Saturday, June 27, 2015

Week 33 – June 27, 2015

Oh man this last week has sure been a whirlwind of events. Last Saturday (June 20th) we spent our P-Day playing catch up. It was a "get 'er done" day for Sister Steadman and myself. We spent most of the day catching up with writing letters to people. It is so hard to stay on top of that as a missionary, but I will have you know I try my darn hardest. And you also need to know I REALLY appreciate all of the LOVE I get from all of you in the form of letters. I feel like very blessed to have so many amazing people in my life who show so much support.

Sunday, June 21st, Alex Boye was here and he had a fireside. We were able to invite both Iris and Dixon to come. I have gone to one of his firesides in the past before and he is so good! The neatest thing happened at the very beginning. It was Father's Day (Happy Father's Day Pops) and when he got up he started off by singing the song, "I Can Only Imagine". This instantly brought up so many tender feeling to me. This was the song that was played at my best friend, Bree's Dad's funeral. Bree's Dad, Dan, was one of the most loving and Christlike people I knew. It was a special moment to reflect back on Dan's life and how wonderful of a man he was and what an example he was to me on that Father's Day.

Alex Boye also talked about the power of our thoughts (2 Nephi 24:24). I loved that simple reminder of how powerful our personal thoughts can be. Sister Shogan (My most favorite YM leader growing up) used to always say, "IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME." I have a strong testimony of that! With the help of our Heavenly Father and the power of the atonement we truly can make ANYTHING come to pass.

He also had us ask ourselves if we were wearing a "DO NOT DISTURB" sign? Were we letting God come in and CLEAN us out or were we wearing one of those signs and keeping God from being able to help us cleanse ourselves and become better? That's just some food for thought that I jotted down from some of the things Brother Boye talked about.

Monday, the 22nd, was a bit interesting. It started off a bit rough, but by the end of the day, things were looking up again. That afternoon we did have the pleasure of meeting Mike Gould. We met Mike down in Dinky Town outside of some shops. He was out playing his guitar and reading from the Bible and preaching the good word. Turns out that Mike Gould is also running for Mayor right now and asked for our vote. He was kind enough to even give us a flier he had personally made for his campaign. Mike actually contacted into us. He saw our name tags and said hello to his Utah friends. We got to talking and he asked if we had something to give him. So we gave him and BOM and in return he gave us a copy of the New Testament he had with him. Mike then had to test out how the BOM sounded so right then and there on the street he opened up to Moroni 10:3-5 and read Moroni's promise to people passing by. I have to say Mike had quite a lot of enthusiasm and read it with a lot of gusto! Go Mike Gould! You got my vote ;)

Tonight, we taught Dixon the plan of salvation. While we were teaching, something came up about needing to do what Heavenly Father has asked us and right then and there, Dixon started bearing his testimony of how he knew that was true. We hadn't even told Dixon about the word of wisdom yet, but he said that over the weekend he was hanging out with some guys from the ward and they mentioned to him that as Mormons we don't drink alcohol. Apparently, making beer here in Minneapolis is a huge thing and that had become quite the hobby for Dixon. But after hearing that, Dixon told us he went home that night and took all of his beer bottles that he uses and threw them ALL away! He said it was going to be super hard, but that he truly wanted to do the right thing and follow what God wanted him to do. Can you believe that?! WOW—Dixon never stops amazing us! That night we gave Dixon a baptismal calendar to help him prepare for his baptism on July 11th. YAY!

For my day starting out tough it was starting to really turn around, but it wasn't over yet! When I got home... I found a BIG BLUE PACKAGE! So after I was done planning and getting all ready for bed I opened it and let me tell you this little package made my whole day!!! I had wrote my pen pal Jeremy and told him that this was going to be my first summer to NOT be able to go camping so what did Jeremy do?! He sent me an entire missionary approved camping trip! We are talking flash lights, "PINE" air fresheners, stuff to make s'mores, and he even threw in some GLOW-IN-THE-DARK STARS so I felt like I was sleeping under the stars! Talk about spoiling me! Sister Steadman and I were so stoked to put these things to good use and go on a little camp out in our living room. Jeremy, thanks for helping me be able to sleep under the stars this summer ;)

Best "indoor" camping kit EVER! Thanks Jeremy!

The next day, Tuesday the 23rd, things just kept on getting better! I received the BIGGEST tender mercy from Heavenly Father today. He seemed to know exactly what I needed and somehow was able to provide me with a personal miracle. June 23, 2015 will be a day I NEVER forget out here on my mission! Right now, I just want to thank my Father in Heaven for watching out for me and being very aware of my needs. I also would like to thank E.B.F. I sure love you!!! :)

Later that night, we had dinner over at Megan Lowe's where she cooked us up a delious homemade meal. And then we met with Dixon to finish teaching him the plan of salvation. Tonight was a pass off lesson which means we no longer will be teaching Dixon :( Since Dixon is 32 years old he needs to be going to the family ward and we work with people going to the singles ward so from here on out the missionaries in the family ward will be teaching him. Thankfully, Dixon will still be able to come to all of the singles activities so we will still see him quite often, just not at Church.

