Monday, March 26, 2012

Mar. 26, 2012

Hallo meine Familie!

Wie geht es euch? I speak German now! ;) Just kidding. But one of my friends in the ward does. She's awesome. :D

I'm glad you had a good week!  Congratulations to Austin! That's amazing! I'm so proud of him :) He's great! You'll have to take some pictures of him in action and keep me  posted! Shaelyn has stayed busy as well and Miranda is heading back to school! Fun! It sounds like you have hit a midlife crisis with that car of yours, dad? ;)  That's too bad that your blue jeans don't fit... (I know, right?). I always forget how young my parents are...not meant in the way it sounds. Meaning, everyone else my age it seems like their parents are much older. I just always remember that I've got young parents! How wonderful is that? :D

The zoo was not a double date. One of the members took us and the elders, so there were 5 of us, plus when we showed up there was a whole spanish zone at the zoo plus a set of elders from our district. So, it was a party! However, my companion did get hit on...I had to move closer to the guy till he noticed my name tag..then he backed off pretty quick. That's the trouble of having such a beautiful companion. haha.

How was Sam's competition? Did Erin enjoy the time with her mom? Since when does Madalyn have a baby? Sounds exciting!

Well, you manage to stay busy, as always! We did lots of contacting again. Monday night we were out contacting and there was a huge thunderstorm coming in. As we were finishing up our conversation we looked up and saw a WALL of rain and dirt. We all turned our backs to avoid the blow and then we ran, making it half way to the institute before we realized running was pointless. We were SOAKED. It was fun. I laughed pretty good.

We had several appointments fall through, so we didn't teach too much. We are working with an awesome less active right now. She really wants to come back to church and her and Sister Meraz have just hit it off. They are great. I love it. Friday night Sister Meraz started getting sick, but she stuck it out until Saturday evening at 5 when we had to come home for the rest of the night. Sunday we made it through Correlation and Ward Council and Sacrament. Then we spent the rest of the day at home. She's much better now. And now we can work again. This week is looking much busier and hopefully we will continue to build our teaching pool!

Oh, we no longer have a car. President gave it only to the elders because they are the zone leaders and they need it. So, we get to bike now. I'm glad that it's warm weather (except today is cold...)

This weekend is General Conference! :D I'm so excited. I love General Conference. It's just great. Well, my family. I think this covers the week. It's been a good week!

Anyway, I love you and hope you are all doing well! I look forward to hearing from you next week! Have a great week! You are the best!!!

Love, Sister Randall

Sorry everything is so scattered. I feel so scatter brained today. Well, love ya and talk to ya later!

A note from mom

Thanks to all of you that are supporting Adrianna thru letters, packages, thoughts and prayers. We are proud of her and love to hear her weekly letters. Sorry I keep all of you waiting until I get them posted. FYI - Adrianna will return from her mission in Aug. of this year. It will be exciting to see her, glad she is serving and know she is doing a great job.

