Tuesday, October 31, 2017

"Messengers of Light" (October 30, 2017)

Ok, first off, that awkward moment when you're in a lesson and your investigator tells your member present that their favorite part about our church is how we don't pay tithing...we will be getting to that very soon.

We had a combined ward/branch Halloween party (trunk or treat) on Saturday morning. We invited a bunch of investigators, and were just praying we would have members there, because sometimes people don't come to activities in the morning. It turns out when you have free breakfast and free candy, you also have the kids on your side pushing their parents to come. We had a bunch of members and less active families show up, as well as a few investigators! We even had a member family bring a whole non-member family whom we didn't know about before. Everyone felt very welcomed and it was a nice environment to introduce people to the members in a casual way and help them to see how normal the church really is. We also had the best Halloween costumes (see pictures)

IT SNOWED!! My first Minnesota snow and first snow of the year. I can't believe how cold it is already here (it has the stereotype for a reason I guess), and we're bundling up. I've also been really sick with this cold that's been going around, so it really is starting to feel like winter is coming. It's been hard, not feeling very productive because there's not a whole lot you can do when you can't leave the house besides trying to contact by phone or messenger to set up appointments, but we have seen blessings, and been able to have video call appointments and still fulfill our purpose even if my physical health hasn't been up to par. 

So we have been having trouble meeting with our recent convert, Jesus, recently. We had an appointment with him for Friday, but I was really sick then too. So Hna Hanson went on splits with a returned sister from the English Ward who speaks Spanish, and I went to the Sister Training Leaders Apartment to have them as my companions and take a nap. We thought it was going to be lesson with Jesus to talk about the Aaronic Priesthood to prepare him to receive it. But plot twist, after we met up with them again, Hermana Hanson and the other sister were dying laughing, because in the lesson, the Elders Quorum president had come too, and apparently Jesus had already received the Aaronic Priesthood, and no one had told us about it. Then, plot twist again, yesterday we asked our Branch President about it, and it turns out, no, he actually doesn't have the Aaronic priesthood. Haha, we're going to work on having better communication with our branch priesthood leaders now. 

Yesterday in Sunday School, we had a lesson about family history work, so during personal study I was reading in D&C 138. I really loved verse 30
"But behold, from among the righteous, the organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men and thus was the gospel preached to the dead." 
This section is talking about the work done in preaching the gospel in the spirit world, but I thought it was so cool how it applies to missionary work right now! We are messengers of LIGHT! Members and missionaries alike. Under the authority of the restored priesthood the power and authority of God on the earth, we take the message of light to those who feel their lives are being lived in darkness. Christ commissioned his disciples on earth to share the gospel just as he did in Heaven. I love the metaphor comparing the gospel to light, because that is truly what it is. Missionary work is so hard, but it is so worth it, because the gospel makes life better. Simple as that. It brings a light into our lives that can only be found through Christ. 

Have a good week! And a safe and happy Halloween!

Nature Walk

Hearts Up

"You can be glad!" (October 23, 2017)

Proud to serve 

Wow what a week. It has been really good and really busy. Full of miracles as well as disappointments. 

So it's been hard. One of our really solid investigators, who was coming to church, and progressing towards a baptismal date, told her pastor that she was going to get baptized in our church, and he led her some anti-information, and she has completely turned around and changed her mind. She still wants us to come visit, but wants solid answers, which we really don't have. It was really sad, and really hard. But it ended up being a good experience, because it helped me realize how much my testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration have grown in my time serving as a missionary.

It has been really cool to see how much George has changed. He really seems like a different person now, and reading in the Book of Mormon and coming to church has made him so much happier and it's been amazing to see that the gospel really does change people's lives for the better. And amid everything else, that's why we're here. To spread joy. 

So cool story, we got mailed our new car registration this week, and we were staying in two members houses at once, long story, and amid moving and the craziness I managed to misplace the envelope. I was really freaked out, and we were looking everywhere. I was praying, and asking for help to find it, and immediately I had a thought come to my mind that it was in my Spanish book. I went upstairs, opened my book, and there it was. It was incredible, and the Holy Ghost can do all things. And it was a really little thing, but we knew it was an answer to our prayers. 

