Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 11 – January 26, 2015


Here I am once again at the library typing away… This last week has buzzed by, as usual.

Last, Monday the 19th of January, we had a district P-Day where the six missionaries in my district got together at the Hicken’s home to watch the movie, “Frozen”. I was very surprised my mission president let us watch that movie but it was kinda a nice little break. I know there are a bunch of “Frozen” lovers out there, but since I have very limited time, I ended up just writing letters the entire time. I may have looked up at the screen a couple of times but for the most part I was just writing away. So many of you are good about writing me that I try my darn hardest to write back whenever I have the chance.

Sister Bone and I ended up staying over at the Hicken’s for FHE (Family Home Evening) later that night. Mercy came over to watch a video on the scriptures. The video was a great reminder about all of the sacrifices people have made over the years in order for us to have the Bible and Book of Mormon today (1 Nephi 5: 21-22 and 2 Nephi 4: 15-16).

Tuesday, January 20th, the Elders introduced us to Melanie. They had met her a while back and were going to pass her along to us to teach. She is a solid Christian with a strong belief in Christ. It was great to meet her and start teaching her. Her family has had many preachers so she is very familiar with the Bible. Melanie has very good questions for us. She is definitely making us work. We might not have all of her answers right on hand but it gives us something to study and look into for her. We were able to bear our testimonies to her of the power of prayer and how God can answer all of her questions. Sometimes we don’t have all of the answers but we know we must trust God in ALL THINGS! There are plenty of things that don’t make sense to us, but God knows all and we must exercise our faith in Him. We tried meeting with her later this week but she wasn’t home, so hopefully we will be able to catch her next week and keep meeting with her.

That evening we went over to Bob and Carol’s. We were planning on teaching them the restoration lesson (since Carol hasn’t had it yet), but for some reason it just didn’t feel right. Instead, I opened up with them and shared a little bit about my past and why I am here on a mission. It invited the spirit into their home and Bob was able to open up about some of his past. He had a near death experience a few years back that really seemed to shake him up and put things into perspective for him. Bob was very overwhelmed with the Spirit and just began sobbing as he shared his story with us. It was awesome to see Bob be so open and vulnerable with us. I knew it was time to be BOLD with Bob and Carol! We have come over a handful of times and we always have a wonderful time, but they seem to just like our company. It was time they understood our purpose as missionaries. We were here to share our message, not just to come visit and simply be friends. I then explained this to them and invited them to take 5 lessons from us. I told them that these lessons would help them draw closer to Christ and help them understand where we came from, why we are here and where we are going, as well as learn key principles such as faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As soon as I asked them, Carol instantly started back peddling and tried to come up with reasons why she couldn’t take the lessons. Eventually, they told us they weren’t interested in having us over to share our lessons with them. When it came time to leave, we said our goodbyes and told them we loved them and then we told Bob to CALL US when he was ready to have us back over. Instantly, Bob realized how serious we were. He just said, “Wait, you mean you aren’t going to CALL US anymore?!” I just looked at Bob and very lovingly told him to call us when he was ready. We left that night thinking we probably weren’t going to be seeing Bob or Carol for a while. Interestingly enough, we got a call two nights later around 9:30pm from Bob. When I asked him what we could do for him, he said, “I’m ready for my lessons.” I could hardly believe my ears! Go Bob!!! I was so happy to hear this from him! I guess my BOLDNESS worked ;) I knew he wanted more! Every time we went over there the Spirit was always present and it was something Bob recognized and wanted more of. BAM! The Holy Ghost is real and He really does work miracles!

Bob and Carol and granddaughter, Nia.

