Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Final Countdown!

Dearest Family and Friends,

With the Lord's help, I made it. So crazy. I can't believe this is my last email as a missionary. I am going to miss this life, but my body is tired and I'm excited to rest (not too much) and then get back to work and continue to seek to go where the Lord wants me to go, and be what He wants me to be. There is nothing more satisfying. 

It's been a fun day so far - went out to breakfast with my "Black mama" - had grits, biscuits, sausage and bacon. Went and toured "Shadows on the Teche" a plantation home here in town. Now emailing, a random Christian man reciting Jesus poems to us, we'll give him a pamphlet or a BooK of Mormon on the way out, mailing all my stuff home, Walmart, and packing. Then dinner with Rico and Sharika.

To end (sorry this is short, we'll chat in person in a few days!)  I just wanted to share an experience we had yesterday. I wrote about it to my mission president.

"I have been striving to endure to the end, and Satan tempted me to just take it easy yesterday. Thankfully I didn't listen (my companion wouldn't have let me listen) and we went out and worked our tails off. The coolest experience was when we stopped to talk to a boat mechanic that we always bike pass as we ride down Fulton street. I was thinking, "k, I'm leaving soon, I NEED to talk to this guy, I've seen him so many times." So I stopped my bike and called out to him and he came over to us and I started talking to him and offered him a pamphlet. As soon as he saw the pamphlet he mumbled "I don't believe in that stuff" and walked away. We persisted a little bit but he ignored us. It broke my heart a little, because I have a feeling that he needs the gospel more than anyone, but hopefully one day his heart will be softened. We biked 5 more yards and came to an intersection, and I saw 3 men sitting on their porch. We made eye contact and I almost bike past (still discouraged from the last guy) by the Spirit kind of turned my handlebars and steered us towards these men. They were looking at us like we were crazy but we were just really friendly and started talking to them and told them who we are. We ended up briefly teaching the Restoration and explaining that we believe that there are prophets on the earth again today and we have new and additional scripture. The one man that was paying the most attention and who said he is open said, "What kind of scripture ya got? So we pulled out the Book of Mormon and taught them about that too. I told him, "I can only give this to you if you'll actually read it, because it's a very special book." And he promised to read it. It was super amazing. This morning I was wondering if they were just playing us, but then we got a text from the guy, Derrick, that said he's reading the book and he wants to discuss it when we come back on Thursday. Man, I just got the missionary fire all over again and I felt like I was fresh out of the MTC even though it was my last full day of proselyting. I want to carry this fire with me on the airplane on Thursday and with me through out my whole life. I love being the Lord's servant, and I intend to be His servant until the day I die. That's my new vision for the future."

This is the Lord's work, and it moves on with or with out us - we can either get on board or be left in the wake. I am so filled with gratitude that the Lord would qualify me and help me to have the desire to get on board. I love you all, and I wouldn't have made it this far with out y'all. Thanks for being the best support team ever!
-Sister Chausow

Attached is a picture of my and miss pat (my black mama), her granddaughter Derryan and the missionaries in my district. So fun! So much love!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Iberia Insanity

Hello to the parents that I love so much! Time is short so I'm emailing both of yall at the same time, so sorry. Please don't be offended. 

Since Labor Day was yesterday the libraries were closed so we had p-day yesterday and then we had to squeeze in time today to email. 

Sounds like life has been crazy up in Wisconsin. That's crazy that your last year of seminary/high school is starting! Guess what - we are substitute teaching seminary for 3 days this week, so we'll all be feeling the pain together haha. The Assistants gave us permission to alter our schedule a bit, so hopefully we'll get to bed a bit earlier than normal to make up for less sleep in the morning. It'll be a challenge but it will be a blessing too - there is a youth that only comes to seminary but not to church, and one of the active youth often brings friends to seminary, so I'm excited for possible opportunities to find new people to teach and help come closer to Christ. Plus I'm excited because I just like working with teenagers in general, and I love the gospel, so those two things go together perfect!!!!

Hope y'all have fun with Kevin! Caitlyn sent me a picture of him haha.   

We might go have some Chinese food this week with Stanley, one of our returning members who is 78 and loves feeding and spending time with the missionaries. he is such a good example - he started coming back to church when he was 77 - it's never too late for anyone to come back!!!!

Ok, highlights of the week - and let me just say that it feels like Heavenly Father is giving me all the bang for the buck/last transfer of my mission. Seriously, He seems to have put this area into overdrive in terms of the branch needing help, as if to say - "Here! Work your heart out for the last few weeks!" It's exhausting, I might need therapy at the end, but it's awesome haha.

1.) We've had 2 inactive ladies call us within 2 weeks and ask for help getting their lives back in order. One is Miss P, an elderly lady who is abused/kind of enslaved by her posterity, and the other is Miss B, a woman who found out her husband was/is? cheating on her and it completely devastated her because they were very in love. So we've been helping them put the pieces back together spiritually and temporally - the branch has been helping out too, but the longer I'm here the more I realize that as missionaries our role is sometimes to just act as super faithful branch members and help out in whatever righteous way we can to support this small group of saints.

2.) We've been half biking/half driving this last week and it's been raining - I'm a little tired of being damp all the time, whether from rain or sweat haha. But we got a fresh batch of miles yesterday, hallelujah. No more biking in the ghetto for now! Yay!

3.) We went and toured the Konriko Rice Mill yesterday with the Elders and Stanley. It was really nice to learn about something other than the gospel for just a little bit. Normally on pday I just want to take a nap, but I'm glad Sister Groesbeck made us get out and do something because it really refreshed me mentally. 