On Wednesday, it was a really, really long day. We had a bunch of appointments fall through, and we were out knocking at 8:15.3 people in a row got mad at us, saying it was much too late to be outside trying to talk to people, and I was so ready to give up, and I said "Ok Heavenly Father, one more door" So we did, it was a woman we had met a few weeks ago, and had told us she was too busy and to come back later. We knocked, and she came to the door, and we said hi, and started to talk to her, and she said "Come in!" And was really excited to see us and that we had come back, and we shared the restoration with her and she committed to read the Book of Mormon, and it was a great lesson. And I am very glad that we kept going, even when it was difficult. 

Fun fact, there is a ladybug problem happening in Minnesota. Well they look like ladybugs, but they're actually Japanese beetles or something. And they're everywhere. In our car. In everyone's houses. Everywhere. 

I am so so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary here in the beautiful land of Minnesota. We went on a nature walk this morning and watched the sunrise across a lake, and I am so grateful for this beautiful world that we live in. Yesterday in Relief Society, we talked a lot about President Uchtdorf's talk from Women's conference, and I really liked something we read:

"There may be many things about life that are beyond your control. But in the end, you have the power to choose both your destination and many of your experiences along the way. It is not so much your abilities but your choices that make the difference in life. You cannot allow circumstances to make you sad. You cannot allow them to make you mad. You can rejoice that you are a daughter of God. You can find joy and happiness in the grace of God and in the love of Jesus Christ. You can be glad."

 There is so much in our life that we can't control, and I feel like especially as a missionary, it's really easy for me to fall into a trap that how I feel depends on the actions of those we are teaching and working with. But I have learned a lot about not letting disappointment get the best of you, and being happy when there is and when there isn't success. Through Christ and his gospel, we can choose joy and gladness. What a wonderful world we live in. 

Thank you for all the love and support! 
Have a lovely week:)

Minnesota penguins-preparing for the cold Minnesota winter

When you find out the dream team is gonna be together for one more transfer!

Raking those leaves before the snow comes this weekend. 

Zone service at Prince of Peace

THIS. Time lapse of the sunrise this morning over Crystal Lake. Minnesota is beautiful. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"Read the Book of Mormon!" (October 16, 2017)

This has been the most INCREDIBLE week. I am so grateful to be a missionary. 
First off, amazing transfer news, HERMANA HANSON AND I ARE BOTH STAYING IN LAKEVILLE!!!!!! We are so excited, this will be our third transfer together, so we're going eternal. She is my first companion that I've had for more than one transfer, but we are having such a good time here in Lakeville we were freaking out when we got the news. Yesterday in Sacrament Meeting our branch president announced I was leaving, so I already said goodbye to everyone, haha. But I am so happy to be staying. I have really fallen in love with so many of the people here, and I was not ready to say goodbye yet. We are also seeing so many miracles and so much progression, we are so happy about all the things that going on. 

OH MY! FRIENDS. GUESS WHAT?! George came to church!! This has been twelve weeks in the making. I can't remember how much I've told you about all this, but George has come on a long path. So rewind, we have been having a hard time because no one is coming to church. We are teaching a lot of solid people right now, but everyone seems to have work on Sundays and can't make it. This week we felt inspired to start praying that we would find someone this week who wouldn't have work on Sunday who could come to church with us this week. George has not been keeping any commitments, and we haven't been visiting him very frequently to kind of give him a break and let him evaluate what he really wanted. On Friday we felt prompted to go visit him though. We sang "A Child's Prayer" for him, and read from the Book of Mormon. And he told us "There's something I need to tell you, I've been afraid to come to church" And he opened up to us about some of his concerns. It was so great, because we have been trying to figure out what has been stopping him from coming, and we were able to help him overcome some misconceptions, and help him understand why church is so important. On Saturday morning, we brought Hno Rey and Hno Rosalina with us, because they were going to give him a ride on Sunday. And we visited Geroge, and he told them "I've decided I'm going to church on Sunday" And he met the members. 

THEN YESTERDAY HE CAME TO CHURCH. And he stayed for all three hours. Plus a baptism we had afterwards, and the food we had. He got along well with all the members. We didn't even have to introduce him, all of our members were so friendly. His mom is a member who used to come to our branch, she can't come to church because of health problems, but he was so touched that everyone remembered her and loved her so much. He was crying through all of sacrament meeting. After everything when we asked him how he liked it and how he felt he said "I should have come a long time ago" And he can't wait to come back! The whole thing truly was a miracle from start to finish. 

