Sunday, February 28, 2016

2-22-16
8 is a magic number...

This week was the bomb-diggety! For-reals! We had some great great lessons, and for the first time since we opened the area, we had investigators at church! But not just one or two, WE HAD 8!!!!!! Aw, man. It was beautiful. What a great week. And it was thanks to a member who brought 6 of them with her. Haha It's so great to see people progressing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

We've finally found people who are really, actually interested in changing their lives for the better in Christ. And it is so beautiful to see them humbling themselves before the Lord and experiencing His Spirit so powerfully for the first time. Man. I love my job. ;) 

One of our investigators who came, is one who we met our first day here. We invited her to come to a self-reliance course, because that was her need, and we were thinking she'd progress in the Gospel, but we had signs saying that she wasn't really interested. So we sadly dropped her for a little while, until a member let us know that she's interested and is wanted to find out how she can find out more about our church! Yay! So we had a lesson with her Saturday morning, and man. It was really beautiful. She absolutely has allowed herself to be prepared by the Lord. She's excited to read the Book of Mormon, she's relieved to have finally found the answer to so many of her questions, and she gave her first prayer aloud this last lesson. It was really beautiful. In her home-situation, she doesn't like being vulnerable, because she dosen't want to get hurt, so she doesn't put herself out there very much. We had to reasure her that if she was going to be vulnerable for God, that He would fill the places in her heart where there is fear and walls, and worry with love, peace and acceptance. About two sentences into her prayer, she began to get emotional. Because she could feel God's love for her. It was so beautiful, and I am so grateful to have a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for all of us. I'm grateful for the priviledge of representing His Son here in Plazas and I'm grateful for the miracles that He's working for me. I believe in Christ. He's my King. He's my Brother. He's my Friend. And He's my Savior. OF His name I testify, en el nombre de Jesucristo, amen. 

Sure love you all. Have a great week. Go hug somebody. =) 

--Hermana Larsen

2-15-16
Valentine's Day

So... Valentine's Day was super fun. We went to a dance for young single adults and it was really great. I learned how to do a whole bunch of new dances and got to know some really great people. After taking off my nametag, it felt weird. But, you know. Gots ta parte.
#justkidding
I super did not do that. #ithinki'mprettyfunny.
Anyway, this week was great! We having cleaning checks this Friday, so Hermana De Santiago and I spent a lot of time today cleaning. We used this new cleaner that's super legit... you have to have to windows open, and you cannot mix it with bleach... or you'll die. It started bubbling in our shower, but it worked great! #notdeadyet
We found this ne investigator who is just the BEST! She already has all of her required church-attendences and she's dating a member who wants to have a marriage that lasts forever. So she's investigating the church with us and, man. She's just really receptive to the spirit. She loves her boyfriend very very much, but wants to make this decision for herself, because the church is true, not just for him. Well, good thing the church is true! She's so awesome and just very sweet and so so sincere. We love her very much.
Sorry, today's going to be short because I'm out of time. But I love you all! Thank you for the prayers and I hope you had a great week! Also, I wish you an even better this week. I love you all! Eat chocolate!
--Hermana Larsen

We made cookies for the ward with a family who is just the sweetest (no pun intended). This is Edrick. 

Me and Sister De Santiago!

This is me, Hermana De Santiago, and Hermana Katia Mendoza. She's a member here in Plazas and she is probably the most helpful member here. She washes our clothes for us every week for free, and she also says hi to my mom and family. 

2-8-16
6 meses!!!

So... I hit 6 months this last week. #WHAT?!?!?! It's a little crazy. 1/3 of the way done with my mission, and it just keeps going faster and faster. 

This last week we saw a lot of beautiful miracles. We're finding the old investigators from the missionaries who were here before us, finding out who's interested, who isn't, and finding a few investigators that we've contacted in the street. 

I am realizing that one of my biggest problems out here is that I'm a bit gullible. I know this, because of how many false addresses we have. It's good to trust people, but when it's wasting the Lord's time, there's a problem. So Hermana De Santiago's helping me to know when people are lying and when we repeat a house number/phone number, we change some of the numbers. If they correct us, awesome! They're telling the truth! And if not, awesome! Now we know that they're not interested. 

