Monday, January 8, 2018

Grand Junction 1

Welcome To Grand Junction
Well I have left Gunnison and I am now in Grand Junction in the Monument ward. My companion's name is Sister Lokotui and she is great. She is from California, but her family is Tongan. She is super fun and loves the gospel.
The last week in Gunnison was great. Shay kept her commitment to read the Book of Mormon so that was good. We met with Maria and she said she wants to set a goal to get to the temple and wants to be a better example for her brothers. The Branch seemed excited about that. Sister Carlson also got to stand on a frozen lake for the first time ever.
We are already seeing miracles here in Monument. We have been able to make contact with a lot of less-actives that have said no in the past and have been able to meet them and set up return appointments so that is awesome. The ward here is a lot bigger then in Gunnison and will take some getting used too.
I hope you all have a great week.

 Our District (Gunnison)

[in a letter to me in response to my question about how her ankle is doing]
My ankle is healing, the Branch President looked at it just before I left and said it is just badly sprained and will take a while to heal I will just have to wear the brace for a few months.
[in response to my very excited, "Grand Junction?! Are you in your great grandma's ward?"]
No, I am actually in the other zone (non mission term other stake) so I probably will never see her. I am not allowed to leave my zone. Also in doing this my plan thing I just signed up for an institute class and have committed to go to the temple once a week. I just thought I should let you know so when I am home I am not like, "well I got to go to Institute" and you like planned something. I signed up for Tuesday nights at 7 at the Anoka building.
[and here's a quote Ana thought I would like]

In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to BECOME something.”
[bonus picture someone texted to me- Ana and her new companion and they are sprained ankle twins]

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Gunnison 17 & 18

Ana's letter this week is pretty short- she mentioned when we talked on Christmas that it would be short because Monday the library would be closed and Tuesdays are usually busy, being a regular work day and that she would need to spend most of her free time today working on My Plan.
It was great to talk to her on Christmas. She seemed in a very good mood and we laughed over a handful of jokes. She mentioned her ankle is still healing and also that she's used her Minnesota winter weather driving skills and gained mountain winter weather driving skills after being in rural mountain areas most of her mission. She and her companion (who is from Texas) were driving and hit a patch of black ice.  Her companion kept saying, "What are we supposed to do?!" and Ana kept saying, "I'm doing what we're supposed to do!" and she did (stayed steady and steered straight) and they were safe and didn't go off the road which would have been bad because they were in a rural area meaning no cell service and no other travelers. We are glad they are safe :-) (and glad we got to talk to her because she tells more stories in person than in writing).


Well it happened, I have officially spoken to all of the less-actives [members not attending church regularly] in the Gunnison Branch. Or at least tried to find all of their houses and the houses that we found I have talked to.  That is pretty exciting; I don't think I have been able to do that in any of my other areas.
Shay still is not coming to church. She did start reading the Book of Mormon by her self again so that is progress.  
This less-active family, the Chonas, we were able to meet with.  The daughter kept her commitment to read the Book of Mormon so that was great.
We had another family move into the branch this week.  Also Chris brought his mom with him to church this week and she is not a member so that is super exciting.  
I hope you all have a great week.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Gunnison 15 and 16

Merry Christmas!

Zone Conference was this week. It was great as usual. The entire thing was focused on Christmas.  I gave a training on how to have a more Christ centered Christmas. 
We have been showing everyone the Christmas video and we have been able to get in and see some less-active people because of it so that is awesome. 
We went caroling with the Harvey family and stopped by some members and less-active people that they know so we were able to meet them.  
Monique was in the hospital this week so we went and saw her and showed her the Light the World video.
The members of the branch are doing a great job fellow-shipping Shay. The Branch President invited the entire branch council that if they did not know her they have to find a way to meet her and introduce themselves.  
Something super exciting though is that a member moved into the Gunnison Branch yesterday and he is super on fire about missionary work so that is awesome. He got back from a mission about a year ago it is great.  
I hope you all have a great Christmas and don't forget to help light the world. 

