Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 15 – February 23, 2015

Well, well another week has come and gone! My new companion, Sister Parke, summed up how time feels here on a mission pretty well. She said, “Days feel like weeks, weeks feel like days, and months are non-existent!” It’s just insane how days are crazy LOOOOOOONG but before you know it somehow the next week just sneaks up on you.

Last Monday, the 16th, we found out about transfers and I was so happy I learned that I was going to be staying. Sister Bone found out she was going to be transferred over to Prior Lake (about 45 minutes away) and she is going to be companions with Sister Zimmerman! Kinda cool—two of MY companions get to be together now ;) I’m not going to lie, I was a bit bummed that Sister Bone was going to be leaving me. We had just really started to click with each other the last month or so. I was just crossing my fingers that my new companion would be good because you just never know who you are going to be paired up with.

Monday night, Sister Bone went over to teach Tobey and Erica and we had a great lesson with them. I’m really looking forward to teaching them the lessons. Tobey has a lot of really good questions about the church and I am always so happy when people ask, because more often than not they have the wrong idea about what Mormons believe. They are going out of town again next week so they aren’t going to be able to make it to church, but as soon as they’re back they say they want to come and start meeting people from church. What a difference people make! I know it is always a good idea to surround ourselves with people who lift us up and help us want to live more Christ like lives.

Tuesday, February 17th, Sister Bone and I spent the ENTIRE day running around from place to place trying to get in as many goodbyes as we could for Sister Bone before she had to leave the next morning. We saw TONS of people and were just flying all over the place, but Sister Bone was able to say bye to most of the people we are teaching and working with so that was good.

Wednesday morning finally came and it was time for transfers. Sister Bone and I definitely weren’t ready to say goodbye to each other, but we tried to focus on the exciting things ahead of us instead. About 75% of our mission got moved around! So that day, about 100 missionaries came to Bloomington to meet up and switch companions and move to new areas. I was able to see all but one of the missionaries I went to the MTC with who came out to Minnesota. It was so great to see them and to hear about how they’ve been doing. It’s so interesting how every area is so different and everyone is experiencing very different things where they are serving.

I met my new companion, Sister Parke. She is 19 and is from a tiny town in Idaho called Carey. There are only 600 people who live in her town and there were only 63 people in her entire high school and only 13 in her graduating class. All I have to say about Sister Parke is that she is AWESOME!!! I’m so pumped to be working with her this next transfer! She is so full of energy! She LOVES her mission and is a rockin’ missionary! I’m really excited to learn from her!

We didn’t wasn’t any time once we switched companions. I brought Sister Parke back to our area and we went to work! We had lots of people to go see! Our first stop of the day was to go and visit Tanneh and Josh! We went over there and had a lesson on the word of wisdom and the blessings that come from living it. They committed to start living the word of wisdom that very moment! It had been probably a good week and a half since they had drank any alcohol, but today they gave up their cigarettes! Joshua went and got his last two and broke them in half and threw them away! The elders were able to come over and give them both a priesthood blessing of strength to fight their temptations and cravings. It is so awesome to see them make these changes in their lives! They’re right on track to be able to get baptized on March 14th!!! Wahoo!!!

We had a few other appointments, but one of those was to take Sister Parke over to meet Sister Erlendsson. Oh my goodness, you would think that I would get over how stinkin’ cute she is, but I don’t. Every single time I go over there, I just fall more and more in love with this sweet little lady! She’s just the cutest thing EVER! Today we were able to get her to come out of her apartment with us to go downstairs to do her laundry. This was HUGE!!! Leaving her apartment is SO HARD for her, but we are taking baby steps so hopefully we can get her to church.

Thursday, the 19th, we went over to teach Aimee. She is neighbors with the Robison family. Sister Bone and I had met her and her husband Matt a few weeks back over at the Robison’s house and now here we were sitting down teaching her! I love seeing how God prepares His children to hear the Gospel and how He answers their prayers when they start looking. Aimee has had two deaths in her family and then this last fall she walked away from her job and then just last week her husband was laid off. Two Sundays ago, Aimee was praying and asking God to help her and not 30 minutes later Sister Robison text her and asked her if she would be interested in learning more about their faith. Aimee broke down because she knew that was God speaking to her and answering her prayers. It’s just amazing how our Father in Heaven works! Sister Robison joined us for our lesson and it went really well. Just like Tobey Aimee had some great questions for us! And once again, I was grateful that she was open and willing to ask. Aimee has heard some pretty crazy and funny things about our church. We were able to let her know that those things were NOT true and then able to answer things she maybe didn’t understand as well as she would have liked to. I’m so thankful that we can always ASK questions! Heavenly Father wants us to ASK! It is up to us to ask, search, ponder, and pray, in order for us to know the truth of anything!