4.) Life with Sister Groesbeck = awesome. We are both coming out of our shells more and more and we just have fun and laugh and work hard together. I'm still figuring out this whole training thing, and I'm trying to be the best example I can. Dad, thank you for the advice to be obedient. That has really helped me. This is what I wrote to President about that:
I'm working on humility this month for my Christ-like attribute, because training has definitely humbled me. Here are somethings that I've learned so far-
-I do not have to teach Sister Groesbeck everything to be the perfect missionary. I feel that my main responsibility is to teach her to be obedient so that the Spirit can teach her and shape her into the missionary/daughter of God that she has the potential to be. I know that the Lord has a plan for her mission and I don't need to worry about teaching her every single thing she'll need to know. 
-I need to make sure that we are diligent in studies because good preparation is required for a good, well-balanced lesson. 
-I have to have the faith to let her talk during lessons, even if she doesn't want to talk. I need to help her develop the faith to open her mouth and trust that it will be filled. 
-I need to be humble enough to accept correction - I'm so thankful that she's brave enough to point out deviations to me. I am learning that being over sensitive is a sign of pride, and I need to be thankful instead of offended when she calls me out.
-I was feeling really discouraged that the Lord wasn't sending experiences like what was shown on the District for my companion to have during her first weeks as a missionary. Instead, He's sent us curveball after curveball, and I've felt bad that we haven't been able to do How To Begin Teaching with a new investigator or teaching perfectly revelation through prayer/Book of Mormon/church attendance. We've made plans and tried to do all these things but time after time, the Lord asked us to do other things, help others, or teach something other than what we plan, and i was getting frustrated and discouraged. But as I prayed and pondered about this dilemma, I realized that is missionary work went perfectly and was like the District all the time, all she would need to do to be train would be to watch the District and mimic what she sees. One of the best gifts a trainer can give if to show the trainee how to respond to adversity - because there will be lots of it on the mission. The Spirit reminded me of one of my favorite poems that President Monson quoted in Conference-
"It's easy enough to smile
When life flows by like a song.
But the man worthwhile
Is the one who will smile
When everything goes dead wrong."
So I just replaced the word "man" with "trainer" and I found the strength to go on and not get discouraged. 

5.) "R" is back on track to be baptized. She's been 48 hours without a cigarette, she's read her scriptures for 3 days in a row, and she actually got an answer to one of her prayers - it wasn't the answer she was expecting but we helped her see that God really does answer and will magnify her efforts. Please pray that she can continue to quit smoking and continue to develop a testimony of the restored gospel.

I'm just taking life one day at a time, and I'm doing my best to finish strong. I try not to think about the end too much, but I was wondering if you could schedule some appointments for me - I need to see the dentist and the eye doctor when I get home. Nothing is wrong, but I need a cleaning (working for Dr. Knutsen made me paranoid about my teeth), and I can't order any more contacts until I see an eye doctor.

I love you all so much - thank you for being the awesome-est! I love you more than all the dog hair in the world! (I have a lot of it on my skirt right now and I forgot my lint roller at home...blast.)

-Sister Chausow

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Elders gave us their car!!

Mama! I just love hearing from you, it is soothing to my soul :D

I got your package the evening after I emailed you last week - thank you so much! Me and Sister Maxfield loved pulling out all the pink stuff the night before she went home. What a fun way to end our time together! You are so good at lifting our spirits. I'm now with Sister Groesbeck and she is awesome sauce. So fun, so dedicated, a little timid and scared still but once she gets over that she'll be a complete rockstar. We are both striving to be the best Preach My Gospel missionaries ever, and it feels so good. We went tracting last night and it's a rush, let me tell you. We had one lady open a little window next to her door, look us up and down, and say "I'm not interested!" and then slammed her little window door shut haha. It was awesome. Plus we got real good and sweaty and that always feels good too :)

Here is a pic of Sister Maxfield and I biking last week....trying to smile through all the sweat! LOL!!

So the elders gave us the car back - Elder Herbert has this whole gentleman complex and doesn't like it that we have to bike, so we have the car. However, most of the miles are gown - we had to drive from here to Baton Rouge, then to Morgan City to take some sisters home from transfer meeting, then back to New Iberia, and the office elders only could give us 83 miles to make up for it. Stink! Check it out on google maps, and you'll see how crazy tunes that is. I think. Maybe we didn't travel the most effective roads...oh well. So anyways, we have 75 miles for 7 days, and it's a 10 mile round trip to the church. So we are being conservative, trying to get rides from members, and we be biking of course! I love biking actually - it feels kind of awesome to be your own source of transportation. Plus, when my hearts pumping and the sweat's dripping, I just think of how Satan will never be able to have those sensations - he's missin' out! 

Ok, I want to tell you something funny - Sister Groesbeck's first full day here was spent moving this homeless family from one motel (Brad Walker, our Elders quorum president called it 'the den of Satan' because basically it was one big crack house) to another motel (Brad - "Even more the den of Satan" - it kind of was - there was prostitutes outside) and finally to a trailer out in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't even out in the cane fields - it was in the forest! So anyway, between the first and second moves, we had a planning meeting with Brother Brad and we were trying to figure out what we could commit this family to do so that they could be more stable, and also figure out boundaries so that they would know what they needed to do if they are to continue receiving help from the branch. After the first move, we thought they would be staying in that motel (they have 5 kids under the age of 10, not ok) and Brad was saying, "They have to get a decent place to live. You can't have 'Family Motel Evening' - it's just not ok!" hahaha and we all had a good laugh about that. So yeah, later we found out that they found this trailer so they were only in the 2nd den of iniquity for an hour. So no "family motel evening"! Thank goodness! And don't worry, we only visited them in the day time when they were living in the first den of iniquity. New Iberia has definitely changed my views on what it means to be "ghetto" and/or "sketchy." It's awesome though because you feel the Lord with you, you get promptings about when to to go where, and I feel very taken care of. 

Hopefully this email didn't freak you out....I'm doing the Lord's work, and it's awesome. I love it, and it's hard to imagine doing anything else.

I love you more than all the po'boys in Louisiana! (did I tell you about po'boys? Can't remember. They are delicious though. Fried shrimp is my favorite)

-Sister Chausow

Staying in New Iberia and Training


It was so good to hear from you! Thanks for all the updates. I loved hearing about everything!

So I am staying in New Iberia and I've been asked to train. Yikes. I had a small freak out on Saturday when the Assistants called, but the Lord is helping me have peace. I'm still overwhelmed but I know that the assignment came from the Lord so I know it will all be ok. 

Biking has been super fun - we've been talking to lots of people, and we are careful to not bike after dark or in sketchy areas after 3:30. At the same time, when we are biking in sketchy neighborhoods (there are a lot of them here) I feel totally confident that we have angels all around us, protecting us and shielding us from anything the Adversary might throw at us. 

So Sister Maxfield is leaving, and I'm pretty sad. I'm looking forward to your package because I know that will cheer me up. Sister Maxfield is so awesome, and she has been an amazing companion. I've felt the burden of this area rest a little more squarely on my shoulders as she's prepared to leave. The weight of senior companion has kind of hit me yesterday and today, and I pray that this burden will give me the spiritual traction to move forward (I love Elder Bednar's talk about the Load!!!). I hope that I can be what my trainee needs me to be. And I'm so excited to learn from her as well. 

Oh, one more thing I wanted to tell you about biking - people have been super good to us in terms of giving us rides. Members and nonmembers alike have been volunteering left and right to take us around. Miss Pat, who is the queen bee of the black community here in New Iberia, gave us a ride to visit some referrals, and when those people weren't home, she took us out to lunch and we had an awesome discussion about the Celestial Kingdom and how to get there. He grandson died, and we taught her that he has already received that glory, and to be with him forever she needs to do somethings to help her become a celestial person. We were in a super busy diner at lunch time, and yet the Spirit was so strong, and I know she felt something different. I don't think she's ready to move forward yet, but I know the Lord was pleased with our efforts and that's a really good feeling.


