Monday, September 28, 2015

HOTLANTAAAAA (actually Smellville)

Hello family!

There are a billion things to say about this place so I really hope I don't forget anything too important. Also, just like the last few emails, this will be all over the place and complete brain vomit so please forgive me.

First of all: Being on a mission is honestly super weird. Sometimes I don't even realize that I’m actually here doing this and it all feels like a dream. I'm just thrown into a completely new place with new people I’ve never met before with some stranger I’m forced to be around 24/7 and just expected to be okay with it. Several times a day, I stop myself and say "um k I'm literally in Georgia talking to someone with no teeth and the thickest accent of all time talking about Jesus" and it's super weird but I'm okay with it.

Other things about Georgia: there is this constant mist all of the time. It's like it's almost about to rain all the time but it never does or it does for a little bit and then keeps misting. So that's really weird. I’ve been wearing a jacket everyday shockingly ha-ha--the humidity has not been that bad. Also there are TREES EVERYWHERE. Every single inch that doesn't have a building or a road is covered in super tall trees. I'll send a picture. It’s so beautiful! Also there are armadillos smashed all over the road. I have yet to see a live one hahaha.

Other important things: I'm currently in a town called Snellville (yes that is really what it's called). It’s the cutest little town of all time! I actually almost always feel very safe (my companion laughs at me because yesterday we were sitting in the car and I saw these guys walk past us staring and smiling creepily so I hurried and locked the doors and she said to me, "You are never going to survive if you serve in Atlanta." #rude. So from then on, I’ve been fine because I’ve realized that Snellville is nice) and the people here are AWESOME. My companion is Sister Russell from Gilbert, AZ. She's half-black so that really makes things A LOT easier hahaha. People are more open to talking with her than they are with talking to me, a white Utah girl. She's been out 6 months and spent 4 1/2 of those months in the Atlanta Ward where the Bishop from Meet the Mormons serves! COOL. She’s seriously an awesome trainer. All day long I hear "you are learning from the best!" so that's good news. She's quickly whipping me into shape and helping me with my weaknesses (which I have a lot of).

The thing I love about the Snellville ward is the people there. THERE IS SO MUCH DIVERSITY. We have people from Nigeria, South Africa (Johannesburg actually...they have super cool accents), Ethiopia, the Middle East, Haiti... you name it, and we probably have it. Also there is an abundance of old people in the ward too. But the best part is THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN MISSIONARY WORK WITH US. People are always asking if they can do team-ups with us or give us referrals or just even feed us. They are seriously so involved--it makes things so much better.

The first day was actually awful. We had transfer-meeting, drove an hour and half to Snellville, and I just sat there in complete silence the whole time. I'll be totally honest--it was bad. At the end of the day I just cried in front of my companion and she laughed and stared at me. It was just hard because I LITERALLY HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING OR WHAT WAS GOING ON AT ALL. We were just meeting with random people and walking around getting doors slammed in our face and walking around trying to find things to do--the day wasn't planned out very well.
Good news though--the next day was INCREDIBLE.

We met with an investigator named Lunjua (lun-yay). She sounded exactly like Mamma Odie from Princess and the Frog, had teeth missing, and was the happiest person of all time. She had previously been meeting with the Jehovah's witnesses until she ran into the Snellville Elders one day who turned us over to her. The whole lesson with her was seriously like all the miracle stories you ever hear about missionary work: We started teaching her; she said, "I feel exactly like Joseph Smith! I felt confused! But I really think this is the right place for me to be!" then she started sobbing and we set her on a date for baptism for October 17th, and she goes "OH MY GOSH. THAT'S MY HUSBAND'S BIRTHDAY. This is a sign from God!" so yeah, that was my first lesson here. For a second day, I was super shocked for something to happen like that. That is the sweetened condensed version of that story.

