Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hey Mom-
 I'm so happy that having Cintia send you that picture could make you so happy! I just had this bizarre thought after she took it "Hey! She should send that to my mom!" Super random, but all good thoughts come from God, so I just blurted it out, and she said she would! And she texted us yesterday and said she got a really happy email from you. I was tickled that you got a bang out of that! Love you so!

Can't believe ya'll have snow! I'm kind of jealous - it's 48 degrees here but no snow. And Christmas is coming but it doesn't feel like it haha! Sister Alvine is freezing her bum off but Sister Lyons loves it. Sister Alvine is from Africa and Sister Lyons is from Canada so I guess that makes sense haha. I'm kind of in the middle - I'm not terribly cold, but I wouldn't mind if it warmed up a smidge! :)

So excited for you to have Caits home! I pray for her and John lots. He just sent me an email and he sounds pretty upbeat too, so that's awesome. Can't wait to see pictures of you all!

Way to go wanting to go out with the missionaries more! We need to do a better job of involving members, especially because we have like 100 miles left for the months, oops. We have to drive to Albany and back again this week, so that eats 50 miles. Maybe it's Heavenly Father's way of getting us to reach out to members! But it's true, it really does make a difference when we bring members to visit investigators or less actives. It helps them feel less afraid about coming to church and it gets the members all pumped up. So really it's win win for everyone!

So yeah, I was feeling pretty uptight, but then Heavenly Father sent me Sister Lyons and I learned how to breathe again. I got so wrapped up in numbers, goals, efficiency, that I forgot how to live, laugh, and love. And she totally reminded me. She is so much fun - she uses crazy accents a lot, quote movie lines, and gets it when I quote movie lines. So awesome. She's also been helping Sister Alvine with her English.  The trio is the best thing ever. Sad to see Sister Alvine go on Friday - she was so excited to get that MoTab CD in the mail. That is seriously her favorite CD that we have, and I was thinking of giving her my copy when she leaves, but you sent her her own! You are so inspired with the stuff you send!

Okay, so here are my answers to your questions:
For Thanksgiving, we have 3 set appointments - one with Elen Garver, an awesome lady who lost her son and father within a month of each other this year. She said the holidays are going to be hard, so she is invited her friends and family for a big happy celebration, and she has kept herself busy cleaning and preparing her house for the big day. We love this lady and we are excited to be with her on what might otherwise be a hard day.

After that, we are going to go eat with a less active mother/daughter. The mom is getting old and has dememtia but she's the sweetest lady. Her daughter get's overwhelmed with work and the care of her mom, and she works on Sunday, but wants to find a new job so she can come back to church. They just love Sister Alvine and I'm excited to spend time with them.

Our last set appointment is with Pattie Jackson. She is a super solid member with a kinda cute RM son who I worked with while I was in the YSA ward. She let us teach her son's friend the first discussion while I was at LSU, and then I got transferred here a few months later and she just loves having the sisters over. Her nonmember sister and her sisters kids will also be there, so we might have a really cool teaching opportunity!

Besides that, I think we will bake some stuff and drop it off at peoples' houses as we drive and let them know that we are thankful for them. We have been sharing Alma 34:38 a lot and inviting people to live in thanksgiving daily. I just love the holiday season as a missionary!

As far as Christmas goes, yes, I would love some brown tights (large), a long sleeve blue cardigan(L or XL), a floral cardigan of any color (L or XL), maxi skirts or maxi dresses (large), I would love the 2013 EFY CD. I was also wondering if Cheyenne could burn me a CD with some songs that I really love. You can download the songs for free from and click on music on the right side or just buy them on iTunes.
"See it in Everyone" - Hannah Bradshaw
"If We Forget Ourselves"
"Stand in the Light" - Michael Webb
Any other songs on that website that she think are jammin. :)

I could also use some more Claritin. Cigarette smoke really gets me in addition to the cat and dog hair. :)

Hopefully that list is good/not too long. Thank you for all you do! I'm attaching pics of our trailer all decked out in the decorations you sent - love it! Also, the Christmas card pic is included. Hopefully you can crop my arm out haha.

I am so so so thankful for you forever and always! Sending lots of hugs and squishes!
-Sister Chausow

Here I am!  Hope this will work for you to use with the family's annual christmas card photo.

