Tuesday, January 31, 2017

De. . . . . . . . . layed

This was just such a weird, weird week.

You know those days where you are just one step behind everyone else? or you are constantly late to everything? or you want to look cute but you can't because potato? yeah, I feel like that's been going on all week long and I'm having a hard time finding my footing for whatever reason.

For one thing, I've had the nastiest cold and cough all week long and I'm kinda over it.

Another thing is we had some major car problems (shoutout to March 2016 with Sister Howell and Daeqkwon...RIP) that took much longer than they were originally supposed to. Being a missionary without a car is the absolute suckiest thing of all time because A) you get stranded way too many times and B) members really hate helping the missionaries when they need it the most, and C) I hate depending on other people in general haha. A mission has taught me that wonderful lesson--if you don't do it yourself, it won't get done. (But at the same time, Ether 12:27 @ everyone and let people fix their weaknesses). 

The struggle, man.

I don't really know exactly what to touch on this week. Satan just kinda jumped in and bashed a hammer onto everything about life for one reason or another. Dramatic. But I guess the good news is that I handled these kinks in the plans a whole lot better this time around than I have in the past! :) I was more patient, peaceful, and understanding. Not perfect, but definitely better than I was in the past. PROGRESS. #DoctrineOfChrist #TooBlessedToBeSkressed

Our 77-year-old friend Brother Leckie is still adorable and still ready to be baptized this weekend! *cue music* MIRACLES HAPPEN ONCE IN A WHILE!! Pictures will come next week. :)

OH! This was a really weird/cool thing that happened:
We went to have a lesson with a guy named G that we had met a few weeks ago while knocking on our favorite apartment complex. He walked up the stairs from a long trip at the exact moment we were about to knock on his door. So obviously, that was awkward and we had to talk to him. He said he had a Mormon friend, but the longer we talked to him, the more apparent it became that that "friend" was not just a "friend", but actually a "really friendly friend". AKA very serious girlfriend that he wants to marry, but he's conflicted with because they don't have the same religious beliefs/desires. He's a SUPER spiritual, Godly dude so we set up a time to come back and see him AND his girlfriend. 

Friday night, we show up and the girlfriend Erin starts talking suuuuuper Mormon-y and inside, we were like "G, why the heck aren't you baptized yet". Then Erin goes off about her MISSION and we were like "WHAT IS LYYFEEEE". Turns out her parents were mission presidents, all 8 of her siblings served missions, and she served herself in Japan almost 15 years ago, but she's kinda fallen off the beaten path and is finding her way back on. The lesson was filled with the Spirit, but unfortunately G is very hard-hearted right now and thinks that the only thing that should matter is the relationship with God, not the religion. Gahhhhhh I'm so over that^^ argument hahaha.

I'm still trying to figure out what the major lesson was that I learned from my experiences this week but nothing has been pieced together all that much yet. I'm sure it'll come later today. Just a whole lotta random and a whole lotta nothin. So sadly, I don't have a "spiritual" thing to talk about at the moment. Plus I'm pretty out of time and need to be done I think.

Despite the craziness, I'm still happy.

Oh, did I mention I have 2 more months left TODAY??? What is life, right?

Be good, love Jesus and serve others, y'all. 

Sister Lawson

2. Ignore my hot-mess hair (it was one of those long days), and hot-mess-sick face, and acknowledge how happy this sushi definitely made me.
3. New Beginnings! If the Lord could make my calling be in the Young Women's for the rest of my life, I would be super happy.
4. #TheSouth

Monday, January 23, 2017

The weekly...

Hello friends and family!
Marietta is still kickin' it.

I'll start with a few fun stories:
1. For some reason, I've completely neglected to tell you all about a huge miracle in the making. There's a man we've been teaching since the second day I got here named Brother Leckie. His wife is a member and she's been praying for 40 years for her husband to join the church. One day he just decided he was ready for one reason or another to join. So he'll be getting baptized on February 4th! :) prayers are answered my friends.

