Monday, October 18, 2010

Hey Hey Hey everyone!

So good news! I saw the special! Bad news I was crying so hard that I barely could see ha. It was amazing! If you could send a special thanks to Carole for me that would be amazing! It turned out better than I could have ever thought! And you guys look great! Everyone keeps saying that you guys are way cute and they say to tell you hi!

Dad, I got all of your pictures! You look great and it looks like there shouldn't be a living bird anywhere in sight. I am sure mom is going to love having pheasant in her freezer for the next year. Kota looks so tired it looks like you are holding her up by the collar in most pictures. You can tell that she is the oldest one in the bunch. Tell everyone that I say hi and I hope that you all had fun. Tell Grant I say "hi" back. I love them all! And give Terry and Steve a hard time for being the only ones in their "go to town" clothes.

Mom, Sounds like you are finally getting to do some of those things that you need to do. I am happy for you. It sounds like you are doing well and thank you so much for going to Liz's farewell. I might send you a letter to forward to her today if I have time. I am jealous that you all got to go to Thriller! We heard the song in a restaurant the other day and I immediately went back to that concert. When is the NYC marathon? I can't wait to hear how it all goes.

Brynn, thanks for the email. It sounds like things are going well. PS. I could use some pictures some time... ha. I think that the Halloween theme sounds like a lot of fun. I keep telling people about the Halloween parties that Jen and Al put on and they love it. Are they having a party this year? What will the theme be?

Chase and Ash, how's its going? Mom and dad said that you are super busy with exams this week I hope that they go well! How was having Ashley's family? What did you guys do while they were there with you? Ash, how is the teaching going? How do you like the school and kids?

Jenny, I was so happy to get your email! It sounds like you are having so much fun and that you are keeping my family busy! I love hearing that you have made good friends and that you are enjoying the experience that you have had with our church! I can't wait to meet you! I am so thankful for the influence you have had on my family! You have helped them so much and they are so happy to have you there! Have a great week and good luck with the play!

Okay so this was a crazy week. Monday we went to a street that I will take you to when you come. It is amazing and there are all kinds of souvenirs. We went a little crazy. But that night we had a great lesson/ FHE with some of the people that showed up at the church. There is normally a senior couple that is here and they are in charge of FHE for the youth but they went home and a new couple hasn't shown up yet. So we were having a lesson and we just decided to combined it with some of the people that didn't hear that it was cancelled and we had a fun night.

On Tuesday I met up with the 2 elders with whom I was to travel with to Bulgaria and we caught a taxi to the airport, where we met 4 other elders from another mission... Yes me with 6 elders all week. It was a lot of fun though. We saw a lot of the city and we tried to do some contacting but it was hard because everyone there speaks Bulgarian. It sounds a lot like Ukrainian and Russian but very different. When I read it I could understand it but speaking was another story. But there were several people that learned Russian when it was under the USSR. It was an interesting city with nice people but I knew I wasn't in my mission. It is strange how you can feel when you are not in the place that you know you are suppose to be. I thought it was a great mission but I am happy to be back to my mission and the Ukrainian people. It freaked me out a little to get on an airplane and to see the city disappear below me. It kinda shot me forward two months and I think I am more scared now then I was before. That day is coming way too fast and at the same time not fast enough. I can't decide where I stand. I just wish you could all come here and be missionaries with me. I think that would be the best of both worlds. ha.

But yeah I got back and on Friday we were able to watch the program on President's computer. It was very well done and I was a little embarrassed for myself because I was sitting in the front and I couldn't wipe the tears from my eyes fast enough. But it was great and I think that everyone that saw it has loved the way it turned out.

Friday and Saturday it was back to the work. I was so happy to be back, meeting with people and teaching in a language that I understand. It feels good to be back in the swing of things. Agness is doing great but she is still out of town. She still hasn't smoked and she hasn't had coffee for a week now. We had a talk last night on the phone and she had totally forgotten that she had been out of coffee for an entire week. She ran out and just never bought more. I reminded her when I asked her about it. She is so great. Also Irina and Jenya are doing great! Jenya was sick yesterday so she wasn't able to come to church but they are doing so well. We will meet with them this week and get them situated for the baptism next week. They are really excited.

Also this week the elders found an amazing family and we are going to meet with the daughter tomorrow. They are from Armenia and they met with the elders for the first time in order to do English but they felt like it was a blessing from God. They all came to church yesterday and the daughter asked what she needed to do in order to become a part of this. We started talking about baptism and she said that she wouldn't feel right getting baptized again but then members turned around and started talking about their baptisms. It was a great Sunday!