Later we went over to Bob’s with the Elders and had a good little lesson on faith. I don’t know what to think about Bob. He is being a bit of a pickle lately. I love that man, but sometimes he just really likes to be stubborn. Oh Bob, what are we going to do with you?!

Tonight, we went over to teach Rahel and her two daughters Heaven and Coco. Those two girls are just adorable! It’s so fun to see how excited they are about getting to pray. Heaven got to say the first prayer (with my help) and Coco said the prayer before we left (with Sister Parke’s help). We taught them the plan of salvation and the girls were all over the place asking us about a million different questions. But by the time we left, I think Rahel and the girls had a much better understanding of God’s plan for us! They’re being so good about reading the BOM and saying family prayers together. Our next step is to get Rahel’s work schedule moved around so she can start coming to church on Sundays!

Friday, February 20th, we spent the morning serving at “Feed My Starving Children” which is always really fun! Let me just ask you, when was the last time you served someone??? If you’re having a hard time thinking of it or even if it was just yesterday, I would challenge you to SERVE SOMEONE TODAY! And I’m going to make that a double dog dare! I would love to hear back from you about who you served and what you did! Come on now—it’s a dare—don’t let me down!

Sis Parke and I rockin' it up at Feed My Starving Children... Hairnets and all ;)
Friday evening we had a lesson with Obed (remember the very first guy I taught here on my first day). The lesson was a bit bumpy, but we started making some progress and you could feel the spirit helping testify that what we were teaching was true, but then I’m not totally sure what happened, but the lesson took a turn for the worse and it started going downhill really fast. Pretty soon the spirit was no longer there and Obed only wanted to argue so we knew it was time for us to leave. However, before we left Obed did offer a prayer so that was nice and positive. It is so heartbreaking when you see people put walls up and be so closed off to the truth. But I have to remind myself that we each have our own agency. My purpose as a missionary is to INVITE others to come unto Christ. It is up to them to ACT and actually choose to come unto Christ. I still have hope for Obed. He lives with Mercy and she is such a wonderful example. I pray that he will be able to recognize the difference in her life and want that for himself.

Saturday, the 21st, we had our weekly meeting with Bishop over at his house with the elders. I am so grateful for Bishop Patterson and all of the things he does for the ward. He is a wonderful leader and I feel pretty lucky that I have the chance to work with him!

Then we had to go down to Bloomington because Sister Parke had a meeting. Oh I forgot to mention that Sister Parke is a “Sister Training Leader” (STL). Normally, this means she is over four other sister missionaries in our zone. She will have to be going on exchanges with them and will have meetings because of this leadership position. So that means I too, will get to go on my exchanges with other sisters. I’m not sure if I will be leaving my area for the day or if I will just be having the sister switch out Sister Parke for the day or both… we will see. Anyway, while she was in her meeting I went out knocking with Sister Whooley. IT WAS FREEZING!!! But we actually met a couple pretty cool people so I guess it was worth it. The only bummer is we weren’t in my area so I won’t get to go back to visit the people we met. Oh well, such is life ;)

That afternoon, we went over to see Sister Alden. She is this really cool, older, hippy lady who has cancer. We try and visit her every once in a while just to check in with her. We click because we both like the same hippy style. Boy, were we tired! I think we could tell because eventually she got us some cream soda to perk us up. And it was a good thing, we were sure struggling to keep our eyes open!

Saturday night, we went over to see Mercy and then we were going to go visit Courtney after. We mentioned to Mercy that we were going to go see one of her neighbors named Courtney and Mercy just lit up and said I know a Courtney. So apparently, earlier that day Mercy was outside with Blessing and Courtney and Debbi were outside as well. Mercy was taking pictures of Blessing, but then Courtney offered to take some pictures for them with her photography camera. The next thing you know Courtney is taking pictures of Blessing and Mercy is being a little missionary talking to Courtney about church. Soon Mercy invited Courtney to come to church and they exchanged numbers. WOW! We couldn’t believe what we were hearing! The missionaries have been working with Courtney for 6 months now and then BAM Mercy just swings in and connects everything! It is a crazy small world with lots of big miracles! Sister Parke and I ended up going over to Courtney’s with Mercy and Blessing to visit and by the time we left Courtney committed to coming to church the next day and was going to get a ride with Mercy. We were so stinkin’ stoked!!! Spoiler alert… Courtney didn’t end up coming. We were so, so close. Maybe next time!

Sunday, the 22nd, Jennifer came to church which was awesome! She is getting closer to getting ready for baptism—super exciting! Tanneh and Josh HAD to get to sacrament meeting today if they want to get baptized on March 14th! We sat there waiting and waiting and we never saw them. My heart sunk thinking that we were going to have to push their baptism back, but then it turned out they were just sitting in the hall. Oh when I found that out I could have screamed I was so happy! Two more Sundays! They got this! Being on time is just a crazy hard thing for that family, let me tell you. But when I was talking to Tanneh and Josh they’re so set about getting baptized on March 14th that I don’t think they are going to let ANYTHING get in their way!