Sister Chausow

Hello bike, goodbye car!

Hello friends and family!

So this week has been full of crazy events. let me share a few highlights-

-Our car is gone! We are now cruising the streets of New Iberia on our bikes! It's been interesting - lots of sweating, lots of deodorant, lots of drinking water! The members have been really good at helping us out though, and that makes a huge difference.

-The first day of biking Sister Maxfield got a nail in her tire and we had to call the elders to come rescue us since we didn't have the equipment or the know-how to patch a flat. The next morning we woke up to find that my bike tire how gone flat from a slow leak and we were running behind so instead of trying to patch it I just switched the tubes out and off we went to the church (6 miles one way = 40 minutes of biking) and we got to Zone Training Meeting early and very sweaty haha.

-Church was so awesome - "R" our investigator who is preparing to be baptized was there, along with Sister A, Sister L, and Sister J - all less active ladies that we've been working with. Sister L actually gave us a ride to church, stayed all 3 hours and gave us a ride home. As we were getting out of the car she was like, "So y'all need a ride next week?" and we said yes! So that will be 3 sundays in a row that she'll be there. Sister A only stayed for sacrament but she's been reading the scripture verses that we text her every morning and was actually not grumpy at church (tender mercy!!!). Sister J has caught the fire - she got called to the Relief Society Presidency and is working on getting a temple recommend again. The work of salvation is just amazing!

-We had an instruction at Zone Training Meeting on contacting/finding new people to teach and since then we've been on fire! We are stalking to everyone, giving out cards and pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon. Biking helps a lot - it's a lot less weird/creepy to stop and talk to someone when your biking rather then when your in a car. My finest moment was being able to grab a card out of my bag, hand it to a lady that didn't look to eager to talk to us and say "This is for you!" and ride away all without braking hahaha! Good times. 

-It's Sister Maxfield's last week and we are going to be working our bums off in order to stay focused. She's got mixed feelings about going home and I'm trying not to think about it so we are just going to get to work and pretend like we still have a year left to serve. We are all enlisted 'til the conflict is OVER!

Love you all! Hope you have a great week! 

-Sister Chausow 

Do good anyway!

Hello friends and family!

It was a crazy week, but we made it out alive and we are thankful for a break today. I just want to express my feelings by sharing something that Mother Theresa wrote. You've probably heard it before. 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self centered.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
What you spend years creating others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
The good you do today will often be forgotten.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them ANYWAY.

I know that opposition is a part of this life and that God will magnify our best efforts. The Atonement is real, and I have felt intense love for the people here and I know that it's not coming for me. Charity, the pure love of Christ, is a gift from Heavenly Father that He sends to those who honestly seek it. 

I love you all! Have a great week!

-Sister Chausow

Sweating and Smiling

Hello friends and family! I love you all so much! What a wonderful week it's been. We worked our hearts out and we are exhausted. We've been focusing on helping those around us feel the Holy Spirit, and we have had some really cool experiences! I feel humbled that the Lord would let me be a witness of this great work. 

So yeah, it's been super hot and humid out here, and we are trying to stay hydrated. Let's just say I'm suuuuper thankful that we have a car and air conditioning! The elders finally got a car as well, and they are much less sweaty, hooray. Our unofficial assistant branch mission leader, Br. Brad Walker, who is a hoot, likes to walk around saying, "You just can't BEAT the summer HEAT!" He'll ask his 6 year old son, "Abram, what can't you beat?" and little Abram is like, "The summer heat, dad!" It's the cutest thing ever haha. So yeah, it's hot, but we are happy. 

Cool miracles that we saw this week:

-Our only progressing investigator," R" , met with President Hansen for her baptismal interview and she passed! She will be baptized on August 10th after church and then confirmed the next Sunday. We are so excited for her. She has changed a lot and has a lot of faith. Please pray for her!

-We've been meeting with "S", a super cool girl from Colorado who moved here with her husband who is a member. "S" has learned a lot about the gospel and knows that it's a good thing, but she is struggling to quit smoking and to find the desire/motivation to actually make changes in her life. We have been struggling to know how to help her progress and actually use her agency to move forward. It's one of those times when you've done all you can do and you are humbled and brought to your knees and you ask, "Lord, what more do you want me to do? Show us the way, because we have no idea what to do." We don't have all the answers yet, but we've felt peace and assurance that if we just keep loving her, keep visiting her, and keep trying to help her feel and recognize the Spirit, "S" will eventually make covenants and her family can be sealed in the temple.

-The auxillary leadership in our branch just got switched up a ton (new primary, relief society, and young women presidencies with a new elders quorum presidency on the way) and it feels like there is life in the branch for the first time. We visited/talked with the new presidents yesterday and they are excited to work with us and helping the branch get more on it's feet spiritually. The changes were very inspired and I know the Lord is mindful of our little group of saints here in New Iberia. 

I think the other tender mercy this week was just how much fun me and Sister Maxfield have together. We've been making cookies and cutting out hearts to take to people in the branch, we've been laughing, and we do random things to keep ourselves from getting too serious. Last week for P-Day Sister Maxfield convinced me to buy a box of hair dye and we dyed my hair haha! It's just a little darker/redder than my normal shade and I didn't buy color safe shampoo so it's kind of faded, but it was a fun random out of the ordinary thing and we got some good pictures and fun memories. Life is amazing when you get to serve with someone you love and can just have fun with!

So this week, I just wanted to share a really cool quote from Elder Richard G. Scott. He gave an amazing talk about missionary work last conference and it really inspired me. He said, "We must be sure to sincerely love those we want to help in righteousness so they can begin to develop confidence in God’s love. For so many in the world, the first challenge in accepting the gospel is to develop faith in a Father in Heaven,who loves them perfectly. It is easier to develop that faith when they have friends or family members who love them in a similar way.
Giving them confidence in your love can help them develop faith in God’slove. Then through your loving, thoughtful communication, their lives will be blessed by your sharing lessons you have learned, experiences you have had, and principles you have followed to find solutions to your own struggles. Show your sincere interest in their well-being; then share your testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
I love this! Because I'm learning that it really is all about love. If people don't know how much you care, they don't really care how much you know. 
I love you all! And I know that the gospel is true! Hope you all have a great week!

-Sister Chausow

Monday, July 21, 2014

Picture of new comp!

