Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Thus ended the 7th month of the reign of Sister Lawson over the people of Snellville..."

My Snellville days are over, y'all :(
It's going to be weird and sucky, I'll be honest. Snellville has become my home away from home! Ah! Shockingly I've only cried twice since finding out so that's good news i guess. The only hints I've gotten about where I'll be going is that I'm going to be in a "foursome"...we are still trying to decide what that means. 4 man apartment? 4-person companionship rotating around a sick missionary? I guess the world will never know until Wednesday.
But yes, the next few days of goodbyes will be rough. Snellville has seen me through it all, and I'm definitely going to miss all my new grandmas, grandpas, moms, dads, and siblings.

So remember last week when we talked about all the new investigators we have? yep, that slimmed down really quickly back to 0, all in a matter of 4 days. WOO. Have fun Sister Howell. :)

-Nina: her husband apparently is super controlling and we haven't heard back from her in a week...????
-Evelyn: literally texted us 10 min before church "yeah I've decided that now isn't a good time for me to be baptized, I'm too busy." (sweetened-condensed version of her text) k.
-Faith: Possibly moving in the near future due to family issues. :(
-Khadisha: STILL haven't heard back from her. GAHHHHH

Another fun story: This week we received a referral from someone who wanted a Bible. We delivered said-Bible and met probably one of the strangest 7th-Day Adventists I've met so far. She had 3 folding chairs and one table as the ONLY furniture in her entire house. Her claim was that Jesus told her to live "conservatively". That was extreme. The woman told us she wanted to come to church with us on Sunday, but Saturday when we texted her to remind her, she sent us a bizarre text. (pictures attached). I don't know why someone would text that if it's true. We didn't know how to respond hahaha.

On Friday we went down to Covington and built a bridge with the Zone for a service project at one of the Boy Scout Camps. That was crazy, I really wish I had taken pictures haha. The elders were going wild!

We also went out to lunch at Chipotle with Franklin and Sister C. Hahahaha man, I'm probably going to miss them the most.
Some favorite quotes from our lunch-conversations:
-Franklin: I'm deathly afraid of Chipotle.
-Franklin: *feels Sister C's pulse*
-Franklin: "I used to steal the straps off of Ross shopping carts with a razor blade, melt them together with a cigarette lighter and make them into choker necklaces during my goth-punk phase. It looked super cool when I'd poke nails through it for some added punk-effect."
-Franklin: "I was a Halloweenist. Instead of a Gothic who wore all black, i would wear colors mixed with Gothic fashion."
Franklin: "I am a STAUNCH .... cat loyalist."
(I thought I had some Sister C quotes, but I guess not)
Yep, i am really going to miss Franklin hahaha.

Sorry this email lacked anything spiritual. I promise the next ones will be full of things I've been learning!

Hope you all have an awesome week. pray for me haha

Sister Lawson

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The work basically exploded this week . . .

The work basically exploded this week--seriously awesome stuff happened... and then it crashed down as quickly as it started. But that's missionary work for ya. 


1. John: still being difficult. I don't wanna talk about it. We told him he needs to be obedient and try harder. I'm tired of passive-aggressive people, i'll be honest hahaha.

2. We were not able to see Khadisha this week :( and she never responds to phone calls or texts or answers the door or anything so we're kind of at a loss about what to do there. SHE'S SO READY DANG IT

