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 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! 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

If you want to know something, ask God.

Wowie this week has been a roller coaster. Ups and downs and loopy loops. Our investigator July, the super awesome one who has had the coolest spiritual experiences and confirmations, got into a ton of anti-Mormon material. So he has taken a huuuuge step back from us. We were able to answer a bunch of his questions over Facebook messenger and every time we did, he was super grateful and understood super well. Then we got wifi for a minute on Wednesday afternoon and July had sent us a message the night before saying he doesn't want to get baptized anymore. We asked him why and he said, "Read Matthew 7:15
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Ouch. He talked to us more about how he feels that the things we taught him are true but he feels like he shouldn't trust his feelings. We tried explaining that God talks to us through the spirit and the spirit talks to us through our feelings, but he was being super short with us. What July failed to notice about the scripture he sent us, is the next verse. Through this verse, we can know how to tell the difference between a false prophet and a prophet of God. 

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Also something cool, the day after this conversation with July, an elder in the mission put this on Facebook. You bet we shared it and hope July has seen it!
July's mom is doing pretty good though. She came to church yesterday and asked us to come over and teach her. We were hoping July would be there and be receptive, but when we got there, he was sitting on the couch playing video games. He was super stand-offish to us. I just thought, "Hey no problem. We're going to be teaching his mom sitting on the floor right behind the couch he's on. We can teach him too." So that's what we did haha we had a lesson about Jesus Christ and then talked about the spirit and how we receive answers to our questions. When we went in, we had no idea what we were going to teach because we didn't know what to expect, but Sister Hicks and I both felt the spirit guiding us during the lesson. It was super cool. Sister Hicks was sitting in a spot where she could see the TV July was playing on and she said, every single time we were testifying of something and saying things July needed to hear, without fail his game would stop working. It would either glitch or be loading. Every. Single. Time. It was super cool! We know that was God helping July be able to hear the things he needed to hear. We hope that he will really think about the things he heard and the things he's felt and decide to learn from us again! 

The day that July told us he doesn't want to learn more was super hard. We were actually on exchanges with the Spanish sisters in our zone, so Sister Hicks and I weren't even together to talk about it and stuff. I was feeling super upset that night because we have personally witnessed the spirit touching July's heart so powerfully and now he doesn't want anything to do with it. When I was feeling super crappy I started thinking about Jesus Christ and His atonement. I thought about how when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he suffered for each of us personally. He felt everything we will ever feel. I know that He knew exactly how I was feeling because of that. I prayed to Heavenly Father and asked Him to help me have peace and comfort about the whole situation. And that's exactly what I got. I had comfort knowing that Jesus Christ knows how I feel and loves me, and I felt peace thinking about July because I know that if he will keep searching, God will help him know the truth again. 

Another super important lesson I learned from this, is that Satan is good at what he does. He knows each of our weaknesses and strengths and can even take our strengths and turn them into weaknesses. July is a super intellectual and logical thinker and because of that, he was trying to do a lot of research on the church and found a lot of good stuff, but then he also found stuff that has been twisted and changed to make our church sound bad. Satan planted doubts in July's mind and now he's confused. But I know that God is the source of all truth. If July, or anyone wants to know if something is true, they have to ask God. We can't go searching on the internet or asking other people. If you wanted help with your math homework, you wouldn't ask your English teacher, would you? We have to ask God. If any of you want to know the truth, I'd encourage you to do just that. Ask God. Then take steps of faith to show God you really want an answer, go to church, read the scriptures, pray every single day, etc. I know God answers prayers. 

I love you all! Have a good week! 

Chicken feet soup round 2. I liked it just about as much as I did the first time. 

And here's a picture from our exchange with the Spanish sisters! Super fun day!

Mom notes: Brooklyn told me Women's Conference was super stressful because they had to find and arrange rides for Karen women if they wanted them to be there. They ended up getting 22 Karen women there! She also said that she didn't have to translate, thank goodness, a girl from the ward did it. 

I asked her a little more about July. She said, "Man I got a little taste of how Heavenly Father feels when his children are so blind to His help. It hurt so bad. I told Sister Hicks, this feels like getting dumped, but worse! We're so sad because we saw July through Heavenly Father's eyes. We saw his potential and the spirit helping him, but now he's letting Satan put doubts in his mind." 

