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!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018!

Happy New Year! It’s so crazy to think that another year of life has gone by. 2017 was definitely the fastest year of my life! Sorry I haven’t emailed in a couple of weeks, it’s been crazy with holidays and stuff! 

On Saturday, a Karen member from our ward went through the temple for himself! He is the first Karen member from our ward to go through the temple. The elders translated everything into Karen for him so he could understand the promises he was making with our Father in Heaven. It was such a spiritual experience! He was so happy the entire time and just beaming! I know that temples are God’s house on earth and I’m so grateful for the blessings we receive from the temple. 

Something funny that happened, we went to a Karen New Year celebration and there was a ton of people there. They were doing different dances and performances in the front, and right to the side of where the performers were, they had a table with a ton of food that the dancers and stuff would get to eat at. We were just standing watching and a Karen guy came up to us and asked us to go eat up there! So us, 7 white missionaries in traditional Karen clothing, all go in front of the whole audience, right next to the live performances, and eat rice. At one point I turned around because our backs were towards everyone, and there were like 10 people standing taking pictures of us haha. During the whole celebration people were coming up to us and asking to take pictures of us or with us. It was weird, but a good way to contact people! Hahaha we found some pictures that people put on Facebook of us at this event, I’ll put them at the end of this email. 

Now I want to share a little experience I had that left a big impact on me. I’ve been a little bit sick the last couple of days and a couple of nights ago I could not stop coughing. It was the kind of cough that just feels like you’re coughing up shards of glass in your throat. I could not fall asleep for the life of me. I’m glad Sister Hicks fell asleep and didn’t wake up to my coughing, because I was up coughing for at least 2 hours. I was so exhausted and just wanted to sleep. As I was laying there being frustrated, I had a thought to say a prayer. So I prayed and told Heavenly Father that I was tired, my throat hurt, and I just wanted to sleep. I asked him if he would help me fall asleep. Almost immediately after saying amen, my throat felt so much better. It felt soothed! The next thing I remember is waking up to our alarm. I woke up and just had an overwhelming feeling of how much God loves each of his children and really cares about every aspect of our lives. It seems silly to pray to God to ask for help falling asleep, but he doesn’t think it’s silly. He loves us so much and cares about us more than we can even imagine. He wants to help us in our lives, sometimes all we have to do is ask! 

Love you all! I hope you’ve had a good holiday season!

A picture we found on Facebook of us eating rice!
The stuff on Elder William's face is thanakuh. It's Karen make up/face treatment. They wear it for fun, or as sunscreen, acne treatment, etc. I wonder what the ingredients are?!
Two of my favorite people! (Mae Paw and Sis. Hicks)
All of us with another one of my favorites! Da Da!
Mer Ler moved to Texas this week. :(
I had to add a picture of our Christmas Skype. I LOVE technology that allows us to see and feel her sweet spirit. I also love that our missionary countdown was down to 100 on Christmas day. We are now in the double digits!!! 
 Her view of us wasn't as sweet! hahaha 
 The picture below shows the items Brooklyn sent us for Christmas. She made the ties herself! They bought a tie at a Thrift store, cut it up to use as a pattern and the material is from a Karen skirt. She made them on P-days with some help from their Bishop's wife. I was so impressed! She bought the other items at a Karen market. The cute larger bags were for all the girls and the smaller bags were for all the grand daughters. The little red dress is for Noelle to wear at Brooklyn's Homecoming and the little white onesie with the sewn on tie is for baby Eric to wear! 
P.S. Brooklyn translated what she had written on the outside of the box for us. It said "from your favorite daughter" and a few more phrases that pretty much meant the same thing! hahaha
 I thought this was interesting. These are the name tags Brooklyn has used on her mission. In order: English, Mandarin Chinese with Sister Woo and Sister Ching, Burmese and then Karen since Burmese could be considered offensive to the Karen people. Crazy, huh?!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Almost Christmas!

Mom notes: Brooklyn didn't write a general email this week, but her companion Sister Hicks did. I really love that girl and her letters are so fun to read. I'm hoping she won't mind me posting it on Brooklyn's blog. Only close friends and family know about the blog and she gave a lot of news about what they have been doing! The following is Sis. Hick's letter:
This week was full of lots of celebrations! One day we went to a birthday party for one of our YSA members! His name is Tae Ray Htoo and he joined the church in Utah and then moved here with his grandma, his grandma is super sweet too! And then later this week another member, her name is Thuza, had a baby shower! Baby showers for Karen people are a little different from other cultures. There aren't any games, we all just ate homemade pho and egg rolls. The night before we came over and helped her make them. They were super yummy!

We also got a new elder last week for Karen work! It's the first big change since June! Hah the picture I sent last week in front of the temple was suppose to be for our Christmas card, but then he came like 2 days later, so we decided we needed to take a new one. 

We have this super cute family we're working with and they have their own car! It's a mother and two daughters that we have taught, the father has a weird work schedule so it's a little hard to schedule when he is there. But they seem super awesome! The mother is so receptive and the daughters are super sweet and ask so many questions, which is pretty uncharacteristic of daughters. 