Then we went to meet with an investigator named Santana that Sister Russell has been meeting with for the last few weeks who is getting baptized on October 10th. She is seriously the most amazing person I’ve ever met. She just glows with the spirit and she's not even baptized yet! I was amazed with the amount of faith she has...she already has so much knowledge and just keeps wanting more. SHE IS SO COOL. Something that the mission really focuses on is getting converts to the temple doing baptisms within the first 30 days after they are baptized so we've been getting Santana really excited about the temple and I'm going to be able to use my family history knowledge to find her some family names to take with her! She's really excited and I’m stoked that I’m getting to use my talents. (Speaking of talents: tell Bailey and Ellie to move over--my comp and I sing hymns every single lesson so I’m #cool and #talented too)

While we were waiting for Santana to come home, we were talking with her neighbors who were outside smoking and started talking about prophets and the book of Mormon. They were some guys in there 20's and they LOVED what we were talking about. We gave them some book of Mormons and invited them to church on Sunday (they didn't come sadly) but we are planning on meeting with them this week! YAY.

(Also--the thing about tracting that I love the most is when you walk to someone's door, knock, ask them if they love Jesus, tell them there is a way to love Jesus even more and then they tell you all about their bachelor's and master's degrees in Jesus Loving and show their ministerial license and then slam the door in your face. THE BEST :))))

I LOVED WOMEN'S CONFERENCE. President Uchtdorf's talk was definitely my favorite. God didn't design us to be sad. Sometimes on a mission, you get sad--sad because you miss home, sad because you miss your family, sad because people don't want to listen... but the thing about sadness is that it's completely YOUR choice to get sad. You have been given every single resource to overcome sadness and it's entirely up to you to choose to be happy and get over it. I've been really working on my attitude this week and it's amazing how much faster the days go by when you just get over it and be happy that you're out serving the Lord. It really makes all the difference, even if there is a lot you could be sad about. Make your life a life full of MEANINGFUL "NOWS"--do good things, love yourself, love Christ, develop yourself, and develop an attitude of charity. So yeah, I love Uchtdorf a lot and that's all I have to say about that.

Ummmm there are a lot of other things to say but they're all meaningless facts and events.

Also, here is the apartment address:
Sister Brenna Lawson
2945 Rosebud Rd #305
Snellville, GA 30052

Okay! I love you all, keep sending the love and prayers, read your scriptures, do missionary work, be good people and know that I’m thinking about you always.

Sista Lawson

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

WEEK 2(ish)


Guess what??? I am most definitely alive. Also, BRAIN VOMIT this whole email. Really fast:
The MTC is probably my favorite place of all time.
Things about the MTC that are fun:
1. Creepy announcement voice that comes on every night at 10:15 and 10:30 to announce quiet time and bedtime. SUPER WEIRD!
2. The orange juice in the dining hall has laxatives. Straight up.
3. So many un-oak-approp. words, my ears are bleeding.

I guess I can start with a few things that happened on day one that I didn't already tell you about, but remember that there are way too many things going on each day to tell you every little detail.
First of all, ERIN OLDROYD was my happy little host as soon as I pulled up to the curb and that made everything so much happier and easier. She was the best host of all time and I actually see her all the time around here ;)
Umm, also on night one, we had this big teaching workshop thing for all the newbies and there was the most hilarious thing that happened during it: We were all introduced to this “investigator” named Tayla and she had tons of questions about the church. One of the elders in the room volunteered to stand up and try to teach her a little bit and started getting into the Pearl of Great Price on accident and she was all "Wait, what is the Pearl of Great Price? You have more scripture than just the Bible and BOM???'' and he was like "Well, ya see, it's a funny story... Joseph Smith bought this mummy and blah blah blah''....Moral of the story is this: don't bring up mummies in your very first discussion or bad things happen. Super hilarious.