So now on another note… Sister Bone and I go and visit Brother Dam (a little old Vietnamese man with Parkinson’s disease) once every week. He got baptized about a year and a half ago. He is the cutest little man—very little, feeble, weak, but he has a heart of gold. Every time we go over there he always has coke and orange juice and some little treat for us like cookies or donuts. Any who, so two weeks ago Friday, we went over to visit him and he didn’t answer his door. Now you need to understand Brother Dam always answers his door for us. We set a scheduled time to meet and he usually has the door opened before we even get there because he is waiting and watching out his apartment window for us. After knocking a few times we left thinking maybe he went to bed early or something. But we decided to call and leave him a voicemail. Now Brother Dam always returns our calls, however, he didn’t this time. When Sunday rolled around he wasn’t at church. You don’t just miss Brother Dam at church because he is one of our greeters before sacrament meeting. Sister Bone and I were a bit worried since we didn’t come to the door on Friday and now he wasn’t at Church on Sunday. But we got busy and forgot about it. Tuesday rolls around, and we realize we still have NOT heard from Brother Dam. Now we are really worried! We end up asking the Elders to go over to his apartment to check on him just to make sure everything is okay. The Elders go over around 7:45pm to go check on him and they find two meals sitting outside of his front door, the lights are on, but when they knocked no one came to the door. When they called and told us this we started freaking out thinking that Brother Dam could have fallen and broken his hip a week ago and couldn’t get to his phone for help. We realized we needed to do something! There was a good chance Brother Dam could have been on the other side of that door hurt or even possibly dead. We ended up making some phone calls and the next thing you know his home teacher (our ward mission leader, Brother Broadbent) was there with the Elders. They were able to get the apartment management to try and get in his place, but they didn’t have the right keys so then the neighbor joined them in trying to open his lock with a screwdriver, but that didn’t work. Eventually, the police were called and they tried getting in, but still no luck. The police had no other choice than to kick down Brother Dam’s door! It’s 11:30pm by this time and they go inside to try and find Brother Dam—but—he is NOT there! The good news was we didn’t find Brother Dam dead on the other side, but the bad news was we totally busted his door. Oops! The next day, we got a phone call from Brother Dam, turns out he was in Sunny California. Lesson learned, Brother Dam will never go out of town without letting us know again and we are making a spare key for Brother Broadbent to hang onto for future situations. It really is a pretty funny story now, but for a few hours there Sister Bone and I were freaking out a bit. I’m just grateful everything worked out the way it did.

Brother Dam's Door.

Thursday, January 22nd, I was able to put my BOLDNESS to the test again. We went to visit Sister Ennis (She is a less active member who has been less active most of her life). She is so sweet and nice! We were able to have a wonderful chat with her. We talked about Mosiah 2:41 and how we will be blessed IF we keep the commandments of God. She totally agreed. She shared some awesome personal stories with us and was brought to tears as she remembered all of the blessings God has given her. I then asked Sister Ennis WHY aren’t you coming to church anymore. She explained how she was comfortable in her life and didn’t feel like she needed to change and that she also had a hard time being around certain people. We were able to talk about how the Gospel is perfect, but people aren’t. I told her that going to church was a commandment and it was where God wanted her to be. I went on to explain that not only did we need her at Church, but that she needed the Church in her life! She was choosing to pass on some many wonderful blessings God had for her and her family because of her choice to not go to church on Sunday. I reminded her of the blessings of being able to partake of the sacrament each week at church and how she can renew her baptismal covenants with God. Once again she was brought to tears as she realized what she was giving up by choosing not to go to church. I then asked her to pray to God and ask Him if He wanted her to go back to church. She said she had never thought about doing that before but that she would do that and ask God if He wanted her to go back. She actually ended up saying a prayer to herself right there in front of us- sniffling her way through. BOLDNESS is POWERFUL! We are planning on going back to see her in about a week and a half. I am praying that she will realize how many blessings God has in store for her if she will but bring herself back into His fold.

That night we had a lesson with Jennifer over at the Fors on tithing and fasting offerings. Jennifer is so ready to be baptized. She has a testimony and knows this is true. The only thing that is holding her up right now is she NEEDS to get to church. It has been crazy with the Holidays and with her work schedule but we are hoping she will start making church a priority so she will be able to be baptized sometime this spring.

Friday morning, January 23rd, we went to “Feed my Starving Children” to bag up food to send down to Africa. I love when we get to go and serve there. I always end up leaving, feeling so good! Plus you get to rock a hairnet while you are there which is always awesome ;)

Tonight we went over to Sister Mercede’s for dinner. She made some chicken rice soup from South America. Ok now this was no normal chicken soup. It was soup served with a straight up drumstick in it. Sister Bone and I pulled off the meat and ate the chicken with our soup. However, Sister Mercedes and Roshawn (her 10 year old daughter) not only ate the meat off of the drumstick, but they straight up ate the BONE! It was SICK! We couldn’t believe it! Roshawn was just going to town on this bone—it was crazy and nasty all at the same time. They told us we needed to try it. It didn’t think I was going to be able to but I figure I need to try everything at least once. So I did—I ate BONE! And you know what—It was— NASTY! You can just take my word for it, no need to try it out for yourself.

