Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jan. 23, 2012

Man, sorry my emails have come so late! Our pdays have been sooo busy. It's good to hear that you are doing well. I cannot imagine Shaelyn driving. I can't even imagine Austin driving. But, he is and so is she. Crazy. I'm glad your Klondike Derby Camp-out went well. Winter came this week. We had one day that it was a windchill of -11. It's been a bit breezy. But, we have a busy week planned. And someone was telling us today that the coldest days of January are the 18th and 19th. And, those are past. So, it should all be getting warmer now...right? Maybe. We'll see, either way we'll go out and do the Lord's work. We got 1-2 inches of snow this week. That's exciting. Oh, and I had my birthday. It was a busy day. Sister Madsen made a happy birthday sign out of sticky notes while I was in the shower. It was cute. I give her props, especially since she only had like 2 days notice. Thank you so much for the shirt! I'm going to wear it to the sisters conference on Friday! I'm excited. :D And, the necklace and earrings are super cute and I'll be wearing them often :)

That's cool that you had thunderstorms! I miss good midwestern thunderstorms! They are so amazing. I'm glad mom is enjoying the use of your IPAD. It is a fun toy/tool. Thanks for updating the blog. I wonder if anyone reads it? Best of luck with the table. It sounds like quite the adventure... and tell Shaelyn that I'm not offended. It's pretty hard to offend me. :D

Well, cool experiences from the week... I guess I can start with transfers. It was hard to say goodbye to Sister Cook. She taught me a lot and really helped me with the struggles of missionary life. I will always appreciate what she has done for me. But, I felt very calm that this is what the Lord wants. I quickly found out one of the reasons why Sister Madsen and I were put together and I really feel like what Sister Cook taught me will help me to help her and to help future companions. She's had a couple of tough transfers and really needs love and encouragement while someone who can teach her. I really feel like that over the past 3 transfers I've been able to learn how to be able to help her in this situation. She's great and I really do love her. It will be a fun transfer :)

Today, we went with bishop to a Jewish community center where they have a class that meets--it's senior citizens--and for 3 weeks they were studying Mormonism. Actually the "Mormon Quest for President." Bishop did a great job at explaining our core beliefs and then it was opened up to questions. It was super interesting. They asked lots of questions and I was grateful that I knew a small piece of my family history, because they asked questions about whether any of us 4 missionaries had ancestors from the beginning of the church. But, then they asked if our family had stayed within the religion and I was like, well, my immediate family is...but probably someone somewhere walked away. Anyway. It was an interesting experience and there were so many interesting questions. It was cool though :)

Saturday night we went to teach a recent convert/less active who is too old for the Singles Ward. We had been given the responsibility of inviting him to attend the family ward-which was hard, because the last time they tried he got upset and didn't talk to missionaries for quite some time. We were able to bring a member from the family ward with and we went and taught him. We ended up being 15 minutes late, due to unexpected traffic, but our Joint teacher went ahead and went in and got to know him. I was praying so hard that the Spirit could be there and direct the lesson. We read from 3 Nephi 11:10-17 and 3 Ne 19:5-8. We talked about Christ's purpose and how He set up a church and then how they split into congregations with the 12 disciples and how it was the same church but just in different areas. We had asked him a question and he answered it with something about being able to help others. This whole time I was praying to be led in the wording and direction that we took and as he said that the idea came to mind to talk about his ability to help and serve those in the family ward as they can relate to his experiences and he to theirs. The Spirit was so strong. The lesson was only about 20-25minutes, but the Spirit was there. I was so grateful for the guidance we were able to receive. He accepted the invitation and should hopefully go starting next week. It was a great experience that helped me learn to trust more in the Lord. 

I think that's the best thing I've got for you this week. I am grateful for the letters and cards I have received this week :) I love hearing from the people I love! So, Sister Madsen and I are doing a 40 day fast of things that are keeping us from being consecrated missionaries. We fasted yesterday and created lists of things that we need to either start doing or stop doing and we are going to fast from or begin doing those things for 40 days, that way they become who we are and we become more powerful missionaries. It's going to be awesome :)

Well, what are you all up to this week? I'm sure that you are keeping busy. I love you all very much and pray for you daily. Keep on keeping on and I will leave you with a quote that my friend Stephanie sent me this week:
"...the heart and soul of the gospel is love, and all the rest is commentary. Whatever else we may perceive religion to be, we are wrong--for true religion is love in action--God's love for us and our love for God and for our neighbors." Stephen Robinson

I love you! Have an awesome week!
Love, Sister Randall

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jan. 16, 2012

Well, this was THE best weekend ever. The baptism went really well! I attached pictures! The first is "Jenny", Sister Cook and I, and Jenny's friend from California who introduced her to the church. :) The other ones are of Sister Cook and I and Jenny and Elder Neeley and Jenny. Hope you enjoy them! Let me know if it works! Jenny's parents were able to make it. They came up Friday and stayed the weekend in a hotel. So, they were able to make it. We got like 1/2 an inch of snow, and then in melted yesterday. But, it's definitely getting colder. I used my first set of hand warmers this week. Mostly because wearing big gloves gets in the way of writing and grabbing cards, so I just wore small knit gloves and used hand warmers. It worked splendidly!

Oh, we got transfer calls today. I can't believe another transfer is over. I can now count the transfers I have left on one hand. I'm staying in Dinkytown, but Sister Cook is headed to Waconia with Sister Elsholz. They will be white-washing the area. They used to have elders there. I am getting a sister who has been out 2 or 3 transfers, her name is Sister Madsen. I'm not sure I've ever talked with her. I've seen her a couple times. I guess I was meant to serve with the YSA. I've been with singles for 9 months now and by the end of the transfer it will have been 10 1/2 months. It's crazy. We are getting 8 new sisters next transfer, which is crazy because I don't know any sisters that will be going home next transfer. So, we'll see what happens next transfer, will I stay...or go?

It will be a good transfer. I love working with the Asian students and I have enjoyed teaching the Who is God class. Speaking of which! We had 4 new students show up to our Who is God class this past week! It was awesome! They should hopefully come this Thursday again. I'm looking forward to it. I really feel like working with Wesley helped me to start thinking about how to simplify things and I had always wanted to serve my mission among the Asian culture, and here I get to do that while not trying to learn to speak a complex language. It's exciting. I really do love serving here!
The student we were hoping would be back by now hasn't returned our calls. I'm sure if we give him time, he will come around. We will just wait. He has his agency and we've done all that we can do. When he's ready, he'll come looking.

We have stayed busy, but I'm not sure what all was included in that. Preparation for the baptism covered a lot of that. We had some really amazing lessons with Jenny. She shared her testimony at the end of her baptism, it was good for her parents to hear and she really just gets it. I love her :D

It sounds like your projects are going well! haha. Mom, don't worry about how long it'll take you, just focus on the learning, because that's what matters. That's all that you can take with you. So long as you are enjoying your classes and doing what you can, then you can be happy!

Thanks for Bridgett's address! I finally bought stamps today so I can send out my thank you cards that have been sitting around for a few weeks :S woops. It's hard when so many holidays fall on Mondays! Anyway, sorry it's so late today. it's been a busy day. And, we still haven't done our laundry...ooopsies! Anyway! Let me know about the house! 

I love you all. Sorry this is short again. Hopefully I'll get some good stories to share with you soon. Things are going great and I'm really grateful that I get to stay in Dinkytown for another transfer :D I love you and I hope that you are well! Have a good day!


Jan. 9, 2012

How are you all doing? It was good to get your email! I'm glad that you are all doing well and feeling better! It sounds like it's been another normal week? Back to school and the busy life of the Randall's. I enjoyed your story of wearing Austin's shirt to church. I still can't believe how grown up he is. I probably won't believe it until I see him in person..and maybe not even then ;)
Dad, as for your paragraph "The 3 kids all bore their testimonies today in church.  They all talked about how wonderful their family is.  Everyone now thinks that we are perfect.  I wasn't about to stand up and ruin that.  Let them think what they want." The scriptures tell us to avoid all appearance of evil, and I'm pretty sure it's a commandment to "not bear false witness." ;) haha. That's funny though. I'm proud of you all and I love and think of you often. We had a gentleman stand up in our Sacrament meeting and start preaching. He's older, he's a convert, and he's a less active. So, it was interesting, Bishop had to ask him to sit down. That's always awkward...
This week was busy, but it didn't show in our numbers reported for the week. We attended ZLC (Zone Leader Counsel) this week. That was a good meeting, and then we had Zone Training this week as well. So we had lots of meetings and interviews with President. I'm pretty sure I passed! ;) We taught Jenny 3 times this past week. She had her baptismal interview and is ready to go! We are so excited for her! This Saturday at 4pm is going to be the best week of the year (thus far). We were talking with Jenny and she found my mormon.org profile and then followed the link to my blog. She read about some of my experiences and I was relieved to find out that the last update was in September! It might be a little weird to read about yourself...with a different name. Ha. She's so sweet though. I love her so much and we look forward to meeting her friend from CA who is coming out this week!   It's going to be an awesome week! We are excited for school to start next week so that everyone is back! One of our investigators is still at home and we've had very limited contact with him. :( From what we understand he is still excited to learn more! We are excited for him. We are teaching a referral tonight, and we are hoping that that will go well. Anyway, we don't have a lot planned for the upcoming week, but I'm sure we will make it productive!
Next Monday we find out about transfers. We have no new sisters coming in, but next transfer we have 8 sisters coming in! I didn't realize they ever sent that many sisters out at once for our mission. I don't think we have any going home either... So, we will increase in number! Fun! Oh and Sister Clements was telling us that we are going to have a Sister's conference this month! How fun is that? For the first time we would have a meeting with JUST sisters and no elders. It should be really good and it sounds like we will be having some fun!
As for the insurance thing- I gave the doctor our insurance card, but then I think when the bill came into the office Elder Randall just went ahead and sent it through the MissionaryMedical instead. I don't know why, or if that's for sure. Anyway, that was when I went and got my inhalers back in like May or June or whatever. So you know, I got my flu shot the other day and used the insurance..it made it free for me! And today I'm gonna be going to the Chiropractor. I've been really tense and have been grinding my teeth for the last few weeks. I'm hoping that this visit will help me out a lot.
I think this is gonna be a short email this week. Not much is happening. I'll send pictures of us and Jenny next week! It's going to be a good weekend :)
Well, I love you all. I hope you are well and enjoying your "normal" lives! Keep working hard and know that I love you! Have an awesome week!
Love, Sister Gunga Randall