Sister Alvine and I with Cintia Morales and her daughter.  They had us over for a yummy dinner!

A photo to show you how we used the Thanksgiving decorations that you sent in your last package.

The hysterical Tom Turkey you sent.  He is SO FLUFFY!!

Hey Dad!

What a great week we had! We taught 26 lessons! 20 here in Denham and 6 in Albany where Sister Lyons normally serves. We had a goal to hit 20  lessons in a week before Sister Alvine left, and we hit it, woot woot! More important than that, I've been learning a lot about repentance, forgiveness, relearning how to laugh and have fun and breathe, and just loving being a missionary. We had a less active finally come to church on sunday and it made me so happy I almost cried. Love love love this work! I kind of don't want to come home.... don't be mad! :)

So for Thanksgiving we are looking forward to fried turkey and cornbread dressing. We had crawfish and corn soup last night at a members house and Sister Alvine said, "Dis is an answer to prayer!" because she LOVES crawfish and is really going to miss it when she goes back to Salt Lake. haha!

It is what it is...... I like it! Very wise sounding indeed haha. Also loved the story from Jana Pauls. I just love that lady. Will you tell her that?  I, too, need to be better at counting all the blessings, big and small. We have been sharing Alma 34:38 a lot and talking about how to live in Thanksgiving DAILY not just once a year. I'm working on doing the same myself. It really does help you stay happier and more humble.

Such a bummer about Derrick Rose! That poor guy! Happy to hear about the Blackhawks. What's their record right now?

So I'm going to include excerpts from my President's letter again. I can't wait to Skype with ya'll on Christmas! I feel like email just doesn't do justice to what I'm thinking and feeling and what I want to share with you. But then again, so thankful that we have such an instant form of communication. Email is such a blessing!

Love you with all my heart! Give hugs to Uncle Steve and Uncle Dan and their families for me! 
Miss you all!
-Love, Johanna

 Dear President,
Another week has gone by - another week full of learning, growing, loving, serving, and teaching. Sister Lyons is awesome, just wanted you to know that. I feel like I'm a better, happier version of myself with her. I had stopped smiling and laughing, and I didn't realize it until she came and breathed life back into the Denham Springs sisters. I had gotten so caught up in numbers, goals, obeying with exactness, that I was becoming something that I'm not. And she reminded me that the best teaching, the best lessons, the best missionary work comes from the heart, from the Spirit, from really loving and caring about a person. I'm so thankful for that reminder. 

Is your testimony growing and are you becoming converted to the Lord?
Yes. I finished the study report on repentance, and I feel like, for the first time in my life, I'm coming to understand true repentance and I'm striving to apply it in my life. Sister Lyons said something awesome: "Repentance is change, not a check mark." Love it. It is so true. Justification (forgiveness) happens instantly when we repent, but life long repentance brings sanctification (healing, change) and both are required to live with Father in Heaven again. Thank you for teaching me through the scriptures and giving me the chance to learn from the Spirit. I'm excited to lean now about mercy and forgiveness. 

Another sign that I'm changing is the fact that I feel okay about H and R. We aren't going to be able to teach them at all this week, and normally that would freak me out and I would be really concerned that their progression would be at stake. But something is just telling me that it's going to be ok. Everything is going to work out according to God's plan. And He does have a plan for them. I am learning to let go and let God and it's the best feeling.

Report on Companion Unity & District Unity
Things are going splendidly in our trio. We all get a long great. I feel like we are all helping, loving, serving, and teaching each other and it's just awesome. I was worried, but now all worries are gone. I really feel like Sister Lyons is a huge blessing. And I'm going to be sad to see Sister Alvine go, but I've also really enjoyed learning from her. She is amazing. 

District Unity has seemed to improve with the arrival of Sister Lyons. She has really taught me to appreciate the Elders and see them as human beings. We are still striving to function more like a family. 

Report on Miracles/Tender Mercies
Sister P came to church! And she reached out and fellowshipped another less active woman while she was there!
We got to see an elusive potential investigator when we were in Albany.
We really bonded with the Hammond sisters when we spent the night in Albany. 
We have a car! So we didn't have to ride our bikes in the rain!