Wednesday, June 24th, we did a little neighborhood clean up. You would NOT believe the amount of garbage that is around here. There is garbage everywhere! After picking up trash for a bit we hit up Maxwell's to wash his windows. We spent a good hour washing windows and dang was it HOT! But even in the hot heat of the sun it felt good to be able to serve and help him out with his restaurant.

Tonight Harry (from the ward) made us and Karem dinner. And then it was off to go and teach Eva (one of our less active members). Matt another member joined us for the lesson. It wasn't the greatest lesson simply because Eva wasn't really in it. It is so hard to try and get someone to WANT to WANT the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is only so much we can do. We do as much as we can and then the ball is in their court and they NEED to ACT! No one else can do it for them. We do all we can for others and then we pray like crazy that God will help them with their desires to want to change.

On Thursday, the 25th, we did some contacting around campus and met a couple really cool people! Sister Steadman and I decided to play a game that Trevor introduced to me to help spice up contacting. You pick a word and then you have to try and use it in your conversation while you are talking with someone. Trev, you will be happy to know we did have fun with it ;) We were able to meet this cute couple who happened to be visiting and originally is from China. They were so sweet and when it came time to part ways they asked if they could take a picture with us. Oh Asians. So cute! Something that was pretty cool though was the fact that I just happened to only have one restoration pamphlet on me and it happened to be in Chinese! I mean shoot what are the odds?! I'm pretty sure God wanted us to meet them! Then we also met this neat guy, Deckan, who was visiting from Ireland—talk about being prepared! He is so READY for the gospel! I don't think I have ever met someone this prepared before. He has been searching for truth. It was crazy talking with him because EVERYTHING just pointed him to the gospel. But get this, we got his e-mail and now that we have I-Pads we might be able to teach him over skype. How cool is that?!

Tonight we had dinner and a lesson with Iris over at Matt's. Matt lives in downtown St. Paul. He picked the three of us up. We parked in some parking garage and then we had to walk about five blocks to his apartment, but the weird thing was we NEVER once stepped outside. Since it gets so cold here in the winter they have sky-ways connecting all of the different buildings together. He can even walk to his work without ever going outside. It was the strangest feeling! I felt like I was living in a video game. It was just another confirmation that I am NOT a city girl! After dinner we had a lesson with Iris on Temples and it happened to be perfect to meet at Matt's because he happens to have an amazing collection of beautiful artwork of different temples. Iris seemed to really enjoy learning about them. She is progressing so much, but she still hasn't been able to get to church with her work schedule so that is what we are working on next with her. If she wants to get baptized she is going to need to be able to get to church.

Friday, June 26th, we went to the store on the corner of our street to help out Moe (he's the owner and we talk with him everyday). We helped unload a new shipment they got of drinks. We love Moe! He is so kind and always has a smile on his face! We have some pretty interesting neighbors around here, but we also have a couple real quality ones and Moe happens to be one of our favorites!

This afternoon we met up with Dixon and the new missionaries who are teaching him. They went over the word of wisdom today so we figured we should introduce him to a new drink... a better drink! So now on his Saturday nights we wont be as tempted to sit down and have a glass of wine when he can sit down and end the day off with some delicious orange julius. Momma Larson you have taught me well... your orange julius is getting to be quite popular out here ;)

Tonight for the ward activity we played water balloon games. Oh my goodness, I was laughing so hard watching some of these games! By the end of the night everyone was soaking wet and had big smiles on their faces. I would say it was a success!

Sister Steadman ended our week off the perfect way... yep, we CAMPED OUT!!! And yes, it was AMAZING! Thanks to Jeremy for providing so many fun camping goodies and Paul for the tent and sleeping bags we were able to have a successful camp out! We enjoyed setting up our tent, rolling out our sleeping bags, smelling the pine aroma, (we may or may not have even sprayed bug spray just to give it that extra touch), we roasted s'mores, and even put put our glow-in-the-dark stars. I have to say, last night will go down in the books! Who says you can't go camping as a missionary?!

Coolest sister missionaries ever!

Oh yeah... now that is one good lookin' s'more!

This morning, Saturday, I woke up to the sound of birds chirping away and the sun coming through our tent... Awe that is the life!

Rise and shine!
Aren't mornings just beautiful?! (PS- Do you see the stars we slept under?!)

Well, I hope all of you back home are not taking the outside world for granted! If you haven't gone camping yet, NOW is the time! What are you waiting for? I know I always feel closer to my Heavenly Father when I am out enjoying His beautiful world!