I am so thankful for this time here, for the people here and the friendships that I have been able to make. I can't wait for you all to meet these people here and to feel of their love. I am so thankful for your examples and for the support and love that I get from you each week! You all have had such a great influence on my mission even though you are so far away! I love you all! and I miss you so so so much! have a great week and be safe!

Sister Larsen

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Transfer Gone!

Hey family!

Thank you for all of the emails and love! I loved hearing about how my parents are huge TV stars in the Big City. Don't let your heads get too big, we still have a long ways before we get Hollywood big. But seriously, I am glad that so many people got something out of it. I still haven't been able to see it. We are waiting for one of the senior couples to get a copy from Carole Mikita and then President said he will show it to everyone. I am a little nervous. I feel like from what everyone has been saying that I am the center! I know I am not but man I wish it was a little less me and more temple and more Ukraine ha. I hope it is not as big as everyone makes it sound.

Mom, As you were talking about the SuperStar moment I may have hit replay in my head and laughed a little. I hope these pills don't have the same effect. I am 100% sure that you will be fine. Everyone I have talked to hasn't even mentioned the side effects that they had from the pills. It was mostly the tiredness from the radiation. I think you will still be the amazing, graceful, lovely, kind, . . . mother we know and love. If you change a little we will still love you all the same. Like everyone here says, "Don't worry, Be happy." haha they love that phrase. Thanks for going to all of my friends' farewells. I wish I could be there so badly especially to see Liz. I hate that I won't see her for 3 years, but I know she will do great. Send her my love and a big hug. And maybe if you could get her address that would be fantastic. You are amazing! Are the girls going to do anything fun while the boys are gone hunting? And thanks for getting us signed up for housing! I have heard that is a good place to live.

Dad, I can't believe it is already that time again, the hunt is on. Please be so so careful. I know how much you guys love to joke around but please take care of yourself and my puppies. But I bet you will have a ton of fun. I loved the story of the guy in the elevator. It made me laugh pretty hard. I am sorry that your eyes are bugging you. I hope that you can get adjusted pretty quickly.

Brynn, how was your marathon recovery week? Did you get some rest or did you find something to fill your week up? It sounds like you did both at once maybe? Mom or dad left me a hint of what you did this week ha. I remember you saying that you have a lot of flowers this week? Good luck and have fun. We talked a lot yesterday about coming home and doing flowers. My companion worked at a flower shop in Provo and it made me a little trunky to get home and get to work.

Chase and Ash, Hey how are you guys? How was having Paige and Ann? What did you guys end up doing? I think I remember that Chase has a lot of test this week so I am sure that you are just hitting the books like crazy now so good luck and study hard. I know you will do great. You always do.

Alright so we finally got to watch conference yesterday and Saturday and I loved every minute! I loved Elder Holland's talk and i just cried the whole time. I don't remember why but something just hit me like a ton of bricks. I also loved Elder Christofferson's talk. I think he hit a lot of things right on the head. But one of the talks that just hit me hard was Elder Oaks' talk about the 2 lines of revelation. I think I have been putting off a lot of my decisions onto other people and asking for others to make the important decisions in my life. I called President a few weeks ago because we don't have interviews as often as we used to and I was looking for some guidance on school. When we started talking I wanted him to just say, "Well Sister Larsen I feel like you will do this as your profession and so you will need to go home and study this this and this." Well he didn't say any of that. He shared some experiences about how he went to school for 10 years trying to figure out what he wanted to do. Don't worry dad I won't go to school for 10 years. You can breath again. But he talked with me about how you have to seek the Lord's will until you find it. So for the last few weeks I have been seeking for the Lord's will for me. I know that it won't all come at once but it will come as I strive to live a righteous life. I think that has been one of the hardest things on my mission. I want to the Lord to tell me word for word what I should do and say, but He just trusts us that we have tried to seek His word and fill ourselves with the words of the prophets. What we have studied for so long is actually what He wants us to say. I don't know if this is making much sense but things are kinda unfolding still in my head. ha. Brynn asked last week what some of my goals are for the rest of my mission. I am looking at 12 weeks right now and I have set a goal to come home every night just asking to get in bed because I have given my all. I also want to strive everyday to seek the Lord in everything that I do. I always ask the Lord what I should do but I very rarely listen. I always here that one of the things that missionaries are most grateful for is that they learned how the Lord speaks to them while on their missions. Well that is what I want to do. Okay enough of my rambling.

This week was pretty amazing. Agnessa still hasn't smoked. She is still struggling with coffee and she hasn't had anything to drink for almost a week so slowly but surely we are working towards her goal. She is amazing though. She has been out of town but she has spent a lot of her time reading and praying. At night she will call us and say, "Sister Larsen did you know that this scripture was in the Book of Mormon? Isn't it amazing?" She will share her thoughts and she is always right on.