Hey Lady! 
 Thank you so much for the package - it was golden. I can't wait to get out there and start killing people with kindness! Thanks for teaching me that!  

 We have been assigned to teach the CTR 5/6/7 class (we leave the classroom door open so we can keep the rules) and it's a hoot. Those kids say the most random things. I also sub as the primary piano player. It was a little rocky yesterday because half the songs weren't in the normal book and I was like what the... but it's all good. Some piano is definitely better than no piano.   

Thank you for being such an awesome support to me all this time. You rock my socks and I wouldn't have made it this far without you!

 Love, Sister Chausow  

PS: Sister Maxfield LOVED her necklace and I loved mine too. Sister Maxfield almost wore hers 3 days in a row. I've worn it every other day... hehe.
Here is a picture of my new companion Sister Maxfield! (She's wearing the necklace you sent her!)

You can stand under my Umbrella-ella-ella!

Hello from rainy New Iberia!

We have been experiencing crazy amounts of rainfall down here in the bayou with flooding that is unlike anything I've ever seen, but everyone just acts like it's normal haha. I'm like, "People! Your street is an olympic swimming pool!" and they are like "Yeah, I have an SUV" lol. It's awesome. 

Ok, so here are the experiences from the last week that have made life interesting as a missionary. Some involve rain and some not.

1.) Thursday we go over to Miss Pat's house for the first time. She is this investigator, and she reminds me of Queen Latifah on "Hairspray" - big, blonde, and beautiful. She was making sausage, so we had a lesson with her about weaknesses as her and her granddaughter pumped groundup turkey, pigs feet and who knows what else into tripe - pig intestines used for casing. It was awesome. She told us that she knows that the Mormon church is where she needs to be at but she has some "junk in the trunk" that she needs to take care of first. So I said, "Well guess what - I have the perfect junk in the trunk scripture. Can I share it with you?" and we read Ether 12:27 about weaknesses. It was awesome. We wrote down the verse so she could study it more on her own later and invited her to church and she said she would come. Unfortunately, she had a bad fall and hurt herself so she didn't come to church. Don't worry, we will be taking her muffins and re-inviting her. She is so close to baptism, it's so awesome. She will be a huge asset to the branch - she has a big loving heart and a way of being loving but honest with people. Perfect!

2.) We had a meeting with our zone on Friday and it was a super good meeting. But it was pouring rain the whole time so by the time the meeting was over the street that the church is on was totally flooded out and the office elders said we weren't allowed to drive the mission cars in more than 6 inches of water. Bummer. So there we were, 20 hungry missionaries trapped in the branch building with nothing to do except play games, watch church videos, and study (ok, my idea to study got shot down. Weird.) The Senior Couple, Elder and Sister Keller, drove to Wendy's once the rain kind of stopped (they were driving their own vehicle instead of a mission vehicle, so they could go wherever) and got a bunch of burgers and chicken sandwiches. People were much less grumpy after that. And then 30 minutes after we got food the rain had stopped enough/the street had drained enough that we cold leave. 3 hours in the church was interesting to say the least. One of our Zone Leaders who is just about the sweetest boy from Provo Utah that you could ever meet said, "I thought that being trapped here as a zone would be a good bonding experience, but it really felt more like the Hunger Games." Hahaha. It wasn't that bad, but let's just say I'm glad we weren't stuck for longer than we were. 

3.) I went on exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders this week. I got to go up to Lafayette and it was pretty awesome. While I was there, I got to meet Brother Patrick Prejean, a legit Cajun man (he speaks cajun French and says "That's a fact, Jack!" like Uncle Si but for reals!) and recent convert who is amazing. He has some sort of wasting disease and He was given 4 months to live like 6 months ago. Because he was/is dying, he got special permission from the first presidency to go through the temple only 4 months after his baptism. He passes the sacrament in his wheelchair and his ordination to the Mechizedek priesthood certificate is proudly posted about his kitchen table. His body is slowly wasting away - he is almost skeletal - but his mind is amazing. He spends hours and hours studying the scriptures and anything else about ancient history and he sees how archeological findings fit in with the Book of Mormon/Bible. He is absolutely amazing - he found the church because his fiance is LDS and they are working toward getting sealed in the temple. It was a privilege to meet him and learn from him. His attitude is unfallingly postive - his body may be deteriorating but he has the true and restored gospel in his life, and that's all that matters. He does his best to pray with and teach the other people at the care center where he lives. I can only imagine what kind of spirit he was in the premortal life.

4.) I had a cool experience teaching this mom and daughter yesterday. The mom has a strong testimony, but she gets tired of doing so much some times - she has like 3 callings in the branch and a big family and she works. Her daughter is getting ready to go off to UVU, and so we went to say goodbye and also offer some spiritual boost. They love going on cruises, so we showed this Mormon Message and discussed it with them. To be honest, I've never totally understood this parable, but as we talked the Spirit opened our minds and Sister Maxfield said some things that those women really needed to hear and I was able to expound on the parable and in doing so learned something myself. I know that it was the Spirit teaching, not me. The Spirit taught me that being baptized and confirmed is like getting on the cruise ship. To fully receive all the blessings available to members of the Lord's church, we must open the door, go out, and partake - the man needed to go out and partake of the food and entertainment. We must "open the door" or keep the commandments in order to partake in the blessings. Reading the scriptures, praying, going to church and the temple, serving others, are all like opening the door. The very act of keeping the commandments is a blessing, and then the Lord sends even more blessings as we live faithfully. It was a really cool experience and I am motivated now more than ever to be like the steward that came and told the man what he was missing. This is the fundamental principle of less active work - to go out and say "Hey! You are on the boat! You are entitled to so much more than your receiving right now! Come and receive!" And finding new people to teach is inviting people to get on the boat so that they can be entitled to blessings as well. What a marvelous work this is!

I love you all and am so thankful that I have you in my life.


Sister Chausow 
Here are some pictures from the torrential rain storm:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New Address!

OH, I almost forgot to tell you my new address:

501 Darby Lane #211

New Iberia, LA 70560

P.S.   Cheyenne's cooking sounds yummy! Can she learn how to make red beans and rice? With sausage? And/or crawfish ettoufee? Those are my two favorite dishes that I've had in Loosiana. I try to get people to tell me the recipe but they all explain it in a vague cajun way - "Oh it's easy you just soak the beans and mash em up and add sausage" or "oh it's easy you just make a roux and add some seasonings and your crawfish and that's it." and I'm just like "People!" Haha but it's all good. Hopefully there are some recipes online that I/we can try....

Transfer to New Iberia

Hello Mama and Daddy!

Thanks for your fun emails this week! I always love hearing about the fam and everything else. 