Jan. 2, 2012

Oh! My dear family! How are you doing this fine January of 2012? I really never thought this year would come...But, here it is!
I'm glad you seemed to enjoy the New Year! The Boats sound fun! It's a good thing Dad didn't tip over in the canoe...that would've been cooooold! I'm sorry you've all been sick! That is never ever fun. I like Bishop's challenge! We are currently, as a mission, reading 6 pages a day. It takes about 15-25 minutes to read that much. We are supposed to be finished by the middle of February. I've found that you get so much more out of it when you are looking for specific things in the Book of Mormon. Right now we are watching for the application of the Doctrine of Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End). I also have thought about going through and highlighting things like power and authority, commandment, love, etc. Choose an attribute you want to develop over the next year and watch for it, or similar attributes while reading. It's cool.
Our Relief Society president spoke in Sacrament meeting and used a talk by Marvin J Ashton called Be a Quality Person. I'm excited to read and study it. :) Maybe Miranda would enjoy it. It's directed to the singles.

When does school start back up? Are you doing another semester? What happened with the house? Did you get the house? As for remembering things...I feel like the older I get (and I'm only 22) the more I forget! What is gonna happen to me? :S

This was a really good week. I have not had a week like this in a long time, if ever. We really thought that we would be struggling to reach our goals during the break, but the Lord has worked miracles. We met or exceeded 9 out of 12 goals that we set. The only areas we struggle in was teaching Active members (we aren't really getting fed or seeing many members during the week) and in contacting--but even then our contacting numbers are up from the last couple weeks. Anyway, we got 5 new investigators this week! :D Jenny is doing great! Still going strong for January 14th. She doesn't really understand the difference between this baptism and when she was baptized as a baby. So, we are going to take her down to the temple and walk by it, and then teach her about the restoration of the Priesthood in the chapel right next door. It'll be great!
On New Year's Eve we went to Downtown Minneapolis and walked around. It was beautiful, all the lights and the city...amazing. It started RAINING (Yes, December 31st and it is raining). It was a lot of fun. We met a really neat kid that we will hopefully be teaching tomorrow. We can call him Gerald. He asked us if we could exchange information and he was asking a lot of great questions concerning the Plan of Salvation. It was really cool. And by the time we got home that night the rain turned to snow, the moisture on the ground froze and now we have ice. But, the temperature is supposed to get up to the 40's again this weekend! We have talked to a couple older people who have lived in MN their whole lives and they say that they have never seen a winter this warm! Boy, am I grateful for this weather! :D
Last night we taught an awesome lesson. We started out and he kept asking questions and saying things like "i don't think this is for me" "something just isn't clicking..." So, right off the bat our joint teacher jumps off and well, he was pretty much trying to teach the lesson, and as hard as we tried we couldn't take control of the lesson. Finally, the guy we were teaching was like, I'm gonna go meet up with my friends and go to the movies, if they haven't left yet. So, we were gonna teach his friend-who is a recent convert to the church. But, before we could start teaching her, he came back. But the RC was like, can we still do my lesson? So, Sister Cook, bless her brilliant and Spirit guided mind, said "yes, of course. Today we are going to talk about the Restoration." Which is what we'd been trying to teach our investigator. So, we taught the Restoration, directed to our RC and the Spirit was SO strong for the ENTIRE lesson. He hardly said a word, and neither did our joint teacher. At the end of the lesson our investigator said "This much I will say, this is real (touching the Book of Mormon). The Book of Mormon is true. Buuuut, it's not for me." However, he agreed to meet up again. He has some concerns and undoubtedly very non-supportive friends. But that is the strongest I've felt the Spirit in one of our lessons since Moses back in my first area. It was amazing.

I'd say those were the highlights of the week. We've kept busy. Oh, yeah! We went on exchanges. I went to North St. Paul with Sister Benson. They have been starting a new kind of work there. Sister Benson has been learning Nepali and they work with a lot of people from Nepal. So, I got to meet many of the new converts and investigators from Nepal and even received a Nepali name! My name is Gunga. Or, in Nepali: Mera nam Gunga ho.  (My name Gunga is.) I also got to play a Chinese flute called a "Bawu" I don't remember how to say it, but that's how it is spelt. I want one! And I got to play a Nepali flute called a "Basuri". The Nepali flute is like a thin pipe almost. It's interesting. I had a lot of fun!

We finalized our lesson plans for our class about God and have decided to make it a 3 week course and by the 3rd week have invited them to meet with us outside of the class. Of course, they are welcome to keep coming, but we'll be covering the same material. Anyway, I'm blabbering. So much has been going on. I'm loving Dinkytown. Transfer day is like 2 or 3 days before my birthday, and I really don't want to transfer! But, God's will be done.

Well, it was good to hear from you. I hope you all get to feeling better. I love you all and miss you and hope you are doing well. Oh...yes, we have a freezer and for my birthday I don't know what I want. I'm good on winter materials... a "Bawu" would be cool, but it might be a couple hundred dollars. Cheaper than my flute! ;) umm, I don't know. Not Candy. I feel fat and have no desire to eat candy for a really long time. And I'm collecting lots of stuff...I don't know where it all came from. I'm sure I'll end up leaving a lot of the winter stuff I got for free behind. But, anyway. I'm sure whatever you send will be great, or you can send me a card and save the money for when I come home and need clothes that aren't missionary clothes.... well, I love you. Be safe and enjoy your winter!

Your Daughter, Sister, Granddaughter, or Cousin (but in any case your favorite Sister missionary),
Sister Randall :)

Dec. 26, 2011

Hello, my dear family! I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas! Not too much has been going on lately. All the students left this week to go home. So, campus is dead and will be for another 4 weeks. They have a long winter break. 

Thank you for your cards and gifts. I really appreciated all your kindness and thoughts. It's good to see that you are all doing well!

So, I'm mostly writing this email for the benefit of those of you who were not present with my parents and siblings when we Skyped, but not all of this was shared in our conversation. But, the most exciting news is that Jenny texted us this past weekend and asked if she could be baptized in January! We told her of course and she is now scheduled to be baptized on January 14th! Her friend will be coming from California and we are so excited that she has decided to take this step. Her parents are very supportive and her dad wants to read the Book of Mormon as well. It's very exciting! When at first she told us she wanted to be baptized in Spring we knew we couldn't talk her out of it or even push it too much. So, we still talked about the importance of baptism, but never specifically about her being baptized, unless she brought it up. Which she did. We trusted Heavenly Father that He would help her to feel the Spirit and increase her desire to be baptized in January. Jenny is one of those special people who has been prepared by Angels and came to us. She is such an incredible girl!

We taught Stewart again and resolved and talked about some of his concerns with family and divorce. We finished teaching the Plan of Salvation and finally answered his question. He is so sweet and so sincere. He also accepted a baptism date of January 21st, but we think it will be pushed back a week. He is currently at home and we aren't sure of what he is thinking or if he went to church, but he has also been prepared by Angels. It's amazing to see the way that the Lord takes care of His children, He is willing to lead us where we need to be, if we only give heed. 

Tuesday we went Christmas caroling. It was us, the elders, and 2 people from the Institute Choir. It was a lot of fun and we actually sounded pretty good. Someone told us we were the first carolers he had seen this year. Which doesn't surprise me since this is a college town and everyone is stressed about finals. 

Thursday we taught our first Who is God? Class. It went pretty good. 2 girls showed up (one of which is actually here right now playing ping pong with the Elders). We are learning a lot about their culture and how to explain words and where to put the emphasis. We are hoping to have it pretty well figured out before school starts up again. Thankfully we have a couple members who served Chinese-speaking missions and are helping us figure it all out. It's wonderful. The two Chinese girls came to church on Sunday! Us and the elders made breakfast for lunch and had the 2 Chinese girls from the class and one other Chinese investigator join us. We also had another member join us. It was all three of the Chinese girls first Christmas!  It was fun to be able to be a part of making Christmas! I enjoyed it a lot. 

Friday was Elder Ruesch's Birthday. We went to Sushi to celebrate. It was my first time and it didn't go over very well....   Anyway, We had a fun Christmas week/weekend. We are looking forward to the upcoming weeks! We are wondering if/when the weather is going to change to FREEZING. Today it is 50 degrees. Isn't that amazing!? 