Manuel got baptized yesterday! He turned 8 on wednesday, so it wasn't a convert baptism, but for some reason we planned everything for it. But it went really well. Manuel is the cutest, and when we visited them earlier in the week, he was so excited and just a little nervous to be getting baptized. He had asked his older brother, Diego, to give a talk. Diego just turned twelve, and he said no at first, but he realized how important it was to Manuel and that he was the example and priesthood holder in their family, and he gave a talk about baptism, and it was incredible. He bore his testimony about his baptism, and how he has come to understand it better over the past 4 years. There was a beautiful spirit there and they are an incredible family. 

We have just seen so many miracles. We were trying to visit a less-active and his wife we have been having such a hard time getting into see because their apartment is a lock-out and we don't have their phone number, and the call box isn't connected to their actual phone number. So it's basically impossible to get in. We felt really strongly that we should stop by, and we went and there was no one coming in or out, but we said a prayer sign for help to get in. And after 5 minutes, the wife herself came to the door because she was just getting home. It was crazy, and just another testament that God is always watching out for us. Wow, I love being a missionary and sharing the gospel so much. Yesterday we were talking to Manuel after his baptism, and he asked "Is it fun to go knock on doors? I think it sounds fun!" And I told him "It is SO fun, because you get to meet and talk to so many amazing people each and every day." And it's really true. Sometimes people can be rude, and often times aren't interested in our message, but it's still so amazing to just talk to people every day and that is our only job right now. 

This week I have gained a new appreciation for the Book of Mormon. I finished reading the New Testament this week, and I am so grateful for the knowledge and clarity that we gain through the Book of Mormon and revelation through modern-day prophets. There really are so many things we can't begin to understand about Christ and his gospel without those precious truths that have been restored. I invite all of you to take some time this week to read in it! 

Thank you for all the love and support!

Following prophetic counsel, READ THE BOOK OF MORMON

 So you know those turkeys I was talking about?
They're just roaming everywhere? We got pictures

Getting ready to go find the elect!

Manuel's baptism! Isn't he just the cutest??

We got to play at Mission President's Fireside last night!
Elder Holmes and Sister Benson sang and I accompanied them.
It's this mission-wide event we have every month
where converts share their testimonies and their conversion stories,
 and we invite investigators and less-actives and members, and it's really cool :)

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (October 9, 2017)

The sweet Cambodian man we found,
with the picture of
Quorum of the Twelve in the background.
We had an INSANE miracle on exchanges this week. I got to stay and take over Spanish land with Sister Grover, so we had a party and half. We were tracting in a trailer park, and I was telling Sister Grover some of the things that a trailer or house might have that might mean a Hispanic family lived there, Christmas lights, frog statues, dish 500, lots of different things. She pointed to this trailer that had Christmas lights, so we went to go knock, and noticed as we got closer that there was an Asian type of statue on the front porch. We decided to go with our gut anyway and knocked. A sweet little Cambodian came to the door. We started talking to him, and he could barely understand our English. We asked if we could give him a Book of Mormon, and he said he couldn't read English. We have him our card, and he put his glasses on to read it. He excitedly pointed at the church logo on the card and said "This is my church!!" At first we thought he just saw the name Jesus Christ. He pointed at something on the wall inside of his house and told us to come look. We were expecting a picture of Jesus or something, but we were shocked and so surprised to see a picture of the QUORUM OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES HANGING ON HIS WALL. We started talking to him and he was running all over his house grabbing his church stuff, a Book of Mormon, all the pamphlets, a hymn book, "preparing to enter the holy temple" and he was so excited that the missionaries had come. We were barely able to communicate with him, but we were able to sing a song with him, and say a prayer, as well as get his contact information to put him in contact with the missionaries again. We think he used to attend church here when there were Cambodian missionaries, and after they closed, he got lost, and didn't know that there was a church still right by his house. It was INCREDIBLE how God let us to Him, and how he takes care of his lost sheep. 

