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.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Words fail me....

'Twas yet again another incredibly rewarding and fulfilling week as a missionary in the Greatest GAM! Carrollton has really proved itself to be the "promised land". 

As a lot of you know, this week I hit my year mark. As I've been emailing this morning, I've gone back to read a few emails I sent home a year ago from the MTC and it's quite hilarious what my focus was on back then and seeing really just how much I've learned and how far I've come since I left. Ahhh.....greenies are so weird.

This week was fun because:
1. I was asked to give the opening prayer in sacrament meeting for the second week in a row, and BOTH times, my last name was mispronounced to the whole congregation. I now have a lot of fixin' to do because everyone in the ward keeps calling me "Sister Larson" which is really great.

2. We invited a man named De$ean (<---this is not a joke..he really spells it like that) that we met at the library to church this week and found out later on that he only came to church to make either me or Sister Freitag his wife....SWERVE

3. Earlier this week, we were calling randomly through the phone and called a woman named Brenda. When she answered, she had the THICKEST accent of all time and yelled into the phone "HEYYYYYYY LADIES, WHY DIDN'T YOU EVER COME BACK TO SEE ME????????" It was frightening and awesome at the same time. So we got a team-up, headed over to her house the next day and met Brenda. My biggest nightmare happened: within the first 15 minutes of meeting her, our team-up had already brought up polygamy, "seeing spirits", and complex facts about the Book of Mormon that NO ONE needs to know. My fists were clenched under the table throughout the whole lesson and I was dying.
Miraculously, Brenda was like "okay I'm comin' to church. I need a ride though." We then scrambled to find Brenda and her 4 grandchildren a ride to church afterwards, and they came!!! The stress doesn't end there though....It's beginning to be the time of year where all of the lessons and topics at church are falling on temple work and family history--topics which have always stressed me out as a missionary because 1) you really never know how people are going to take those, especially without prior explanations and 2) I lack faith in humans to teach those doctrines purely and simply to non-members in a way that won't freak them out. *sigh*. This week, the explanations of the endowment and baptisms for the dead were definitely slaughtered so hard and even I was confused.
Anyway...needless to say, she was incredibly confused. BUT! Brenda rocks because after church she was like "welp, I liked it! When are you coming back to teach me more?" Nearly everything that could have possibly gone wrong in her first contact with the church happened, and she still wants us to come back! God is so good hahaha.

4. We had 6 new friends come to church with us this week! Haven't had a number like that in a while, but it just goes to show that some parts of the vineyard are more prepared than others...haha. Just saying.

I had 2 experiences this week that proved to be the most special experiences I've had on my whole mission.
1. Some of you will hopefully remember my dear friend Sister C from Snellville. Sister Russell, Sister Howell and I worked RELENTLESSLY to get that woman re-activated in the church. I have so much love for her and still consider her to be one of my best friends. When I left Snellville, she was going to temple prep classes to help her make it back to the temple and I found out this week that she went back through! I called her the night before and she just sounded so so happy and so different. 
The first time I ever met her, I remember how confused and sad she was. Her life had a lot of tension and stress and you could just tell she needed something more. By the time I left Snellville, she was literally glowing. She looked healthier, she was nicer to herself, and she was nicer to everyone around her. It is so amazing to see just how much Jesus Christ can change us and mold us into our potential. I'm so proud of her and grateful I could have a small part in her journey back home. :) Words fail me, I can't even begin to say how happy I feel.