Anyway, I hope you all had an amazing Christmas! I love you and have an awesome week!
Love, Sister Randall

Dec. 19, 2011

Isn't it just a wonderful time of year? I'm glad school is wrapping up well! I should be able to Skype home around 4pm. We will be going to a member's home in Hudson Wisconsin--which is about a 45 minute drive. Sister Cook is going to Skype around 3ish. If anything changes I'll let you know--somehow. I'm super excited to see and talk to you all! I really hope you get to enjoy a magical Christmas this year! :D I'm sure Santa will pull everything through and everyone will have the gifts they have ordered. I think I decided that when I get to start making Christmas traditions I'm going to try to do some sort of service something-special for the Christmas season. Service is good year round, of course. :) I hope you all enjoy your vacation from school and work!
Tell Jimmy congrats! Is she gonna be moving here? Weddings are so exciting :)

Well, for the usual update... *Jenny is doing well! She went to Chicago this weekend to a concert with her sister and some friends. She got home last night and leaves today to go be with her family. We will miss her. She made us cute little presents for Christmas, I will attach a picture :D She's awesome. 
Last Sunday one of our members brought her friend, *Jessica, (I think I'm drawn to J names or something?) so we taught her the Restoration, and she was pretty open. So we went to the Job Core and taught her again on Tuesday. It was a super good lesson, the spirit was strong and our member pointed it out to Jessica. Jessica recognized it as the same feeling she had felt while praying that morning. We invited her to be baptized on Jan. 21st and she accepted. So, on Saturday we drove to her family's home (she's home for the holidays now) and gave her a Joy to the World and met her parents--they were super nice. It was good. Hopefully we can continue to teach her over break. 
Friday was an amazing day. We were eating at our weekly Friday Lunch Devotional when Brother Miller came and told us someone was here to meet us. So, we went out into the hallway and Brother Macdonald introduced us to *Stewart. Stewart had walked into the institute building to learn more about what we believed. He was raised and confirmed Catholic but soon realized that he didn't believe in the pope, so he couldn't be Catholic anymore. Then, he started going to a Protestant Bible Study, but didn't feel that that was right either. He'd passed the Institute building several times and just felt compelled to come in and learn more. So, we taught him the Restoration and he came to church on Sunday. And the lesson for Priesthood/Relief Society was Exaltation and they talked about becoming gods. That's always a good lesson for an investigators first Sunday... We taught him afterward and started teaching him the Plan of Salvation. He was super calm and was willing to listen, and wasn't freaking out about it. It's amazing how much the Spirit can teach people. He had also told Sister Cook after Sunday School that he had read 3 Nephi 11 like we'd asked and that it was all new and different but he felt very calm while reading it. The Lord is preparing people to receive His gospel, it's amazing. 
Also, our member that brought Jessica brought her friend Jarrell to church and he was very skeptical and asked lots of questions, but he kept realizing that everything made sense! I'm not sure how open he is, but he was a nice kid :)

Last night the Mission put on a Musical Celebration of Christmas. We got to go to that, it was cool. At the end the missionaries sung "He Sent His Son", it was cool. Then, Sister Cook and I got to stand at the tables in one of the foyers and hand out Joy to the World DVD's, copies of the Book of Mormon, and other materials. We had some really cool conversations with nonmembers and I was surprised at how many nonmembers there were present! It was cool :)

We have definitely stayed busy this past week. This week we are going Christmas caroling, at least once, we will be having our Christmas Conference as a mission on Tuesday morning at 7:30am (why soooooo early!?), Thursday we will be teaching our first class about who God is. We still don't have a name for it, and we don't know if anyone is coming, but we are certainly going to try. Finals week is difficult with students, and everyone is going out of town. So, for the month of winter break we are going to probably spend a lot of time tracting and giving referrals to family ward missionaries. Thankfully it's been pretty warm! It's been surprising. The coldest it's really been is 25. Yesterday evening around 9 it was 42 degrees! It was so warm! :D Best. Winter. Ever. 

But, that kind of takes care of what's been going on. It's been a good week and we are excited for Christmas! :D I love this time of year! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with family! I love you lots and I look forward to talking to you on Christmas day!

Sister Randall

pic 1= Jenny's gift to us, she made them!
pic 2= Sis. Cook and I ready to go talk to people :D

Dec. 12, 2011

It was so good to hear from you this week! Indeed, I got the package! Thanks so much! And, don't worry about the straightener, I don't need it...nor do I really want it. I go through random spurts where I wish I could straighten my hair, but then I remember how long it takes and how much I like my curly hair. :) Isn't it wonderful!? Haha.

I'm glad that you had a busy week! It sounds like you are all doing well! I have tried hard to remember your birthdays, but I think I missed Erin's, sorry Erin! Only 1-2 more birthdays to remember now before I return to the land of my fathers. Yes, I just tried using scriptural language. haha. Sorry, I'm sort of in a silly mood. The Christmas party sounded beautiful and fun! Our ward had an open house thing at our bishop's house, but we chose to not go. However, our bishopric provided Christmas dinner after church yesterday. We did attend that! We had homemade soup bowls (the bread with the center cut out) and different soups. It was fun! Maybe someday I'll be creative enough to come up with those adorable center pieces that Sister Riley made! That's so cute! I admire people's creativity!

I love "Still, Still, Still" our institute choir sang that in Sacrament meeting this past week. It was pretty. Wish Shaelyn the best of luck with being the anchor. That sounds like fun! :) I hope that you were able to enjoy Shae's birthday. The past 1 1/2 months has been full of events! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Mom's, Miranda's and Shae's birthday and soon to be Christmas! So, that's probably more like 2ish months. But still! It was crazy busy!

Austin sounds like he is leading an exciting life and being, in his words "awesome". :) Good work on doing your chores buddy!
The furry critter doesn't sound like a fun thing to meet. I hope you can get him out! Best of luck with finals! I'm glad you aren't stressing out too much for them. It's good to be calm!

I can Skype! If we can find a member with a computer that will still be around. Which, is hard in a singles ward. We will see what we can work out. We will make some phone calls and what not this week. Our church service is from 10am-11am. So, Sister Cook and I will talk about times and figure out who will call when. It will probably be between 12:30 and 1:30. I'm excited to talk to you all! I'm excited that Sam and Erin will be home! :) I'm in the same area I was in last time I called. How funny. What if I'm back here again next Mother's day?

Tell Charity congrats--and Uncle Jimmy :) That's cute. Wow, first child on the Randall side of cousins. She won! ;) Not that it was a race or anything.

Well, this past week we met with Jenny. We followed up on all of the commitments that we've given her and she'd kept only one of them--and that was to pray. Not church, not reading and not the Word of Wisdom. She had had a terrible week on top of it all--but she recognized the correlation, which was very important. She talked to her boss, and got Sunday mornings off so that she can come to church. When we met with her we read from 2 Nephi 26, the Spirit was strong and it was an incredible thing to be able to feel and understand what she was feeling and thinking. You could tell that the Lord was chastening her through the scriptures, but the end of the chapter brought reassurance, love, and hope. I think she left with a stronger commitment to live the commitments she'd received. She also now wants to be baptized earlier, the only problem is getting her friend and her friend's family safely from CA to MN in the middle of winter. We just love Jenny so much. She's wonderful!

The snow melted again. I can't believe how long we've gotten without tons of snow. It's been in the upper 30's today. It feels great! All you need is a sweater with a jacket! It's great! :) I'm hoping for a mild January and a white Christmas. :) Well, that sounds like our week. We have some Christmas events coming up and we are excited for the Christmas season :)

I hope that you are all well and warm and enjoying the holidays! I love you all and wish you the best! I'll write next week! Thanks for all that you do!

Sister Randall

Dec. 5, 2011

Well, it was transfer calls today. Sister Cook and I are staying but one of our elders is being transferred out. It kinda makes me sad, having him around was like having a little brother on the mission with me.

The Thanksgiving event we went to was in one of our members home, but his roommates and other friends were there and had plenty of alcohol. So, it was just there. Anyway, it was a random event on my mission.

It sounds like all is going well at home. How is Christmas preparation? I am not going to miss the holiday shopping. Not at all.
This is really hard to know what to write this week, since I wrote last Thursday. Thanks for the package! I'll keep an eye out for it. You are all absolutely awesome!! :D

We have been working on our group thing for people who don't know who God is. And guess what we've figured out! Preach My Gospel has it all! We'll start with the first half of the Restoration-- God is Our Loving Heavenly Father, Gospel Blesses Family, Dispensations, Christ's Earthly Ministry. It'll be awesome. And we will keep moving. We still have a lot of kinks to work out, but it will all end up well. The most important thing is to have the Spirit there. Maybe we can start with "I am a Child of God". Anyway! I'm just rambling.

Well, the snow melted, but it snowed again. I think it's here to stay this time. We made it until December! Which is awesome! It's getting pretty chilly. I picked up a long skirt that was left behind by one of the sisters, plus I have one, and they are gonna be my favorite skirts this winter--because I can wear sweats underneath! *I WILL SURVIVE!* haha. I am very nervous for January though. :S I hear it's the worst. Anyway. I'm just gonna say: I love you very much. I am excited to talk to you on Christmas. Oh, do you know Sam & Erin's plans for Christmas? Well, I'm gonna go. I hope you are all doing wonderfully and enjoying this Christmas season!