After church, I had quite the SURPRISE!!! Melony (Andrew and Lisa’s good friend from North Carolina) happened to be visiting her brother out her and her brother happened to go to the same church building as me. The next thing I know this cute lady comes up to me and pulls out her phone and shows me a picture of when she was facetiming Andrew the other day!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! What in the world!!! It took me a minute before I could totally understand what she was trying to tell me. But apparently she knows every member of my family and I was the last one for her to meet. She wanted me to say hi to JoJo, CJ, Kandis, and Blake! Andrew told her to come find me and give me a BIG GIANT hug and that’s exactly what she did! She started expressing the love she has for Andrew and the whole Larson family and how she doesn’t know how we do it (facing all of the different health challenges). Soon her eyes started to water which made mine start to water and we stood there just embracing each other! Somehow, that simple hug made me feel closer to my family, if even for just a minute! What a tender mercy from the Lord!

Melony and me at church! What a tender mercy.
I sure do love my family! And I want them each to know I pray for each of you individually every day! I know Heavenly Father is watching over us Larsons and that miracles are coming our way! One of the reasons I am out here serving my Heavenly Father is so I can bless my family. I know God has a plan for each one of us, but I also know that blessings will come as I continue to serve. I hope all is well back home and that my two older brothers are hanging in there. ETTE!

Till next week… Keep on keeping on!

Yep i snapped that apple in two. 
Hello Minnetonka.

Our favorite gas station hot chocolate. 
My last distict leader Elder Hennen. 
Valentines love from my bestie Bree Bree. Thanks!
The Nielson's mission plan... This family rocks!
Who says its too cold for ice cream?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week 14 – February 16, 2105

So Transfers are this week and well it looks like I’m going to be... STAYING!!! I’m really happy about that! We have so many people we are working with right now that I would hate to see myself go. Plus we live right on a beautiful lake and I really would like to be able to actually see it and not just look out and see it frozen with tons of people playing on it (ice fishing, four wheeling, snowmobiling, playing hockey, etc.)

Wednesday 2/11

– Today we had our weekly lunch with Brother Longstreet at Snuffy’s which is always one of my favorite pick me ups of the week.

– We met with Melissa and tried teaching her, but it wasn’t quite the right time so we ended up just spending some time with her and her beautiful new baby Carter. Oh my goodness, I wish so badly I could just hold him. It’s a hard rule for us missionaries not to hold, hug, or let children sit on your lap, let me tell you!

– We went to visit Angie tonight and we talked about prayer. We read from the Bible dictionary what was under prayer. If you haven’t done that recently, I would encourage you to do that. It’s a really good reminder of what prayer is truly about. We also were able to get Angie to commit to start praying about the month of “May” for her baptismal date. Oh, I am so proud of Angie! She is 65 years old and at one point during our lesson she curled up on the couch in the fetal position with her cat. This is such a big deal for Angie! She has come so far. I definitely push her out of her comfort zone, but let me tell you, she has made some crazy progress the last three months! If we can make a baptism in May happen that will be no less than a miracle!

Thursday 2/12

– Oh my goodness, okay, so Tanneh and Joshua were still on for getting married this Saturday, so Sister Bone and I knew we were going to have to do some quick planning once again! We tried pulling something together, but when you have a budget of zero it is REALLY HARD! We were determined but finally we got to the point that we were only getting frustrated and we had to stop and just hope that somehow everything would work out.

– We got so frustrated by the afternoon that we needed to somehow recharge ourselves! And guess what, we discovered the best way! It’s what we like to call “Visualization”. We found ourselves in our car in the middle of freezing Minnesota and we just had to get away so this is what we did... we reclined our seats back in the car as far as they would go, we cranked up the heat to full blast, we turned on our most upbeat favorite mission approved song, put our sunglasses on, and just sat back and relaxed for a good five minutes ‘‘visualizing” that we were just chillin’ on some beach somewhere soaking up the sun. Wow! Those five minutes were absolutely magical!!! I have decided that “visualization” just might be the newest thing.” If you are ever having a rough day, try it, it’s AMAZING!

– Tonight we had a movie night over at the Broadbent’s for Jennifer. We invited a few less actives and some solid members to be there with Jennifer. We watched “The Restoration”. It was a great night. It was cool for Jennifer to be able to get a better idea of the sacrifices Joseph Smith went through in order to restore Christ’s Church. Afterwards, Jennifer kicked started a mini testimony meeting and soon everyone was bearing their testimonies. Jennifer is getting pretty close to baptism, very exciting!!!

Friday 2/13

– We taught Bob the Plan of Salvation today with Steve (one of our new converts) at a little coffee shop. It was so cool to be able to explain to him where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. He kept saying, “Yeah, that makes sense. I never understood that before.” Bob loves learning so it is always fun to teach him!

