Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Week of Realizations

GUYS I love my life.
But instead of giving you the mundane details of my life for the past week, I'm going to send you that "spiritual stuff" I've been promising to send for a while in the form of a letter to my president, copied and pasted just for you. :) You're so special.

"Hey president!
It was a really great week this week. Nothing all that incredibly exciting happened, but it was a week where I had some major realizations, and i was able to reflect back on a lot of the experiences I've had in the last 15 months. The dots started to finally connect this week! At church yesterday, 6 moms of the 9 missionaries serving from the Carrollton Ward got up to share an update on the boys' missions and to share something each of them had written about their feelings on the Savior at Christmastime. At the end, the Bishop's wife got up and read the thoughts her son on a mission in Brazil sent her. One line of what he said in particular hit me so hard that I spent the rest of the day reflecting on it:

'The Lord doesn't need you for the work, you need Him.'

When she read that, I had a flashback to last transfer when we were at a District Leader training meeting run by the zone leaders. At one point, Elder Barton asked us what it means to be a 'good missionary'. People gave their responses--most of them revolving around physical things a missionary does--work hard all day, be exactly obedient, follow the spirit, etc. But then Elder Barton shared an experience he had with a particularly difficult companion who was disobedient, hated working and really didn't have the desire to be there in the first place for one reason or another. He spent that entire transfer working, studying and praying to help that struggling missionary have a good experience loving the work, loving the gospel and loving the Savior. They didn't get much 'missionary work' done that transfer, he said, but to this day, he still considers it to be the most successful 6 weeks he'd ever had in his life because at the end of it, Elder Barton had seen that missionary grow into someone who loved the work and loved the Lord. More importantly though, Elder Barton himself had grown into a more charitable and devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. He had found himself in more ways than he ever would have had he just 'done missionary things' and dragged his companion along with him whether he liked it or not. After telling us this story, Elder Barton said something that has stuck with me to this day and that i reflect on almost daily:

'It is more important for you to love those around you--whether it be your companion, your leaders, other missionaries or the stranger on the street--than it is to baptize. The Lord really doesn't need you for the work because He is powerful enough to get it done without you. But you will change and others will change when you love the way the Savior did.'

Earlier this week, I went on exchanges with Sister Heaton and she asked me what was the biggest lesson I've learned so far and what do I want to accomplish in the 3 months I have left. After thinking about it a while, I told her what Elder Barton said and that that was the most important thing to me now. I've stopped caring about the numbers, I've stopped caring about how many Book of Mormons I give out, I've stopped caring what the leaders think of me and I've stopped worrying about if I'm 'good enough' in the eyes of others around me. The Lord has made it very clear to me in the last few months that i'm doing what He wants me to do if i'm bringing others unto Him through Christlike love and coming unto Him myself. 

I've felt more peace and more joy in the last 3 months on a mission than I have my entire life because I feel like I'm just now starting to scratch the surface of what it REALLY means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. It means living the way that He lived, loving the way that He loved, and being the way that He is.

Our teaching pool has been low for 6 weeks straight, it's cold and wet, it's Christmas and I miss my family, the doors aren't opening, and Sister Smith has way more Christmas presents than I do (haha), and yet I'm STILL so happy! its' kind of funny how it works out like that sometimes. This Christmas compared to the last has been the most fulfilling and happiest of my entire life and it's not even over yet! The circumstances I'm in now would have really gotten me down in the past but now I really couldn't care less. You've been telling me over and over again, President, that our circumstances have nothing to do with our joy and i'm just now starting to really see that. It all has everything to do with where our priorities and focus are. 

The story of Martha and Mary became my new favorite this week because of this idea:

 38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

I feel like for most of my mission, I've pondered and prayed and fought and battled with myself to know what "the good part" was for me to focus on and the Lord has revealed it to me at last! 

I had a friend this past week tell me that they've seen a huge change in me in the last 15 months. They said, very lovingly haha, that I used to be "vicious" and too-ready to recognize the weaknesses in others rather than in myself. I had to agree with them. But they also said that I've changed in the fact that my capacity to love others for who they are has increased tremendously. I am by no means a perfectly charitable person yet, but I am getting better and I think that's the miracle of the Atonement. It can change a weak, silly, naive, "vicious" girl into someone a little bit more selfless, a little bit more kind and a little bit more understanding who wants to make her Heavenly Father proud, despite all the weaknesses and imperfections she has.

I know it's cliche to say, but I really am so grateful to be a disciple of Jesus Christ this Christmas season and to represent Him and the life that He lived. In the process of losing myself for His sake, I have found myself in more ways than I ever thought possible. 

It's both a privilege and a burden to tell you how I feel about Him and what He has given me. A privilege because I know He lives, that He loves us all and I want everyone to know that! But a burden because words literally fail me when trying to express the thoughts and feelings of my heart. Let my teardrops on the keyboard be a testimony to you of what I feel and what I know. 

He lives, He loves us, and I know that He would have still come down and suffered all that He suffered even if it was only for you."


Sorry for the novel, but I feel really happy today. :)

I love you all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!

--Sister Lawson

1. The cutest, most Southern and Christmas-y church I've ever seen! 
2-3. A scary ghetto antique store we went to on exchanges that I actually loved more than I can describe.
4. Once upon a time, I forgot my name tag at service....#Crafty #Art

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Unfortunately I did the worst job ever of keeping track of exciting things that happened this week.

