Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Don’t worry, we’re lice and bed bug free.

Update: The lice and bed bug situations are under control. We are back to our normal spot sleeping on our Thai mat on the bedroom floor. It feels good to be back, not as good as those mission home beds felt though. 

We went to the Lamb of God concert this week with Mae Paw and an investigator, Sue. It was sooo good. It is a concert all about the last week of Christ’s life here on earth. The music is so powerful. It really helped me to think about how lucky we are that Christ suffered and died for our sins so that we can receive the blessings of eternal life and happiness. It’s up to us to use His sacrifice to help us repent and become better. 

It’s been a pretty good week. Mae Paw’s dad still hasn’t come to church. :( We will keep praying though! We had a couple really cool lessons this week. One was with our investigator Eh Lin. The whole lesson just felt super good. The spirit was really strong. We invited him to be baptized and he responded pretty well. He said he wants to think and pray about it more, but he knows the things we have been teaching him are true. 

The other really cool lesson was with a girl name Magen. She is one of our member's friends. She’s 14 and super cute. She’s also white, so we had to teach in English and it was so weird hahaha It's weird how hard it has become to teach the gospel in English because we are so used to teaching in Karen now. Anyway, we taught her about the restoration of the gospel and she understood it so well. She just kept talking about how much sense it makes and how she feels really good about it. I was thinking about that, and about how the gospel really does just make so much sense. God chose prophets a long time ago in the Bible to teach us and help us learn what we need to do to get back to him, and God is unchanging. It only makes sense that he would choose more prophets to help lead us and guide us today. I’m so grateful that we have the knowledge of a living prophet who leads us and guides us in these days. I know that President Russel M Nelson is a true prophet, called by God. In a couple of weeks we are going to have the opportunity to hear him and the apostles speak to us and tell us the things God wants us to know. I’m so excited! 

I know this gospel is true and it has blessed me more than I can even explain. Before my mission I looked at the gospel as an accessory for my life. Something that added to my life. But as I’ve been on my mission, I’ve really been able to see that the gospel is my whole life. Everything I do has something to do with God’s plan for me. The gospel should be a part of every aspect of our lives, and when we make it that, God is going to bless us more than we can imagine or even see. He loves us so much and wants us to have joy in life. 

Have a gooood week! 
Lamb of God concert
Didn't take many pictures this week, but here's one of Sister Hicks and I before church!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Miracles? Lice? Bed bugs? All of the above?

Here is last week’s update, I started writing it and then we helped a senior couple who was leaving and I didn’t have time to finish!

Wow this week was a good one! To start things off, Elder Williams left and went down to Albert Lea with Elder Evans! Elder Evan's companion, Elder Larsen, is now here in St Paul! Annnnnnnd we got a new sister! Her name is Sister Hoskins! She’s super sweet and funny! She's already doing great, I’m super excited for her to learn Karen and experience this crazy adventure.

Last week I talked about all of the cool things going on with Mae Paw, and this week there’s even more! 1. Mae Paw’s dad fed us again! That’s two times in the past week and the only two times in my whole year of being here! 2. Mae Paw’s dad said that he wants to start coming to our church! There are a ton of Baptist churches here that most of the Karen people go to and lately a lot of them have been having a lot of problems. One congregation just got kicked out of their building, another one just split up, and they just have a lot of issues. He said that he’s sick of the problems and instability in their churches so he wants to start coming to ours! Super cool! However, it snowed a tooon on Saturday and they didn’t end up coming. It was sad.

We also had a pretty cool finding night on Saturday. We went on splits. I went with Mae Paw to one apartment complex and Sister Hoskins and Sister Hicks went to another apartment complex. We found 12 new investigators within 3 hours! It was pretty cool! We taught a nice Buddhist couple that wants to learn about Jesus Christ. God is definitely blessing us! We have been trying to be more exactly obedient and we are seeing the results! When we obey, we receive help and blessings.

Now for this week! Sister Hicks wrote about this week beautifully, so indulge yourself in our week, written by her. Things bolded and italicized will be my edits. 

