Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 20 – March 30, 2015

So this last week was quite eventful to say the least... I guess I will let the picture speak for itself. Somehow I'm not totally sure how this happened, but lets just say there is a BIG difference between having the car in REVERSE and having it in DRIVE!!! Yeah—talk about embarrassing! Looks like I'm not going to be driving anymore on my mission while I'm out here...

Okay, enough about that let's jump into the other events of the last week. Monday the 23rd and Tuesday the 24th we had lots of different appointments.
- We saw Sister Whitlock and Abby.
- We visited Sister Yule at her work.
- The Tylers had us over for dinner.
- We taught Rahel and her girls (They're just awesome!!! We are reading out of the illustrated BOM story book with them and they are just loving it!).
- And of course let's not forget meeting up with Brother Longstreet for our weekly lunch date at Snuffy's ;)

Wednesday, March 25th, we had our zone conference were they went over the new Easter video the church just put out. It's called, "Because He Lives." Each of you need to take two minutes to sit down and watch this Easter video. It is such a great reminder about our Savior and what He has done for us. You can watch it at I would also encourage each of you to share this video with someone you know. This is a wonderful way to share the gospel and the Easter message with those around you.

After zone conference a bunch of us missionaries went out to lunch and then Sister Parke and I went on exchanges with the Spanish speaking sisters. I ended up going with Sister Rawlins to North Minneapolis (which apparently is the ghetto). That was an interesting exchange considering the fact that I was visiting people who ONLY spoke Spanish. I have to say I was really good at smiling and nodding though so you know... ;)

We ate dinner at a Spanish family's home. Latinos LOVE to cook! When we came over to the table they had already dished up our plates and boy were they loaded up! I instantly knew this was going to be a chore to even eat half the food on that plate. I tried my darn hardest to eat as much as I could, but even then the food DIDN'T sit well with my stomach and I ended up starting to feel one of my bad stomach aches coming on. This wasn't looking good! We were teaching a lesson to this same family after dinner so I knew we were going to be there for awhile. Let's just say while Sister Rawlins chatted it up with the family in Spanish, I pretty much died in their bathroom. Thankfully, after about 30 minutes of no fun in the bathroom I was finally feeling good enough to put my missionary face back on and go out for our lesson where once again I sat and smiled and nodded my head while everyone else spoke in Spanish. However, Latinos are very good about expressing themselves using body language so I was able to catch on to quite a bit simply by watching them.

On exchanges with the Spanish Sisters in North Minneapolis.
The next day (Thursday the 26th), we did another exchange, but this time I was with Sister Fastidio (another Spanish sister) and we went back to work in the Minnetonka area. Kelly (Steve Nelson's daughter) who just got back from her mission in Peru also joined us for part of the day. We went to visit Carmon so they could speak to her since she speaks Spanish and every time I go to visit we just have to kind guess what each other are saying. It was a nice visit and Carmon loved having us come see her at the nursing home.

Then we also stopped by to check on Tanneh and Josh. Sadly only Tanneh wasn't willing to talk so she just came out in the hall for a few minutes. It's so hard to see them struggle and not continue to put their faith in Heavenly Father. It is so hard to walk by faith when you are in the total dark, but that is exactly what faith is. We must take three steps into the darkness before we see the light. The hard part is just continuing to take those steps into the darkness.

We also met with a new girl by the name of Madeline. She is 20 years old and has THREE KIDS!!! It absolutely amazing me the different people I meet out here and their different lives. I can't even begin to be 20 and have 3 of my own children. Sister Parke, my companion, is still only 19 years old. This little girl was forced to grow up so fast because of the choices she made. This is yet another reason why I am so grateful for the standards of the church and for the values I was raised with. Anyway, Madeline just got married this last fall and we are really hoping we will be seeing more of her in the future.

We went over to the Reese's for a lesson on faith with the elders and then we ended the day with a lesson with Jennifer over at Sister Donely's on the word of wisdom. Jennifer is getting more and more excited about her baptism and that is fun to watch! Not sure if I told you, but her baptism is going to be on April 18th! Yippy!

Friday night we went to visit Brother Dam with the elders and then Sister Parke and I went to see Sister Erlendsson. It had been a few days since she had last let us come over so we were very happy when she said we could come and see her. We decided we needed to cheer her up and get her to laugh so we came up with a little game to play and it was quite fun! We each had to think of a childhood memory and then tell it, but the catch was we had to keep our tongue sticking out of our mouths the entire time we talked. We sure sounded silly, but Sister Erlendsson was getting a kick out of it! I have never seen her laugh so hard. You know some say, laughter is the best medicine and I really do believe there is something to that! Now I dare you to find someone and try talking with them with your tongue sticking out. I can tell you it will make you laugh and that will in turn brighten up both of your days just a little bit more ;)

Saturday, March 28th, Sister Parke and I helped Jennifer move some of her things from one of her storage units up to her apartment. Now you have to understand Jennifer is a hoarder and it's a problem, but we were just the movers so we just helped. But boy would I love to be able to plow through her apartment and de-junk it. Oh well, I guess right now we will just continue meeting other places for our lessons since you can't really see any of her furniture or even carpet at this point. To each their own I suppose.

Then we also stopped by Sister Spurlins, Sister Aldens, and then we had dinner with the elders over at Isaac's place. Now I have only been to Isaac's one other time for dinner and it was unbelievable! And once again Isaac blew me away! His presentation was as if we were in some fancy smanshy restaurant. And then on top of that, it tasted amazing! Oh and did I mention that it was a six course meal?! I know right? Who is this guy?! And then we ended the evening with going to watch the women's general conference broadcast.