Sis. Mercedes' soup.

Eating bone with Roshawn— nasty!

Eating bone with Roshawn— nasty!

Eating bone with Roshawn— nasty!
Playing with Roshawn.

Saturday, the 24th, the youth and new converts in our ward got to go to the Temple to do baptisms for the dead and our Mission President was nice enough to let us join them. It was so cool to see Mercy (our convert who was baptized four days before I got here) get to go and do baptisms for the dead. I’m so impressed with the strength of our ward. The youth are incredible! They had to wake up at 5:00am in order to go to the temple, but they made it a priority. It was my first time going to the St. Paul Temple. It is a small temple, in fact it looks just like the Spokane Temple. Since the Temple was in St. Paul I was able to drive through both St. Paul and Minneapolis. It was kinda fun to be able to see the actually cities. But at the same time it made me feel happy I was serving outside of the huge cities.

Sis. Bone, Mercy and me.

Temple, St. Paul, MN. 
Minneapolis, MN.

St. Paul, MN.


Saturday afternoon, we were able to stop by Tanneh and Josh’s to say, "hi". Apparently, they had been sick all week and we hadn’t heard from them. So once again, it was good to know they were alive and not dead on the other side of their apartment door.

While we were over there at their apartments we had the chance to teach six teenage boys about the Restoration of the Gospel. We had actually bumped into them earlier that week and told them we were going to be back on Saturday and we happened to see them again in the hall of the building. It was awesome to be able to teach these teenage boys. They were teenagers and boys so they weren’t crazy interested in church stuff but they did have some pretty good questions that we were able to answer and before we left we said a prayer with them right there in the hall and they were really cool about it. I just love working with teenagers! They are so much easier to teach and get through to! Not sure if they will go anywhere with us, but at least we were able to share something with them and hopefully help them in some way.

Saturday night, we went over to Bob’s to teach him the Restoration again. It was good to be able to go over there with a purpose. He knew we were coming over to teach and that was exactly what we got to do. Bob is going to get it. He is very aware of when he feels the spirit and that is so important when you are trying to find the truth. I’m really proud of him for being so willing to humble himself and listen to what we have to share with him.

Yesterday, Sunday the 25th, CIRA CAME TO CHURCH!!! We haven’t seen Cira in a while. We have tried stopping by but we aren’t ever able to catch her. We are really good about leaving her notes on her door so she knows we are thinking about her still though. But let’s be honest, we have invited Cira to church for almost two months now and she hasn’t ever come so when we saw her walk in on Sunday we were totally shocked! She ran out really quick after sacrament meeting. I’m not totally sure what she thought but I’ll keep you posted.

Today at church, they asked Sister Bone and me to teach one of the Sunday school classes. We have taught that class before. It was an awesome class today. We talked about the Holy Ghost. We had a great discussion and were able to have the kids teach each other. I am so amazed by the strength of the youth in the Church today! They just blow my mind! It was awesome to see them just step up and teach each other. This generation really is a marked generation. The youth is strong! They are going to do some powerful work, that is for sure!

Sunday night, the Robisons invited us over to come and visit their neighbors. We got there just in time for their traditional lighting of the candles (this is when everyone goes around and shares a time when they felt the spirit during the past week and then lights a candle). It was really cool to be there for that and to be able to meet their neighbors. Their neighbors seem really nice, hopefully we will be seeing them again soon.

Okay, I think I covered most of the major points from this last week. It was a busy week but then again every week is. Love and miss you all.

Also send me your favorite scripture please! Thanks!

Sunday's sunset.

Good morning, from my house to yours.


Family of snowmen.


video

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 10 – January 19, 2015

This last week has been full of lots of ups and downs that is for sure!

Starting with last Monday the 12th, Sister Bone and I went to visit a less active member, Brother Winspear. We brought the Elders with us because he is a single man and we can't be in his home unless with either have another woman or two other males so the elders were great to bring along. Brother Winspear has definitely had to go through a lot of different trials in his life but some of them I could relate too. One of those was having had gone through a divorce and I know how hard it was to get myself to go to church when all you could see were couples sitting together with their happy little families. After he told us about this life, I was able to open up and share my story with him. As hard as some of my trials have been I am grateful that I am able to use them to help relate with others and give them that encouragement when they're hurting and struggling to see beyond the moment. Our visit was very powerful and the spirit was on fire! I am keeping my fingers crossed that Brother Winspear will open his heart and come back church!