Sister Randall

Dec. 1, 2011

December DEFINITELY snuck up on me! I can't believe it's already December 1st. Weird. Anyway...how are you doing? It sounds like you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. I don't think I knew Stephanie had another baby...maybe I did? That's fun that you got to see everyone! It sounds like everyone is doing well :) I do vaguely remember the Christmas tree being thrown out Christmas day.... you have got to love the bothersome, yet funny events in life. We had one this week too, I'll share it later! How is school going? Are you getting ready for finals? I know everyone here is already freaking out about finals, it feels like midterms just got over. College students just THINK they are busy. In all reality, if we were better at managing our time, we'd realize that we have quite a bit of spare time. Silly kids. (I think I fall under that category still..and probably will for a long time.) Our Thanksgiving was good. It was the first gathering I've been to that had alcoholic bevereges in my whole life. Funny that it happens on my mission. But, the turkey was really good. It was definitely an interesting experience. You've got to love college students.
We've had a long week, but it's been good. Sunday we fasted for strengthened faith in finding and to be able to find people to teach. Monday we did SO well. It was incredible. Plus we found a couple people out of the area book. It was a cool experience. Tuesday was gonna be awesome and we were going to teach like 6 lessons, but we only ended up teaching 3? Our first lesson was sick, so hopefully next week we can meet. The other one stood us up. And I don't remember what the other one was. It was a hard day. Yesterday I was feeling a bit under the weather and I blame it on the apartment. Speaking of which, we got a phone call yesterday from Elder Randall asking about the apartment and telling us that we needed to make a couple of phone calls and see if we can find a member to live with. Because of the situation and timing of the call, I'm pretty sure I'm staying in Dinkytown for another transfer. But, I think Sister Cook is getting transfered :( Which is sad, because I really have enjoyed serving with her and I love her so much. She's taught me a lot. But, I'm sure I'll love my next companion as well. I'll know by Monday what is happening.
Today I got a letter from Taryn! It was AWESOME. She sent a whole bunch of pictures from her travels this summer. Over to Turkey and Paris and Bulgaria? Maybe. I can't remember off the top of my head. Then her, Amanda, Sarah, and Danielle all went to Harry Potter World. It looks SO cool. It was fun to look at them. Taryn pointed out that she GRADUATES next December. It makes me feel so behind in the world. I haven't even finished my 2nd year of college. :S
(This is the bothersome yet funny event) So a couple weeks ago, I don't remember if I told you about him, we taught a Chinese kid how to pray. He was super sweet and when we were walking away he said, "Oh! In the name of Jesus Christ, have a good day!" It was so cute. Anyway, he was going to come to church around Thanksgiving time, so we emailed him when we hadn't seen him, and this is the response we got:
Hi, I went to the church the weekend before Thanksgiving, but I didn't see you. I sang the songs, and eat the bread with red wine. I had a great time talking with the pastor, Dan is a very good pastor. People who work in sanctuary were very nice. That visit really changed my impression about church. Final exams are coming, I am busy these days. I may have time after the finals, but I am not sure. Again, thank you very much for keeping in touch with me. May God's sacred light shining down on you and on all of us, Amen.
So, my guess is that he went to the building right next door that actually looks like a church building, instead of the institute. Woops! We emailed him back to tell him it wasn't the right church--which was a difficult email to write-- and invited him this next Sunday. But, he's not available. :( Hopefully he'll come and notice a difference. I think we struggle the most with explaining who God is. Do you have any suggestions? It's like teaching an intelligent child who God is. They've lived and understand so much, but it's so hard to explain and comprehend who God is when they've gotten this far in life. Anyway, it's a fun challenge. We've been talking about doing a class 1-2 times a month to explain about who God is. But, before we do that, we have to figure out how to teach it. But, we would advertise it mostly to the Asian students, and it could be really successful. Especially when it's winter break and the only people still here are the international students. It seems like this group of students would be more likely to show up to a generalized group invitation, than to agree to a sit down lesson with 2 random missionaries. We'll see if we can get that going.
Anyway, that's where things are at for now! It snowed last night. It's not too cold yet. I think yesterday was the first day in the 30's, and we are surviving. We just need a lot more investigators so that we can spend less time contacting and more time teaching. Well, I love you a lot and I hope all is well. Keep smiling and I hope you can enjoy this Christmas season! I love you!!
Love, Sister Randall
T2U=T-25   Can ya figure it out?

November 24, 2011

Hey family!
I hope you are all having an enjoyable Thanksgiving! Today is our pday, so we aren't doing too much. We are writing letters, emails, relaxing, and then tonight we are headed over to a members house with the elders to have Thanksgiving potluck with a bunch of his nonmember friends. So, it'll be perfect. We will probably spend the rest of the night there. It should be enjoyable. 

Send Great Grandma Burbank my love. I hope that she can find peace. 

I'm glad things are improving in the house. It sounds like everyone is doing well!  I have been writing most of these experiences down. Sometimes I choose sleep over journal...whoops? But, I will write a key in my journal with names of investigators and their code names and the area/date that we were teaching them. And, when I call on Christmas I can "reveal" the code to you! ;) haha. 

I am loving the ward here. The YSA's are so wonderful and loving. I love getting to know them and seeing how ambitious many of them are in their studies. They are also so willing to help out with joint teaching. I love it. Oh yeah, the wards are officially combined! That was a good Sunday. We had Jenny to church and another guy who we had talked to 2 weeks before and emailed a couple of times and he walked into church. I didn't recognize him at first and I thought maybe he was from another ward, but, it was him! He left after Sacrament meeting, and we sent a Book of Mormon with him. It's kind of funny because we have a parking problem here at the institute and so people end up blocking cars in and this investigator ended up getting blocked in. But, he didn't come find us. We happened to look out the window during Sunday School and there he was, sitting in his car! So, we ran out there to talk to him and he rolls down the window, holds up the Book of Mormon and says "It's ok! I'm reading the Book!" haha. Best ever! We got him unblocked so that he could go on with his day. It was awesome.

Elder Zwick from the 70 came and spoke to us. It was awesome. I had had lots of questions that I'd been pondering on for quite some time and during the 6-7 hours we were with him all of them were answered! It was amazing. I loved it! He asked me if I was related to the President Randall over the Japan mission. I took a wild guess and said "Not that I know of, but probably somewhere along the line, yes?" Us Randalls are EVERYWHERE. Everywhere I've moved to I have met Randall's. It's a good name :)

We taught Jenny. She is just absolutely amazing. So prepared. And she recognizes God's hand in her life. It's such a blessing to get to teach her. She's now living the Word of Wisdom! She was worried about coffee, but the day we taught her she'd only had 2-3 hours of sleep, got up and went to work and she told us that she was feeling great, and she hadn't had any coffee. She has so much faith. :)

John and our other investigator, I dont think I've given him a name are interesting. We found out our other investigator has paranoia schizophrenia. It's really interesting trying to teach him. John, has felt the Spirit, but isn't ready to admit it. He did accept the baptismal invitation if he received an answer. So, slow and steady wins the race. 

I think this weekend will be slow for the work, so many people are home for Thanksgiving. 

We went on exchanges this week. I was with Sister Elsholz (Like Dr. Scholz...gone spanish!)  She's great. I love working with her. I enjoyed the time with her and learned a lot. 

Anyway, there isn't too much exciting news. OH! I LOVED the letters I got in the mail! They were quite enjoyable. Dad and Austin were quite humorous, and Mom and Shae's were wonderful and informative! I enjoyed them all! It was like Christmas, getting 4 letters in one! Shae said you want my Christmas list...but I don't really have one. I will need another thing of face wash. I can always use shirts. Your clothes just get so boring after awhile. I know what I want when I get home! So yeah. I will enjoy a box full of love :) Well, I hope you have had an enjoyable week! Oh and next week we are going to the temple, so pday will probably be on Thursday again. Maybe Wednesday, but probably Thursday. Well, I love you!! Keep being awesome (especially you, Austin ;P ) Best of luck with everything!

Love, Sister Randall

Nov 14, 2011

Helllloooooo family!!!
What an exciting week it has been! It's already almost Thanksgiving! Oh, and since our next p-day isn't until Thanksgiving.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! I know, it's early. But, what can ya do?

How is your research paper going? What is it on? I'm happy to hear that my family is being involved in missionary efforts :) When you said that you'd like to be a mouse I was super confused and read it Moose, but thinking it as the spelling of mousse. Needless to say, I couldn't figure out how being a moose would help you see how the Apostles and Prophet make it look so easy. But, I was reading a talk today, by Elder Holland from April Conference and he was talking about how it isn't easy. He talked about how Pres. Monson has given his life to the church since he was 36, and his wife and children gave their husband and father to the church. Anyway, very interesting stuff!

