Monday, March 27, 2017

I walked into a different mission

Hello everyone!

It's been a crazy few days, but I absolutely love it here in North St Paul. The Karen (pronounced KaREN) people are amazing. I have never felt such strong love for people so quick. The Karen people come from refugee camps in Thailand and have had a really hard life. Despite all of their challenges, they are the most kind, humble, and generous people. They are so willing to listen to us and they have so much faith. The work in this area is moving along so quick, it's like I've walked into a completely different mission. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be in this area. 

The language is coming along, I always pray for the Gift of Tongues and the Lord is definitely helping me out! Teaching people is interesting because the Book of Mormon hasn't been translated into Karen yet so that makes it super different than what I'm used to! We have a bunch of investigators who are progressing really well and should be getting baptized in the next few months! 

Throughout my mission up to this point I have felt good about the work I've been doing and I felt like I was helping people, but I kept wondering why the Lord called me to Minnesota. Don't get me wrong, I love it here, but I wanted to know why I am needed here. It's something that I've been praying about off and on over the last few months, and since I have been in this area working with the Karen people I have truly felt like I needed to come here for them. I have had an overwhelming feeling of love from my Heavenly Father and I know that I'm supposed to be here. God works in mysterious ways and I've learned that we need to trust that He knows what he's doing. He knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows what's best for us. I love this gospel with all of my heart and I'm so thankful for the knowledge I have of the truth. 

Have a good week!

Enjoy this picture of a porcupine someone had just cooked.
(I asked her where they got the porcupine from and she said they told her they bought it at the store. You can see his little feet in front of the tail!)

I asked her what she thought about the language. She said it's going really well. She learned the alphabet and how to read it last Friday and is now working on the grammar and memorizing words. She told me that they don't teach Karen in the MTC. That's why they are called in the field and taught while on their missions. The Book of Mormon hasn't even been translated into that language yet. I asked her how they teach without the Book of Mormon in their language. She said "We teach them about it, read from it and translate it for them." I asked her if the Karen people had Christian beliefs. She said that most of them arrive in the USA as Baptists because Baptist missionaries preached at all the refugee camps. They do have a Baptist Bible in Karen that they can use, but they have to be very careful about teaching the correct doctrine with it. 
The picture below shows notes she made of the alphabet.

Brooklyn told me not to be alarmed if her bank account dips this week because she needs to buy some Karen clothes and things. It will be interesting to see what those purchases will be! She sent us the picture below of a couple of the Elders in her ward with a member wearing some of their Karen clothing. There are two sets of Karen Elders, one set of English Elders and Brooklyn and her companion in her ward. Sounds like a unique area. 

Brooklyn said her apartment is super cute and they had her study desk all set up with a welcome gift basket for her! Notice how low to the ground their desks are? The Karen people don't use chairs. They eat (without utensils) and teach on the floor. She said if you stretch your legs out that is considered rude. Needless to say her feet are always falling asleep and she's grateful most of her dresses are full and flowy!

Her ward is full of children and youth, which she loves! She said "The Karen people seriously love us so much. The ones I've met like once run up to me and just hug me! Everyone wants to take pictures with us too." 

She only had one picture of her and Sister Fine. I told her to take some more for us! They were both able to attend the Women's Session of Stake Conference last Saturday where Sister Fine translated it for the Karen sisters. Brooklyn said that her companion and her are total opposites but they get along really well and she likes her a lot. She is happy to be learning and working with her. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

You want me to speak what language?!

Hello everyone! 

Steve got baptized on Saturday and everything went great! His testimony is growing so much so quick! He had a bunch of friends come to his baptism as well and that was super cool!

We found out about transfers today. I'm being transferred to North St Paul with a new companion, Sister Fine! Annnnnd I have been called to learn a new language... it's called Karen, and I know absolutely nothing about it except the people are from somewhere in Asia. I'm super scared and super excited! I know this is going to be super hard, but I know that the Lord will help me! 

That's all for this week... I'll let you know how the language is coming next week! For now, enjoy some pictures! 

Sister Wilcox (her MTC Companion) and I at Zone Conference last week!

Sister Ching and I with Steve!

The guy next to Steve got baptized on Saturday too. 
This is all of the missionaries involved in teaching them!

Us and the Elders at a cool restaurant a member took us to! Above us is Bob Dylan's old apartment!

Brooklyn didn't explain a lot about this new adventure in her general email. We were able to discuss it and she answered a lot of questions I had while emailing this morning. Her whole new zone is different language speaking missionaries. No English! Her new companion, Sister Fine has been in that area for over a year. Brooklyn will stay with her until she leaves, then Brooklyn will get a new companion, but stay there until she finishes her mission. I guess it's been good that Brooklyn's gotten a new companion every transfer so far, just to get to know other missionaries and their styles of teaching. Now she will be set and won't get to experience anything new. (Except learning Karen!) 

Brooklyn sent me this example of the Karen language

Brooklyn will have an extra hour each morning for language study. Her new companion will help her with that. I asked her what the other missionaries thought about this and they told her that she will smell like fish oil the rest of her mission and to say goodbye to chairs! (Brooklyn can't stand fish!) Apparently they eat a lot of fish and sit on the floor. The Karen refugees living in Minnesota are from Burma (Myanmar) in South East Asia. Around 400,000 Karen people are without housing and 128,000 are living in camps on the Thailand-Burma border. Their lives are restricted in the camps because they usually cannot go out, risking arrest if they do. About 2,500 of them have been able to immigrate to Minnesota. Karen refugees live in 41 other states in the US and others have immigrated to other areas in the world. This will be an interesting change for her while on her mission. She will be teaching English, helping them pay bills, adjust to American culture, etc. We have been told they are very humble people, grateful for the little they have and are eager to learn more about the Gospel. I'm looking forward to her next letter!