Report on Book of Mormon Study-what have you learned this week?
In the Bible I've been reading about Jesus laying the smack down on the Pharisees for being hypocrites. Yikes. I'm thankful that He sent me Sister Lyons as a loving reminder instead of a harsh call to repentance like He did with the Pharisees. It reminds me that the Lord tailors our instruction to our needs. He knows each of us perfectly and personally, and so He will refine us in the way that we need and will benefit us most.

Are your investigators reading the Book of Mormon? If needed are you reading it with them?
Something that we've started doing (I can't remember if I told you about this already) is reading a chapter of the Book of Mormon with some of the widows we visit weekly. The three we visit can't see really well, and don't have the Book of Mormon on tape or on CD, so we prayerfully pick a story in the Book of Mormon and read it out loud when we visit them to help them have a small portion of the word of God in their day. I really love it. I hope that if I go blind one day and my family is far away, the missionaries will come read the Book of Mormon with me, because it really is the best book in the whole world.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Louisiana+November=No winter coats

Hey mama! Thanks for you letter! Loved hearing the update on home.   I love hearing about how God answers prayers. Sounds like yall had some crazy weather! The weather down here has been crazy nice - it was so weird, we went to a barbeque yesterday - in November! With no coat! Me and Sister Alvine were just laughing that we rarely if ever need a coat. She is kind of dreading going back to Salt Lake where it is snowy and cold.

Life here is clipping along. This last week was full of crazy events. Charlie Potts, a dear old lady in 1st ward passed away. The Perkins' (a family in 2nd ward) house burned down. We were told that the North elders were getting transferred out on Saturday and that the Zone leaders would be coming in instead. And then we were told never mind, that's not happening. They will wait until transfers (the second wednesday of December). And then last night we found out that we will be getting a new sister for the last 2 and half weeks of the transfer. Sister Lyons, who was serving in Albany, will be with me and Sister Alvine. Her companion was waiting for her visa to Australia and it finally came, so Sister Lyons will take her to the airport today and then we will go down to Baton Rouge and pick her up so that she won't be by herself. I'm a little nervous to be in a trio again - I was in a trio in the MTC and it was a little tricky. But Sister Alvine is so chill, I think it will be okay.  I got to know Sister Lyons a little better while I was on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders - I went to Amite and we went to district meeting and the Albany sisters are in the same district as the Amite sisters, so I got to interact with her a little bit. She is super cool and I'm excited that we get to serve around eachother, but we are pretty different, and I'm hoping we will get along ok.

I realized this week that I'm wound up pretty tight, I get stressed easily, and I'm not super go with the flow. And that's ok, that's just who I am right now. I've started praying that I can be a little more chill and submissive to the will of the Lord, and be more loving and accepting of people who don't see things the same way I do. I'm not sure how or why I got so uptight, but it's ok, I'm working on it, and being diligent and valiant is a good thing as long as I don't act like a fanatic or a zealot. :)

Well I just love you so much, I'm so thankful that I have you as my mom. Seriously don't know where I'd be without you. Thank you for your support and love and encouragement. You are a rock star mama!

Love, Sister Chausow

Hey Daddy!

So good to hear from you! That missionary fireside sounds awesome! We did something kind of like that in Baton Rouge - only it was just a music and the spoken word thing without the tour of the church building. But tours of the church building is something that they started encouraging so I'm sure we will start doing that at some point.
We don't work online yet, that has yet to hit our mission. Eventually we will have access to a facebook account where we can friend people, share gospel stuff on line, and teach via facebook chat. I'm really excited, because there have been some contacts I've had whom i would've love to be able to stay in contact via facebook because they live outside our area. Or there are less actives who we could've fellowshipped via facebook. So I'm patiently waiting (kind of) for when we get to use Facebook to proselyte. Another cool thing is having our area book online. When we get that we will be able to update our area book in the car right after appointments or contacts, which will help records be more current and thorough, and it will allow others to see our progres with less actives and investigators (ward mission leader, mission president, bishop, etc...) which is super cool as well. Some day it will get here!