We are really working on applying principles from Preach My Gospel in our teachings and we're really seeing the blessing. (Huh, it's like the church is true or something. Weird). And this week, we were practicing the First Vision as a companionship and how to improve it, and let me just say that I have a testimony of the truthfulness of that account. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I know that he was a prophet, called of God, and authorised by Him to restore His Gospel, in its fullness and to restore His church. I don't have doubts about it because the Spirit has made the truthfullness of it known unto me, and I cannot deny it. I love my Savior and for His sacrifice for me. I need it so much. Sometimes I get so prideful, and sometimes I don't put as much of my soul into things as I should, and if it weren't for my Savior, I'd be incapacitated by the guilt and the weight that my sins bring to me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be clean, and I testify of the Atonement of Christ. It's real. And it's here for us to use every day, so we can always choose to improve and to be more like Him. I share these things in the name of Christ, Jesus, amen. 

I sure love you all. =) Enjoy your week and repent! You'll feel amazing, I promise. =) 

--Hermana Larsen


Yo y Hermana Garcia


2-1-16
the church is true.

Hey guys. I hope your weeks were amazing and that you went to the temple... because I got to go to the visitor's center again this week and couldn't go to the temple. It was the saddest thing of my life. But, me and Hermana De Santiago had a great time. =) We bought tamales. 

This week had a lot of beautiful parts to it. Me and my companion LOVE pan de dulce... they're like different types of bread and pastries that are SOOO good and really good for your soul... but maybe not the rest of you. Anyway, we're expecting not to fit into our skirts by the end of the change. 

We had food at an Hermana's house yesterday who forgot. Usually this wouldn't be such a big deal, she'd give us money and we'd go find someplace to eat, but yesterday was Sunday, so she invited us in and gave us a tuna salad with tostadas. But the plates and the glasses she gave us were dirty... so Hermana De Santiago asked her to look for something in the other room, and as fast as we could, we used napkins and hand sanitizer to try and clean our plates. haha also, as the Hermana was serving the tuna from the can, she stuck her finger in it to help get the rest out, but just moments before she was petting her dog... so... yeah. It was pretty funny. We ate everything and it tasted fine, but man. haha We have an appointment to eat with her again tomorrow. Prayers are welcome. ;) 

One lesson that we had this last week was really beautiful. This family was a contact on the street, and at the beginning of the lesson, they told us that they were Catholic, as they were sitting next to a giant Virgin of Guadalupe on the wall (I'm not sure if she's supposed to be the virgin Mary, or if it's a different virgin, but she's really popular in México). But we taught the lesson, using new things that we'd learned from Preach My Gospel, and the member that was with us shared his testimony of how he and his family were sealed in the temple and of the blessings of this Gospel. At the end of the lesson, we invited them to be baptised, and they said yes!!! It was gorgeous and the Spirit was there and testifying to them of the truthfulness of our message. I loved it. =) Afterwards we celebrated with pan de dulce. 

This week had some really hard moments, where I know Satan had his hand in it, but I'd like to testify that this is Christ's church restored on the earth. I'm also a witness of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It's real. All of the pain and fear and sorrow and torment that you feel, He felt. Even though He didn't do anything to deserve it, He felt all of the worst pains and heartaches that each of us have experienced. And why? So death won't have it's sting. So there could be second and third chances. So the burden of sin that each of us carry could be lifted up and taken away. And all of this, because He loves us perfectly and intimately. I love my Savior. I'd do anything for Him, because it is through Him that I can do and be anything. Our potential is our decision, but through Him, it can be infinite. I love you all dearly. Remember the sacrifice of our Savior, and His love for you. I testify of Him and His love and glory, in His sacred name, amen. 

Have an amazing week, please. =) 

Les amo,

Hermana Larsen



1-25-16
News!

I just said news because we've had so many new experiences this week! We're in this new ward and have been using our map a lot (a loooooot) and even still sometimes we get lost. But the people here in our new area are the sweetest. The ward members are great, the people on the street too. It's really a beautiful area. And my companion's the bomb-diggety. She has a great memory and so she's helped us get lost less-often. 