What is dad doing to the house? (He always seems to be doing something!) It used to be mom that did all the surprise work on the house! Yes, I got the package with the coat. I greatly appreciate it! I think as for mary kay stuff, I somehow lost the blush applicator and the powder foundation applicator broke :( Plus, I was wondering if maybe you could send me my hair straightener? I know, random. But, it's nice to have a change of hair style every once in awhile. Oh, and the acne cream stuff. That stuff has lasted forever, but it's starting to run low. Oh, and I am going to be buying some tights & nylons today on the debit card. Mine have runs in them :(

We got the first snow of the season this past week! CRAZY! Thankfully it warmed back up. Nothing stuck, but there was definitely snow in the air. We have mission tour this week. I guess Elder Cook was not the mission tour. So, this week we have our mission tour from 8am-3:30pm. It's such a long day, but it will be SO good. For Thanksgiving we are eating dinner with this kid in our ward who is going to get a bunch of his college friends together for dinner. So, it will be a potluck Thanksgiving dinner.

So, Jenny is absolutely amazing! We invited her to be baptized, and she said that she wanted to read the Book of Mormon first and she wanted her friend to be able to come out for the baptism. It was a really good lesson, and it was made pretty clear that she was planning on being baptized. It's not if, but when. So, we are trying to help her read more and help her see that she doesn't have to read the whole book first. We have some awesome converts in the ward who are amazing and are willing to share their stories. This ward is SO good at fellowshipping. When she got home from the lesson we had about the Gospel of Jesus Christ she texted us to tell us that she loves the church message of CTR and that when she got home her ring had arrived in the mail! She had ORDERED a CTR RING off of Deseret Book! How awesome is that!? She's soooo sweet! I just love her!

The investigator that told us he wasn't coming unless he got an answer....SHOWED UP! He said that he had realized some of his views were wrong and that he had softened his stance. We had been praying for his heart to soften all week. At the beginning he said that he didn't want to keep meeting, only when he had questions. We watched Finding Faith in Christ with him and at the end of the lesson as he walked out the door he said "I'll see you next week." So, that was exciting. We learned some things about him that helped us understand his situation more. So, things should continue to be interesting.

John! We also watched Finding Faith in Christ with him. As I had mentioned before, he used to be Lutheran, then atheist, now Buddhist with the thought that Buddhism can help him be a better Christian. Anyway, our 2 joint teachers ended up canceling 1 1/2 hours before the lesson. We spent the whole time looking for a joint teacher so that we could teach him. Finally 20 minutes before one of the converts in our ward was able to come. She too had been Lutheran and they were able to connect so well and she bore her testimony to him of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and Authority. She was amazing! She's also considering serving a mission!

So, we've seen several small miracles over the past couple weeks between us and the elders. It's amazing how the Lord is directing His work :) So, now for a funny story, I hope it comes off as funny as it was!

We were walking across this really long bridge on campus that crosses the Mississippi and we looked at the river and there was this shimmering silver something and we couldn't figure out what it was. It didn't look like fish, and it wasn't the reflection of the sun, and it was moving and would get smaller and bigger and smaller. Anyway up ahead this kid was also looking at it, and he looked super perplexed! He started to wave at it and it got smaller and moved away from him. So he ran down the bridge toward the direction of it. Then he raised his hands in the air and just started yelling "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Then he brought his hands onto his head looking very stressed out. It seemed to disappear and he ran ahead and caught up with his friend. Well, we ended up catching up and started talking to them and we asked if he had seen the thing in the river. He acted weird, so we moved on and asked if he'd ever heard of the church. Then he goes "OH! You saw that? You've been there? I've been there too!" We were super confused and a little weirded out, so we gave him a card and went on our merry little way. It was super funny.

Anyway, that's one of the fun stories of the week. Over the next few weeks we will be teaching 2 member referrals! I love it when members bring their friends. They are so much more interested and willing to listen than if we approach them. We've been talking as missionaries about how to increase this and one of the things we've talked about is that as members our responsibility is to give the investigators a social conversion and the missionaries are to take care of the spiritual. Members don't have to teach lessons. They can share beliefs, but they don't have to teach the lessons. What they can do is invite their friends to church/activities and such and eventually invite them to learn more from the missionaries. So, we are working on a plan to increase member missionary work in our area.

Well, that seems to cover our week. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. You'll have to send some pictures! I believe you said that you were going to Nebraska for Thanksgiving? Well. Have tons of fun! Have an awesome birthday celebration and tell everybody hi and that I love them!!

I love you all!!!! Keep smiling and being awesome! And work hard in your classes! :)
Sister Randall

Nov 7, 2011

Hola Familia!

Sounds like you had a good week :) What are your research papers on? Feel free to just use whatever picture you have on the plaque. That's funny that it still isn't up yet. The weather is decent. It's still sticking in the 50's. But the lows have been as low as 25. brrrr. It's gonna come quick. I've heard that since the winter is taking so long to get here then it is gonna be pretty horrid. And we've heard that this winter is supposed to be worse than last winter (which was one of the worst winters they've had in a really long time), but then I've heard that after a harsh winter comes a mild winter. So, we are praying for the mild winter. :) It's supposed to flurry on Wednesday morning, hopefully it doesn't. Once it starts to snow, it keeps snowing for six very long months. But, either way "I will survive!"

What to say about the week? We taught Jenny this week! We taught her the Restoration. She shared some special personal experiences and we invited her to be baptized. She expressed some potential hardships that could cause with her family, but told us that she had been considering it already and that if God told her this is what she needed to do, she would do it. She was unable to come to church Sunday because she was visiting her parents.

John--was interesting. We taught him, well actually we double booked and had to go on splits which is the first time I've tried to teach a lesson without a companion. But, overall it went alright. He had already read 2/3 of 1 Nephi. I'm sure by now he is in 2 Nephi. He said that what he really wants to know is what motivates Mormons to live the way they do and act the way they act. So, next week we will teach the Plan of Salvation. Hopefully he has been praying as well.

The investigator that Sister Cook was meeting with may have dropped us. He said that he will only show up this week if God tells him to. He's an interesting kid with a very interesting thought process.

Oh, yesterday night we had a 4 stake YSA meeting where they rearranged the 3 existing YSA branch/wards within the 4 stakes and turned them into 1 Twin Cities YSA Ward. So our area just grew from one stake, to four. That will prove to be interesting. We aren't quite sure if President wants us to go spend times in those areas or stick with the college campuses. We will find out.

So we taught a few other lessons, but our Recent Convert/Less Active stuff was really bad. None of them would respond to us. Finally on Sunday (which was Stake Conference) we were able to contact 3 of them and teach 2 of them.

Also on Sunday we had the opportunity to go to Macallister College and have lunch with the inter-faith council. That school is the 6th least religious school in the United States. So, it was a cool experience. We got to each (us and the elders) share our "conversion" stories, share our views on family and homosexuality and teach a full Restoration lesson. The Spirit was so strong, and each time that the Spirit was at the strongest one of the students or the Chaplain would say something and change subjects. It was a super cool experience :) We also watched the CES Fireside. It was really good :)

So, we actually come into contact with quite a few members of Judaism. Two of them were at the inter-faith council. Anyway, I was thinking about Judaism for some reason and I realized that they believe in only the Old Testament, which brings us to a conclusion that they believe in a God who calls prophets, but, where is their prophet? Anyway, just something I realized. In the common phrase of Elder Ruesch "The Church is true".

Well, that's all I've got for the week! I hope you all have a wonderfully awesomely amazing week! I will communicate with you next week and just as a heads up, the week of Thanksgiving, pday is moved from Monday to Thanksgiving Day. And to end the email, a little joke. What is December 23rd called?

Christmas ADAM! Because Adam came before Eve! haha. I love you!