– Sister Bone and I swing by the gas station a few times a week to run in to use their restroom and over the last few months we have become friends with one of the managers there, Andre. Last week we finally nailed down an appointment to go teach him. We brought the elders with us because he is a single man. That lesson was quite interesting to say the least. Andre is very passionate. He has a love of God that is for sure! It will be interesting to see where the elders are able to go with him.

– Tonight we went over to visit Tanneh and Josh and make sure everything was still on for their wedding the next day. They seemed to be all set. We had Bishop Pattersen come over so he could actually meet the couple he would be marrying the next day—we figured that would be kinda nice ;) We have stopped by or checked in with Joshua and Tanneh every night this week because we were determined to make sure this wedding was going to happen and every time we also made sure there was ZERO alcohol in the apartment because that never is a good idea!!! We shared a quick message with them (Matthew 6:33-34) and then told them to get to bed because tomorrow was going to be a big day!

– We stopped by Brother Dam’s with Mercy tonight to visit. Oh he is just the sweetest little old man ever. Someone finally took his license from him this last week. As hard as that is for him, it is most certainly time for him to not be behind the wheel anymore. Mercy has offered to start taking him to church every week. It is so cool to see our new converts doing so much! Our ward seriously is on fire!

Saturday 2/14 – VALENTINE’S BABY!!!

– First off, I just want to give a shut out to all you have sent me sweet little Valentine packages and cards in the mail. You sure made me feel pretty special! I just found out that I have a package for me at the mission office that I will get later this week... It says Don’t open until Valentines! ;) THANK YOU ALL FOR SENDING ME LOVE!!!

– This morning we had a meeting over at Bishop’s and when we got there Sister Patterson had been sweet enough to make us a bunch of delicious crepes. Oh and boy were they good! What an awesome way to start your Valentine’s!

– Soon it was time to get ready for the WEDDING!!! Sister Bone and I were so blessed! God totally was watching out for us because by many little miracles we were somehow able to pull off a perfect little wedding for them without spending a dime. So many people from the ward came together at the last second to help. We were able to totally transform the gym. We opened up the overflow area and set up a little area for the ceremony and then we put some tables up for the food that was going to be served, and then round tables through the whole gym. We got clothe table tops, little flower center pieces for the tables, we found other decorations, and then there are some people in the ward who own a flower shop so they made a beautiful bouquet for Tanneh and two little ones for her daughters, and then of course a corsage for Josh too. People were just absolutely wonderful.

– Now there was just one hiccup... the wedding was suppose to start at 2:00, however, with all of Tanneh’s family being from Africa their culture just happens to ALWAYS run late! The wedding didn’t end up starting until 3:30!!! Bless everyone’s hearts who showed up from the ward to show their support! Most of the people that came from church didn’t even know Tanneh or Josh. But the good news is THEY’RE MARRIED!!! They’re one step closer to getting baptized!

– After the ceremony they had a HUGE African feast! Oh my, they don’t mess around when it comes to food!!! Afterwords, Tanneh thanked us for giving her the dream wedding she has always wanted. After all the planning and stress we were really happy to be able to make the Bride happy. Every Bride deserves that!

Sunday 2/15

-Tonight we had dinner over at the Hicken’s. Tanneh and Josh and their children came and Tanneh’s sister Josia came as well. Tanneh really wants us to start teaching her sister, so that was awesome that she came to dinner. Mercy and her daughter Blessing also came. Now we have been working with her cousin Obed since the day I got here and her sister Judy for awhile now, but they really haven’t been progressing. Tonight, somehow, we were able to talk them into not only coming to dinner, but coming to the fireside afterwords. Mercy was going to be sharing her conversion story and Sister Bone was going to be singing so we had some good reasons for them to be there. Obed told us that he will call us and have us over sometime this week for a lesson. We’ll see about that.

I hope you all had a fantastic Valentine’s! Miss and love each one of you! xo

-Sister Larson

Heart attacking more... There's just so much love. I just love love!
These are our prayer sandwiches—best visual ad ever.
Thank you Sister Hopkins for teaching me this when I was back in primary.
What kind of sandwich do you want? What kind of prayer do you think God wants?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week 13 – February 10, 2015

Ok so this last week has been, well how do you say it… different! I got sick last weekend and ended up spending about four days in bed sick, but the good news is I’M ALL BETTER NOW!

