Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Poopsicles!

Funny story of the week! Yesterday we were having dinner at a member’s house, and just as we were getting ready to leave, they were telling us about their new dogs’ latest habit. The husband said, “Lately they’ve been bringing in pieces of their own frozen poop! Poopsicles!” Sister Hicks and I were laughing pretty hard about this and as I was laughing I took a step back and as I put my heel down, I felt something hard and cold. I looked down and I had stepped on a poopsicle!  hahahaha it made the whole thing funnier! 

This past week we had our Christmas Zone Conference. It was super good! We had a bunch of really good trainings and spiritual things, then we ate lunch, then watched the Polar Express! It was really fun! Something that really stood out to me was a training by my mission President’s wife. She talked about the real meaning of Christmas and how important Christ’s birth is and what a great gift his life was for us. Then she said something that really hit me. She said, “During Christmas time, we give presents to our friends, family, and loved ones, but how often do we give presents to Christ? The reason we even celebrate Christmas.” Then she had us all write something down that we are giving to Christ for Christmas on a little piece of paper shaped like a present and put it under the tree. I’ve been thinking a lot about how commercialized Christmas has become. It seems like it’s all about the presents and the worldly things, but it’s so important for us to take time to remember why we celebrate Christmas and ask ourselves what we can give to Christ for Christmas. He is the ultimate gift. I’m so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who makes all things possible. I would like to encourage each of you to ponder this and choose something you want to give Christ. 

Sorry the email is short this week! I love you all! 
I love these cute girls sooo much! This was at a ward Christmas Party.

We stood in 0 degree windchill for this picture. Enjoy it! It's funny because both Brooklyn and her companion, Sis. Hicks complained about how cold they were when they took this picture--but none of them were wearing coats! lol

This picture came from Sis. Hicks' email this week. It's been so fun to read her emails too and get more news about their mission and what they've been up to! We sure love them both!!!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Karen Temple Trip and Sacrament Meeting!

This week was super cool! On Saturday we took a group of Karen people to the temple! The temple president has given the elders permission to come into the temple and translate the ordinances into Karen because the church doesn’t have anything translated into Karen yet. So for the first time, some of our Karen members were able to hear the ordinances in Karen. Because the translations aren’t official, the person performing the ordinances still had to say them in English, but then someone else would read it simultaneously in Karen. So when they were doing baptisms for the dead, one of the elders read it in Karen. But for the confirmations, I was able to read it in Karen while another Elder actually performed the ordinance in English. It was such a neat experience and the spirit was so strong.

Yesterday we had another all-Karen sacrament/testimony meeting! Just like last time, it was super cool. Seeing these people have the opportunity to share their testimonies to their own people is so cool. I’m sure they also really appreciate being able to understand the things being said with out needing to wear headphones with someone translating. 

Funny story of the week. We found this house with 6 different apartments in it, and they all are Karen people. We decided to knock on the doors, so we started with the first door we saw. We knock on it, this 18 year old kinda gangster lookin’ kid answers and says “hey what’s up?” We tell him we’re missionaries and ask if we can teach his family, he says, “oh yeah for sure. We’re Christian. Come in!” We go into his family room, and he tells us he’s going to go ask his friend if he wants to come too. So we’re just sitting there and it’s super dark because it’s about 5 pm and their electricity isn’t working. He comes back and says his friend doesn’t want to come. So we decide to just teach him the shortest lesson we can. We start reading a scripture in the Bible about prophets and this kid just keeps changing the subject asking us random questions about ourselves. We finally get back to the lesson and he just starts hysterically laughing and gets up and goes back to the room his friend is in. Comes back and says, “Man my buddy really doesn’t want to come. He’s a little sick. He just had surgery because he got stabbed.” I go, “he got stabbed?!” Calmly he says, “yep” alllllrighty... so we finish the lesson, tell him to pray and ask god for guidance in his life and he says, “I pray all the time. Except sometimes when I’m tired or do drugs, I forget. Man I must’ve forgotten to say my prayers last night so god sent you. Wow that’s cool.” We told him to stop doing drugs, then got out of there pretty quickly. (Sorry mom. You probably won’t think this story is funny) Needless to say, we probably won’t be going back to see our bud Kwy Shee. 