Love, Sister Randall

Oct 31, 2011

Family! I hope you have enjoyed the Halloween season! The pumpkins look wonderful and Wesley is getting SO tall. I think that forwarding that is fine :) I can't believe it's almost been a year since I've seen him.
Thanks a million for the package! It's perfect! It brought lots of happiness (and I received it on my 9 month mark)
Shae said that you guys think she is a lot like me...that's a scary thought :S Tell her to be smarter than me and ignore boys until she's 50 ;) Ok, maybe at least until she's 17? Pleeaase? She won't listen to me but I tell her everytime I email her! haha.
That is exciting that Myles is a daddy! That makes grandma and grandpa great grandparents for the first time, correct? Crazy!!!
I love it when members are involved with missionary work and that is where our miracle of the week comes from! So last week we were home a little early so that we could update the area book, fill our paper work, make phone calls etc. when we heard a knock on the door! The three of us looked at each other a little confused, and answer the door. Well, we were all dressed in our sweats and the girl outside the door asked if we were LDS missionaries. We said yes and she introduced herself as "Jenny" from the apartment next door. She said that her best friend is LDS and she gave us cupcakes. We chatted for a couple minutes and then said goodnight. A couple days later we left a card on her door thanking her for the cupcakes and an invite to the Mormon Movie Night. She left a card in return with her contact info and apology for not being able to attend the movie night, but that she would love to attend other activities. So, we gave her a call later that week and invited her to the weekly Friday lunch devotional. She accepted the invite and we walked with her from our apartment building to the institute. On the way she told us that she had always wanted to come into the institute, but had no one to go with. She also told us that she had been to church with her friend in CA and that her friend had given her a Book of Mormon. She asked us where she should read at. Jenny also said that she had told her friend in CA that we lived down the hall and that we had been talking and her friend told Jenny that she'd been praying that she would be able to meet someone that could take her to church! Jenny took this as no coincidence and even came to church the following Sunday. She said that she is going to try to get all Sundays off so that she can come and she asked us if she could meet up with us and talk more about Joseph Smith!! We are going to try to meet with her tomorrow, but she is unsure of her work schedule. She is super awesome! It is amazing how God directs His work and that when the time is right He places people in the right place. I was thinking about it and I realized that it is SO important for us to talk about what we believe, even when our friends don't seem to be responsive. Because, like Alma the younger (Alma 36: 17-20) when he was humbled and ready to receive and act he REMEMBERED and then he received peace and joy and a remission of his sins. When our friends are ready to accept the gospel they will remember what we have said and who we were. This experience, and the next that I'll share, have both been huge testimony builders that the Lord is directing His work and all we can do is be prepared, obedient, and ready to work!
Two weeks ago we were at a bus stop and I talked to a kid named "John." His parents had been Lutheran Missionaries, but had a falling away and became atheist. Consequently so did the kids. Well, we had talked and I invited him to learn more and check out the website, but he didn't give me his information. Well, Thursday night we were out contacting and we walked with another kid to the same bus stop, while we were talking to him I looked up and saw John in the exact same spot that I had met him last time. He saw me too, we made I contact, I smiled and Sister Cook and I then finished up our current conversation and began walking away. But, I couldn't. I didn't really want to go back and talk to John because I didn't remember his name, his story, our conversation, nothing. But, I swallowed my pride and we went to talk to him. We had a good conversation, explained the Book of Mormon, gave him a copy and then invited him to come to the weekly friday lunch devotional. He accepted the invitation. We still didn't have his contact information. Friday morning the elders texted us and asked if we had a guy named John coming to the lunch. We were confused at how they knew, but it turns out that their investigator was roommates with John their freshman year and was cancelling their lesson at 11 so that he could come at 12 with John! (What a small world) Well, John showed up and much to my surprise he had already read at least the first 4 chapters of the Book of Mormon!! (I only know it was that much because he asked why Laban's servant couldn't recognize that it was really Nephi). Anyway, after the devotional we talked some more, we set up a lesson and he gave us his phone number! It was awesome! Things are picking up!
Last night 3 college students stopped us and asked if we could do a survey for them. They were each majoring in ministry. They asked us questions regarding sex and marriage. They were pleased to find that we had standards and let us know that it was so heartbreaking to find out what college students thoughts on those things were. We really appreciated their stand for truth.
well, this is all that is coming to mind. Sister Cook gave an awesome talk in sacrament meeting yesterday!
Since today is Halloween we are going in at 8. For us it would have made more sense to go in early Friday and Saturday. Here there won't be much trick-or-treating and the students did all their partying this weekend. Fridays and Saturdays are the most difficult nights in a college town. I am so grateful that I will never have to worry about being under the influence and not having complete control over what I am doing.
Thanks for being awesome! I appreciate your love and support. I hope you know that I pray for you and love you each dearly! Have an awesome week! :D
Sister Randall

October 24,2011

Hello Family!
So good to hear from you! I heard that NE beat MN! We went out and handed out fliers for the mormon movie night before the game. Weekends are the hardest here, especially on Frat row. Everyone gets drunk out of their minds and it hurts your heart. It's so sad to see the decisions people make. We had our Mormon Movie Night last night at 7. We had 2 non-members come and probably about 20 members. One of the nonmembers was a members friend that she brought, he was nice, but not really interested. The other one was an older man, P.C. who showed up about 30 minutes early. He said that he saw one of the posters and he has been looking forward to it all week. (For names I'll just use initials). P.C. has felt drawn to the Mormon church ever since he got back from the Vietnam war. He knows all of the history and he stands up for the church when people say things against it. He said he won't ever convert because he feels that you need to believe with your whole heart and he thinks he's wishy washy and doesn't have courage. Oh, he was the sweetest man.
The scavenger hunt sounded like a blast! And, I'm assuming the choir sounded good? That quote from the desires talk is awesome and it already is in my collection, but I'm glad you thought of me! :) My favorite conference talk from this past conference was What Manner of Men and Women Ought ye to be. Or something like that. It's all about being and doing. It's awesome! One of our investigators concerns had to do with faith and works and this talk helps demonstrate how if you have faith you act. It says that if you "do" with out "being" you are a hypocrite and if your "be" without "doing" you are lying to yourself. It's an awesome talk. That's all. :D
So, as missionaries we have been asked to teach 20 lessons each week. Whether it be active, less active, recent converts or non-members. That has been the standard for a long time and for the first time since Oakdale WE TAUGHT TWENTY LESSONS (we even had 5 or 6 lessons fall through)! It was AWESOME. We tend to teach a lot of lessons while we are contacting on campus. It's awesome. Our female investigator J. who went to church last week claimed to have questions and concerns this past week, buuut her concerns were not legitimate concerns. We need to figure out what is underneath it all. I feel like since being in Dinkytown my teaching skills have improved (and still can improve). I've learned a lot this past transfer. Oh, so transfer calls were today. Sister Stephenson is headed to Oakdale to be with Sister Gibson (from Casa Grande, AZ). Sister Cook and I are staying here.
It's been a pretty fun week. We've worked hard, taught a lot, and had fun. I love meeting people and having conversations about their lives. You learn so much about life! It warmed up a bit this week! It's been between 55 and 60. Which has been nice. We are going shopping today to get Sister Cook winter stuff. I will probably be buying sometime in the next couple weeks earmuffs, a thicker hat, and thicker tights... but maybe I'll wait until the box comes and see what's in there. Other than that, I think I'm good to go for the winter. It's gonna be here before we know it. Anyway, things are going awesomely.  I'm not sure I have much more to report on....
I love you all and hope things are well. Have an awesome week and Halloween weekend. I'll email next halloween! LOVE YA!!
Sister Randall

October 17, 2011

Well, it's been an eventful week! It sounds like yours has been too! I'm glad to hear all has gone well with selling the house. It sounds like your meetings in St Louis were great! Shae said she held Sister Dalton's hand. haha, she would ;) I am super excited that NE is coming here for the MN homecoming game! We were out walking Saturday night and I saw a family and I didn't even realize it until we were walking past them but the girl was wearing one of the Corn hats and they were all wearing Nebraska hoodies! I was so excited, then I was confused because they are a week early. I keep wondering if the pep band is coming and if I still know anyone in it. That'd be crazy! If I do, they should walk around campus while they are hear and find the mormon missionaries! ;)
We are now in a trio. Sister Stephenson, Sister Cook and I. It's been incredible! Sister Cook brought an unbelievable amount of faith with her and we have seen the evidence of her faith and exact obedience. I have really appreciated having her here. Thursday we had interviews with President and I briefly mentioned that I was going to have to have college stuff figured out in a couple months and he gave me permission to start looking at school websites...I'm gonna push it off for probably a month though. Friday Elder Quentin L Cook spoke to us. It was really good, and before he started he shook each of our hands and asked our names. When he finally got up to speak he said "It was nice to have a brief spiritual interview with each of you." That was a little intimidating! Saturday, the baptism was postponed because of family and other reasons, but they are shooting for the middle of November.
So, last night we sat down to do numbers and it has been one of the best weeks number-wise that I have had since I left Oakdale in the middle of my 2nd transfer! We taught 17 lessons, got 4 new investigators-one of which is currently progressing! It was awesome. By the way, new rule that we can't use the names of investigators or recent convert/ less actives. Sorry :/
But, like I said we got 4 new investigators! It was sooo cool. We had a pretty good lesson Saturday with one of them and he is such a sweet kid. At the end he was like, "Well, I guess I need to really think about this!" Right after his lesson we taught one that we've been teaching for awhile and we finally cracked down and told her that she needed to make the Book of Mormon a higher priority. So, she said she would read 2 chapters a day this week and pray to know if it was true each time. She went to the Uptown ward and she texted us this morning and said that it was interesting and she had lots of questions and that she was going to keep reading so she might have dozens of questions. So, I'm excited to see where she goes. She will be an awesome member when she knows its true. We learned from a member of the Uptown ward who talked to her for awhile that our investigator has been defending the church when things come up with her friends and stuff. So that was good news! :)
For this coming week we already have several lessons set up with potentials, so we should have several new investigators this week. It's going to be an incredible week :) Lots of big plans!
The smell in the car has decreased A LOT because of the cooler weather- I just hope that I don't have this car next spring when it starts to warm up again! :/ Quick question- for my bank account, how much is in there? By the way, I'm probably gonna need my black down coat, unless you want me to buy another one. And I need ear muffs, mine got ruined back in March. I have a few winter necessities I will have to buy. If you happen to want to send me a box of hand and foot warmers, I wouldn't complain. Anyway, I'm short on time today, we are in a hurry to get everything done on time and I have other emails to write. I love you all! Keep smiling and working hard!!!
I hope you weeks go well and that you remember that you have a missionary praying for you and loving you! :D
Sister Randall

Oct. 10, 2011

Well, it's been a pretty good week! We've had some awesome conversations on campus, have some sweet potential investigators and had an AWESOME Sunday. But first, I'll let you know that I picked up on the hint. Thanks for being so...subtle? It definitely took me until the 2nd hint to figure it out. haha. I thought maybe you were trying to make reference to my terrible use of "alypsies"? What can I say? I like my dot dot dots :D

Anyway! I'll start with Sunday, because it was awesome. Remember Ann? The recent convert from Kenya, whose father is a Lutheran pastor? Well, she got up to bear her testimony on Sunday and she said that 2 months ago when she got baptized she told her mom that she had joined the church, and just trusted that she would tell her dad. Well, yesterday morning she got a call from her dad. He said, "What is the name of your new church?" She said, "The Church of Jesus Christ," and paused because she couldn't speak. He then said, "Are you going to tell me the full name of your church?" So, she told him the full name. He then said "Will you send me a copy of the Book of Mormon?" The Spirit filled that room so full and so quick. I am excited for her father to read it, and hope that he will find that it is true and that it can unite him and his wife in a religion (it's been a topic of much contention between them for years). So that was awesome moment number 1!