Last Monday, February 2nd, I woke up with a killer sore throat! I didn’t end up leaving the house the entire day. Sister Bone was such a good sport considering it was our P-Day! While I spent most of my time the next four days sleeping away in bed Sister Bone went to town reading the Book of Mormon and well she made it half way through, so I guess there were some benefits to me being sick ;) We did still go out a couple of times to try and see people, but for the most part I slept for four days straight…

Tuesday evening we had an appointment to go and see Angie and well we didn’t want to lose out on that opportunity to see her. And let me tell you, it was a dang good thing we went because it was a powerful lesson! Angie’s heart is being softened! Oh it is a wonderful thing to see and be a part of. It has taken missionaries two years of working with her and now she is finally getting it! It’s just awesome! We are still working with Angie to pray to set a baptismal date, but she is making big progress towards that! And listen to this, Angie has never been willing to pray out loud with us, however, we did see in her progress record that once a upon a time a long time ago she had prayed with missionaries. And after meeting with her last week she promised me she would pray with us this week so there was NO way I was leaving that house until she had prayed! When it came time to go, I asked Angie if she would pray and reminded her that she promised me last week that she would and of course she said no because Angie is just stubborn like that. But there was NO way Sister Larson was backing down! I told her I wasn’t leaving until she did! We talked about why she didn’t like praying out loud with us and it was just something very foreign and uncomfortable for her. So I told Angie I would say a prayer first and then she could say a prayer after me. We talked about a few things we could pray for and then I prayed and then it was Angie’s turn. She put up a bit of a fight, but finally SHE PRAYED!!! Go Angie!!! WOW!!! And then it gets even better, when we invited her to church this Sunday she didn’t fight it one bit she just said, “Ok, I’ll be there.” And then she went on and said, “Wait, did 'I' just say that?” We reassured her that she did and that we would be seeing her at 9am on Sunday morning at the church. It was a good thing I got out of bed for that!

Thursday, February 5th, we had a couple of appointments in the evening that we went to and again it was a good thing I was able to get out of bed for those as well. First we went to visit Rahel and her 9 year old daughter Heaven. We checked in with them and saw how they were doing and we ended up reading some of the Book of Mormon with them. And then we wanted to teach them HOW to pray because that was something they weren’t familiar with. Oh my goodness was that just awesome! Little Heaven was so excited to read from the scriptures and then to learn to pray to GOD was like the coolest thing ever for her! We explained how we pray and the importance of praying and then Sister Bone was able to whisper into Heaven’s ear what to say as Heaven said her very first prayer. It was AMAZING!!! And then best part was afterwards, Heaven brought a piece of paper up to us before we left and asked us if we would write down how to pray for her so she could remember. How cool is that?! What an awesome little girl! So we left Rehel and Heaven with the challenge to keep reading the BOM and to pray together every night until we see them next. I can’t wait to hear how it’s been for them and how praying has helped them this last week.

Then we went to visit Erica and Tobey. Erica grew up in the church, but hasn’t been active in years and Tobey is her fiancĂ©e. They moved here this past summer and are looking for a church to go to and are wanting to meet people really bad. Somehow, Erica’s membership records kinda got lost over her last few moves. Anyways, when we came over they were really excited to have the missionaries over! They explained where they were at and what they were looking for and we told them we could help! We went on to explain how we would love to teach them. Erica expressed that she wanted to start learning from the very beginning and since Tobey isn’t a member he just wants to learn what we believe. When we told them that we have lessons that we would love to come over and share with them once or twice a week they were super excited! Now that is something missionaries just don’t see every day! And then we invited them to start coming to church and they were all over that. They said they were going to be out of town this coming up weekend, but after that they would love to start coming and meeting people. Once again, it was a dang good thing I was able to roll out of bed and come out teaching tonight. God seems to always provide a way when things need to happen!

Friday, February 6th, I tackled a whole day of work again! Yep, I still wasn’t 100%, but at least I could get out of bed so I was making lots of progress! That afternoon we went to the library and while we were there I saw the cutest older couple. The woman was working on the computer and her husband came to talk to her and gave her a sweet kiss. They talked for a few minutes and then before he left he kissed her goodbye. It was so sweet to see the kind of love this couple had for one another. I had just watched the Mormon Message “Enduring Love” and it made me so grateful for parents who express and show love towards one another. I would encourage each of you to take a few minutes and watch the Mormon Message. It is a sweet and tender reminder of the kind of love we should have towards each other. Anyways, before we left I was able to go and let this woman know how wonderful it was to be able to see a couple who has that kind of love for one another. And then I left her with a pass along card with that Mormon Message on it. Mom and Dad thank you so much for setting such a wonderful example to me and our family how we should love one another. I know it is so important to show and express love daily!

That evening Bob had invited us to come over for dinner. He cooked us up a wonderful homemade meal. Bob and Carol are just so good about spoiling us! Bob is really coming a long way! We just eats up everything we share with him and loves reading the different chapters of the BOM of Mormon we leave with him. He is loves learning and you can see how he finds so much comfort in the things we are teaching him. I just love Bob and Carol. I am so excited for the day when I see them embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ and seeing how many blessings it is going to bring their dear family!