Keep July in your prayers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"I love that movie"

Hello! Yesterday we had Mission President's Fireside. It's a meeting where converts to the church speak about their experience and share their testimonies. We invited July, and he came and brought his girlfriend! We haven't been able to teach his girlfriend yet, but hopefully we will soon! They both really liked the Fireside and his girlfriend even started crying during one of the talks. One of the speakers was talking about the Joseph Smith movie and July turned to me and said, "I love that movie." This kid just watched the Joseph Smith movie by himself. He's a champ. He still hasn't been able to get work off to come to church, but they're training some new people so hopefully that will change soon! His mom and 3 of his siblings came to church yesterday though! I'm super excited about this family. 

Another cool thing! Remember Sue and Eh Hser? The awesome teenage girls? Eh Hser is the one who couldn't come to church because she volunteers on Sundays. Well she quit her volunteering because she wants to come to church! She was going to ask her boss to switch days, but there's so many other people that want to volunteer she decided to give other people a chance to volunteer as well. She's super cool. :) 

Sorry this email isn't super long, I love you all! Have a good week!

Our zone at zone conference! 6 Karen speakers, 6 Hmong speakers, 6 Spanish speakers, and the Hurleys! 

My mom and sister sent this "one year" banner in my birthday package. Apparently they forgot I was turning 20 :/
Just to clarify, we did not forget it was her birthday, we were just way more excited about her hitting her year mark! hahaha

Mom notes: The emails were pretty short this week. The only extra I have to add is that Brooklyn mentioned it's already getting pretty cold. In the 50's and 60's. Everyone in Minnesota says this winter is going to be bad....but that's what they said last winter too! 
She sent this "sad face" picture of how she felt about getting a flu shot at zone conference. haha 

One extra companionship photo of Brooklyn and Sister Hicks

Monday, September 11, 2017

" when can I get baptized?"

This week we saw July twice! The first time we taught him about the Plan of Salvation. This kid understood the Plan of Salvation better than anyone I've ever taught! We would start talking and he'd practically finish our sentences and teach us the rest!! It was amazing! He kept telling us that this is exactly what he wanted to learn. He said he's been praying to God asking questions and the Plan of Salvation answered so many of his questions! July is so prepared for the Gospel. At the end of the lesson we asked him what he feels like his next step in God's plan for him is and he said, "Baptism. I need to get baptized." We were speechless for a few seconds then he said, " when can I do that?" Hahaha we let him pick a date to have as his goal, and he chose October 8th. Something really cool is that 12 years ago I was baptized on October 8th! However, when we went back the second time, we taught his mom the Plan of Salvation and he did awesome helping us teach it to her! But then he told her that he wants to get baptized next month and she was really surprised and told him he's not ready yet.... but she thinks the Plan of Salvation is true too and we think as we teach her more and as July makes changes in his life that she can see, she will let him be baptized! We have a lot of hope for this family!

Well other than that, we have a lot of really awesome people we have started working with! God is blessing us so much here in St Paul!! I love you all! 

If you haven't noticed my recent activity on Facebook, our mission recently was approved the use Facebook to help more of God's children learn about the Gospel! If you're not friends with me, shoot me a request @ Brooklyn Hermansen! If you ever have any questions about anything I talk about in my emails, the gospel, or about Jesus Christ please send me an email or a message on Facebook! I would love to answer any questions you have!!

All of the missionaries with our investigator, Wah Tho. Such a cool lady!! 
(The couple are the Hurley's, senior missionaries and the little boy is a random photo bomber that Brooklyn didn't know! haha)

Martyr's Day

With Wah Tho

Happy girls! We found out Brooklyn's release date will be April 4th, about a month later than we expected, but she wishes she could stay even longer! haha 

I received a lovely card from Brooklyn on my birthday this past week. Besides the message she wrote in English, there was another paragraph at the top written in Karen. I had to wait until Pday to ask her what it said. She said, "It's not as cool when you know what it says, direct translation: Mom, I miss you so much. I love you so much. I say thanks to God for you. I say thanks to you for the help you give me in my life. I love you so much, Star Life Flower" 
It's amazing to me that those symbols actually say something, haha! It's also amazing what they can accomplish while serving a mission. It's such a short time to learn a new language so different from ours. They are obviously being blessed! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

One for the books!!