Yesterday, was a great day at church. Kelly (Steve's daughter) spoke about her mission and Steve sang a song in sacrament meeting. They invited a bunch of their friends to come and Patrick and MaryKay were there too!

Sunday evening, we went to see, "The Lamb of God" performance. It is a bunch of songs sung about the last week of Christ's life. The singers were amazing! There was sure some intense opera going on there. Opera isn't totally my thing, but Sister Parke was eating it up. But tons of missionaries were there and Sister Steadman was there which of course made my whole day!

Now before I sign off here, since it is April Fools this week and all... I thought I should say... APRIL FOOLS on you! I totally did NOT drive into that garage. hehehehe... I hope I got you! Hope you have a wonderful week and a great April Fools day! :)

What do you do when you find a shopping cart in the elevator?
Play with it of course!
Sister Parke and I had lots of fun running up and down
the apartment hallway pushing each other.
 That was until someone came out our their apartment to
inform us we were being too noisy- oops... ;)

Momma Larson sent me the BEST EASTER package ever!!!

Thanks Momma, and Ashlyn, thanks for the fun new pillowcase for this month :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 19 – March 23, 2015

Another week down! Ok so let’s just start off by telling you about a little phone call I had from my mission President this past week. President Forbes called me up out of the blue and asked if I had a minute to talk. I told him I did, but I had NO IDEA what was going to come next!!! He then asked me if I had ever taken another language in high school and instantly I was thinking, “Oh, crap! No! No, please don’t ask me to learn another language!” I told him I had taken two years of French, but even after two years all I could say was “Hello, my name is…”. President said, “That’s okay that’s how it is for everyone.” This wasn’t looking good for me! He then went on to explain how there are a group of people here in this mission who speak the language “KAREN” (I think you pronounce it Car-Ron not totally sure). He told me that we have a native sister here who speaks that language and he is trying to find her a companion for the rest of her mission and he has been thinking about me the last couple of weeks. What the heck?!?!? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! He went on and told me that this language isn’t spoken by very many people and they don’t even teach it at the MTC. In fact, they don’t even have Book of Mormons printed in this language. It’s only spoken by about 2 million people in the whole world in just this little area over in Asia! Then President asked me how I would feel about learning a new language… at this point we had been knocking on apartment doors and I now was bent over on the stairs TOTALLY freaking out inside! If you know me you know, I DON’T DO LANGUAGES!!! I kindly let President know my feelings, but told him I would do what God ultimately wanted me to do. President Forbes thanked me for talking with him and told me to have a good day and that was that! I haven’t heard anything since that phone call and I really have NO IDEA what is going to happen, but I am crossing my fingers that after talking with me he has come to the conclusion that there is another sister here who is meant to learn that language. But we’ll see. In the meantime, google “Karen” the language and check it out! The language itself is crazy looking! Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, but totally insane at the same time!

Okay, now other than having the idea of having to learn this new language and having dreams about it all week it has been just another normal week out in the mission… other than the crazy snow storm that hit us last night! Grrrr…. Where in the world did that come from?! It hit 70 degrees last week and now we are back to snow. That’s Minnesota for ya!

This is what I woke up to. Boo!

Monday, March 16th, Sister Mercedes finally let us come over to her house to see Roshawn. For some reason she has been making up all of these excuses for why she doesn’t want us to come over and then when we do come over she turns into Miss Grumpy Pants! Oh well, what do you do? Anyway, this past Monday she let us come over and watch “The Testaments” with Roshawn. I am so proud of that little girl! She is 10 years old and she is such an example to her mother. She is always praying and reading from the BOM! Way to go Roshawn! She loved being able to watch this video about the coming of Christ here in the Americas.

Tuesday, was St. Patrick’s Day! It’s crazy to think that just ONE YEAR AGO TODAY I shaved my entire head! You would think my hair would be longer by now, but nope! Speaking of hair… I am starting to rock a mullet again. I think it might be time for a little trim, will see ;) Tonight the Relief Society put on a little dinner and party for the ladies in our ward. We had a great turn out and everyone seemed to have lots of fun! We even had three of our investigators come (Angie, Tanneh, and Rahel). I would say it was a success!

Wednesday, the 18th, we switched things up a bit and ended up going out to DINNER with Brother Longstreet at Snuffy’s. We normally meet up for lunch. But today it happened right when I needed it. I was having a hard day and somehow Snuffy’s and Brother Longstreet together just know how to lift my spirits. I mean shoot, how can a hot fudge and banana malt not make you feel better?!