**Before I forget--Shout out to everyone who has emailed me in the last couple of weeks! I'm really grateful for you, even though i can't respond to you all. You da bomb! Also--Shout out to Brooke and Abbie for getting home recently or coming home this week! THAT'S SO WEIRD!!!!!**

Ariel is still going strong and made it to church this Sunday with her boyfriend Hunter which was ADORABLE. They are so perfect for each other, it's not even funny. Pictures will come soon, I promise! But yeah, they came and shes' still super excited for baptism on the 31st. :)

There were a whole lotta fall-throughs and rescheduled appointments this week which is frustrating because you just want to have a normal day, but then you remember that you can't because when you're a missionary, nothing ever goes according to plan. I feel like most of the time, we are just scrambling for something new to do because Plan A, B, all the way through Z always fall through simultaneously. Is it bad that I can't wait for the day that I won't have to plan out every single second of every single day? Because, yeah, I can't wait for that.

Caroling was taken to the next level this week! Sister Smith and I worked on a giant banner for at least 3 hours and it turned out pretty dang good, in our opinion. We took this sign to the populated town square and sang our guts out to passers-by and to the cars driving down the streets. People constantly were stopping and rolling their windows down to hear us sing and some were even asking if they could record us for their Snap Chats and Instagram's haha! We did it for 3 nights straight and I sang the loudest of all the missionaries which means my voice was completely gone 3 nights in a row. Christmas time is the best. Definitely one of my favorite memories of the mission!
Oh! We did have one really neat experience this week. We were talking to our Bishop one night and he said that his family wanted to do something special for one of our friends. We told him some suggestions of what they could do but after visiting our friend the next day, we determined that what they needed the most was a new roof because the one they have is leaking into the trailer and has completely destroyed their bedroom and the stuff inside of it. We were really scared to tell the Bishop because it was a really big thing to ask, but after some prayer, we knew that we needed to tell him. He was MORE THAN WILLING to help out and said he would do all he could to help them out! It was a huge act of charity that really touched my heart. I sat there having no idea what to say because how in the world do you thank people for doing things like that? I dunno, you probably had to be there to know how I felt but there were tears shed for sure. People are awesome! 
I think that's about all i can remember about this week. I'm excited for what the next one has in store! 
BYE Y'ALL, REMEMBER ALWAYS THIS--Jesus is the reason for the season.

I'm out.
Sister Lawson

1. A fun mural we found.
2. A pretty Southern, fall picture.
3. The finished banner! 3+ hours later...
4. Caroling on the Square. :)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmastime in "Carol"-ton

You know what's really cute about Carrollton? It's the best place to be during Christmas time simply because of the name. ADORABLE. But also it's awesome because Carrollton is just awesome any time of the year. 
This week featured a whole lot of meetings, going to the Alabama border, baby-sitting, adventures,  Christmas carols and Elder Barton's guitar. 
1. ARIEL!!!!!!! once upon a time on monday, we got a random text from a girl saved in the phone that said "Hey Sisters, I really want to start meeting with you again. Can we meet this Wednesday at 10 at the church?".....um k? So we did just that and met the most dry-Mormon girl you've ever seen in your life. She's been dating a member in the Buchanan branch and she's finally ready to be baptized! The best part is she already knows everything, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, doesn't live with her boyfriend, is completely normal and cute, and reads the scriptures and listens to Jeffrey R. Holland every day. Our job is going to be super easy with her. We love her already! IT WAS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! She's on date to be baptized on New Year's Eve.
2. Sister Smith and I got to be fake-STL's again for the week because one of the STL's has literally been dying in bed sick for the last 7 days. Her companion was going crazy so we offered to babysit while I went to MLC with the other one. That was pretty weird. But we spent a lot of time in their area--about 2 days--to help her be not-crazy anymore. 
3. There was a tornado warning! My first one in the South. We were forced to go indoors soooo after attempting to make some phone calls for the first hour, we kind of gave up and did crafts for the rest of the time instead. Haha we are the worst. MY ATTENTION SPAN HAS SHORTENED, I SWEAR. 
4. At a Sister's Conference, I got to see ALL my friends again! Sister Howell, Sister Hines...Even Sister Samuel from Snellville came all the way down to see me. IT WAS SO HAPPY! I have really missed everyone.
5. The weirdest thing is happening...I'm officially going to be one of the oldest in the mission. All my friends are leaving next transfer and I feel like I know absolutely no one anymore haha. Life is so weird. 
6. In honor of Christmastime, our district has spent the last 3 nights caroling at the hospital and it's been the most beautiful thing. I've never felt happier! Thankfully Elder Barton is a wizard on the guitar and and can play just about anything, and make it sound gorgeous. (Kind of reminds me of my home-boy Elder Tingey...Shoutout to you in "The Greatest OCM!")...Anyway, we're planning to go sing multiple times a week so it should be really good. 
I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on last Christmas compared to this Christmas....I'm really really different. My attitude, my beliefs, my testimony, my likes, my dislikes...I feel like for the most part I'm someone completely new. I wanted to write a lot more thoughts on my nostalgia, but of course, I'm out of time and Sister Smith is waiting patiently for me to log off. :)  DANG IT! 
I'll try again next week I guess!
BYE Y'ALL! (don't forget to #LightTheWorld!)
-Sister Lawson
1. Awkward family Christmas card from The Carrollton District.
2. Bye Jimmy! Don't die! (he's our Recent Convert friend)
3. Parking garage selfies post-caroling.
4. Sister Smith making the most out of her study time.
5. The cooky elders + Jimmy
6. Run Forrest, run!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thankful for Jesus