Thanks again-

Mar. 19, 2012

and HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY! What are you doing today? Anything exciting? Fun? Work? Eating? I hope you have an awesome day.
Well, it sounds like the weather is just a little bit nicer there than it is here. The trees are not yet budding, but the weather has been quite incredible. I expected winter to last at least a week or two into April. But, I'll take this. 65 degrees is a good temperature. Now I can send winter stuff home, but I might wait a little bit just to make sure it's not going to take a sudden turn and get cold again. That would be weird. It sounds like you had a fun Spring Break, hanging out, playing, know, all the important things :D
How were classes this week? and Work? We stayed busy, even though it was Spring Break. There weren't tons of people on campus, but we had enough to meet the standard of excellence in finding. However, our lessons are down. But, that comes with time as we slowly build our teaching pool. We met this really cute Chinese girl, WZ. (If only I could just use their names...) Anyway, she's going to a Catholic college and just happened to be at the UofM enjoying the weather. She has no knowledge about God and Jesus Christ. It's so hard to start at the basics and teach up. How do you teach someone the concept of God? Anyway, we had one of the recent converts who is also Chinese help us teach her yesterday. She did amazing and taught her in Mandarin. It's a slow process, but WZ is awesome! She's so cute. She's going to come to church next week and we will teach her again. She's so sweet. 
On Wednesday we had a new missionary training meeting in Bloomington as well as interviews with President. That took most of the day. Then, that night we went on exchanges with the Oakdale sisters. That was fun. But all of our appointments fell through on Thursday, so we ended up contacting on campus all day. I felt bad for Sister Lor. You definitely have to build your endurance to be able to walk around talking to people all day. It's not easy.
Friday we had a lesson with a girl, PM. She has a difficult religious background that could keep us from being able to teach her. She's interested in learning though and is pretty strong-willed.
Saturday we did our best to not be out contacting in the evening. We had no desire to deal with drunk college students. So, we taught a lesson to our regular investigator, who used to be progressing, but is now just driving me nuts. We can't decide whether to drop him or what.
As a mission we are studying the Atonement leading up to Easter. We have a study guide that has a talk or chapter to read. It's exciting. I love studying the Atonement!
So, that's the week. Today a member is taking us to Como Zoo. It's free and it's beautiful weather. It should be fun! Elder Ruesch is still here in the area as well (we both came to Dinkytown the same transfer, we also came out together as well), so it will be our 2nd time going. 
I will think about the schooling thing. I don't know how I'd pay for the other some odd thousands. I know I need to get back to school, but I don't know what to do. Anyway. I'll think on it and let you know.
I love you all and miss you. You are awesome and I look forward to hearing from you next week!
Love ya!
Sister Randall

Mar. 12, 2012

My dear family! It's so good to hear from you! I am feeling better. I still have congestion and a sore throat sometimes. But, I'm doing so much better than I was last week! I suppose if that's the only sickness I have to experience then I can handle it. Sickness makes you appreciate health. 
It's good to hear that you are all staying busy and having fun. I hope spring break is relaxing and fun! It's spring break here too...which means less people to find. But, we will always find things to do! I think that church/house sounds awesome! The grandkids (when they eventually come) will love coming to grandma and grandpas house! How far away is Lerna? How big is Lerna? I do remember Sam talking about creating Randallville. That would be quite entertaining! You will have to send pictures of whatever house you end up moving to.
The kids seem to be kept busy and it sounds as if all is well. Shaelyn mentioned something about Austin going on a mini-mission? That would be SO cool. He will have to let me know how that goes! That little stinker rarely writes me! Maybe twice since I've been out? ;) School sounds tough. Microbiology? eeek. Science is NOT my forte! But you CAN do it!

Sister Stowell's talk sounds very applicable to every ward. There is always someone who goes inactive because of offense. About a month and a half ago we had an experience with someone like that. It wasn't a very pleasant phone conversation. I felt bad for my companion who was on the phone with her-- I was driving. We also just went through our ward list with our Elders Quorum president and a member of the relief society presidency and I was surprised how many we were told to not contact because they had been offended.
We had a lesson Saturday night with an investigator and it was tough. He told us he felt like we were pushing him because we ask him "why" when he doesn't do something or tells us no. He continued to tell us that when he was working with the missionaries in Utah he felt the Spirit more throughout the week. He thought it was because we were "pushing" him. (We aren't even pushing him...) So, he said quite a few different things that were pretty frustrating and then our member spoke up and started talking about the reason for us giving commitments and that if he is not feeling the Spirit it is because of his lack of acting, not because we aren't doing our part as missionaries. I was so very grateful for our member. If he wants to feel the Spirit more then he needs to be willing to make this a priority in his life, which he has not yet done. He will read sometimes, if we text him, and even then it's a 50/50. Church is another story. But, he still wants to meet with us. Anyway, that was a tough lesson, but it's good when people trust you enough to bring up their concerns. 
We taught a couple of first lessons this week, they were cool, but haven't seemed to lead to anything yet. We have done great contacting! We were able to get 25 people's information and hope to be able to contact them toward the end of Spring Break.
Thanks for sharing that experience! I'm glad that me being here could open that doorway! That's the perfect gospel conversation starter! :) Hopefully she will come to church on Sunday or at least contact you.

You are all amazing and I love you and pray for your well-being! Stay strong!
Sister Randall

Mar. 5, 2012

Well, I'm back!