After dinner we went and did some visits. We went to see Sister Whitlock and her daughter Abby and then the Artega girls. And then we got together with our favorite Sister Yule for an evening walk around her parking lot. (It was still warm enough then to enjoy a nice evening outside). I just love that woman! She is so raw and real and that is refreshing to find! She has a lot of hard things she has to face and fight, but we know with God, ALL things are possible. Heavenly Father has promised us that He will never leave us alone! We must remember to be STRONG and of good COURAGE! (Joshua 1:9)

Thursday, March 19th, was a special day because Sister Erlendsson FINALLY let us come INTO her apartment to visit her. She has been struggling the last couple weeks and hasn’t felt up to having companion, but TODAY was the day that changed and boy were we happy because WE MISSED HER! We read out of the BOM when Nephi was commanded to build a ship and then I just happened to have a BOM coloring book about that same story so we all picked a picture and colored one together. It was so good to be able to brighten her day just a little. What can I say, I sure love my little Minnesotan Grandma! ;)

That evening Sister Spurlin had spoiled us with a $50 gift card to go to her favorite restaurant called, “The Crossroads”. It was quite a treat to be able to go out to a nice restaurant just for the fun of it. Thanks Sister Spurlin! The Larson clan will be happy to hear I had my first RUEBEN sandwich since being out here. It was good, but it was still nothing like biting into one of Momma Larson’s homemade rueben sandwiches! Mom you better know I want ruebens my first night back home… then again you probably already knew that ;)

Later we taught Jennifer a lesson with Sister Donely about keeping the Sabbath day holy and HOW we do that. Everyone seems to have different ideas on what that looks like. I think the thing that is the most important is to remember the Sabbath is a day set apart to reflect and think about our Savior Jesus Christ and all of the many things He has done for us. Take a minute to think about someone who you love who has passed away. Every year on the anniversary of their death you take time to think about that person and do things to celebrate their life, things they would want you to do. I think that is the same principle with the Sabbath. We should use that day to celebrate Christ’s life, to think about Him and do things He would want us to do. It was a great lesson and I think it got through to Jennifer. Giving a day to focus on our Savior is the very least we can do considering it is ONLY through Him we can be saved and live with our Father in Heaven again.

Fridays are kind of weird days for us. We spend most of the day at home getting things done. We have our three hour block of weekly planning and then Sister Parke has lots of missionary phone calls she has to make. And then this Friday, we also happened to go serve at FMSC (Feed My Starving Children) so it was a pretty busy first part of the day. Then every Friday we also typically go to see Brother Dam so we did that with Sister Sawyer. And then we ended the night by going over to visit Sister Keltner. We had a great discussion about the standards of the church and how they truly bless our lives! We went over the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet. If you haven’t read that in a while, I would encourage you to look that up online or get out your old copy and go over the things inside. I remember a few years back when Dad suggested I go over it and it was a great review about our standards and why we choose to live the way we do. I know God only gives us these standards to help us become more like the children He wants us to be. Every principle He gives us is for our gain and to help us one day be able to return back home to His presence.

feed my starving children... hairnets and all ;)

Saturday, the 21st, we got to do something new and different… Brother Longstreet taught us how to do a little self-defense. I have to say, it was pretty darn fun getting to beat him up (granted he was holding up a big padded shield, but nonetheless it was still really fun!).

That night we had an Arby’s date with the Kuceras and Sister Erlendsson. They were able to get her out of her apartment and we all went out to Arby’s for dinner. The Kuceras are just the BEST! They’re just always wanting to help out. After dinner Sister Erlendsson was planning on having them take her right back home, but we were able to talk her into driving over to the church building with us to do on a little tour of the building while no one was there. We figure we’re taking baby steps and if we can just get her comfortable with the building that is a start. We walked around and then we ended in the chapel were we sang a song and I read a scripture. Sister Erlendsson told us that she had this really calm feeling and we were able to explain to her that she was feeling the Holy Ghost. She said, “Really?” She was happy to know that right then in, that very moment, she was feeling and recognizing the Spirit. What a neat experience for her!

Today we also were able to visit Angie which was awesome because she hasn’t been letting us come see her lately either. And then we also went to see Cira. The night before while we were out, we saw some fire trucks and ambulances pull into some apartments where we happen to know a handful of people, so we waited to see if they went into any of the buildings of people we knew and they happened to go into Cira’s building. Instantly, I thought something is wrong with Cira. I know she struggles with a lot of different health problems and I just knew it was Cira. I called her cell right then and of course there was no answer. I left a message and soon after we heard back and later found out sure enough it was Cira. She actually didn’t end up going to the hospital then, but she was there the day before and then later that night she went back. I was so glad that we happened to see those fire trucks pull up! It was good to see Cira! I was glad she knew she was loved by us and that we still cared so much about her. She too was grateful to have us over. Before we left she said a prayer and in her prayer she thanked God how the Sisters always seem to show up just when she needs them. God and His angels truly watch over each one of us. And we truly can be the answer to someone’s prayer.

Yesterday, Sunday March 22nd, we had a few new people at church. Rahel was finally able to get her work schedule switched around so she could come and bring her girls. Mercy met a girl who just moved here from Columbia, named Poochie and brought her and Steve and Keri Nelson (who we live with) brought Steve’s haircut lady, Laura and her daughter. It is awesome to see the members here be such great missionaries!!! I have never before in my life seen a ward wanting to share the gospel with so many. It is really an exciting thing to watch!

Sunday evening is when it all hit. Back came the SNOW!!! We went to dinner with the elders at the Broadbent’s home. When we walked inside there wasn’t a single drop of snow to be seen. While we were sitting down eating dinner we looked out the window and somehow it had turned into a snow globe. When it was time to leave we were already up to four inches of snow! Seriously, something is wrong with that picture! I’m just going to cross my fingers this doesn’t last long and soon we will be back to hammock weather out here.

Love you all!

Keep on keeping on!

Sister Larson

Rahel and her girls Heaven (9) and Coco (7)
Picture from the Nielson girls.
Don't worry... they made sure that in the end I found my prince charming who took me to the temple to get married. How thoughtful ;) 
i spy... can you see Tanneh's lipstick mark? Yep you can miss those big black lips! ;)

My District this transfer.