Welp the time of year has come where people talk to us only to beg for money and to ask for help with the holidays. :) Welcome to Carrollton! 
Sadly, I really don't have a ton to say this week. Holidays are kind of rough because most people peace out or are "too busy" to talk. We didn't find any cool new friends and I'm sad because our teaching pool went from 13659478 to 0 in about 2 days. Life goes on though. 
We are getting the ball rolling to get Brenda to the temple for baptisms for the dead as soon as possible, but there are a lot of details to work out so we'll get back to ya next week on what happens. 
We helped out at the Soup Kitchen a lot and that's become my all-time favorite thing to do here in Carrollton. We've started helping out so frequently that we are officially some of the "regulars" and some of the guests know us by name. SUCCESS! 
There were multiple conversations we had with people this week about [unnamed new President] being the Anti-Christ so that was fun and hilarious. *This paragraph in no way reflects the beliefs of myself or the Church. Just sayin'. I don't even know what the heck is going on.*
Seeing as this is my first official holiday spent in the REAL South (because Snellville and PTC were actually FAKE-Southern), I learned a lot of neat things about Southern Thanksgiving cuisine from the Huckebas:
1. Stuffing is actually called 'dressing' and it's actually not chunky like Utah, it's just mush. Also it's made of cornbread which is....different.
2. Collards are a necessity, but not really the yummiest.
3. Everything has mayonnaise.
4. Turkeys are deep fried.
5. Gravy has hard boiled egg chunks and gizzards in it.
6. Actually everything has egg chunks in it. 
That's about all I can remember off the top of my head, but yeah. I think I like Utah Thanksgiving better haha. 
I feel terrible that this is the most lame Thanksgiving email of all time haha. but it was just a pretty average week! I do know for sure that I'm really thankful for family, friends, the gospel and Jesus. Lots and lots and lots to be grateful for. Life is good y'all. :) I'm content. 
Ummmm welp, I'm peacing out I guess!
Sister Lawson

1. Getting my daily "fruits" and vegetables. (Shout out to @BarbHarper for the snacks!)
2. Byyyeee Elder Kalosi :(
3. Servicing it up at the Soup Kitchen!
4. Thanksgiving with our favorite Southerners--the Huckebas!
5. Me torturing a cat <3

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pool parties are fun.

I'll just hit the most important stuff this week, sorry! It'll be a short one.

Transfer news: Sister Smith and I will both be staying here and spending the holidays together which we definitely screamed about for a good 5 minutes after we got the phone call (in a good way). Funny story: They originally told us that Sister Smith was leaving as a joke and she BAWLED. It was hilarious.

We had 5 baptisms this weekend and it was a "POOL PARTY" (haha get it? cuz water?)... First, Bryonna and Brandon were baptized at 10 am and it was cute. Sister Smith and I gave talks and there was a guitar, and life was just good. Then Brenda, Jasen and Angel were baptized at 3pm!

Here was the weird thing--NOT A SINGLE THING WENT WRONG. AT ALL. IT WAS AMAZING. So sadly, I don't have any crazy hilarious stories to tell you about the fiascos and stuff. :( but yes, everything was perfect.

I think one of the things that's been most amazing to me about this whole thing has been seeing how the whole ward has just welcomed Brenda and her family into the ward-family. The kids fit right in in primary, Brenda is one of the pack in relief society, members randomly give us stuff to give to them, and in Ward Council, the leaders have been talking about what they can do to help this family with little-to-nothing have a good holiday season. They never ask for anything, but the ward just sees a need and helps them fill it. Its pretty awesome to know that they'll be taken care of long after I'm gone. :) LIFE IS SO GOOD, YALL. (Sorry I couldn't share more thoughts on that, I'm running out of time!)

Before I head off, 2 quick and fun things that happened this week:
1. Remember a few weeks ago when I briefly mentioned the guy that artificially inseminates goats? yeah well we went to the actual farm where that happens to do some service feeding the goats. :) it was happy. I've done some really weird things on a mission. Life is weird.
2. I taught a lesson in a house COMPLETELY infested with bugs. I've never seen it that bad before. The whole ground was moving and so was the couch and the walls...yikes. the south is scary.

OK, sorry this is lame! 

Sister Lawson
1. Goat farming. (The sun was in my eyes, don't laugh.)
2. Brenda and her fam! POOL PARTY, PT. 1
3. Bryonna and Brandon! POOL PARTY, PT. 2

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"Why can't my life just be normal?"

This quote accurately sums up my life basically all the time.

I learned a new fact about Sister Smith this week: 
"[She's] not SUPERstitious, but [she is] a little stitious." 
(For real, she is REALLY superstitious.)
(First person to name where that quote comes from wins a date with me).

THERE IS SO MUCH to type and talk about. I'm sorry if I forget important things. Also ask me if I'm really stressed right now because I am. We have 2 baptisms to plan for because we couldn't get them to work out at the same time. So please send mucho prayers our way because it's gonna be rough haha. EXCITING THOUGH BECAUSE EVERYONE IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEKEND!!!! :) Brenda, Jasen, Angel, Bryonna and Brandon all passed their baptismal interview yesterday with flying colors. woo!

I might have to just do the cliche "Day by Day" thing to keep my thoughts straight because there was so much that happened.

Actually nothing exciting happened this day.

(It's weird that this happened this week, it feels like eternity ago.) TEMPLE TRIP! While I was in the temple this time around, I had this major realization that I hate waiting. That's all I will say about that haha. There are just so many good things I'm looking forward to that it can be hard to stay focused which is something I've been working really hard at for the last few weeks. The Lord revealed to me some things I can do to have better focus so we'll try it out. It'll be a battle, but I think I can do it.
I also got to see Brother and Sister Shaffer (aka basically my grandparents) from Snellville and it was so happy! They are now Elder and Sister Shaffer because they are doing a service mission here in the GAM so I'll get to see them all the time! LIFE IS SO GOOD. After our meeting, I saw them across the room for the first time in 7 months and started bawling my eyes out haha. Embarrassing. This same day, we had dinner at a member's house and this is a literal quote the husband said at the dinner table: "Breast feeding is fine, just harden up your nipples!".............k. Good thing he redeemed himself afterwards though because he gave us some actually good, real marriage advice haha.

