Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Como estas? Ok, I really haven't learned any Spanish this past week, but I've started speaking Spanglish with the little Spanish that I do know. My companion, Sister Hart is on her last transfer and was switched to English speaking. So, we don't have language study. Sister Hart's brother actually was in the same district as Sam in the MTC. It's a small world.

Saying goodbye to Sister Stokes wasn't easy. I'll miss her, but she promised to keep the boys away from Miranda while she is at school! Good to know I have someone I can trust to take care of my little sister (while she is away from home). Sister Hart is a very hard worker and has a strong testimony of the gospel. We have spent many hours tracting together already and have taught some lessons. We will have a good 6 weeks together. And then the goodbye process starts all over again.

President Clements gets in on Wednesday. We said goodbye to the Howell's last night. It will be an interesting transition.
I met the brother of one of Alissa's friends. I believe her name was Kira? I spelled that wrong. They lived in Lincoln like 15 years ago. She is married and has a couple kids. I can't remember the name of Kira's brother. So much to remember as a missionary and only the really important stuff sticks. It has shocked me how much I forget.
I also met Dana Gibson, or Sister Gibson last night! I was so excited to finally meet her after hearing so many stories about her in AZ. Hopefully we can be companions someday.

So the other day we decided to tract Hershey Street. We thought it sounded pretty "sweet". Well, it was definitely NOT sweet. I do not think I have had so many people be so rude on one street. We may have given out one pass along card out of 15 houses? It was pretty ridiculous. Then one of the last houses, we rang the doorbell and we started hearing what at first we thought were gunshots. IT WAS SOOOO LOUD. But, we then concluded that it was fireworks in some sort of pot or something. It was in their backyard. I don't know if it had to do with us being there or if we just had incredibly bad timing. We finished the street and took an early dinner before going and doing some more tracting.

Throughout the mission we are seeing miracles. We only need one more baptism this week and then we will reach our 60. The people us as missionaries have thought less likely than others to accept baptism have been coming out and asking us when they can be baptized. It's so awesome. We are going to get it! The Lord provides people who are ready when we strive to set His goals and then work diligently toward them. He is definitely blessing this mission.

We have several lessons to teach this week (to investigators). Remember my first week here and we had NO investigators to teach? Well, we have a referral we are teaching this week, plus a recent convert's roommate, also hopefully Taylor, who we set a date with, but he has been scheduled to work and so that date will not work. Kipp is still doing awesome. He has a great understanding and is committing to live the gospel. It's awesome to watch him grow. :)

Well, I will attatch some pictures. I hope you enjoy. I hope you have a great week. Remember I love you and pray for you. It's good to hear from you all!
Keep smiling!
Sister Randall

PS, the skies here are GORGEOUS! The ones of the sunset are taken from our church parking lot. :D

Monday, June 20, 2011

Well, this is my last few days with Sister Stokes :( I drop her off at the mission home on Wednesday and I will probably bawl! She is so awesome and I have loved serving with her and have learned so much from her. She is so good at loving EVERYONE, no exceptions. My new companion is Sister Hart. She is actually a Spanish sister, but we have an odd number of English and an odd number of Spanish. This will be her last transfer, so I'll be sending another one home. Since she is Spanish that means we will have an extra hour of study in the morning. So we will have 1hr Personal, 1hr Companion, 1hr Language Study. So I will either start to learn Spanish or just do more personal study.

This past week has been HUMID and cloudy. We've had a couple thunderstorms (which I absolutely love! We don't get those in AZ, I missed them!) We have biked some, but can't bike after today because we are taking Sister Stokes bike to the mission home to get shipped home. Biking is just so much fun :D As for missionary work, it was a bad week for getting ahold of our Recent Converts and Less Actives, BUT! We have 2 investigators with baptismal dates! :D Kipp is still doing awesome! He called us before our lesson on Saturday and said, "I'm going to be late, because my mom was asking about momon-y things and I thought that was more important." He's funny. We also got a referral from the Apple Valley Elders who contacted a young man on the street, his name is Taylor. They taught him once, then took us over the 2nd time and he is now our investigator and we invited him to be baptized while we were there for the 2nd lesson. He accepted and is super excited to be baptized. Now we just have to get his job to give him Sundays off.

Yesterday Sister Stokes and I both spoke in Sacrament meeting. It was a bit emotional as she has spent about 6 months in the branch. Everyone is going to miss her. What else is exciting? Well, there really isn't too much going on. We are trying to find service opportunities. We have a few potential investigators that we need to contact this week. We went and helped Andrew Bacon with a house that he is fixing up in exchange for a place to live. He had his friend Chelsea there and she is AWESOME (not to mention she's from Nebraska...) Sister Stokes and I both connected with her very well and we hope to be able to teach her. She is out of town until July 9th...can you believe it's almost July!? Crazy. And by the time this next transfer is over, it will be August. Time is flying by. I just can't believe it.

