Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Thank you for... the bathroom...?"

This week Sister Hicks was saying a prayer before going into a lesson and in it she said, "Buh si blu ba nah luh... dah ha law....wait dah ha law means miracles right?" Well dah ha law doesn't mean miracles haha it means "bathroom" She meant to say "dah law la" which means miracles. I had a good laugh about it. haha 

Heavenly Father has been blessing us so much this week. It started out as a rough week with our confidence in our language skills pretty low and our spirits down, but we have seen blessing after blessing. From getting random letters and packages on the hardest days, to God putting people in our path to teach and giving us the words we need to teach them, we are feeling God's love and awareness for us so much! Thank you to those people who sent packages and letters that brightened our days!

Yesterday we knocked on an investigator who we haven't taught in a few month's door and a random kid answered the door and didn't know who we were talking about. So we decided to knock on a different door to try to find new people to teach. We walked around for a minute then picked one to knock on, and guess who was there. Our old investigator we were looking for. Apparently she moved a few minutes away, but her daughter moved into the apartment we knocked on and she was visiting. We taught her and a few of her adult children and now have a few new investigators from that! I know God helped us find her again! 

This week I have been so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the things it teaches us. Because the Book of Mormon hasn't been translated into Karen, we got approval to go through the Book of Mormon and pick chapters and verses that we feel have important doctrine taught only in the Book of Mormon, and translate them into Karen so we can use them to teach. As I have been trying to translate some verses, the importance of the Book of Mormon has become so much more real to me. I know the Book of Mormon is true and we will get closer to God as we read it and apply its doctrines to our life. This experience of working with people who want to read the Book of Mormon, but can't, has helped me never want to take the Book of Mormon for granted. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon!  (We've heard that someone in the Salt Lake Karen Branch is working on translating the Book of Mormon but it will take a long time. I know it's been so frustrating to Brooklyn not being able to have it or normal missionary resources to use while teaching. Makes me realize how much I take it for granted! Brooklyn has helped me realize I need to do better with my scripture study and appreciate it more than I do!)


Moo Eh Wah barbecued for all of us! All I can say is so. much. meat. 
Also a sweet lady named Mu Buh (I think she is Bleh Paw's mom) gave Sister Hicks and I the shakas we are wearing! (I've asked Brooklyn about the gifts they are given. She said that these people don't have a lot of money and shouldn't be giving them anything, but they are so humble and kind. It's their way of showing them they love and appreciate them. It would probably be offensive if they didn't accept the gifts!)

And here's a picture from a Karen market. As far as I know she still hasn't seen porcupine in a market!


I did a little digging this week asking Brooklyn about some ward members. She told me her ward had a Facebook group. Whaaaat??? Why am I just now finding out about this!!! haha  It's run by the ward mission leader, Bruce Richardson and he's great at posting photos of ward activities. They look like an awesome ward and very united with the refugees. It was fun to look through them and find a few pictures of my favorite missionary! 
 She's totally in her element in these pictures with children! I know she misses all her nieces!
 I told her this one was cute and she said those little kids were trashing her! hahaha 
I love how happy she looks!


 This was an older activity because Sister Fine is still with them. I asked her if they were teaching, she said they were actually singing together.
Looks like Sister Fine has an admirer! haha 

I grabbed a screen shot of a video of them singing at a zone conference luncheon last week at the Oakdale Chapel (next to the Temple). It's a little blurry but it was fun hearing them all singing "The Armies of Helaman" song to thank those who made them lunch.


Two more weeks till her birthday and two more weeks after that she hits her one year mark--hard to believe how close she is to being gone for a year already!
           

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thra-Mu!

Good morning! It's been another good week in Karenland! Since Sister Fine left, my language skills have already increased sooo much. This week I was really able to see the hand of God in our work. There were so many times when we were teaching things I didn't know or think we could teach, but Heavenly Father is helping us out so much! This scripture in 1 Nephi 17:3 has helped me a lot! 

3 And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.

This is one of my favorite scriptures. It gives me comfort to know that any time God asks us to do something, He will always help us accomplish it. As long as we are trying to live our lives according to His commandments, we are promised this. No matter how big or how small that task is. i.e. Reading scriptures every day, going to church every Sunday, learning a new language, or even building a ship like Nephi was asked to do in the story. He will always provide. (Brooklyn told me that she was able to translate for one of the sweetest Karen lady's patriarchal blessing interview and how cool that was. I know these experiences are giving her more confidence each day in the language. She also said the Elders are wanting to help them in language study groups because none of them have ever had to be on their own this quick. I'm so glad!) 

