson. She got baptized a few years back, but hasn't been to church in a long time. She is older and has gone back to smoking and has felt so bad about that. She is so embarrassed and is constantly beating herself up for that. It is heartbreaking that she can’t see God’s perfect love for her. She hasn’t really been open to letting the missionaries come over to much, but her heart has been softening. We had a wonderful talk with her. We talked with her and tried to help her see how much her Heavenly Father loves her and how proud He is of her desires! She seemed to get excited at that idea. We have decided to go visit her each week so we can read the Book of Mormon together since it is hard for her to read. And the best part was before we left we asked her if she would like to pray and she said she wasn’t sure if she knew how anymore. We explained how simple our prayers to Heavenly Father are laid out and then she gave such a sweet and sincere prayer. It was so beautiful to see her turning to her Heavenly Father again.

Well, those were the main highlights of the week.

Love and pray for you all!

Sister Larson

Philippians 1:3

Sister Larson with her Mission President and his wife.

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