We also have been working with ирина and her daughters and they have decided to get baptized on the 30th of December. We are having so much fun teaching them because they really love the scriptures. Also Jzenya is amazing and always has really deep thoughts for a 15 years old girl. You can tell that they really love the Lord and really want to serve Him.

Well I am going to try and send some pictures but I love you all and I hope that you have an amazing week! Thanks again for everything!

Sister Larsen

Monday, October 4, 2010

Where did Winter come from?

I am so happy to hear from all of you! I think that today I receive a record high number of emails on the mission! Thank you everyone that wrote. I feel so bad that I can't write you all back but know that they were all deeply appreciated!

So first of all CONGRATS mom and Brynn for killing it in the race! I am so proud of both of you!

So to a serious note, please send my love to the Henriksens! I was so sad to hear about what happened! I bet they are so torn up by all of that! Tell them I love them and I am praying for them! They are such an amazing family and I have always loved being around them. I wish I could send my love in another way.

Mom, again congrats! I am so proud of you guys and I had you in my prayers all day. I looked at my clock and I said they are probably getting ready to run right now... they are still running... they should be finishing soon! I was worrying all day about the heat and hoping that it wouldn't rain. I am glad that everything turned out okay and that you feel good about the outcome! I hate that I am starting to want to run one when I get home because that means I might have to run a little. ha. I haven't seen the KSL TV special but I know you don't look 400 years old!! That is not possible!

Dad, I am glad that the surgeries went well! I didn't get the pictures of the girls running but I got all the other ones. Thanks for sending those! They always make me happy. Remember how I keep telling you that I am giving up candy... well it finally happened. I will tell the story later but we have gone a whole week without chocolate:D. Go us! ha. I am sorry that they forgot you. that is a really sad story but I did laugh ha. I hope that never happens again.

Brynn, GO YOU! I am so so so proud of you! I knew you could do it and I had you in my prayers all day on Saturday! I know you would for sure kick my trash in a race. When is the NY marathon? What do you have to do to prepare? I am also glad that you get a little down time. I just had a thought, you said your cooler is really ghetto yeah? Well I think we should paint it and pimp it out so it goes with our style a little? What are your thoughts?

Chase and Ashley, Thanks for the email. Dad sent me a picture of Chase in his scrubs chillin... cute ha. I am so glad that you have such great friends. It sounds like you do a lot together even though you are all so busy. We talked a lot about keeping a balance in all aspects of our lives and it sounds like you guys have got that handled. I am excited for Ashley's family to come out. I bet you guys will all have fun together.

Alright so here is the run down. Winter came out of no where and I have already donned the wool tights and boots... I don't know where fall went. But it is already so cold here. We sang hymns last night on the main street here in center last night and I thought my toes were going to fall off. It was fun though and we mad some good contacts!

So this week has been interesting. I feel like we have been running all over the place but we have had a lot of really great success and fall backs. The mother and daughter are still progressing but they didn't come to church yesterday. Agness (the daughter) had had a really long night and turned her phone off... so when we called to wake her up she wouldn't be disturbed ha. But she was having a hard time with smoking so we made a deal. We would give up chocolate while she gave up smoking. Since then we haven't had any chocolate and she is holding out on smoking. It has been kinda fun though because whenever any of us has a craving we will call or text each other and talk about something random to get our minds off of it. We also check with each other each night and see if we are still going strong. We had a bad day a few days ago and I wanted chocolate so bad but I called her and we held out ha. It has been interesting how excited she has been about it. Right after we had made that decision one of my friends from one of the other wards came up so me and said that she had brought me something. It was my favorite candy bar in super size!! Then every member tried to give us candy with our tea but when we explained they took it and put it in the other room. they are great.

We have seen a lot of little miracles this week with members and families that we have been working with. One family actually came to church yesterday and it was great seeing them all together. They didn't make to sacrament... in fact they were late to Relief society but hey they made it so I give them credit. They loved it and will for sure be there next week. We have a huge meeting set up with the whole family and a member and her daughter next week and I can't wait.

My campanion is doing great too. We have transfers next week but we won't find out until Tuesday what is going to happen. Poor sister Zenger had to swallow her first serving of Liver. I knew what it was but I didn't say anything until we had gotten outside. She doesn't really like to everything but we had talked a little earlier in the week about how we just need to eat what they give us. I asked her how she liked liver and she started coughing. It was pretty funny and I remembered my first time with that. I also found out today that I am finally going to Bulgaria to get a new visa next week. I am not really that excited because I would rather just stay here and work but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Don't kill me this week because it is such a lame letter. But I spent too much time reading this week. I love you all and I hope that you are doing great! I can't wait to see your faces!