2nd! I told you about the elder's investigator Anton. Very sweet kid. Anyway, Tuesday Anton came to the institute VERY upset. He went and had a lesson with the Elders and a girl named Jen who converted from Catholicism maybe 2 years ago? Well, he got into some temple anti--which is pretty nasty stuff. He felt betrayed, but the elders helped him realize that the reason he felt like he was going to throw up while reading that is because it wasn't true! So, he's doing better. We met with him Friday with the elders and helped him realize that he has already received answers to his prayers. Elder Ruesch read a scripture out of 2 Ne 32 (I think) that invites all to fear not, to repent and to be baptized. They told him to pray to find a date to be baptized. The spirit was SUPER strong, so we had a kneeling prayer where Anton pretty much bore his testimony in and asked for the correct date to be baptized on. Sunday the elders followed up and he decided he needs to be baptized THIS SATURDAY! We are super stoked! Now, he just has to tell his family...

President called us this week. We are getting a Nauvoo sister coming up to do proselyting for the next 6 months-ish? And, she's gonna come be in a three-some with us! So, that's gonna be super exciting! We are looking forward to that...except for the laundry part, we will have to do like 3 or 4 loads instead of 2. Bummer!

We are having Mission Tour this week. Elder Cook is coming to speak to us Friday from 12:30-4:30. That should be fun!
We have had some really good lessons this week, one with a less active, one with a recent convert, and we taught one to a kid named Karthik (Car-tick). He's Hindu. Our whole lesson was spent on trying to explain who God is. He believes that anyone and anything that is good, is god. He said that if someone is nice to him than he/she is his "god". It was interesting. He said he can't meet for another 3 weeks, so we will see what comes of that.

Remember the car/milk story? So, it was a whole gallon of milk in the back of the car, but only 1/2 of the milk was in the gallon. So, that's why it smelt SOOOOOOO bad. Sis. S and I went and bought some shampoo stuff and tried to wash the carpeting, but it wasn't working. We finally called Elder Braun who is over the cars and told him the problem. He had us take it to get detailed. They shampooed it and then it smelt like a mixture of shampoo and milk. We haven't driven the car since then, but the elders say it still smells REALLY bad. I dunno what they're gonna do about that.

Last Monday we biked to FHE, which is probably 4-5 miles each way. It was great. I've been dealing with a cold? I don't know. It's been weird. First it was just a runny nose at night, then it was during the day... Thursday Sis S was sick, so I took a nap too and I was out for 1 1/2 hours. I felt a bit better. Then I developed a cough one night, which comes and goes. I don't know. It's weird. I've tried allergy meds and sudafed. Sudafed has helped the most with my nose. Anyway, last night I was thinking about it and I realized that it's probably side affects from my Flo Vent inhaler. So, I didn't take it this morning and I feel great! I'm gonna talk to the pharmacist when we go grocery shopping today. I dunno what I'm gonna do. One of the most common side affects is an Upper Respiratory Infection. Hopefully that's not what I've got. We shall find out.

Overall it's been a pretty good week! I'm glad the garage sale went well. I don't remember if this is already gone or not, but remember the white dresser with the mirror and 4 dressers, is that the one you got rid of? Anyway, I'm not too attached to anything in particular. As long as you didn't sell my siblings...even though it might have been tempting ;) Hmm, how did mom's tests go? Have fun with the YW, RS, Primary meeting! That will be super cool!

I did hear that it snowed in Utah. I'm worried because we've had SUPER nice weather (well, to some it's way too hot, it must be the AZ still in me, I thought it was beautiful) the last couple weeks. It's been 80-85. The next few days should be in the 70's, then it's supposed to drop into the upper 50's again. I'm really not looking forward to winter, because once it's here, it's here for good. Well, 6 months, but that's a LOOOOONG time! They say it's supposed to be worse than last winter, and last winter was one of the worst winters they've had in a really long time. The metro-dome collapsed last year. I see that place every day. Oh, and remember the bridge that collapsed several years ago? Or whenever it was. That's here too, the new bridge has a memorial for those who died and has really cool lights that light it up at night. I should take a picture.

Anyway, I could keep talking, but we need to get going. We have a lot to get done today and I still need to email Koltn, Shae, Miranda (who didn't email me ) and President. So, I love you all. I hope all is well with each of you! Keep smiling and remember I LOOOVE YOU!

Sister Randall

Oct. 3, 2011


I'm glad to hear that the move went well. I realized last night while I was laying in bed that each member of our family has moved within the last couple months. Sam & Erin changed apts, Miranda moved to school, I moved to Dinkytown, you all moved to a new house... There is something with our family and moving, we just can't seem to get enough of it! ;) But, the house looks good! Bigger than I expected when you said "small" I was almost thinking Grand Island size small! haha.

I did get mom's card, thanks so much :) I appreciated it. And, I will keep an eye out for the atm card. Sorry my pictures didn't attach... it wasn't too much to look at anyway. Our General Conference advertising didn't really do much, at least no one showed up to conference...maybe they watched it online??? The elders had 3 investigators come, we expected at least 1 with the prospective of 3 others, but had none come. I was bummed.

You will have to watch Saturday morning session. President Monson was super funny. I never realized the sense of humor he had until this general conference! It was wonderful. The elders are teaching a kid named Anton (he's pretty cool). He's been trying to figure out if he should be baptized and leave the Catholic church, in which his family is so strong and involved. So, Sunday morning he came fasting to conference, and he really enjoyed Tad Callister's talk (I think that's his name) on the Book of Mormon. That night he also went to a Catholic Mass with the Arch Bishop (I don't know how to spell this stuff..) with the intentions of being able to feel which was right. He called the elders and wanted to meet up and he told them "I felt the Spirit while the Arch Bishop was talking..." The elders thought he was going to drop them, but he continued on and eventually said "I know you wanted me to be baptized October 8th, but it's too soon. I will be a member, but I need more time." I guess he wrote in his journal after the first time of meeting with missionaries and said "I think I am going to join this church..." He's pretty awesome :D

As for what we have been up to! We have done a lot of contacting. One night we were out talking with people and I started talking to this girl from Nigeria, who happened to be a Pastor. We were talking for a bit and as I walked past Sis. Stephenson I gave her a "this could be interesting, not sure what's gonna happen" kind of look. We ended up standing on the corner discussing the prophet and authority...well she was pretty sassy and "knew that she was right". Finally Sister Stephenson came up and introduced herself, the girl acknowledged her, then turned back to me and we kept talking. Eventually it calmed down and I offered her a card and invitation to general conference so that she could find out for herself. She told me she didn't want it and then asked us what our view on homosexuality was. So, we told her that unfortunately people have this trial, but marriage is ordained of God only between a man and a woman. She took a second to think and then turned to me and said, I'll take one of those cards. She was a scientist and so we asked her about how she could keep such a strong belief in God even with evolution and all that "proof". She gave a pretty good response and I think we could consider each other friends now. Sadly she didn't show up to conference, but she was pretty cool :)

Oh, I'm teaching a girl in the ward how to play piano. But, she already has the concepts, she just needs to practice. She wants to know more of the theory stuff, which I'm not very good with. So, we will see how that goes.

Last night I talked to a super sweet kid name Brian. He grew up in Wisconsin, he's a freshman and he's Catholic. When I asked him if he'd heard of the church he said no, and then I said that we were also known as Mormons and he was like, I've never heard of that. I was surprised. So we talked about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith for awhile and he gave me his number so that we can call him this week. Hopefully something good will come of it. He's so innocent, it was sweet. As I turned to walk away he had this look of hunger and curiosity in his eyes. I really hope we can meet up!

Our investigator Yvan dropped us during conference on Saturday. He called and since he was possibly coming we answered the call. So, that was disappointing, but Brian made it all better :)

Haha, so funny/gross story. So we ran out of milk this week and we thought we had bought milk two weeks ago, but we didn't have it, so we figured we had forgotten to get it. Well, lately our car has smelt pretty gross...Last night the elders came up and said "Who left a half gallon of milk in the car???" haha, the milk had been in the trunk for almost two weeks. The cream was completely separated. Haha, I'm grateful I didn't have to find it. Anyway, good times!

Well, I love you all, I hope you are doing well & I will talk to you next week!
Oh, PS you asked about what I wanted for Christmas several weeks ago. I decided that I want a compilation of the testimonies of siblings, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and any cousins/aunts/uncles that want to chip in. It could be a brief telling of how they gained a testimony and also their testimony, or something of the sort. And maybe some warm, comfy, night time socks. Mine are getting holes in them! And maybe some hand and foot warmers? That would make me happy :) Well, that's all that I want. Thanks for being awesome! I love you!!

Have a GREAT week.

Love Sister Randall :D

Sept 26

Hello Family!