On Thursday night we went to visit a member family, with another members, Hna Rosalina. At 8:40 we were getting back in our car to drive her back home because we has given her a ride, and we got about halfway down the street when the engine stopped working. A little backstory, our car is way to smart for us, and it has a remote control and we honestly have no idea how to use it. So the lights were coming on, and said the engine was running but it wasn't, and it wouldn't let us turn it off, and when we tried to move the break wouldn't work, and we had no idea what was going on. We called the vehicle coordinator, and he told us to call our Zone leaders to come get us and move our car to the side of the road until the morning when we could get it fixed. After we hung up with him, we decided "ok, we need to say a prayer" Hna Rosalina agreed, and we all said a sincere, maybe just a little frantic prayer, asking for help to get our car to start. We had a really busy day the next day, a lot of people we needed to visit all over the area, and we really needed our car to make it all happen. The zone leaders showed up after about 10 minutes, laughing their heads off at us, because it seemed like we actually broke the car. But we continued to fidget around for a minute, a combination of pressing the button to start the car and moving the break and using the remote control key got the engine going again. We think the problem just was the car stopped recognizing the key and had a meltdown or something. Even though it was simple it was really cool that our prayer was answered. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. The coolest part of this story is that yesterday in fast and testimony meeting, Hna Rosalina got up and told the branch how she was out doing visits with the missionaries, and for some reason the car stopped working. She shared how she thought we should say a prayer, and was so grateful that we immediately suggested we offer one to seek the help of the Lord, and bore beautiful testimony of how we should seek the Lord's help in all aspects of our lives, even when it's as something as material as a car. It reminded me of Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk in conference, that we should make all things holy unto the Lord. And several members followed, bearing testimony about the incredible power of prayer. The Lord really does have a purpose in all things. 

Our Area Book, where we write all our information about our lessons and investigators is on our tablets. This week we got a completely new area book app, and we have no idea how to use it, so it's gonna take us a while. First they give us Facebook, then change our Area Book, so we basically have no idea how to use our tablets. 

UPDATE, we are now officially invited to that branch council we discovered existed only two weeks ago. We got to go yesterday, it was the first time in my mission I've gotten to go to one, and it was so nice. And it was really cool to see how smoothly the organization of the church flows. 

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." As we turn everything to our Heavenly Father, he can replace all of our fears and worries with peace and with love. 

Hermana Meredith

1,2. Diana's Birthday Party! We stopped by for dinner, and played a round of pin the nose on the clown. Needless to say, I completely failed.
3,4. Exchanges with the Crystal Lake Sisters!

LDS.org (October 2, 2017)

Go watch conference! We posted this one Facebook to invite people to watch conference, and a lot of members shared it with their friends! We love this new opportunity we have to use social media to share the gospel.
Conference was AMAZING!! I hope you all watched! There were so many amazing talks. I had so many questions answered, and there were also so many concerns addressed of our investigators, and we are so excited for these next few weeks to continue sharing the messages of conference. What were all of your favorite messages from conference? 

This week has also been crazy. Most of our main investigators are out of town right now, so we just went hard on finding and inviting literally everyone we could talk to to watch conference. 

The Mary Tyler Moore Statue! I know most
of you won't appreciate it, but that's ok.
We had a cool miracle last week on p-day. We went up to Minneapolis to explore with two other sisters from our zone. It was great fun, Minneapolis is so cute. I really wanted to go find the Mary Tyler Moore Statue, because I grew up watching those TV shows (Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke). No one else I was with knew who Mary Tyler Moore was, but they agreed to find it with me. We were on a street trying to look at a map, and a city resource officer noticed our plight, and offered to lead us to the statue. She's a college student, and we started talking to her. She asked kind of who we are and what we were doing, so we started explaining to her what we do as missionaries, and she was really interested. She told us how she grew up in a very religious family, but she began to ask questions and trying to go deeper, and that was looked down in her church, so she stopped being involved. We joyfully were able to testify to her about the restored church, and how it all started with a question, and God encourages us to ask questions, we have continuing revelation and he wants us to continue to learn the truth for ourselves. We started to talk about the Book of Mormon, and she asked where she could get a copy. We were able to give her one, and connect her with the missionaries in Minneapolis, and invite her to watch conference, and she was so genuinly excited. It was an incredible miracle, and shout out to my parents for having us watch old tv shows when we were young. God prepares us in so many ways to find and teach people here. 

We were temporarily homeless this week as well. The family we live with needed us to leave for a few days, so we packed up suitcases and went to live with our branch president and his family in their basement for the week. Haha, we made it a big deal that we had no where to live when we first found out, and just missionaries out on the streets with no where to go, but we are actually super grateful for our amazing members and that we have comfortable homes to live in here. 

So there are just wild turkey's romaing around Minnesota. I'm not kidding. The first time we saw one we were just like "oh, that's weird," but they are seriously everywhere. And we asked some members, and they were like "Oh yeah, that's normal. There are peacocks too sometimes around our house" So, Minnesota never ceases to amaze us.

