Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 24 – April 27, 2015

Well, well, well… let me see this last week has been pretty darn good! Can’t complain- Minnetonka has been treating me pretty darn well. 

Monday- April 20th

Tonight Sonia randomly text us out of the blue and asked us if we wanted to come over. We couldn’t believe it! That girl is normally so busy. The cool part was we didn’t have anything planned for 8:00 and when we got out of our last visit I looked at Sister Parke and said, “Well, has anyone just randomly texted us that they want us to come over?” And sure enough we had got that text from Sonia! Sonia had spoiled us by making some homemade popcorn and smoothies for us to enjoy while we caught up. She has been baptized for a couple of months now and seems to be doing really well. We were worried there for a minute when her boyfriend of like 6 years broke up with her (same guy that introduced her to the church). Thankfully, she is using her time and energy in healthy ways. Her latest thing she has been getting into is kickboxing and self-defense. What can I say, she’s pretty hardcore! She did give me this really cool quote though… this is for all us ladies out there! “Big girls may not cry… But grown women do. They pray. They let go and let God, they rise up like a boss and get on with life!” Can I get an AMEN to that! Anyways, it really was good to see Sonia and to know she is doing well.

Tuesdays- April 21st

Today was our weekly Snuffy’s lunch date with Brother Longstreet and then we stopped by Sister Yule’s work to visit her after. This has kind of turned into our normal Tuesday routine. That afternoon, Sister Parke and I got to spend a couple of hours with President Forbes (the mission president) and his wife. I’m not totally sure what Sister Parke was thinking, but she actually showed them the pictures we took at Goodwill of us all dressed up in those ridiculous outfits from last week. But they got a good laugh so at least we were able to make them smile with our silliness. That evening we went over to the Bak’s for dinner. They have some younger children so after we made my famous “Prayer Sandwiches”. The kids absolutely loved being able to say different things they could say in a prayer in order to put more things on their sandwich. At one point, someone said something and I put some mushrooms on the sandwich… instantly, Cooper's (the youngest boy) face just went sour! Apparently, mushrooms ruin a sandwich! Looks like I won’t be using mushrooms in the future when it comes to making “prayer sandwiches”.

Wednesday- April 22nd

Today we had our weekly district meeting. The Zone Leaders ended up joining us as well. Elder Hughes had a wonderful training for us on the atonement of Jesus Christ. Now most of you probably know about the love/hate relationship we have with the elders in our ward (ok—it’s just love, but we definitely play WAR with them) anyway, today after our meeting Elder Tillotson jumped into our back seat and STOLE Theodore (our little stuffed friend). Theo just happens to be the best little missionary bear out there. We keep him buckled up in the back seat at all times. This is not the first, but the SECOND time the elders have taken Theo from us! The first time we were able to get ahold of their keys and rescue Theo out of their trunk! I can’t believe they even had the nerve to try such a thing again! But don’t you worry; Sister Parke and I have a brilliant plan. Stay tuned for our attack back in the near future! ;)

Later that afternoon we were hoping to go and visit Sister Erlendsson, but she wasn’t in the mood for visits. She sounded extra blue so we decided if we couldn’t get inside to cheer her up there had to be another way! And that is when I came up with a wonderful idea… sidewalk chalk! Sister Erlendsson lives on the third floor of an eleven story building so in order for her to really be able to SEE anything down on the road we had to do something BIG and well that’s exactly what we did! After getting our fingers nice and chalky we called her up on her phone and had her look out her window. We didn’t get inside, but I’m pretty sure we were able to at least put a smile on her face. And I bet there were lots of smiles that ended up coming from that simple little act. It’s amazing how the littlest things can sometimes make the biggest difference!

Hoping to brighten Sister Erlendsson's day with a little love and some chalk.