I do remember the temple talk from Grandpa, and it was when I was dating Justin, I do believe.  I'm sure I will remember it for the rest of my life :) As I have gone to the temple and studied in the scriptures and preach my gospel I have certainly come up with quite a few questions for whoever is gonna have questions, so we will have to go to the temple next year. There is SOOOO much to learn! So with all the moving will you get to sit down and watch general conference? How are mom's classes going? And the kids' schooling? Also, what do I need to do with the bank account? I have gotten a couple confirmation emails, but I don't understand what you want me to do about it. I should be fine on money, I guess I didn't realize how close to the end of the month it really was. I mean, I should keep a little more cash on me, but I'm fine right now.

Well, it's been a pretty good week! We picked up a new investigator-- Yvan. He's from Cameroon, but he might live out of our area :( He is awesome. I talked to him on campus the other day. I was walking down University ave and a kid came running up behind and said "What time is it?" He had plenty of time until the bus came so, he walked and we talked for a couple minutes. Turns out his family is being visited by the Maplegrove sisters. He told me he knew Sister Daniel, but he never gets the chance to be there when the sisters are there. So he asked if he could give me his number and we could set up a time, and of course I said YES! We met with him this past week, and he is just awesome! I'll be sad to pass him off to other missionaries.

We had a really good district meeting this past week. I heard a lot of things I needed to hear. One of which was another poem. I don't know what it is about the poems, they get me almost everytime. Anyway, this one is called He Has Been There Before. It goes through a missionary's day and he was in a hard area and that night he cries and expresses his feelings in prayer about how he hates biking because he sweats so much that it gets in his eyes and having to wear a helmet because people make fun of him, and how his hands hurt from knocking all day, and people don't listen, and he doesn't like his companion, then he goes to sleep and has a dream. In the dream the Savior approaches him to speak to him and say, I know how you feel. And reminds him that the donkey He rode was not equipped with 21 speeds, and people once placed a crown of thorns on His head and made fun of Him, and His hands probably hurt in a similar way when they pounded the nails into His hands, and the blood that he sweated was grievous to be borne, and how he once had a companion who sold His life for money. He then said, we have a lot of similarities, but the "difference is that I endured to the end, now go and do like Me."  It hit pretty hard. The Savior really does understand and sometimes we forget how much more He has done for us.

I finished Jesus the Christ! :) I probably started in the middle of 2 transfers ago, so maybe 3-4 months? I want to read it again before the end of my mission. It's an awesome book! It's hard to start, but it's really good. We biked to a dinner this week and once we got there it got really really windy and sprinkled a bit, so the ride home was a bit difficult going against the wind and at once point I almost got hit by a branch falling off a tree. It was exciting, but I'm safe! :D  Friday night I got sick :( Thankfully it wasn't too bad. I was super nauseous and had a bad headache but I was ready to go by the next morning! But, then Sis. Stephenson had it. We made posters for general conference and Sunday night we went around and posted them around campus. On the way back to the institute another group was hanging up banners over top several of ours :( So, after that event is over today we are gonna go and tear them down. We spent a lot of time on them. Oh! Something that was really fun for me is that we got the emails for the directors of the religion department and we wrote an email to the religion professors inviting them to invite their students to contact us with questions and to come to general conference. I guess I'm a nerd but trying to remember how to write a professional email was fun! I enjoyed it a lot. We are also preparing to have a Mormon Movie night on the 23rd of October. We will be handing out fliers and putting up posters around campus for that. We will show Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration. Our way of proselyting is so different on a college campus than in any other area. It's a lot of fun :D

Hm, well that kind of concludes the week! Today we went to the Como Zoo, I'll attach some pictures from the zoo and other pictures I have!

I love you all! I hope all is well!
Sister Randall

Sept 19

Good afternoon! Sorry this email is later than usual. We have one computer to share between 4 missionaries. The library is closed on Mondays. So, we let the elders go first this week while we went grocery shopping.

I'm glad to hear Miranda made it safely, and she has kept me updated :) Otherwise I would not be too happy with her. The one person I NEVER hear from is Austin. But, it's ok, because I still love him :) I can't believe Charity is married. I talked to this super cute, really old man on campus the other day (I know I'm over the YSA but I couldn't resist) and I asked him if he was married, hoping to get into the Plan of Salvation, but he responded that he had put work over getting married. He regrets it very much now and wishes that he had a family. My heart went out to him. There is truly no success that can compensate for our failure in the home, whether it's neglecting family or never having a family even though the opportunity was there. when will you be moving into the house? I have to send the updated address to the mission home.

Once again, I feel like it was a pretty uneventful week. We did teach an investigator that the elders from last transfer had been teaching. Her name is Jordan, but we don't know why she's meeting with us. She is studying to be a pastor for the Hope Community church, she claims to be open minded (I would differ) and she hasn't decided what she believes. For example we asked her about baptism, and at first she said, Yes it's essential, but then was like well, noo... Someday I am going to write a book on the top reasons people disagree with the church and back it up with scriptures. It is absolutely ridiculous the way people twist the scriptures to fit what they want to believe! Such as "a man must be born of water and of the spirit" (may not be a direct quote). To be born of water is taken to be a physical birth. When Jordan said that our joint teacher, Nate was like "If that's the case why would he say that, we are all born!" Then she was like, except for the fallen angels. It's not a battle one can win.

We have had some good conversations this week. We talked to an average of 10 people a day this week, and got some potential investigators. Hopefully we can meet up with them this week. One kid that I talked to, his name is Sean, he has studied a lot of religion, but isn't really sure what to believe. His aunt was a catholic nun and just passed away this week, so he is headed to her funeral, but agreed to meet up when he gets back to talk about God's plan for us after this life. Sister Stephenson talked to a kid who told her twice that he wasn't interested, but she was persistent and after walking like 6-8 blocks with him he said something about how he probably should put the effort in to find out more. So, we are meeting with him this week. I spent 20 minutes talking to this kid, Matt. He is non-denominational and feels like denominations cause division. At the end he asked what my first name is (many people do) and he wrote it down and said he was gonna pray for me. It was funny. then we were out walking one day and I heard someone say "Oh hey Adrianna!" Yep, it was Matt. Him and a Catholic were standing near a table where a woman was doing Tarot cards and they were talking to people trying to help them understand that it was evil. You have to admire their dedication. So, we ended up talking to Stephen, the Catholic kid for quite some time and he invited us to a Hog Roast and wanted to give us the Catacism in exchange for a Gospel Principles book. He already has a Book of Mormon. So we went, and it was a Catholic outreach thing, and the looks on people's faces as we walked in were priceless! He was super nice.

We met a kid named Nick as well. We were sitting on a bench after talking to people, just getting a drink of water and he walked up to us and started to talk to us about some religion called Hera Christna? Something like that. He offered us a couple books, but asked for a donation. We declined. They were traveling monks. But what was interesting is that he had read part of the Book of Mormon and believes its the word of God, but he also believes that their books are more important than the Bible and Book of Mormon. Apparently the whole world practiced this religion 5000 years ago, and it's what Christ taught. Anyway, the elders traded a Book of Mormon for one of their books.

Yesterday was President's fireside, it was AWESOME. The 3rd speaker really was quite incredible. His name was Richard Madsen. He was in jail waiting for a prison sentence when his sister called the mission and had missionaries sent to the jail to teach him. The elders gave him a Book of Mormon and he read it that night, the next day, and the next night and finished it. He then decided to read it again slower and finished it in 4 days. He knew it was true, it was the change he had wanted all his life. His lawyer told him he was facing a sentence of 32 years in prison and there was nothing anyone could do about it. He would have been 74 when he got out. He had tried praying for help but the answer he always received was "Why would I?" The elders taught him that that was the devil and he would keep talking as long as he was willing to keep listening. So, he learned how to pray and receive answers. The day he was to receive his sentence he prayed that he would receive the amount of time necessary to pay for the crime and to be made ready to be humble and be baptized (the elders had challenged him to baptism). He received only 10 years in prison. On his way he prayed that he could be around LDS people. His prayer was answered and they supplied him with literature to read. He read Jesus the Christ once a year, the Book of Mormon at least once a year, the Old and New Testament once a year, he also read the Miracle of Forgiveness and a church history book. When he got out (just over 2 months ago) it was only a couple days after President Clements had gotten here. The elders called up President and said, "we need you to ask the 1st presidency for permission to baptize this man." He was hesitant but the next morning President knew he needed to do so. The approval came quickly and he was baptized 2 months ago. It was an incredible story as he explained the changes that had taken place. It's amazing how much the gospel will do for you.

My current district leader has been a member for just about 2 years? He also came from a very tough background growing up in Cleveland. But, the gospel was brought into his life and he is now here serving a mission for the Lord. It is absolutely incredible the transformation for good that takes place when people accept the gospel! No one is too far gone to accept the gospel!

Well, I guess more happened than I thought :) haha. Oh yeah, we were biking home the other day (we only live 5 blocks from the institute) and I was waiting for traffic to pass before I crossed the street and when I went to push off my shoe came off, but I didn't have time to hesitate, so I had to cross, park my bike and then wait for traffic to pass again. I just kept praying that no one would run over my shoe. It was rather embarrassing but quite funny. No one ran over it and I got it safely :)

Anyway! I think this mostly concludes my week. Sorry if this is too long. I hope you are all healthy, safe and well! I love you and I hope you have an awesome week!

Love Sister Randall