[Letter is from this week, photo is from last week. She didn't have time to write a group email last week and didn't send any photos this week. Photo is Ana with a note made on the "honor your parents" day of Light the World. I can't read what is written on the side, but the middle says "I love you Mom and Dad". There is a picture of her in CO with hearts and dashed lines to us in MN and Isaac in Brazil. It's super cute, I love it :-)]

Inline image 1

Monday, December 4, 2017

Gunnison 14

Last Night I Had A Dream I Was Drinking A Root Beer Float

We were watching the Christmas Devotional at the Seelbinders and Mark made us all root beer floats.  He said "Last night I had a dream I was drinking a root beer float; and look at me now, follow your dreams." 
This week was the Night of Lights.  That is were the entire town of Gunnison gets together and people have booths that line Main Street and at the end of the street there is a giant Christmas tree and Santa comes; at some point all the kids follow him and he lights the tree. The church had a booth and it was pretty close to the tree so that was awesome. We handed out a lot of pass along cards about the Christmas video.  We also had a little fire and people could roast marshmallows. 
It was also the Branch Christmas party this week.  We ended up singing Mary, Did You Know? with the Seelbinders.  The kids all did a little skit about what Christmas would have been like in the Americas.  
We had a lesson with Shay this week. We ended up teaching the 10 commandments and why we should live them.  
We were finally able to meet with Grace this week. Grace is a 13 year old girl who wanted to be baptized, but her mom does not think she is old enough to make that decision.  Grace really loves church and the gospel.  We started doing personal progress with her so she can still meet with the missionaries.   
I hope you all have a great week. 
[the link for "Christmas Devotional" links to the main page. Currently you can watch the video right on the main page. I don't know how long it will be up, maybe for the week. 
Ana may eye roll at the version I picked for "Mary Did You Know?", but some of the versions are pretty cheesy (imo), and I thought this one was pretty great.]

Monday, November 27, 2017

Gunnison 13

Gunnison for Christmas

Well I am staying in Gunnison for the next 6 weeks.  It will be an adventure and we will have to see how cold it gets.  
On Monday we met with a less-active named Monique. She is super great and is 19.  Her sister went on a mission so that is exciting.  She hasn't been to church in about a year and said she wants to start coming again. At the end of our lesson she said you know I was planning on not showing up tonight but I am glad I did.  
Shay is doing great. The Seelbinders had her over for our lesson and then they also had her over for Thanksgiving.  They are great fellowshipers.  Shay and Mark have very similar pasts and both struggle with anxiety and depression. Mark's testimony has really helped Shay realize how important the gospel is and that it can help. 
Our landlord's family had us over for Thanksgiving.  They are super great. 
The new church Christmas video came out. It is amazing everyone should watch it.  It is about 2 minutes and you can find it by just going on 
I also sprained my ankle this week so that was exciting.  
I hope you all have a great week. 
[Part of Ana's letter to me because I asked her some related questions and thought maybe this could be inspirational to some:]
 In church on Sunday two sibling gave talks on being grateful in times of trial.  [one] said he was going to go a little different way and talk about a life experience.  He went on to say that on his mission he was assigned to go to Brazil.  When he was in the MTC he thought he got over his homesickness and all the emotions of a mission. He then went on to talk about how it was apparent that his Visa was not coming so he got reassigned to the Las Angeles mission to wait for his Visa.  While he was there he realized that he was not happy and not enjoying himself and he realized something was wrong about 5 months into his mission.  He ended up being diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety that meant the they were going to permanently reassign him to the Las Angeles mission.  He said that in all of that and with the help of a loving mission president, patient companions, and kind members and less-actives he was able to serve a full 2 year mission and it was an amazing experience. He never thought he would be able to finish.  He said when it was happening he felt abandoned but he knows now that he was never alone and the it is only because Heavenly Father loves him that he was able to do it. It was a super powerful story. 
There are a lot of missionaries that struggle with depression and anxiety and people are willing to work with it.  If [anyone] wants to serve a mission it is possible.  
[And this little "oh yeah, by the way" because I asked how her hike last week went cracked me up and I thought other moms might appreciate it:]
I sprained my ankle while hiking.  Other then that it was pretty good though.  If you get a notification about someone using your insurance that is why. 
I love you

Monday, November 20, 2017

Gunnison 12

Donny Osmond Really Knows How to Get Down to Business

He came in with the force of a great typhoon.