Day one:
Had a good pday. Senior couple was leaving to go home and she loaded us up with 2 shopping carts full of food. One for the rotini pasta and one for everything else. We seriously have rotini pasta up to our ears. All our cupboards are topped with rotini. If you need pasta let me know. I'll include a picture of all the food we got. So. Much. Rotini. 
Day two: 
Taught some people as usual. Sister Hermansen leaned back in her chair in the car and I looked through her hair as a periodical thing to check for lice. Found some lice. Proceeded to check all our hair. We all had lice. Sister Hoskins has been here for a week. Went out and taught some people. Did an over night lice treatment. Most of the Karen people have lice, but we use preventative oils and stuff in our shampoo. We thought it was working. Until now. 
Day three:
Woke up and picked lice out of our hair for 3 hours. We were suppose to go on an exchange, but instead the sisters brought us Chic Fil A. Gave us this sweet note ๐Ÿ˜‚ went to the laundry mat and washed everything we sleep with. All blankets and pillow cases and everything. Kept two blankets out. In plastic bags to sleep with that night. Taught some people. Came home and slept on the couch and hammock because we wanted to keep all our lice free, clean sheets, lice free. Slept with the two blankets we had kept out of the washing. Sister Hicks and Hoskins slept on the couch. I slept in my hammock. 
Day four:
Went to zone conference. It was so good. President gave an incredible training on forgiveness. Such a good training. He talked about how repentance and forgiveness are intertwined and you can’t do one with out the other. You can't truly repent until you’ve forgiven yourself and others who have wronged you. When we don’t forgive people, it's basically denying the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. He suffered so that all men can be forgiven by God. If we think someone doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, that’s denying the power of Christ’s sacrifice. Then some zone leaders gave a really great training on desire. What are the desires of our heart? Sometimes we have to pray for God to give us the desire to read our scriptures or go to church. Such a good spiritual refresher. Came home to drop off some stuff. Sister Hermansen found a bed bug chilling on my blanket I had used the night before. Right on the couch. Compared him to our bed bug card indicator. Texted our exterminator Bishop and this is the text we receive from him:
     "Full grown, looks like a female, recently fed. That is a bed bug" 
Went to our apt manager and showed him the bed bug. This is what he said:
     "That's a bed bug" 
It is confirmed. It is a bed bug. 
Got it figured out that the exterminator would come in a few days to check out the place. Told the mission president and he invited us to stay at the mission home. We did not pass up that offer. Went and taught Mae Paw and her family. Slept at the mission home. Most Karen people also have bed bugs. No preventative action has been taken. If you know of any, I would greatly appreciate your knowledge. 
Day five:
Woke up from the best sleep of my life. These mission home beds are better than any other bed I have ever slept on! Wow. 
Had a good day of teaching. Did another lice treatment. After the bedbugs I'm not feeling too bad about the lice. Literally the first time in my entire life I can remember waking up and thinking, “Wow I feel awake and ready for this day” I thought my mission would help me become a morning person. Update: it has not. 
Day six: 
Ate chicken feet soup. Found a new invistigator through a young woman.  We went on splits and I went tracking with Mae Paw! Taught a Buddhist about God and Jesus Christ. Slept at the mission home again. Still don’t like chicken feet. Sister Hoskins and I helped a member prepare her Sunday school lesson for the next day while Sister Hicks and Mae Paw taught the Buddhist guy I found with Mae Paw last week. 
Day seven:
Went to church. Really good testimony meeting. Mission president had us over for dinner. He grilled us some yummy stakes. Mmm. Yum. 

I hope your week was better than mine. ♥️ But in all seriousness, it hasn’t been that bad. It’s been a fun adventure and the mission home beds make the whole thing worth it. I have learned a lot from this whole experience, but the most important lesson I have learned is that when we have problems, the best way to take your mind off of them and feel joy through your tribulations, is to help other people. When we would be at home or driving in the car, I would constantly be thinking about the lice and bed bugs and mentally making myself itchy, but as soon as we would go into someone’s home to teach them, I would forget about it right away and even stop itching. Plus, when we help people, God blesses us, who doesn’t want blessings from God? If you have any problems in your life weighing you down, which everyone does, get outside of yourself and help someone. You will be better able to deal with your problems, and also receive blessings from God. Have a great week! Stay tuned for an update on the lice and bed bugs next Monday! 
They look like cute lunch ladies! haha
Chicken feet soup.....look closely for the feet!
This is baby Jesse. I love baby Jesse.
Big smile after sleeping on the comfy mission home beds!
Happy Sister missionaries together!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Mom notes: Brooklyn and I spent a lot of time on her P-day this week going over some things for housing and college since she will be home soon. (5 more weeks!) She ran out of time for a group email. I thought it might be fun to put a few photos on her blog and update a little of what she told me in my email. 