2. SIDETH GOT BAPTIZED!!!! It was the happiest, most pure baptism I've been to yet. Sideth's daughter Angelina gave a talk on the Holy Ghost that had everyone in tears. She cried through the whole thing and you could really just feel how much love there was in that family. It was beautiful. (I'm frustrated with how terrible my writing skills have become over the last year because I really just can't put anything into words anymore haha.)
After the baptism was over, a man named Dr. John came over to talk to me (he's the man who helped Sideth's husband and daughters join the church 5 years ago). That conversation we had was the most special experience I've probably ever had and still brings me to tears any time I think about it. I won't be able to explain what happened the way I want to but just know it changed my life! He said to me "You assisted in a great work of linking this family together forever. I want you to know how grateful Iam for you." and with tears in his eyes, he said "Now those girls will grow up to serve their own missions in Cambodia and do the same things for many other families."
It's truly amazing the impact just one person can have.
I love being a missionary. I love all the hard days, all the heart breaks, all the door slams, all the tears...everything. It is all so worth it for things like this. I have never been happier in my life because I get to assist in helping families be happy together forever.

Being a missionary rocks!

And I'm out of time....
I'm out!
Sister Lawson
Sideth's Baptism....happy day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Transfered to Carrollton/Whitesburg, GA

This has been the longest and craziest week of my life. My email this week will probably consist of multiple lists so just prepare yourselves:

I have officially been transferred to the City of Carrollton. It's a little town in west Georgia, right out in the country and along the Alabama border. I LOVE IT. I went from serving in the smallest area in the mission (PTC=approx. 5 sq miles) to one of the largest ones in the mission (Carrollton=approx. 500 sq miles). There are lots of dirt roads, lots of porch-sitters, lots of trailer parks, lots of accents I really can't understand most of the time, and very few teeth. I really have no idea how to describe this place to you other than I feel like I'm on a totally different planet!

My companero is Sister Freitag (fry-tag). She's super tiny with tons of energy and this is actually her last transfer in the field! Fun facts about her:
1. She is part-Korean, part-Native American (this is an important detail for later in my email)
2. She loves Shakespearean drama, ballroom dancing and any kind of mom-related activity (aka cleaning, cooking, etc.) CUTE
3. She is 4'11'' tall.
She's great, and I'm really excited to spend her last transfer with her!

The first 6 days I've spent here have been unlike anything I've ever experienced before in my life. The minute i got here, one of the first things Sister Freitag said to me was "Soooo 3 out of 4 of our most progressing investigators are on parole."...............k. She also let me know that the ward is incredibly dysfunctional..............k. She also let me know that there are several areas we aren't allowed to set foot in because someone has been shot, molested or robbed there in the last year.................k. *MOM DON'T FREAK OUT, I'M SAFE. I PROMISE. WE NEVER EVEN GET CLOSE TO THOSE PARTS* She also said that our neighbors like to smoke weed so several nights a week, we come home to an apartment that smells like marijuana. WOO!

It's been quite the adventure to say the least haha. And a major 180 from PTC.
Here is a taste of the best people I've met so far in 5 days:
Day one:
-Von: We walked into her trailer to teach her, and she immediately went back to get a crying child from her back bedroom. When we turned around to see where she went, we saw a bedroom PLASTERED from top to bottom with Rastafarian posters where the child lay. She then proceeded to tell us that her last church kicked her out. When we asked why, she said "They don't like gay people.".......oh. We were a little taken aback hahaha.
-Sister G: When we walked in the house, she locked eyes with Sister Freitag and said "What tribe are you?" .... "Sioux..??" ....... "Ahhhh...Lakota." She then pulled out her Native American drum and proceeded to play her drum "to the beat of her heart" and taught us how to do so as well. It was actually amazing. We have been invited back for culture lessons and gospel discussions in the future because she was disgusted that Sister Freitag knew nothing about her people. . #culture
Day two:
-we met several extremely toothless old women who yelled at us from behind their glass doors.
Day three:
-As we were driving past a super ghetto gas station, we pulled in because a man was selling 36 pairs of socks for $10 out of the back of his van and i almost took the deal! he was nice though.
-We visited our investigator who's mother is a member of the ward. When we walked into the house, i was immediately overwhelmed with several photographs of Donny Osmond's face plastered to the walls. She has a bit of an obsession.
-A woman named Dixie saw us walking down the road and invited us to come sit with her on her porch. Her couch was falling apart and her house was just sad. But she had a cute dog sitting inside a baby crib so that was weird.
Day four:
-A man answered the door wearing a skirt and pearl earrings.
Day five: 
-Tim: His normal attire consists of a camo button up shirt, boots, jeans and a long gray pony tail.He's a little off. He came to church with the elders on Sunday and while we were sitting in Gospel Principles class, the teacher asked "How does God show you He loves you?" Tim said "God showed me endangered species in the wild doing what they do."........that's nice.