The Howell's fly home the 29th and will be giving their homecoming talks in 2 different wards in Utah. They are going to be missed, but we look forward to meeting President and Sister Clements. I am going to miss the Howell's down syndrome daughter. She is so sweet and so sensitive to the Spirit. We were at a baptism (where over 100 people attended) and the Howells were there and Loribeth (their daughter) wrinkled up her face trying not to cry and then looked at her mom and held her chest. It was such a sweet thing to watch. Lori Beth also sings for all the new missionaries when they come in. She sings I Am a Child of God and it is one of the sweetest things you can imagine. It's so touching.

Well, we are staying busy and having fun. I don't know if I told you, but our Branch President was going through Chemo and was supposed to have 3 or 4 more treatments, but when they scanned him he was cancer free and is officially in remission and back to working...or should we say flying? His wife also has cancer, not treatable and she is just living life, I can't imagine what it would be like living and just waiting for when this disease overcame you. One of the counselor's wife is also going through chemo and radiation and is really really struggling. It breaks my heart and I have come to love them so much.

Hm, as for the pictures, I can save them to my thumbdrive and print them off at Target or somewhere. I'm glad the kids had fun at Youth Conference. It sounds like a blast. You might need to purchase a gun to keep the boys away from your daughters though... you don't have to buy ammo, they don't have to know it's empty ;)

So remember our goal of 60 baptisms in June? Well, so far we have had 32 baptisms and have 27 date sets left....which if you do the math adds to 59. We are praying for miracles all over the mission. We have already seen so many of people who have just shown up and have already taken the lessons elsewhere, or have been attending for years and finally decided they want to get baptized. I don't know, all I know is that if we keep working hard and trusting in the Lord then we can still reach 60, He will provide.

Well, it's a busy day and we've got to get running, but I love you all. I'm glad work and school and church is going well. Oh, we stopped by the Sanderson's yesterday and I finally re-met them. They say hi and said they follow you on facebook. haha. They talked about having us over for dinner sometime, that would be fun. Mike wasn't to receptive to us showing up, Nick is still active in church though. Hopefully they will come to the activity our branch is having Saturday.

Ok, but now, for real, I love you, have a fabulous week! Work hard, keep a smile on your faces and remember that there is a missionary out here praying for you and that loves you!

Sister Randall :D

June 13

Monday, June 13, 2011 12:37 PM

Message body

Thanks for the pictures! I enjoyed them. I can't believe that my little siblings are teenagers!! And they are starting to look it too! Crazy crazy crazy. It seems that you are all doing well and are happy :)

Well it's been a super fast week. It was a bad week for our contacting numbers. Monday we had a meeting and FHE, Tuesday we had pday and dinner with one of our members and his family. His mom is in the Stake Relief Society and helped us go through our list of singles in the Stake. That pretty much took up the night. Sister Stokes was sick for 3 days this week, so we were home and I spent a lot of time calling the elders of different areas to talk to them about the singles in their areas. There are 110 Young Single Adults in the Mankato area and 13 are active. We talked with the elders and they said that it's a college town and a lot of singles come in for school, get their records in and then disappear. So most of them aren't even in the area anymore, but we have no idea where they are. They need their own singles ward in Mankato with missionaries who can deal with that. It's about an hour away from here. Even though Sister Stokes was still not feeling well Saturday morning we went to do service for the company one of our members work for. They were opening at a new location and needed help getting everything painted and set up. So we spent a couple hours there Saturday and a couple more this morning. Saturday night we had a lesson with our investigator Kipp aaaand he is getting baptized on July 16th!!! :D I am so excited. He has been coming to church for over a year and had taken some lessons in Mankato, and now he has finally decided that he should get baptized! :D That was a very exciting evening! On Sunday, church started out normal. We were up in the choir singing when in walked one of the LA's we had talked to a couple weeks before!! And then in came another LA who we have spent the last 5 weeks trying to get ahold of! And then there were like 4 new faces from other wards! And then there were some more LA's and then there were 3 non members! There were so many people in Sacrament meeting. I nearly cried. It was absolutely amazing! :D

So, today I got a chiropractic adjustment! My hip has been really sore and also affecting my knee. There is a member here who does free missionary adjustments. He also was able to show me some stretches to help keep my hip from popping out and to get it to stop popping! It was super exciting :D

