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.......