Tuesday, the 13th, Sister Bone and I had our Mission President's wife come out with us to go teaching that evening. Sister Forbes is—well how do you say it— interesting and that's to say the least. It definitely was a trial of our faith to have her come out with us. All day long we were praying that we would know who we felt comfortable taking her to see. Thankfully everything ended up working out and we both survived the night.

Wednesday, we got a random text from Brother Longstreet asking us if we could meet him. We instantly got worried that something was wrong. Turned out that he just wanted to take us out to get some hot chocolate. It seemed to come at the perfect time! How did he know that both Sister Bone and I needed to take a little breather. It was so nice to be able to sit down and just talk. I love Brother Longstreet! It is so easy to be myself around him and that is quite refreshing! After a nice cup of hot chocolate he ended up taking us across the street to go grab some lunch at our favorite place, Snuffy's! Oh man, he was sure spoiling us that day!

That night we went to go visit Angie. Every time we go to see her we invite her to come to church and every week she never comes. This week, however, we had a different approach. Since I was going to be speaking I wanted to personally invite her to come and listen to me speak. She kinda just rolled her eyes and said that she would think about it.

Fast forwarding to Sunday— ANGIE CAME TO CHURCH!!! It was a miracle! She has been meeting with the missionaries for over two years now and the last time she came to church was probably about a year ago. My heart just melted when I saw her. But it gets even better! Angie seems to always have her walls up and comes off as a very cold person. She never has anything nice to say about most of the members of the church and for some reason she has told herself that she doesn't like our Bishop at all. Well, yesterday the speakers at church were just me and Bishop Patterson. After Bishop's talk she turned over to Sister Bone and said, "I take back everything I have ever said about that man." WOW— talk about someone's heart being softened. She had to leave at 10:00 to get herself to work on time and when Sister Bone tapped her on the shoulder to reminder that it was 10:00 she told Sister Bone that she could drive fast. She WANTED to stay for the rest of Bishop's talk. If you knew Angie at all you would understand that this truly was a miracle! I am so excited to meet with her this week! We are hoping we can maybe have a lesson in Bishop's home, but we will see.

Now, backing up to Thursday, January 15th, we spent a good chunk of time tracking and knocking doors in the afternoon. It was so nice out!!! It was probably in the 30's! The sun was shining and the sky was blue! It was just beautiful! I can't tell you what a difference that sunshine makes! Sister Bone and I were just chipper, singing and dancing around, it was great!

Friday, we went to visit our favorite Courtney and Debbi. They were doing so well with not drinking, but sadly they kinda fell off of the bandwagon. Debbi was just killing us today. She let us know that she was doing so good with not drinking until today when she had some shots, however, she also let us know that she is smoking weed like crazy to make up for the lack of alcohol. In fact, Debbi was kind enough to let us know she had some weed on her right then. She was just cracking us up the whole time while we were over there! But she had some really good questions for us and we were able to help answer those questions by sharing some scriptures with her so that was nice.

Most of that day we spent trying to plan a wedding. Tanneh and Joshua decided that they wanted to tie the knot this Saturday. They were going to just have Sister Bone and me there and have Bishop marry them. We weren't about to let that happen- so all day long we made phone calls to try and get things set up. We were going to do it in the Bishop's home. We called different members of the ward they had met the Sunday before and invited them. We got people to bring some cookies for afterwords and we were going to take care of the decorations. Pulling off a wedding in a day is crazy— let me tell you. Sister Bone and I definitely were working under pressure.

After dinner, we got a voicemail from Tanneh telling us that the wedding wasn't going to be able to happen on Saturday because they weren't able to get their paperwork done in time. We couldn't believe what we were hearing! We had just spent all of this time getting things ready!!! The next thing we knew we were making phone calls unplanning everything we had just planned. Oh my goodness, we were so frustrated to say the least. After all of those phone calls. I said ok let's call Tanneh. As soon as we asked Tanneh how she was doing, she just broke down crying. She explained how much she was struggling and that she was having a hard time understanding why she was having to deal with all of these problems. She told us that she was praying right before we called. She was yelling at God, asking him why He was doing this and if He even cared about her and then her phone rang. We were able to talk for awhile and calm her down and help her step back and see things from more of an eternal perspective. By the end of our phone call she was feeling a lot better. When we hung up we realized how selfish we were being. We were thinking about us and how much work we were having to do. It was a good reminder to refocus on what is really important. And how grateful we were that we called Tanneh right when we did. It's amazing how God works!