Thursday- April 23rd

OMG!!! This morning was absolutely glorious! Okay, so if you haven’t noticed Sister Parke and I really like to have fun, be silly, and even get our pranks on. Well, so back on April fool’s day, Steve and Keri who we live with ended up going out of town and when we both tried to pull pranks on the other—we failed miserably. So we came up with the idea that we would make the whole month of April a FREE GAME for pranks! Not really sure Steve knew what he had gotten himself into, but April 23rd was finally our day for the big prank! We had to do it just right or it wouldn’t work! Steve gets up early every morning and today he happened to go downstairs to the gym to ride the bike and we just happened to set our alarm 30 minutes early. When our alarm went off and I heard Steve downstairs I knew today was the day! And then it happened… Sister Parke and I pulled off a prank that will go down in the history books! I took our cell phone and went and hid in the hall closet while Sister Parke frantically went walking around the house “looking for me” ;) Then she hit Steve with it! “Steve, have you seen Sister Larson?! Her shoes are gone and our phone is missing. I just woke up to go to the bathroom and when I looked over she wasn’t in her bed!” Everything just lined up too perfectly! Steve played it really cool and tried not to get too worried, but you could tell the wheels in his head were turning. He told Sister Parke about one of his missionary companions on his mission who happened to run away and was gone for three days! Then he suggested they call the phone. They tried calling it twice and I sent it to voicemail. I could hear Steve tell Sister Parke, she is ignoring us because she is sending it straight to voicemail. Right then I sent Steve’s phone a nice little text informing him he had been PRANKED and we just pulled the greatest April fools trick on him! Just as he was reading the text I walked into the gym and right after reading it he looked up and saw BOTH of us just standing there dying in laughter! He couldn’t believe it! Our first April fools trick we tried he gave us like a 6 out of ten… however, this time he said we rocked a 9 out of 10! Oh yeah! What can I say, Sister Parke are just full of surprises! You all better watch out! Just kidding! ;)

That morning we did a little FMSC service and then on our way home we swung by Steve Burnham’s house (different Steve—new convert Steve) and decided we needed to show him some appreciation for all that he does! That man is constantly helping out. He is ALWAYS there when you need him! In fact, he even got the nickname “I’ll be there” because more often than not that is the text response we get back after asking him if he can help us out with something. Steve is just the man! So what did we do you ask? Well, we attacked his front door with post-its of course!

Who says you can't have fun with Post-it notes?!

That evening we had dinner or at the Alme’s and then we had a great lesson over at Rahel’s and Mercy was able to join us too. Listen to how cool Heaven (Rahel’s 9 year old daughter) is… two days earlier we gave her the New Testament stories for kids and when we saw her today she had read almost all 150 pages of it. She said, “I hope it’s okay that I brought it to school with me to read. I just wanted to keep reading about Jesus.” And then she went on to tell us about all of her favorite different miracles Christ preformed! We couldn’t believe it! Who is this little girl and where did she come from?!

Then we went to teach a first lesson to Kathy (a lady we met last Saturday on the street). Holy smokes we did NOT know what was about to happen! You will never believe it, but Kathy just happens to be the most GOLDEN investigator we have ever met! She's golden and then dipped in gold some more! This lady is nothing but AWESOME!!! She is probably in her 70’s and she is just a hoot! She has been searching for TRUTH her entire life. Every question she had, we had the answer for her and everything she said she believed we couldn’t believe we were hearing because it is exactly what we know and teach! It was an incredible lesson! We left her place higher than a kite!

Friday- April 24th

Today we was our planning/phone call making day. That night we went to visit Sister Petersen and then we tried to see Sister Erlendsson. Sister Erlendsson has had us quite worried lately because she won’t let us come and see her gosh dang it! Tonight we tried our darn hardest to get in. We had to pull some sneaky cards, but she eventually let us in. Her friend Julia (not a really good friend… actually quite a bad influence if we are going to be honest) was over. We had a short little lesson with them. Julia was just drinking away. Oh I wish so bad, I could just get her out of Sister Erlendsson’s life! She seems to make things much worse. But we were happy to be able to at least get in her apartment. I think I probably gave her like four hugs before I left. I love that little lady so much!!!

Saturday- April 25th

This morning we went over to the Bishop’s for a meeting with the elders. After Sister Parke and I tried our hardest to get Theodore back from the elders, but sadly we failed. Then it was off to the gym to meet up with Brother Longstreet to hit stuff! At one point I was working on throwing elbows at Brother Longstreet. He normally is holding up a big pad, but he put it down and told me to hit him. “What?!” Yep, I heard it right, again he told me to hit him… So I did! I throw him a big elbow and the next thing I knew I had actually HIT HIM! He didn’t move fast enough. So now both Sister Parke and I have both hit him. What can I say, he asked for it! Oh well.

Today we had some good visits, but the end of the day was by far the very best! We had the Klenotiches come over to Kathy’s with us to teach her the plan of Salvation. Oh my goodness, it was a fantastic lesson! We were over there just two nights earlier and tonight Kathy told us she is almost through 2 NEPHI!!! Who does that?!?! The spirit was so strong! We were all able to bear strong testimonies of God’s plan for us. And then we asked Kathy if she would come to church on Sunday and she didn’t even hesitate! Kathy is getting baptized! There is no doubt in my mind that she won’t! She has been searching for this for way too long not too!