Sis Hoskins joined them this week and is starting to learn Karen. She is from Utah and has been out for 3 months. In Brooklyn's words, "She is super sweet, really quiet but her funny side is coming out. She'll do good here!" It sounds like they are all getting along well and that Sis. Hoskins is going to be a great addition to Karen Land!
Notice how high the snow is behind them!
Sounds like they were very busy last week and Sis. Hoskins jumped right into the work. Here is a part of Sis. Hicks' general email: This week we went finding a lot on Saturday. We split up so Sister Hermansen and Mae Paw were together and then me and Sister Hoskins were together and we got a combined total of 12 new investigators! We went to this place called arkWright and we knocked basically every door on the first and second floor and only got into one house that seemed interested in the lesson and by the end she let us know that some other missionaries from the church had come the day before! So then we got to the third floor and knocked on 3 doors and on the 3rd, this girl answered and we taught her and her brother and she was so awesome! Super excited and really interested in the lesson. Her name was Htee Shay Paw. At the end she asked if she could come to other houses with us. So then she brought us to all her friends. She was nervous to speak in Karen so she said, "I'll knock on the door and then you talk!" so we had a nice little system down. She got us into the two houses we had knocked on before hers and got us into like 4 other houses! This one door we knocked on a girl answered and said, "Oh my goodness I've been wanting to learn about Jesus! I don't know very much about him and you can help us!" Super sweet little girl. So we're very excited for our new round of people to work with! Mae Paw and Sister Hermansen found a lot of success at the other apt as well! It was a very good night.
This just goes to show when members and neighbors work with the missionaries, it truly makes a difference! 

Elder Williams left St. Paul and transferred to the area Elder Evans moved to. 
I've seen how the Karen missionaries become like family. They all serve together for such an extended period of time compared to other missionaries who are transferred often. I asked Brooklyn what it's been like losing some of the Elders recently. She said it's been hard and easier to see how helpful they really are once they are gone! 

They spent hours on P-day helping the Hurley's (senior missionary couple) pack up to leave and go home to Idaho. They gave them tons of food that they can't take home with them. Wow!
At the end of their P-day, they walked out on a lake close to their apartment. Crazy girls didn't even have coats on! I asked her why she wasn't wearing a coat. She replied, "It's 35 degrees! It's warm!" 
One more....they have been sleeping on the floor to live more like the Karen! Ouch!

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Good morning!

This week we had some cool things happen. Little steps of progress that we’re super grateful for! My favorite one was with Mae Paw’s family. I love Mae Paw to death. We have built such a strong relationship with her over the past year that I’ve been here and I’m sooo grateful for her. I have felt that a big reason why I needed to come here, is for Mae Paw. Mae Paw is the only member in her family, but 3 of her little sisters come to church with her every week. If you remember Sher Paw, she is the one that we are praying will be able to get baptized on March 24th. Sher Paw is one of Mae Paw’s little sisters. Over the past year that I’ve been here, Mae Paw’s dad has never come to church and her mom came probably twice up until a few weeks ago. She has now come a couple more times since we all started praying for Sher Paw. We think this is a huge step for them! Her mom said she wants to come to church more, but it’s hard to take care of their rowdy two year old. Even though their dad still has never been to church, since we started praying every single day for Sher Paw, our relationship with him has completely changed. Before he would see us and say hi, and then just go into his room. Now when we go over, he talks to us and asks us for help with things. Yesterday, Mae Paw even called us and said her dad wanted to cook dinner for us! Karen people don’t usually have family meals. They usually all eat whenever they want at separate times unless it’s a special occasion. Yesterday when we went over, they had cleared off their table, which I’m pretty sure is never used for eating at since they eat on the floor, and set it all up for us. Little steps, but steps of progress for sure. We’ve been talking to Mae Paw about talking to her dad more about church and yesterday she told us that he might come to church next week! We really hope he does! I know God is helping answer our prayers. Prayer is so powerful! Keep Mae Paw’s family in your prayers. They are such a sweet family.

Sister Hicks’ birthday was on Valentines Day! It was a good day! We taught some good people! One of them is Eh Lin and his wife Thay Paw Paw. They have two cute little boys. One is about 2 and the other is just a month old! So cute and tiny! Eh Lin was taught in the past, but wasn’t progressing so the missionaries stopped teaching him. Months ago, Sister Hicks and I found him in the area book and taught him once, but when we tried going back, things just didn’t work out for some reason. I don’t even remember why. But a couple of weeks ago, he called us and asked us to come teach him again. We’ve taught him the past two weeks and the whole family has come to church the last two weeks as well. He’s really cool and very attentive in our lessons. We hope that now is the right time for him and he will start progressing! 

Well, this week Karenland will have some more changes. Elder Williams, who has been in this area for the last 18 months, will be going down to Albert Lea to serve with Elder Evans who left this area last transfer. Also, Sister Hicks and I will be getting a new companion! We don’t really know much about her yet, but we’re excited! It will be weird having another companion after it just being us together for the last 8 months. haha

Dinner at Mae Paw’s!