3. Nina: WE HAD AN AWESOME LESSON WITH HER. For whatever reason, we felt really strongly that we needed to show her the 20min restoration video about Joseph Smith (which we never do) so we did. The beginning of the lesson was rocky though...we brought this member with us who kept throwing it off and taking us down weird tangents and was skressful. (Southern speak for "stressful"). But it was saved when Sister Howell basically forced her to watch the video hahaha. Afterward, she said in her cute broken English "Ya, that's my story! i am like joseph smith! I want to know which church is right!" So that was SUPER COOL. It's hard to describe how strongly the spirit was there through words, but it was thick enough that you could cut it like a knife. i'll put it that way. She committed to come to church and promised us so many times that she was going to be there!....til an hour before she says "my husband is taking me to his church. I'll be there next week!"...........k.
4. Faith: AWESOME. I can't remember if i've talked about her before. The elders gave us to her because she's a 15 year old girl and it's awkward for them haha... But yeah, basically she studied the church for 2 years back in Illinois, was about to be baptized, and then moved here right before her baptism. She got offended at one of the youth activities here in Snellville and hasn't wanted to come back since. She asked us to come over the other night and we had a good little chat about what her REAL issues were...she's worried that she's not going to join for the right reasons and be a "robot" in the church. Sad! we got to talk a lot about what true conversion is and how to gain that conversion for herself. Sister Howell and I both got to share our conversion stories (because everyone has one :)) and she was like "okay, i'm going to do this right this time. I am going to come to church with you this sunday and do everything you ask me to because I want to know for myself that this is true. Would you like me to say the closing prayer?"...haha she knows the drill. I LOVE FAITH. She came to church this Sunday with us and it was SO HAPPY! So yes, she's on the right track and we are excited about her. :)
5. EVELYN: I am most excited about her! The other day we were visiting cute Sister Coble (crossing guard lady) and we said "Hey, we were reading through some old records the other day and found this girl named Evelyn. It says you gave her a Book of you know anything about that?" her: "Ah shoot, i'm 75. I dont remember nothin' no more. But it could be this one lady...come with me!" *Gets in truck*...*meets Evelyn who is literally the biggest Drop of Awesome of all time*. Here is the story of Evelyn (i'm trying to sweeten-condense this, but it's really hard and i'm sorry):
-Sister Coble gave her a Book of Mormon in high school (she's 22 now), and she's been reading it ever since. She likes that it has "birthdays"..still dont know what that means.
-She's in the army. Her boyfriend is also in the army and coming home next week. He's been studying the church over in Afghanistan and has come to the conclusion that he needs to be baptized. Evelyn has been meeting with us simultaneously and has also come to the conclusion that she needs to be baptized. Neither of them knew this until the day before our lesson this week.
-a trillion other things about her life have completely aligned with her learning about the church and she is so ready and so excited to learn as much as she can because her prayers were answered with us!
-We had this really powerful lesson with her. The thing about Evelyn to remember is that she's really really LOUD. Like really loud. There is no such thing as having a quiet lesson with quietly feeling the spirit, because it's literally impossible. She feels the spirit by being loud and excited and having a feeling of understanding wash over her. Needless to say, it was the loudest, most exciting, most energetic lesson i've ever had. We were all jumping around and standing on our chairs and yelling because we were all so pumped. (i promise you, this is okay). Everything about the gospel just made so much sense to her! In all the excitement, we put her on date for baptism the 30th. 4-30...*sidenote: Prior to this lesson, she had been seeing the number 430 EVERYWHERE. She took that as a sign when we invited her to that date. SO COOL. But seeing as she was getting baptized the 30th, it was absolutely essential that she came to church with us yesterday, otherwise she wouldnt be ready.
-You guessed it: She didn't come to church, wouldnt answer the phone, and is no longer getting baptized the 30th. And we have not been able to reach her since Friday. SATAN IS SO COOL AND NICE ;)
I'm just drained. yet again. EMOTIONS ARE HARD. 

other fun stuff this week:
1. Sister Howell and i have been growing a plant and IT SPROUTED YESTERDAY. I screamed for a good long time bc excitement.
2. There's some huge thing on the news here in Gwinnett County about a CNA who was beating up all her old patients and abusing them super badly who just got arrested (it may have made national news by now...). I briefly looked at the TV in someone's home in the exact same moment that this lady's face came on the TV. IT WAS SOMEONE I HAD TALKED TO HERE IN SNELLVILLE AND TAUGHT ONE TIME. Hahahahaha it was really shocking, but now i know someone infamous and its funny. :)

I think that's all I've got for the week. 
Stay happy, yall! Love ya!

Sister Lawson

Monday, April 11, 2016

Find Joy in the Squirrels

Ayye, Snellville is a good place.

Updates on current gators:
1. John--kind of being a pile, I'll be honest. Somehow he's roped Sister Howell and I into his marital problems and calls us for advice everyday (which we don't give him) and then blames everything on that. it's incredibly awkward. We tried to set up at least 4 different appointments, invited him VERY FIRMLY to church this week because we knew he'd be able to receive answers, and he's never been any other time we've invited him. Every single one of those things, he found an excuse not to come, or had to reschedule the morning of so that was incredibly frustrating. he says he's still been reading the Book of Mormon so I guess that's a plus, but for the most part I'm about done. He just thinks all the blessings are going to come to him if all he does is read the Book of Mormon, even though we've told him tons of times that he has to DO more if he WANTS more from God. GAH WHY DO PEOPLE HAVE THEIR AGENCY????? If he's not willing to do more, then there's not much more we can do for him.
2. We are meeting with "My Soul Feels At Home" Khadisha this week which I'm STOKED ABOUT. They are finally home from vacation!

OKAY I have the most amazing drop of awesome of all time. and her name is NINA.  She's from Indonesia! Basically the story goes like this:
We had this former investigator named Linda who has literally been taught for like 3 straight years and thinks it's hilarious how many missionary sets she's gone through. She's basically already a member because she knows so much and has done so much research on her own about the church. Well, one day we went over to introduce ourselves and she had invited over her neighbor Nina. Nina was really super impressed with us and was like "you are not like other teenagers! you are polite and respectful and dignified and disciplined. Tell me more about your church." So we just did like this question and answer thing for her, mostly talking about marriage and our beliefs on same-sex attraction (don't ask me how it got to that point, I don't even know...Linda kept bringing up all this random stuff that could have ended really badly). But yeah she was really interested in the family aspect of our religion and was like "yeah i want you to come back over and tell me more."
The visit with her was INCREDIBLE. She just laid it all down: "I've been praying for God to send me someone like you to tell me which church I need for my family. I want my girls to grow up like you and I want my family to be happy like yours. I get really lonely around here because my husband is always working (Side note: her husband makes freaking expensive furniture for politicians like Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan....basically he's loaded and always busy), and the people at my church never reach out to me. I just want to go somewhere where i feel loved and cared about. *Starts sobbing* I know you were sent to me for a reason!"
GAH ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? I have never met anyone more prepared or with more real intent in my life. I LOVE NINA SO MUCH. We've only met her two times and I can't even begin to explain to you the love i have for her! Me telling this story really doesn't do it justice either because it was probably the most powerful lesson either of us had ever had before. SHE HAS SO MUCH LOVE FOR HER FAMILY AND JUST WANTS TO BE HAPPY, DANG IT.
Another cool thing about this: her husband has a daughter from his first marriage that just converted a few months ago!!!!!!!!! Connections, man.
For the last 3 days, all we've been able to think about has been Nina. I'm so excited for her, you have no idea.
So yeah, that's Nina and that's the reason why I'm on a mission. AWESOME.