We went and taught Brenda and the kids about temples and it was the loudest, most unconventional temples lesson I've ever had haha. Brenda was really frustrated with the kids because they wouldn't stop talking and she couldn't ask us her questions so she yelled over them and at them the entire lesson. Kind of scary. But! She LOVES temples. She was really touched when we told her she could be sealed to "Paw-Paw" (her deceased husband) and it was CUTE. 
Due to the recent election, we got quite the array of responses while we were out tracting. (For future reference, the day after elections is a terrible day to do missionary work because people are in bad moods.) Multiple people told us they were too busy crying and couldn't talk about Jesus right then hahaha. LAME

For whatever reason, the Lord has blessed me to have really nice cars on my mission (**Shoutout to our blue friend, Daeqkwon in Snellville! Good times.**) On Thursday we drove to PTC to get a brand new car! IT'S SO NICE. And it starts automatically from our apartment hahaha. #blessed.

I spent the day in Douglasville with the Spanish sisters on exchanges! Here is a message I learned: 
"hola! Estoy en intercambios con las hermanas de Espanol. ella me ha ensenado un poquito de Espanol. No se rie a mi acento malo. Tenga un buen dia!" *imagine me talking with a really bad accent.* But anyway, yes it was a good time but I had no clue what was happening WHATSOEVER. I literally felt like a greenie all over again. Then James and his mom had me over for a birthday party and it was HILARIOUS. They are seriously my favorite family ever. He also offered me alcohol which was slightly awkward but that's okay.

My cute Southern friends, the Huckebas had us over for dinner and invited us to their Thanksgiving service at their church the next day!

BEST BIRTHDAY EVER! We had Brenda, Jasen, Angel, James & his friend Sally, Alison, Bryonna and Brandon all at church! IT WAS AMAZING! Person after person just texted us that morning to confirm they were coming to church and it was the best to have all my good friends there with us. :) A recent convert guy made me a sword for a gift, and then we went to my first ever Baptist church service with the Huckebas. That was quite the experience but I won't go into details right now haha. I will just say that I KNOW this is Jesus Christ's church after going there!

Hopefully I didn't miss anything important but as you can tell it was a busy week haha. Probably the best week of my mission so far. :) LIFE IS SO GOOD, Y'ALL. 
If you made it to the end of this email without dying, I applaud you.


Sister Lawson.
1. ELDER AND SISTER SHAFFER!!!! (From Snellville). BFFS
2. The new whip! 2017
3. Temple trip with Bae
4. Birthday cake from James and Mom..."Sister Lawson" wouldn't fit on the cake so they settled with "Brenna". haha...
5. Making dream catchers with Dixie.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Baptisms on the 19th

*Disclaimer--I think it's probably like 25 degrees in here so please excuse the grammatical and spelling errors I will undoubtedly make. Thanks*
*Also shout out to @MorgiePete for being way hilarious and giving me "humour inspiration"*

Okie dokie, it was a pretty alright week. 
Obviously some weird stuff happened because this is Carrollton and you can't ever have just a "normal week". But some REALLY good stuff happened too!

Weird stuff:
1. A woman we met at the door said she would only talk with us if we agreed to make dream catchers with her. So that's what we did right there on her porch. Definitely one of the weirder teaching experiences I've had. The South is a super weird place. 
2. We had the ultimate Black-Southern-Jesus moment when we met this lady named Marcell. She talked at us for about 45 minutes about how much she loves Jesus and told us all her devil possession stories, she read us almost every verse from Psalms, explained that we are breathing in Jesus every time we take a breath, and she even topped it off by singing us her favorite hymn at the end. Life is so good and hilarious.
3.We spent an entire hour-long dinner appointment talking about artificial goat-insemination (sp?) and now I know way too many things about goat-farming.

The GOOD stuff:
1. We had a bomb.com lesson with Brenda about tithing. We were originally really nervous about teaching this just because this family has next-to nothing. It's been a really humbling experience to teach them, and I've really grown to love them all SO much. When Brenda walked into church on Sunday, she said "Y'all! Where's the little paper to put this money in?!"....*Jaw dropped*. It's actually really amazing to me just how converted Brenda and her family have become. When I first met them, I honestly thought "Man, this is going to be really tough." They are definitely super A-typical future-Mormons, but I've never seen any family change as much as they have. Brenda's no longer chewing tobacco, they no longer drink coffee, they are paying tithing despite having so little to give, and they just glow more and more every time we come to see them. Shout out to them for their baptism happening on November 19th!

2. I can't remember if I've talked about them, but there's this part-member family of 2 kids that are getting reading for baptism on the 19th as well! Bryonna and Brandon. (The Elders also have a baptism the 19th...it's going to be one big Pool Party!). Teaching Bryonna and Brandon has been quite the struggle if I'm being honest...they're 8 and 9, so there's a lot of attention-span struggles obviously, but this has been off the charts. We finally figured out a way to keep both of their attention though--we bribe them with tater tots haha. Unconventional, but it works. While we were teaching them about prophets this week, for whatever reason we felt impressed to share the cliche 20-minute Restoration video with them. I think we watched it more for me than for them because while I watched this dumb video that I've seen 128,479 times, I felt the spirit so strongly telling me that Joseph Smith was a prophet when he got down on his knees to pray and God and Jesus Christ came to him to answer his prayer. It was a moment filled with so much love and that burning-in-your-bosom kind of feeling and I started to get teary eyed haha. Those little moments are the best. :)

3. We had MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) and President Foote asked us to share one thing we've learned while being a leader. As I sat there and thought, I remembered that the first time I was called to be an STL, I was 3 transfers into my mission, and the second time around I have 3 transfers left. I remembered how little I actually knew about life then and being a leader and how little I knew about what it means to really be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I still don't know everything, but I recognized that I've grown SO much in a short 8 months and I have 3 more transfers to grow in this little mission-greenhouse through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 
That first time as an STL started me off on my 'path of humbling' that just really hasn't stopped since then haha. God has broken me down to my absolute lowest, and by the grace of His Son, He has slowly built me back up little by little into what He wants me to become. My heart of stone has been slowly changing into a heart of flesh, and it's the longest process ever, but thankfully I have a lifetime to change and not just 18 months. 
As always, I wish I could put my thoughts into better words but at least I know what I mean haha.