Love you all-
Sister Larson

Scripture for the week: Mosiah 4:30

Sometimes you find the strangest things... ;)

There are just some days when you would rather wear a paper bag over your head... today was one of them ;)

Theo and Uffda Honeymooning it up down by the water!
How do you like Theo's speedo? ;)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Week 32 – June 20, 2015

Wow- This week has been a week of MIRACLES! I think I would say this has been the best week so far out in the field. I have a ton to fill you in, but we have to start from the beginning...

Last Saturday, June 13th, was our P-Day and Sister Steadman loves theater so we went to check out the Guthrie Theater which is one of the best. It was pretty neat. We just walked around. The coolest things we saw there was the blue room where they do set design and the amber box that sticks out of the theater where you can go and look out at the view of the city. Oh and there is a place where you can stand on a glass floor and look down and see everything you are standing over.

The Amber Room at the Guthrie Theater.

Sunday, June 14th, we were hoping Iris was going to be able to make it to church, but she worked the graveyard shift and text us super early and told us she was going to need to go to bed once she got off because she was so tired and needed to get some sleep. We totally understood. So when we got off at 8 am we went to visit her and just drop off those beautiful flowers our neighbor Katherine had given us. We knew Iris was sad that she wasn't going to be able to make it to church so we wanted to be able to cheer her up a bit.

Visiting Iris and giving her those beautiful flowers :)

Iris may not have been able to come to church, BUT Dixon came! And wow this is when the miracles really started to happen! In Sunday School our teacher asked him if he would pray (he hadn't ever even prayed with us yet) and he didn't even hesitate before saying "sure"! So at the end of class Dixon got up in front of everyone and said an amazing prayer. We couldn't believe it!

After church we had "linger longer" where they serve lunch and let us mingle and get to know one another a little bit better. Dixon jumped right in and started getting to know lots of people. After lunch they announced that they were going to have choir practice. Not too many people got up to go and we teasingly asked Dixon if he wanted to go. And guess what?! He stood right up and made us join him! Who is this guy?! Talk about an over achiever... we haven't even given him an official lesson yet!

When Monday the 15th rolled around we got together with Iris to teach her about Prophets and about the 10 commandments. Those were both things she had never heard of before. I love teaching Iris because everything is so new and different for her. After she committed to follow the commandments and to pray about if she should be baptized. Yay!

That afternoon, we had to pick up Sister Cox. She was companions with Sister Huang, but she just finished her mission and went home so for the next nine days Sister Cox is going to join Sis. Steadman and me until the next transfer starts and she gets a new companion. It was going to be very different working with Sister Cox because we sees and does things very differently, but I knew we both could learn something from the other.

That night before FHE, Dixon came to the institute to have his first lesson with us. I honestly don't even know how to put this lesson into words. It had to have been one of the most power house lessons I have ever been at. By the end, we asked Dixon if he believed that Joseph Smith had seen God the Father and His son Jesus Christ and he said he did NOT doubt it. He went on to tell us that he wanted to read the BOM and learn more. He then opened up and shared more about his life with us and how he has come to know God personally. It was long before this grown man was sobbing. Tears were rolling down his checks as he shared about how he found himself homeless, but even then he knew God was there. He had a powerful testimony of the Savior and what He has done personally for him. We asked Dixon to pray to know if the things we taught him were true and we told him he could know before reading the entire BOM, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Dixon promised us he would.

The next day (Tuesday the 16th) we got a phone call from Dixon asking us if we could talk. We couldn't meet with him until later that day, but that evening when we were finally able to meet up we had no idea why he wanted to talk. We really didn't know what to expect. We sat down in a room and he shared a very neat experience he had the night before.

Dixon went on to tell us how before he went to bed he decided to randomly open up the BOM and read a verse. He happened to open up to 2 Nephi 1:23. He said after he crawled into bed, he couldn't stop thinking about that verse and how hard it struck his heart. He ended up getting back up and out of bed and went back to find that scripture. He told us that was exactly what he needed to hear from Heavenly Father. He explained to us that he had been holding on to so much bitterness and when he read that he knew it was time for him to let it go. And in that moment he did! He realized that over the years he had been looking for happiness in all the wrong places and that happiness wasn't found in material items, but it would ONLY be found if he changed his heart. He went on to tell us that growing up in Africa, his father use to always tell him that are a lot of things that exist, but one thing that does not exist are coincidences! Dixon told us that he KNEW it wasn't a coincidence that Sister Steadman and Sister Huang found him a could weeks ago. He knew coming to this church was what God wanted him to do. He knew this was Christ's church and he told us he was ready for this! He was ready to be baptized!!!

The three of us sisters couldn't believe what we were hearing. Dixon once again had tears coming down his checks and we all could feel the spirit so STRONGLY! In that moment, I asked Dixon if he would prepare now to be baptized on July 11th and he said he was in! This man had only been seeing us for ONE week and had only had ONE lesson and he already had one of the strongest testimonies! It was so neat to hear him bare his testimony to us of how he KNEW God was real. He told us that if we ever doubted, to know he KNEW! Dixon is incredible! God truly had worked a miracle in him and I'm so grateful I could be there to witness that change!

