Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Peace out, PTC

Hello people of the world! (but probably only the Lawson household because no one else actually reads these besides my mom and dad)

The week was pretty great. I don't have a ton to report on other than:

1. TRANSFER NEWS: I will be leaving and Sister Francom will be staying to take over the area! She's terrified but hey, that's just how the mission goes i guess!--Pushed outside your comfort zone all the time...every day...always. She's going to kill it though so we are excited for her! I'm excited to find out where the Lord has called me to. PTC was fun but it's definitely time for a change!

2. We did service a large majority of the time this week. Most of it was spent at the local Food Bank which is my FAVORITE place in all of PTC to go! (The LDS missionaries are famous there so we receive a round of applause whenever this massive mob of 20+ missionaries walk into the building. It's nice to not be rejected sometimes hahaha.) While we were there, we got to talk to a man from a local ministry for ex-convicts and people looking to change their lives who also happened to be volunteering there. He was so shocked that we "actually believe in a living prophet"! But the more we got talking to him, the more he started to understand why we actually NEED one and he wanted to read the Book of Mormon to know what we were talking about. It was pretty fun and i hope the sisters will see him again at the Food Bank and ask him how he liked it!

3. Mr. EJ has been reading the Book of Mormon. Little by little! it's going to be tough saying goodbye to him, he's really just been the light of my whole experience in PTC. I will definitely miss him! But it's all good because i'm bringing my husband to see him when he's 99. :) woo!

4. Sideth is still going strong! We went over the baptismal interview questions with her last night while we ate noodles and she's still so excited. :) we got talking about the temple and her and her family are SO EXCITED to go next year! I'm excited for them too! BAPTISM ON THE 11TH!

Sorry that this email was super lame, but I'm a little bit out of time. Sorry y'all!
Overall it was a decent week, and I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for me for the last 6 months of my mission. I can't believe how fast it's gone by!


Sister Lawson

1. The Clemmons family! (aka my OTHER best friends)
2. A fun picture of me and a purple-haired-less-active-lady
3. Chillin' at the Food Bank
4. It was raining really hard.
5. The Sao Family :)
6. The Clemmons family! (aka my OTHER best friends)
7. The PTC squad (aka my best friends)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Stressed but Steady

Hello my friends! I didn't use my time very wisely today so this is gonna be really short! SORRY

STEPHANIE: she is still the "most elect" in all of PTC and I'm so excited about her. We went on a church tour together this week and as soon as she stepped into the building, she said "this just feels right." IT WAS LIKE A MOVIE, MAN. She is just so on fire, I've never seen anything like it.

Sideth: She's still cute and still ready for baptism. :) last night we had a lesson about the plan of salvation and we brought her some pamphlets in Cambodian just in case there were any translation errors, and by the end of the lesson, she was explaining everything back to us and reteaching us! We are still super excited for her baptism on the 11th!

It rained so dang much this week. I can't tell you how many times we were caught in the rain. At one point, we were on our bikes by the church and it rained so hard we couldn't even see 3 feet in front of us so we had to take refuge in the church. While we were there, we needed to dry off for our dinner appointment and had no other choice but to take off our skirts (with biker pants on, I promise) and hang out. It was incredibly weird. Also we were starving and our dinner wasn't for another 2 hours so we scrounged around the church trying to find something to eat. All we found was a can of corn so you know that we definitely blessed that corn and thanked Heavenly Father for it and the seasonings we found in the drawer. #Blessed

Other fun things: i stood on a doorstep for 10 seconds and got 7 bug bites on my legs. I think that's a new record.

Okay guys, sorry again this is lame.
I'm out!

Sister Lawson

Scriptures of the week:
1 Nephi 17 read in conjunction with Exodus 3, 5 and 14, and Numbers 21:6-9. Seriously AWESOME.
Also, 2 Nephi 2:25 as always. :)

"Steady" by For King and Country (thanks to my homie, J-Harp)

1. We will all be getting a Mono test this week because #exhausted so this is our pre-test mug shot.
2, 3. We decided to do a photoshoot in the cemetery. Enjoy.
4. The elders being dinguses!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The day the Summer Drought ended...