Other fun stuff:
This week we were called upon to use our STL (Sister Training Leader) powers for a legitimate reason called "Go save the sisters in Stockbridge who both have decided they want to go home." You got it. We had an emergency exchange and I spent the day with a sister who is...interesting. But also I love her a lot. We spent all day thinking of ways to help her have a more positive attitude so that she and her companion could get along and this is what we decided on: Every time we see a squirrel, we have to say one happy thing about the day. (This is brilliant because this is Georgia and there are more squirrels than people). The quote of the day was "Find Joy in the Squirrels" (hence the title of this email). It sounds super dumb, I know. But also it completely changed her whole attitude and they are doing great now, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Sister Howell and I have continued the tradition so now every time we see said-squirrel, we yell out the best thing that's happened that day (which for the last few days has been "NINA!").
So yeah, that's been fun.

This morning, I had an awesome personal study! I just reached Alma 36 in the Book of Mormon and Acts 9 in the Bible, and read them both one after another this morning.
For those who know, Alma 36 is about Alma's conversion, and Acts 9 is about Saul's conversion. IT IS NO CHANCE THAT I REACHED BOTH OF THESE AT THE SAME TIME ON THE SAME DAY. As I was reading, I noticed SO many similarities between the two stories. One thing stood out to me so much as I studied these: Both stories showed how living the gospel can change a person around completely and make them incredibly HAPPY. That's all the Bible is! It's full of stories about people who followed the Savior's teachings, repented and became "new creatures" or "born again" through Jesus Christ. But guess is the Book of Mormon! It's completely loaded with stories about how people can change through the Savior as well. When I read these two stories together today, the Spirit testified to me so strongly that we can't have one without the other--We can't have the Bible without the Book of Mormon and vice versa. The Bible is the "what" of the gospel/Jesus's life, and the Book of Mormon is the "how and why" we live it. GAH I LOVE THE SCRIPTURES SO MUCH. Sorry if that didn't make much sense, but sometimes it's really hard to put revelation into words haha.

I think that's all the really important stuff from this week.

A funny moment from the week:
*Visiting Greta Coble (see previous email)* *eats dandelions* us: wut

Sister Lawson

1. Conyers Zone HOLLAAAA
2. Exchange with Sister Archer from Stockbridge!
3. Just a friendly reminder :)


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

In case you didn't already know...

Snellville is a neat place. Learning new things about it every week!
1. The town motto is "Where everybody's a somebody"
2. Home of 2nd runner-up on the first season of American Idol, Diana DiGarmo!
3. Home of the Flesh-eating bacteria girl (pls google this)
4. Home of Greta Coble, Crossing Guard of 45 YEARS at South Gwinnett High School (also pls google her...she's in our ward.)

In case you didn't already read from all the other missionaries' weekly emails, GENERAL CONFERENCE HAPPENED AND IT WAS BOMB. 
There's just something really special about being a missionary and listening to the prophet... But man, "Chinese Cat"?? Did anyone else catch that?!?? He spoke for like a whole 3 minutes...i'm getting a tad worried about Pres. Monson haha. 

Shout out to Leslie/momma for turning a year older...(Everyone thinks you're like 30 when I show them a picture of you so feel good about that)
Shout out to Brother O'Very for stepping up to the 3rd row in MoTab! 
Shout out to me for falling down the stairs and getting a large bruise on my ____
Shout out to my pal Kyler for pulling off the baptism of 500 lb Albert in good ole' Ohio!
Shout out to Jeni going to serve the Lord in INDIANA!!!!!!!!!! :)
Also shout out to Sister Oscarson for throwing it DOWN on the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ found ONLY in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. #KillinIt

We had a cool lady named Khadisha request a visit from the missionaries and she's SOLID. Her literal words as soon as we walked through the door: 
K-So where's the ward at? 
us-uhhhhh WHAT?? 
K-I've been to the ward in Sandy Springs several times and my soul feels at home in your church. I'd like to be baptized with my husband and 8 children.

UMMM KKKKKKKK WHAT???? It was nutz. She and her family are out of town for Spring Break til next week so i'll be updating you later.

I'm sorry, i'm out of time! 

Okay, stay sassy. BYE

Sister Lawson