Other great things:
1. My district and I all decided to join the choir and it is the BEST. Tonight we get to sing for the Tuesday night devotional where some general authority comes to speak. No idea who it will be yet, but please pray it's Elder Christofferson for me. :)
2. Our branch president (basically our bishop in the MTC) DESPISES the word 'guys' so the elders all decided to keep a tally of the number of times they say that and they have to do 10 push ups for each time. Elder Delahunty got up to 200 push ups one day and we're all very convinced that he said it on purpose just so he could show off to all the sisters and that's super weird of him to do.
3. Brother Farr (am) and Sister Stegelmeir (pm) are our teachers and they are THE MOST incredible people of all time. Sister Stegelmeir is basically just a surfer dude in woman form and also the biggest spiritual giant I've ever met. She's taught me so much about how to be a better teacher and lover of the people. Brother Farr is basically just husband goals. HE KNOWS EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT CHURCH DOCTRINE. I look up to him a lot. I'm super thankful for both of them!
4. So far, Sister Brume and I have 2 “investigators” that we teach, and we've taught a total of 4 lessons.
--Jessica: She's a pregnant mother who moved here from TN and wants to find a good church for her family. Out of the 3 lessons we've taught, there has only been one that we feel really good about. Teaching is super hard because you really never know what's going to happen or where the spirit is going to lead you. The other 2 lessons, we focused way too much on trying to teach them what we wanted to teach them, rather than listening to what they wanted to be taught. It's a confusing concept, hahaha.
--Lianna: We just met her yesterday at the training resource center (TRC). You know how sometimes they are just real members pretending to be fake? No, Lianna is a legit non-member/BYU student. She's really intelligent and has a lot of questions about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. She doesn't really think it's inspired and she's heard a lot of weird things about Joseph Smith. I’m honestly really intimidated to teach her. She's pretty set on what she believes already. PRAY FOR US.
5. On Sunday night, we stayed after the devotional to watch a video called “Character of Christ." It's just a recording of a talk given by Elder Bednar about 5 years ago at the MTC and it's only shown at the MTC, which is the biggest bummer of all time because it is seriously a LIFE CHANGING talk. It's all about how Christ, during his hardest trials, is always, constantly turned outward, or thinking of others, rather than turned inwards, thinking of himself and how hard things are for him. I wish I could tell you all the specifics or that you could see it yourself because it honestly completely changed my life and my whole perspective on everything. This mission is not about what I want. It's not about how hard it is for me. It's not about what my natural man wants. Everything about this mission is about the Lord and serving His children. Bednar's biggest thing in this talk was that having a testimony of the gospel is not enough. I have to do and BECOME fully converted unto the Lord and everything He wants, and conversion is a continuing thing. In class, we've been really focusing on the difference between knowing something vs. doing something vs. becoming something. It's a really hard thing to do and it's incredibly hard to change your mindset completely. The only part of a mission that has every been about me was those 5 seconds I spent reading the words "Dear Sister Lawson, you are hereby called to serve..." and the rest has been completely focused on others. BEDNAR IS THE COOLEST. I really wish the whole world could see this movie--the world would be such a better place if that happened.
6. EVERY BODY PLEASE STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW AND GO TO HEBREWS 6:1. Brother Farr shared this scripture in class, and it literally is actual proof in the Bible of apostasy. It says something along the lines of "we must leave behind the doctrines of Christ because we don't need it anymore". SO CRAZY. In class, we've been studying a lot about how the word "gospel" has been changed so much in our church. In a nut shell, gospel means "the atonement" and when we say ''the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored'', we are really saying ''the knowledge/fullness of the ATONEMENT has been restored" and this is so important. When we teach, our teachers have told us to relate every single lesson in PMG back to Jesus Christ and his atonement. Sometimes it's super hard. I really hope some of this is making sense, haha. It's so hard to condense everything I've learned into one email!
7. We went to the temple today! I DON'T KNOW IF I'LL BE ABLE TO EMAIL PICTURES.

I promise that I'm learning so much and feeling the spirit all the time, AS WELL AS having lots of fun, haha. Okay, I have no time now.

Other things:
3. Flight info: our Flight from Utah leaves at 8:30am on TUESDAY (Sept 22) morning. We have to meet at the travel office at 3:30 am to hit the front runner down to the airport. I'll probably be calling you sometime between the hours of 5am-8am hahaha. I'm so sorry! But try super hard to be ready for it, hahaha. I LOVE YOU.
4. Stuff I would please love to have sent here:
-toiletry bag (you were right...)
-some more tissue bags. I forgot to tell you guys that I have caught the worst cold I think I’ve ever had. Today and yesterday were miserable. Don't worry though, I'm taking care of myself and bought some Day/Niquil.
-the blue shampoo in the shower downstairs... I don't like the kind I have right now. It's destroying my hair.
That's all I can think of right now.

