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!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Muko Paw Heh Law

Hello! Sorry I don’t have much time to write a group email this week! It has snowed so much today! The roads have been super bad! (Brooklyn sent us a video and the snow was crazy! They were stuck in their car not able to drive because of how deep the snow was, after they finished their laundry! I wasn't able to get anything back after the video, so I'm assuming they got the help they needed. Fun, fun, fun!)

This week the youth in our ward had a temple night and Mae Paw (13 year old member who’s basically my best friend, also the only member in her family) has 4 younger sisters that we teach as well. One of her sisters is 12 so they invited her and us to come to the temple with them and teach her in the waiting room. It was so good! It was so cool to teach her one on one. She basically taught us the whole Plan of Salvation. When we teach them at their house it’s crazy because there’s 5 little girls and there’s just a lot of distractions. But for this, there was no distractions and we were in the temple, so the spirit was just super strong. In the past Sher Paw has been hesitant about being baptized because her parents say she’s too young and because of the stigma that Karen people have with young people getting baptized. But during this lesson she just opened up and said that she really does want to be baptized. However, we need her parents permission for her to get baptized. When Mae Paw got baptized about a year and a half ago, they also told her that she was too young, but she prayed and had other people pray for her parents hearts to be softened and eventually they said yes! So we talked about that with Sher Paw and she is praying for her parents to let her be baptized by March 24! We have been praying every day for her. I know that God can help her parent's hearts be softened again! Also, can I just say how grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation? I know I say this all of the time, but I love it so much. The whole Plan of Salvation is such a testament to me of how much God loves each and every one of his children. We are always worthy of God’s love. Even when we don’t feel like we are. There is nothing we could possibly do, to make God not love us. This doesn’t mean that we can just do whatever we want though. We still have to try to do the things that he has asked us to do. When we follow God’s commandments, we are showing him that we love him. 

I hope you have a great week! 

Here's a cool painting of Karen people in a library!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Gooood afternoon!

This week we had a cool lesson with some of our investigators. This family are relatives to some of our other investigators and that’s how we met them. So this week we went over to their house and they are always just super respectful. It’s super cool to see how the family works together. As soon as we come in, all of the kids in the house are just expected to come participate in the lesson, and they do. Their kids are all older teenagers and early 20’s and we can tell that some of them are more interested than others, but it’s really cool to see that they have so much respect for their parents that they will come and participate. Two of the children are always super involved. Their names are Day Mu and Eh Soe. Day Mu is a 21 year old girl and Eh Soe is a 18 year old boy. This week we taught them about the importance of the sabbath day and of coming to church. Day Mu and Eh Soe said they were going to come to church with their mom yesterday, but something happened and only their mom was able to come. But she came with her cousin so that was cool! Hopefully they will start progressing more soon!

Last week I started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning again. Man I love that book. I’m reading it with a focus on diligence. I think Nephi is such a great example of diligence. He has so much faith and trust in the Lord, that he is always striving to do what’s right. Even when his brothers are giving him a hard time. He does whatever the Lord asks of him and I would say he’s always “anxiously engaged in a good cause”. I’ve really been thinking about how I can apply this more in my missionary work. Nephi always follows the promptings he gets from the spirit. My favorite thing about Nephi is that he never complains. He goes through some really hard stuff. He has to leave his home and go into the wilderness, then go back to get the plates, go back to the wilderness, then go back to his home to get Ishmael’s family, go back to the wilderness, build a boat with out having the tools or ever having done it before, travel across the ocean to the promised land, and during all of this, his brothers are super mean to him and complain the whole time, they even try to kill him! And Nephi never complains. He places all of his trust in the Lord and is constantly thanking the Lord for everything. This is something I really want to apply more to my missionary work and to my life. It’s so easy to look at the negative things in our life and complain or murmur, but when we do that, we overlook the things that are good in our lives and the blessings we have been given. God has blessed us with so much, and he knows what’s best for us. I think Nephi was able to put so much trust in the Lord because he knew that he was doing what the Lord wanted him to do. He was trying his hardest to live the commandments and do what’s right. It’s the same for us in our lives. If we are doing our best and trying to do what God wants us to do, we don’t have to worry. We can put our full trust in God and know that no matter what happens, everything will be alright. 