HEY THERE! in the words of Elder Tingey, "Due to my decreasing drive to send good emails, this is gonna be another poorly written email. I hope you forgive me. But if not, all is well. It's really not gonna affect me that much." <---I ditto that. The longer you're out, the harder it is to summarize how much you've grown in one week and then you get frustrated, and don't want to write about it because no one will ever understand and then just write poor emails. it's quite the vicious cycle.

Guys this week was so good. Seriously. Probably my favorite week in all of PTC.

This week school started up again which meeeeaaannnsss....THE DROUGHT IS OVER. People weren't joking when they said that summertime is dead in PTC. All summer long, we've been scraping the barrel, looking for things to do every day and really having little-to-no success because literally everyone flies away to foreign lands because Delta and money. I've never been so happy for school to be back in haha.

Awesome things of the week:

PAULINA IS BACK! We decided to go stop by one last time (we say that every time, but this time was for real haha). We had a "drop note" written and everything, totally prepared to leave it behind for when, yet again, she wouldn't be there. But she was there! And we had the best, most guided-by-the-spirit lesson of all time where she told us she didn't feel like she was being baptized because she wanted to--just because everyone around her wanted to be. She didn't know for sure that it was the true church, and was afraid of rushing into it. We were able to talk to her about the Book of Mormon and receiving answers through the Spirit and it was just so cool...the way Paulina describes feeling the spirit is my favorite thing: "When I feel the spirit, everything looks prettier."

So yeah, we are going to be working VERY hard and taking baby steps with her to help her get an answer for herself and I'm very excited.

Some days were just so packed with appointments and things to do that we were literally running from house to house, only able to stay for 15 or 20 minutes..it was nuts!

I hit 11 months this week...I can't believe it's almost been a year!

We found a new friend named Stephanie this week and she is absolutely wonderful. :) She's someone that Sister Leyba and I found FOREVER ago and couldn't ever contact again! Her basic story is this:
Her entire father's side comes from Mormon pioneer ancestry, and somehow the church skipped a generation when her dad estranged her so she never knew she had Mormon family members. Since we talked to her the first time, she's reconnected with several of her family members and has even had her ancestors come to her in dreams and tell her she needs to join the church. She knows it's where she needs to be! There were several other really miraculous things about running into her, but the best news is that she's "the most elect" person in all of PTC. :) When we went by for our appointment, she was sobbing from beginning to end because of all these fears and conflicting thoughts she has of being judged for being a single, divorced parent, but because she also doesn't want to disappoint her ancestors. She has GREAT reverence for them and thinks of them any time she goes through something really hard which is super rad. This week we are going to go on a church tour with her and introduce her to several of the other "single divorced moms" in the ward which I'm very excited about.  STEPHANIE RULES!

Sideth is still doing great. She's been reading the Book of Mormon every day, praying every day, and she came to church yesterday as well! CPR (Church, Praying, Reading) man, it really does save souls. Still shooting for baptism on the 11th!

Overall, this week was FAR BETTER than the last few months have been. I know that God has a purpose for me being here in Peachtree City, but it's honestly been the biggest challenge for me to realize what that purpose is during the time I've been here. I've started to realize that the biggest reason I'm here at this time is so that I can truly grow and become who my Heavenly Father wants me to be, to become refined through my trials and to really know and understand how "enduring to the end" will lead me to happiness.
A very wise past-companion told me today, "Happiness is a choice. It has nothing to do with external forces." Men are that they might have JOY! Sometimes it's hard to choose happiness, but I'm working on it day by day.

I'm out.

Sister Lawson

Tuesday, August 9, 2016



*I just spent 10 minutes helping the old man next to me in the library post an article from the internet on facebook...cute*

The most important things that happened:
1. I learned some Italian words from the Italian Elder. "Ketaggiadich" and "Boveramme!"...nice. #ItalianSlang
2. We have determined that I have a mild case of carpal tunnel in my hand...my thumb has been numb for a solid week now. :( no biggie.
3. We went to the temple! Sister Russell was there too so we got a really good "Generations Pic" (see attached). As always, the temple trip was filled with lots of revelation and peace and happiness. I'm going to leave it at that.