Now that I have filled you in on that exciting news, let me back up and tell you what we did earlier on Tuesday. We had a Zone Conference/ Mission Training. A couple Zone Leaders gave some real good trainings and I was able to meet with President Forbes afterwords for a few minutes.

Then we went to help a lady in Sister Cox's ward, Sister Jones, paint her house. And we also were able to go and visit Jenna. We talked with her about how love casteth out all fear. She was going to be getting together with her Mom the following day and she really wants to tell her that she is a member of the church. Jenna has been a member for a year now and still hasn't told her Mom, but she feels strongly that now is the right time.

So... fast forward to Wednesday, June 17th, Jenna told her Mom and guess what?! Her Mom thought it was great. She told Jenna if it made her happy and brought her closer to God she would support her. So there you go folks—Jenna did it and God blessed her!

Wednesday morning we had a lesson with Jordan and Ranell on the plan of salvation (or God's plan) and answered the questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? and Where are we going? Jordan seemed to already have a pretty good understanding because Ranell is always teaching him. We asked Jordan if he will start praying to know if baptism is that right thing for him. (Later this week we got a text from Ranell and she said that Jordan has been talking about "when" he is going to get baptized not "if"... pretty cool!)

That afternoon we went over to our neighbors again and helped do some yard work with Katherine. After we sent us home with all sorts of different leafy greens to eat. I have a feeling this summer we are going to be getting a pretty good fruit and veggie intake :) Thanks Katherine!

That evening, we were walking around Dinky Town not totally sure what we were going to do next, when out of no where, Dixon walked right by and he told us to follow him. He ended up taking us to Potbelly's for his favorite peanut butter banana shake. He had told us about it earlier and he couldn't believe we still hadn't gone and tried it. We were able to enjoy a nice shake and have a great conversation with Dixon. It's funny how Heavenly Father puts people literally in your path that you need to see and talk with.

Dixon treats us to his favorite peanut butter and banana milk shake. Thanks Dixon!

We ended the night off by going over to see Maxwell at his restaurant. He was the man that two Sundays ago made us free drinks when we stopped to talk with him outside of his place. We sung by to say hi and drop off a plate of cookies the other night, but we didn't have time to talk so he made us promise that we would come back sometime in the next three days. So tonight was the night. We weren't hungry at all, but we HAD to get something from him! We wanted to show our appreciation for his kindness. We ordered a couple of things, but when we brought the food out he just kept bringing out more and more! Wow—what a guy! We made Maxwell sit down with us while we ate. We were able to learn so much about him! He is so kind! He wants to do the right thing even when it is the hard thing to do. He shared with us many stories about things he has done to stand up for his values and beliefs. Wow—talk about impressive! I love the things I learn from the people I meet out here! We all come from different backgrounds and have very different stories and experiences, but we truly can learn something from everyone we meet. And let me tell you, that hour we spent with Maxwell I learned a lot. He truly understands that we are all brothers and sisters and that we must treat everyone with the same respect. Oh, I hope I can be more like Maxwell.

Maxwell fixes us a Egyptian feast! Thanks for spoiling us Maxwell!

Thursday, the 18th, we spent the day visiting people from Sister Cox's ward. First we went to teach one of her investigators Ming Ming. Going from having the best lesson with Dixon earlier this week, this lesson had to have been the most heart breaking lesson I have had so far. Ming Ming has a lot of different trials she is facing right now and because of that she is having a hard time seeing God's hand in her life. She just can't see how there can be a God when she has to deal with hard things. We tried our best to bare testimony of the reality of God and the understanding we have that we are his children, but still, by the end, her heart was completely closed. It was sad to leave because we knew there was nothing we could do until she was ready to soften her heart. We let her know that as soon as she has a change of heart and is open to listening and learning, to contact us. I am so grateful for the understanding and knowledge that I have that GOD IS THERE and that HE LOVES US! I'm grateful I understand He has a plan and part of that plan is for us to grow and learn and that comes from being faced with hard things.

We helped do some yard work at Sister Joyce's. And we also went and taught Sister Trice. We had a wonderful lesson about forgiveness with Sister Trice. She is the sweetest little lady, but we learned that she has been very hurt by her son's father and hasn't been able to forgive him for the things he has done. As we talked about forgiveness this sweet lady broke down in tears and at first she said there was NO way she could ever forgive that man, but as we continued to talk she finally said she would try. You could see the Savior's love in her eyes. You could see how hard this was going to be for her as she continued to cry. What an example Sister Trice is to me and how we can better use the atonement in our own lives to help us forgive those who may have hurt us so badly. Heavenly Father is so proud of you Sister Trice!

We also went around campus today and put up posters for Alex Boye! That was fun and I have to say we were very proud of how well our posters turned out... Trev, aren't you proud?!