My room. Had to finally put up pictures of everyone. Love you all.

Fun at church with Sis. Parke.
Now that's my kind of studying!

Yeah, I got it rough ;) hehe.

Oops ;)


Flip flops baby!

Spring is in the air.

Andrew this is for you. You remember this? You totally had this little guy when we were little :)

Last week. Dinner at the Larsens.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 18 – March 16, 2015

Last Monday, the 9th, was our Zone P-Day. All of the missionaries in our zone (about 30) got together to watch the movie “The Saratov Approach” (if you haven’t seen that movie… promise me right now you will watch it- it is such a wonderful testimony builder and reminder about why we do the things we do).

The best part about the entire day was the fact that it got into the 40’s and I totally busted out my flip-flops for such an occasion! It’s weird how the 40’s can honestly feel AMAZING and even warm to us out here in Minnesota. Wow—I never thought I would be saying that! That night we had dinner with Bob and Carol and they were sweet enough to share with us some of their yummy homemade pizza. Carol seriously seems to always do such a gourmet job in the kitchen. And then we finished the night off with a lesson with Erica and Tobey over at the Hienonen’s. (Brother Hienonen actually did his internship out at Mt. Spokane High School about 13 years ago when I was a student there… we totally could have bumped into each other once upon a time… small world). Anyway, the lesson seemed to go well. Tobey and Erica mentioned to us that they are house hunting so we aren’t too sure how much longer they will be in our area. But for now we will keep teaching them.

On Tuesday, March 10th, we had our district meeting and then we went on exchanges with the sisters in Bloomington and I ended up going to Bloomington to work with Sister Woolley for the day. That evening we had the chance to teach the Ward family. The lesson was going great and I was feeling super good about things. Half way through I asked them if they had ever thought about the idea of families being together forever... and they quickly answered “Oh yeah! You can be sealed to your family for eternity!” It was then that I realized we were visiting members. Sister Woolley had forgot to mention to me that the Wards were already members of the church they just weren’t very active. I’m really glad I was able to figure it out before I asked them to commit to be baptized ;) Then later that night we met with one of their recent converts, Rodger. I had met him in the past, but it was so much fun to sit down with him and get to talk. Rodger didn’t know it, but he was totally the answer to my prayers that day! I had been working through some things and that night Rodger just seemed to say exactly what I needed to hear. It’s pretty cool how the Lord works! We must remember we too can be the answer to other’s prayers. Are we acting and living in such a way that the Lord can work through us to help us lift and bless others?

Wednesday morning I went back to Minnetonka. Sister Parke and I went to visit Sister Yule at work and were able to have a wonderful lesson with her. She is ready to make some major life changes! Those changes are scary and are going to be hard, but we are trying to give her that support she needs to know that with God’s help ALL things are possible! Then that afternoon Sister Parke and I went to Eden Prairie to work with those sisters for the next day. They don’t have much of a teaching pool so we went over there to help them do some contacting and tracting. Wednesday I went out with Sister Farnsworth. Earlier that day I had gotten together with our Relief Society President, Sister Larson and then tonight for dinner we went over to the Larsen’s. I have to say there are a lot of us Larsons (Larsens) out here in Minnesota. The Larsen family was so much FUN! When we got to their house they had welcomed us by drawing welcome signs all over their driveway for the sister missionaries. How cool is that?! They have 5 kids all under the age of 11 and they were so much fun to hang out with. They each got to ask us a question and of course my favorite one they asked was “Who is my favorite Disney princess?” And of course I said, “Cinderella!” You got to love kids and how carefree they are! Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days.

The next day, the 12th of March, I went out working with Sister Huang. While we were out we met this really cool guy Larry. Larry has a beard down to about his bellybutton. I asked him how long he has been working on that thing and he said about six years now. Go Larry! Larry looks a little rough on the outside, but after talking with him for a while we were able to get his number and he invited us to come back. He has been involved in AA (Alcohol Anonymous) for about 11 years now and when I told him about our churches 12 step addiction recovery program he was super interested! It’s just so cool to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ is for EVERYONE! We must always remember we are ALL children of God. We are all brothers and sisters. And we are all in this thing called life TOGETHER! That evening, once Sister Parke and I went back to our area, we went to visit Rahel and her girls. We had an awesome lesson on the word of wisdom! You never know how people are going to react when you tell them that we don’t drink coffee or tea. For the most part, people understand the importance of not using tobacco or drinking alcohol, but when you mention coffee many of them can’t seem to wrap their mind around that at first. In the middle of the lesson, I was explaining how Heavenly Father doesn’t want us to be addicted to things. Right then, Rahel goes, “Oh, yeah… that’s like me and my coffee!” Then Sister Parke jumped in and was like, “Funny you should mention that because…” As we went on to explain how God has also asked us to stay away from other addicting substances like coffee, Rahel just jumped in and said, “YES, I will give that up!” She told us she was going to give up her coffee before we even had to ask her. It was so awesome!!! Go Rahel!!!

Friday, the 13th, was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! Every morning we study for a hour on our own and then we have a hour to study together and today we studied OUTSIDE!!! The sun was out and it was HOT! I’m talking like 70 degrees! It was absolutely crazy! I’m not totally sure where all the nice weather came from, but I was loving every minute of it! Steve and Keri (the people we live with) live right on Lake Minnetonka and they just happen to have a hammock right at the edge of the yard. All I have to say about that is SUN+HAMMOCK=HAPPINESS!!! It was nothing less than heavenly! Sister Parke and I were soaking it all up! Friday night was a night of random notes of kindness. Us sister missionaries usually like to do sweet little things for others and notes is huge for us… tonight we ended up just driving around dropping off little notes to people.