I'm glad you are all well and healthy! Things are going well and life seems pretty normal...with the exception of cut work, that is never a good sign. It sounds like you are all involved in worth-while activities and having fun?
So, I was at a lunch on Friday and the man who was speaking was talking with us and asking us where we were from. I told him Nebraska and then he started talking about the Midwest having tornadoes! I was like whoa! Weird. Then, he was like, yeah, one tornado took a whole town out in Illinois! Little did he know that you lived in Illinois. Anyway, one of the sisters at the institute looked up the town for me so that I wouldn't have to wait until Monday ;) But, I can't believe that there has been such a problem with tornadoes already, that's so bizarre! It scared me for a minute though.

My new companion's name is Sister Meraz. She's from Katy Texas! Fun stuff! She's got an accent and for whatever reason, I'm starting to speak like a Texan! I've tried to get the Minnesotan accent down for the last year with no luck and just a few days with a sister from Texas and I'm changing the way I speak. 

Well, I got sick last Tuesday, and I'm still working on getting over it. We had to spend almost all of Saturday inside and from 3 on  on Sunday. I feel terrible. It's the first time I've been sick enough to not go out on my mission. So, poor Sister Meraz has had to spend so much time at home within her first few days. She's been so patient with me and very helpful in supplying medicine. She's doing amazing. She's so much better than I was. She has just jumped right in and started working. It's fun and interesting and I'm enjoying getting to know her. Sunday was awesome. We knew that 2 of our investigators were coming, and then a guy that Sister Cook and I had talked to 3 months ago walked into church, and also one of our members invited his friend in response to a commitment we left him. We also got a member referral from Rochester and we taught her on Sunday. For only being in the area for a few days and for being home for 1 1/2 of those we had some really good numbers. I was excited! 

So, we have 3 investigators now, and 5 potential investigators. We just need to get some appointments set up. Things are picking up quickly and I am looking forward to getting out and working again! And, Spring should be coming soon! (OK, off and on for the next 6 weeks...) But, it's supposed to be 50 degrees tomorrow! I am SO excited! 

Well, I don't know what else to say. It's been a busy/slow couple of days. Just getting settled in and in the swing of things. Anyway, I love you all and I hope you are well! Have an awesome week!

Love, Sister Randall
(Sorry, that's a pretty boring email.... I hope your weeks were full of a lot more excitement!) 

Feb. 27, 2012

It sounds like you have had quite the excitement in Charleston! Crazy!
I feel so badly for that poor student and his family. How quickly our
decisions affect our future. They may seem so small and so innocent,
but yet, they can be so detrimental to our future. I am so grateful
for the gift of the Atonement and the healing power held therein. I
pray that they can find peace and solace through this time.

That's cool about Brother McNabb--I have heard of these websites.
Fortunately, I haven't really taught anyone who was strongly anti'd.
So, I haven't really had to use it. I know one of the student's father
gave her a 2 inch binder of anti when she was investigating, she
brought it back with her so that she can have a bonfire or something.
It's nasty stuff, that's for sure.

Overall, it sounds like you had a good week. Temple trip, exciting
events coming up, work is going well-ish. It's good to hear that you
are well :)

Well, today was the day of the transfer call. And, as expected, and as
President told me in our interviews, I will be going back to Dinkytown
to train a new missionary. Which, is an overwhelming responsibility,
but I'm doing my best to not think about that. I know it will provide
challenges, but it will be good and things will go well. It will be a
fun experience. I will go to the Mission Home on Wednesday to pick her

It's been pretty fun working with Sister Davydenko and Sister Madsen.
It's been fun to hear the slang that Sister Davydenko has picked up
and also to have to try to define words that I use in words that she
will understand. It's been interesting. She speaks pretty good
English, but there are some words, like "linger" or "loiter". It's
fun. Communication was difficult, but we seemed to improve. I did not
learn any Ukrainian though. I don't think my mouth was designed to
make those sounds...which is why I am serving an English speaking

Investigator situation has been rough. We were dropped by a few and
people just disappeared. We have worked a lot with less actives and
whatnot. Oh, the ward boundaries were changed a couple months ago and
you will never guess whose records were sent to our ward! M.
Sanderson. So, I'm going to take his information with me back to
Dinkytown and see if we can get an activation effort going for him. He
keeps popping up when I am sent to areas...