The W Family is doing good. We had an awesome awesome lesson with them on Thursday night - we prepared a ton, and tried to listen to the Spirit as we prepared, and we brought a member and her daughter who is almost the same age as the twins. Traci and Allie Tyler were awesome! Allie connected really well with the twins and D opened up and was sharing photos with Traci. We are hoping to teach the W's in the Tyler's home on Sunday. Brother Tyler is hilarious - he has the thickest southern drawl, he investigated the church for 16 years before he was baptized, and he is basically the southern version of Rich Houdek. When we skype on Christmas we are going to do it at their house, but he said only if he could call and talk to you first. So if on Christmas day you get a call from him, just go with it - I love this guy! Their whole family is amazing.

Sunday had some triumphs and some not so triumphs - J, J, and H all came to church! None of them stayed for the rest of the meetings though, so that's kind of a bummer. But the fact that J was there floored me - just a few days earlier she had told us that she is good with where she's at, she doesn't have a ton of desire to come to church or be involved. But then she came! So I guess no effort goes unwasted. The W's didn't come to church, which was a big bummer. We are hoping that if Dcomes to trust Traci enough, she will let Traci give her daughters a ride to church is she doesn't want to go. I think Dawn has a lot of fear and she is afraid people will judge her or she is afraid that she won't be able to keep up with all the things that being a "fullt ime Mormon" requires her to do. I don't know. We really need to strengthen her if we are going to help her daughters, but I don't think she fully trusts us yet. She still has some barriers up, which I know the Lord will help us to get through as long as we saty patient and diligent.

Daddy, I love this work so much. I can't wait to get home and swap mission stories with you. I don't know a ton about your mission and I wish I did. The mission becomes such a huge part of your life, and I want to know about yours. Thank you for supporting me in this endeavor - it really is the greatest work on earth! I pray for you guys that you will have your own missionary moments and that you guys can "catch the wave" too! :)
Love you millions!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Woot! Woot! for personal revelation!

Hey guys! Thanks for your emails! Sounds like life is never dull back in Wisconsin! 

Sorry this is coming a day late. The library was closed because of Veteran's Day yesterday. I celebrated the holiday by reading the letter from a Captain to the mother of a fallen soldier, describing her son's death and how he died a hero's death. The mother is a lady in our ward and is a woman who is very dear to my heart. Her name is Ellen Garver and the poor woman lost her son and her father within a few months of each other. She gave us a copy of the letter her son's captain wrote to her so that we could get to know her son. It was terribly sad but uplifting. I'm so thankful for the armed forces that keep us and our freedoms safe and protected.

This week was crazy. I received a lot of personal revelation about what I need to be focusing on in life and on my mission. It came at random times - as I was driving in the car, just thinking, or talking with Sister Alvine, or in Zone Training Meeting. President Wall has asked us to start studying repentance and forgiveness, because he said it's hard to teach something you haven't experienced yourself. He has noticed that as missionaries, we are doing great at teaching faith, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, but we struggle to preach repentance. And so he wants us to all study repentance and apply what we learn so that we can teach more powerfully and also so we can be more "Spirit lead." He says our mission is entering into a new phase of being Spirit-lead, but a SPirit lead mission is built on the foundation of obedience, repentance, and forgiveness. And then guess what! Dad sent me that super cool quote about repentance, which I've read over and over and am still trying to fully understand and internalize. I'm excited to study the whole talk further, because I'm realizing that I didn't understand repentance as well as I thought I did. I'll send you a copy of the worksheet that President Wall gave us so you can see what we are studying. I'll sent it out next week on P-Day. :)

Thank you so much for the letters and the posters and the Ensign and the socks! You guys are the best! Seriously, you are inspired in the things you send. Sister Alvine is convinced that Mama Chausow prays before she goes shopping for us because the things you send are so inspired haha. 

Sorry for not sending a picture of myself. I promise I'll take one ASAP and send it next week. 