Wow! Words cannot express the week that we've had! The past couple of weeks Sister Hicks and I have been focusing on being more obedient, and we are definitely seeing the blessings! We had so many awesome experiences and found so many cool people this week. (Brooklyn showed us a screenshot of their goals on a chalkboard. They were hoping for 12 and ended up getting 28 new investigators! In the past they have gotten maybe 3 new ones a month. Whatever they are doing, it's working well! I'm so happy that they both work so well together, are being obedient and keeping busy. We also found out that Brooklyn and Sister Hicks have been assigned to be Sister Training leaders over their zone and the St. Paul zone. I had to ask my husband what that meant. They are basically Sister Zone Leaders. They will have new responsibilities including training at the next tri zone conference.)
I want to start out by thanking everyone for the birthday wishes! Thank you to everyone who sent me an email, card or package! It was my best birthday yet. 😊 20 feels great! 😌 (She told me her birthday was so good! They had interviews with President Barney and then it was a normal teaching day but with better food! She said it was so cool to be able to teach people and think about others on her birthday.)

Last night we had the coolest experience. It was the most spiritual experience I've had on my mission. So last week the elders brought us teaching with them to a family and we taught the mom a lesson about the Restoration and everything, super cool lady. However, her children were just sitting around playing video games and what not. Last night Sister Hicks and I went back and taught the mom, Mu Chi about the Book of Mormon. The lesson was going pretty well, and then right before we were about to kind of wrap up the lesson and leave, her 19 year old son came home and sat down by us. His name is July. We started talking to him by saying, "we just told your mom about this book," and then we kind of taught the whole Restoration and Joseph Smith's experience. The spirit was so strong. I felt like words were just coming out of my mouth without any effort. In the middle of the lesson, we were testifying about Joseph Smith's experience and July was just looking down. Then he looked up at us and just started weeping. He was crying so much and he said, "I don't know what I'm feeling. I'm so happy right now." We told him that feeling was the spirit telling him that what we said was true and he told us, "I know this is true. I know it." This 19 year old boy felt the spirit so strong, he started crying as he felt that witness from the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ's true church has been restored to the earth again. I wish I had the words to describe the spirit that was in that room. That was the strongest I've ever felt the spirit in my life. July is going to do great things! I can't wait to go back and teach him more on Friday!

We had another super crazy experience that gave us a little reality check. haha So for the past month there has been a guy at our recent convert, Karen Moo's house, almost every time we have gone over. Something has happened every time though that has made it so we haven't been able to teach him. We invited him to church though, and he has come the past 4 Sundays! With out ever being taught!! Yesterday we were at one of our member's houses, not Karen Moo's, and this guy, Pa Kee walks in. We were super shocked to see him but we said hi and asked what he was doing there and he told us he lives there now! What?!? At that moment I just thought, "Okay Heavenly Father, we will try harder to teach him. We get it now." Hahahaha It was the weirdest moment. We have no idea how he knows them and is now living with them. It's so cool to see how Heavenly Father just puts people in our path to teach!

I love this gospel so much! I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have of the restoration of the gospel. I don't know what I'd do with out it!!

Love you all!

Here she is wearing the dress we sent her for her birthday. So glad it fit! Brooklyn said she had Oreo's for breakfast, ice cream for lunch, Zupa's for dinner, and a mini bundt cake for dessert!!! 
I'm a little jealous! haha

State Fair with some investigators! 
The Minnesota State fair is the largest attended fair in the country. They get something like 200,000 visitors every day!!! I told Brooklyn that I didn't know how she remembered all their investigators unusual names. She said they do fine as long as they write them down. Brian made a comment about how similar their investigators look with their dark hair. Brooklyn said they always think she and Sister Hicks are twins or sisters!

Elder's Evans (from Eureka, Utah) and Foutz (from Mapleton, Utah) tried to bring Brooklyn a blizzard early in the morning on her birthday. For some reason Brooklyn's phone wasn't working. The poor elders waited for quite some time for them to answer, but ended up going home and putting it in their freezer. Looks like she ended up getting it later. It's the thought that counts, right? Brooklyn told me that they are some of the best people she's ever met! She has so much respect for the Elders she works with. 

View of Minneapolis in the distance from the Ferris Wheel

We got some exciting news this week. Brooklyn is now allowed to use Facebook on her mission! She updated her profile picture with the one below and has started posting about her testimony. Using technology and social media is such a great way to reach out to investigators and stay in touch with them. We truly live in miraculous times!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

State fair!