Hmm, what else has been going on? Sister Stokes goes home a week from Wednesday. I'm so anxious to find out who my new companion is going to be but I'm so sad to see sister Stokes leave. She is so awesome :) I went to the doctor for prescriptions for my inhaler. They had me rate like 4 or 5 different aspects to my asthma and if it was 19 or below your asthma was uncontrolled. Mine was 17. But, that's part of the reason I was there in the first place. He gave me two options. One of them had the possibility of making my asthma worse than it already is, so I steered clear of that one. The other one is FloVent. I take it morning and night. It's another inhaler and I take one puff in the morning and one puff at night. Downfall is that it takes 1-2 weeks to actually work. So hopefully it will decrease my use of my inhaler. Nice thing is that it will last me 4 months and was cheaper than my albuterol.

The thing about the 60+ baptisms is that that is throughout Minnesota. We have 200 missionaries here, so in 200 different areas we have 69 planned baptisms. The ideal is for every area to be baptizing once a month. But I know what you mean about LA's. It's overwhelming and there are sooooo many of them who don't really understand what it meant for them to be baptized. We have a couple of those we are working with and a couple who are super solid and completely understand the commitment they have made.

I'm glad Eva is up and running. The poor computer. Take good care of her, she's my baby ;) Keep practicing the piano everyone!! I wish I was better than I am. I should have taken piano lessons at BYU-I despite the extra costs.

How is dad's job going? How is the Relief Society? I'm glad your class isn't as bad as you thought it would be! Don't stress out! You seem to be doing a great job, just like always, at keeping busy! There is a never ending list of things to get done! So, that pretty much covers everything! Things are going great, the mission is about to go through a transition phase and I'm gonna find out who my new companion will be in a week!

I hope everything is going great! Sorry I missed your anniversary. I new it was in June...but I didn't know what happy late anniversary! You are a quarter of the way to 100 years together and on your way to eternity! :D I love you all! Have a great week and I will talk to you next week!

Love ya!
Sister Randall :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 7

Hey Family!
Sorry I'm a day late! We found out Friday or Saturday that we were having one last training with President Howell on Monday. So, Pday got moved again! President and Sister Howell leave for home in just a few weeks. Our new mission president will be here the same day the Howell's leave (whichever day that is). I'm excited to meet President and Sister Clements. Sister Stokes goes to the Mission Home the 22nd and I find out who my new companion will be June 20th! I'm nervous! Did I mention that I kind of know one of the new missionaries coming in this transfer? She is one of my friends sister and other friends friend. I never actually met her, just heard stories! How cool would that be if I ended up training her!?

So across the mission we have been aiming for 60 baptisms this month. We had 9 baptisms this past weekend, and have 69 more "solid" scheduled baptisms for the rest of the month! Let's pray they all go through! How awesome would that be? Pres. and Sis Howell are really stressing that we work hard to not "take a dip" with the hand off to Pres and Sis Clements. Most generally missions will dip in statistics when there is a change, so we are hoping to keep going strong and are able to keep our statistics stable. We have worked hard to get to where we are now.

Well, through all of our hard work, diligence, and faith we have had some blessings this past weekend! One of our members asked her boyfriend to take the lessons (again). He had been away at school and had taken lessons from the Elders, but never really progressed. So, he agreed and we taught him Saturday. He can only meet once a week, so it will slow the progression down, but Sister Stokes and I both feel that he will be baptized. His name is Kipp :) Then, on Sunday we were out tracting and found a 27 year old single (which is rare to find in tracting) who first told us he wasn't interested but then we kept talking, he opened up, talked about all these changes he wants in his life and I wanted to badly to just teach him everything then and there. Buut, we are going back Wednesday! So, in two days we got two investigators!!! We are super excited about that!

We have kept busy with finding and trying to get in with our members. We have been working on perfecting what we call a "Chapel Tour" It is a very spiritual lesson that we do in the church and we teach the Restoration. But we use pictures, The Restoration movie, and other visuals to help people see and understand why it's so important that we have the proper authority on the Earth. We first showed our branch presidency and hope to get all of our members to experience it. We hope that when we do it for the 4th time on Saturday that all the kinks will be worked out and that Kipp will really get a lot out of it. We took his girlfriend and her sisters through yesterday and they really enjoyed it and so now she is prepared to share her testimony of the gospel :) We are definitely excited for Saturday!