K, I'm going to copy and paste my letter to President. It's really long, sorry. If you get bored and don't read it all, no worries. President keeps asking us to write about more and more stuff. :)

Finally, I wanted to ask yall to continue to pray for the W's. I wrote about their progress in my letter to President. We have really been struggling in our teaching with them, and they haven't been progressing, but then last week after fasting for them and thanks to your prayers, I received some revelation about how to adjust our teaching to meet their needs. So awesome how our prayers are answered, but sometimes in unexpected ways. 
Also, please pray for M and E, a mother and son that we hope to start teaching. M needs to be taught in Spanish, and I am stttrrruuggglllinnngg to do that. My confidence and skill in teaching the gospel in SPanish is not where is needs to be, so please pray that they can feel the Spirit as we teach despite the language barrier.
Please also pray for D, a less active who we started working with. We had a great lesson with her two weeks ago and haven't seen her since. Hopefully we can see her on Saturday and help her and her family to come back to church. Her husband travels a lot, they have marital problems, and they lost a child earlier this year, and our goal for her is to help her come to the temple in December to do baptisms with the Relief Society who are having a RS temple trip December 12. We hope to get T (a less active whose never been through the temple) there as well.

I love you all so much! Sorry about the short letter this week. But thank you for supporting me. I honestly couldn't do it without you. You are the best parents a girl could ask for and I'm humbled that God would send me to such a great family. Keep the faith!
-Love, Johanna

Hey President-

This last week was great, and featured a lot of learning and growing for me. It's funny, because I've been praying that the Lord would reveal to me what He would have me focus on improving and changing, and this week, the flood gates were open and I've realized what I need to focus on at this phase of my life and my mission.

Is your testimony growing and are you becoming converted to the Lord?
Yes sir! I feel myself being changed and guided and directed, and I'm so excited about it!The other day, in companion study, I realized that I didn't want to go home. I love being on a mission - it is so easy to be righteous on a mission. Your agency is a little more limited and you basically get to choose between good, better or best. There isn't  any bad stuff you can choose as a missionary. 

Are you applying the principles of repentance and forgiveness in your life?
I am. I have realized that there is more to repentance than I thought. I tasted the joy of repentance before my mission, but that doesn't mean I can stop experiencing that joy now that I'm on the mission. I am loving the worksheet that you created. I'm learning a ton. I'm also realizing that repentance hurts a little bit, but that's ok. My dad coincidentally (not really) sent me a really powerful quote on repentance from Elder Christofferson, part of which says, "Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving." I love this. It reminds me that failed attempts are not failures. They are helpful parts of the learning process. I'm excited to continue to learn about repentance and forgiveness.

Do you strive to have the Holy Ghost lead you through diligence and exacting obedience?
Yes, we are striving for this. It just feels better to be obedient. I know that my day hase felt more Spirit-lead as I've tightened up on morning schedule. I have found some tricks to help myself get up on time, have a solid 30-minute workout, and get to personal study on time, and it feels great. It really sets the tone for my day. 

Report on Companion Unity & District Unity
Our companionship is doing ok. We finally had a good talk last week about being not equally yoked. The fact that we were unequally yoked became really apparent during/after exchanges last week. Seriously, Sister Training Leaders are a Godsend - exchanges with them always bring revelation, increased motivation, and change for the better. Sister Tiller and Sister Maxfield are awesome. Anyways, we are trying to work more equally, I am trying to be more patient, and Sister Alvine is trying to contribute more, and we are doing better.

District Unity is a lot better after Elder Smith did this really cool thing where he set up pairs of chairs in the parking lot within sight and sound of each other and we had interviews with everyone in the district, which was awesome. I had the chance to talk things out with Elder Gillen and Elder Smith, and I feel like a weight is off my shoulders. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to communicate, and after the "interviews" we went and did service at the food back and I felt like we actually had fun together as a district and were united in purpose. It was great and I'm thankful that Elder Smith would take the time to work on district unity with a district that desperately needed it. 

Report on Miracles/Tender Mercies
R (an eternigator) came to a Relief Society on Saturday! Without her overprotective mom!
We keep getting potential investigators as we have the courage to open our mouths!
When I was feeling a little homesick, we drove past some beautiful trees whose leaves were actually turned beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow! Heavenly Father knows me and is aware of me!
I've started eating less sugar!
I've gotten up on time for like 5 days in a row now! It's awesome!
We finally got to meet with M! Turns out we've been going to the wrong house this whole time. Crazy. But she broke her leg so she is a captive audience for 6 weeks. Woot!
I had some really awesome personal revelation where Heavenly Father pointed out some key weaknesses that I had realized, and now I'm working on them, and I'm getting better! Ether 12:27 is real!