Thanks ya'll,
Sister Lawson
(Side Note - Brenna's release date will be March 30, 2017) woot woot.......

Monday, October 31, 2016

Donny Osmond is all over my fridge

Before I forget, someone named Jake Harper was really mad I didn't give him a shout out last week for the inspiration of the "Zone Training Quidditch Match". He'll get over it, but I felt like i should shout him out anyway. You 'da man! Thanks for the help. It was a success.

Unfortunately, i am pretty much out of time because i stink and don't know how to use my time wisely still after 13 1/2 months of doing this thing. Sorry this will be short!
1. We definitely bought pumpkins to carve tonight and I'm pumped about it.

2. Our investigator James REALLY REALLY wants to wash my feet because #Respect...I dunno, he's like way into symbolic stuff like that. He is 100% not allowed anywhere near my feet though so he'll have to figure out a different way to show his respect to me haha. (Diet Coke and watermelon sour patch kids are always a sure-fire way to win my heart...*HINT HINT BECAUSE BIRTHDAY COMING UP!*)

3. We spent SOOOOOOOOO much time volunteering at the local Soup Kitchen this week and it was my favorite service I've done of all time ever. Helping people rocks.

4. Some of you might remember me mentioning in my very first email in Carrollton a woman who is OBSESSED with Donny Osmond....if not, that's okay. But! This same woman was super nice and gave us an entire bag full of 400-500 magnets with Donny Osmond's face on them. They are currently plastered to our fridge. She also promised me a plaque with his face on it for my birthday to hang on our wall. (Being a missionary is the best because you get lots of free random hilarious crap from people...this same week, we also got a hilarious Bamboo plant from the local Dollar-A-Scoop Chinese Buffett on Bankhead Highway...#SponsoredTweet. Life is good.)

5. Our first exchange as STL's in the PSS zone was a success! Shout out to Villa Rica for being fun.

6. Sorry this stinks and there is zero spiritual stuff in here...I had some of the best studies of my whole mission this week though, I promise! I'll have to fill ya'll in next week I guess.

I'm out!

Sistah Lawson
1. Ward Trunk or Treat!

Monday, October 24, 2016


Welp, another week in the life of Sister Lawson was a success...

1. Our first annual Zone Training as the Powder Springs South Zone happened this week and it was AWESOME. Like I mentioned last week, we played quidditch with a missionary spin on it (don't ask me how it worked because it just did) and the people went nuts.

Comments included "This was the most fun zone training I've ever been to" or "I ACTUALLY LEARNED THINGS!" sooooo.....#Success.

I was mostly just excited because we really helped to set a tone of excitement for the work in our zone and people left feeling really motivated to go out and do stuff.

Our second training was about increasing our faith to find prepared people so we did something called a "Miracle Family". Basically we invited everyone to pray with their companion to envision a very specific person or family they wanted to try to find this transfer. It requires the utmost mucho great big faith of all time, and we all left on a spiritual high and with a goal to "Get the Snitch"....nice. (I think I explained that super terribly but that's alright haha...you get the idea.)

2. After a very long, very frustrating, circular lesson about the Word of Wisdom again with Brenda and her grandkids, we FINALLY got them committed to not drink anymore coffee! (Yes, the 4-year-old included...hahaha. Their life is weird). 

3. I found another new 90 something-year-old best friend this week named Brother Lamb and he's ADORABLE! It was like talking to Mr. EJ all over again...man, I miss that cute man.

4. We've been enlisted to help start up a YSA something-or-other down here in Carrollton so my dreams of serving in a YSA are starting to come true!

5. Our new friend Allison is AWESOME. We had a lesson about prayer this week and she prayed out loud for the first time ever :*) it was so cute. This week we are going to help her quit smoking so PRAY FOR THAT PLEASE!

6. Once upon a time, we found a hidden Christian Bookstore and my life got really happy all of a sudden. A year ago, I never would have thought that I would find the greatest joy in walking down the aisles of a Baptist version of Deseret Book but yeah..I'm really going to miss those stores when I come back.

7. James is FINALLY starting to recognize the Spirit and not be so logical about everything in the gospel. We had a really powerful lesson where he literally felt God TELL HIM to quit smoking right there. The spirit was strong and he couldn't deny it. THE SPIRIT IS SO COOL. (Sorry, I couldn't explain what happened as well as I'd like to but yeah...the spirit is awesome, seriously.)

I think that's all I've got for this week....Life is still SO GOOD. I love Carrollton, my mission, and serving the Lord. I'M NEVER COMING HOME, BYE! (actually yeah I am because I miss you all...)

Sister Lawson

1-2. Zone training and "Getting the Snitch"..(yes, that's our whole zone...it's tiny!)
3. One time the trim fell off our car and it was pitch black on a dirt road so we didn't know what else to do...
4. A cool old building we found in Roopville!
5. Making breakfast for dinner with my compy!
6. A hilarious car we found at Walmart this week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Praise the Lord!