Sunday- April 26th

Today Kathy came to church with the Klenotiches and she LOVED it!!! Honestly, I’m speechless trying to even explain how cool this lady is! She is practically already a member of the church—it’s just crazy! Later during Primary, Sister Parke and I went in to help with sharing time. We shared a story about a boy who changed the world… his name is Joseph Smith! The kids seemed to enjoy our little lesson so much that after church they came up to us with cards they had made. How cute is that?!

Okay, well it’s time to run… until next keep. KOKO

-Sister Larson

Rockin' the shades!

Got caught in the rain... So much for that umbrella.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 23 – April 20, 2015

Oh boy… wow this last week has been jam packed! Let’s see if I can give you a quick overview of the main highlights…

Monday – April 13th

Today for our P-Day, Sister Parke decided to switch things up and go to the DI to play a little dress up and man did we have fun! We decided it would be only right to create the ugliest outfits possible— so that is exactly what we did! You can judge out outfits for yourselves ;) All I have to say is, Sister Parke and I probably have too much fun together- than again what’s too much fun?!

Having way too much fun at the DI!

Tuesday – April 14th

Today we went to visit Sister Yule at the dry cleaning shop and when we got there we found Sister Yule in tears. When we asked her what was the matter she told us some very sad news! She had just got word that our dear sweet Brother Kucera had passed away. He had his fourth heart surgery the day before and he didn’t make it. I couldn’t believe it. The Kuceras had signed up to feed us dinner just later tonight. Brother Kucera has to be one of my most favorite people I have met out here! He is one of the sweetest guys ever! He is that grandpa figure for everyone. He is always happy and smiling and always seems to be telling a joke. It was sad to hear the news, but at the same time I knew he was in a better place! He had returned home to our Father in Heaven. How glorious and wonderful must that be? Plus— both of my Mom’s parents have passed away since I have come out on my mission and I figure they needed Brother Kucera to be their friend and personal missionary. So Brother Kucera all I have to say is, “Get to work! There is much to be done!” He will be missed, but we will all be together again. I always seem to find much comfort in Enos 1:27. And that was the exact scripture we shared with Sister Erlendsson when we went to see her later that day to tell her the news. How blessed we are to have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and know God’s plan. We can always seem to find such peace during times of one’s passing and for that I am so grateful!

That evening we taught Rahel and her girls about Noah. The girls have never heard these bible stories so they just eat them up and love every minute they get to learn about different Prophets from the scriptures. We also went over how we had keep the Sabbath Day Holy and the girls started brainstorming different things they wanted to do as a family to make Sundays, a special day. Oh I just love those sweet girls. They’re absolutely amazing—so full of light!

Tonight, Steve and Keri took us out to dinner at Perkins. I have been craving a begum waffle since I have come out here, and FINALLY I was able to order me a big-o-waffle for dinner and man was it good! Breakfast for dinner… I’m not sure if there is anything better! We had a great time getting to spend some good time together. I sure love Steve and Keri Nelson! They really do spoil us girls!

Then we finished the night off by going over to Jennifer’s to bake some oatmeal raisin cookies to her while we shared a message from 2 Nephi 31. This week is crunch time… Jennifer is getting baptized on Saturday so we just want to make sure NOTHING gets in the way of that happening! And baking cookies was a good start right?!

Wednesday – April 15th

This afternoon we spend a good chunk of time over at Sister Petersen’s helping her out. That woman is just amazing! She does so much and is such a wonderful example to me. She has so much on her plate and sadly she gets treated so poorly by her family. She broke down to us today and just expressed how hurt she is by everything people are putting her through. She does so much for others and they seem to just walk all over her— it’s absolutely heart breaking! Sister Petersen NEVER has time for herself or her house, so today we spent a couple of hours doing some much needed cleaning in her home! And you all know me and cleaning… I LOVE IT! Between Sister Parke and me, we busted out a ton of work. Sister Parke really enjoys deep cleaning and I love to put my organizing skills to work so we just went to town and had fun! I can’t tell you how good it feels to see a room transform. It becomes a place where the spirit can dwell and love can be felt.

We did some tracking later that afternoon and met some pretty cool people. We knocked into Granny Ellen Irish (who was just a hoot), we were able to talk with a guy name Loronzo, and a young guy by the name of Rueben actually came up to us and started talking to us. Rueben by far was my favorite! He was probably in his 20’s, but we had a great conversation with him and before we left we were able to get his information and have a prayer with him right then and there on the sidewalk. It was pretty sweet!