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well! Remember, don’t do drugs. They’ll make you forget to say your prayers. And if you’re not already saying your prayers, start! God wants to hear from you. :)

Sister Brooklyn Hermansen

We became ponies this week!
Since Brooklyn didn't send any other pictures of her this week, enjoy her thumb!
She used a sticker! haha

Mom notes: I'm so grateful for prayers of safety for our missionaries and the angels that surround them in sketchy situations! I told her they'd better be more careful!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone! I’m sorry last week I wasn’t able to write. We had our P-day switched to Thanksgiving and we were so busy on Thanksgiving that we didn’t have time for anything! We literally went from meal to meal. It was crazy. We ate a big feast at a members house, then went to the church where Zaw, a Karen member, fed us a tooon of Pad Thai and fried rice, then Bu Htoo, another Karen member, took us to a really nice Asian buffet! Needless to say, I ate wayyyy too much. Then to make it even better, we went to a Jamaican ladies house the next day and she had us cook everything for a huuuge Thanksgiving meal. I’m tellin’ ya. She could have fed an army with all of that food. It was super good though! 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about everything I’m grateful for. I am sooo grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and his sacrifice that makes it possible for us to return to live with him and our Father in Heaven. Christ gave up his life to give us the ultimate gift, eternal life and happiness. I’m so grateful for the knowledge I have of this amazing gift and that I have the opportunity to share it with others. I want everyone to know how they can return to live with our Father in Heaven. I’m also so thankful for my family. Being away from them for so long, especially during the holidays, makes me even more grateful for them. My family is crazy, and I love them all so much. I’m so grateful that we will be able to live together forever. 

The work is going pretty well. We are just trying to find and recognize those people who are truly prepared and ready to receive the gospel. 

The church has a Christmas campaign called #LightTheWorld. You’ve probably heard of it, but if you haven’t, it’s a video about helping others. Each day they have short videos and ideas to help others this Christmas season. There’s even a little calendar that has ideas for each day on it. The idea is to #LightTheWorld in 25 ways over 25 days. It’s starting this week! Check it out and do it! Here is a link. https://www.mormon.org/

Love you all so much!

Sister Brooklyn Hermansen
Our Christmas tree!

At the buffet with Bu Htoo. 
 Mom notes: Elder Woodland in the very front, came back and visited with his family. I'm sure it was fun to see him again and enjoy the buffet together!
Brooklyn sent us this photo after the first Thanksgiving dinner was down....two more to go! hahaha

Cuddle time with some tiny kittens! (I love the photo bomber)

Yoga mat on a treadmill....hmmm, I don't know how effective that exercising will be! 

More mom notes: I asked Brooklyn to tell me what her typical weeks were like now. She's our first and only missionary, so I've been curious. This is what she replied: "Man it's hard to tell you a normal week cause they're all so different. P-days we usually wake up, get ready, go do laundry and grocery shop, relax, email, nap, shop, play games or something with the elders. Then the rest of the week: So every Tuesday we volunteer at the Karen organization of Minnesota and teach people English from 12-2. But on normal days we wake up, get ready, plan, personal study, comp study, language study, have lunch, then go teaching all day pretty much. On Fridays we Skype the sisters in Salt Lake and teach them Karen for an hour. And on Saturdays we have district meeting, then meet with the Bishop to coordinate, then have language study with the elders. Then on Sunday we have church, a meeting with just us Karen missionaries, and a meeting with the ward mission leader. I don’t really know what else to say about the week haha. We help a couple people with homework usually like twice a week. That’s kind of fun since it’s always super easy homework. We wrote a rap last night about Minnesota with Mae Paw for an assignment haha. (I want to hear that rap! lol) Only 28 more days till we get to Skype with Brooklyn for Christmas, but who's counting! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

WoWie

Helllllo! This week was good! Naw Mu, the lady I talked about in my last letter, came to church yesterday for the first time in mooonths! It was so good to see her making little changes to do what she knows is right! 