Ahhh...God is so good.

Unfortunately, I feel like I don't really have all that much exciting stuff to report on to you this week.
The best part of the whole week was getting a new companion named Sister Smith! We both came out together and I've been able to serve around her a ton my whole mission so it was pretty easy to click into place with her. :) 
Fun facts:
1. She's from Layton, UT (every companion I've had except for Sister Russell has been from UT...)
2. She's a DANCER and wants to be a Disney Princess one day.
3. We don't have a picture together because i stink and forgot to take one haha
4. She never drinks water....?
5. Her favorite Book of Mormon 'hero' is the Gadianton Robbers..? She's weird, I know.
6. We laugh our heads off basically every hour of every day and it's awesome.

Transfer meeting was SO WEIRD. I got to see Sister Russell (my trainer) because she went home and that seriously was one of the weirdest times I've had on a mission because I realized how LONG it's actually been and that i'm going home in T-minus 6ish months. Gah. Tears were shed, you betcha. Seeing her sitting up there on the stand gave me a chance to really reflect on all the change that's happened in the last year--in myself, in other missionaries, in my family, in my friends, in my testimony, in my perspective on life...Just everything has changed. 
The night before Sister Freitag left, we had a funny/cute experience where we were driving home from her last dinner appointment. She had made this playlist of songs titled "My Last Day" and we decided to just let it blast and as we pulled into the parking lot of our apartment, we just sat and listened for maybe 20 minutes and didn't say anything and just cried. I kept thinking about my life for the last year, and i was SO OVERWHELMED with how many of the chances the Lord had given me to change into someone better that I took, and the ones I didn't take. I felt a lot of love from God for those few minutes and it was like a fire had been lit inside of me to REALLY make the next 4 transfers count. I'm excited to see what happens!

STL life has been a good life so far. We found out we only have to cover 2 others sets of sisters because our zone is a brand new zone this transfer and it's TINY. The Zone Leaders are in our ward as well and are super skressed because they have no clue what they're doing (newbies..) so Sister Smith and I basically are running the zone right now hahaha. Tomorrow we are giving a zone training in which we'll be playing Quidditch (with a missionary spin on it) and we have a plan to make the Powder Springs South Zone the "cool zone". :)

Ummm...I'm sorry, but I really think that's about all I have for this week. Kind of boring I know, but just fill in the gaps with lots of really nice people asking US for our church's info, teaching some bomb lessons, tripling our teaching pool in 3 days, and a lot of laughing and there you have it. :)

I'm out yall, 

Sister Lawson

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Baptism Scandals

Hello family and others that I've had some kind of contact with in the last 20 years of my life! This will be a quick one, sorry!

Transfer news: I will be staying here in Carrollton and will become an STL again! I'm excited. STL life was a fun life. :) Sister Freitag will be heading home to go get MARRIED!!!! (probs)

Welp, it was probably the most stressful, exciting weekend I've had in a long long time. Christine got baptized last minute, as you might remember I talked about last week. Everything was looking all great and ready to roll for the baptism the day before. We got there an hour early, the font was filling, sweet prelude music filled the halls....*sidenote: Christine is a...bigger lady.*
10 minutes till the baptism starts, Christine goes to try on the biggest baptismal clothing we had at the church and....it doesn't fit. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I died. *scrambles*

*REWIND TO 5 DAYS EARLIER: "Hey Christine! Here are some of the biggest suits we have, will you try them on to make sure they fit?"
Christine: "Nah, I'm good. That one looks big enough."
Me: *the spirit nudges me and tells her to try it on anyway* "...are you sure?"
Her: "Yep, I'm good."

FAST FORWARD TO THE BAPTISM: *zipper won't go up.* "crap."

Half an hour passes, we run around trying to figure out a solution and literally can't think of ANYTHING. Then Christy gets this idea to tie a tablecloth around her and be all "Greek Goddess" over the top of the suit, while beneath she is hanging out. 
Us: "K let's try it, I'm out of ideas."

The service starts 30 minutes late...
President Foote was there...
8 sets of other missionaries were there...

Christine goes down under the water, comes back up and the TABLECLOTH COMES OFF. *use your imagination* (sorry to be graphic hahaha.) 

Definitely the most scandalous baptism I've ever been to hahaha.

I'm so happy it's over.


Ummmmmm...in other news, I got my first REAL taste of Georgia BBQ and it was the most glorious thing I've ever put in my mouth. Thank the heavens for po-dunk Carrollton


Sorry to be short!
Love you, bye!

Sister Lawson

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Life is weird...and awesome


Majorly cool things happened this week.
1. Christine--I don't think I've talked about her yet. The basics of the story is that Christine is one of those friends we have on parole who couldn't progress anymore than she already has and is a woman who's been coming to church for the last 10 months. She's been unable to be baptized until she received permission from the Prophet himself. I'm obviously not going to say what she did but I'm here to tell you that the Atonement is INCREDIBLE. This woman is completely new and born again and has completely turned her life over to God. Anyway, back to the news. ON FRIDAY SHE GOT PERMISSION FROM THE PROPHET TO BE BAPTIZED! The long awaited, long-prayed for, glorious and celestial day for Christine is coming this Saturday and we couldn't be more excited for her. :) God is good!

2. We got to spend one session watching with Brenda and her kids on Sunday morning. The kids LOVED conference and sat there super intently watching quietly the whole time! it was amazing. Conference Bingo came in clutch haha. After the last session of conference was over, we got a call from Brenda. She's like "Okay i'm ready to be baptized. That last guy I watched on the TV--I like what he said. I'm ready for this." Sooooo Brenda and the kids are all on date for Nov. 19th! WOOOooo!