That evening we saw Angie and had a good lesson. We seemed to be going in circles with her so finally I said, “Angie, if you were the missionary WHAT would you TELL Angie she needed to do?” I think it finally clicked in Angie’s head… she said, “I would have to CHANGE.” BINGO!!! If we want to see CHANGE we MUST CHANGE! Now Angie, get your bum in gear, get off your couch, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

Thursday – April 16th

This morning we went to FMSC to pack food and then after our district decided to go out to lunch together. It was my idea to go out to Pizza Hut. Once we got there and went inside everyone decided to scratch Pizza Hut and go somewhere else…. And that is when the Ooopsie happened. So you see as a missionary you have some pretty annoying rules and one of those happen to be every time you back up your car you MUST have another missionary behind you to direct you EVEN if you are in a totally empty parking lot. Well, today Sister Parke was driving and the elders were also there so Elder Tilotson was backing out both cars. And then we felt it— BOOM! Yep— No April fools joke here— Sister Parke had accidentally backed into the car next to her. Both she and Elder Tilotson were looking just behind the car not to the side and yep that was where the damage was done. Everyone felt so bad, but thankful the damage wasn’t too bad (to our car anyway). The other car happened to belong to the Pizza Hut guy and he was super cool about it. After getting everything worked out with the police and all of the paperwork filled out the guy was nice enough to get us a pizza on him… when we were the ones who hit his car. Pretty cool how there are still nice people out there in the world.

That night, we went to visit Sister Erlendsson, but when we called her she told us she wasn’t feeling up to having visitors. But we just didn’t want to let her depression win so we had a brilliant idea! We told her to look out of her apartment window. She happens to be on the 3rd floor of an 11 floor building. And the next thing we knew there she was poking her head outside of her window. Sister Parke and I had to think fast so the next thing I knew I yelled up to her and told her we were going to do a dance for her. Sister Parke looked at me like I was crazy, but hey if it was the ticket in, I was willing to do just about anything. So there we were in downtown Hopkins— I grabbed Sister Parke and pulled her up onto a park bench where we both started doing this new little dance we made up. Before we knew it, Sister Erlendsson was all smiles and we were able to get her to come OUTSIDE and go on a little walk with us!!! It was truly a miracle! We walked all the way down and back on her street and then… she let us COME IN to her apartment! Yippy! Pretty soon, we were able to find some cleaning supplies and we ended up spending the next two hours cleaning up her house for her. IT WAS AWESOME!!! See what a little dance on a park bench can do?!

Friday – April 17th

Today we had a huge zone service project in one of the big parks in downtown Minneapolis. I, being the totally weirdo that I am, thought it would be fun to wear my flip-flops. Well it turned out that we were working with shoveling out manure and spreading it out in the garden areas. So I ended up pretty much walking around barefoot in poop for two hours— oh well such is life ;)

That evening we had one last lesson with Jennifer over at the Klenotich’s before her big day! It’s so great to see how excited she is to finally be getting baptized after working with the missionaries for a year now. Go Jennifer!!!

Saturday- April 18th

Today started off with Brother Kucera’s funeral. It was such a beautiful service! So many people were able to come and show their love and respect for such a wonderful man. He will surely be missed by many. After our ward mission leader came and found us and told us we had a BIG PROBLEM! They had tried to start filling up the baptismal font for Jennifer’s baptism, however, somehow it had gotten backed up and sewage was coming out!!! When we went to check it out let me just say it looked straight up NASTY!!! There was NO WAY Jennifer was going to be getting baptized here! Somehow it was just one thing after another with problems getting things to work in order to make this baptism happen. It was clear Satan did NOT want her to be getting baptized. Somehow, God provided us with just enough miracles to make everything fall into place in order for a baptism to happen. Jennifer’s baptism may not have been WHERE we had planned, or WHEN we had, or WITH WHO we had planned, but it HAPPENED and that is what counts. Jennifer recognized God’s hand and was so happy she was still able to get baptized. She seemed to just glow the entire time at her baptism. It definitely was a special and unforgettable day for her!

Jennifer's baptism.

Sunday- April 19th

Okay so remember how we hit the pizza huts guy’s car…. Well we had his contact information because we had to exchange information because of insurance and stuff and well today I told Sister Parke we should just text him and see if he would be interested in learning more and possibly come to church. You will never believe it, but Robert (AKA Pizza Hut Man) totally is interested!!! How crazy cool is that?!?! I mean shoot I would say a little bump in one’s car is worth one’s salvation… now we just need to see if President will think the same ;) Who knows though— that little oops might lead to a baptism you just never know! ;)

Well, until next week... be good, do something kind, and remember have FUN!

xo- Sister Larson

Transfers last week.
Just goofing around.

Watch out for us tough sisters!