Saturday morning the 17th, we had a meeting at Bishop's with the Elders to go over some missionary stuff. Afterwards, Bishop asked if we could could talk. You could say I had a "PPI" with him. Oh my goodness, I can't begin to tell you how bad I needed that! We actually had interviews with our Mission President earlier this week on Monday. Sadly, my Mission President just doesn't seem to connect with a lot of people. I was really excited to meet with him, but I left feeling a little bummed out. But luckily, Bishop Patterson was able to make up for that! We had a wonderful talk! We talked about some things that had been weighing on me and he gave me some awesome advice! I think I will hang on to that advice for the rest of my life! Thanks Bishop! I am so grateful for that man and for him being so willing to take time out of his schedule to sit down and talk with me. What a cool guy!

Yesterday, like I said, Bishop and I spoke in church. I have to say it was an awesome sacrament meeting! I love speaking! I love sharing stories! And I love being able to bear my testimony to others! After sacrament meeting so many people were talking about how amazing that meeting was. It was cool to see the Spirit working in them. Dad, you will be happy to know that I got a text later that night from the Hosteters (the family we had Christmas dinner with) about how they sat down as a family and decided they wanted to apply something I said in my talk. They text me and told me that their family now has a family motto of Striving to have PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)! There go Dad, your PMA magic is spreading across the world! That's pretty darn cool if you ask me. And CJ so many people loved the story I shared about you at the bowling alley when you were 15 years old. I even had a little down syndrome girl come up to me and tell me how much she like the story about my brother. What can I say, the people out here in Minnesota just love us Larsons! ;)

A little girl, Catherine, from church made this for me. What a sweetie!

Like I said, this week has had some ups and downs, but I have to say we are on the rise now! I try to be like my Papa Bear and have PMA! Heck, let's be honest, it's really the only way to live!
Love you all!

Sister Larson

Me, Nayomi and Sophia (Tanneh and Joshua's little girls). They love Sister Larson.

Sister Bone and I tracting in Hopkins.

Sending some birthday love to Sister Whitlock. 

Sending some birthday love to Sister Whitlock. 

The famous Minnesota green jello salad. Sister Spurlin had us over for dinner.

I spy with my little eye a FOX in our neighborhood. You may want to zoom in for a closer look.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 9 - January 12, 2015

Today marks me being out for TWO MONTHS on my mission! CRAZY!!! I can’t believe two months have already passed by. The older I get the faster time seems to buzz by!

Last Monday, the 5th, we went to teach Cira and brought two members to join in teaching with us. Steve and Jon came. Both of these guys have been baptized within the last couple of months! Their testimonies are on fire and they are excited to share what they have found with others. Cira seemed to have put her walls up from the very moment we walked in. Our lesson wasn’t going well at all, but then something really cool happened. Jon (this 18 year old kid) shared his conversion story and testimony with Cira. The Spirit just exploded! His story and testimony were so POWERFUL! Jon has gone through some of the hardest things I can even begin to imagine a child having to go through. He was born into a family with a horribly abusive father and a mother whose whole life revolved around drugs. He went through many different foster homes growing up. And just a few years back he found out that his biological father had killed his youngest brother. Jon had so much anger and hatred in his life but he shared how he has been able to let all of the anger go since he has found The Church. He bore such strong testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessings that will come into Cira’s life if she will but act and ask to find out for herself that this is God’s true Church on the earth today. It has to be one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard someone bare. It completely changed the direction of how the lesson was going and we were able to leave on a positive and powerful note with the Spirit there. We left Cira with a challenge to read and pray sincerely this next week to find out for herself if what we are teaching her is true. We are planning on seeing her in a couple of days… I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, the 7th, we visited Sister Schmitt. She is a member that got baptized at age 18 but hasn’t been coming to church since her early 20’s. We had a great talk with her. While we were meeting with her something came up about death and she told us about how scared she is to die. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude I have to know God’s plan. To understand that it doesn’t all just end once we die. Our life here on Earth is only a small part of a much larger picture. I know we all have the chance to live with our Father in Heaven again and that we truly can be with our families forever! What a wonderful understanding to have that so many people are left in the dark to this. This is why it is so important to find people we can teach these simple truths to. There are wonderful truths that we as members of The Church have! It is our duty, EACH ONE OF US, to share what we know and have with others!