Also Moo Eh Wah came back in town so it was good to see her again. And some super big news, I think I have talked about it before, Kway Lay, one of our older members is going through the temple on December 30! We're all so excited for him! And with him going through, it is getting a lot of our other members interested in going as well! There is a sweet girl in our ward who has been a member for some time now, she's in her mid 20s and she has been dating this boy for a while and stopped coming to church for a while because she was embarrassed to be living with her boyfriend. Just recently her boyfriend started taking the discussions and she is on fire with church activity. And they just talked to the bishop about getting married!! One of my favorite things about a mission is seeing people change and repent and how much happier their lives become because of it! This gospel is so amazing! 

I was reading in the book of Mormon this week and this verse really stuck out to me. It was in Alma 30:40-41
So in this chapter Korihor is going around trying to diminish peoples testimonies and in this part he is brought to Alma and Alma bears him this fire testimony of his belief in Christ. And these are the verses. 
40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.
41 But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true;
I love that Alma asks that question, what evidence do we have that there is no God? Everything in this world testifies of God and Christ. Sometimes people get caught up in the question of where is the proof of God, where is the evidence? But if we look for God in our lives we will see just how evident it is. I have tried recently to follow the council of President Eyring, with that one talk about writing about when you see the hand of God in your life, and it has helped me really be aware of everything God does for us. He loves us so much. I know that.
Sis. Hicks ended by saying she hopes everyone has a Merry Christmas! I know Brooklyn wants everyone to have a Merry Christmas too and she expressed in her letter to me that she can't wait to talk to all of us. I will be sure to take a few pictures for the blog next week. Enjoy the pictures she sent me! 
I asked her to send me a "tag" picture! Yay!
She sent us a package with instructions to not open till Christmas! She also said she would tell us what the messages written in Karen say, when we talk to her on Christmas--It's going to be hard waiting!!!
Here is the new picture Sis. Hicks was talking about with the new missionary. I LOVE the colors with the contrast of the snow in the background!
 Even though the above picture is great, I think I like the one below more!!! I just love how everyone is getting ready and Brooklyn is just smiling away and the only one that realized a picture was being taken! hahaha
Happy companions!
And just for fun....here are the goofy girls sporting new Christmas twinner outfits! Brooklyn assured me I could borrow hers when she comes home! hahaha They are too funny!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Poopsicles!

Funny story of the week! Yesterday we were having dinner at a member’s house, and just as we were getting ready to leave, they were telling us about their new dogs’ latest habit. The husband said, “Lately they’ve been bringing in pieces of their own frozen poop! Poopsicles!” Sister Hicks and I were laughing pretty hard about this and as I was laughing I took a step back and as I put my heel down, I felt something hard and cold. I looked down and I had stepped on a poopsicle!  hahahaha it made the whole thing funnier! 

This past week we had our Christmas Zone Conference. It was super good! We had a bunch of really good trainings and spiritual things, then we ate lunch, then watched the Polar Express! It was really fun! Something that really stood out to me was a training by my mission President’s wife. She talked about the real meaning of Christmas and how important Christ’s birth is and what a great gift his life was for us. Then she said something that really hit me. She said, “During Christmas time, we give presents to our friends, family, and loved ones, but how often do we give presents to Christ? The reason we even celebrate Christmas.” Then she had us all write something down that we are giving to Christ for Christmas on a little piece of paper shaped like a present and put it under the tree. I’ve been thinking a lot about how commercialized Christmas has become. It seems like it’s all about the presents and the worldly things, but it’s so important for us to take time to remember why we celebrate Christmas and ask ourselves what we can give to Christ for Christmas. He is the ultimate gift. I’m so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who makes all things possible. I would like to encourage each of you to ponder this and choose something you want to give Christ. 

Sorry the email is short this week! I love you all! 
I love these cute girls sooo much! This was at a ward Christmas Party.

We stood in 0 degree windchill for this picture. Enjoy it! It's funny because both Brooklyn and her companion, Sis. Hicks complained about how cold they were when they took this picture--but none of them were wearing coats! lol

This picture came from Sis. Hicks' email this week. It's been so fun to read her emails too and get more news about their mission and what they've been up to! We sure love them both!!!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Karen Temple Trip and Sacrament Meeting!

This week was super cool! On Saturday we took a group of Karen people to the temple! The temple president has given the elders permission to come into the temple and translate the ordinances into Karen because the church doesn’t have anything translated into Karen yet. So for the first time, some of our Karen members were able to hear the ordinances in Karen. Because the translations aren’t official, the person performing the ordinances still had to say them in English, but then someone else would read it simultaneously in Karen. So when they were doing baptisms for the dead, one of the elders read it in Karen. But for the confirmations, I was able to read it in Karen while another Elder actually performed the ordinance in English. It was such a neat experience and the spirit was so strong.

Yesterday we had another all-Karen sacrament/testimony meeting! Just like last time, it was super cool. Seeing these people have the opportunity to share their testimonies to their own people is so cool. I’m sure they also really appreciate being able to understand the things being said with out needing to wear headphones with someone translating. 