Alex Boye is coming to town and we made this sweet posters to put up all over campus... too mad we didn't realize until the night of that we forgot to put the times of the events on them... oops ;)

Then we finished the night off at home enjoying some of Sister Higbee's yummy cinnamon rolls. And boy did those hit the spot after a long day.

We love Sister Higbee's homemade cinnamon rolls!

Friday, June 19th, we went to FMSC and Iris and Becca came along with us as well. I love how intense it gets for us missionaries. We are always trying to break new recorders of how many boxes we can pack during our session. I labeled today so it was relaxing, but it was sure fun to watch everyone work away! Becca and I got to work with some of the cutest little kids ever (Hanna, Laura, and Jake).

This week at FMSC I had the chance to label with some awesome little kids!
Iris even joined us to help serve this week with all of the missionaries from our Zone.

Then Higbee's spoiled Sister Streadman, Iris and me by taking us out to a beautiful lunch at I-Hop. We came hungry and we definitely left full, but boy was the food good!

Higbees took us out from a BIG lunch at I-Hops and boy did it hit the spot!

This afternoon, we had a lesson with Amy (Sis. S. had a lesson with her a couple of weeks ago when I was on exchanges so this was my first time teaching her). Amy is super nice and I hope that we will be able to teach her some more. She seems to want to know what is true and right.

That night Tuan and Monique made us dinner and then we drove to the Alex Boye concert. No one really knew what it was exactly. President Forbes told us we could go because it was our ward's Friday night activity, but once he started singing we realized we really didn't need to be there. It was fun music, but it was just kinda weird for missionaries so we ended up just leaving, but we did get to meet Brother Boye before his concert so that was kind of cool.

Just hanging out with Alex Boye- no big deal ;)

I feel like have grown a lot this last week and have seemed to have my heart change in many different areas as a missionary and that is pretty exciting to see! I hope that I can continue to watch myself change and become more of the missionary and person God wants me to be.

I love you all.
Keep on keeping on!

-Sister Larson
Scripture of the week: Alma 7:15

his week Theo and Uffda got something in the mail! Yep those bears are becoming quite popular!

Here is a picture from their Honeymoon... more to come next week

Check out this crazy grass car we found cruising down the freeway... you never know what you are going to run into out here!

Weekly planning with our favorite Larson Orange Julius.

Oh man do I miss going on summer rides... oh well I suppose the sacrifice is worth it ;)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Week 31 – June 13, 2015

Okay where to begin...

Last Saturday, June 6th, happened to be our best P-Day yet! We just decided we were going to make it a total day of relaxation and that is exactly what we did and let me tell you it was nothing less than beautiful! We got the house cleaned, we e-mailed, and we did some major grocery shopping. Then once we got home we made us a dang good lunch and watched the movie, "The Best Two Years" on our 6 inch DVD player ;) But we had fun with it! Now that I'm a missionary that movie makes a whole lot more sense so we were getting a kick out of it. And then that evening, our Bishop had us over to his place with the elders and the Higbees (the new senior missionaries) for dinner.

Sunday, the 7th of June, we had an awesome fast and testimony meeting at church! I am so impressed with the singles out here. There wasn't enough time for everyone who wanted to to bare their testimonies. After church Sister S. and I did our weekly planning before going over to Vanessa's (a new member in the area) for a BBQ. But before the night was over we had set some goals for the week that hadn't been hit yet, so we went out contacting to see if we could find some more people to teach. Just a couple blocks down the road, we met this awesome guy, Maxwell, who actually happened to be a restaurant owner, who was sitting outside of his place. He invited us in and made us each the most amazing drinks! Turns out that Maxwell is Muslim, but he is one of the kindest people I have met here in the city yet! We exchanged numbers with each other because we each wanted to be able to serve the other. We don't meet people on the street who want to serve US everyday! He told us that he will open his restaurant anytime if we need a place to teach people. How cool is that?

My study area.

On Monday, the 8th, we ended up going to FMSC with Nicole (one of the members of the ward who happens to live 1 1/2 hours away from the church and yet, she still comes!). We had a great time packing food and while we were there we met this cool teenage boy, Robert. Once we told him we were missionaries he started asking us all sorts of questions. He was there with his whole football team, but he was the only one from his team that was working with us. He told us that he trusted asking us his deep questions simply because we were missionaries. That was really neat to hear this young boy say that and recognize what our purpose truly was as missionaries.

On the way home, we got a detailed car wash. Now when we were given a car three weeks ago it needed one desperately, but we didn't really know where a good car wash place was, so when we passed one on the way back home for dinner we decided NOW was the time and let me tell you... cleanliness really is next to godliness! Sis. Steadman and I had been dying driving that car around and when we stepped back into that car it was as if we were stepping into a little piece of heaven. It was glorious! Awe... I just love me a good car wash it's true!