Good ol' Theodore (He drives around with us everywhere... he's such a good little missionary bear).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 22 – April 13, 2015

So yesterday I hit my FIVE MONTH mark! Crazy to think it has already been that long. In just a few short weeks, I am going to be at six months and be 1/3 of the way through my mission! Wowzer!

Last Monday the 6th of April, Elder Hughes asked me what “I” wanted to do for P-Day (since every week they pretty much always go and play basketball and we all know how much I love playing sports) ;) So I told Elder Hughes I thought our district should all go out and get manicures and pedicures naturally. I honestly didn’t really think he would go for it, but the next thing I knew we had it all planned out and my entire district was going out to the spa! ;) Elder Burbank and I got manicures, while Hughes, Tillotson, and Parke all got pedicures, and Garrett sat out and was our photographer. I mean shoot this HAD to be documented!!! We all had a great time… even the elders admitted they enjoyed being able to get pampered a bit, they probably won’t ever do it again, but there is a first for everything.



On Tuesday, April 7th, we went on exchanges and Sister Woolley came to work with me for the day. We went to Snuffy’s to meet Brother Longstreet, but something came up and he couldn’t make it so we ate there WITHOUT him! Oh, man I won’t lie I felt like I was cheating on Brother Longstreet in a way. I promised myself I could never eat at Snuffy’s again without him there! But I could take Sister Woolley anyway after I had gotten her so excited. And of course she fell in love with Snuffy’s instantly!

Later that afternoon, we had an accounting meeting with my district leader Elder Hughes at the Hopkins library. When we got their Elder Hughes surprised me with my favorite vanilla diet coke from the gas station down the road. It was so sweet of him! I just made my whole day! It’s amazing what just a little vanilla diet coke can do for your spirits! It has become my new favorite pick me up out here. ;)

Later Sister Woolley and I went to visit Sister Erlendsson. We helped her put together her new vacuum and do a little spring cleaning around her place. I sure love Sister Erlendsson! If I could adopt a person I wouldn’t even have to think twice—it would be Sister Erlendsson hands down! She is just the sweetest thing on earth!

That night we had dinner over at the Lewis’ and then Sister Lewis came with us to go and teach Rahel and her girls Heaven and Coco. We taught them more about prophets and read to them out of the illustrated BOM storybook for kids. I can’t even begin to express how cool it is so see the growth and change in them! They are learning so much about Christ and His Church and how we should live our lives. It is neat to see the kind of faith they have, coming from having very little knowledge before we met them.

On Wednesday, the 8th, we had our weekly district meeting and then it was time for another exchange. This time Sister Hiatt got to come and work with me for the next 24 hours. Oh man did we have a good time together!

The next day, Thursday, Sister Hiatt and I went to do some service at “Feed my Starving Children” with the other missionaries in my district. We were working in one section and the elders were in another area and of course that meant it was a race to see who could pack more food. I will have you know, WE won! We had be get very creative towards the end, but we pull ahead toward the end and made it out in first!

After working hard, Brother Longstreet took us to Snuffy’s for lunch since he couldn’t make it earlier in the week. And once again another sister fell in love with that place and not to mention with Brother Longstreet! He is just the coolest!

I also took Sister Hiatt to go and visit another one of my favorites, Sister Yule at her work. We try and catch her once or twice a week. That woman is just so raw and real and to me I simply find that refreshing! Thank Heavens the world has Sister Yules out there!

Friday, April 10th, we had the CRAZIEST WEATHER I have ever seen in my life!!! That morning we were on the phone with someone and they asked us if we had looked outside and we told them no. She told us we needed to go and take a look! What I saw just about gave me a heart attack!!! It was April 10th and it was a full on BLIZZARD outside! It looked like we were living in a snow globe! I couldn’t even believe it!!! We had to get something done that morning at the house and just a couple hours later when I went to look out the window I couldn’t believe my eyes! Somehow our snow globe had totally transformed into a full on sunny summer like day! It was absolutely nuts! It was as if we had Christmas in the morning and then 2 hours later we were celebrating the fourth of July! It was just totally insane! But don’t get me wrong, I was so thankful the snow was gone! But seriously, who would have ever thought?!?!

April 10th...

A few hours later, on the same day!

That evening, we had dinner over with Sister Khon and she had invited her friend, Anthony and his girlfriend, over for dinner. We watched the “He Lives” video with them. It was awesome to see how the spirit touched them and how that simple 2 minute video truly invites the spirit. We were able to have a wonderful conversation about our Savior Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us. If you still haven’t had a chance to watch that video put out by the church I would not only encourage you to watch it, but to share it with someone you know and help them be touched by the Spirit.