We were told this week we dress like we live in medieval times, but we're choosing to take that as a compliment.

I had a really cool moment at service this week. We give service at a local church here in Burnsville, and we help people get food and clothing for the month, as well as talk to them about if there is anything else we can do to help them. I was helping this one woman, and right when she sat down to talk to me, I could tell how overwhelmed she was. Facing unemployment, and supporting her teenage children, and paying bills, and she just needed so much help, and was so grateful for anything that could be spared to help her. We just refer them to the departments that can help them depending on their needs, so I explained that I couldn't personally do anything, but that this other department had representatives who could come talk to her. And she was so grateful. We said a prayer together before she left, and she said she got the chills, and it was incredible to see how much the spirit had brought her peace and calmed her in that short time we were together. We're not allowed to prostelyte at service since we are working with another church, but hopefully one day if she sees another missionary with the same tag, she will take a second to listen. And I felt so humbled to be an instrument in God's hands to help bring that woman just a little more peace that day. 

I am not going to be adding my own spiritual message this week, as we have been noursished by so many spiritual thoughts this weekend, and found so much peace in the gospel, I would encourage you to go listen to those messages. I was particularly impressed by how many references were made to President Monson's talk about the power of the Book of Mormon, and the importance of following the guidance of our living prophet. I testify that their words are true, and that as we heed their counsel, we will find more peace in this life then by any other means. I would like to invite you to watch conference, even one session, if you didn't have the chance, I know you will find peace and comfort from the words of the prophets. And if you did watch conference, please remember and treasure up those words you have heard. Think of someone in your life who could benefit from those messages you heard, a fellow member, a friend, a family member, whoever, and share that with them, in social media or in person. The joy that comes from sharing the gospel cannot be matched, and I know that by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.

Hermanas take Minne🍎is!

"Peace, Be Still" (September 25, 2017)

I hope all is well with you! What a week this has been. 
We had an incredible branch conference yesterday. Our stake president is truly inspired, and we had a wonderful discussion throughout all three hours on faith and testimony, about planting trees, and recognizing the gospel by it's fruits. 

We were told that there is no branch council in our branch, so we often take pity on ourselves joke around saying "what is a branch council? We've never heard of one of those" Then in sacrament meeting our stake president told of how he met with our branch council that morning and was very impressed by their love for our members. Hermana Hanson and I were really excited then realized they've been having a branch council for a considerable time and no one has ever mentioned it or told us...but we'll soon be attending. Our branch really has grown so much! We even got a branch mission leader yesterday, and we are very excited to continue coordinating our efforts with the member missionary efforts. 

We had an amazing day this week, where throughout the morning all of our appointments slowly fell through, and we had nothing set for the whole day. Those days are probably the hardest to find motivation. But we sat down, and gave planning our all and diligently sought the help of the Lord to know who to visit that day. And we ended up teaching five lessons and finding three new investigators and it was incredible. 

General Women's conference was AMAZING! Please go watch it. I feel like there were so many messages that the world so badly needs right now, so 

This week has been filled with many different kinds of storms. This week has been a really difficult one for many of our members. Among the always present plethora of personal problems, half our branch is from Mexico, and the other half is from Puerto Rico. With all the earthquakes and hurricanes happening, it has been really difficult. Two of our members were in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria his this past week, and no one in their family has heard from them since. Many of our other members have family there who they also haven't had contact with. Nothing has been heard, and we are all feeling quite helpless and as though there is no way we can really help them. There are also many members and investigators whose families have been hurt and severely affected by the many earthquakes in Mexico. And again we have felt pretty helpless. We have been focusing a lot this week on prayer. I have found myself thinking a lot this week about the words of a familiar hymn.

"Master, the tempest is raging! 
The billows are tossing high! 
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness. 
No shelter or help is nigh. 
Carest thou not that we perish? 
How canst thou lie asleep? 
When each moment so madly is threat’ning 
A grave in the angry deep?" 

We so often cry out, "Master! Carest thou not that we perish?" We know He is lives, and we know he loves us, but as the storms of life take their tole, we can't help but wonder, "is anybody there, and does anybody care?" As the elements and the whole world seem to turn against us, we sometimes can't help but wonder. 