Let's see... we stopped by a former investigator that Sis. D and
taught and a man answered the door and it wasn't her, so Sister Madsen
just gave a door approach. His words were slurring and it was a
weekend night and he wasn't really comprehending much. Then, Sis. D
jumped in and said, "We are looking for Sally, is she home?"
He goes, "Sally?"
"Yes, Sally, is she here?"
"Who's Sally?"
"Your wife..."
"I'm not married!"
Then he told us to go research the Jehovah Witness church and closed
the door. We don't know what happened to Sally or anything, but that's
where they had taught her before... haha. It was pretty funny--funnier
in the moment than via email, but quite entertaining. I laughed until
we got to our next street to tract.

Anyway, it was fun to be back here for a couple weeks and get to see
the people :) And to learn and grow from the experience. Anyway,
that's all that has really gone on this week. Lots of stop-bys,
tracting, etc. Oh, I know why I can't think of much... Cuz I emailed
you on Wednesday. Saturday we went to a baptism to teach the
Restoration while they were changing and it was one of the sweetest
baptisms I've ever seen. This elderly woman who can barely walk or
hear, but so sweet and knows that this is true. Both of the elders had
to assist in her baptism and they even covered the wall-drain so they
could get the font extra full. She's so cute and it's heart-warming to
see her shuffle down the hall with her walker. It's adorable.

Well, as for what to do for me flying or you picking me up, it's up to
you. If you pick me up you can come see the Sanderson's and see some
of my areas and meet some of the most amazing people ever. Or I can
fly home and we can come back and visit in a year when I'll hopefully
coming back for a temple ordinance. It might be longer than a year
though. I don't know. It's your choice. I'm fine either way. I can't
believe there are only 4 transfers left of my mission. That is
absolutely crazy.

So, I'm sending a package home today...just of things that I can't
carry around any longer and that I won't be using until I get home--my
brown coat, my planners thusfar and I can't remember what else, it's
kind of heavy...I have no idea what is in there...Anyway, you don't
need to open it, I can go through it when I get home. Well, I love you
all, and I will talk to you later!

Sister Randall

Feb. 22, 2012

My dearest family,
How has your week been? It's good to hear that you are all keeping busy! Keep you all out of trouble ;) Best of luck to Shaelyn with the musical and Austin in Tennis. I assume Miranda is still working at Cato's? That's cool that you got in contact with the Stouts! Interesting news. I hope their family is well :) What is this diet called that Mom and Miranda are doing. I may have heard about this. It's nice being back at the Sheffield's (that's where we live)--we have a scale again so I can keep track of what I'm at! I stepped on and was surprised to see the number that I did! However, I think the scale is 5 pounds off, I just keep telling myself that it is right and that I really haven't gained as much weight as I thought I have! :)

I didn't even know Rocio was dating anyone! I need her email or address or something. She wrote me while I was in the MTC, but it only had her school address on it, and I think she was at home at the time. So, I tried writing her anyway, but never heard back. Who is this man? That's too bad that they can't just wait a month and then I could be there! Oh well, life will move on. I'm happy for her. :D First, Charity, then Rocio...who's next? Miranda!? (kidding...I hope).

Things here have remained very busy. A constant go go go, but once again, can I tell you what was involved in that go go go? Not really. We've stopped by several less actives, tracted, taught a few investigators. Not much worth telling.

We went to President's Fireside Sunday night and he caught us on our way out and asked us to come up Wednesday (today) to have interviews with him. I'm not really sure what the purpose is. Maybe he is trying to figure out what to do for transfers? He said to us "I just want to help you Sisters as much as I can." So, I guess I have some ideas of what he was referring to, but it's not anything that I can really discuss with anyone. We'll find out in an hour.

The temple was nice. It's always refreshing and you learn new things. Being in a trio has proved difficult--it always is. It's hard to balance who is speaking when and what not. It's a lot easier to communicate silently to one person instead of two. It all works out in the end.