2. Remember the woman I talked about last week? Sad day. We went for a lesson this week and she seemed SUPER down in the dumps but no matter how hard we tried, she wouldn't open up to us about it. There was a different spirit in her home that day. She was also very upset that we had to push her baptism date back a couple of weeks. The next day she texted us saying that she had called our RS president to ask for help to pay for a bill and was told that they weren't sure how much they'd be able to help her because she wasn't yet a member and they get calls about that kind of thing all the time. She said to us "Ya know, I'm gonna pray about it but I'm just not sure this is the church for me." When we got that text, everything just started to make sense about what had been going down for the last couple of weeks and we saw that her heart and intentions really weren't in the right place to begin with. But at the same time. Bummer!

3. We road-tripped to ATL for zone training and pit stopped at some famous drive-thru restaurant called "The Varsity". People talked this place up so much but it was super over rated. Disappointing.

4. We had stake conference this weekend and have I mentioned that Jermaine Sullivan from "Meet the Mormons" is currently my stake president? Yeah, super crazy. His wife gave me a hug this week. What is life?
The spiritual thought this week is brought to you by 2 Nephi 9 and thoughts I've been having as of late:
 24 And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned...
27 But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one!...When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

Let's focus on the 3 underlined words:
-Cunning plan

"Damned": When you boil it all down, the word "damned" really just means to have the progress of something stopped...for example, the free-flowing waters of a river are held back by a dam creating a reservoir of stagnant water. The gospel of Jesus Christ is that river that is meant to be flowing constantly in our lives--it is a never ending cycle of change and progress through having faith in God and His plan, repenting in an effort to be better, remembering the covenants we have made to become more like God and the Savior, "yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit" which purify and transform us into "saints" (Mosiah 3:19) and repeating the cycle over and over again throughout the remainder of our lives.
An example of being damned in this sense that came to mind was Adam and Eve prior to partaking of the fruit.
2 Nephi 2: 22-23
22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
23 ...wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
"Wasteth": The scriptures tell us that this mortal life is a time to "prepare to meet God, yea a day to perform our labors" (Alma 12:24, 34:32). We perform our labors by living the gospel of Jesus Christ, which, if done right, inevitably results in progress. If there's no progress in ourselves towards becoming more like the Savior, it's a waste of our time spent here on earth. We will know no joy, and will have no opportunity to achieve immortality and eternal life, much like Adam & Eve prior to partaking of the fruit. It's also interesting to note that with no opportunity for us to achieve immortality and eternal life, God's work and glory, as found in Moses 1:39 would become void. Without work and glory to achieve, God would cease to be God.
"Cunning plan": Satan really is a smart guy. He makes it really easy for us to think that we don't need to change and don't need to progress.
"I've got a Bible, I'm good."
"I was baptized as a child, I'm done now."
"I already prayed this week, please go away."--Responses I've heard in the South for the last 16 months.

Think about what the world would be like if we only had the color blue. The sky is brilliant blue, the ocean a deep blue, the flowers in the fields are a soft blue, Sister Lawson's eyes are blue...The world would still be a pretty dang beautiful place, even if all we had was the color blue. But what if I was to add all the other colors of the spectrum? Green, purple, red, yellow, orange...all of those together would create something THAT much more beautiful than what you had before, but you wouldn't know it if you'd never reached out to ask for the other colors. You would see the world through a whole new set of eyes and it would only get more and more magnificent every day as new colors were added to your spectrum.