     Ok, so let's get down to business - I am New Iberia, Louisiana with Sister Maxfield who is 20 years old from Smithfield, Utah. We are serving in the New Iberia branch with a set of Spanish Elders, Elder Casillas from Arizona and Elder Herbert from Mexico. Elder Casillas has been out 6 months and is still working on his Spanish. Elder Herbert has been out 20 months and is still working on his English -- haha. They are awesome! Sister Maxfield is even more amazing - she came out a transfer before me, so she will be going home next month, so I am trying to learning everything about the area as fast as I can. It's actually really, really nice to be in a branch - I feel a lot less overwhelmed/spread too thin. I actually feel like we will be able to accomplish something this transfer. There is a lot of drama in the branch, so we are working to help carry out the Branch President's vision of creating "a loving unified branch family."
     We will definitely need the Lord's help and Atonement to make this happen. We are starting by serving the members and helping them feel loved - I really believe it's easier to love others if you feel love. We will also make an effort to teach them about charity and about God's love. If the members love coming to the branch and feel at home there, they will be more willing to invite others to come join the family. That's the plan for now. Our mission president is really focused on finding, so we are also striving to find those who are ready to receive the gospel now, while still maintaining our relationships with the many many "eterni-gators" in this area. Any advice on how to help people that know in their head that the gospel is good but don't know it in their heart so they won't act....?
     We have a car, but Elder Herbert has a bad knee so we are going to try to bike at least 1 day a week and let the Elders use the car so they don't have to bike. The Metairie Sisters got their car taken, so they are now a biking/busing area. Sister Recksiek (my companion from Denham Springs) took my spot and was FREAKING out about being in a biking area because she feels like she's going to kill the area because she can't bike. It was a little dramatic at transfer meeting. They could probably use a cute package, Sister Biver and Sister Recksiek, if you have time...

     I love you both so much! Thank you for all you've taught me. You both are truly amazing!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fourth of July!

So glad the family is doing well, that Caitlyn and Sinos are just lovin life. I will continue to pray for John. I love him so much. He emailed me once from S. T. Please let him know that I pray for him often. I will be praying for you both while you go visit him next week. I know that Heavenly Father trusts you tremendously. Thank you for being a great example to me. 

So happy you and dad are having fun as empty nesters. I guess yall have something to look forward to, eh? :) 

We actually had pday on the 4th so we got to go to this free food festival at a non-denomonational church with an investigator and his less active wife. It was pretty interesting. We got preached to for a minute about accepting Jesus in your life, and we also got free bbq chicken, jambalaya, and sno cones. Good times. Watched a few fireworks from our stairwell since the neighbors were lighting some off in the street. Taught Sister Biver the american anthem and some nerdy facts about the Revolutionary War. We also played Risk with the Elders and Elder Smith won - total global domination! The silly things we do to entertain ourselves...

Cool experience yesterday- The ward mission leader's wife up in Denham Springs asked us to go visit her cousin who is older and lives alone in Metairie. We went yesterday and met her and she is the cutest lady. We just said we were friends with Glenda Davis and she invited us in, got us glasses of ice water and little dishes of snacks. I was humbled that she would do that for complete strangers. We had a good chat getting to know her and then we read some Bible stories together and shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon (she is Baptist and very happy in her church) and it was just nice to be so warmly welcomed, even if she's not ready right now to receive the gospel. The sisters will continue to visit her once a month and I know that she will accept this gospel eventually, even if it's not in this life. She told us that she and her husband traveled through salt lake city a long time ago and he was so impressed that he bought a copy of the book of mormon. Her husband has since passed away, and I wonder if he is trying to help his wife accept the gospel in this life so that they can be sealed together. It's kind of cool to think about.... :)

I am being transferred tomorrow! I'm a little sad, but mostly excited. I kind of felt this was coming, and I am very at peace. I feel like I've learned so much from living and working here, and the people have loved me and taught me a lot as well. Sister Biver and I have had so much fun together, but I feel like we need to move on if are going to continue to progress. 

So I was wondering if you could send me a package!!! I need some stuff and I was hoping you could help me out. :) I will send you my new address next week, and I was wondering if you can send

-More Olay Facewipes
-More Gummie one a day vitamins
-3 Talks: "Perfection Pending" by Elder Nelson, "What does it mean to be perfect" by Elder Samuelson, and "Becoming perfect in Christ" by Elder Gong. The last one is in this month's ensign and I just love it because it helps me see how/why I need to let go of some of my overly-high expectations/demands of myself and others. 

You are the freakin best and I love you so much! I'm putting a letter in the mail for you today!

Love, Sister Chausow

Service Project and Transfer!

So sorry about your sunburn. Soooo not fun. But I'm happy that your knee is on the upswing! How many weeks until your return to the PGA amateur tour? :)

So I share your "pain from nature." I got stung by a bee on the forehead/hairline yesterday. So ouch-y! Another crawled in my ear and I was freaking out but thankfully it didn't sting me. We were doing a service project that involved cleaning out/tearing down some sheds, and one of the Elders accidently uncovered a huge beehive and we ran away but the bees following. Only two of us got stung of the 8 missionaries, and the old man/owner of the sheds crawled right in there and was spraying the hive and he got stung twice. We were like, Bro. Beard please just call an exterminator! He is old and poor and convinced he can do everything himself, so we told him to call us when the bees are gone. Crazy stuff! We took a few hours in the morning on Wed, Sat, and Mon and we are almost done, bees just slowed us down a bit. 
Service Project Pictures:

So guess what! I'm getting transferred! I'm 20% sad and 80% excited. I've learned a lot here and I'm excited for change. I feel like I need it to progress, and I just have a lot of hope for the last few months of my mission. Like you said before, these last few transfers should be the best because I kind of have a handle on what I'm doing, and I'm better at listening to the Spirit than I was before. The assistants told me I'm going pretty far away, and I'm kind of hoping to get back to the boonies/redneck country. I like the city, but I miss trailer parks :)

So I'm copying and pasting my transfer reflections that I sent to President. He is the bomb by the way. I don't really know him but I already love him. He responded to my email from last week because I had some concerns and his answers were so amazing. He was gentle, loving, but encouraging/pushed me to be better all at the same time. So great.

Love you with all my heart! Give Sinos a big hug for me when she gets home and when your sunburn feels better. I am praying for John. You inspire me.
-Sister Chausow

So I'm getting transferred, and I'm excited because I like change. I love Metairie, and I learned so much from the people here. I've been reflecting and evaluating and I wanted to share some of the things that have sunk deeper into my heart while I've been here-

-I have really come to start to understand Heavenly Father's love for me. I still don't understand it fully, but I'm comprehending slowly and it's a wondrous thing to realize that the Creator of the Universe is my loving Father and His love for me never changes. I don't have to be perfect to merit His love. The Savior and the Father already love me, they worked out the Atonement for me, and they just want to help me succeed. What a beautiful knowledge to have - I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father would teach me about His love. 