Funny story of the week. We found this house with 6 different apartments in it, and they all are Karen people. We decided to knock on the doors, so we started with the first door we saw. We knock on it, this 18 year old kinda gangster lookin’ kid answers and says “hey what’s up?” We tell him we’re missionaries and ask if we can teach his family, he says, “oh yeah for sure. We’re Christian. Come in!” We go into his family room, and he tells us he’s going to go ask his friend if he wants to come too. So we’re just sitting there and it’s super dark because it’s about 5 pm and their electricity isn’t working. He comes back and says his friend doesn’t want to come. So we decide to just teach him the shortest lesson we can. We start reading a scripture in the Bible about prophets and this kid just keeps changing the subject asking us random questions about ourselves. We finally get back to the lesson and he just starts hysterically laughing and gets up and goes back to the room his friend is in. Comes back and says, “Man my buddy really doesn’t want to come. He’s a little sick. He just had surgery because he got stabbed.” I go, “he got stabbed?!” Calmly he says, “yep” alllllrighty... so we finish the lesson, tell him to pray and ask god for guidance in his life and he says, “I pray all the time. Except sometimes when I’m tired or do drugs, I forget. Man I must’ve forgotten to say my prayers last night so god sent you. Wow that’s cool.” We told him to stop doing drugs, then got out of there pretty quickly. (Sorry mom. You probably won’t think this story is funny) Needless to say, we probably won’t be going back to see our bud Kwy Shee. 

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well! Remember, don’t do drugs. They’ll make you forget to say your prayers. And if you’re not already saying your prayers, start! God wants to hear from you. :)

Sister Brooklyn Hermansen

We became ponies this week!
Since Brooklyn didn't send any other pictures of her this week, enjoy her thumb!
She used a sticker! haha

Mom notes: I'm so grateful for prayers of safety for our missionaries and the angels that surround them in sketchy situations! I told her they'd better be more careful!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone! I’m sorry last week I wasn’t able to write. We had our P-day switched to Thanksgiving and we were so busy on Thanksgiving that we didn’t have time for anything! We literally went from meal to meal. It was crazy. We ate a big feast at a members house, then went to the church where Zaw, a Karen member, fed us a tooon of Pad Thai and fried rice, then Bu Htoo, another Karen member, took us to a really nice Asian buffet! Needless to say, I ate wayyyy too much. Then to make it even better, we went to a Jamaican ladies house the next day and she had us cook everything for a huuuge Thanksgiving meal. I’m tellin’ ya. She could have fed an army with all of that food. It was super good though! 

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about everything I’m grateful for. I am sooo grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and his sacrifice that makes it possible for us to return to live with him and our Father in Heaven. Christ gave up his life to give us the ultimate gift, eternal life and happiness. I’m so grateful for the knowledge I have of this amazing gift and that I have the opportunity to share it with others. I want everyone to know how they can return to live with our Father in Heaven. I’m also so thankful for my family. Being away from them for so long, especially during the holidays, makes me even more grateful for them. My family is crazy, and I love them all so much. I’m so grateful that we will be able to live together forever. 

The work is going pretty well. We are just trying to find and recognize those people who are truly prepared and ready to receive the gospel. 

The church has a Christmas campaign called #LightTheWorld. You’ve probably heard of it, but if you haven’t, it’s a video about helping others. Each day they have short videos and ideas to help others this Christmas season. There’s even a little calendar that has ideas for each day on it. The idea is to #LightTheWorld in 25 ways over 25 days. It’s starting this week! Check it out and do it! Here is a link. https://www.mormon.org/

Love you all so much!

Sister Brooklyn Hermansen
Our Christmas tree!

At the buffet with Bu Htoo. 
 Mom notes: Elder Woodland in the very front, came back and visited with his family. I'm sure it was fun to see him again and enjoy the buffet together!
Brooklyn sent us this photo after the first Thanksgiving dinner was down....two more to go! hahaha

Cuddle time with some tiny kittens! (I love the photo bomber)

Yoga mat on a treadmill....hmmm, I don't know how effective that exercising will be! 

More mom notes: I asked Brooklyn to tell me what her typical weeks were like now. She's our first and only missionary, so I've been curious. This is what she replied: "Man it's hard to tell you a normal week cause they're all so different. P-days we usually wake up, get ready, go do laundry and grocery shop, relax, email, nap, shop, play games or something with the elders. Then the rest of the week: So every Tuesday we volunteer at the Karen organization of Minnesota and teach people English from 12-2. But on normal days we wake up, get ready, plan, personal study, comp study, language study, have lunch, then go teaching all day pretty much. On Fridays we Skype the sisters in Salt Lake and teach them Karen for an hour. And on Saturdays we have district meeting, then meet with the Bishop to coordinate, then have language study with the elders. Then on Sunday we have church, a meeting with just us Karen missionaries, and a meeting with the ward mission leader. I don’t really know what else to say about the week haha. We help a couple people with homework usually like twice a week. That’s kind of fun since it’s always super easy homework. We wrote a rap last night about Minnesota with Mae Paw for an assignment haha. (I want to hear that rap! lol) Only 28 more days till we get to Skype with Brooklyn for Christmas, but who's counting!