We have 0 investigators, because the missionaries who were here before us weren't allowed to contact because they were closing the area. So we are contacting! It's really neat to talk to so many wonderful people. This week we contacted a lady who is 9 months pregnant and walking home from work (9 MONTHS!) and she said that we could pass by the park and share a message with her. We talked with her about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and that there's a plan that he has created for us to go back and live with Him again. We talked about Why Christ is so important in this plan and why it's important to follow Him. We then invited her to be baptised, and she said yes!!! But she lives in the area of our Zone Leaders so, lucky them. haha We found another lady who's looking for better work. So I told her about the self-reliance courses that the church provides (for freeeeeeee!) and she was so excited! She told us that we're an answer to her prayers and that she knows we were sent from God. Now we're just trying to find a time to meet with her and talk about the Gospel, but she's already been to two self-reliance activities, and so we'll see! 

There are these two words in Spanish that are really similar: plaqueta and placa. plaqueta is platelet. Like, a component of our blood. And the other }, placa, is like tag (like our missionary name tags) and the other day I asked a lady to look for people with little platelets... my companion was very sweet and afterwords explained to me what happened. haha she's the sweetest. 

I wish you all an amazing week! PLEASE!!! read your scriptures! No joke, they are the bomb. Commitment, right now, each of you are going to really read your scriptures, study a topic, answer a question that you have, and then share what you learned. My preference would be you sharing what you learned with me and also the scriptured that you  learned it with. Pray with faith, and you will find your answer! It's amazing! Please do it! 

I love you all! 

--Hermana Larsen 



1-19-16
Transfers

So... this week was a little crazy as far as missions go. Hermana Garcia and I were working hard and trying to figure out how to improve our efforts and everything, but most of all, TERRIFIED about changes, that were yesterday, but we get the calls Saturday night. We had prayed and asked for God to permit us to continue working together in this area, and I had asked President too (in a very good way. I quoted scripture and everything). The phonecall came Saturday and our zone leader, Elder Cox told us that we had a very special situation. That we were both going to train, but as a trio here in Panamericano. We were so excited and got the house ready for one more person. Monday, we went to President's house to have lunch and to pick up our new daughter. As we were finishing up eating, President asked me to visit with him in his office and pulled Hermana Hall inside too. Honestly, I was terrified that a family member had passed away or something aweful like that. **SPOILER, EVERYONE'S FINE!!!** (this spoiler was brought to you by Maya Larsen). President told me that I am needed elsewhere. That he just heard Saturday that we are going to have another new sister whose coming to wait for her visa so she can go to the MTC in Provo. He told me that I will also be openning an area. So, yesterday, I was in a trio, and today I am a trainer in an area called Via de las Flores. haha It's new. I've only been here for about 3 hours, but it's really great. My companion's a sweetheart and we're ready to go to work. Also, to maybe buy some bread so we can leave crumbs everywhere we go. haha My companion's name is Hermana de Santiago and she is from Lerdo Durango, here in México, but way more up North. She's been called to serve in Portland, Oregon, so we're going to be practicing English a lot. =) 

Thinking about what's happened, I was thinking that I'd be discouraged, or frustrated or sad, but I'm not. I was thinking about why, and why I don't feel like saying, 'Oh, prayers don't work' or some sort of Apostacy like that, and it's because this has been a beautiful example to me that, yes. God answers prayers, unless He has something better in mind. He loves me very much, and all of you too. Just know that when an answer doesn't come the way we want it to, it is ALWAYS because He has something better in mind. I love my Heavenly Father very much and I testify of His love for us. It's the "because" for everything good that life has. And everything good that the eternities can hold. I hope you have a wonderful week. I sure love all of you! 

--Hermana Larsen


1-11-16
Zone Conference

Hola, personas! This week was super chill. We had our zone conference where we studied the life of Peter and his conversion process. And it's really neat. Presidente Hall talked to us about how, usually, when we talk about Peter walking on the water, we focus on him doubting, and, as a result, sinking, but Presidente wanted us to realize that Peter is the only Apostle who had the faith the leave the boat and to follow his Savior. It's a wonderful example that he has set for us, especially when he was finally converted in Acts. I would really suggest studying the life of Peter. 

We have some really sweet people here. We're working with investigators and members and it's really great. We make new friends all the time and they are just the sweetest. The other day, we were talking to a new friend who's probably in her 70's and who was telling us to be careful in the street, especially at night. She was so worried about us, that she told us that she was going to give us some Holy Water that she has in her house, to help us out, just in case. haha we told her not to worry about it and that we're protected, but how sweet. haha in her own way. 