-I've come to understand better what it means to "thrust in your sickle." I love D&C 4. Sometimes I don't read it often because I get discouraged - I feel like I'm not even close to being all that is described in that section. But then I remember that perfection is a process, and a piece of that section that I've come to understand and live more is "thrusting in your sickle." I've learned how to really work hard, plan hard, play hard, and teach with the Spirit. I've felt the drive to just keep going and going because there are so many people out there that need love. I've gotten better at talking to everyone, because I feel God's love for them and i want to show God my willingness to do everything within my power to spread the Gospel. I've had days that have been sad because people have used their agency to not progress, but I didn't feel sad about myself because I knew that I had done everything God wanted me to do and that He has a plan for those people and it will all work out in the end. 

-I've learned more about agency and self control, and I'm trying hard to be better at using my agency all the time, not just when I'm "on duty" or when my actions are obvious. It's really hard to control one's thoughts, but I have faith that it can be done. I've made some mistakes, but I'm learning how to focus on the work, focus on others, and focus on the Lord. It's a process, and I'm not done yet, but I'm working on it and that feels good.

-I've learned and seen what happens when members follow the Spirit to do missionary work. Someone that got baptized while I've been here and who has since become one of my best friends and mentors is Sister Ruth Wu. She joined the church and helped change my life because her friend listened to the promptings of the Spirit, reached out at the right time and in the right way, and 4 weeks later she got baptized. It was an incredible miracle. This work cannot be hastened without members and it can't be hastened without the Spirit. I'm more motivated than ever to work with members instead of around them or occasionally with them. I've been humbled and I've seen the success that comes when members get involved. I'm so grateful that the Lord would allow me to serve at a time when unity is key. This effort to work more together has taugth me humility and love. 

-Finally, I've come to know that service softens hearts. The inactive, kind of anti-Mormon daughter of a less active woman would barely speak to me when I got here 4 months ago. She wouldn't even look us in the eyes. Over time, though, as we've served her mother, she has softened and opened up to the missionaries, and when we visited her at her home last week she didn't get mad - she was actually happy to see us! We plan on inviting her to a musical fireside that our ward is having at the end of the month. Her husband, who is not a member, is really kind to us, and I know He feels the Spirit when we are around. He's curious about us, and I think the more his wife softens the more he will feel free to ask questions. It's an exciting thing. 

So there you have it. There's a lot more - experiences I could share or scriptures I could quote, but I just wanted to write down a general summary of what the Lord has given me while I've been here, and what I want to take to my next area so that I can continue to love, serve, teach better and better every day. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Newspaper Clipping!

Our last service project made the local paper!  It was very hot and humid but the service made me feel great!!

Crawfish Boil! Looisiana Style!!

Our district family at a Crawfish Boil at the Church. Best way to eat them is to crack them open and suck out the goodness.  Spicy and messy!!

Sister Bivers enjoying the potato part of the "Boil"!

Our district Elders with their pile of crawfish skeletons!!

Farewell to President and Sister Wall!

Hello to my mom and dad who I love with all my heart-

This week was crazy/good/fun/super hot. Highlights include:

-Our last meeting with President and Sister Wall. Super emotional. So so good. I love them with all my heart, and I know that we were meant to serve together. In our specialized training meeting, they kind of reviewed some of the fundamental principles that they've been trying to emphasize over the last year in a half. I think if I took nothing else away, it is that Heavenly Father loves me, the worth of my soul is great in His sight, He sent His Son, my brother, to die for me, and because of that sacrifice I am literally never alone. It was super powerful, and I'm so thankful that two people who I love so much would take time to emphasize over and over again concepts that my mortal mind has trouble grasping. 

-Went on a super quick, last minute exchange with the Sister Training Leaders. I stayed in Metairie with Sister Brady and Sister Biver went to Houma with Sister Wheeler. It was a quiet 24 hours, but it's all good. Last time I was on exchanges with Sister Brady I was working through some drama and it was like serious recovery mode. This time life is flowing along much more smoothly and I think Sister Brady didn't know what to do with a normal, sane Sister Chausow haha bless her heart. It was fun to see Sister Wheeler for a bit - she is one of my favorite sisters ever. She is going home next week and I'm sad because I keep "losing" my best friends haha. Oh well, I just get to move on and make more friends!!!

-E and M made it to the temple and got endowed and sealed. It was a crazy day at the temple because there were 7 live endowments, 2 of whom just showed up ready to do their initiatory and endowments, and so there wasn't enough room for all the friends from the ward who came to support E and M. It was interesting to be an escort - It felt really awesome to focus on someone else during the session and just be looking out for someone else's needs. Interestingly, I got a TON of revelation for myself and things that I've been thinking about, and I think that's kind of how Heavenly Father works - when you are willing to put others' needs in front of your own, He blesses you even more than you give. The sealing was super cool - that was the first time I've been to a sealing, and so to hear the super cool covenants and blessings pronounced by the sealer was a really awesome spiritual experience. It made me more determined than ever to seek for a TEMPLE marriage after the mission. All those ginormous weddings in tv shows and movies just cant compare with the 10 minute sealing ordinance performed in temples. Hands down. 

-President Hansen and Sister Hansen are here! Hooray! We met them this morning at Zone Conference. He is very different in his style but no different at all in his love for missionaries. Sister Hansen as well is different in personality but just has so much love and desire to serve the missionaries. They are super amazing and they want to help us raise our vision and help us to help people become converted. That is something President Hansen said over and over - "We want converts, not baptisms." I was like woah, that's super cool! I wish he could talk to our ward leaders...we had ward missionary coordination yesterday and there was this sense of gears grinding together. Clash of forces if you will. The missionaries want to go one way and the members/ward mission leader wants us to go another and it's something that needs fixing. It's interesting - I wonder if the Lord will leave me in Metairie another transfer so we can try to work on it more (I thought we were working on it but it became apparent yesterday that we need to communicate better and change tactics...) or if I'm going to leave and maybe another missionary can come help get things aligned better. I'm willing to do what the Lord asks either way. I just crave unity, so if I stay we will probably need to have another meeting and talk it all out. Elder Smith has been here almost 9 months and he's content to just keep going like it's been going but I'm not satisfied with that. We have no control over the elders, but we can at least make our own efforts to reach out, communicate our concerns, and humbly seek to work better with members. I know that a lack of unity only brings frustration, which just isn't fun. Sorry about that ramble/rant... :)