Dinner with Bob and Carol

Saturday, the 7th, was rough. We hadn’t heard from Tanneh and Joshua all week and today when we finally got ahold of them things didn’t sound good. We told Tanneh we were coming over there to see them and talk with them in person. Oh boy, was that interesting! Pretty much we had a full on therapy session with the two of them. They have so many struggles and things they are facing and trying to work through and they seem to be spending their energy fighting each other instead of working together and facing the real issues. It was an intense hour, but Sister Bone and I tried to do the very best we could. We were at least able to get the yelling to subside, to have a prayer and start practicing HOW to communicate with one another KINDLY. They have a long ways to go, but I know if they turn their lives over to God and chose to be selfless and humble and WORK TOGETHER they can do awesome things! So the plan was/is for them to get married on Valentine’s Day. Sister Bone and I have already planned and canceled one wedding for them, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that this is the day! We know how hard Satan works on us before anything good is about to come our way. Satan is constantly attacking the family unit and we are going to have NONE of that this week! Sister Bone and I are going to be over there at their place EVERY SINGLE DAY this week until Saturday. We are determined to help them go through with this wedding.

Saturday night I came home to a sweet little Valentine’s package from my dear sweet Mother. It was for her Bobbi Bear (that’s me) and it was full of all sorts of little bears… including my favorite chocolate covered cinnamon bears! I also got my 4th pillow case which means I have been out on my mission for three months and am starting my 4th month out here! Thanks for making my dad Mom! You’re the BEST Momma Bear out there! I love you!!!

Package from Momma Bear.

Sunday, the 8th, ANGIE CAME TO CHURCH!!! And not only did Angie come to church but JENNIFER CAME TO CHURCH!!! It was sweet! Sister Bone sang in sacrament meeting so that was pretty cool. If the ward keeps having us do things it keeps giving us good reasons to help get our investigators to church!

After church we went over to see Melissa. She is the one who just had a baby about two weeks ago. We met her right before she was due and taught her the restoration and then she had a baby and was in the hospital for a week and then I was sick for a week so it wasn’t until now that we were finally able to go see her again. Anyways, turns out Melissa had all these horrible things happen to her right after her baby was born and she is just feeling completely overwhelmed! We were so grateful we went to see her! We told her not to worry and that we were here to help. Melissa is one of those independent people who doesn't like to ask for help from anyone, so she really didn’t feel comfortable with that, but I simply told her, “Melissa, we aren’t asking IF we can do this, we ARE going to do this!” She just looked at me, blinked, and said, “Okay.” As soon as we left Sister Bone and I started making some phone calls and we were back at her apartment in 30 minutes with dinner and bags of food for her. We told Melissa she would be getting a meal everyday this week from someone from our church. Our plan is to send ladies over there each night with a meal. More than anything Melissa needs to feel loved! By the end of this week she is going to be stocked up on food and have a handful of new friends. Melissa doesn’t know yet, but her world is about to change! The Gospel blesses lives, what can I say?

Sunday evening we went over to see a new convert Jon. We tried walking around for about 30 minutes in the cold trying to find his apartment and it was just a disaster! Sis Bone and I finally just gave up and started laughing about how turned around we had gotten. It actually ended up being just funny by the time we got back to our car. We decided to use the GPS and it was a darn good thing we did because we would have never found his place. Anyways, when we got there he was the only one at his place so he had to come out into the hall to be with us, since we couldn’t be in his place with just him there. Just as we were sitting down to talk the Elders showed up and oh man were they heated! They stormed in and told Jon to get inside. We came in as well to see what this was all about. Something had happened that they needed to confront Jon about. I just sat in the corner and watched these young Elders try and take care of this situation. After about 15 minutes of me just watching, I stood up and everyone in the room looked over at me and said, “Oh no, here comes Sister Larson—the big guns.” (Guess they know me well) ;) I was able to take the reins get things under control. I explained what I had been seeing from the corner and how no progress was being made. I sat down right there in front of Jon and was able to invite the Spirit back into him home by baring my testimony with him and letting him know he was a child of God and that God expected so much from him. The whole feeling in the room changed and when I was done talking I asked if we could all kneel down and have Jon pray. After he prayed I left him with some scriptures to reading and then told him it was time for us to leave. The difference was amazing! When we walked out the Elders just looked at me and said, “Sister Larson, you just did something NO Elder could do.” What can I say? I guess there is something to be said about being a 27 year old sister missionary.

So besides being sick I would have to say I had a pretty good week. Oh and we got a call this morning from Tanneh- the wedding is a GO! She is going wedding dress shopping today! Yippy!

Arby's is our #1 stop :)
Say Cheese, or watermelon?
Heart Attacking at it's best.
Me and the Artega Family.
Heart Attaching.
We LOVE our chocolate chip cookies.
Eating at our favorite place. Erbert and Gerbert. Best sandwiches ever!
– Pictures from last week –

I found the cutest cockapoo. One day I will have a puppy just like that! So cute.
My favorite Sister Erlendsson. my adopted grandma out here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Delay in Letter This Week

We have been informed Jes... Sister Larson's P-day (Preparation Day) has been moved this week to Tuesday. So we will expect a letter then.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 12 – February 2, 2015

Another week has come and gone… let's see what some of the major highlights of the week were...