This week we taught our investigator Pa Kee the Word of Wisdom. It went super well! I don’t remember how much I’ve written about him, but he is the one that is living in one of our members houses and we met him through a different member. So long story short, a couple of months ago, before we had actually taught him, he made a bad decision to come to church a little drunk. Well... try to come to church... on the way there he got pulled over and because he didn’t speak English, he didn’t know how to do the little tests the cops have you do. So now he is being charged with a DWI and refusal to a sobriety test. His court date isn’t until November 25th, so we had to change his baptismal date of November 18th so we know what’s going to happen with all of that. But he understood the lesson on the Word of Wisdom super well. Probably because he is already seeing the negative things that come from alcohol hahah. He has committed to stop drinking and stop using tobacco, so we will see how that goes! I know that if he is really committed, the Lord is going to bless him and strengthen him! I’m so grateful for the Word of Wisdom! I know that God gives us commandments to help us have the best life possible. I have seen enough people in my life affected by drugs and alcohol to know the negative effects of them. If any of you have problems with these things, I know God can help. I have seen people’s whole lives change from obeying this commandment. God promises us that if we obey this commandment, He will reveal great treasures of knowledge to us. If we do this, we will be better able to learn the things that God wants us to know and feel the Holy Ghost guiding us in our lives! 

Always remember how much God loves you. (Sorry, I was bad at taking pictures this week!)

Mom notes: Since Brooklyn didn't send any photos in her general email, I will include a couple she sent to us.
I think Brooklyn wants us to see how organized and clean their little study areas are! (so different from her study area while in high school! haha) I love all the girly touches on the walls and shelves! 
They put up their tree early this year! (nice to see they have one!)
Credit for the following two pictures goes to Sis. Hicks. She sent them in her email this week.
I am extremely grateful and happy that they get along so well! Heavenly Father knew they would work well together for such a long time compared to traditional missions and transfers. These two are so cute!!!



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Back to the Basics

Hellllllllllo! This week has been pretty good! Sister Hicks and I went on exchanges with the Spanish-speaking sisters in our zone and it was fun! Hermana Winterton came to Karenland with me. We had a super fun day together. We were able to see some people that we haven’t seen in a while. One of them is Naw Mu. She has been an investigator for a reeeeally long time. In fact, all of her children are baptized, but the Karen culture of only getting baptized once has stopped her from being baptized. But even though she isn’t baptized, she was just like a member. She would come to church every single week and she had a testimony of the gospel. However, in the beginning of June she got super sick. No one knew what was wrong with her, she was just constantly in excruciating pain. She was so sick she couldn’t come to church. We would still visit her every now and then though. A month or so ago, she just started feeling way better. We were slacking and hadn’t seen her for a while though. So Hermana Winterton and I went and saw her and she’s doing great health wise, but says that since she got sick it has been super hard to come to church and that Satan is working hard on her. Its super sad to see. She was so consistent and never missed a week of church, but when she got sick she got completely out of the habit of coming and lost her testimony of the importance of church. I was thinking about how easy it is for this to happen to anyone. So many times we see people who have strong testimonies of the gospel get out of the habit of praying daily, reading scriptures daily, and coming to church regularly. When we stop doing those little basic things, we can lose our whole testimony of the gospel. When President Russell M. Nelson came and talked to us in May, he talked about this. He talked about if we want to know something and we do those basic things and search for our answers, we can gain a testimony of every aspect of the gospel. But when we stop doing those things, we can lose our testimonies completely. Don’t let this happen to you. Keep doing those basic things that God has asked us to do. And if you have stopped, start again. It’s never too late to return to the gospel or learn about the gospel. God is always waiting for us with open arms. I’m so thankful for His unconditional love. As humans, we all make lots of mistakes. But God knew that we would when He sent us down here. And because of His love for us, He provided us with a Savior so that we can repent and become better each and every day. It’s only through our Savior Jesus Christ’s sacrifice that we can repent and eventually return to live with our Father in Heaven. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of Jesus Christ’s gospel that has been restored to the earth. The gospel has blessed me so much in my life, and I know that God will bless anyone who strives to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Thank you for always showing me love and support.❤

Enjoy this picture of Sister Hicks and don’t tell her I sent this out. 😂 I’m so grateful for her. Her goofy self is always keeping me laughing. Thankful I get to spend 10 months of my mission with my best friend.❤

Hermana Winterton (from Las Vegas) and I with Moo Eh Wah. 

