Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hi Ya'll!

Happy Monday to my wonderful family who I love so much! I
Thanks for all your emails! Mondays are seriously like Christmas, and opening each email is like opening a super big box wrapped in shiny paper. Love it. :)
So I'm here! And we are on Week 2 of the transfer already, weird! I wonder if I'm going to count my life in transfers when I get home.... me and Sister Jones are clicking, I love working with her so dang much. Our first day together she got really sick, so I studied while she slept and the Zone Leaders came and gave her a blessing. Since then, though, we have been working our tails off and we have seen some wonderful miracles and have hopefully been planting some seeds. There is so much work to do in our ward, and meeting with a full ward council for the first time ever yesterday (I've only been to Ward Council meetings in YSA wards) was an interesting experience. I realized how important home and visitng teaching is - what if one of the temple recommend questions was 'Have you been a faithful home/visiting teacher?' - would that increase home/visiting teaching or decrease temple attendance? Just a random thought I had as I heard the statistics for the ward and heard the bishopric's plea to the auxilary leaders to help people reach out to people.
Anyways, I am so happy here, we are being as strictly obedient as possible, we lift and encourage each other and the members, and we talk to lots of people, trying to find those who are prepared to hear the gospel. Really, I had no idea that working so hard and being super exhausted at the end of each day could make me so happy, and I know it's because we are doing what the Savior wants.
To describe the details of my new area, I am going to go through the ABC's haha. It was a fun thing I did in Peru to record memories and I thought I'd do it again.
A - Allergies! It turns out I am allergic to cats, and LOTS of people out here have cats. So I've been taking an allergy pill every morning so that my nose doesn't become a faucet whenever we go into someone's house.
B- Busy busy busy! We have at least two appointments every day and make two-ish unscheduled visits to less actives or potential investigators.
C - Crawfish! I went to my first crawfish boil, and the members of the ward taught me how to rip open the crawfish and get the meat. Super spicy, super delicious, super barbaric, and super fun.
D - Drinking a ton of water out here is essential! It's only in the 80's so far but the humidity makes it feel like 8000 degrees (Edna Mode anyone?).
E - Elders Asuao and Navitikula are in our ward and in our district, and we work closely with them. Elder Asuao is from American Samoa and is a spiritual giant, and Elder Navi is from Fiji and is a lot of fun and still learning English. We call them the Poly's (polynesians) and I love serving with them - they are hard workers, they have the spirit, and they always encourage us to do our best.
F - Fun! The last P-Day we had with our district before transfers last week was so much fun. I love being a missionary because you have good clean fun and work super hard with some great people. We played ping pong and Uno at the institute building, and it was so nice to just let loose and laugh for a bit with my missioanry family.
I'll start up with "G" next week....until then, know that I love all of you so much! Thanks for all your love and support!
-Sister Chausow

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Transferred!! New Address!