Friday night we were walking to one our potentials to visit and we bumped into a group of young African Americans playin’ ball in the street. Sister Parke is a straight up baller and loves to play. So we figured why not get in with the boys by playing a little ball? So that is exactly what she did. She asked if she could play and the next thing I know she had jumped in and was playing along with these boys. They thought it was pretty cool that some random girl just jumped in. We are going to be back in that area later so we are hoping that might have got us a good in with them. You have to get creative as a missionary! The more creative, the more fun you have and the better results you get!

Saturday, the 11th, Jennifer had her BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW!!! Jennifer is finally doing it! Next Saturday, April 18th, Jennifer is going to be getting BAPTIZED!!! Okay, so I know we were really wanting five baptisms but Jennifer is a good start. Rahel and Heaven will be our next goal. We just need to be able to get Rahel to be able to get work off on Sundays so she can start coming to church regularly. And sadly, Tanneh and Josh have pulled back quite a bit, which is so heart breaking because this is like the fourth baptism they have called off. We are just keeping them in our prayers that they will remember the spirit they have felt, the miracles they have seen, and the testimony they have gained.

Saturday afternoon, we were able to go and visit Sister Haggen. Her son Ted passed away last week (it was his funeral we helped at last week). We went to see her with Sister Yule (her visiting teacher). We were able to have a wonderful time together. Right when we were walking out of the door Sister Yule saw a picture of a man in her house and asked who that was and Sister Haggen told her that was her son Ted. Sister Yule couldn’t even believe it- She KNEW him! She had been friends with Ted like 20 years earlier. Talk about a small world and a tender mercy that Sister Yule was assigned to be Sister Haggen’s visiting teacher. None of us could believe it. Sister Yule had many memories with Ted and was able to connect in a new and special way with Sister Haggen. It was pretty neat.

Sunday, was Ward Conference and it was just awesome! All of the speakers and lessons were incredible! It’s cool when you can go to church and truly be fed by the spirit. Yesterday was one of those days.

Later we went to visit the Artegas and read with them about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is so fun to be able to teach children what Easter is REALLY about! Then Sunday night we were able to go and visit Sister Petersen. It had been so long since we have been able to go and see her. She has been working some crazy long hours and it never around. She was able to make it to church today and we were so happy to see her. She told us that her weeks just aren’t the same when she isn’t able to get to church and isn’t able to get visits from us. I love that she recognizes that difference these things make in her life and how they can totally affect her entire week. Sister Petersen is such a wonderful example to me of how to live the GOSPEL! She might not have the whole church thing down, but she has been converted to Christ’s gospel and that is what is truly important. We must remember there is a big difference between living the church and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Maybe ask yourself where you are living and if there is anything you can change or improve on?

Now, just this morning, April 13th, Sister Parke and I woke up extra early at 5:30 for a little bet we had going on with Steve Nelson (the guy we live with). You see, Sister Parke usually toasts the guys when it comes to playing basketball— so Steve and her had made a little bet. They were going to play each other and if Steve won, Sister Parke had to sing in sacrament meeting, but if Sister Parke won, Steve had to… take Sis. Parke, me, Keri (his wife), and himself to go and get pedicures, but the catch was we got to pick out the COLOR of nail polish he was going to have to get it on his toes! Oh yeah—we bring it!!! We were thinking, you know, hot pink or lime green would probably be good! ;)

So anyways, this morning all four of us woke up early to go to the church. We also met the elders and Johnny and Steve Burnham there to add to the pressure. Steve won the first game… Sister Parke won the second game… and the third game came down to the wire, but the final win went to Steve L Us girls were bummed. Honestly, we didn’t see it coming, but we were good sports. So now it looks like Sister Parke will be getting to sing at church. But since Steve is such a trooper he told us he will still take us all out to get pedicures next month (BUT he made it very clear that he would be getting NO nail polish) ;)

Sis. Parke and Steve playing ball.
So there you have it folks, that’s another week of the life of Sister Larson out here in good ol’ Minnesota. Hope Spring has sprung for all of you and you are able to enjoy some blue skies, green grass, and sunshine!

xo- Sister Larson

Love you all!