We spent some fun time doing volunteer work at a local horse ranch and it totally threw me back to my weird youth days of loving horse movies and carrying around horse-stuffed animals. IT WAS AWESOME! 

We found some new geriatric best friends this week! The Huckebas they are so adorable and a member of the ward referred us to them. They had us over for a cute lunch and Southern chat. For whatever reason, old people just really love me. Mr. EJ...Brother Lamb....The Huckebas....I think I am just meant to have old-person best friends for the rest of my life and that's it.

Fact about Carrollton: It's the Meth Capital of Georgia! :)

I feel like I'm kind of all over the place today, I'm sorry. Just....distracted. 
And basically out of time.

We all know that conference was awesome so I don't feel like I need to elaborate too much. BUT! I do want to say that God has been so good to me because a lot of what was talked about in Conference went right in tune with what I've been studying in the last few months--Joy, "becoming", and knowing what you REALLY believe through personal revelation, it's okay to have questions, and not backing down when life gets hard. It's good to know I'm on the right track with what God wants me to learn sometimes haha.

Welp, that's all folks!
I'm out.
Sister Lawson

PS--i went to a scary house this week with at LEAST 50 cats walking around on the outside AND inside. I'm not exaggerating.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Hello my friends!

Obviously it was an exciting week because that's just what happens when you live in Carrollton.

To start off with, we got an EXTREMELY interesting phone call from a man in Columbus, GA. For reasons unbeknownst to us, this man had our phone number and decided he wanted to call and "thank us for what we do for humanity." Really sweet right? Then he kind of turned into a freak and told us he was Pagan and that his "God" was the same as our God, but not, and his God was "male and female at the same time"...I dunno. But he said that of all the Christian denominations, we were the most "on point". Then his next words were: "now, if you can just get on point with the Pagans and the Hindus, then you'd have the WHOLE truth." *face palm*. people are weird.

I tried the Southern "delicacy" of boiled peanuts this week and almost barfed.

Brenda is still doing great. Jasen and Angel want to be baptized this Saturday....exciting, but not going to happen because they are still far from ready hahaha. While we were over there this week having a cute lesson about baptism and butterflies (don't ask), Brenda's neighbor walked in the house, saw us sitting there, got ready to say something nasty, and then Brenda was all "Bubbah! Don't talk to them. We're Mormons now." HAHA! nice.

The bulk of my email will focus on 2 events that had a huge impact on me this week:

Tuesday: We had scheduled to go finding for a solid hour in a giant apartment complex we recently ran into that looked pretty untouched. We prayed to find a new investigator while we were there and went out to follow the Spirit. For whatever reason, I was feeling extremely pumped about finding that day (which is shocking because I hate door-knocking with every fiber of my being). As we knocked on door after door, something miraculous happened: every door opened. Something very sucky also simultaneously happened: every person who answered was a JERK. Every single one of them. It's never been that bad for me before. We met one man in particular who took one look at us, said incredibly rudely "I'm not interested, ladies. I'm baptist." and tried to slam the door. Before the door shut, I blurted out "How do you know the Baptist church is the true church??! Did God tell you that??" He didn't have much of a response. "Ladies...I'm done with you today. Goodbye." *SLAM!* HE COULDN'T EVEN TELL US HE KNEW IT WAS TRUE!!!! 

I was so frustrated. We walked from complex to complex and all of a sudden I just called out "THERE'S GOTTA BE SOMEONE IN HERE!" It was like a movie scene haha. We decided to knock on 4 more doors and be as bold as we possibly could because we had major faith that someone was in there waiting to hear about the gospel. The next 4 doors were TRASH. As we walked back to the car defeated, tears rolled down my cheeks and I thought to myself "After all of that, we didn't make a single difference for one person." I had so much faith that day to find someone--something that I hadn't really felt that strongly while finding before. That was one of the lower points I've had on a mission. 

Exchanges-FridayWhile chillin' with my friend Sister Nau for the day up in Douglasville, we pulled up to a small little Southern subdivision and went at it. We knocked on only 4 doors that whole night.
Door #1: nothing
Door #2: nothing
Door #3: *woman looks at us, scoffs SUPER rudely, slams door*.
Door #4: nothing
After door #4, I had memories of earlier in the week of being rejected and I was super not down for that. I said to Sister Nau, "Hey, I think we should go back and see that lady who just slammed on us and tell her that God loves her." (cheesy). Sister Nau laughed at me but then said "Hmm..I actually feel like we should too." It just felt so right!
So we did!
*knock knock knock*
Woman: "You've got a lot of nerve! Why are you back at my door?"
As we proceeded to talk to her, she was SO SHOCKED that we came back especially after her initial reaction. We came to learn that she was just having a really really bad day, had never heard of our church before, and was now incredibly intrigued because no one had ever had the guts to do that to her before. After she shut the door on us, she said that she had gone back to sit on her couch to watch the terrible things happening on the news again and really just felt so much guilt for shutting the door. I know that Heavenly Father had really humbled her in that moment and prepared her for what was coming next.
After talking on the porch for a while, she allowed us into her house and said "This is so bizarre, I cannot believe I'm letting you in right now." We then had the most INCREDIBLE lesson I've ever had with someone sitting there in her living room. Sister Nau and I were so bold with her as we testified of the Book of Mormon and this being the true church. I have only cried in 3 total lessons on my mission, and that one took the cake. I literally watched the darkness inside this woman be replaced with light as we sat and taught her about how much God REALLY loved her. She said "I feel like this is the answer I didn't know I was searching for."
It was literally like something out of an Ensign or a movie. 