We as Latter-Day saints, do this all the time. We are completely okay with only having the color blue.
"I've done my Visiting Teaching for the month, I'm done serving now."
"I finished Personal Progress when I was 13, I can take a break."
"I served a mission once, I am done growing."
Right before coming on a mission, I thought I was a pretty decent person. I tried to be nice, tried to serve, tried to study the scriptures and pray every day, etc. My expectations in coming on a mission wasn't necessarily to become a BETTER person because I thought I was fine right where I was at. I thought this mission thing would teach me how to work hard and be a better mom and that I'd simply get to help people be happy like I was. I had the color blue--every shade of it possible.
But since coming out and serving for the last 16 months, God has added a few more colors to the blue I already had. Orange, green, purple...Each just as wonderful as the next.
I've learned how to ask my questions to God and get answers.
I've learned that God is ALWAYS speaking to me if I listen.
I've learned that the Book of Mormon is the literal word of God and that abiding by it's teachings truly does guide us in every aspect of our lives.
I've learned that to truly become like God at the end of it all, we must study His attributes and actively try to attain them ourselves here in this life.
I've learned how to access the Atonement by giving my weaknesses to the Lord and letting Him make them strengths.
I've learned that love really is sacrifice.
I've learned that the service that counts the most is recognized by God alone.
I've learned that if you want something to last forever, you treat it differently.
I've learned what 'pure religion' is. (James 1:27)
I've learned that true discipleship is doing the right things for the right reasons.
Just to name a few, plus a hundred thousand more things God has taught me here in Georgia. Each is it's own beautiful color in my spectrum of life. The wonderful thing about the Gospel is that the progress never stops. No matter how many colors you already have in the rainbow, there are that many more waiting for you to go get them, be it chartreuse, heliotrope, ultramarine and every other color in between that hasn't been discovered yet.

Life is good, my friends.

Until next time,
Sister Lawson

PS--if you're looking for something to describe what I've been surrounded by my whole mission, watch the video "If your GPS was Southern" on Youtube and that should give you an idea.

Pictures will come next week!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Marry me, Marietta...

Hello everyone!

It was yet another great week in Marietta!

But first, before I forget:
How many of you out there remember my girl Sister C and Franklin from wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back almost a year ago in Snellville? (Probably only my mom because she's the only one who actually reads these things anymore.)
They are my celeb couple. #Franklin&SisterC5ever I have the most amazing news: FRANKLIN GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY. After calling Sister C to get the monthly catch up about her happy wonderful life and she informed me that he got baptized and I literally dropped the phone because I was so excited. FRUITS OF LABORS, MAN.

So I am coming to find out that Marietta is actually also the promised land..(still love you Carrollton).There are a lot of super cool people here ready to hear about the gospel which is exciting!

To start, last week I mentioned our homosexual investigator. At the beginning of the week, we got a team up and headed over there to teach her the law of chastity. Each of us was so nervous because we really didn't know how she was gonna take it and none of us had any experience at all with a situation like this and we had no clue what to say. There were a lot of prayers and a lot of preparation going into this lesson and right before, the 3 of us just had peace and knew it was going to all work out. As we began to teach, it was incredibly awkward and didn't flow and we were having a really hard time getting the spirit to be there in the lesson. As we turned the pages in the pamphlet, an interesting thing happened when we got to the section about how to keep the law of chastity. The pamphlet mentions replacing 'undesirable thoughts, words and actions with wholesome ones.' and as our investigator read that sentence, the spirit flooded the room and she began to cry. She told us about a long term relationship she'd been in that ended about a month ago. The days were long and emotionally difficult for her and she had just wanted to wake up in the morning feeling true joy instead of putting on a 'facade' of being happy when on the inside she was torn apart. But then she told us that since coming to the church, reading the Book of Mormon, and studying with the missionaries, those 'undesirable' emotions had been replaced with 'wholesome' ones of peace and joy despite the difficult circumstance she faces. She knew the gospel of Jesus Christ was the answer! Her desire to live that old life has faded away and she told us she would gladly live the law of chastity because she knows it's what Christ wants her to do. 

As we left the appointment, the 3 of us had a party in the car because we were so happy that everything worked out the way it did.