Beautiful Minnesota sunset!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 21 – April 6, 2015

Oh my, this last week has been full of some pretty funny memories! The week kicked off with P-Day (Monday March 30th). All of the sisters in the Minneapolis Zone got together to go into St. Paul together with our Mission President, President Forbes and his wife. Some of the sisters planned a lunch for all of us to go out to. When we got there the place totally ended up being a PUB/BAR! I thought there is no way President is going to let 14 of us missionaries go out to lunch here, but to my surprise we went right inside and sat down. I couldn’t believe it! I was just cracking up inside at the sight of 14 missionaries going out to lunch at a pub. We did order something that Minnesota is known for— they’re called “Juicy Lucy’s”. They’re hamburgers that are stuffed with cheese inside of the meat. I have to say Juicy Lucy's are pretty darn good—messy, but good! Now if the fact that 14 of us missionaries went out to lunch there isn’t funny enough it is about to get a whole lot worse!!! When it came time to pay for lunch our waitress told us that someone had paid for half of our ticket for all 14 of us. We couldn’t believe it— how sweet was that dear person?! Anyway, Sister Forbes thought we needed to do something to show our gratitude so she told ALL of us to stand up and SING, “I am a Child of God”. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing!!! Did we hear that right?! Did she want us to stand up in the middle of a bar and sing, “I am a Child of God”?!?! We all just looked at each other thinking you have got to be kidding us right?! But Sister Forbes insisted that we get up. So slowly one by one we got up and before we knew it we found ourselves SINGING in the middle of a pub! We were totally embarrassed!!! Not only did we feel awkward, but everyone else there felt uncomfortable. The lesson is there is a TIME and a PLACE for certain things and singing “I am a Child of God” wasn’t the right time or place!!! Oh well, I’m pretty sure there are ONLY 14 people in the world that can say they have sang “I am a Child of God” in a pub and I am just lucky enough to be able to say I am one of those 14! ;) After lunch we did go check out an old Catholic Cathedral. It was pretty cool, but after seeing so many AMAZING ones over in Europe this last summer they all just start to look the same ;)

Outside of Shamrocks (the pub/bar) hehehe.
At the Pub.

At the Catholic Cathedral.

Sister Parke and I spent the evening tracting. The weather warmed up a bit so we enjoyed just walking around Hopkins talking with people. In fact, this whole week we spent a lot of time contacting people! I can’t tell you what a difference it makes having nice weather!!! People have just started emerging from their homes now that the weather has seemed to warm up a bit. Oh and speaking of warmer weather… Minnetonka Lake (the lake I live on) has FINALLY thawed out!!! It no longer is a big giant skating rink. It’s so beautiful!!!

Tuesday, March 31th we had a meeting with the elders. We met them at the Hopkins library and it was so nice out that we ended up just meeting outside on the GRASS… yes GRASS! It was absolutely wonderful to be able to be outside!

We have a great relationship with the elders in our ward. We are always teasing and joking with each other and that makes things just more fun. Now let me back up and explain something… whenever the elders find our car they seem to have fun messing with it. We will come out to find our car with the side mirrors pushed in, the bike rack on the back turned up, and our window wipers flipped up. We had this little war going on for a while and I thought maybe if we kill them with kindness they will return the love instead of all this hatred ;) Sadly, even after leaving candy all over their car with a note they still wanted to mess with our car and soon we found them writing on the side of our car in the dust. So we let them know that only meant one thing… it was WAR!!! They told us to bring it on, so that is exactly what we did… and boy did we get them!!! We had been planning with for a couple of weeks and last Tuesday ended up being the perfect day to attack. After our meeting with them, the elders had a teaching appointment at the library and of course they had just left their car in the parking lot calling our name! So it was time to ATTACK!!! Sister Parke and I went to town on their car and then we hid behind a fence to watch them come out to find their car. When they finally left the library, and turned the corner they found their car totally decked out with “JUST MARRIED” and lots of other lovely dovey wedding stuff. Oh man their faces were absolutely PRICELESS!!! Sister Parke and I were just dying in laughter as we watched them take the walk of shame to their car. So just try and use your imagination… you are driving down the road and you look over to see two men in suits driving in a car decorated with “JUST MARRIED” all over it. Oh those poor elders! We got them SOOOOO GOOD! Oh course it wasn’t seconds later before we got a phone call from them… I have a feeling this war is just beginning. Later they did mention that they got a few thumbs up and waves. However, they didn’t wait long before heading to the car wash. Oh man, I have to say, Sister Parke and I did GOOD! For a couple days afterword, people in the ward were asking the elders how their “Honeymoon” was. Bahahaha ;)

Having just a little too much fun pranking the elders!

Oh and that night we happened to find their car again and it was nice and clean and we thought that just wouldn’t do, so somehow… “JUST MARRIED” ended up on their car again… oops ;) Good thing the elders can take a joke!

