Monday, March 27, 2017

I open at the close

**WARNING: the following email will probably be dramatic and cheesy and will contain pop-culture references to describe my feelings. #Emotions**
Welp here we are! The last p-day of the mish.

#RealTalkTime: To be completely honest with you, not much happened this week worth reporting on. For the most part, we did a whole lot of touristy things and said "see ya later" to lots of friends. I learned that the Marietta Ward actually liked me a lot more than I thought they did--my stay here was short but I genuinely REALLY enjoyed the time I spent in this ward! Some of the coolest members I've met so far are from here. Honestly, I'm really sad it was short lived. :( I will be back though!

Sister Clark was cold-sick most of the week and this caused me to be pretty home-sick most of the week because I was trapped inside with nothing but my thoughts to distract me so as you can imagine, very little was accomplished with a combo like that haha. So I will skip the rest of the details of my mundane week, and dive straight into the deep abyss of my brain and soul for my final email as a missionary. J 

I’ve been dreading writing this email for the last few weeks mostly because I still don’t know what direction to take it to best express myself. HOW THE HECK do you pour out your soul and put everything you’ve ever learned for the last year and half about who God is, what He can do for you and what He requires of you, personal revelation, the pure love of Jesus Christ, what true greatness is, perspective, the Higher Law, the divine potential of the human race, repentance and sacrifice, the REAL way to happiness in this life and in the next, what it really means to become a “new creature” through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and a billion other things that have been eternally important to the salvation of my soul into a few minuscule paragraphs that probably only 3 people (you know who you are) will even read?

 “Evidently, certain thoughts of the Spirit are so lofty, so poignant, that they cannot be reduced to the oral language or written word of man. They simply defy mortal expression.”—Tad R. Callister.

So in other words, it’ll be darn-near impossible to express myself today. Maybe a Harry Potter analogy will help you see into my brain for a little bit and to get a TINY TASTE of what this experience has been like for me. (of course, I had to throw in some HP haha. I'm still Brenna, I'm just the "new and improved" Brenna :). haha) (Please excuse me for not remembering/botching all the details of the story…)

*read this with your spiritual eyes, envision the movie in your head, and think about how this could apply to Sister Lawson’s mission…it’s easy.*

In a concluding chapter of the 7th book, Harry discovers that one of the last remaining horcruxes resides within him, and he comes to the conclusion that the only way to save everyone else is to surrender himself over to Voldemort to die. In the hours leading up to his decision to make the long, solemn journey into the Forbidden Forest to his death, Harry spends time searching his soul, and has many realizations about himself—who he really is, why his life went the way it did, what he was to learn from it, and what he is to do with his life now. A beautiful moment unfolds where all the dots start to finally connect as he learns what is really most important and he sees what his purpose was all along. 

Once he had come to grips with the fact that he needed to sacrifice everything he was for something greater than himself, he willingly gave up his life for the greater good. Since pure love was his only motivator for his actions, no only was the darkness of the horcrux inside of him removed, but it also enabled him to come back that much stronger to defeat Voldemort for good. In the end, "all was well".

Okay. Cheesy, but someone please try to explain to me the level of awesomeness and sense of purpose that was probably pulsing through Harry's soul at this time. I'm pretty sure it's impossible. But that's a tiny slice of how i feel right now.

It's kind of stupid that literally the only thing I could think of that would even come close to scratching the surface of how I feel about my mission comes from a fictional story about a boy-wizard with a weird shaped scar on his forehead. Nothing really cuts it when trying to explain this. It will be eternally impossible for me to ever put into words all that my mission has done for me, taught me, made me and means to me. I will not ever be able to thank my Father in Heaven enough for allowing me to experience all that I've experienced, to learn all that I've learned and to change in the ways that I've changed. Quite literally, every single aspect of my life is going to be different from this point on and I couldn't be more grateful for that.

"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life."--Ezra Taft Benson

My friends, I will testify that this is true til the day I die.

I know without a doubt that God lives, loves me, is aware of me and is intimately involved in every single detail of my life.

I know without a doubt that He hears and answers prayers. Even the little ones.

I know without a doubt that because of Jesus Christ, who I was and who I am isn't who I have to be.

I know without a doubt that my Savior lives.

The best part about this whole mission-thing is that it doesn't end here.
This is only the beginning.


For the very last time, I'm out y'all!
Sister Lawson

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Hey guys.
Can you even believe it's the second to last P-day? What is life?

Since I'm getting so close to the end, obviously I've been spending time reflecting and thinking back over the last 18 months and everything that happened. Man, it's been fun.

The most exciting thing of the week is that our friend Lashonda got baptized!!!

Wwooooooooowwww, what a journey it's been hahaha. A lot of work went into this one from all ends!--Lashonda's end, our end, and most importantly, God's end. But she did it! :) The day was absolutely perfect--tons of people from the ward came to support, Sister Wustrow came back to see her and it really was just all around an awesome, special day.

