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!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Chicken Feet Soup..🐓

Our family was out of town this week, sorry this update is later than normal, I am catching up on everything!

Hello! We changed our P-Day this week so we could go to the temple today. 😊 The temple is such an amazing place!

We had another good week! One of my favorite things that happened this week was with a fairly new investigator, Poe Wah. We knocked into her a couple weeks ago and taught her and her mom a simple lesson about prophets, then when we went back we taught them about the restoration. We invited them to church and they told us they already go to a church, and with our limited Karen, we didn't really know how to respond to that so we didn't say much. But this past week when we went back, it was just Poe Wah. We taught her about the 5 parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. Something during this lesson clicked and Poe Wah's face lit up. At the end of the lesson I bore my testimony about how because of the restoration of the gospel, only our church has the Priesthood, which means our church is the only true church in the world. I told her that because we believe this, we want her to be able to come to church and feel the difference at our church. She got a big smile and said, "I really want to go. I just need the address of the church." So of course we gave it to her, and guess who came to church! Poe Wah and she brought one of her friends that we've been teaching as well! 

Another really cool thing that happened this week was with Sue and Eh Hser. They are the 14 and 17 year old sisters who are super solid. If you remember, Eh Hser volunteers at a hospital every Sunday so she's only been able to come to church one week. We prayed a lot to know what to teach them, and we felt like we needed to commit Eh Hser to asking her boss to change her volunteer time so she could go to church. So we planned a lesson about why we follow God's commandments and how we get blessed from following them, then we told her how much we love and God loves her, and because of that, we want her to be able to receive all the blessings she can, and we invited her to ask her boss to change her time, and she said yes! She said once school starts in a couple weeks she will be able to ask her boss! She was so happy and saw the importance of this commitment. At the end of the lesson she said, "Wait I have one more thing to say. I really liked the lesson today. Thank you." We are so happy! We were so nervous to ask her to change because we didn't know how she would react, but the spirit definitely helped us plan for exactly what she needed!

Thank you all for the love and support you give me! Love you all!

Our district at the temple! (I think it's Elder Brklacich, Williams, Evans, Foutz? and Brooklyn and Sister Hicks)

Chicken feet soup we had to eat at a Ba Ywa. Not my favorite thing I've had to eat! 
Her companion Sister Hicks mentioned in her letter this week that it actually wasn't as bad as you think it would be. Just a little crunchy! A Ba Ywa is a big Karen get together, usually to celebrate a birthday or something with lots of Karen food. Sister Hicks said to think of it as a Family Home Evening.

Sister Ching and I got to go on exchanges together last week! So fun!

Brooklyn sent us a picture of a fruit she tried and said it is really good. Rambutan is a fruit native to Southeast Asia covered in leathery skin that looks spikey. The name means "hairs". After you peel it the flesh inside is sweet and mildly acidic, similar to a grape. Brooklyn said it's really good!

Brooklyn and her recent Hmong market purchase. Can you tell what's different about her?

Teaching with Sister Ching

I hope Brooklyn doesn't mind that I added this picture, but I think it's really interesting. Elder Nelson (third from the left) who she served with, is home now and sent her this picture of some of his friends. Elder Woodland (second from the left) was a Karen Elder that just went home. They were both best friends before their missions and both ended up serving in Minnesota!

I asked her if she got a chance to see the Eclipse. She said they didn't even worry about it and asked when the next one would be! haha She also mentioned she hasn't been feeling as well lately and I told her it's probably the lack of sleep, exercise and eating right, along with a little stress worrying about the language. Hopefully she will feel better soon!  Sure love her and hope she has a wonderful BIRTHDAY this week!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

Have a good week! 

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

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

Cute companions having some serious study time together! 

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

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

We're all by oursellllllves!

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

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

Last group picture with Sister Fine.

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

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

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

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