Last week we had a couple of really cool experiences. One day, a member took us out to lunch.  We pulled up and saw some Karen people, we get out of the car and I hear, "Thra-Mu!" (Which means girl teacher and what most people call us.) I look over and it's one of our old investigators that we found when I first got here and we only taught a couple of times. She ran over to me and gave me a big hug and told us that she wanted to call us but she lost our number! So we gave her our number again and a few days later we go over and she tells us that she's the niece of one of our other investigators that has come to church a lot! It was cool to run into her in an unexpected place and have contact with her again!

One night, we didn't have an appointment so we decided to go to a member's house and visit their family. As we pulled up I felt like we should practice teaching the Restoration lesson in Karen. When we knocked on the door, only the mom and her only child who isn't a member of the church yet were there. Usually when we go over, Bleh Paw, the son goes into the other room and doesn't participate in the lessons. But we walked in and he came and sat right down by us. We were able to teach him the Restoration and he participated and answered all of our questions super well! It was cool too because he thought we were just practicing teaching, but we were actually just teaching him! I'm so grateful Heavenly Father inspired us to go to their house so we had the chance to teach Bleh the Restoration. 

Have a good week! 

Here is a crazy picture for you haha. I love these families!! (Isn't the "artwork" on the walls fun!)

Brooklyn sent the pictures below of a meal with one of their families. They have a sandy area in between their apartments where they can BBQ. I thought it looked good. She said she thought it looked good too, but it wasn't. The texture was sooo bad and they have no idea what it was. They asked them what kind of meat it was and they said, "I don't know how to call in English. It's chicken friend." So any guesses on what "chicken friend" meat could be? Maybe porcupine again???


Cute companions having some serious study time together! 

I told Brooklyn last week she needed to drink more water to help her headaches. Here she is showing me that she's drinking more water! Goofy girl!

Brooklyn's 20th birthday is in a few weeks on August 31st. If any of you would like to send her a birthday card, I know she would love it!!! Missionaries LOVE mail!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

We're all by oursellllllves!

Well Sister Fine went home last week! Sister Hicks and I have been on our own for almost a week and it's been really good! It has been such a cool experience to see how much Karen I actually know. The Lord has been helping us so much! I have been able to feel his hand in our work so much in the past week. I'm so excited to see how we keep growing and progressing with the language. 

I promise I will write more next week! Love you all!

Last group picture with Sister Fine.

Brooklyn has told us that she's so happy to be with Sister Hicks. She's been getting headaches that she thinks is from the extra stress of having to teach without Sister Fine. She also said "It's so cool that Heavenly Father knows who will work best together and that our mission president was in tune with the spirit enough to know we needed to be together." Don't they both look so cute and happy together?

She sent me a picture of her new favorite Karen dress. It's so pretty on her!

 Brooklyn had to show off a yummy chicken salad they made. They are trying to eat healthier when they cook for themselves. When they eat with others....they have to take what they get!

Random picture of one of the Elders with a crawfish on his finger. hahahaha

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Christmas in July and waaay too much food!

Sister Fine leaves tomorrow!! That means Sister Hicks and I will be by ourselves to teach! I'm super excited to see how our language skills will grow being forced into it like this! Yesterday we were saying goodbye to people and literally had 4 dinners in a row. 4 feasts, in 4 hours! I wouldn't wish that upon anyone. I thought I was going to die after two huge meals, then we got two more. 🀒 It was not good. 

Since Sister Fine and I became companions 4 and a half months ago, she has talked about Christmas in July sooo many times. So I have been wanting to surprise her, and we had the perfect opportunity to do it last week because her best friend and companion of 8 months came on exchanges to our area and Sister Fine went to her area. We took this opportunity and ran with it. We even got the elders to participate. See the results in the videos below. Merry Christmas in July everybody!πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸ€ΆπŸ»πŸŽ„
*Disclaimer: We didn't use proselyting time for this activity*

On Saturday we went to a lesson with Sue and Eh Hser. I can't remember how much I've said about them before, but Sue is 14 and is so solid. She has been coming to church and every activity consistently for almost a year, she hasn't been baptized because her parents say she's too young. Eh Hser is her 17 year old sister. She is super solid too, but has never been able to come to church because she volunteers at a hospital every Sunday. She has taken the day off a couple times, but something always gets in the way. A couple weeks ago we had a lesson where we committed her to pray for a way for her to be able to come to church at least once. When we got there on Saturday we asked if she had volunteering the next day and she said she didn't have it this week!!! Miracle!! She was able to come to church yesterday! I think she had a really good time! We had 15 investigators at church yesterday! It was super awesome! 

This week I want to encourage everyone to take some time for personal reflection. Think about how you are doing spiritually and choose something you want to do to improve your relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that having a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ is very important. We can build our relationship with them as we pray, study the scriptures, learn more about them, and then probably most importantly, live by their teachings. 