I've been reflecting back on these 2 experiences a lot.
In one moment, I felt lower than I've ever felt and as if I hadn't made a difference for anyone in the world at all.
In the next, I helped make all the difference for one woman who, if I hadn't followed a prompting, wouldn't have been introduced to the light of joy of the gospel.
It's quite the contrast, really.
Even though it's hard to see it sometimes, I AM A DIFFERENCE MAKER!
Gah. Life is so good.
Annnnnnd I'm out!
Sister Lawson

Song of the week: (how fitting!)
Difference Maker- NeedToBreathe

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Haha sadly, this was a phrase said by Sister Freitag and I wayyyy too many times this week...Seeing as Sister F will be kickin' the bucket in approx. 3.5 weeks, we've been spending a lot of time at the library for her to do the dreaded MyPlan, a program that allows missionaries to evaluate their missionary service over the past year and half to two years and helps them create goals for their future. We've been having a lot of heart-to-hearts to help her figure things out, and what I've concluded is that sometimes I'm really excited to go home. Not because I don't want to be a missionary anymore or because i miss my family too much or I just want to go on a date, but simply because i'm really excited to just go out and use everything I've learned on my REAL mission and to become even more of what Heavenly Father wants me to become. It's just like how most missionaries are super over the MTC by day 5 because they want to go out and apply what they've learned--it's the same thing with the field and real life. It's quite the skruggle.

Needless to say, it has caused a bit of a hindrance to stay focused with our "heart and minds" on the work this week. Hence, "REEEE-focusing.."

Butttttt NEVERTHELESS....still a great week.
First things first, I told Sister Howell I would give her a shout out in my next email so this one's for you bb:

Anyway...exciting things about the week:
1. There was a string of break-ins among members this week...one of which resulted in the incarceration of one of our not-so-progressing-investigators who was the friend of a less-active woman. She has a hard time choosing good friends haha. That was quite fun to find out!

2. We attended the Roopville Homecoming Festival in an attempt to go make some new friends which actually turned out to be really fun. In the past, events like this gave me major anxiety (*cough* PTC 4th of July Parade *cough*) because SO MANY PEOPLE, but this time around, I could really see how much I've progressed as a missionary! We met a lot of cool new people that we are excited to try to see again.

3. COOKIES. Let me explain the backstory to this--Early into training Sister Francom, we received revelation that we needed to make cookies for the entire congregation in an attempt to get to know them better and strengthen our relationships with them because we really just didn't know how to work effectively with the ward. This worked well because 1) dropping off cookies is an easy way to get in the door briefly to let them know you know they exist, 2) everyone loves cookies, 3) easy way to ask for referrals, and 4) MIRACLES HAPPEN. 
So sister Freitag and I have implemented the same tactic here and it's worked loads better than it ever did in PTC. The members love us now, we've been referred to see a lot of their friends, and we've even gotten a bunch of less-actives to start coming back to church! It's been awesome. One of my better ideas, for sure haha. (Shout out to mom for the BOMB cookie recipe!)

4. We explored several new parts of our 500 sq. mi turf this week which was pretty fun. Also I learned that we cover about 8 cities...THAT'S A LOT.

5. I got a new boyfriend who's 6 years old named Skyler. :)

6. For whatever reason, we learned that the Elders have a full-size replica of the Title of Liberty and several weapons such as swords, nun chucks and blow dart guns. Sister Freitag definitely had a fight. (and by fight, I definitely mean that we took pictures holding such weapons).

7. With one of our friends James, we had some ROCK SOLID lessons with him about the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation during which many tears were shed by yours truly because Spirit. He's finally starting to make major progress, wants to quit smoking and we were able to find him a ride to church! Sadly........he's on parole so his future is unsure. :( Everyone loved him and thought he was the coolest. 

8. Lastly, remember Brenda? YEP SHE RULES. We had her and all her grand-kids at church again this week and they are still loving it! Brenda's been telling everyone she's going to our church and they all say "You're nuts! They have 8 wives! They're a cult! BLAH BLAH BLAH"...ya know, the usual stuff. But she's a rock and tells them they're all crazy haha. It's the best. Last night, she called us and said that her grandson Jason told her before going to bed that he wanted to be baptized! WOOOOOO!!!!!!!! We'll be updating you on that next week. :)

In one of the lessons we had with Brenda and the kids this week, we were teaching them about the First Vision. After talking about Heavenly Father's pattern of love all throughout time with calling a prophet, I asked them "do you believe that could have happened? Do you think Joseph Smith really did see God and Jesus Christ?" And then Maggie burst out saying,"If that didn't happen, then GOD ISN'T REAL!" I think those were pretty profound words for a 7 year old! For whatever reason, it's incredibly difficult for people in the South to believe that God's called a prophet in the latter-days. They believe that those days died with Christ Himself. I know for myself that God is not a changeable God--If He loved His children enough to call a prophet in ancient times, why would He love us any less? He continues to follow His patterns because God is the same yesterday, today and FOREVER. He loves us! If it were not so, then "God wouldn't be real". :)

Welp, that's all folks!
I'm out.

Sister Lawson

Fave quotes of the week:
-"I'm really sad this sandwich is almost gone."--me 4 times this week.
-me: "So now it's natural to throw babies?"
sis F: "not BABIES, just children"....k
-sis F: "when i get home, i'm going to wash my goo"
-Sis F: "Sometimes I believe that if you just act like you have a mental illness, everyone will leave you alone"
-Sis F: "It's okay, she's just in the beginning stages of leprosy."

1. the creepy place we had to walk through to get to the bathroom at a grocery store :*(
2. Lawson Street!
4. Bathroom pics with Sister Howell....fun.
5. Sis Howell bein' all "pretty" at zone conference.