"The winds and the waves shall obey thy will: 
Peace, be still. 
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea 
Or demons or men or whatever it be, 
No waters can swallow the ship where lies 
The Master of ocean and earth and skies. 
They all shall sweetly obey thy will: 
Peace, be still; peace, be still. 
They all shall sweetly obey thy will: 
Peace, peace, be still." 

I know the Savior is there, and he is watching over each and every one of us. Especially in the hardest moments, he is readily aware. 

We have been focusing A LOT on prayer. Because for a lot of us right now, that is the only thing we can do. But prayers change the world. We have been fervently praying for these people all week, and I know many others have been as well. And I will readily admit that so far, none of these problems have been completely solved. But there is so much more hope in the world, and I know it is making a difference. I would invite you to please please, keep our members and all the people in Puerto Rico and Mexico in your prayers. I know the Savior can calm troubled seas, and heal troubled souls. And I am so grateful for the infinite hope the gospel offers, and that even in times of uncertainty, we can find joy through our Savior. 

"O that I were an angel"

The Lopez Family, oh my goodness I love them with all of my heart
 they are so amazing, and they have cutest little boys
who are already preparing to go on missions one day <3

What an incredible week! I think I've started every journal entry this week with the words "what a crazy day" 

Some highlights: 
getting a call at 10:26 at night when we were already asleep that our STL's had been locked out of their apartment and needed to come sleep with out
Finding out there was a homeless person hiding out in the church building, and creeping around (also with the STL's), looking in every room and feeling just a little bit like we were living in a scene right before the climax of a horror movie. 
Conquering fears and going to the eye doctor twice this week. Fun fact about Hermana Meredith, when I was little I was always really scared my eyes were going to fall out...still not sure why. So I hate going to the eye doctors. But I was having this weird pain in my right eye that made it really hard to focus and I couldn't drive because I couldn't move my eyes around and when we called the mission doctor she immediately told us to go to the doctor and get it checked out. So one visit here in Burnsville, then we got sent to Minneapolis to see an eye specialist, who also didn't know what was going on. But the pain has almost all gone away now and it has certainly been an adventure. 

But this week has also been crazy because of so many miracles. 
Jesus got confirmed yesterday! He is now officially a member, and already preparing to receive the priesthood. His journey has been such miracle from the start, and we are so excited for him to keep learning and progressing in the gospel. He really has been so changed by the gospel, and he smiles all the time now :) 

Some of you might have noticed our mission is now a Facebook mission. We're still having mixed emotions. We had a training at Zone Conference about it, and still not entirely sure what's going on. But President Barney seems just as scared as we do. There are so many incredible tools, and we have already seen so many miracles in contacting people through Facebook and sharing messages that we did not have the opportunity to share before. But, of course, there are also a lot of risks, and the temptation to waste time is ever more present with increased availability to use technology. I was looking forward to not even worrying about social media for a year and a half. However, I have also learned that this is a really good time to be able to develop good technology habits, and continue to use it wisely after my mission. It's also a good exercise about living in the world and not of the world. There are a lot of risks, living in an imperfect world, but there are also so many opportunities to use our agency wisely and grow. 

One of the miracles we have already seen with social media happened when were visiting a less active. She was active when I first got here, but she got offended by something and hasn't come since then. We've been trying to see her a lot, and we finally stopped by at a time when she was home. We were able to show her a video, and she opened us and told us that every Sunday since they haven't gone to church, her two little kids have asked "Are we going to church today?" And she says "no, not this Sunday" and they're really sad, and they've been doing that every Sunday without fail. And she told us she knows she needs to start coming back, but she just needs to be humble enough to come back and she doesn't know if she is yet. We asked her what we could do to help her, and she asked if we could send her scriptures to read or something. And we were able to add her on Facebook, and explain that we could Message her links to conference talks and scriptures on lds.org and she was so happy. Just that night we sent her a talk we had prayerfully chosen, and she immediately messaged us back that she had got it, then 15 minutes later she told us everything she had liked about it. She never texts us back, or answers her phone still, but we can always get in contact with her immediately through Facebook. Using social media doesn't replace our missionary efforts in any way, we still are going out and visiting people, just as much if not more, but we're using social media to supplement those efforts and keep people thinking about the message all week long. We are just getting started, and so excited about all the wonderful opportunities there are to use this technology we have been given wisely. 