At lunch Sister Nykariki (Mercy) made us an African dish for lunch. It was like a really thick cream of wheat that had cooled and harden. She cut us each a piece and served it with eggs. It was actually really good. It’s been fun to get to try different foods from different cultures. We added up the different countries where some of our different investigators are from and we have a pretty good number so far. Right now we are teaching people from Mexico, Liberia, Kenya, Haiti, India, Vietnam and the United States of course.

That evening Angie let us come in and visit her. She had asked for some space so it had been a couple of weeks since we had seen her. We were so happy to be welcomed inside from the COLD weather and given some hot chocolate to drink. Thank you Angie!!! Nights get very COLD here!

On Friday, January 9th, we spent a couple of hours finishing up our painting project at Sister Mercede’s apartment. We have sure spent a lot of time fixing that place up, but let me tell you it is looking a whole lot better! It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a place!

Tonight, Bishop Patterson had us over to his place for dinner. That was fun to be able to get to know his family a little bit better. I’m not totally sure how this happened but somehow most of the time around the dinner table was their family asking me questions about my family. They just seemed to find the Larson family quite amusing. I think we can thank Kandis and Blake for that ;) It’s that hippy blood we have running through our veins- we just tend to be a bit more exciting to hear about than some other families apparently. I also had the chance to tell them about my two amazing big brothers CJ and Andrew. I shared with them a little bit about their health issues and how they had the greatest faith out of anyone I knew! It’s true I pretty much do have the greatest family on the planet.

The next day, I got a phone call from Bishop Patterson telling me how much he enjoyed hearing about my family and how they have dealt with their different health trials and still have been able to exercise such great faith in God. He then went on and told me that we would like me to share these experiences with the ward next week by speaking in church. So there you have it Larson fam, I guess you are just that cool that my Bishop wants me to outline an entire talk around you and your faith. Pretty darn cool if you ask me!

That same day Sister Bone and I were able to get some tracting in. We met this really cool Buddhist lady, Melissa, who is due to have her second boy in a week! She doesn’t have a lot of religious background but when I asked her if we could come back and teach her a little bit about Jesus Christ she said yes! So we are actually going to be going over to her apartment tonight to teach her! How cool is that?!?! Most people we teach have a Christian background of some kind so this is will be kind of cool to really focus on teaching her about how she has a Father in Heaven who loves her and has a plan for each one of us.

We also had the chance to meet this really sweet older couple. They were walking out of the apartment building with their little granddaughter and we had some stickers so we were able to give her a couple. They seemed very kind but then they walked out and started getting into their car. I turned to Sister Bone and said, “We NEED to go talk to them!” and I just ran out the door out to their car. The lady Sue was already inside of the car and Bruce was getting Mackenzie all buckled up. I went to the passenger side and Sue rolled down her window. I wasn’t actually sure what to say so I started asking them questions about their granddaughter. It wasn’t until this lady gave me this weird and concerned look that I realized I must have sound like some crazy kidnapper or something. I quickly backtracked and explained how we were missionaries and that our church focuses a lot on the importance of families and we would like to come and share a thought with them about that. Her expression quickly changed and we were able to get their contact information. We are hoping that later this week we can go and visit them… and don’t worry there will be NO KIDNAPPING involved!!!

Saturday night we had a lesson with Tanneh and Joshua. We actually met with them on Thursday night first and had a great lesson on the restoration of the Gospel. Joshua had just gotten back from doing some work down in Haiti so we were back on track to be teaching them again since Tanneh had been staying over at her mother’s. Tonight we brought Jonny Chapman (another new convert- he baptized Jose last week) and his wife Kelly Seiburt. Jonny and Kelly were perfect to bring with us. They both have some crazy stories about their past that really seemed to give hope and support to both Tanneh and Josh. Now these two have lots to work on in order to get baptized, but the first thing they need to do is get married! They have been together for something like eight years now and have three beautiful children together, but we know that God wants us to be legally and lawfully married.