On Tuesday, January 27th, we had our district meeting with the 6 missionaries in this area. We had a training on how to read people’s body language. The Cupkies (they have major military training in this area) came and taught us tips on how to understand what people are saying when they aren’t really saying anything at all. They also showed us how we could be better with our own personal body language as missionaries. It was very interesting. I found it quite fascinating! Sister Cupkie was able to pick up a lot about me through watching my own body language- it was pretty cool!

That afternoon, we went to visit Sister Yule. She is a less active member. I just love Sister Yule. She does photography, but she usually has barbie photoshoots. They’re very different than anything I have ever seen, but that is what makes them so cool. Anyways, while we were over there she opened up to us and finally broke down and told us she was tired of being with her abusive boyfriend. She has been in this unhealthy relationship for a very long time, but the idea of being alone scares her. However, it sounded like she was done. My heart hurt for Sister Yule! I shared with her some of my own past experiences and was able to let her know that Heavenly Father didn’t want her to be in a situation like that! God wants each of His children to feel loved and cared for! After talking with her a while, we asked her if she would start praying for strength and courage and to ask God if she needed to walk away from this relationship. We also made a plan to start visiting her once a week to do little weekly check-ins to see how she is doing.

On Wednesday, the 28th, Sister Bone and I went to town again and did some undercover heart attacking again, except for Sister Petersen this time. She had text us and told us that she was having a rough week. We didn’t like what we were hearing so we decided that we needed to send Sister Petersen some love and that is exactly what we did! Too bad her granddaughters caught us in the act... but we made our get away before they could catch us. Wow, let me say though that heart attack almost gave us a heart attack with all the adrenaline we had. Our hearts were pumping like crazy by the time we got back to our get away car. But it was fun and it cheered Sister Petersen up and that’s all that matters.

Wednesday afternoon, we had companion exchanges. Sister Bone went to Bloomington and Sister Jenkins came here to see how well I was doing in the area. I was a good experience but definitely made me grateful to have Sis Bone as my companion ;)

That night we had dinner over at Mike and Aubrey Nelson’s. Mike isn’t a member so I really wanted to get to know Mike better so maybe he would feel comfortable enough to take the missionary lessons from us. We had Christmas dinner over at their home with their three little boys, but I didn’t get a chance to really get to talk to Mike. Tonight was just what I needed. We had a great dinner, an awesome lesson with the family and then afterwords we just got to talking and pretty soon Mike had brought down his scrapbook of when he had backpacked through Europe. Before it came time to leave I asked Mike if he knew that we would love to teach him the lessons. He smiled and said he knew. You see if you didn’t know Mike wasn’t a member of the church you really wouldn’t have any clue he wasn’t. He comes to church each week and raises his family in the church with Aubrey. I’m not giving up on teaching Mike the lessons... I’m thinking it’s time to get BOLD! ;)

Thursday, the 29th, Sister Jenkins and I went to Snuffy’s so Brother Longstreet could surprise Sister Jenkins (since she was in this area just before me). I definitally got the good end of the stick because just the day before Sis Bone and I had gone to Snuffy’s with Bro Longstreet. I know Snuffy’s twice in one week—I’m spoiled! :)

This afternoon, once Sister Bone was back, we met up with the Elders to go and visit Tanneh and Joshua. We had a great lesson on the importance of family and then gave them a baptismal date of March 14th! We sat down with them and marked out a baptismal calendar for how they were going to prepare themselves for that date. They decided they want to be married on Valentines—so that’s kinda fun. Now don’t hold your breath on that because they tend to back out at the last minute. We are all just going to keep our fingers crossed that this is the time it is actually going to happen!

Tonight, Bishop took the Elders and us out to dinner. We went over all of the different people we are visiting and teaching now, while eating some very yummy Italian pizza. Thank you Bishop Patterson! Speaking of Bishop Patterson, have I mentioned lately that he is seriously the bomb digity! He is an awesome man and does a great job with our ward!

On Friday, January 30th, Sis Bone and I did some tracting in some apartments. We decided we were going to just have fun with it. We were going to stop taking it so seriously and just have fun! Wow—what a difference that made! I have to say I never thought knocking on doors could be so fun, but we actually had a really good time! We have decided our next investment is going to be on getting us some rockin’ yo-yos. I mean shoot just think of how good we could get at yo-yoing if we yo-yoed while tracting. I know it’s pretty much the most brilliant idea ever! ;)

While we were tracting we actually met this awesome girl named Stephanie. Holy smokes, it was awesome! She let us in and we taught a very powerful restoration lesson. She was eating everything up and loving what we were saying! She explained to us how she wants religion in her and her husband’s lives. She wants to have a strong religious foundation to raise her children on. In fact, listen to this... Stephanie had just told her husband, “If those church people come around, I’m letting them in!” We couldn’t believe what we were hearing! We could have peed our pants we were so excited! We set up an appointment to come back next week and meet her husband and teach them together. When we left Sis Bone and I were on cloud nine!