We don't have much time to email today because we have been at the second largest state fair in the country all day! It was really busy and reallllly fun! (I asked Brooklyn what the temperature was because in Utah it's been in the high 90's, she said it was only in the 70's so it was really comfortable.)

I just want to tell a quick story that made my week! On Friday we got a call from an unknown number and when I answered they said, "Paw Ghay Moo?" Which was Sister Fine's Karen name so I said, "No this is Cha Moo Paw." And she said, "Oh, Cha Moo Paw. Can you come visit me tomorrow?" And she just gave me her address. I got off of the phone and had no idea who it was. So the next day we go over and knock on her door and this super cute lady opens the door and tells us to come in. We sit down and make some small talk but we still had no idea who she was. We just rolled with it though and taught a simple lesson about prophets. She had really good comments and answers to our questions and so did her husband. They have 4 little kids as well. A 5 year old boy, twin 3 year old boys, and a 1 year old little girl. So cute! As we were teaching the spirit was so strong and I just felt a really strong love for this family. After the lesson she told us that Sister Fine and I talked to her in a Karen store when Sister Fine was looking for a Karen jacket. The store didn't have any, but this lady, Eh Hso told us that if we gave her our number she would call us because she knew someone who made them. We gave her our number 4 months ago! Then she just asked us where our church was and told us she was going to come on Sunday. Sure enough, she came and brought her kids to church yesterday! We feel like this family has been so prepared for the gospel and we are so excited to see how everything goes with them!

Sorry I don't have time to write more, but I love you all, I love being a missionary, and I love this gospel so much! 

Sister Ching--(a past companion), Sister Rosier, Sister Hicks and Brooklyn

One of Brooklyn's favorite treats is her Grandma Hermansen's yummy chocolate chip cookies. Looks like they found the next best thing! (I'll bet they weren't as good as Grandma's, though!)

After the Chicken Feet Soup last week, she sent me a picture of really good soup! Moo Eh Wah made it. She said they had to eat it really fast because they only had 15 minutes before they had to be somewhere and it was boiling hot so they couldn't enjoy it! hahaha  
I told her she needs to learn how to make the yummy things she tries and make them for us when she comes home! 

I told Brooklyn about hurricane Harvey in Texas. Her cousin Jacob Hanchett is serving a mission in Houston right now. She said that's crazy about the hurricane and all the flooding and she hasn't heard anything about them. She said they don't hear much about world events because everyone they talk to is Karen and they don't pay attention to the news! We are keeping all the missionaries in our prayers, especially those involved with this disaster! 

So while I have been updating this blog, I've been thinking about Brooklyn and wondering if she would get to do anything special for her twentieth birthday. I know it's not the most important thing on her mission, but as a mother I'd like her to have a good day and I feel a little sad that we can't celebrate together. No kidding, while I was thinking about this I got a ping on my phone saying I had a text. It was a sweet member of her ward sending me a couple of pictures and telling me that they were having a little early birthday celebration with Brooklyn and that she is doing great! She also told me she gave Brooklyn a big birthday hug! Seeing her happy face is a huge blessing for me this week!

Oh my word....I was just about to finish this when I got a private message on FB and felt prompted to open it, even though I didn't know who it was from. This is what it said:

"Sister Hermansen, I'm the ward mission leader in the North St. Paul Ward and thought I'd drop you a note to express how much we love and appreciate your daughter and the service she is rendering here. Sister Hermansen is such a great missionary! She has such a fun spirit and bright attitude and is so loved by the Karen people she and Sister Hicks serve. (BTW, I've never seen two sister missionaries get along so well--if you're hearing something different, she is also an Oscar candidate. They work so well together.) I have been with them on several teaching occasions and am so impressed by how Sister Hermansen handles herself. She has a strong testimony and is an excellent teacher! If she ever pursued that as a profession, she would excel. I would want my children taught by her. She is truly a delight. Please pass along our sincere thanks to your family for your sacrifice in giving her to Minnesota for 18 months. We feel so lucky that we get to keep the Karen missionaries here in our ward so long. She is making the very most of every minute."

And that is why we know what Brooklyn is doing is worth every minute she is away from our family and her own personal pursuits! The gospel is true and the Lord knows exactly where our daughter is needed and where her talents can best be used with her sweet companion!