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!



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The first ever Karen name-tags!

Hello hello! This week has been good! Some super exciting things have happened! First, our name-tags that we wear are usually in Burmese since the church doesn't have anything translated into Karen and Burmese characters are similar to Karen characters. However, because the Burmese people have chased the Karen people out of their country and killed thousands and thousands of them, Karen people aren't the biggest fans of Burmese.... understandable. Most people didn't have a problem with our tags being in Burmese, but some did, and most of all
it was just confusing because we speak Karen, not Burmese. So this last week, we asked our mission president if we could make our own Karen name-tags and he said yes! He even said we can put our Karen names on them! We're super stoked that we can actually read our tags now hahaha I will include a picture of mine!

Second! Remember Pa Kee? The one who was friends with one of our members and started coming to church, then moved in with one of our other members? Well we started teaching him a couple of weeks ago and he is awesome! He is understanding the gospel so well! This past week we taught him about the Plan of Salvation and at the end of the lesson we asked him if he had any questions. Then he was asking us a question we couldn't quite understand. Sister Hicks and I both thought he was asking about when he could get baptized, but we didn't want to just jump to that conclusion haha so after he tried saying things in a different way a couple times, we figured out that is what he was asking! We set a baptismal date with him for November 18th! We hope he will keep progressing towards baptism!

I'm sorry this email isn't longer! I hope you all have a good week!

My Karen name-tag!


One morning it was really cold in our apartment and I said, "I want all of the blankets!" Next thing I know, this happened. hahaha

Thank goodness for space heaters--the Karen are getting cold too!

One of our members, Mer Ler, wants to learn how to make "English people food" so we told her she could come to our apartment once a week and learn how to make something new! This week she chose pizza! We taught her how to make a super simple, stuffed crust pizza! It turned out super good! Mom notes: I asked Brooklyn if they like weird things on their pizzas like chicken feet or fish, just joking. She said, some of them do! haha

A member took all the Karen speaking missionaries out to dinner. What a kind thing for him to do and what a treat for the missionaries!

 Brooklyn LOVES Asian food!

I just love how "girly" this breakfast table looks! Brooklyn's been sick with a cold so one day she decided to sleep in during exercise time. When they woke up they took the time to make crepes before getting to work. Looks delicious! 

Monday, October 9, 2017

The first ever all-Karen sacrament meeting!

Hello everyone! It has been a pretty good week! Yesterday was a super special day! We had the very first all-Karen sacrament meeting. Usually we meet with an English ward, and someone has to sit in the back and translate everything into Karen and all of the Karen people have to wear headphones to hear it. But yesterday, the Karen group had their first sacrament meeting by themselves. It was amazing. The few English members that came in, our bishop, stake president, and mission president, all had to wear the headphones to hear English translations! This was kind of like an experiment to see how it would go and how often we will be able to do it in the future. It was a testimony meeting and the spirit was so strong! Different Karen members got up and shared their testimonies of this restored gospel. It was such a neat experience to be able to see them being more independent. In the English ward, most of them are really nervous to go up and bear their testimonies, but no one was nervous yesterday. My heart is full and I'm very happy. ❤😊

That was definitely the highlight of the week! Other than that, we've just been working with everyone we teach, trying to help them progress! Remember Pa Kee? The one that was hanging out at one of our member's houses a lot and then moved in with one of our other member's family? We've been teaching him and he is such a cool guy! At first his answers to our questions were short and not very deep, but the last couple of times we have taught him, he has had the best answers to our questions. We ask him something and he will think for a looong time, them give a super well thought out question! He's doing great. 😊

Funny story of this week, we went to one of our member's homes to teach her non member husband, but he wasn't there. She was out frying chili peppers and grinding them up so we offered to help. First of all, the air was spicy! Sooo spicy. Then we were helping her grind them up in these little bowls with big stick things. Well for some reason she had us switch the sticks, so I was using this marble type stick to smash these peppers in a wooden bowl. Apparently I smashed them a little too hard and the bowl cracked. Today we are going to go to a Karen store so I can buy her a new one. 😂 Hopefully they're not too expensive. (Mom, if you see a big dip in my bank account, you'll know why😬

I love this gospel, I love our Father in Heaven, I love this calling I have to share this gospel with these amazing Karen people, and I love you guys! Have a good week! 

Thought this little depiction of Karen people in a refugee camp in Thailand was cool. (I know Brooklyn has been trying to talk her brother, Jeff into going on a trip with her to Thailand after she gets back. Since Jeff lived there for a few months last winter, she thinks it would be awesome to have someone with her who knows more about the country. Maybe Brian and I will tag along too!)

Some of our cute members! Mer Ler (she's pregnant!) Htee Klee and Paw Ler. They are all siblings :)

And here's some food of the week! (She said it was good)


Here's a picture of their first all Karen Testimony Meeting. Brooklyn was so excited, I hope they will get the chance to do this often. Brooklyn is on the far right, second row from the front.

A few months ago the English speaking Elders found some bagels they had left in the kitchen on a special Fast day. They were so excited to go back and eat them later, but they were gone! I guess the guilt got to the Elders and they brought them some new bagels! hahaha The Elders that brought them the bagels actually serve in a neighboring ward, but live in the same apartment complex. I don't think they are the same ones that took their bagels. They are just nice!

Elders Bowman and Condie are the actual English speaking Elders in their ward right now. They all ate dinner together at Brother and Sister Hurley's house and sent me this fun picture. The dog cracks me up!

I had to add this. Brooklyn sends random, short funny videos to us now and then. This week was a video of them chasing 2 wild turkeys across the parking lot while they were gobbling at them. Maybe they are practicing future pursuits of investigators??? The picture below is a screenshot of the turkeys trying to get away. (They're probably worried they'll end up being "mystery meat" in a Karen dish! haha)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

General Conference!

Hello everyone! We don't have much time to email today because we had Zone P-Day and it took up a lot of our time! Our zone is made up of three districts. Our Karen speaking district, a Spanish speaking district, and a Hmong speaking district. We had "Zone Olympics" and did a series of Minute-To-Win it type of games. The Spanish district won, but we came in second! It was super fun! 

Most of you probably know that General Conference was this past weekend! If you don't know what General Conference is, it's when we have the opportunity to listen to inspired servants of God tell us what God wants us to hear. It happens every 6 months, and it's awesome! They talk about the doctrines of Jesus Christ's gospel and lead us and guide us. I would encourage each of you to go to LDS.org and watch at least part of General Conference! After the things said in Conference, I have such a strong desire to try to be more Christlike. I want to constantly have a mindset of, "What would Jesus do in this situation?" "Or what would He say right now?" I know I will never even come close to how Jesus lived, but I want to try my best! I know that as we try to do what's right, follow the commandments, and actively be striving to be and do better, we will be blessed so much! 

I love you all so much! Sorry for the short email!

Brooklyn said this area did not even look like Minnesota, it reminded her of a different country. She also said she loves how green it is.

Cute Sister Hicks and Sister Hermansen

Their ward had a big lunch between conference sessions with all kinds of food. Brooklyn said this Pho was delicious! 

Zone Minute to Win it games

In this game Elder Evans was standing about ten feet away from Brooklyn and had to throw cheese puffs at her shaving cream covered shower cap! 

The following pictures are of Sister Hicks prepping for winter! Brooklyn sent us a funny video and I took a few screen shots so I could put them on the blog. They've been told winter will be more harsh this year.....looks like they are ready for it! 



Mom notes:  Next Conference will be Brooklyn's last weekend in Minnesota! Just don't tell her that because I know she's feeling like time is going too fast and she has so much work to do!