-Friday is the 4th of Joo-lye and it's also pday (because we had zone conference today) but we still got to email today because the library will be closed on the 4th. I'm excited to have a day to relax and not worry about emailing or cleaning the apartment or car (all of that has to be done today/wednesday for inspection purposes). Also, transfers are next week and I'm excited to see what happens. Sister Biver and I are still doing great together. I  I really feel like one reason I was supposed to serve a mission is to learn to accept imperfection. I feel like Heavenly Father won't let me be a parent until I at least kind of learn this lesson. I've always been super hard on myself and super hard on others, and I'm learning that some how God loves us no matter where we are on our path to perfection. In my mind it's always been "I'm either perfect or completely terrible/useless/a waste." This is NOT how God sees things - He has patience and He sees potential, and that's the lens we need to see our own children through, and our spouses through, and our friends, and complete strangers. This is the essence of love and charity - loving and accepting and caring for a soul, a child of God. Recognizing true identity and endlessly loving and serving are what charity is all about. So basically, as I've learned to be ok with mistakes and flaws and defects, I've learned about the pure love of Christ, and I hope to be able possess some small part of that love by the end of my mission so that I can cultivate that seed of love throughout the rest of my life. 

I just wanted to thank you both for showing me such awesome examples of love. All of the service, the kind words, the staying till the church is totally clean after an activity, the endless dedication to God and family, all of these things are just illustrations of the love for God and for all men which burns in your hearts. You are amazing examples to me, and I'm filled with gratitude because God sent me to your family. Thank you for making and keeping the marriage covenant and for loving me no matter what. Y'all the best! :)


Sister Chausow


Hey mama! Holy tomato! It sounds like you had a whale of a day yesterday.

I'm trying harder to take better care of my body and it's awesome because my spirit feels better too!

Speaking of taking care of our bodies, today for President Wall's "last act" he asked us to take two hours on pday and bike around wearing these bright blue tshirts that said "bringing HOPE to the world one mile at a time." My body is going to hate me tomorrow, and my bum is so sore, but it was super fun, me and Sister Biver and Elder Mills and Elder Smith, our little district family, just biking around Metairie and Kenner smiling and waving at people. We biked along Lake Ponchatrain and it was super gorgeous, and as we biked we talked about goofy stuff like Mario Kart and chick flicks and Lord of the Rings. I just love physical activity that doesn't require too much coordination - I love working out and sweating and trust me - we were super sweaty by the end. Actually, we were sweaty at the beginning because we had helped a lady move for 3 hours before pday officially started haha. Oh man, I love me some Louisiana humidity. 

Oh yeah, so "A" got baptized and confirmed this weekend! I was bracing myself for some more big drama but Satan let "A" off pretty easy (child-like faith goes a long way to protect someone from the fiery darts of the adversary) and there was just a small series of awkward moments that surrounded his baptism - the font didn't fill up enough so we had to delay the service for 30 minutes to fill the font some more, and then it turns out there was a leak in the font so the water was too shallow and he had to be dunked twice and he was kind of scared to be dunked...and then there was a little confusion as to who was supposed to be in the circle to confirm him, but again, it all worked out and now we just get to help him endure to the end! And it was so cool - he invited his mom and step dad and his father to his baptism and they are all Catholic but they came and enjoyed the baptism and are really happy that their son is involved in something that is helping him to be better. We took them on a tour of the church building and let them know if they ever had any questions we are their to answer and help. A and his dad came to the crawfish boil we had on Saturday (the baptism was thursday) and it was awesome! A'
s dad might be next to be baptized :)

But yeah, life is just good good good! I feel happy and content and loved. It's a really good feeling, and I want everyone to have it. I know it comes from living the gospel. It comes from trying, not from being perfect. I am learning to be ok with weakness, my own and everyone else's. I am really working on loving everyone no matter what, and Heavenly Father is helping me to do it. Thank you for being an awesome example of Christlike love - I feel like you are one of the best people I know at helping others to feel God's love for them. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for your all around awesome-ness!

-Sister Chausow

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sunshine Packages!

So Johanna write home and suggested that our family send a "sunshine package" to the Elders that work in the Mission home cause they have been working really hard trying to get the Mission in tip top shape for the new mission  president who will be arriving in July.

Since Johanna's ideas are always awesome, we took her up on it and sent a package full of yellow items to those Elders to try and spread a little cheer.  We got an awesome e-mail from them with some pictures.  Thought it might be fun to add the pictures to her blog so she can always remember the Elders who worked so hard to keep her mission running!!


Here are the mission home Elders: Elders Steele, Watkins and Ford

A picture of the letter we sent with the package....sure hope they get my sense of humor..or lack of..Bahahaha!!!

Letter to Mom!

Hey there!

Thank you so so much for the sunshine package! It totally brightened my week! You are the best!!!!
And I loved seeing the pictures of the office elders. Thanks for helping brighten their day. You are truly amazing! Seriously, you bring light and love into the lives of all you come into contact with, even people that you don't even know that live hundreds of miles away! :)

Crazy about Dad and Chey. Also heard about John. So happy that the famdamily is living life. I'll be praying for the Chey while she is at camp and in Deuchtland (sp?) The whole dad-going-to-girls-camp thing makes me a little nervous so I'll be praying for him too :)

So last pday was pretty magical - we went to Oak Alley, the coolest plantation ever. It was freaking gorgeous, and we got to go with Ruth and her fun family AND we got to get out of Metairie for a while AND we got to do something that was uplifting but not necessarily related to the gospel haha. So basically the whole thing was a win win win win situation. If/when we all come down here, I want to take you guys to this place because it is stunning. The home and the 28 oak trees that line the front drive (they are 300 years old!) and the restored slave houses are so cool/interesting. I'm sending a postcard so you can see the house with the trees. 

I just want you to know that I've been feeling a lot of love this week. It's interesting because I feel like the mission strips you of all the normal resources that you turn to in times of struggle or stress (movies, music, swimming, going to the gym for hours, even your family and friends) and instead you have to rely soley upon your Heavenly Father. And that's what I felt this last week. I felt closer to my Father in Heaven than ever before. As I tried will all my might to keep the rules and study the scriptures and really pray sincerely, I felt Heavenly Father's love for me. It was in personalized promptings, it was in the beauty of the rain, in the opportunities He sent me to share the gospel, and just a deep feeling of peace and acceptance. It's been really really awesome, and I'm so thankful and humbled that God would take time out of His busy schedule to personally instruct me on how I can be even better while at the same time telling me that He loves me know matter what. 