Out-of-context quotes from Elder McRae of the week:
(DISCLAIMER: He's basically the biggest hick of all time, but also the funniest hick of all time)
-"Yeah, he mail ordered his bride. I'm like from Whoville or something."
-"If it floats your goat, then do it."
-"Bee keeping... that's where the real money's at."
-*Elder Goold sharing 1 Nephi 17:2 (please read this ASAP) with investigator during lesson on accident* "So how does that relate to you?"
Investigator: "Well, they like their raw meat I guess."
-"I want a pregnancy massage"

Ummm, I really hope I got everything. THIS IS SO STRESSFUL.
I'll call you later :):)):):):):):):)::)):):L>O))::))::)):):):OO):)GFDII)FS:))::)


Friday, September 11, 2015


*DISCLAIMER: THIS IS BRAIN VOMIT BC PRESSED FOR TIME AND ALL THE WONDERFUL THINGS TO TELL**** ALSO TODAY IS NOT MY P-DAY--we were given some time to learn how the computers work, write our branch prez and write a quick "hello!" to you. I LOVE YOU. So i don't mean to make you feel bad, but literally 20 seconds after curb drop off, i stopped crying bc so many happy people and happy things to do and happy missionary stuff was calling my name. PLS KNOW I STILL LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU ALL THE TIME, it's just that i've come to accept that i'm stuck here and might as well have fun with it hahaha. My comp's name is sister brume and she RULEZZZ. we are getting along great and she's such a hard worker and way on the ball. fun facts about Brume (broom): 1. She's a real-life ZOOBIE (that's a BYU student for all you uncultured swines) 2. She's a pre-nursing major 3. Loves movies and movie quotes (but sadly we can't quote movies bc "not missionary- apprope" 4. LOVES soccer more than life itself My district is as follows and where they are going: 1. Elder delahunty (BABE...probs gonna marry him after this.)--ATL, GA & Elder Whiting--WV, 2. Elder Goold & McCrae (WV) 3. Elder Atkin & Carahan (ATL, GA) 4. Sister Roberts & Farnsworth (WV) 5. me and sista brume. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. we literally have the best district and i love the sisters in the district to death. fun fact: me and sister brume have been called as the GREETERS. hahahah it's hilarious. basically our only job is to shake people's hands when they come into the chapel for church on sunday, but we have taken it upon ourselves to greet our entire district ALL THE TIME--all meals, all times we meet together in the classroom, everywhere. we are way enthusiastic and spazzy about it and it's super funny hahaha. Also let me just tell you that Oakcrest was the best decision of my life. I know that a lot of elders and sisters are super stressed out and overwhelmed but i feel so good. Almost everything about here reminds me of camp in some way, but literally, camp was the best mission prep of all time. I feel like such a dingus because i talk about camp all the time and my comp is probably way weirded out that i talk about it so much but IT RULED. I'll probably talk about some aspect of camp in every email but yeah, i just wanted to let you know that doing so well because of the prep i got there. quick funny stories: 1. yesterday for lunch, we were given a yellow cup of jello but it seriously looked like a cup of pee and all the elders were eating it and forcing each other to smell it or pretending to dump it on each other... yeah, they're weird. 2. one of my teacher's is sister stegelmeir and she is the coolest human being alive. I took it upon myself to count the number of times she says "cool" and "totally" in each lesson. I'M NOT KIDDING YOU, SHE SAID COOL 89 TIMES AND TOTALLY 57 IN THE COURSE OF 45 MINUTES. COMBINED. every time she says it, we all bust up laughing. 3. me and the other sisters have decided that every time we see a super cute elder, we'll say to each other " he reads the book of mormon". I know we aren't supposed to be thinking about things like that, but it's only my second day here and i'm stil working on it ahaha. but please know, the field is wide and ready to harvest. :) i have a billion more stories, but i'll write them more during P-day on TUESDAY. I'LL TALK TO YOU LATER. please me as soon as you get the cast list back for bailey about mary poppins! i wanna know how it goes! ells: tell gringa and meow hello and tell meow that the MTC is the greatest place on earth. also i love you. mom and dad: hopefully you've stopped crying by now ahahha. I LOVE YOU GUYS LOTS. talk to you tuesday! :) BYE