Monday, March 13, 2017


Steve is getting baptized this Saturda!!! I'm so excited for him. He's a golden investigator! He is so ready and prepared for this gospel. He is making such big changes in his life and already seeing the blessings from them.

This week we set up an appointment with a potential investigator and when we went she wasn't there. Only her husband who didn't seem to be very thrilled about us coming. But we decided since we already were in the lock-out building we should knock on some doors. We went to where all the mailboxes were and looked at all of the last names. We picked some Chinese last names so Sister Ching could speak Mandarin, some African last names because they're usually pretty open, and then one German name because we felt like we should. So we start knocking on the doors and all of them either weren't interested or didn't answer the door. We had one apartment left, it was the German name. We knocked on the door and no one came, so we knocked again and we heard a shower turn off. Then this super nice girl in just a robe comes to the door and we apologized for making her get out of the shower and she said, "Oh no! I'm sorry it took me a minute to get to the door!" We asked her if we could show her a video about Jesus Christ and she said yes. So we showed her the "He Lives" video and she said it was a beautiful video and she really liked it. We told her that we were missionaries and we share messages about Christ's restored church and asked if she would be interested in learning more. She told us that she was raised Catholic but now is "spiritually athiest" but then she told us, "but you know, maybe at a different point in my life like if something tragic happens or something, you know things like that can change a person's heart." So we gave her some pamphlets, a Book of Mormon, and our card. Hopefully that was a good seed planted!

I feel like most of what we are doing in this area right now is planting seeds, but hopefully we will be able to find some more people to teach soon!

Anyway, I love this gospel. :) And I love you all. Have a good week!

Here's a picture of my super cool district

and Sister Ching and I with a recent convert, Hannah :)

Brooklyn wrote me a sweet letter this week answering several questions I had for her. One of them was about the weather. She said it snowed about 6 inches yesterday! It's cold again there, but it sounds like their weather is similar to Utah's with sunny days and cold days off and on during the spring. 

At the end of the letter she told me she loved me very much. Then added P.S. Look up "M.O.M." by National Tribute Band. :)  I did and it made me cry. Such a lovely tribute to missionary mothers everywhere. It's a beautiful song. She added that "The Hardest Thing I've Ever Had To Do" is a good one too. She said both songs come on in the car pretty often (they are on a USB) and they always make me think of you. 

Words like that make me so proud of her growth on this mission. It's hard to have her gone, but wonderful to read messages like that and hear how much she loves and appreciates the support she gets from her family. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I can't think of a subject..

Since I was out of town visiting my parents in Arizona, I am behind on the blog. Here is the letter Brooklyn sent last Monday. I will add a few pictures at the end that didn't come in her original e-mail. 

Hello! This week is supposed to be warm again so I'm happy. ☺️ 

Steve is amazing!! Last week I talked about his coffee problem and how he had cut down to one cup two days after we taught him the Word of Wisdom. Turns out the cup he had that day was the last cup he has had! He completely quit coffee. In three days. He told us that he knows the Lord is helping him because he has tried to stop drinking coffee a lot of different times but always got bad headaches, but this time, he hasn't had any headaches or problems! When we saw him this past Thursday we taught him about tithing and fast offerings and before we even asked him to do it, he said, "Oh yeah I can do that. That won't be a problem for me." And yesterday was fast Sunday and he came up to us at church with a tithing slip and envelope and said, "Look sisters! I'm paying my fast offerings!" He's golden. This man has grown so much in so little time, it's been amazing to see. We are going to try to push his baptism up to the 18th of March instead of the 25th because of how well he's doing. Also, the elders in the ward have a baptism that day as well, so it would be a double baptism! 

Funny tracting story. Everyone in Minnesota has enclosed porches, so we walk up to this porch and there's two young guys smoking. We went in and they were smoking a joint. But we were already in there so we told them who we were and taught them a little lesson about parts of the restoration, (we should have taught the word of wisdom😉) but they were super nice and even took pamphlets and our card. We actually run into quite a few people smoking weed here haha they're usually the nicest people too😂 

Yesterday in Fast and Testimony meeting, a lot of people talked about the Atonement and how it can help us. The Spirit was so strong. It made me reflect on my life and my experiences this far and how much the Atonement has helped me in my life. I was reading a talk the other day called "Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks and I want to share a little bit from it with you. 

"For example, the Apostle Paul declared that because the Savior “hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (​Hebrews 2:18​). Similarly, President James E. Faust taught, “Since the Savior has suffered anything and everything that we could ever feel or experience, He can help the weak to become stronger." Speaking of some of his own mortal challenges, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (​Philippians 4:13​).
​​​​And so we see that because of His Atonement, the Savior has the power to succor—to help—every mortal pain and affliction. Sometimes His power heals an infirmity, but the scriptures and our experiences teach that sometimes He succors or helps by giving us the strength or patience to endure our infirmities.​​"

I know that this is true. Jesus Christ suffered for each of us so that he can help us. He wants to help us. Whether it's a temptation we have a problem with, a sin that we've committed, mental or physical health problems, or tragedies in our life, he can help us. He will help us if we allow him. He might not take the problem away, but he can give you the strength that you need to push through it. All things are possible through Christ. I wanted to challenged each of you to ponder this and think about something you're struggling with and think about how Christ can help you through it. Then pray for the help that you need. I know that He will help you, even if you don't recognize the help right away. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Brooklyn and Sister Ching. They must get along well because Sister Ching is wearing one of Brooklyn's dresses in this picture! 

Brooklyn sporting a member's glasses! Are the 80's styles coming back? lol