That night, we had FHE at the institute and Dixon came! Sis. S had met Dixon a few weeks back on campus and we actually invited him to Vanessa's BBQ the night before and he came so we invited him to FHE and once again he showed up! He accidentally got there 45 minutes early but we were already there and we were able to have a mini lesson with him so it worked out perfectly! And before he left that night he had a BOM in hand and commitment to read a few different things from it! :)

Tuesday, June 9th, it was HOT, HOT, HOT!!!! It is honestly hard to remember it ever really being as freezing as it once was. It was in the 90's and humid and we were sweating! We decided we wanted to do a little service around our neighborhood by picking up garbage because here in the city it is EVERYWHERE! Today probably wasn't the best day to have done it because by the time we were done, we were dripping. But the good news was our neighborhood looked a lot better (it lasted about three days, but it did look better!). We took a break from doing service outside and decided to go and heart attack some of our fellow missionaries. So we passed some love over to our STLs and the Higbees.

Sharing the love :)

That night Brad totally spoiled us by making Sister Steadman's most favorite thing in the world... STEAK!!! Oh yeah! Brad, Nick, Bryce and us all went over to the Higbee's apartments to use one of the grills there to grill those suckers up. We had such a fun time being all together and enjoying massive amounts of steak, potatos, and salad. Talk about a good homemade meal! Shoot dang!

Steak for days!

Then we finished the night off by going over to teach Eva and her cousin Victoire and another friend Trina. We were really hoping to be able to teach Isaiah but when we got there he got up and went to the bedroom to sleep. Oh, well there's not much you can do if people don't want to listen. Victoire actually happens to be a less active member so it was really good to be able to see her and before we left she said a prayer which was awesome to hear!

On Wednesday, we had our district meeting and we had a training on faith, hope, and charity, I taught on faith, Sister S. on hope, and one of the Elders on charity. Sister S and I studied faith and hope the day before and it was a really interesting study. Have you ever thought about what the difference between faith and hope are to you? Give that some thought. We actually used that question while we were out contacting different students on campus to see what their views on faith and hope were. Overall, I left that meeting just being very impressed at these young missionaries and how they are so willing to come out here at such a young age and give up everything to serve the Lord. The youth of the church really is growing! They are strong and valiant and wonderful examples to me!

My District.

That evening Stephen Patterson (my last Bishop's son) took us out for sushi for dinner and we invited Ellie to join us as well. We met with her last week with the elders to answer some of her questions. Tonight, she made her intentions very clear. She enjoyed asking questions and learning about our views, but she wasn't open to learning. Her heart was completely closed off to our message. So before we left we had to let her know we weren't going to be able to meet with her anymore because our purpose as missionaries is to teach and invite, but thankfully Stephen was there and they were able to exchange numbers and he was more than happy to continue meeting with her to answer her questions. It happen to work out perfectly to have both of them there!

Thursday, June 11th, we spent the day setting up our NEW iPADS! Yep, we finally have them. President came and gave them to us on Monday and we just happen to be extra lucky because most of the mission aren't getting theirs until sometime next week. I have very mixed feelings about having iPads but honestly once everything is smoothed out they probably will really be able to help with the work.

Tonight, Jake, from the ward, helped Sister Steadman and me figure out how to start working on our family history. I was working on figuring a few things out with my Grandpa McClammy. Apparently, he was in the system three times so it was getting lots of things messed up, but after a hour of figuring things out we got that all cleaned up and BAM a hand full of new names popped up on my family tree. It was actually quite exciting! Oh and Mom, I saw that you too have been doing some work on there, so GO MOM!

Yesterday, Friday, June 12th, marked SEVEN MONTHS out here for me! We kicked started the day off by going out to contact around campus and yep, it was another HOT day! And then we spent a good three hours in the afternoon weeding for our neighbors. If you look out our windows you can see someone's house and their beautiful garden they have all around their house! We figured we should probably meet them sometime and offer to help them garden so a few weeks back that is exactly what we did and today we finally were able to go over and get our hands dirty! It was great to be out in the sun and get dirt on our hands and knees. It was as if we were able to step outside of city life for a minute. We are planning on going back next week to do some more. And Katherine was so kind to send us home with some of the most gorgeous flowers from her garden so we could have fresh cut flowers on our kitchen table. What can I say, what goes around, comes around!

Weeding away.

Some beautiful flowers we got for our mad weeding skills ;)

Then Friday night, we were able to met with Iris and have a wonderful lesson. Iris has decided to start praying about baptism! And this Sunday she is going to get to come to church! We are so excited to have her there!

After our lesson with Iris, we mingled for a bit at the Friday night activity and guess who showed up?! Dixon! And guess who read the BOM? Dixon! And guess who told us they wanted to come to church on Sunday? Dixon! Way to go Dixon!!!

Well, I think that about does it for the main highlights for the week! Thank you all for your constant letters and packages! You sure do know how to make a sister missionary feel special! I really do feel like I have the greatest family and friends anyone could ever ask for!