Church yesterday was kind of weird, because Jesus was our only "investigator" at church, and he was getting confirmed. We have a part-member family, and two investigators who come pretty regularly, who weren't there. And then most of our solid members weren't there either, and our chapel just looked so empty. And those days, when we put in a lot of work this week, inviting people to church and visiting what felt like everyone, and still no one comes it's hard. But yesterday, during personal study, I found a really cool parable in the New Testament that I have always looked over, the parable of the seed growing secretly, in Mark 4:26-29:

And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

So, at first I read this, and had no idea what it was talking about. But after thinking about it, and looking into the words of living prophets and reading in Jesus the Christ, this is a parable about missionary work. The preacher of the gospel is the sower, and he does what he can, but all he can do it plant the seed. He can tend to it, and watch over it, and encourage it along, but he can't decide whether or not it grows. And if it fails to take root and sprout, it has not been by his doing, but by other elements out of his control. Sometimes I wish so badly, and have the same thoughts as Alma "O that I were an angel" But our purpose, as we recite every morning, is to invite. We plant the seeds, and we help the people we teach, and we bear testimony, and we encourage them, but sometimes you just have to remember after all you can do, you just gotta walk away and move onto other harvests and see if the seed takes. "For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself." I don't know if that makes any sense, but it helped me a lot these last couple of days. One of our members came up to us yesterday at church and jokingly said "Hermanas, where are the investigators??" and I just said, "Hermano, we spent all week planting seeds, and I guess the harvest wasn't meant to be this Sunday" 

I love missionary work, and have found so much joy in spreading the gospel. We have recently been finding so much success in working with our members and offering them support in their efforts and we have been getting so many referrals. We had a relief society activity, and one of our amazing sisters came and told us about two of her friends she's been talking to and wants to have us meet them, so we were able to find them on Facebook, and set up appointments, and it's been so amazing to see how excited people are to share the gospel. As they look back and see how much the gospel really has changed their lives, they can't keep themselves from wanting to shout it from the rooftops. 

Thank you for all the love and support! Sorry this email was kind of all over the place, but it's been a great week. 

Relief society activity 
Zone Conference

"Even if ye can no more than desire to believe"

It has been a craaaaaazy week!

Last Monday we went to the Minnesota State Fair for P-day, and it was so much fun! Everyone needs to go to the Minnesota State Fair at least once in their life. It was huge, and everything was deep-fried, and on a stick of course. Our highlights were deep fried snickers and deep fried cheesecake. And basically anything else you can imagine.

Yesterday Jesus got baptized! It was the craziest, most stressful Sunday of my mission, but so worth it. One of the speakers cancelled in the baptism at the last minute, so we were running around trying to get the programs done. And we got a text from our branch president three hours before church that a sacrament meeting speaker cancelled, and I needed to give a talk. Then we got to church and it turns out the couple who usually teaches Sunday School is in Puerto Rico for a month, so we also got to teach Sunday School! I usually always read the material for Sunday school and relief society during personal study on Sunday in case something like this happens, but yesterday was the one day I didn't because I was writing a talk, oh the irony. And then we almost forgot to start filling up the font. And the baptism was planned in relief society room when the last ward was still having relief society in the relief society room. So even though we spent all of church running around like chickens with our heads cut off, we got it all together, and Jesus had a wonderful baptism!! The spirit was so strong. He is usually pretty shy and quiet, and he still was, but he was always smiling from ear to ear and it was a wonderful sight to see :) 

We have had some wonderful teaching moments this week. We finally got in contact with a less-active we have been trying to visit for a long time. On Thursday we didn't have a lot of plans, and we felt like we needed to go to Farmington to visit this other family. They weren't home, and we were kind of confused as to why we needed to be there. So we were stopping by all the others members, and this family is usually never ever home or the husband answers and says they're too busy when we have stopped by several times, so we weren't expecting much, and the mom was home, and she was so excited to see us and let us right in and talked to us and told us we were an answer to her prayers that day and that she has been feeling like she needs to start letting church be a bigger part of her life and start making time for it instead of putting it off. And we were able to go back on Friday again and it was so wonderful we're really excited to start visiting her and working with her. 

"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe" Alma 32:27 Even when it's hard, please keep on trying, and don't give up. I promise it will always, always, always be worth it. And never ever let someone else keep you from going to church. This gospel is about the Savior, and this is what will always be the most important. 

Thank you for all the love and support! 

Bunnies at the state fair! Right after this
was taken the bunny proceeded to attack Hna Hanson