Mom notes: I asked her about the lighter coat she is wearing in this picture. She said even though it's 30 degrees, it doesn't feel very cold to her yet. I'm so glad she has a warmer one for the temperatures we know are coming!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Hey Friends and Family! Happy Halloween!!

Sorry about not writing yesterday. We had a Mission Conference over in Crystal with the north part of the mission. A General Authority Seventy, Elder Michael T. Ringwood, came and did a mission tour. He is a really impressive man and gave our mission some very good counsel. We went through D&C 42, the stories of Ammon and Aaron, broke down Alma 26:22, and finished with Moroni 7. His wife went through 1 Nephi Chapters 13, 14, 15 and 22:12 and the lessons on missionary work we can learn from those. That went from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm with a lunch in between. Afterward, he met with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders for another 2 hours. He shared a really thought provoking
scripture in Haggai 1:5-7. The talks he's given in General Conference are all really good as well for any of you who want to go back and read them.

Our investigators are doing pretty good, but there's not too many big updates with them. Just still trying to help them learn and progress! 

We got snow on Friday which didn't melt until yesterday. Winter is coming! It's getting cold, but it's crazy to think it's going to get waaaay colder! 

One of the takeaways I got from Elder Ringwood yesterday was the importance of keeping the good habits you build as a missionary throughout your whole life. A mission is a two year training on life. So you RMs should think of something you learned to do on your mission that you haven't been doing lately and incorporate it into your daily schedule. Those of you who haven't served a mission should take a look at Preach My Gospel and see what you could do. Thanks for all of your love and support! :)

Mom notes: Since Brooklyn didn't add any pictures this time, I am adding some she sent us. The following is a screenshot of her Mission Conference. Brooklyn said, "When you've been in the same area with the same 5 missionaries for the past 7 months, you feel like you don't know anyone else." Sounds like it's a little awkward. See if you can find her in between the Karen Elders. 

She finally found a bowl to replace the one she broke while helping a member grind peppers! You can see the hole in the smaller one on the left. That girl must not know her own strength! haha

Brooklyn also sent us a video of Mer Ler (who is actually pregnant right now) trying to kill a couple of chickens in her kitchen! Two of them were already dead and two of them just wouldn't die. It was pretty gruesome with twisting, flapping and finally cutting of necks! Brooklyn said that she was sitting there thinking, how can she just do this?! Then she thought about Mer Ler's life before America and thought about her seeing tons of people killed and horrible stuff. She then understood how. We are so blessed to be living where we are.  Could you imagine being forced out of your homes and having your own government trying to exterminate all of your people? Makes the natural disasters we've been experiencing a little easier to deal with. We should forever be grateful that we have not had to suffer the same hardships that so many refugees have. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

No General E-mail this week

So Brooklyn didn't send a general e-mail this week and didn't say why. She's been sick with a bad cold and I know they have been sleeping in a little and maybe not working as hard? Maybe she felt like they didn't have much new news. She did say they are back to working hard again so that's good! She told me she still hasn't found a bowl to replace the one she broke while helping someone grind peppers. Apparently they are surprisingly hard to find. She also said one of the senior missionaries who is over the mission debit cards emailed her and told her there was fraudulent activity on her card so they cancelled it. She'll just have to use her own debit card for groceries this week. Even missionaries aren't safe when it comes to fraud these days! Sheesh! 

To wrap this up, I'll share some pictures she sent us on our photo share:

Brooklyn and Sister Hicks have been loving the beautiful fall colors! 
Mae Paw curled Sister Hick's hair with a chopstick!!!
Brooklyn enjoying some kid time!