Ok… so just this morning I got a phone call from Tanneh because she wanted to get the Bishop’s phone number because she wanted to call and ask him if he would be willing to MARRY them THIS SATURDAY!!! Can you believe it?!?!? I could hardly believe my ears!!! Holy moly- looks like we are going to be putting a wedding together in the next five days! How exciting!!! They are definitely on the right track to get baptized! Josh has a lot to learn and still needs to gain his own testimony, but he has a desire to learn and know. Tanneh is already totally on board. Now together as a married couple they will only have that much more strength from God as they read and pray together. This is such a pivotally time for this family. The choices they are making now are going to have eternal consequences that will only bring their family closer to God. I’m so excited to see how the Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses this family.

As far as the weather goes out here, this week has seemed to warm up just a little bit. I listened to the weather station that we can call on our phone and it said it is going to warm up quite a bit by this weekend. We should be in the 20’s! I can’t believe this is actually happening, but I was happy to hear that! 20 degrees is fantastic when what you are used to is so much colder than that!

The other really good news of the week is Sister Bone and I added up our investigators yesterday and we have a whopping TEN!!! That’s huge!!! I am so blessed to be here in Minnetonka, to be in the ward I am, to work under such wonderful leadership, and to have so many wonderful people to teach right now. God is blessing me, that’s for sure!

I hope and pray that you are able to see the many blessings around you! God is a God of miracles! Open your eyes to daily miracles He is putting in your life- they surround you!

Love you!

Sister Larson

PS- Remember to be checking my blog if you want to see pictures from this week. sisterjessicalarson.blogspot.com

Thanks for doing such a rockin' job at my blog Trev! You're the greatest EBF!

Sunrise from my house.

Sunrise from my house.

Knocking doors... brrrrr

I have to constantly use my scarf to cover my face because it is just too dang cold!

Got a box of Sunshine from my Bestie Bree!  Thanks Bree!  
You sure knew how to brighten my day!  Love YOU!

If you ever wondered what a box of sunshine looked like... this is it :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 8 - January 5, 2015

Well, happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful week and are jumping into 2015 with both feet! To start off I have to back up to a few years ago when Trevor Petersen and I were sitting down at the beginning of a new year to set some goals. We decided that we wanted to try something new. We thought we were going to make a motto for the year that we wanted to strive to live by and work towards. I have to say it was a success because each year since then we have kept this little tradition of ours going. I am happy to tell you I have my 2015 motto. You ready for it? Okay, here it comes…

“Embrace each day with enthusiasm and gratitude as you love, serve, and have fun!” 


Short, simple, but it just about wraps up the things I would like to work on this next year while I’m out here on my mission.

Now let’s see what I can tell you about this last week. I think all I really need to say is, BRRRRRRRRR!!! Holy cow is it COLD! No seriously—you don’t even know what COLD is! Yesterday, Sister Bone and I were out knocking doors and it got down to -30 degrees!!! I thought I was going to die! I looked absolutely hilarious out there! Every inch of my body and face was covered. I even wore my glasses to help keep the cold away from my eyes. It was absolutely insane. I’m trying to wrap my mind around why anyone lives here and so far I got nothin’! I can’t tell you how happy I was to bring every single piece of warm clothing I did! And Mom those hand warmers are going to be getting some good use!

It's FREEEEEEEZING! -30's

Last Tuesday, the 31st, we had our weekly lunch at Snuffy’s with Brother Longstreet. Today we had an awesome conversation about faith and courage. I studied Alma 14 and was so pumped to share that story with him. It is amazing how sometimes the courageous and most faithful thing we can do is sit back quietly and not fight back. I would encourage all of you to go read Alma 14 and let me know your thoughts. If you don’t have a Book of Mormon to read it from you can find the Book of Mormon at lds.org.

Later, we went to visit our favorite Bob and Carol. Their daughter Daisy was over with her little two year old Nia. We were over for more than 15 minutes before all five of us adults were dancing around in the living room doing the hokie-pokie for little Nia. She was just loving watching us dance around. The next song that started playing was the chicken dance so course we had to dance to that as well. We full on had a dance party right then and there in their living room. It was pretty darn funny! After we were able to share a scripture with them and WOW—the spirit just filled that room! You could tell by their eyes that they wanted more. Don’t tell but I saw a tear rolling down Bob’s cheek. I love this family and can’t wait to go back and hopefully start teaching the lessons.