Yesterday in District Meeting we talked about our points of conversion and what the Spirit feels like and why we are here on our mission. This experience, along with my reflections upon my current finishing of the Book of Mormon helped me see how far I've come over the last year. It's gone from a knowledge to understanding, which reflects in action and attitude. It's not just in my head, but in my heart. It's cool to see how much a mission will do for one. It was cool to hear the other Elders and Sisters stories.

Anyway, how are things with work and school and church? Is there anything that I can do for you from here? Just let me know. I know I can't do much, but if I can do anything please tell me! Well, I love you all and hope that you are doing fantastically! You are all awesome and I will talk to you later!

Sister Randall

Feb. 13, 2012

You will never guess where I am at right now, can you? Want a hint? It's not Dinkytown. Want another one? I've served here before.... That gives you two options.... Northfield Singles or Oakdale. Ok, I'll tell you. I'm officially in Oakdale, for at least 2 1/2 weeks, or more. We'll find out in 2 weeks. Saturday we had just finished all of our planning for our upcoming week and then the phone rang. It was President. You know something is going to change when he says "Well, we've got some news for you." It turns out that Sister Stephenson got sick and needed to go home, so President took us out of Dinkytown and we are now with Sister Davydenko in Oakdale. That have several date sets and a baptism this coming Saturday. So, noon on Sunday President picked up Sister Stephenson from the institute and we went with Sister Davydenko to finish packing our apartment. As of 2:30 yesterday I have been in Oakdale. Weird. And, I'm the only one who can drive right now. It's crazy. The ward mission is not organized, and for whatever reason there has not been sufficient communication between missionaries and ward leaders. With the perfect timing of the Ward mission leader going out of town for 2 weeks. So, if I'm still here next transfer, things are changing and we are getting organized. There is a lot of work to do, but I always enjoy a good project :)
Anyway, big news out of the way! I'm glad things are going well. I'm sure you did well on your test mom. I'm glad people enjoyed the Valentine's dance! I'm sorry to hear about Uncle Lavere. Was that expected? Keep me posted on G. Grandma. Oh, and I'm glad dad is staying busy...keeps him outta trouble! ;) Not that he ever gets in trouble, right mom? At least the kids are staying busy and productive :)
So, last week was full of Dinkytown stuff. We taught Nate about church and the importance of it. It was a really good lesson, we made a lot of progress with him. He came to church on Sunday! So, that's a good sign! We had to meet with the Elders on Saturday and turn all of our investigators over and tell them things that they needed to know. The hardest part of leaving is that Jenny was out of town :( So, I didn't get to say goodbye. I called her though.
Oh, we met with a Muslim girl, that was cool. It wasn't really much of a lesson, it was more of a what is it that you believe, what is it that we believe type of exchange. But, I got a copy of the Quaran and some pamphlets, we gave her a Book of Mormon and our pamplets. We also saw a couple of guys doing their prayers. It was interesting. I learned a lot, and we found many similarities. Fun fun.
We had a really rough lesson. Well, more like we went to meet with this girl, we had planned a lesson, we sat down, she asked us about our "Conversion" and then she went off from scripture to scripture to scripture. It was then that I realized what the envelope she had set on the table was. It was a lesson plan. Scriptures about adding to the bible, about who Jesus is, what the gospel is etc. We got preached to for two hours. She was essentially accusing us of different things through the scriptures she read to us. It was hard to listen to, and we couldn't take control of the conversation. We testified to her very powerfully and she acted as if we had said nothing. It hurt to have someone say such hurtful things that are so close to my heart. But, it was amazing the love that I was still able to feel for her. We finally told her that we had to get to another appointment, and we left. I was grateful that we had forgotten to bring a copy of the Book of Mormon for her. She would have taken it and searched for "mistakes". That was a tough morning.
Basically it was a tough week, but it was good. I have learned so much in serving in the Singles wards. It's weird that I'm now in a Family Ward. Crazy crazy. I wish i could explain all that was going on right now, but it would take way to long. Maybe I will write you a letter after this. We only have one computer for the 3 of us...this is gonna take forever. Anyway, tell the siblings sorry that I didn't respond individually. We don't have time for it today. I am proud of Miranda's example Andrea and I hope that she gets to feeling better. The gospel can truly bring happiness. It's just hard to see how restricting yourself can bring happiness and freedom. Anyway, it's awesome. I love you all. And, thanks for the Valentine package. I loved them all. (Yes, I opened it early...I could give the excuse of saying I needed to pack it all....but that's not entirely true. I was just excited!) I thought all the cards were cute and I'm excited to have a pedicure! Haha. Ok, well I'd better get going. I love you and miss you and keep you in my prayers!
Sister Randall