Saturday, March 14th, we had our morning meeting over at Bishop Patterson’s. Oh man, I know I probably say this a lot, but I am so grateful for him! He has so much love for people and I have felt nothing less than love from him every time I am around him. Later in the day, we went over to see Jennifer and we nailed down a baptismal date for April 18th for her! It’s so cool to see so many people come unto Christ and want to follow Him and live His gospel. We are still holding out for Tanneh and Josh… don’t you worry… they are still planning on getting baptized they have just pushed it back a bit, but IT IS HAPPENING!!! Tonight we had dinner over at our favorite Mussers. Oh, I just love those guys! They are always spoiling us with goodies! And then we ended the night off by going to see, “Journey with Joseph” (that’s a musical about Joseph Smith at the Minneapolis Stake youth put on). WOW—they did a fantastic job! I’m always so surprised by the talent all of these young kids have! My goodness, you wouldn’t believe the kind of show they pulled off for only having 2 months to work on it. They did such a great job. It was an awesome performance to bring people to. The spirit was strong and the testimony these kids bore through their singing was incredible! Jennifer and Angie both came so that was awesome! While we were there I saw Sister Bone and Sister Zimmerman (who are two of my past companions and now they are companions with each other). It was great to be able to see them! They looked good and happy and that makes me happy.

Sunday, Sister Parke and I went over to the Robison’s for dinner with the Nielsons. I LOVE going over to their house for dinner on Sundays because that is when they each go around and share a time during the past week when they have felt the spirit and then they light a candle. It is seriously one of the coolest family traditions I have ever seen! Talk about inviting the spirit into your home! Then Sunday night we had a President’s fireside. Mercy took us and Rahel and her girls met us there. It was so good to be able to have Rahel join us since she worked in the morning and couldn’t come to church. My favorite part of the whole day was bumping into Sister Steadman at the fireside. Oh my goodness, I miss that girl! Every time, I see her I just light up and usually at least one of us ends up in tears simply because we are just so happy to see the other person. I am so grateful Heavenly Father put us together to be companions in the MTC. That friendship has been able to give me so much strength and I know she feels the same. It’s funny how Sister Steadman, Sister Zimmerman, and I just seem to have this special bond from getting to work together at the MTC. We were definitely met to be companions for a reason that is for sure!

Speaking of companions, I love Sister Parke! She is an absolute rock star!!! She is only 19 years old but she has it going on! She is so positive, fun and her testimony just shines! God has blessed me again. I have been very lucky with all of my companions so far! Thank you Heavenly Father—let’s keep it like that ;)

I hope all is well back home and that everyone is enjoying SPRING! Thanks for all of the love and support! Knowing I have so many back home praying for me is such an added strength! Thank you all. Love you millions and billions!

-Sister Larson

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 17 – March 9, 2015

Last Monday night, March 2nd, we went on exchanges. Sis. Parke left me and Sis McDowell came to Minnetonka to spend the next day with me. So Tuesday we ended up spending most of the day together and she was lucky enough to get introduced to SNUFFY’S! We also went to see Sis Yule at her work. She works at a dry cleaning place and it was super slow so we were able to sit down with her there and do a lesson and check in and see how she’s been doing. She has come to church the last three weeks in a row! GO SISTER YULE!!! I’m so proud of her! Then we also stopped by to visit our dear sweet Carmon. Again she was so happy to see us. Still with the language barrier we were somehow able to have a conversation for about 30 minutes. We looked at different pictures from the scriptures and talked about the different scripture stories. When we showed her the picture of Christ holding the baby lamb tears just started streaming down her face. She pointed to the little lamb and then to herself. It was so sweet and tender. It was such a good reminder to me about how we are all that tiny little lost sheep that our Savior has gone after. I’m so grateful to know that Christ is ALWAYS there for me!

This is the picture.

That night we switched companions back and I had Sister Parke again (I was happy to have her back) ;) That evening we had a lesson over at Rahel’s with her two sweet daughters and Mercy and Blessing joined us again. We decided we needed to spend some more time teaching about prayer and HOW to pray. That morning I made a small whiteboard with the main parts of a prayer on it and then they were able to fill in things they were grateful for and things they wanted to ask God to help them with or bless others with. They seemed to really enjoy the lesson and I think they’re slowing understanding more of how prayer works. Next week we are going to teach them more of WHY we pray and WHAT comes from prayers. Their understanding is so basic but it really makes teaching fun. I have never seen girls ASK so many questions! They are constantly asking WHY? WHY? WHY? It’s cool to see their desire to learn and understand about God and His plan.

Wednesday, the 4th, we went to FMSC to do a couple hours of service packing food. We always enjoy being able to go there and help. It’s really a pretty cool program that helps hungry people all over the world. After, we went out to lunch to Subway as a district and then it was time for our district meeting. Elder Hughes had asked me to do a training on PRIDE based off of a talk given by President Kim B. Clarke. It was a good topic to study up on. I sure have a lot I need to work on, that is for sure!

Helping at Feed My Starving Children.