(Now I hate to do this but... I’m just going to burst your bubble now before it gets too big. We got a text Sunday night from Stephanie telling us that she and her husband had talked and they are comfortable where they’re at now. We were so sad to read that, but somehow I not too sad because I KNOW Stephanie is NOT comfortable and is seeking more and well I’m not giving up! We’ll go visit her in a couple of weeks and check in with her then.)

That night for dinner we went over to the Joyce’s. For Christmas their kids got perler beads. They’re those little plastic beads that your put on a plastic board with pegs and make cool designs or pictures. I remember having these when I was little, but that was 20 years ago! (google it if you don’t remember these) Anyways, long story short, we got to play with perler beads and it was SWEET! After dinner, we warmed them up with iron and melted my beads together so it became one piece of plastic. Funny how something so little and silly can bring you so much happiness! Moral of the story... if you need a pick me up go get some perler beads!

We ended the night off with a great lesson with Jennifer over at the Klenotich’s. It was time to shake Jennifer up and be BOLD with her and that was exactly what we did! By the time we left we bore strong testimony of the importance of keeping commitments and Jennifer now has a baptismal date for March 14th! Wahoo! Go Jennifer!!!

Saturday, the 31st of January, we went to visit our favorite Sister Erlendsson. Oh my goodness do I just adore that little lady! She is seriously the cutest little thing! She has cut back to 5 cigarettes a day from the pack a day she was smoking. I’m so proud of her! We have started going over to see her a couple of times a week to read the Book of Mormon with her. I can’t even begin to explain the changes we have seen in Sister Erlendsson. Before I got here she wouldn’t even let the missionaries into her apartment. And now we are coming over all the time to read the scriptures together. Sister Erlendsson is one of the more kind and humble people I know. She says some of the sweetest prayers. Today when she was praying before we left, she thanked God for sending two of the best missionaries to her. It may have been one of the kindest complements I have ever heard. In that moment, while we were praying right there in her small little apartment, I had no doubt that I was suppose to be serving HERE right now! What a good reminder!

This afternoon, we had our BEST lesson yet with Angie! WOW! Angie likes us! This is huge! Angie doesn’t really let people into her life, but she is finally letting her walls down and is starting to be really comfortable around us. It is so cool to see how God has been softening her heart. I knew again, it was time to be BOLD! We talked about service, and then morning with those who morn and then taking upon the name of Christ which let us right to baptism (Mosiah 18:8-11). I then took charge, I simply looked at Angie and told her that Sister Bone and I have been praying and we KNOW that baptism is the next step! Sister Bone and I thought it would be best if Angie came up with her own date to work towards so I asked Angie if she would pray and ask God to help her come up with a date that she can start preparing to be baptized on. Angie said she would! MIRACLES are happening!!! We then asked her to pray with us before we left (which we ask her every time and every time she says no) today was no different, she said no. And then I told Angie I would pray this time if she promised to pray next week when we came over to visit and she said she would! And don’t you worry I’m going to keep her to that!

Sunday, was the 1st of February! I can’t believe it is already February! Spring is just around the corner and I am so excited to see Minnesota not completely covered in white!

After church, we went to teach Bob and brought a couple of guys from the ward with us to help answer some of his deep doctrinal questions. It was a great lesson! Bob is quite the character, but it is amazing how the Spirit can truly touch EVERYONE! It is so neat to be able to see the Holy Ghost work on someone and touch their heart.

Sunday was fast Sunday and we didn’t have a dinner appointment lined up to go to, so we were going to go home and eat the last thing we had which was a frozen pizza. But then dear, sweet Sister Musser called us up and invited us over for dinner—bless her heart! Oh my goodness, she is one heck of a cook! She whipped up some of the best meatloaf I have ever had and she even made me my favorite cheesy cauliflower of hers! Sister Musser was our little miracle worker for the day. Oh and I almost forgot, but she sent us home with a bag of her famous home-made caramels ;)

Our last lesson of the night was with a lady Rahel from Ethiopia. The Elders had found her and were passing her over to us to teach because she is a single mother and it is easier for us to work with the single women. Any who, tonight we went over with the Elders and all four of us taught the restoration lesson together. Rehel is awesome and Sister Bone and I are going back later this week to teach her again. She's just another investigator to add to our teaching list ;)

With all of our investigators and ward members we are working with we are going to have another busy week ahead of us. I pray all is well back home. Know I love you all!

-Sister Larson