Love you all!

Since Brooklyn put videos in her emails, I'm adding pictures for the blog.
Here's a couple of the "Christmas in July"--looks like it took a long time!

Sister Fine right after she walked in and saw everything! A couple more Elders knocked on the door and when she opened it they sang, "We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new life!" After the Elders left they found 7 dead frogs around the apartment--that was NOT part of the plan. The girls found 7 of them and made the Elders come back to pick them up. The Elders had bought them at the Karen store, so at least they were frozen and weren't just roadkill. Brooklyn thought it was funny, Sister Fine not so much! hahaha

 Sister Hicks with some hot cocoa

Sister Heath with Christmas cookies

Brooklyn also told us how she woke up in the middle of the night and heard a strange buzzing noise, opened the door and it was the fire alarm. There were 5 trucks at their apartment building. Someone had a fire while cooking something. Glad it wasn't them and also very glad they were safe!


She sent more pictures of the homemade rootbeer. She said they had a lot left over, but they saved it somehow. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Praaaanked!

Hello! It's been a busy week and it's only getting busier! Sister Fine goes home in just over a week so things are getting crazy! I'm pretty scared for Sister Hicks and I to take over the area because we still have a lot to learn to be able to teach everything in Karen, but I'm excited for the challenge! (We are so proud of her!!!)

This week we had an awesome lesson with our investigator Paw Wah. She's the 14 year old daughter of a lady who got baptized about 3 months ago. At the last lesson we had with her we committed her to pray about baptism. When we saw her this past week we asked her how that was going. She said when she prayed she had feelings that she didn't understand. We talked about prayer for a little bit and then talked about Joseph Smith and his amazing experience with prayer. Paw Wah was happier and more engaged in the lesson than we've ever seen her. We literally saw her whole attitude change. Then she asked a lot of really cool questions about baptism. We were able to bear our testimonies of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how it has blessed us throughout our lives, and how repentance has blessed us as well. The spirit there was so strong. I was able to say everything in Karen that I wanted to and it felt comfortable and easy. This experience helped me not be so scared for when Sister Fine leaves because I know that if we have the spirit with us when we're teaching, we will be able to say everything we need to and our investigators will learn what they need as well. 

Some members in our ward have a bunch of family visiting here from Sweden. (Some of the family got sent here from the refugee camp, and some got sent to Sweden) On Wednesday they had all of the missionaries over for lunch to meet their family and stuff. Then later on in the day we had to go back to our apartment to grab something and when we got home, our apartment building key and our actual apartment key were gone. Sister Hicks and I were pretty convinced that the elders had to have taken them to prank us because we've been in a prank war with the elders for a long time, but Sister Fine was pretty sure they wouldn't have stolen our keys. We called our apartment manager to let us in because we couldn't find the keys, and he told us that "some boys had been in our apartment" and we knew instantly. We got up to our apartment and the elders had filled our bathtub and all of our cupboards with packing peanuts. So many packing peanuts. Before they knew that we knew about the prank, they texted us and told us they found our keys at the members house we ate at. So if anyone has any good prank ideas, send them my way!

Have a good week! 

We had fun with it!

Sister Hicks hahaha

Us with a few of the family members from Sweden. 


Mom notes: It's been getting hot and humid in Minnesota. (She might actually start looking forward to the freezing winter temperatures soon) Brooklyn thought it would be fun to make homemade root beer for P-day. After they looked for the extract in stores and couldn't find it, I sent them some. I asked her if it got there safely with the heat and all, and she said "Yes, I'll show you when we make it!" First time I've seen root beer made in a kiddie pool! They made 8 gallons in there. I told her I hope the Elders were thirsty! She said they were and it turned out great!
Picture of all the thirsty Elders during their zone P-day!

Sometimes they get to watch a family movie on P-day. Brooklyn watched "Moana" for the first time last week. She sent this picture while watching it again this week, telling us she loves it so much and it is her new favorite movie! I told her it's because it's about our people! Her New Zealand ancestors! hahaha I love it too!

Monday, July 10, 2017

A week full of miracles!

On Saturday we had a temple trip to do baptisms for the dead with all of the people who have been baptized in the last few months. It was such a neat experience! The spirit was so strong. It was such an amazing sight to see all of these people who have recently been baptized, doing proxy baptisms for other people who didn't have the chance to be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood power and authority of God while they were on the Earth. How cool is it that we are able to be baptized for people who have already died? This helps me know how much God loves each and every one of His children. He knew that not everyone would have the chance to accept or even hear about the Gospel while they were on the earth, so he provided a way for us to give them the opportunity to make covenants with God so they too will be able to live with Him again. 