The day before her baptism, we went to see her for some last minute prep and to get her fitted for a suit. She saw the jumpsuits and immediately said: "yeah, no that reminds me of prison." So when we whipped out the dress, she was all *black southern ATL accent* "AWWW YEAHHHH. I FEEL LIKE A PASTOR!" So that was hilarious.
She's so cool hahahaha.

As the font was filling up, me and Lashonda got to have a really cute moment together--we both looked at the font, side hugged and with tears rolling down her cheeks, she said "Thank you Jesus." And then I started to cry because I realized just how much I'm going to miss the South and their cute southern phrases hahaha. Lashonda has become a very special person to me. I don't think I've ever met someone with a bigger heart or a greater desire to do what God wants her to do. She had to work so hard and give up SOOOOO many things throughout her life to prepare her for this step, included something that was a huge part of who she is. If anything, she's taught me yet again the lesson that true love for God is sacrificing what we want for what God wants. Ah I LOVE HER.

On Wednesday, we went to ATL for my last big zone meeting of all time as a missionary. Honestly, it was one of the best I've ever been to, and had me more than excited to come home and keep growing. AH, LIFE IS SO GOOD.

Okay, guys. I think that's all I have of importance for this week. The rest of my sappy, nostalgic feelings are going to be barfed into my very. last. email. as a missionary EVER next week. are you so excited? Because I'm definitely not hahaha.
emotions are lame.


Sister Lawson

I'm convinced that there's no such thing as "good" baptism pictures hahaha.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The week of lasts...

Guyssss...I really don't want to write this, this week.
Please forgive me for the suckiness.
I will try anyway.

Basically, this week was just a whole bunch of "lasts". Last temple trip, last zone conference, last was awesome. Lots of really good "lasts". :)

I had to give my departing testimony this week in front of a large group of missionaries and that was quite a strange thing. I can't believe it's actually my turn to do all this stuff. I finally got to walk the streets of Atlanta on exchanges! Mission bucket list item fulfilled. I saw homeless people, graffiti, ghetto gas stations, and lots of really humble, Jesus-lovin' folks. It was everything I ever dreamed it would be.

Other than that, life was pretty average as far as the "travel log" goes. But I had a lot of spiritual experiences that I'll have to just tell you about later when I get home! Sorryyyyyyyyyyyyy.

A talk that had a huge impact on me this week:
"Finding your Life" by D. Todd Christofferson
(supplemented by Matthew 16:25-26)

Sorry guys, this is lame. 
Jesus loves you!

Sister Lawson

1. Me with Bro. Shaffer - I love that man!
2. Temple with the cute comp. :)
3. Awkwardly catching people take awkward selfies...
4. My beautiful city (Atlanta) <3

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What hat are you wearing?

I feel bad that these are getting shorter and shorter each week as I get closer to coming home but oh well. Our week was alright--lots of doctors appointments and trying to figure out what the deal was with Sister Clark. But it's okay, she's doing a lot better now! :) we are pretty much back to normal at this point.

Oh! Remember the gay woman I was teaching several weeks ago? I can't remember if I've mentioned this or not but we've started teaching her again and she seems to be on the right track this time around. We've noticed real, genuine change in her motives. The lady came to church with bronchitis yesterday for crying out loud! She just wanted to "hear the word." hahaha. life is awesome. So yeah! We are officially helping her get ready for her baptism either this weekend or the next. There are some logistical things to work out but it's gonna be the best. :) woo!

Your spiritual thought for the week is brought to you by the Marietta Ward Relief Society president: "Sometimes I think we tend to compartmentalize our lives. We put on our "wife" hat, then we switch and put on our "Church calling" hat and then before we know it we have a whole lot of hats. This week the Lord taught me that I only need one hat: Daughter. If I can do that one right, then life will be good, simple, peaceful and happy." 

Guys. This is a mentality I've tried really hard to have for the last 9 months of my mission. This is how I want to be. I don't want to have different hats. I don't want to have a "missionary" hat that I take off when I get home. I want to have my "Brenna: A daughter of God" hat on all the time. I want to just be the same person all the time trying to do her best to be like Jesus in whatever situation I'm in. So here's your challenge this week: JUST WEAR ONE HAT. MAKE YOUR LIFE SIMPLE. Be the son or daughter God wants you to be and everything will fall into place.

Terrible explanation, but hopefully you get the idea.
See ya in 24 days! :) (But who's counting?)

Sister Lawson

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ups and Downs

Guys. I'm seriously so tired. I'll be totally honest, I don't entirely feel like writing a weekly email right now because so much happened and it's overwhelming haha. This week was long. Not the most productive "missionary work"-wise, but definitely "sister lawson's personal progression towards becoming like Jesus"- wise which I think it's super duper important. That's what this mission thing is really all about, right?