Report on Book of Mormon Study-what have you learned this week?
Reading more in the Bible than the Book of Mormon this week. The parable of the sower has taken on some whole new meanings. I was telling Sister Alvine that we need to be looking for those who are searching for the truth, for those that will receive us, basically, I wanted more golden investigators. But then I read the parable of the sower in Mark, and that those "which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended." (Mark 4:16-17) And I realized, just like in that Elder Chistofferson talk, there is something holy and refining in struggling. Our investigators who take their time, who struggle, who work to really gain a testimony, these will actually benefit from their strugglings, and we need to be patient enough to let them struggle and be there with them every step of the way. I really felt humbled when I read this, because I feel like the Lord was telling me, "Sister Chausow, you need to chill out. These people are progressing at their own pace, at the pace I want them to progress, and you need to stay the course, keep imparting the word, and respect their agency. They will come unto me in their own/my own time." Talk about a Come to Jesus moment, but it felt so good to realize this. It gives me the courage and fortitude to press on with some of our more difficult investigators.

Are you daily reading from and applying lessons from Preach My Gospel?
Reading daily - yes. Applying - sometimes. This is something we could improve on. Something cool that we've started doing though, because of our daily reading in Presach My Gospel, is reteaching H and R, 10 year old twin sisters, the Resoration, by teaching them one bullet point at a time the Full Lesson Plan found on pages 42 and 43, and extending a commitment for each bullet point. We've only taught "God is our Loving Heavenly Father" so far and invited them to pray twice daily and read the scriptures daily, but it went much better than previous lessons, and we have a return appointment on Thursday. I fasted and prayed for this family, and my dad has really been praying for them too, and I feel like the Lord hasn't changed them or their situation, but He was changed me and how my companion and teach, and this is what's helping them to finally progress. Pretty cool how the Lord works, huh?

Are you studying and using the pamphlets?
Yes! The pictures are invaluable for teaching kids and the words help really explain new concepts to adults. I'm so thankful for pamphlets!

Are you effectively using the Book of Mormon in your teaching?
Yes! We try to read from and apply passages to investigators, less actives, and members in every lesson. We also use it as a talking point when we meet new people or try to contact someone, and it's awesome. The Book of Mormon is the best.

Are your investigators reading the Book of Mormon/If needed are you reading it with them?
Yes, we read the BoM with one of our investigators who has failed to keep her commitment to read for two weeks now. And hopefully when we see her this week she will have read. We really can't move on to more material until she starts reading and internalizing the BoM. 

Your job is to invite others to come unto Christ, to bring them hope. You can do this in so very many ways, to so very many people. You all have the Spirit and it shines from you. So please tell me, what you are doing to give other people hope?
I'm trying to ask more questions to help people know that I care about them. By asking questions and showing interest in people's lives, in their kids, in their families, I love being able to show that someone cares. I actually spent an hour talking to the lady who was trying to use the computer next to me, who really did know how to use a computer, and it turns out she has had a really rough life. I feel like I was able to give her hope by showing interest in her and her family, even though we'd just met. And we asked her and another man that stopped us and asked us to pray for him if we could come visit and share a message. There is nothing more comforting, I think, than the knowledge that God is there, He loves us, and He speaks today through living prophets, and through His Son Jesus Christ we can receive hope, forgiveness and peace. 

Well, President, life is good. It clips on, and you can either run with the tide or get left in the wake. I pray that the Lord will bless me with the strength to keep up and take part in His work. 

-Sister Chausow

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hey there!

Thanks for all the super cute pictures! That one of Caitlyn looks like it should be in a magazine and she should be a model! Shoot!

So Halloween was rainy down here too, and we were on kind-of lock down - there was no contacting or tracting allowed, so after a delicious southern dinner at our Ward Mission Leader's house and coordination meeting, we went home and I folded laundry. Haha. But later that night an 11-year-old girl and her mom from 2nd ward came by and she gave us some of her candy. How sweet is that? Her sister is on a mission in Oregon so I wonder if she was missing her sister and reached out to the Sisters in her own ward. That family is so awesome! People were giving us candy left and right before and after Halloween, and I might've binged a little bit. 

