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?

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