Hope you have a great week! :)

Sister Brooklyn Hermansen

Sorry, I didn’t take pictures this week. 

Mom notes: There was something wrong with email this week and the one I sent Brooklyn didn't go through. It made me sad when I found out she thought I didn't send her an email. I tried re-sending it, but eventually had to copy and paste it as a reply to her general email so she could get it. By the time she received it, she had to leave and didn't get a chance to write back. Huge bummer for me! I'll have to wait till next week to get some questions answered. 

Since Brooklyn didn't send any pictures this time, I thought I'd add a couple. The following is a screenshot of how many times their Christmas caroling in Karen has been viewed, liked and shared. Holy moly! Look at those numbers!!!
The weather man was talking about the warm temperatures for January we've all been having. Minnesota got all the way up to 7! It's one of the coldest areas in the country still. 
Cute P-day picture--with jackets and no heavy coats. Guess that's what happens in Minnesota when your temperatures aren't below zero! hahaha

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Private Concert

This week was super cool! We got in with some investigators that we haven’t seen for a while and had some good lessons with them! I’ll just tell about one of them!  

We had a cool lesson with Sue and Eh Hser. Sue has still been coming to church and everything. Eh Hser still hasn’t been coming to church because of all of her extracurricular stuff. We had a lesson on doing the basic things. Church, Praying, and Reading scriptures - CPR. We read the story in the Bible about the manna from heaven and how our spirits need spiritual food just like our bodies need food. Some things I really like from the Bible story - They have to collect the manna each day, they couldn’t store more than they needed. Just like how we need to feed our spirits every day. We can’t just read a ton of scriptures one day and call it good for a week. Another thing, on Saturdays, they were to gather enough for themselves for that day and Sunday. Everyone is different and just like we all eat different amounts of food, we each have different things going on in our life and need different amounts of spiritual nourishment. Some people only have time to read a few verses of the scriptures each day, and that’s okay. They will be blessed for making that effort. Sue and Eh Hser really liked the lesson and Sue committed to pray more, and Eh Hser committed to come to church. (Sadly neither one of them came to church yesterday haha) but we were able to promise Eh Hser some really cool blessings. We promised that if she will make the effort to come to church and do the things God asks of us, she will have help in school and all of her extracurricular stuff. I know that when we make God our number one priority, he will bless us in every aspect of our life. 

Something super cool this week, there was a bunch of super famous Karen singers from Myanmar in Minnesota for the last couple months, and we’ve met them a few times around town. So last Friday, the elders were tracting and tracted into the house where they were staying and they invited us to a party that night because they were leaving the next day. We went that night and it was so fun! They were just all making and eating food and singing songs about God. It was such a cool night. We basically got a private concert! Super sick. 

Anyway, gotta go! Love you all! 

The ties we made the elders out of Karen material for Christmas! Cheesiest district. 

Saw Black and I. Super famous Karen singer. He's so talented! I asked Brooklyn if he's the Karen version of Justin Beiber and she said, "Probably! They're super famous and it was sooooo cool!" haha

 District picture because Elder Evans is leaving the area to train a new Karen Elder this week. 

Someone else posted this picture on FB of them with one of the famous singers from Burma.

Brooklyn made her famous caramel brownies for Elder Evan's birthday! I'm sure he enjoyed them!

One more picture that was taken at the concert. They all sat in a big circle with lots of food in the middle. Brooklyn sent a video of the concert. It was really fun to see them all eating and enjoying the music together. She said they sang lots of songs about God--missionary appropriate!