Hey Family!
Happy May! Since it is the last week of the transfer, we have P-day on Tuesday instead of Monday. Big News: I am getting transferred to Baton Rouge 2nd Ward! I will be working with Sister Jones and we have been called to be Sister Training Leaders (the female equivalent of a zone leaders). Yikes! But I am so excited to have an opportunity to serve missionaries and members alike in my new area. Effective Wednesday, my new address will be:
11580 Perkins Road #4
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Thanks for all the letters! I love getting them! I promise to write back soon! In the mean time, I just wanted to say that I've loved serving on LSU campus, and I'm gonig to really miss the people and my companion. Me and Sister Olsen have grown really close and I'm going to miss her a ton. But we will still be in the same district, so I will see her at least once a week in district meetings, hooray! I attached a picture, hopefully it comes through! It's of me and Sister Olsen, having a little fun in the car with some buckets. Good times!
I wanted to share a little about the people that we've taught in the last week and who I'm really going to miss. I was going to label them the good, the bad, and the ugly, but that's much too harsh. Even our experience with "R" wasn't ugly per se, just not as awesome as we'd hoped. So I will label them good, better, and best.
Good: Visited with "R" on Sunday, a potential investigator who'd requested a free bible from When we dropped it off three weeks ago, we also gave him a Book of Mormon and taught him about the restoration. He's from Ghana, and we aren't sure how much he actually understood, but he seemed open. We finally got to go back and talk with him again, and he told us that everything he needs to know is in the Bible, and he doesn't believe in the Book of Mormon. He hadn't read at all, and we were bummed because he didn't seem to give it a fair chance. We tried reading 1 Nep. 1:1 with him, and tried to relate it to him (everyone has hard times but can still know that God is good and looking out for us) and he still refused to acknowledge that the Book of Mormon might be a good thing. So we were pretty discouraged, but then the next day, he texted us and told us about a trial that he was going through, just like we'd read about, and we gave him some encouragement. He was really appreciative, and hopefully someday in the future he gives the Book of Mormon a chance because it really does change lives and brings people to Christ.
Better: Talked with a member named "E", who got baptized a few years ago. He is active, but seems socially converted rather than spiritually converted, and the Bishop asked us to help answer his questions and strengthen his faith. And I freaking love "E", because even though he thinks I'm pretty weird (aka: I'm not afraid to ask him hard questions) he really opens up to us and he really does have great faith, which inspires me to have more faith and don't let what I don't know bog me down. And Sunday we were able to talk and teach him about clinging to what we know, and told him that it's okay to ask questions. I love visiting with "E", because I always feel the Savior's love for him, and I hope that I am helping "E" feel the Savior's love.
Best: Met with "J", a freshman as LSU. We've been slowly teaching her about the gospel, and she is so willing and open to new ideas, she's just been really busy. So we heart attacked her door to encourage her through finals week, and then we actually got to teach her later. And even though we weren't super prepared, we taught her a little bit about the Plan of Salvation, and the spirit was there so strong you could almost cut it with a knife. I got to bear testimony of Jesus Christ, and I could feel my own testimony being strengthened as I did so. Isn't it great that Heavenly Father allows us to grow as we reach out to others? It seems backwards, but it's a reality. "J" will be in and out of Baton Rouge for the summer, but she will be back in the fall, and she committed to reading the Book of Mormon overthe summer. I am so excited for her, and I hope the Spirit testifies to her as she reads. She came to church last Sunday, and she said that she felt uplifted. I want so badly for her to continue in building her relationship with God.
Sorry for the length of this epistle. Missionary work is just so great, and I can't wait to continue to be a missinoary for the rest of my life, even when I don't get to where a name badge, I hope that I will always have Christ's name written in my heart. I love you al and hope you have a wonderful week! You all rock my socks!
-Sister Chausow

Hey Friends and Family-  This is Mama Chausow.  The picture of Johanna and her companion with the buckets on their heads is hysterical!!  Totally Johanna!!  But unfortunately only a small area of her companion's ear would actually appear when I tried to post it here.  So I will keep "playing" and hopefully there will be one blog of just pictures!
Thanks for all the letters you have been sending!!  She LOVES them!
Toodles!  Mama C

Monday, May 6, 2013

5 investigators, Zone conference, and crawfish corn chowder!

Hey family - 

Just a quick email to thank you all for your email, letters, and support! I could not be doing this without you! I will get letters in the mail today, but I just wanted to send a quick electronic update:

We are teaching five investigators right now, two who I have high hopes for. M. has "hippie parents" and never had religion in her home and she really wants more in her life. K.'s grandma, who took him to a baptist church, passed away and he really misses her. We are excited to teach him about the Plan of Salvation and give him the hope that he can be with her again one day. Both are member referrals, and members are really what makes missionary work happen!

We had Zone Conference this past week and it was so great. WE learned a ton about teaching with the Book of Mormon and with the pamphlets. Confession: I have never seen a pamphlet before in my life, but they are awesome! Ask the missionaries for some and use the questions in the back to direct your personal study one day. They simplify the gospel and help us remember what's important. So great! And of course, it's always good to hear from President Wall and his wife - they are the best ever. President Wall is super kooky, but I feel the love of the Savior through him, and I need that more than anything else. And Sister Wall taught beautifully about Elder Holland's talk "Lord I Believe" and I felt so uplifted. Zone Conference was made even better by the fact that Baton Rouge 2nd ward fed us delicious sandwiches, Crawfish Corn Chowder, and brownies and icecream. I've learned that well-fed missionaries are happy and productive missionaries! :)

I love this work and I feel humbled and blessed to be a part of it. I miss you all and hope that all is well in your lives! Never forget that the Savior loves you and it is only though him that we can make it through this life and return to live in the presence of our Heavenly Father. I hope that we can all make it there together!
Sister Chausow

More Q and A's for Mom!