Scripture of the week: D&C 31 (I dedicate this to my family- I love you guys!)
Love- Sister Larson

Theo and Uffda at the spa. Oh yeah, that's the life!

Minneapolis skyline.

Did someone say, cotton candy sky?!

On our walk home after a long day.

Our elders lead the way.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Week 30 – June 6, 2015

Well, so this is a little different now having my P-Day on Saturday... The good news is this week I only have a few days to catch you all up on. Last Monday, June 1st, we woke up early to walk down to the river (the Mississippi River) with the elders during our exercise time to enjoy some fresh air together. The Stone Arch Bridge isn't too far from our place which is pretty cool. So we walked down there and then went down by the actual river and walked around. Man, there is just nothing like being able to get outside and be in God's creations. We live smack dab in the middle of the city, but thankfully we don't have to go to far to have a bit of an escape from all of the hustle and bustle of city life. City life is so not for me, but it is fun to be able to switch things up for a bit and experience something different. However, this missionary is still true blue to her country background.

The Stone Arch Bridge on the Mississippi River.

Morning walk with the Elders.

Fresh Air+ Pants+ Sister Steadman= PURE HAPPINESS!

Monday was a bit rough, for some reason, Sister S. and I haven't had very good luck with our P-Days so far. However, since it was the first of the month and we got money put on our cards for the month we decided we would treat ourselves to SUSHI for lunch. We needed a pick-me-up and well sushi seems to always help, even when you're having a not so good day. So that was fun to be able to go out and have a fun and yummy lunch together.

We finished the night off by going to see Hope and Ann (we had met Ann the night before and told her we would come back to try and meet her sister). Hope has been on our ward list for years, but no one has ever really known who she was so we were excited to finally be able to meet her. Turns out, Hope has been married for almost three years now and has a one year old daughter. We met her and her husband and they both were very nice, but made it clear that they were Catholic and very happy with their religion now. We were still hoping that Ann would be open to meeting and maybe coming to some of our activities, but that didn't sound too promising. Oh well, we have to respect others and know that people are ready at different times.

Tuesday, June 2nd, I was finally able to track down my birthday package from my family with the help of Trevor (thanks Trev). It was chuck full of all sorts of different fun birthday things. Mom, you will be happy to know we will put everything to good use still... the good news is EVERYONE has birthdays so we can use it to make other people feel special on their big day... :)

We had our district meeting today. I haven't been too excited about my new district, but today that all changed. During our meeting I was able to see the love these young elders had for one another and for the people they are working with. One of my favorite things has to be to see these young, immature boys forget themselves and learn to really love and care for others. Elder Benson (our district leader) stood up for one of the other elders during the meeting and I can't tell you how impressed I was with that simple act. Elder Benson you are a good man! Afterwards, we all went out to get some lunch at "Five Guys" a burger place (no where near as good as Snuffy's just so you know). It was great to be able to just simply talk and get to know each other on a more personal level. Elders are so young—sometimes they can be really dumb (I mean shoot they are only 18-20 years old), but than other times they can be the cutest little things. I really do feel like I am surrounded by a bunch of little brothers. It is kinda crazy to think that I am a whole decade older than some of these guys. I mean I was that kid who was changing their diapers once upon a time... kinda funny to think about. ;)

Tonight, Monique made us a curry dinner at the institute. She had invited a few other girls to come and we also invited Iris to join us. Iris loved being able to meet some new people. While everyone was eating we had a little discussion about how we have come to know for ourselves that the church is true through prayer and scripture study. And then, before we left, we all knelt down in prayer and Iris left us with another one of her beautiful prayers. After, she met Stephen (Bishop Patterson's son) who learned Chinese on his mission and Elder Chou and the three of them all went to town talking in Chinese. It was pretty cool.

Then we finished the night off by going to teach Eva and her bother Isaiah (who isn't a member). When we first got there, Isaiah wasn't giving us the time of day. In fact, while he was sitting there on the couch he closed his eyes and started to fall asleep. Thankfully, we were able to jump pretty quick with a prayer and he woke up. We asked him what he knew about the church. He told us some things that he had heard that rubbed him the wrong way. Thankfully, we were able to clear those things up for him and as soon as we did that he was interested in learning more. It was neat to see how his body language changed over the course of our lesson. By the end, he was totally sitting up and engaged. He wanted to learn. He told us that he would read and pray to know for himself if what we were sharing with him was true. Isaiah was catching the fire and you could tell he really did want to know for himself. We made an appointment to meet with him again next week. We are so pumped to continue to teach him. Eva hasn't even been a member of the church for a year yet and she is already an awesome little missionary.