Thursday, our district had the chance to go to the St. Paul Temple to do a session there. The temple here is identical to the temple back in Spokane. It was good to be able to finally get to go and do some work in the temple! It has been a long time since I’ve been. Before, when I was living in Utah, I was able to get to the temple pretty frequently so it’s kinda weird not being able to go as much. Sister Cupkie was kind enough to come and pick us up so we had a ride. I was able to have some time to think in the Celestial room and that was really nice… and yes there were definitely some tears involved in that experience (thanks a lot Dad- I totally got that from you I hope you know) ;)

At the St. Paul Temple with Sis. Parke.

That night we had dinner over at the Joyce’s and boy is it always FUN going over to their place for dinner because 1. We get to play with pearler beads and 2. We always seem to have so much fun doing our dinner messages with those silly kids. This time we really took it to the next level… costumes and all. Dodge seems to always be dressed up as some super hero when we come over, so I figured I should probably join in on the fun, I mean shoot why not right? The kids loved it and if we are going to honest you all know I loved getting dressed up too!

Dinner at the Joyces... Oh yeah that's how we roll.

Our last lesson of the night was with Jennifer over at Isaac’s place and Steve joined us too. They both just got baptized this last fall. We watched an awesome video off of called “Scripture Legacy”. We had watched it a few weeks back with Mercy and found it to be a powerful reminder of how we shouldn’t take our scriptures for granted. So many people sacrificed so much in order for us to be able to have the Bible and Book of Mormon today. I would highly recommend you take 20 minutes this week and watch this video. It would be a great Family Home Evening lesson or a good kick start to a personal study. Jennifer is learning more and more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is loving it! I think there is going to be a baptism pretty soon here.

Friday, March 6th, we stayed at home most of the day doing our weekly planning and then Sister Parke had a few hours of phone calls she had to make to other Sisters. I didn’t complain one bit because being at home meant I GOT TO STAY IN MY COMFY CLOTHES!!! Yippy! I promise you will never hear me complain about that! ;)

That night we went to the Klenotich’s for dinner, went to see Brother Dam with Mercy and then were able to go and visit Tanneh and Josh. We had been trying to see Tanneh and Josh all week, but things kept coming up and they were never able to meet up with us. So we were so excited when we finally were able to catch them! We got a voicemail from them the night before telling us that they didn’t think they were ready to be baptized on March 14th. We were just crushed! After visiting with them we were able to help reassure them that they were ready. Satan is working so hard on them right now! He doesn’t want to see them go through with this, but we are going to do everything in our power to help them rely on the Lord for strength so they will be able to get to March 14th! (FAST FORWARD>>> Sadly, Tanneh and Josh didn’t make it to church on Sunday so it isn’t looking like they will be getting baptized on the 14th, but don’t you worry, IT IS STILL HAPPENING… It’s just going to be on a later day. I promise to keep you posted).

Saturday, the 7th, we had a normal Saturday morning meeting with Bishop Patterson with the elders. Afterwards, he talked with just us sisters and shared the COOLEST TALK/SPEECH ever with us! Elder Holland gave this address up at BYU-Idaho and it is called, “Living after the manor of happiness”.  Now this is something you MUST check out!!! Please promise me you will watch, listen, or read this talk. It is so incredibly powerful!!! (2 Nephi 5:27). Thanks Bishop I needed this!

Later we went to see Sister Erlendsson, but sadly she hasn’t been doing too well this last week and hasn’t been up for having visitors. She seems to have sunk into some deep depression. We still call her every other day or so just to tell her we love her. But today, we knew a phone call just wasn’t enough. So we decorated a big giant poster board with all of the different reasons why we love her and slid it under her door. We hope that was able to at least put a smile on her face. I just love that lady and I hate to see her be so sad.

Saturday afternoon, we went up to Elm Creek (that was Sister Parke’s last area) so she could be there for the baptism of one of her investigators Mardea. Mardea just moved here from Liberia six months ago and is a rock star! It was fun getting to spend some time with her. After her baptism Sister Christensen took four of us sister missionaries and Mardea out to dinner to celebrate. I can’t tell you how excited Sister Parke was to be able to see so many people she knew! She had served in that area for seven months so it was hard for her to say goodbye so being able to see them again was just able the best thing in the world for her. So glad we were able to go up there for her!

That night we had a mini lesson with Bob. Oh Bob—he is such a pickle! He loves what he is learning. It makes sense to him, BUT he refuses to do anything about it! Next week he is getting what we like to call the “Do or Die Lesson”. He needs to come to know for himself that what we are teaching is true and once he knows he needs to be willing to follow Christ and do what He asks of us. Come on Bob I have faith in you!

Yesterday was a great Sunday! Sister Parke spoke in church about the restoration (and Aimee was there, so that was AWESOME!!!) and then they had me share some things in relief society. I decided to open up about being married for the first time with the ward. They were totally surprised and shocked, but it is amazing how that trial of mine has been able to help me help so many others and for that I am grateful!