This, however, is the most important thing that happened this week and I will be focusing the remainder of my email on it:

This morning I finished the Book of Mormon for the 2nd time ever in my whole life. I also finished the last page of my study journal this morning as well. It's really interesting to me that I finished them both on the same day, and for some reason it's a really bitter-sweet feeling. I can't put my finger on why yet. But! As I finished the last verse this morning, I did the classic "Moroni's Challenge" thing of kneeling down and asking God if the Book was true. I also asked God to help me understand what the biggest lessons were that He wanted me to learn through my study of the Book of Mormon over the past 7 months.

The following is what God taught me by the power of the Holy Ghost this morning and is a culmination of the most important lessons I learned from this copy of the Book of Mormon: (please excuse my brain vomit of quotes, thoughts and scriptures)

1. The whole purpose and design of our existence is for us to be HAPPY. 2 Nephi 2:25

2. We have been sent here to earth to be changed and reborn into someone that is and will become like our Heavenly Father. God's whole purpose is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life. Moses 1:39

3. God gave us the wonderful gift of agency to help us grow and progress back to him. 2 Nephi 2:27

4. The biggest thing I learned of all though is how God specifically speaks to me and how important it is for EVERYONE to gain a testimony of truth by the power of the Holy Ghost for ourselves.

Moroni 7:16 - "The Spirit of Christ is given to every man that he may know good from evil...everything that inviteth and enticeth to do good is sent forth by the power of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God."

D&C 8:2 - "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost...this is the spirit of revelation." God will ALWAYS teach us in a reasonable and revelatory way. He is a perfect God with a perfect knowledge, and He knows how to specifically teach each of His children individually. He wants to teach us and is so ready and willing to communicate to us. The trick is for us to figure out His language of speaking to each of us...

Moroni 10:5 - "By the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the TRUTH of all things."  We can only gain a sure, unwavering, rock-solid testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit--not by man, not purely by thoughts...only through communication with God through prayer and the Spirit.

Why is it important?
*"We can only bear witness of what we know. We can't testify of a wish or a hope or even a belief. We cannot stand as a witness of Jesus Christ unless we can bear witness of Him...You are here now because in the beginning our Father chose you to be here now. He has hard work for you to do."

How have I strengthened my faith on a mission so I can 'defend the faith'' in the future?
I have become an honest seeker of TRUTH. Questions about the gospel do not frighten me like they use to-they have taught me how to rely on the spirit, confirm answers by the spirit and therefore trust in God so much more. I have learned how to receive personal revelation through engaging myself in a *"spiritual wrestle".

*"Questions are not just good, they are VITAL, because the ensuing spiritual wrestle leads to answers, to knowledge, and to revelation. And it also leads to greater faith." Through asking our spiritual questions to God, we are growing, and thereby fulfilling our Father's glorious purpose of bringing to pass our immortality and eternal life.

*"We all know that human judgment and logical thinking will not be enough to get answers to the questions that matter the most in life. We NEED revelation from God...Every truth-seeking member of the church can and should be receiving revelation for his own life."

I know that over the last 7 months, God has truly taught me the language of revelation. I now know that ** "a casual understanding of the gospel will not sustain us through the days ahead, which is why it is imperative that we immerse ourselves in the word of God."

I can say with absolute confidence that I have gained a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ through asking questions of God, seeking an answer from Him through the scriptures and prayer and that He has given me answers by the power of the Holy Ghost. My testimony is not based on anyone else's, I do not "blindly follow"-I have prayed, I have lived it, and I know that God has answered me and I cannot back down. I have not yet mastered recognizing His voice every time, or following it right away, but I am getting better and I will not deny what I know.

I was reading in Hebrews 10:32 and 35 and Paul is talking to the Hebrews about not giving up on what they once knew. I feel like this is applicable to anyone anywhere, no matter what state of testimony you find yourself in. He says, "Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions. CAST NOT AWAY THEREFORE YOUR CONFIDENCE, which hath great recompense of reward."

We all know that after really great spiritual moments in our lives, the Adversary is always going to try to make us think what we know isn't true. He is dead-set on dragging us down to misery, just as he is. *** "Once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it, and lived for it, it is right now. Don't give up when the pressure mounts. Don't give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. Stay the course, and see the beauty of life unfold for you." God will always be willing to teach you when you sincerely want to know. And when you get an answer, DO NOT RETREAT. DON'T GIVE IN. Remember what the Spirit feels like and hold fast to that feeling.(Moroni 7:16)

D&C 128:22 - "Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage brethren, and on, on to the victory!"