Yes, I will take a good photo this week with my name badge on and send it home! Don't judge me for being a little chubbier than when I left haha :)

That is so sad about Adele! I will definitely send a letter today! She had a huge impact in my life and I will forever be grateful that Heavenly Father put her in my life.

So I'm going to copy and paste my letter to President Wall. I got pretty down one day last week. It starts as kind of a Debbie Downer but it gets better I promise!

Hey President-
This week was an interesting week. Satan had almost convinced me to go home, that I am not worth staying, I need to go home and fix all my personal flaws before I can ever be an effective servant of Jesus Christ. And then we went to the temple, and I went in, thinking that maybe when I came out, I would call you and tell you that I needed to go home and work things out and then maybe I would come back and try to do better than I've been doing. And then, guess what happened - We went in the temple, we got dressed in all white, and we sat down and learned about our true identity as children of God. And while I was sitting in the Celestial Room, and I was praying to Heavenly Father to let me know what to do. At that point I had forgotten about even the possibility of going home and I was just praying to know what Heavenly Father would have me do to be a better missionary. And the answer that I got was that I needed to be more like the Savior. And I thought, ok, that's kind of broad. So then, this morning, I was thinking more about it, trying to figure out what personal goals I wanted to set for the transfer, and feeling a little frustrated because God told me the "what" but not the "how". And then, after talking to Sister Alvine about it for a few minutes, and getting some really great advice from her,  I then looked over at my wall where I have tacked up my Personal Vision that I wrote like 3 months ago. It's a bulleted list of who I want to become, and the words that kept drawing my attention were "Become kind, loving, and gentle." 
The Spirit just touched my heart and turned on the lightbulb and I just realized, that's what I need to do. That's what I need to focus on to be more like my Savior. I need to be more kind, loving, and gentle like Him. And so I jotted down a few ideas for how I can do that. And it's what I'm going to be working on for the next month/transfer - becoming more kind, loving, and gentle just like my Savior. Kind to myself, loving towards everyone I come in contact with, gentle with my district and with my companion to show my love for them all. And I need to show love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior, I can do that by being more obedient and repenting every day. I've come to realize the Savior doesn't want a fan club that sits around and sings praises to His name - He wants disciples that will listen to His teachings, live those teachings, and use the Atonement that He so graciously provided so that we can become like Him and dwell with Him and His Father forever. 

Sorry, President,  my email doesn't follow the typical format this week. I just wanted to share that experience with you, and testify that what you said is true - we really do find joy in the high and Christ in the lows. Quite literally, I was drawn to the Savior during a low point in my mission.

I was tempted there for a minute to apologize for struggling, but you know what? It's ok that I had a hard day. And I'm humbled and thankful that my Heavenly Father helped me to just have a hard day instead of a hard week. I think in the past I wouldn't have been able to get through something like that without calling you. But by continuing to take steps of faith and literally take steps into the temple, peace and answers and strength came and here I am telling you about it a few days later, feeling strong and excited and close to my Savior. So life is good. Life goes on. I'm not perfect, the people here aren't perfect, my district isn't perfect, but we are all here together striving to accomplish one goal - to build the kingdom of God, and I know that Heavenly Father will magnify our feeble efforts to bring to pass His great work. I'm so thankful to be a part of it, and nothing can hinder our progress except for iniquity (like it says in the Book of Mormon). Hurrah for Israel!
-Sister Chausow"

So family- please know I love you millions and bajillions! Thanks for being so dang amazing! Love love love love you!

PS: Wanted to send some pictures. Not sure if I sent some of these before or not, can't remember. If I already did, sorry!

Here is a picture of me and my companion Sister Alvine. She is so much fun!!

With the cow that is next to our house trailer, which is next to "Red Barn Motors"- a used car dealership.  Their whole schtick is farming, so there is a big cow, a big chicken, and a big pig next to their car barn. HaHa-only in "Loosiana"!

We went to Bass Pro Shop on a P-day a few weeks ago and this is something we saw there. Great before and after faces, eh? Don't worry BUT our whole district bought these hats to wear at district service projects.  It's the best $3.99 I've ever spent!

More Bass Pro Shennanigans--Too much fun!