So anyway, longL story short, we took my companion to the emergency room early Sunday morning because she was experiencing some severe pain and had passed out in the middle of the night. After a dramatic 20 minutes in the apartment, we rushed her to the hospital and she turned out to be fine. The only thing now is that she's swollen up like a balloon and has some weird kind of infection. Don't worry, we are taking care of her haha.

Obviously, there are a bunch of little details that I left out, but you get the idea. It was a very scary, high-stress weekend and I'm exhausted in every capacity right now.

Several times throughout the week, God threw me little challenges here and there to "test" me and see how I would handle it. I feel proud of myself because I think I did alright this week with handling what life threw at me. PROGRESS!  

Life is good guys.
God is good too.

Okay that's all I got for this week.
BE LIKE JESUS. Sorry this was really lame!

Sister Lawson

1. P-day fun
2. Artsy Southern Spring picture

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"WOW, ENTHUSIASM."-- everyone who meets Sister Clark

Woooooooowwww, I'm officially in my last transfer! WHAT IS LIFE???
Yesterday I started MyPlan and that was freaking weird.

Anyway.. I got a new companion and life is SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!! She rocks. Her name is Sister Clark. :)
Fun facts:
1. She's from Bountiful, UT and she's been out about a year.
2. You will not believe this -- She has 19 siblings. No joke. All from the same mom and dad. Her mother was pregnant for 21 years straight. NINETEEN SIBLINGS. #MormonsBeCray
3. She's a photographer back home!
4. She LOVES to laugh so you betcha it's a party all day, every day. :)
5. She's got more fire and excitement for missionary work than probably any missionary I've ever met. I LOVE HER ENTHUSIASM!

Wowowowowow this week was nuts.
Sister Clark and I have decided to basically white-wash the area and start all over. Most of this week was filled with spring cleaning, de-cluttering the apartment, redoing the maps and ward roster, and going around meeting as many members as possible and it's been INCREDIBLE. Marietta was in need of some major change so I'm grateful Sister Clark is here to help us start fresh! :) So, unfortunately, there isn't a ton to update you on. All the good stuff will happen once we get all these things out of the way...

So I don't know if it's the same way for other missionaries, but here we have this one area in the mission that I've ALWAYS wanted to serve in called Thomaston but have never come anywhere close to and it's caused me great distress. It's actually been on my mission-bucket list to visit this place. Well, guess what rocks? Sister Clark just came from that area and had a baptism down there this weekend, so guess who got to visit her dream area?!?!?? THIS GIRL! And it was absolutely magical. Thomaston is the epitome of podunk, southern craziness. And I loved every minute of it. I even got to meet the famous, FLAME-CROSS-TONY! He's a spiritual giant who almost every missionary in the mission has heard of. He joined the church about 7 years ago and has a flaming cross tattooed on his forehead. Oh my heck, it was incredible. hahaha. He even let me sit in his Hummer. TONY AND I ARE BFFS!!!! BE HAPPY FOR ME!

Okay, so I'm sorry that this email is really lame. I promise I'll have more to tell you next week! But yeah, I love my life and I can't wait for the last few weeks of being a missionary. :) good stuff, is gonna happen, I can feel it!


Sister Lawson

1. Selfie with Sister Abbott!
6. Oink Joint BBQ in Thomaston. :)
7. My life for the last 4 days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

We tried.

Hello friends and family!

To be completely honest and frank with you, this week was incredibly difficult. I don't have a whole lot to say about it. Just know that I am happy.

Transfers are this week and I'll be getting a new companion here in Marietta for my FINAL TRANSFER IN GEORGIA. Having change is good, especially for the last transfer. Sad to see Sister Wustrow go, it was a good run. But this will be good. :) I've also been released as a Sister Training Leader sooooooooo that means I'll be normal and get to just focus on the normal stuff for the last transfer. :) YAY

Okay on the real, I'm super sorry but this email is going to be really lame this week. I don't have much to say and I think it would be too whiny if I tried to recap it all. Just know that "we tried" and Jesus is happy that we tried this week.

Missions do some weird things to you. In the best way possible. If you would have told me 17+ months ago that my life would be in the state it is right now, I would have straight up laughed in your face. I know that everything I am, everything I have, and every aspect of my life before, now and in the future completely hinges on this mission experience. I know people say that all the time, but I really do mean it. I love my mission--every piece of it. The good, the bad, the ugly...But more importantly I love my Savior and I KNOW He lives because of my mission. LIFE IS SO GOOD.

I love you all, see ya in 6 P-days! :)

Sister Lawson

1-3. A hilarious truck we saw driving around this week.
4. Compy and Elder Maynes of the 70!
5. A cute picture i took because #Artsy. :)