Good Morning Lovely Parents!
Oh how I miss you. I'm so excited to talk to you next week. Sister Olsen is talking to her family at 4ish so can I call at 5ish? And we are allowed to skype, and there is a member of our ward who is willing to let us use her computer and hang out at her apartment for a bit, so hopefully, it's ok if we try skype. Then if the internet connection isnt great, then I'll just call the home phone.
So I don't know if you got my letter about the email with pictures in it, but it turns out that only two pictures actually made it into the draft and both are pretty boring. I'll send some awesome pictures next week now that I know how. Also, just so you know, I wrote most of that letter on P-Day but didn't send it until Wednesday because I kept forgetting, so I wasn't breaking mission rules by writing you on a day other than PDay :)
Thanks for sending that joke (mom) and all those crazy stories (dad)!!!! I can't believe our house almost got burned down twice in one night haha. What an adventure. At least you reacted (react people, react!!!). And that's okay about the dinner going up in flames when you were trying to feed the missionaries - it turns out that while missionaries like getting fed, they actually like getting to teach your friends a lot better. We have this saying - we don't want your food, we want your friends lol. But seriously, it's so true. I am going to be a much better member missionary now that I've realized that finding investigators through members is the only effective way to find, teach, and baptize.
And now to answer Mom's questions-
1. Do you get any dinner appts.? - Not really, since we are in a student ward and everyone is pretty poor themselves. We had one member buy us jamba juice after a long day at Free Speech Alley, and after the Ward Social, the bishop gave us a whole bag of buns, an unopened bag of frozen hamburger patties, and the left over icecream (Bluebell Icecream = God's gift to mankind) and I'm so freakin excited to have hamburger meat! But also I was humbled because the Bishop doesn't know us super well, and yet he was willing to give us a ton of left over food just because we are the Lord's servants. Woah. We are getting a thank you card in the mail today!

2. Does your apartment have air conditioning? Yes! And thank goodness! It gets pretty muggy here and it's nice to have AC. That's something we definitely didn't enjoy in Peru (Peru has been on my mind a lot lately since it's my one year mark since I went down there - crazy right?)

3. How are your clothes working out? Good, Bad? - I love my clothes! I am getting creative, mixing and matching, and I can't believe that I was worried that I was bringing too much clothing. I'm so glad I brought the amount that I did because I have enough to wear something different every day for two weeks, and everything is comfortable and cool. It's nice to feel cute even when you are sweaty and out of your comfort zone haha. There's a few things I might send home that aren't long enough for the mission and I don't want to be tempted by them. I want to be as strictly obediant as possible. It really does bring the Spirit.

4. Do you need anything that I could save the day with? - I could you some Olay face wipes. The neutrogena kind burns my skin, but the olay kind doesn't. That brand is just a little hard to find down here. Also, I would love some flowers to put in my hair. Kind of random, and definitely a want, not a need, but it's the little things that make life exciting, right? But seriously mom, anything and everything that you send is awesome. Sister Olsen doesn't have a super strong relationship with her family and they never really send her anything, so she gets excited when I open packages because I share whatever I get and/or use it all to decorate our apartment (which is looking much better by the way, thanks for all the cute LDS posters! Our walls look so much better! Plus, Abigail, our born again friend, gave us a strand of 400 christmas lights and we hung them up and it actually looks like girls live in our apartment! hooray!)  

5. Is it hot all the time? - It is hot most days. It's been cool for the last few days so I'm grateful for the cardigans and the rain jacket and tights because the wind can make it kind of chilly. But yes, it gets pretty hot down here and humid definitely. It's only May though, so I'm looking to lots more warmth as we go through the summer!

6. Does it rain all the time? - When it rains is pours here, and our parking lot is such that we have a small lake in our parking lot everytime it rains. We've named it Lake Saskatchewan and the two of us are Sister Lewis and Sister Clark when we have to walk around it. Elder Franke (our zone leader) asked if he could be Sakajewea(sp?) and of course we said yes!

7. Do you know that I freakin love your face! - Oh yes yes yes! But more importantly, do you know that I love your freakin face!!! So much!

Okay- I am out of time but please know I love you and the church is so very, very true!
Sister Chausow