Hmm, that about covers it.Our branch president's wife finally let us do service for her. We went and helped her garden. Yes, mom and dad, I actually worked in the garden. :P We have biked a couple times. One day we needed to bike all day because we needed the miles saved for another day and it ended up being the most humid day yet! I think we probably biked a total of 10 miles that day. I just love biking! I got a sunburn, nothing too bad, but none the less I got some color! I'll send a couple pictures, one of us after biking to the neighborhood we were going to tract, another of the burn and one of us when we went to stop by a less active who has a beautiful lake in the area (we drove that day). :D By the way, I'm still looking forward to being able to take up biking when I get finally bike in something other than a skirt! ;) I just love biking :D

Anything else? My branch president in AZ is getting released...I knew it was gonna happen though. I have several friends waiting for mission calls! I'm excited to hear where they are going! Cool. That's all I've got!

How are things at home? Good luck with your class mom! That sounds intense and I'm grateful that I've had some time off of school! Yes, Miranda can fix Eva and use her. I don't remember what all is saved on the hard drive, but I'm pretty sure it can all be deleted. (There will be pictures of Curtis and can delete them.) And CONGRATS ON FINISHING PERSONAL PROGRESS! :D Do you know what apartment number you will be living in yet?

Good luck with uniting your members. Maybe working with the missionaries will help. They might have some ideas. One of the ideas used here to help members unite is a 40 day fast. Each member takes a day of the 40 and fast for your specific cause. So for missionaries, we have them fast for missionary opportunities. In your case, it might be for charity, unity...etc. It sounds pretty cool :)

Is inventory for Mr. Farmer over? Enjoying the dirt and everything? Sister Stokes LOVES to garden and do landscaping--of course she did grow up working on a ranch and she wants to go into landscaping/horticulture... She is gonna be one of my friends forever. I told her that she could landscape my yard and in return I will do whatever I end up going into for her...too bad I don't know so I can't make an appealing deal ;)

What are you doing to the basement? Tell Charity congrats and that I love her! And tell Koltn congrats and I am SUPER excited for him. This is one of the best experiences ever! He should also probably email me, I would enjoy that! (Grandma Burbank, could you tell him that for me? I would appreciate that much!)

Well, I love you lots! I hope all is still going well! I love you. Keep smiling and working hard! I love you aaaand well, I love you.

Love your favorite sister/daughter/cousin/granddaughter ,
Sister Randall

June 2

Hey family!!
I'm glad the trip to Ohio went well, sorry you didn't have as much fun as you had hoped to on your cruise! Let me tell you what! Pdays are an inspired day for missionaries. Without a pday I don't think many missionaries would last long. It's been SO long since last pday and I feel like I've lost my mind! I forget words and stutter and mix letters up all the time! Man, I'm going crazy! :S But, the wait was well worth it so that we could go to the temple. I love the peace that can be felt there. It breaks my heart to meet those who have been there and have turned away from the Lord.

So, what has happened since I last emailed? We have tracted a lot. Sister Stokes and I taught Sunday School this past week and we talked about personal mission plans. Thanks to Sister Akenson sharing her experience of wishing she had shared the gospel sooner the Spirit was strong and the branch received some awesome promises. it's up to them now to act. We are still looking for ideas of what more we can do to strengthen the branch. Sister Stokes and I came to the realization that we wouldn't be here in this area if no one was prepared. But we also realize that the Lord is not going to bring them in if the branch cannot retain their members. We can't even get active YSAs to stay in the branch! Why would a nonmember want to join? So, if you have any suggestions of what more we can do to strengthen the branch, they would be greatly appreciated. We are running out of ideas.
Yesterday morning I had gotten a little sick, so while Sister Stokes was eating lunch I laid down to take a nap. Well, the phone rang when I was almost asleep, so i answered it. It was a man who had wanted to know more about what we were sharing! I was excited but half asleep and he was acting weird and when I tried to get his address he wanted to just talk on the phone, so I asked him what questions he had. He asked "What are mormons?" I was confused at the broadness of the question (plus i wasn't completely awake) so I found Sister Stokes and told him to talk to her. Quickly he changed 'character' and started asking about polygamy and told us we weren't the "real" mormons if we didn't practice polygamy. He then wanted us to come over and "teach" him...except he really didn't want us to teach and he was very forward about that. Thankfully sister stokes handled it very well, offered to have the elders come over, he said no and finally gave up trying to convince us to come over and hung up. I was DISGUSTED. That was a rough start to the day. Our next appointment fell through and we went out tracting. Thankfully our appointment rescheduled for later though. We went back (this is one of the first lessons to go through since he was baptized) and we had our branch president with us. We worked through a lot of hold ups and it was very productive. We also got a referral!!!! Yay for YSAs!!! We will contact her today, hopefully. In all honesty it has been a tough 6 weeks. And until the branch starts becoming stronger and more unified, it could continue to be that way. We set a goal for our branch while we were teaching to have one baptism by the end of the month. I hope we can reach that goal. We have some AWESOME people in the branch who will really be the start of this growth. One sister just returned home from the Mesa Visitors Center mission (With Emily) and I had actually talked to her a couple times while I was in AZ! How awesome, right!? She is incredible. With her help and a few others in the branch we hope to see improvement!