On Saturday, we spent the day in Atlanta at a service project and then we got to go to the Temple with Sister Wustrow's recent convert Dietrich who is a straight-up G. Totally my homie. He had such an awesome experience (because duh, it's the temple) and so did I because guess what! When we pulled up, the entire youth group of the Carrollton ward pulled up at the same time to go do baptisms for the dead and I got to see all my old friends again! Tender mercies, man.

There were several other experiences that happened this week where God showed me how much He loved me and all His other children. I know that's one of those super simple, cliche, overused phrases that missionaries always talk about in their letters home, but for reals man, I know it's true. He loves me, He loves you, He loves EVERYONE. 

Life is good.
Oh, did I mention that I have 10 P-days left?


Sister Lawson

1. One time the elders took Dietrich out on a team up and they rolled up in this sick sled. 
2. She was really excited to take a picture with the fire truck.
3. P-day morning hike!
5-7. Temple time. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

# DaHood....

Welp sorry I'm the worst and this is the first actual email I've written in about 2 weeks!

A little about MARIETTA:
1. It's about 20 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta and super different from anywhere else I've been.
2. Constantly smells like weed.
3. There are apartments EVERYWHERE. I'm convinced that no one here even lives in a house, because there are so many apartments.

A little about my comp:
-Sister Wustrow (German, so pronounced "voo-strow")
-She's 25 and from Namibia (down there by South Africa)
-Already has a degree in Accounting...DANG
-Way hard-working and exactly what I need for the last 2 transfers I have left on a mission!

Random: Today I've been out for 16 months exactly. Life is so weird.

A few fun stories from this week:

1. There was MASSIVE (and by massive, I definitely mean not massive at all) snow and ice this week. For Atlanta, ice and snow is a big deal because they don't really know how to deal with it and don't have the equipment to take care of it. So the whole city shut down and we were trapped in our apartment for a good little while. Not fun :( Church was cancelled on Sunday, BUT! We got to go to a YSA in downtown ATL that was open and after prying the ice shell off our car for almost an hour, we made it to church JUST to partake of the sacrament. That's a story I'll remember for the rest of my life I think!

2. As we were walking up the stairs of an apartment complex, a man approached us, while we talked with him, Sister Wustrow says "Sir, you smell REALLY nice!" (she's foreign and doesn't realize that's weird). He started laughing and I was just like "OHHH MY GOSH!" and he looked at me and said "You know what that smell is right?" and I was like "ohhh yes..." and he's like "Should I tell her?"...."be my guest."......"Yo, it's weed. and some %$^& GOOD weed " and I just busted up laughing hahaha. The moment he walked up, I knew the smell. Soooo to break up the awkwardness, we said a prayer with this high-as-a-kite man and went on our way. :) life is weird.

3. Our most progressing investigator right now is a gay-woman who has been to prison but has re-shaped her life the last 10 years and wants to follow Jesus! Soooooooo it's quite the adventure but I'm excited to see where it goes because it's a totally new challenge.

Sorry, I don't really have much else to say I guess.
I for sure have been able to see that God really is in every single detail of our lives this week though. I know I'm in Marietta for a reason at this time and I'm determined to figure it out!


Sister Lawson

1. Last lesson with Ariel!
2 Compy and I are excited about the snow.
3. Any way to get the message out. (Mormon.org)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Please forgive me.

Okay, I really stink and REALLY didn't use my time wisely at all today. PLEASE FORGIVE ME. Good thing that nothing too exciting happened anyway.

The most important news is that tomorrow I'll be transferred and will be doing that STL thing again. 3 MORE MONTHS GUYS. Can you believe it?

Soooooo......stay tuned for some good adventure stories next week instead. :)


Sister lawson

1. He really didn't want us to come by...
2. Shoutout to the Pfaus for being my faves!
3. My weird district.
4. Last pic with "The Crew"!
5. I haven't bowled in 16+ months....not a good idea.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Picture Journal

Wow, is it super bad I don't want to write a weekly email this week? 

It's literally the last thing I want to do because I have major "Post-Christmas Blues".

Here is my week in pictures instead: (Sorry no captions for the following)