Remember Moo Eh Wah? The one we just recently got back in contact with since her husband wasn't letting her do the things she wants to do? We saw her again this week, and just over the course of one week, her husband has gotten sooo much better! They have stopped fighting constantly, he is now supportive of her going to school, going to church, and told her that he will give her a ride to church sometimes! Which he has always told her he wouldn't do! His heart is changing! It's a miracle how much progress he has made. He even told her that she can get baptized if she wants to, but she wants to wait until she feels like he supports that decision a little bit more! We are so happy for them! I know that God is helping soften his heart! 

Last week we had a lesson with Moo Ru. She is amazing! We were talking to her about her family situation and about baptism and everything and she told us, "I'm going to fast and pray this weekend for guidance." Then we talked to her about Priesthood blessings because she's dealing with a lot of mental and physical health issues right now and she said she would like one. So yesterday we brought the elders over and they gave her a Priesthood blessing. The spirit was so strong in the room. Her crazy three year old son was even super calm and quiet during the blessing, then right as the elders said amen, he went back to his crazy self. That was a miracle in itself! After the blessing Moo Ru was crying and thanking us so much. She told us she felt the spirit really strong. She also told us that before the blessing, she had a really bad headache, but right after the blessing, it instantly went away! I know that God's power and authority, the Priesthood, was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith almost 200 years ago. I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have of Jesus Christ's true church being restored to the earth. I feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing gospel! 

Recent convert temple trip!

Sister Hicks and I with super cute kids!

Moo Eh Wah, Karen Moo, Dah Wah, and Baby John! (They are so tiny--Brooklyn is not that tall!)


Mom Notes: Brooklyn has always hated the smell and idea of eating fish. She wouldn't even taste it growing up. She went on exchanges this week and guess what their dinner was? She said she tried it all and the sushi wasn't too bad, but the raw fish and octopus was awful! She told me she only gagged on the octopus. I feel like if you can eat Goat Poop Soup, raw fish shouldn't bother you at all! haha


Remember how Brooklyn bought what she thought was a MN Twins hat and wore it to a game a few months ago?  Elder Nelson (from Texas) pointed out her mistake and she thought it was pretty dumb they sold Texas hats in Minnesota. Well, Elder Nelson (the one on the far right) finished his mission a little while ago and sent Brooklyn this picture of him and some friends. They all went to a Texas Rangers game and he wore his Minnesota Twins hat there, on purpose though! hahaha I like his sense of humor!

This picture is from last week. On the Fourth of July they combined a few zones and had a softball tournament. It's hard to see their faces, but they all look like they had a good time!

Only one injury....Elder Brklacich did an accidental somersault and this happened. 

I'll bet they are a fun bunch while riding public transportation.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Easter in July?

Happy Independence Day! The past couple of days I have been reflecting on how lucky I am to live in America. Working with refugees that have literally had to run through the jungle from people trying to kill them, been taken out of their own country, and seen loved ones killed, I am so grateful for the safety and opportunities we have here. We are so blessed to have the freedoms and rights we do. Sometimes we take it for granted, but we are so lucky! 

It has been a pretty cool week! One night we got out of a lesson and had a little bit of time before we had to be home, so we decided to try to see Moo Eh Wah. I was a little bit worried about it because her husband doesn't like us and all, but on the way there I said a prayer in my heart that someone from the family would be outside so we could talk to them. When we got there and started walking toward their building, I looked over at the park across the street and saw Moo Eh Wah's little brother! Then Karen Moo! Then Moo Eh Wah! They had been on a walk and were walking home! If we would have come any earlier or later, we probably wouldn't have seen them! It was so good to finally see them and talk to them. They were able to come to church on Sunday as well! Her husband is still being difficult though, we will just have to keep praying!

Yesterday I was reading the Book of Mormon during personal study and read some really cool verses. In this part, the Lord is talking to the Nephites about all of the bad people that were destroyed because of their wickedness. As I read this I felt the spirit so strong and felt of the true character of Christ. He is basically pleading with these people to let Him help them. Christ has already suffered and died for us, He wants us to come unto Him. It is only through Christ that we can receive forgiveness and peace from our sins and receive eternal life. 
3 Nephi 9:13-15 
13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.

Have a good week! Watch the video at the end of this email!

One of our investigators moved a couple of hours away. We're super sad! 

I think this is one of their investigators, Lay Paw. Brooklyn didn't send details with this picture. Lay Paw gave them all a new Shaka! She is a very sweet lady!

Beautiful sunset

Brooklyn and her new companion, Sister Hicks

Sister Hick's mother sent me a few extra pictures of them--love when that happens!

With one of her favorite past companions, Sister Ching at Zone Conference.

Last picture with Sister Forbes. She and her husband were released this week.

A few pictures of their Easter in July! hahaha