Here, they celebrate the day of the Three Kings (who broughts gifts to Christ), and how they celebrate is the little kids buy a balloon, tie a letter on it, addressed to the three kings, saying what they want from them for this special day, and then send the ballon off in the air. And the 6th of January, the Three Kings come and bring presents for the kids! Another tradition, is that they have this large loaf of bread with candied fruit. The loaf is in the shape of an 'O' and there are little toys inside. So, each person takes their turn cutting off their personal piece of the bread, and if you have one of the toys, you have to buy tamales for everyone who was sharing the bread! It's really fun, I haven't gotten a toy yet, but it's a very sweet tradition that I like very much. (And not just because I'm going to get free tamales). 

I sure love you. God exists and He really is preparing people to receive this message and it's beautiful. I hope you all have the best week this next week, and please pray every day to your Father in Heaven! 

¡Feliz Semana!

--Hermana Larsen




1-4-16
Turns out, work works.

This week was probably my best in my mission thus far and I am only motivated to be better. 

I LOVE being here. I love learning. I love helping people. I love these families. I love the scriptures. I love my Heavenly Father. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! Really, it's the bomb. 

This last week Hermana Garcia and I had a little bit a of a wake-up. We've been working this whole time, but we realized that we're doing well, but it's not our BEST and in Doctrine and Covenants it says that as missionaries we need to give ALL our hearts, mights, minds, and strengths to the Lord! So I've been really thinking about how I can give more in each of these catagories. We've set goals for ourselves, we feast upon the words of Christ and love them. The scriptures are inspired of God and they have SO MUCH in them! It is so great to learn from them and to grow in this Gospel, in our testimonies, and in our ability to help these people! One of the things that I've been bad at my whole mission is dropping people, because I'm always thinking that I just need to try harder and maybe this next time they'll accept it. I'm realizing that the world is not as black, white, and grey as I thought. It is black and white. There is God, and there's the enemy, and we all need to decide for ourselves on which side we're going to align our actions, our desires and our thoughts. It breaks my heart to talk with people who don't want to pray, who do not recognize the voice of Christ, but still, there are the people who want to do the will of the Lord! Who have wonderful hearts that are open to the truth and nothing else matters and it is so beautiful! Please choose to be the person who prays. Choose to love God so much that nothing else comes between the two of you. I love you all so much, thank you for your support, for your prayers. This week, I'm gonna ask you to direct your prayers to three families: One, is familia Corona, the mom's name is Araceli, and they have been prepared for this message. Please pray for them that they might continue to be strong! The other, the Mom's name is Christina and their situation is dire. They are living in a house that they made out of sheet metal and wooden palets, and they need your prayers! Also, please pray for Juan Carlos and his family. They need your prayers as well. 

Have a great week! Sure love you all! 

--Hermana Larsen

12-28-15
Navidad

This week was wonderful. I hope it was for all of you too, because this week was CHRISTMAS!!! And really, what better week is there? Trick question, a better week than the week of Christmas doesn't exist. 
Christmas Eve was wonderful, we wonrked hard during the day and then went to a member's house for dinner in the evening, but both the 24th and the 25th we had to be in our houses by 8, so we were in a bit of a huge rush and made it was like, 5 minutes to spare! Turns out, I probably should never eat shrimp ever again in my life, which is what I had for dinner on Christmas Eve. So, while I was already awake in the wee hours of Christmas morning, I helped Santa a bit so that Hermana Garcia would have a Christmas surprise when she woke up. She LOOOOOOOVES piñatas. Like, a lot. a looooot. Every time something exciting happens, she turns to me and says 'We should buy a piñata to celebrate! I love breaking piñatas!' So guess what Santa brought for her?! Candy! ....inside a piñata!! She loved it. 
I got ready and ate a ton of ginger and then when to the work office of my Bishop to Skype my family! It was wonderful and it was the fastest hour I've ever experienced. But it was wonderful. I loved it a lot. They're kind of the bomb. If you don't know them very well, you should, because we all think we're funny and have a blast. 

Afterwards, we ran to our zone Christmas party. We had a present exchange where the week before, each one of us got to choose (at random) another member of the zone to give  a present to. i chose an Elder who's from Hawaii, so I bought a container of M&M's, some warm socks, and the tail of a pineapple. I already had a CTR ring, so I hid that in one of the individually wrapped packages of M&M's that the container had, put in the socks and the M&M's that would fit too, and then glued the pineapple tail to the top, and wrapped up the container so it just looked like a pineapple. It was super cool. I should have taken a picture, but didn't, sorry. But it was fun because he totally thought that I just got him a pineapple, and I had to tell him to open it and everything. It was a fun surprise. We watched Inside Out, and then broke piñatas. After, Hermana Garcia got to talk with her family and then we shared a message with a member. It was really great. And the other day we got to go to the visitor's center again with a part-member family! It was a great week! And I wish you all the best 2016 ever! 