Sister Larsen

[Editor's Note: Brooke and her companion were featured as part of the KSL special that aired between Sunday conference broadcasts. It was so fun to see her and hear her voice.)

3 Months and I am not counting!

Hey Hey Hey!!

Thank you for all of the emails. I am always so happy when I get one from each of you. Mom and dad always give me the run down but it is nice to hear how you all are!!! It sounds like you all had tons of fun in Lake Powell and in School. Unfortunately whenever you send the pictures through the silverlight thingy I can't see the pictures. I would have to download a program in order to see them... and I can't really do that. But in small size you all look amazing ha!

Mom, I am so proud of you for finishing strong and for giving your all to get ready for this marathon. Your will power still blows my mind! I can't believe it is so hot down in St. George still. I hope that it cools down. Please drink a ton of water. I hope that everything goes well and that you have fun running together! Hopefully we can all run together next year!

Dad, I hope that everything goes well tomorrow and Wednesday. I will keep a prayer in my heart for ya. I am proud of you for getting up on the ski. Did you show all those boys how it is really done? Did you guys bring the boat back up to SLC? It sounds like you gave those kids a fun time. How was seeing Bishnu? Did he come down to Utah for awhile? How much time did you get to spend with him?

Brynn, Hey it sounds like you are doing a lot better and that you had fun in Powell. I actually was quoting LPAM and AATKA this last week. I told sister Zenger about the mud in my eye story and how the axe murderer was on rampage in Powell. I always laugh when I think of the story. You calling me hook all weekend. I am glad that the Danube and Marge came down with you guys. It sounds like you guys were mom and dad's entertainment.

Chase and Ashley, man it sounds like you guys are busy but loving it. I met someone that had been to where you guys live and they said that they loved it. I am glad that you are liking your classes and teaching. Ash I can just picture you and I bet all of the kids just adore you! I hope you have a better class then ours was with student teachers. Chase at first I thought you were just saying that the class was gross and then I remembered that it is actually the name of the class. I had to laugh at my stupidity for a min.

Jenny, Congrats on getting asked to the dance! I hope that you have an amazing time. My parents said that you will answer Sean.. How are you going to do it? When is the dance? Are you excited? You will have to send me pictures!

So I swear this month has flown by. It has gone by slower than August but I still don't know where the time has gone. I woke up today and realized that October starts this week. Crazy!

Well this week was pretty great. We had a lot of meetings and a lot of success. We have been meeting with this mother and daughter, Tanya and Agnessa. They are great and have been loving everything that we have taught them. They are actually temple referrals and we have been meeting with them since the open house. Tanya is a little more hesitant but Agnessa has already read more then half of the Book of Morman and has a testimony of it. She started reading it from the beginning again because she wants to understand it a little better. These last 2 weeks we have been meeting with them and teaching them a lot about the commandments. This last week we set baptismal dates with them for October 23! They are progressing so well and I feel like Agness has become one of my sisters. She has gone 4 or 5 days with out smoking and now she is trying to stop drinking coffee. She is a trooper and she is doing amazing. We read with them the blessing of the Word of Wisdom and you could tell that she wanted it. They both just soak up as much knowledge as they can. I love teaching them because they really are searching. I will have to take a picture and send it this week.

Also this week we have found a lot of really amazing people that have been to the temple. We had to go to the police station in order to get my phone back... By the way the police found it!!!! yeah!!! But along the way we were able to talk to several people that had been to the temple and it was great because a member was with us and she was able to see that people really are interested. By the end she was doing most of the talking.

Yesterday in church we had a missionary conference. We took the last 2 hours of church and talked about the missionary work in our areas. I had to speak along with one of the elders. Elder Wheiler talked about how we need to work together in order for us to be able to do the work that the Lord has prepared. I know what we all think that missionaries are called to just do the work and we will come to the baptisms but while I have been here I realized that we can't do anything without the help of members. If we just do the work then when we leave so do our converts. But if members bring their friends to church and share with them what has brought them joy, they will accept the Gospel so much better then if a 22 year-old girl from America with broken Russian tries to do the same thing. It means so much more when you hear it from someone you know and trust then from a stranger on the street. I know that we have the Lord on our side and He is always with us so that we can teach His truth but when we are gone these knew members need someone to lean on. In my talk, I talked about how much power members have. They think that what they say doesn't matter. But I know it does. I have watched as member have worked with people for years and finally in the end they are able to help their friends receive the full and ever lasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a great conference and the Stake President gave an amazing talk about bringing them to the temple. All in all church was amazing yesterday!

Well I should probably get going but I love you all so so so much! And I hope that everything goes well. Good luck this week in the Marathon! I hope that it cools down for ya.

Sister Larsen