Wednesday, was April Fools and Sister Parke and I were on a roll! Unfortunately, Steve and Keri left that morning to go out of town so we weren’t able to do any of our pranks. However, Steve and Keri did try and get us and we tried to get them over the phone that night, but really it was quite pathetic so we decided that the whole month of April is free game! All I have to say is Steve and Keri have it coming! (Hehehe)

Later that day, Brother Longstreet taught us a little more self-defense. We love being able to go and HIT stuff. It’s actually kinda fun. I’m sure Brother Longstreet gets a kick out of watching us try and beat him up ;) And then after we went out to Snuffy’s for lunch of course.

Beating things up with Brother Longstreet.

That night we were driving around doing some visits and holy cow I had my very first BIG THUNDER STROM out here!!! It was crazy cool to watch! The thunder was LOUD and the lighting went all across the sky. It was just awesome! While I was driving it was raining and then all of a sudden the rain just went CRAZY and started pouring down so hard that we could hardly see the road so what did we do?! We pulled over, jumped out, and started dancing in the rain of course!!! It was so FUN! The thunder, the lighting, the rain, the puddles, and us just dancing around! Good times for sure!

Thursday, April 2nd, we treated ourselves to lunch. The elders and us went out to Applebee’s and it was really fun to “just be” for an hour. We were able to just chat and get to know each other a little better. I have tried getting Elder Hughes to loosen up a bit and I think it’s been working. I actually got him to say, “I love you” which is HUGE! He refused for the longest time to say “I love you” to any of the sister missionaries, but I told him he needed to get over that and just show and express love. And now he actually tells both the elders and the sister that he loves them. Look at that— I’m able to even soften the hearts of the little 20 year old boys ;)

That afternoon, we went over to drop off a little Easter message on Cira’s door and she actually came out because she was doing laundry so we were able to go inside and catch up for a bit. She expressed that she had been thinking about us and that she had wanted to ask for a priesthood blessing. Cira has a lot of health issues and last time we were over there visiting we mention that the elders could come over and give her a blessing. It’s amazing how every time she feels like she needs us, we just happen to show up. God sure works in amazing ways! While we were over there, we were able to call the elders and have them come over to give her a priesthood blessing. It was so neat to be able to feel the spirit so strongly as they blessed her. I pray that Cira will recognize that Spirit and the power of the priesthood! I have a strong testimony of the Priesthood and I am so grateful that we can ask for blessings of healing or comfort and strength. It is neat to watch these young elders give blessings. They are just young teenage boys, but as soon as they put their hands on one’s head to give a priesthood blessing the Spirit instantly fills the room and you know they have been called of God and they truly hold the priesthood power.

Later that night we were able to have a teaching appointment with Rahel and Jennifer. They both are moving right along and progressing well. It’s so awesome to see how the gospel is changing and blessing their lives!

On Friday, the 3rd, we received a miracle! Tanneh and Joshua have been struggling a lot lately. The last couple of weeks have been very stressful on them financially. They haven’t been able to find work and their one car broke down. They have been staying with Tanneh’s Mom so they haven’t been around for us to be able to help reach out to them. But TODAY we got a text from them with some really good news!!! They let us know that they got a job and that Tanneh’s Mom fixed their car and also bought them a van as well. God is providing them with MIRACLES! We are just praying that they will recognize God’s hand in this and continue to work hard and want to follow God’s plan for them.

This last weekend was General Conference where we were able to hear from the Prophet and apostles, and other church leaders. I was really looking forward to it! And the best part was we got to watch three of the four sessions at home in our COMFY CLOTHES! It was so good to be able to hear from different church leaders and to get some much needed counsel from them. Sunday morning, Rahel and Mercy and us all went over to Bishop Patterson’s to watch and that was cool to be able to teach Rahel more about how we have a Prophet today and how Christ’s Church is set up. And then after we had a little Easter egg hunt for the kids.

Conference Baby!
Blessing (Mercy's daughter) at the Bishop's for our Easter egg hunt.

If you didn’t have a chance to check out General Conference this past weekend you can go to and watch, listen, or read any of the talks there. Here are my favorite talks/speakers from each session of conference this last weekend.

***Sorry folks, I tried to embed the videos and it was not working***

I hope you all were able to have a wonderful Easter and spend some time reflecting on our Savior Jesus Christ and what He has done for each one of us. I know that it is ONLY through Jesus Christ that we can live with our Father in Heaven again. Christ lives and because He lives, we can live again.

Oh and you might like to know that transfers came and it looks like I get to stay in good o’ Minnetonka for six more weeks. I have a feeling I will probably be moving after this transfer so I will have at least through May 13th here.

Love and miss you all. Go and do something that makes you HAPPY TODAY!

xo- Sister Larson