Sher Paw gave us cute little Valentine's presents. 

Elder Brklacich, Williams, Foutz, Standage, Elder & Sister Hurley, Brooklyn, Sis. Hicks, Sister and President Barney
(Elder Williams is getting transferred to Albert Lea and the Hurley's are leaving next week) 

Moo Eh Wah took us out for pho!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

True Happiness

This week we went on exchanges with the Hmong sisters! It was super fun. I stayed here in Karenland and Sister Jasperson was with me for the day! Unfortunately we forgot to take any pictures. We saw some cool investigators though. First of all, we saw some investigators that we found in the area book a while ago, but only ended up seeing them once. They are pretty cool! Their names are Eh Lin and Thay Paw Paw. We had them give Sister Jasperson a Karen name. They picked Cha Moo Jay, which means Star Life Money, which is only one word different from my Karen name  (Cha Moo Paw - Star Life Flower) Anyway, we got to know them a little bit and talked a little bit about prophets and set up for a nice lesson about Joseph Smith and the restoration which we will teach them tonight! They came to church yesterday though and seemed to really enjoy it. They said they want to come every week. Hopefully they will progress! 

Yesterday we had our third all-Karen sacrament meeting. Instead of it being a testimony meeting, we had assigned speakers and they all did really well! That was exciting to see. We had quite a few investigators there to hear it, so that was good too!

This week I was reading in the Book of Mormon and felt the spirit super strong. I was reading in Alma 36 about when Alma the younger tells his son Helaman about his conversion process. I want to share some of it with you. 

Alma was trying to destroy the church but then had an experience where an angel came to him and told him to repent. In these verses he talks about how he was in such pain and misery from his sins, but remembered what his father had taught about Jesus Christ and how we can be forgiven of our sins. And when he repents, he feels the greatest joy. 

16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.

Then in these verses he talks about how after he had felt that joy that repentance and the gospel can bring, all he wanted to do was share that with other people. That is one of the main reasons why I’m on a mission right now. I have personally felt that joy that comes from living the gospel and being forgiven of my sins, and I know that this joy, is greater than any joy we can receive from anything else. God wants us to be happy, and he has told us the things that we need to do to receive eternal happiness and the most joy possible. I know that real happiness comes from living the gospel. 

24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors;

Have a good week!
Sorry I did really bad taking pictures this week. 

We got a cool new clock from a part-member family. It looks cool in our apartment, despite it being for the wrong church....hahaha  (Brooklyn told me they told Mae Paws family they liked the clock and they talked about how they couldn't read the time anyway, so they gave it to them! lol)

Hahahaha cute little Karen boy.

Saturday was the 70th National Karen Day. (Brooklyn added a video to her email, here are a couple of photos of the Celebration.)

The picture below is from a Karen party they attended. They had lots of Asian food and played red light green light for the majority of the night.  Karen people are so low maintenance, they just put a couple thai mats down and everyone sat on the floor and socialized in the gym--lots easier than setting up heavy tables and chairs!

Our only picture of Brooklyn this week. Here she is looking happy with Wah Paw, Sher Paw's younger sister. She told me Sher Paw is doing well and they are encouraging her to keep praying. Her mom came to church again so that was really good. We are all praying for her parent's hearts to be softened and that they'll let her be baptized before Brooklyn's mission is done!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Spanish and Smartphones!

This week has been a crazy one! We had exchanges with the Spanish sisters! I went to their area with Hermana Mitchell. It was fun! We taught this lady who hasn’t been to church for a long time. One day they were going through a list of names trying to find people and they came across hers. The only probably was that they had two addresses. So they picked one and went. No one opened the door so they left a note with their number on it, but as they were leaving, her husband drove up and asked what they were doing. They told him they were missionaries and he told them that the sisters used to visit a while ago and he would love for them to come back. The next day, they get a call from a man who says he lives with them and he found their note and wants to come to church. So he went to church last week and loved it. They set up an appointment with him for the day I was on exchanges, but he canceled last minute, however, Hermana Mitchell asked Mirtha, the less-active member if we could still come over. We go and it’s kind of awkward at first getting small talk started, but then gets really comfortable. We were getting to know Mirtha and it turns out she’s been a member her whole life but no one else in the house is. She said that she’s lazy so she doesn’t come to church. Then, Oscar, the one who called the missionaries, and the husband walk in and are all confused because Oscar canceled the appointment. Mirtha tells them, “this isn’t his appointment! It’s mine! His is on Friday!" That was kinda cool haha but here’s the real cool part. The husband, and Oscar are super open and prepared for the gospel. They really want to learn more and start going to church. While Mirtha was talking I thought of something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. One time I heard my dad talking about how he really loves skiing, but the hardest part is just getting ready and going, but once he goes, he always has such a good time and loves it. I’ve thought about how there’s things in my life that are the same for me. I was able to share this with Mirtha and relate it to coming to church. So often for us, the hardest part of church, is just getting ready and getting in the car and going. Same thing with other parts of the gospel, sometimes it’s hard to have motivation to pray or read scriptures, but when we do the things God has asked us to, we feel good and better yet, God blesses us! Who doesn’t want blessings or to feel good? Anyway, it was a super cool lesson, and I hope Mirtha returns to the gospel. I know that the joy of living this gospel, is better than any kind of joy we can get from anything else in life. I’ve felt it and seen it in my life and I’m so grateful for it. 