Sunday we were able to go and see my top three favorite people! So that just made my day! The Kuceras are back in town from being down in Alabama at the beach for the last month staying nice and warm and boy am I happy to have them home! I sure missed those two! Brother Kucera totally reminds me of Dad (Dad in about 10 years, but still Dad). Then we went to see Sister Erlendsson. She still wasn’t up for visitors, but Sister Parke had left her water bottle there like a week ago so we had a good reason to have to see her ;) Sister Erlendsson came out and met us in the lobby right outside of the elevator on her floor. We were so happy we were able to at least give her a hug and tell her we love her. We also had a little surprise for her. We brought her a Book of Mormon coloring book and some coloring pencils. We told her that this might help her fight those cigarette cravings of hers when she is just sitting at home bored. She can color! I mean who doesn’t like a good color every now and again?! And then on top of that she is also able to learn about the scriptures while she sits there coloring away. I know, I know, we are pretty sneaky ;) And then my other favorites that we were able to go and see were the Mussers! Oh I just can’t get enough of Sister Musser! That woman just always seems to know how to put a smile on my face! We called on our way over and she let us know she was in her nightgown already so we better be ready because that only meant one thing… SLEEPOVER! She’s so cute! Sister Musser’s sister, Lisa Hess (who lives with her), actually got to go through the temple for the first time on Saturday so we wanted to come over and hear about her experience. Lisa just loved it! There were so many people from the ward that went to show their support. She said she just felt like she was there with family. What a special ward we have here in Minnetonka!

My most favorite Kucera's.
I really did get lucky coming to this area! I’m crossing my fingers that I am going to be able to stay for at least one more transfer after this one so I can at least see the lake I live on… I mean I think that would be only fair, but I guess I’ll go where they need me. The weather here has warmed up, in just the last couple of days. It has been in the 40’s!!! Funny because you know you’re in Minnesota because once it hit the 40’s, EVERYONE seemed to be outside in nothing more than a little jacket or sweatshirt. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I saw out on walks yesterday. It’s almost as if the world is awaking up again from being asleep all winter. Oh and the time changed which is just awesome! It was light last night until 7:30pm!!! I am so ready for spring to get here! Come on Mr. Sun, come out and play, this sister is ready for green grass, blue lakes, and the smell of BBQ’s!

Love you ALL!!! Thanks for the letters—keep ‘em comin’!

Sister Larson

Driving through Minneapolis.
Bree sent me this little guy and we have named him Theodore (Theo for short).
Theo comes everywhere with us... And don't you worry, he is bucked in ;)
Last P-Day we were STARVING... Let's just say we ate like queens that day ;)
So much goodness.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Week 16 – March 2, 2015

Alright let’s see what I can fill you in on this last week…

Last Monday, the 23rd, for P-Day I was kind enough to take my sweet new companion over to the Hicken’s place. The elders go there every Monday to play basketball… since they have an indoor basketball court and all. Since that does absolutely nothing for me it’s never really been a big deal to go over there on P-Days, but Sister Parke’s favorite thing in the whole wide world is basketball so I figured it was only fair to bring her over there to play with the guys (while I hung out on the couch of course) ;) Now listen to this, there were four guys there by the time we got there and Sister Parke beat them ALL! Yep that’s my companion! What can I say, she’s pretty darn cool!!! It was good for the guys—they could use a little humbling ;)

That night we went over to see Tobey and Erica where we taught them the plan of salvation. It was a great lesson. Tobey had lots of questions as usual which we always like to be able to help answer. They have been out of town the last few weekends so they haven’t been able to get to church, but I think Tobey will really enjoy being able to go to Sunday school and learn more about the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 24th, however I did get my heart rate up, but NO I was NOT exercising! I was stuck driving through the middle of downtown Minneapolis during rush hour traffic! I had NO clue where I was going and the sun was setting and blaring into my eyes which was practically blinding me. Sister Parke and I were blessed with about 17 different miracles from God that somehow got us through that crazy city! Honestly, it was nothing less than miracles that helped us get home that night! All I could do was simply steer the car while Sister Parke watched the GPS and tried to guide me where to go. I was having to constantly change lanes like crazy and I really couldn't see anything so she had to be my eyes half of the time as well. There was about 30 minutes of intense stress. I don’t know how we managed to get through all of that without getting into some form of an accident! God and His angels were protecting our car that is for sure! Let me tell you, we were both so happy when we were finally out of there and back to our neck of the woods. The entire time I was having to fight my way through that insane traffic I kept telling myself, "I am SO a country girl." Where the heck are my gravel roads?!

After getting back from Minneapolis, we went to have dinner with some of Steve and Keri Nelson’s friends. They were over the other night for dinner so we had the chance to meet them and they started asking us about missions and the church. A couple days later they invited us over for dinner and while we were there we were able to teach them more about what we believe and explained things they didn’t understand. They were so intrigued about the history of the Book of Mormon. It was neat to see how they just wanted to learn more because it was something new and exciting for them. Steve invited them to come to church on March 22nd when his daughter Kelly will be speaking because she will be getting home from her mission and they said they would love to come so that’s awesome! Hopefully, we will be able to meet with them some more!

Wednesday, we had our weekly district meeting and lunch at Taco Bell. I have to say we have a pretty solid district right now. Elder Hughs is our district leader and he is doing a great job! We all get along really well and have a good time together. I’m excited to learn from this district!

This last Thursday, the 26th, we had a lesson with Aimee. She had more questions for us about the Church and what was and wasn’t ok. We were able to answer those questions and put her at ease. It always amazes me the things people hear and believe about our faith that are so off and not true. I’m always happy when we are able to set things right and explain to others what we believe and how we live. Aimee has been so open with us about some of the struggles she has been faced with lately. Today she asked us what we are currently struggling with. It was neat to see her want us to be vulnerable with her. I was able to explain how coming on a mission was NOT my will, but that it was Heavenly Father’s will for me and that lately I have been trying to figure out WHY Heavenly Father wants me out here when it’s not necessarily what I want. I told her about how I came to know God wanted me to serve a mission. The spirit was really strong and when I was done talking she just looked at me and said, “You’re HERE for ME!” She went on to explain how she needed someone who was a little older who had some life experiences behind them that she could connect with and open up with. I know we were there to visit Aimee that morning, but what she said, was exactly what I needed to hear! It was a small tender mercy from Heavenly Father letting me know I was in the right place at the right time.