I really just wish everyone could experience living here in Carrollton because there's not a way I could ever give it justice through my descriptions and terrible use of words. 

It's been a wild week, but also full of lots of spiritual breakthroughs. As a lot of you are aware, my time in PTC was incredibly draining and I was really struggling a lot. When I received the transfer news, I was less than thrilled for the upcoming transfer. Something just told me that it was going to be yet another long, hard transfer which I really wasn't prepared for.
I wanted to share a little bit of an email I wrote to my President today about an experience I had this week:

Hi President!

So far my time in Carrollton has been quite the adventure. I'm really loving it and Sister Freitag and I are getting along great! 

I wanted to tell you about something really awesome that happened this week. As you already know, the time I spent in my last area was some of the hardest, most stressful and exhausting times I've had in the mission field. I will be honest, when you read out the transfer announcement for me, I was less than thrilled. I really had no clue what to expect and I literally looked for every possible reason in the book about why the upcoming transfer was going to be just as hard and exhausting as the last 3 had been. I thought my companion was going to be hard to get along with, the area was going to be difficult and the ward was going to be tricky as well. Reason after reason popped into my head the entire drive home to our apartment.

Upon arriving at the apartment, my companion showed me the map and told me about the area and I felt so overwhelmed and stressed out because I realized that there was SOOOO MUCH work to be done to help make the area successful. I really didn't know how we could do it and and I felt extremely discouraged.

We took a lunch break an hour after getting home, and I went to my room to "take a nap", crawled into bed and just cried. I decided to hide out in the bathroom for a while before we started our studies and to calm myself down and to say a prayer. I prayed that God would give me knowledge and understanding about why I was here with who I was with and for guidance to know how to help the area.

We continued with the day and went out wandering around trying to find someone to talk to. It was a pretty unproductive day to say the least. At the end of the night, we came in to start planning and as I watched my companion plan out the next day, a thought came into my head at 9:39 pm. I literally heard a voice in the room tell me this: "Sister Lawson. You screwed up the last 3 transfers with your past companions so I have sent you here to be with Sister Freitag at this time to let you redeem yourself because this is her last transfer. I have given you several gifts and talents that I want you to use to make her last transfer in the mission the best one she's ever had. Serve her, love her, focus this entire transfer on her and helping her be successful and I promise you, everything will work out."

I hadn't felt the Spirit that strongly in a really long time. I knew that this was the answer I had prayed for earlier in the day and that what Heavenly Father said was true.

I want to let you know that since that first day here in Carrollton, I have tried my hardest to do what God asked me to do and this transfer really has been the best one I've ever had. And it's only been 6 days! I hope it's been as good for Sister Freitag as it has been for me.

I know that the power of the Atonement is so real. Jesus Christ gives us the strength when we need it most, and he really does make all the difference.

I never know how to put my thoughts into words for these things, but I just want you to know that my heart has been changed. Thank you for sending me here with Sister Freitag. I'm excited to see what the rest of the transfer holds in store for us. 

Annnnddddd I'll leave it at that. :)
bye y'all! Talk to you next week!

Sister Lawson

1. A small taste of Carrollton/Whitesburg.
2. Me being happy with Jesus <3
3. The "original" sock man.
4. Last day with Mr. EJ :(
5-6. Me and compy (Aka "Small Frei" and "Higher Law")