The next morning, Wednesday, June 3rd, Sister Steadman and I went on a walk down to a park so we could get some fresh air during our study time. It was sprinkling a little so we found a little covered area to study under. Across from us, was a man who had made himself comfortable there for the night. We both had a feeling that we should help him. So once we were finished with our studies we went home grabbed a few things and went back to drop off a few goodies for him. Some of those things included: a blanket, food, gum, and a Book of Mormon, of course. We had to be super sneaky when we went to drop off the stuff because we didn't want to wake him up, but luckily we succeeded and were able to sneak away without being caught.

Later that day we had a great lesson with Jordan (non-member) and his member girlfriend Ranelle. Ranelle has already taught Jordan so much. In fact, they already read their scriptures, say prayers, and come to church together. But today was Jordan's first real lesson with the missionaries. We went over the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all felt the presence of the Spirit. It is cool to see how Jordan really wants to figure this out for himself. At first, he was simply learning so he could learn more about what Ranelle believed, but now things have changed and he is wanted to gain his own testimony. We set up another appointment to meet with him in two weeks. He wants to take things a bit slower with the missionaries, but that's totally ok, there is no right timetable.

For lunch today, Sister Steadman and I got creative! We were driving around and we happened to pass a Sam's Club, so we figured FREE SAMPLES would do the trick! Yep, so that is exactly what we did. We hit up the free samples. Unfortunately, they didn't have too many and our tummies were still a bit hungry, but then we remembered that you don't have to have a Sam's card to buy one of their $1.30 hotdogs so we hit that up as well. Thank you Sam's Club!

Wednesday night, we stopped by Jenna's to visit her. She is doing awesome and is still working at her goals. She mentioned to us that she was going to have some friends over and that they would probably bring over alcohol and right when she said that we had a little chat about that... and now she is telling her friends NO ALCOHOL in her home but that they're going to be having rootbeer floats instead. Way to go Jenna! Man, we're so proud of her!!!

Thursday, the 4th, we went on exchanges. I ended up leaving the area for the day to go and work with Sister Huang in New Brighten and Sis. S had Sis. Cox come here for the day. I definitely got the better end of the deal—Sister Huang is amazing and she is only going to be here for another ten days and then it's time for her to go back home. I am so grateful I had the chance to work with her one last time. She had been holding in so many things and hadn't been able to open up to anyone so that afternoon she finally let everything out and I was so happy I could be a listening ear and help give her some counsel. Sister Huang, you are a wonderful missionary and daughter of God. You have done amazing things here and are only going to continue to do amazing things once you go back home. Thanks for all you have done and for all of the support and encouragement you have given me!

Sister Huang and me on exchanges.

While we were on exchanges we went to Sister Joyce's to do some service around her house. She is a hoarder (I'm surprised how many of those I have met out here) so we definitely had our work cut out for us. We seemed to have made a dent and that is how it starts, but sadly I don't see it lasting too long :( We also went to see Sister Trice and teach her a lesson about Nephi and his faith. Then we did some stop bys for less active members and for potentials. We met the Deel family and set up a time to go back and see them next week. And then we met Vanka this awesome Catholic woman. We ended up talking with her for quite awhile and having a mini lesson with her right there on her front porch and we also exchanged numbers with her and are planning on going back to see her and her husband after they get back from going out of town. It is always exciting to make plans to go back and teach people, but it is kind of a bummer when you are on exchanges and you know you are actually never going to be able to see those people again... oh well, as long as the work is progressing.

Friday, June 5th, we spent the morning baking cupcakes for people. It was Louisa's birthday so we wanted to make her day special for her and we also wanted to thank our ward mission leader, ward clerk, and the elders for all they do! And the best part was I was able to put some of my birthday stuff to good use. Thanks Mom! I know it made Louisa's day!

Sister Steadman... How on earth did whip cream get on the ceiling?! Oops ;)
Baking away.

Happy Birthday Louisa

That afternoon, we had a lesson with the elders and with a girl by the name of Ellie. She came to the lesson with a notebook full of pages of questions she had written down to ask us. Dang—she had a lot of questions. We were able to have a good discussion together. We are planning on starting to teach her the actual missionary lessons in two weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Then last night, we had our typical ward activity at the institute building. It was pretty chill last night. We had pizza and games for people. It started pretty slow, but once people started getting into the games the place got hoppin' and people started to really have fun. I have so say, serving here in a singles area is quite different when you spend your Friday nights playing games, but I suppose it is just another way to fellowship others... and we all know I have a strong testimony of the importance of having fun. God wants His children to be happy... So LET'S BE HAPPY AND HAVE FUN!

Love you all and hope you have all started "The Spiritual Summer Workout"! Trev posted it on the blog so check it out... print it out... and DO IT! (The document is linked on the blog, if you get this via e-mail, pleas visit the blog to get the link).

Scripture of the week: D&C 128:22- "Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad."
(Thanks for the scripture Jeremy- it may be my new favorite)

Driving down the freeway one night.

I spy with my little eye... "Candace"?!?!

They're doing "The Spiritual Summer Workout". Are you?!
Theo and Uffda studying away.

Never forget... YOU ARE LOVED!