That afternoon, we went over to Sister Erlendsson’s to do a little service for her and we were lucky enough to wash out all of Buddy (her cat’s) dishes ;) Sister Parke only had to hold her breath for a few minutes ;) No, it really wasn’t too bad, we were just happy to get to be around our favorite Sister Erlendsson! If I could take one person home with me from my mission it would be Sister Erlendsson- hands down!!! I just love that little lady!

For dinner tonight, Sister Petersen made her famous home-made chili and corn bread. Oh man— it’s like having just a little bit of Heaven in your mouth ;) Then afterword, we went to visit Rahel and her two daughters Heaven and Coco with Mercy and Blessing. It was the first time we brought Mercy over with us and oh my goodness she and Rahel became instant best friends! And the girls all fell in love with each other too—it was awesome! We had a great little lesson. We have been working with the girls to teach them how to pray, but tonight we want Rahel to have a chance to pray. We gave her the little pamphlet and showed her the outline that was written out on “HOW” to pray. When Rahel went to pray she simply read the section on “HOW” to pray word for word ending with Amen. I love being able to teach people who are learning from the VERY beginning. This up coming week we are going to spend more time on prayers and hopefully Rahel will be able to grasp the idea of how we pray, who we pray to, and why we pray. I’m really excited! She is so humble and loves being able to feel the spirit when we are in her home. She has expressed that she wants to be baptized. She works on Sunday mornings so we are going to try and get her work schedule to work around church so she can start coming hopefully soon! I know Rahel and her girls will just LOVE coming to church!

Friday, Sister Parke had to make lots of phone calls because she is a Sister Training Leader (which means she is just over a couple different companionships of sisters). While she was on the phone I had Sister Cupkie come over to the house to talk with me. She was the lady who did that awesome mission training on body language. Sister Cupkie ended up talking with me for almost three hours. She is always working with the missionaries! They just all love her so I figured I should probably get to know her a little better ;)

That evening, Sister Parke and I went to the mall to meet up with Melanie (Andrew and Lisa’s friend) for dinner. I figured while she was here visiting, I might as well take advantage of that and get to know her a little better and talk to her about my family. It was fun to be able to sit down and talk with her about my family. It was weird because we didn’t really know each other, but she knew Andrew and Lisa so well that I felt like we kinda did know each other.

After, we went to see Brother Dam with Sister Spurlin. And then we went over to the Ashford’s and they had Jennifer over. We talked about family history work and why it is so important. Jennifer LOVES doing genealogy and Sister Ashford does that for work so they instantly hit it off! We were able to then explain how we do temple work for our family members who have already passed on. Talking about all of this family history got me excited about it and made me what to learn more about my family! I challenge ALL of you to spend some time this week to do some genealogy work or to talk to a family member and have them share some stories with you about their childhood, or even about their parents or grandparents. Now is the time to record these memories—before they are lost!

Saturday, February 28th, we went to visit Carmon. Carmon is this dear sweet old lady in our ward who is from Peru and ONLY speaks Spanish. She had fallen last week and is now in a nursing home. She was so excited to see us when we came into her room. Both Sister Parke and I don’t speak any Spanish so no one really knew what was being said, but we probably stayed their talking for a good 20 minutes. Sister Parke was sweet enough to try reading the BOM in Spanish. Carmon was able to follow enough apparently because at one point she broke down in tears and just started sobbing. We just held her hand and let her cry while I assume she bore her testimony and explained how she was sad that her family wasn’t coming to visit her. I’m so thankful we were able to come and say hi. I know there are others in the ward that have also been stopping in as well. I love the charity I see in this ward. So many are constantly reaching out to others—it truly is a beautiful thing to watch!

That night we stopped by Tanneh and Josh’s for a lesson and you will be happy to know that they are still going strong! I’m so proud of those two! Satan has sure been trying to pull them down, but they are fighting back full force with the power of God. They are still planning on getting baptized March 14th which is so exciting!!!

Yesterday was the first of March and I can’t even believe it! Where the heck did the last couple of months go?! Today was fast Sunday, and once again Sister Musser came to the rescue and saved the day! No one had signed up to feed us dinner so she told us to come by her house and she would make sure we would have dinner. When we got over to their place she and Brother Musser just LOADED us up!!! We walked out of there with our arms FULL of food! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy we were! After fasting all day, she had just made all of our dreams come true! And then to top it off, Sister Kiamondo made us a HUGE African dish and Sister Mercedes made us a berry syrup from South America. Not sure how we managed it, but we somehow hit the jackpot today! Just another tender mercy from Heavenly Father! When we were finally able to dig in and eat I’m not sure our stomachs could have gotten any happier!

Sister Parke and Sister Larson’s transfer goal: FIVE BAPTISMS!!! I say BRING IT ON!!!

Yeah this is how we roll ;)

**There was suppose to be two other pictures, but Jes.... Sister Larson didn't get them attached. So here are the captions:

Downtown Minneapolis.
Crazy drive.