We also stopped by and visited the Artegas family. Now Canyon you will like to hear this… we taught them about the Holy Ghost and how the Holy Ghost is like a traffic light. The Spirit gives us red, yellow, and green lights which tell us to stop and repent, warns us of danger or tells us to keep going because what we are doing is right. It is one of my favorite lessons to teach and I always think of when I was lucky enough to speak at my favorite nephew’s baptism about the Holy Ghost. Thanks for letting your Aunt Jessie Bob do that Canyon!

On Wednesday, December 31st, we went to see Cira. Cira is just amazing! She is so in tune with the spirit and wants so badly to do what God wants her to do. However, she is struggling with understanding why God would give us The Book of Mormon when we already have the Bible. We were able to have a great discussion about the blessings that come from the BOM. We know God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And if that is the case wouldn’t He want to share His Gospel with all people not just those in Jerusalem during the time of Christ’s ministry? That is exactly why the BOM is so important! The Book of Mormon is a record of those people in the Americas during that same time of people prophesying and testifying of Christ. We read part of 2 Nephi 29 with Cira and that seemed to help her grasp this idea a little more.


Notice our SNUFFY'S shirts ;)
On Friday, January 2nd, Sister Bone and I had a pretty funny experience. As I sit here just thinking about it, I can’t help but laugh to myself. So we went to go visit one of our potential investigators Courtney. When we got to Courtney’s apartment both she and her neighbor and friend Debbi are just as drunk as can be. Neither of them really knew what was going on, but they knew we were the missionaries and they just seemed to love us! Debbi in her completely drunken state was straight up ready to be baptized on the spot—Bless her heart. She was just killing me! She asked if we could come and teach her but mentioned that we would need to go someplace because her husband wouldn’t want us coming into their home. She suggested we could meet up and talk over some coffee at a little cafĂ© or something. When we told Debbi that we didn’t drink coffee she just about died. She instantly didn’t know if she could be baptized anymore. Alcohol was no biggie, but the coffee now that was going to be a problem ;)

Since then we have gone back two times and they were in a much better state! Debbi says she is interested in taking the lessons and Courtney is truly ready to make some major lifestyle changes to help her have a relationship with God again. The two times we have met with Courtney she has been brought to tears as we read the scriptures and pray together. We are also helping her get involved with the addiction recovery program the Church has set up. Making these kind of changes are so hard! But we know that all things are possible with God. I’m going to be rooting for these two cause I know God is!

There is only ONE WAY ;)
I have to say just on a side note how blessed I feel to be able to use my background in social work and with my three years of work experience at New Haven to help the people I have been able to meet out here. My heart hurts for the broken hearted. I have seen what mental illness, addictions, disorders and different kinds of abuse can play in a person’s life. I have been able to relate with some of these people. I have been able to kneel down with them, to hold them and to pray with them. I loved my job but I had to be extremely careful about what I could and couldn’t say when it came to God. Now I can bear my testimony to those I teach and I let them know they are never alone! Our Father in Heaven is always there! How blessed I feel to have this knowledge and how grateful I am that as a missionary I get to share that with the people I meet out here.

Saturday, the 3rd, our ward had another baptism! Yeah, I know my ward is on fire! Jose a 17 year old who got baptized and Johnny a recent convert of about a year was able to baptize him. Both Johnny and Jose have incredible stories. Before the missionaries found them they were both part of gangs. They were involved with drugs and alcohol. They both knew what it was like to be thrown behind bars. They were lost to say the least. After the missionaries found them both, separately, they started making changes and noticed they were starting to be happier. Soon they gained their own testimonies and decided to be baptized. Jose is 17. In just one year his entire life has done a complete 180. Jose is even talking about how he wants to go on a mission. It was amazes me how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change someone. The blessings that come from living the Gospel of Jesus Christ are ENDLESS! Everything we choose to do and live is worth it!

I love you all. I know the Church is true. Bring on 2015 baby!
-Sister Larson

You can see Minneapolis in the distance. This is from one of the apartment buildings in our area.

Reading a letter from my YOU (Trevor) and eating OUR favorite FOOD.