We had Thursday night visits last week, and they went really well :D We are going out again tonight and we hope to get in with several of those we have planned. Wow, what else is going on? We spend a lot of time trying to find new ideas to help the branch. We want to serve our branch presidency, but they don't let us, they just tell us to focus on the work. Good news, our branch president doesn't have to get his last few sets of chemo! He is in remission for an estimate of 6 months. We are hoping for longer. Him and his wife have the same type of cancer, but hers isn't treatable :( One of the other counselor's wife has cancer too. It's really hard on them, but they still work hard to serve.

We have 3 English Sisters coming in this next transfer! and we have two that are leaving. One of the 3 is my friend Stephanie's (from AZ) best friend, and my friend Matt's sister. I never met her but I heard lots of stories about her! i also go the news that Stephanie is filling out her mission papers!!!! That is SO exciting. It's the best experience ever! I am learning so much. Have you ever realized how amazing the bible is? Man, it's incredible! Acts is AWESOME and has a lot of scriptures talking about authority. One of my favorite thing to do with people who are set in their ways and refuse to change is talk about the plan of Salvation and how there is a Spirit World. They claim that the bible doesn't talk about it, but then we like to show them the scripture about Christ preaching to those in Prison who had lived at the time of Noah. Then they get confused and decide to go talk to their preacher. I don't know what good will come of it, but it's always good to question what you are taught. At the end of any conversation i love to invite people to think about what we have discussed and then pray about it. There are countless scriptures in the bible that tell us that God will answer our prayers. So, it's awesome. I love tracting. I love talking to people :D

So, Miranda. Do you know which apartment you will be in in Baranessa? My comp, sister Stokes will be there in the fall and living in Royal Crest which is right across the parking lot. I asked her to take care of you and to chase off any boys that want to marry you within the first semester ;) Sister Stokes is awesome and i do expect you both to meet each other. Her first name, for your future convenience, is Mary. She is such an awesome person!! I can't believe she goes home in 3 weeks :( I'm nervous! I'm a little nervous that I will train, but I know if i do, then the Lord knows what he is doing and i will just have to trust him. I feel comfortable in tracting and having member and less active lessons, but I've had little experience with investigators since I left Oakdale. And in Oakdale, Sister Sorensen did most of the teaching. AHH we want investigators soooooo bad! Even if they don't get baptized in June, we want to teach!!!!! It can be frustrating sometimes, because we are called to teach and baptize and we can't baptize if we don't have investigators. But, we are working hard to stay positive. All in the Lord's time!

Sorry, I'm so scattered. I really don't know what has all happened. We stay busy. We work hard. We have fun. We love what we do! Our district is awesome! Elder Flores is a convert and is an older missionary and he is so funny. His companion is 22 and he's pretty funny too. So anytime we are with the district we have fun. We have 10 pm prayer with our district almost every night over the phone, and they are always entertaining phone calls. Our elders are such hard workers and i have a lot of respect for them!

Anyway, that's about all. Sorry I didn't mention the tornado, I just assumed you knew. We almost had another one, but closer this time. It would have actually been within our stake. One almost touched down in New Prague, but we had actually left the area to visit LA's who had recently moved out of the Stake but kept their records in our branch. So we missed that storm and the hail. It was nice and sunny when we received the text from the Zone leaders saying "everyone get inside and call us when you get there!" We were like, uhhhh why?. haha. But, we stay safe. We try to be smart about it. It was actually a cool story. Elder Flores and Dillard (the new prague elders) were actually teaching an important lesson trying to set a date when the sirens went off. They said they were praying in their hearts so hard, because they really wanted to set a date. And the tornado never came! Sweet. The Lord protects his faithful servants and assists them in His work. It's awesome. We have seen many miracles this past few weeks throughout the mission. We ended up with like 113 date sets for the month of June! How awesome!? The number ended up dropping to about 103, but still! We are still praying that we can reach 60 baptisms in June! I guess Hawaii had 102 baptisms last month!!! How awesome would that be if we could do that in every mission every month? It definitely requires the work of the members! The goal is to continually double baptisms :D It's an incredible work to be involved with.

Anyways, I've got to get on to emailing President. I'm not sure what I'll say to him either. But, that's ok. I love you all! :D have a great few days! I'll email again on Monday! Stay strong and keep smiling!

Love ya lots!
Sister Randall