Well, Sister Hicks and I got a smartphone this week. It’s a big update from our little slider phone hahaha. We had a bunch of trainings on how to use smartphones in our missionary work! It was really good. There was something that Elder Bednar said that really stood out to me. With smartphones, and using Facebook and everything, there can be a lot of potentially bad things that could happen, distractions, etc. He said that the Lord trusts us with this tool and that we have the capacity to obey and keep his trust. Wow it sounded better when he said it, but I can’t remember the exact phrase. I’ve been thinking about this and how it really applies to every commandment. God sent us to earth and gave us commandments so that we can return to live with him. We have the capacity to obey his commandments. He wouldn’t give us any commandments that we are not capable of following. That doesn’t mean that it’s not super hard. We all have different struggles and temptations, but God trusts us so much, he still sent us here so that we can gain a body and eventually become like him. However, God knew that we would never be perfect in this life, so he gave us His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. And through him and his sacrifice, we can be made clean from our sins, and return to our Father in Heaven who loves us so much. 

Today we went and looked at some ice sculptures and got Thai rolled ice cream! So if you want to see some pictures of that and a 2 minute video of my ice cream being rolled, keep scrolling! 

This fish got frozen in the ice! (The little circles are coins people stuck to the ice)

Mom notes: I asked Brooklyn where she ate dinner on Sunday during the Super Bowl and she said they went to a couple's house who are probably the least worldly people she knows so they definitely didn't see or hear any of the Super Bowl. She also said they will probably make another video in a couple of weeks. They are rotating through all the companionships and just doing one a week. She said the video they made was super simple about how God created us and we lived with Him before earth and how He knew we wouldn't be perfect so He gave us His son to be our Savior. Looking forward to the next video of them teaching!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Super Bowl Parties?

Hello! So basically we have been in downtown Minneapolis all day at Super Bowl events! It’s been super crazy and fun! Today is super cold though so I’m frozen! They have so many fun free things. hahaha We got our faces on marshmallows! I’ll add some pictures of that! We also ate at Five Guys and one of the workers was a member of our church and he gave us so much free food! Tender mercies from the Lord!

Anyway, this week has been pretty crazy. We have had so many random things going on this week that has made regular missionary work weird. We went to Eau Claire Wisconsin for a couple nights to go on exchanges with some sisters! That was fun! Wisconsin is super pretty. It was weird to be out of the twin cities since I haven’t left in over a year. The cities feel like home now!

Last Monday we had a crazy snow storm. Our car stuck in the snow and it took us, two kids on a 4 wheeler, a lady with car mats, another woman, and another guy to get our car out. Then it took over an hour to get home which is usually a 10 minute drive. Everyone was just getting stuck in the snow. Every time we were in standstill traffic and someone by us was stuck, we would just get out and push it out! Then when we finally got home, we put on our snow gear and walked out to the main road and just pushed a ton of cars! We were so sore the next couple of days. It was such a neat experience to see everyone coming together to help each other. There was seriously just so many people that would help people get unstuck. It was really fun to help people get out of the snow. There were times that I know angels were helping us push! There were a couple times where it was just Sister Hicks and I trying to push big cars and we were pushing as hard as we could and the car wouldn’t budge, then all of a sudden when we were about to quit, it was like 10 people were behind us pushing with us and the car would move really easily. It was amazing!

Another cool thing, Mae Paw’s mom came to church yesterday with out anyone prompting her to! The whole times I’ve been here, we’ve only gotten her to come to church twice and we had to reeeeeally push it. But she just came! It was so good! 

Sorry I don’t have much time! I’ll add pictures! Sorry there’s a ton of pictures!