Feb. 6, 2012

How are you all doing!? Hopefully well. Keep me updated about Great Grandma and aunt Colleen. I'm glad that you are all keeping so busy! Hopefully it's a productive busy. :) How is work going dad? Mom, school?
Well, my time is running short! I'm taking forever on la computadora....uh computer! :D

We had a pretty busy week, but most of it was contacting. We received 16 Future Investigators (meaning 16 people gave us their information, agreeing to learn more) and we hope to get 3 new investigators out of that.

We are currently teaching Nate, from Job Corps, who has taken lessons from missionaries before. His concerns are about Joseph Smith, polygamy, and tithing. We had a lesson with him Saturday night and invited him to come to church, we promised him that he would receive an answer to his questions and all he said was possibly. We arranged for a member to pick him up and then he texted us and said, "probably next week." It's so frustrating when they don't come! They say they want to know, but fail to follow through. And, it was even more frustrating when every testimony borne in Sacrament meeting was specifically directed toward the Restoration or Tithing. We will be talking to him this week about the importance of church and we will give him the notes we took of the testimonies shared. He's the only one that is a serious investigator at this time.

Last night we went contacting and approached this young man, he didn't say much and then we realized that he couldn't speak English! But, he spoke Spanish. I looked at Sister Madsen, looked at the young man and said "Somos missioneros por la Iglesia de JesuChristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias." Sister Madsen was shocked. haha. Then I said "No hablo mucho espanol!" (I know, this is extremely bad Spanish, but he mostly understood!) He laughed a little bit, and so I asked "Que iglesia tu?" He gave me the address of his church... "Quiere que otra missioneros que hablan call you?" (With my hand acting as a phone against my ear. It got the point across. "Que es tu nombre?" He gave us his name... "Y tu numero?" And we got his number. hahaha....Well, it worked. I thought you would enjoy the story. It was fun :)

Here is the excerpt from what I told president in my letter about how I'm doing. This will help you know what my goals are for the next 6 months. While studying I've also thought about how this will apply post-mission as well. It's been interesting to see that the things I've learned are more than just "mission skills". Instead, they are life-long skills.

I'm doing pretty well. I'm working on being able to give all of my heart to the Lord. I read a talk in the June 2011 Ensign called "The Heart and a Willing Mind." It talked about the process of turning your will over to the Lord and there is a quote by Neal A. Maxwell that I really love: 
"The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. . . . The many other things we give to God . . . are actually things He has already given us, and He has loaned them to us. But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we are really giving something to Him. . . . There is a part of us that is ultimately sovereign, the mind and heart. . . . And when we submit to His will, then we've really given Him the one thing He asks of us." 
I have also had the chorus of a song stuck in my head. This song was written by a woman named Christy Hinckson. The chorus goes: "All of my heart, no more no less. All of my heart, was His request. He gave His all, not merely a part. So I can give, all of my heart." So, I am working on really turning my will over to the Lord. Giving it all to Him and pressing forward. 

We had dinner with a member this week and he was talking about his mission. He shared with us one thing that he realized, looking back on his mission, that he wished he would have changed. He said, "I realized I had an attitude of thinking that I deserved a baptism." He went on to talk about how sometimes we get into the thinking that we deserve something. But, in all reality, we deserve nothing, but owe everything to the Lord. I've thought a lot about that. 
I've worked hard in this area, but maybe I've had too much of an "I deserve" attitude and not enough of an "I'll give everything" attitude. I hope to change this with the help of my Savior. After all, this is His work, not mine. 

So, that's my focus. I hope it will change the tone of my mission as well as my imperfect point of view. I have so much that I want to accomplish in 6 months, but the biggest way to do that is to learn to turn my will over to the Lord. It's going to be hard, but much worth it. I also hope that my love for the Savior will increase throughout this process.

Well, family, I love you and I hope that you are doing well. I miss you and pray for you always!