I echo Sheri Dew's invite and encourage everyone to do the same:

* "Decide today that you will pay the price to wrestle with difficult questions, to become lifetime seekers of truth, to learn to speak the Lord's language and to receive a witness of Jesus Christ and the restoration of His gospel."

It's okay to have questions.
It's okay to ask God.
It's okay to search for answers.
We cannot afford not to.

Have a good week, y'all!
Sister Lawson


* "Will You Engage in the Wrestle?"--Sheri Dew
** "You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory"--Sheri Dew
*** "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence"--Jeffrey R. Holland

1. Candid Grandma, Mom and Daughter <3
2. Roomie Pic with good lighting.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sweating like a Pig-Dog (it's so dang hot!)

Sorry guys, I'm way out of it and not ready to give a full-on letter. so this week, you get "My Life This Week in Bullet Points and Out-Of-Context-Quotes". Enjoy!

-The most exciting news of the week is we have a woman on date for September 11th! Her name is Sideth (Sid-ette) Sao (like "Cow" but with an S) and she's from Cambodia. Long story short, her family was all baptized a few years ago, but she recently has decided that she's ready to join the church too! YAY. So we've been teaching her with her cute broken English and been having a lot of fun with it. We are excited!

-There's a new Italian elder serving with us in our ward and he's actually the most hilarious person of all time. we've been attempting to teach him some American slang, and sometimes he gets it right, but most of the time he gets it wrong. some favorite quotes this week included: *Italian accent* "Man, I'm sweating like a pig-dog."......"You are a spicy homie"......"Pineapple on pizza is disgusting".

-We volunteered at the food bank a few times this week! definitely my favorite service project yet.

****The tabloids at Walmart today said that Miley Cyrus is pregnant with Liam Hemsworth's baby....can anyone confirm or deny this?****

-"Tender Mercies" of the week included: Build-your-own sandwiches from Sprouts, Watermelon Sourpatch Kids, a new .38 pen and exchanges in Sharpsburg.

-Yesterday, a less-active woman in the ward texted us two hours before church asking us to find her a ride for her FAMILY OF 7. Ask me if it was the most stressful 2 hours ever because it was. Thankfully, after 17 calls and 28 texts, a man in the ward with a 12 passenger van offered to pick them up. #Blessed

-A few weeks ago I talked about a woman in the ward who's husband was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and talked about some awesome personal revelation she gave me. This woman is my hero! Yesterday that same woman piped up in a lesson and shared some more thoughts with me about becoming refined through your trials:
"You will never be on the other side of your trials. Trials are always going to come and we can't just sit around and wait for them to be over. When you look for the negatives, YOU WILL FIND THEM. You will find them and be miserable and lose all your light and growth, which is exactly what Satan wants. He wants you to be sad and miserable just like he is. When hard times come, you just have to remember to look for the Lord's hands! See the positives and cling to them! Instead of telling myself that life sucks because now I can't have anymore kids, or we have no more money left, or wow my husband is probably going to die soon, I choose to say 'wow look at my beautiful son' or 'I'm thankful i have so many people willing to bring us meals or drive us around' or 'he made it through another day'".  
I don't really know how to put my thoughts into words, but just know that this was some major revelation for me. And I'll just leave it at that.

I'm out for the week!
Til next time,
Sister Lawson

Out of Context quotes of the week (there were more than usual so I have to include them!):
-*Random guy on the skreet* "Are y'all realtors?" no, missionaries...."Oh alright, imma go back inside then"
-Sister Simmons to Sister Hines: "If you got stung by a jellyfish, I'd totally pee on you." #CompUnity
-"She doesn't deserve a picture of my foot."
-*Walks in and sees a pantsless drunk lady listening to Fleetwood Mac: "HEY GUYS! THIS IS GOING TO BE MY FUNERAL SONG!"
-*Bounce house breaks* "well crap."
-*Goes to the park for some "pokemon-go" street contacting* #creativity
-*Talking about Nigerian food* "speaking of jackpot, I've got an armadillo in the backyard." WHAT?
-*Opossum hunting* "I need a laundry basket, the golf club and the plunger."
100 year old man Mr. EJ holding a 100 year old gun.