Well I think that was the highlight of my my week. Skyping with Donny; it was a blast. He really has a testimony like a coursing river.   He has a pretty good Minnesotan accent.  He was so happy he was able to join us for a lesson and he was very grateful we thought to Skype.  He has a son on a mission in Italy so he was happy that he can tell him about his missionary experience.  He talked about how it is a miracle that his son was even able to go on a mission because he had struggled with anxiety for a long time.  He talked about how the gospel had helped his son.  Then he also shared about how he gained his testimony of the book of Mormon.  It was super cool and the Spirit was so strong.  Shay ended up praying about a day to be baptized and Donny said he would come.  He ended up having to hang up because he was supposed to be on stage soon and his manager kept coming and telling him he needed to start getting ready.  It was a great lesson and probably one of the best ones I have had with Shay.  
The other member that we brought to the lesson (Sister Seelbinder), has started to fellowship her. She offered to pick up Shay for church and invited her to dinner. We are going to have a lesson in her home tomorrow. Sister Seelbinder thought it would be a good idea to have her over and to have her and Mark talk because it sounds like they have very similar pasts. I was going to send a picture of the lesson, but for some reason the member that took the photo says it won't send to my email so that is weird.  
I also got crazy sick the night before the lesson.  I had a fever of about 103 it was crazy.  I am doing okay now.  

I hope you all have a great week.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Gunnison 11

 We Made it On Time to Seminary
We were actually the first ones there, we were so proud of ourselves. We went to Seminary to give everyone in the class a Book of Mormon.  A week ago the class had a discussion about handing out copies of the Book of Mormon to their friends and not many of them had done it. We had dinner with the teacher last night and we talked about sharing the Book of Mormon with our friends and talking about it and she told us about the conversation with the class.  This morning we went to invite the class to write down their testimony of Jesus Christ in the front then pray about who they could give it to.  I figured I would just share a little bit of mine, since I committed all the seminary kids to share it with their friends I should probably do the same.  
I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ.  Through reading it I have come to know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that he really did come to the earth and suffer and die for each of us.  I have felt Heavenly Father and Jesus's love for me.  I know that they know exactly what I feel and know how to help me.  I have learned that because of Christ I can feel happy even in trials.  I know that Heavenly Father loves all of his children all around the world.  

This week we went on exchanges I was with Sister Pond for a day.  She got to teach a Spanish lesson with me to Ruben.  We read a little bit of the Book of Mormon with him.  We talked about how sometimes God asks us to do hard things but if we have faith then we can do what he asks.  
Tuesday we had a lesson with Shay.  We talked about prayer and how if we pray then the Spirit can witness to us of the truth.  Also how we can ask for peace and comfort.  She turned to the Book of Mormon this week when she was having a bad day. She opened it to a random page and it was exactly what she needed.  She read Ether 15.  I had never before thought of that chapter as a comforting one.  It helped her realize that sometimes we do have to sleep on our swords in a sense because we need to always watch out. We also need to keep fighting until the end no matter what.  It was a new perspective. 
We got to help Claressa with service this week.  She is doing a craft fair. We helped her to make bird feeders and pine cones for starters. After we did service she let us share a message and we set up an appointment to go back, so we are now teaching Claressa again.
We taught Jared again this week. We taught him the restoration of the gospel.  We asked him to read the Book of Mormon so we will see if he does that.  
We saw the Heckers this week. We talked about Sabbath day observance. They also fed us dinner and brother Hecker taught us how to make a stew out of all food storage things.  That was exciting; he is supposed to get me the recipe.  
We also did service at the High School play. They did Willy Wonka.  We helped hand out tickets and concessions.  We got to talk to some of the cast so that was fun.  
I hope you all have a great week.

[a little extra from her letter reply to her dad:  In Gunnison we have zero snow right now.  On the mountain is Crested Butte, they have some.  I do like the snow I am excited for it.  I think the most exciting lesson we taught this week was that we were talking about the word of God and how we need to read it.  On the TV that was going that was not going to be turned off it started talking about the Book of Mormon so that was fun.]