Love,

Hermana Larsen 


Sunday, February 21, 2016

12-21-15
Christmas week Eve!

This week was beautiful. Beautiful people, decorations for Christmas. The whole lot. Super fun. We had our ward Christmas party which was the bomb-diggety. The Primary performed 'A Christmas Carol' and one of our recent converts, Chaba (Salvador) was Schrooge! #soproud. It was really sweet. The young Women sang Carols for us and one of our investigators participated! I was asked to direct a choir, so we performed that day too. It was really fun and to finish, we had a potluck! The people here are super good at cooking, so it was delicious. 

Saturday, I got to go the the Visitor's center with a Recent Convert. It was really fun and it's all lit up for Christmas, so that was really special. 

Something I want to share is please, please, please, never think you know Christ enough. There is an aweful lot of joy waiting for us if we will just put pride aside and do a little better to know Christ more. One way of doing so, is trying to be more like Him. When we do so, we can see Him in our countenance more and more, and, as the quote says, others, who do not know Christ, will want to know Christ because they know us. How beautiful a thing and what a wonderful way to give back this Christmas to the one that we owe all to. I love you all very much. Happy Christmas. 

--Hermana Larsen























the ghost of Christmas past










okay, I saw this and died. It's a cute little tree. These people are just the funniest. 



We got to go to the visitor's center. It was super fun. I know you can't really see anything, but just pretend.

I was going to have a picture of me and the picture of the temple but as we were about to take the picture, this sweet little boy rushed over to come and stand next to me. I asked him if he wanted to be in the picture, he told me yes, so, meet this sweet little boy whose name I do not know. After we took the picture, I was putting my camera away and he rushed over to me to see the picture. It was pretty adorable. 
Bus ride home. Kind of hard to see.


Cena Navideno

Christmas day photo 















12-14-15
Temple Dedication!

This week was pretty sweet. We have some great investigators, and lots of wonderful members. We have a ward Christmas party this Wednesday and I was asked to direct the choir, so I started doing that this week.
My birthday was on Monday, and it was really fun! I'm very, very, very blessed. My sweet companion practically told the world, so there were 3 sweet members with surprises waiting for me when I went to their houses. It was a lot of delicious cake. Also, they have a tradition here that you have to, with only your face, take a bite of the cake, and then usually someone shoves your face in the cake (I can hear my Mom's voice describing how bad of an idea this is) and then as much cake as your face touched, you get to eat! So that's fun. And happened twice to me this week. Haha ah well. It was all delicious. And very sweet. Also, my companion left me a surprise for when I woke up in the morning. I forgot to take a pic, but I'll try to remember to send y'all one this next week.
Sunday was the temple dedication, and Saturday was the cultural event for the temple in Tijuana. We brought investigators to the cultural event, so we got to go, and it was really fun and just a sweet ward get-together. I really love the people here. They are very helpful and very sweet and I am so blessed to know them. I wish you all could come and get to know them too, but I guess I'll just have to do it for the load of us for now.
The temple dedication was really special. President Uchtdorf dedicated the temple, and Elder Oaks presided. The new temple President is the grandson of Gordon B. Hinckley, and it was really jsut so special. Please look up pictures, it is gorgeous!
Also, can I just say that you all had better be going to the temple? I can because of mission rules here, so I need you all to go for me. I miss it so much and I really can see the blessings from it. In the temple, our minds aren't clouded from the world. It's such a beautiful place to help us put things in perspective and help us to have strong family relations. And I'm not just talking about a sealing. Please, go to the temple. You are all so blessed to have the opportunity. And if you do not have a temple recommend, or do not qualify for one, there is no more important goal for you to have than to obtain a temple recommend. There are blessings waiting for you at the temple. Please make it a priority.
I love you all so so much. Please have the best of days, and maybe take some people with you on the way to the temple! Happy Monday!
Love,
Hermana Larsen 











Practicing my dope Mexican cooking-skills.