Please pray for D - she just moved here with her daughter and they have nothing. The bishop in Kentucky helped them escape from an abusive situation and paid for her ticket to come to Mississippi and then her cousins drove her from there to New Orleans. She was studying with sister missionaries in Kentucky and I think she would've been baptized already but she was working on Sundays. But now she is here, has no job, and the ward has kind of embraced her. The stake employment specialist is helping her to find work, the Relief Society is going to try to get some clothes and toys for her and her little girl, and we are teaching her the lessons and inviting her to various activities. It's really cool. She wants to be baptized because she knows it's important, but she doesn't understand yet that she needs to be baptized into God's church, not just any church. But she loves the Book of Mormon and she is a super spiritual person, so it will come. 
Also, please pray for A. He is being baptized on Thursday night and The week before and the week after baptism is prime Satan time so please pray that he'll be protected and/or that he can make it through whatever Satan throws at him. I am really coming to love this man - he is autistic and has made some mistakes, but I just have this Christ-like love for him that is hard to explain. I am so excited for him to make covenants and receive a remission of sins and start fresh. 

I love you with all my heart! Thank you for always being there for me!

-Sister Chausow

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Mailbox!!

Hello! Happy Monday!

Just wanted to send out a quick update on life down in the Jefferson Ward-

-A passed his baptismal interview! He has so much childlike faith, and even though he didn't understand it all, he quit drinking tea and coffee and is so excited to be baptized. It's been a challenge to teach him because he is autistic, but we really love him and he really wants to do what's right. The baptismal date for now is the 19th of June and he will be confirmed on 22nd. Please pray for him that all will go well!

-We had a Family Home Evening this last Monday at the church. We invited 2 active member couples and then a recent convert couple that is getting ready to be endowed/sealed, "A" came, "P "(a long time investigator) and his less active wife, our friend Allie brought her nonmember friend that just moved here, and "S", a long time investigator who we never thought would come inside the church building. That was a huge miracle! It was awesome - Br. Blair, our ward mission leader shared the spiritual thought and then we played Bible jeopardy and had treats. It was so awesome. We were going to do it once a month but every kept asking if we could do it more often so it looks like we are going to shoot for every other week. So awesome!

-We had interviews with President Wall this last week. Every 3 months you get a one on one interview with the mission president and this was our last one with him since he is going home at the end of the month and we are getting a new president. It was awesome - I've been kind of depressed/discouraged recently and President Wall set me straight - he taught me that all those negative thoughts are NOT from God and he helped me to refocus and gave me hope that I am loved and I'm doing okay. It felt like a huge burden had been lifted form my shoulders, and since then we've been laughing more and I've been counting my blessings more. Because Heavenly Father was trying to tell me that He loved me all along but I was fighting him, convinced that I was good enough. But President sternly told me to start thanking Him for the blessings and love that He sends to me every day. It was awesome, and I have so much peace now.

-Ruth, the lady that we helped get baptized, is taking us to the plantation homes in Destrehan today. We are super excited! It will be fun to get out of Metairie for a bit and just relax. Also, her two kids, "D"and "

S" are in town and we are helping them prepare to be baptized. They are so awesome and I just love this whole family

So yeah, life goes on, and we continue to thrust in our sickles as deep as we can, and a little deeper every day. Thank you for all the prayers and love and support! I can feel that I'm being lifted up and carried by my Savior. I'm so thankful for Him. I know He lives.

-Sister Chausow

PS: Attached is a picture of a service project we did in the rain last weekend! It was cooler to do it that way than to do it in the sun and humidity haha. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Weekly Helloooo!!


I am so sorry you feel so overwhelmed. Can I just say that I totally know how you feel? I love this quote from President Eyring about being in the Lord's service:

"There will be times when you will feel overwhelmed. One of the ways you will be attacked is with the feeling that you are inadequate. Well, you are inadequate to answer a call to represent God with only your own powers. But you have access to more than your natural capacities, and you do not work alone."
The text of the full talk can be found here. Also, I quote Ammon - 
 "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." -Alma 26:12
You can do this Kerri! Not because YOU can, but because GOD can THROUGH you! And what a blessing to be called as such a vessel. So fabulous.
This was a great week. I got to escape from Metairie/the city/Jefferson ward drama for a few days and go to Houma on exchanges with Sister Wheeler who I freakin love with all my heart. I have been blessed to have some really awesome Sister training Leaders while I've been out, and I"m so thankful that I came out at a time when sister DO actually get to go on exchanges. The first night I was there, we went and had dinner with this active member who had just moved into the ward and had served her mission in Scotland/Ireland. Dad, I took pages of notes. She was an answer to so many prayers/questions that I had. Sister Wheeler was originally supposed to come to Metairie with me, but some crazy things happened and I ended up going to Houma, and I'm so thankful I did. I was supposed to be there. I know God hears prayers, spoken and unspoken, and it really is usually through some else that He does it.
Sister Wheeler and I just had crazy fun and worked our hearts out and learned from and taught each other and it was amazing! Instead of feeling like "Oh man, I hope I can make it 4 more months" I left feeling like "Hooray! I get to be a part of this work for 4 more months!" Exchanges are a huge blessing.
While I was gone, crazy things happened. J called the sisters in a drunken rage and demanded they come over so that she could tell them she isn't going to be Mormon any more. They spent a huge chunk of the next day with  M. And they got to have a super fun/intense discussion with R at Troy and Aly's house who I love. I was a good time to get out of Dodge haha, but now we are dealing with all the aftermath, and I am learning to focus on what I CAN control instead of what I can't, and just let God take care of all that. He has a plan for J, He has a plan for M, and if we keep praying and stay worthy of the Spirit, He will reveal what we need to know to help us help Him move the plan forward. 
Also, I wanted to tell you about our work with E and M. I'm copying and pasting what I told President about it.
We've had a cool few days this week because we've been practicing the principles of following up and helping someone else use the Atonement to overcome weaknesses.
The next day we went over armed with service clothes, cleaning supplies, and another recent convert, R (remember her? She's the best!) and we sat outside and discussed how the Lord can make weaknesses into strengths if we admit our weakness to him, ask for help, and act in faith. We committed M to have a serious talk with the Lord after we left and talk about her weakness in keeping her house clean and ask for help, because the Lord cares about stuff like that. Then we went to work for 2 and half hours cleaning, organizing, throwing stuff out and bagging stuff up that could be donated. A big part of the sanitation problem was the fact that there are 4 puppies that are not potty trained - they had taken over a whole room in their 4 room trailer and it's disgusting. After we cleaned up that whole mess, we got creative and made an enclosure for the puppies out of furniture, and we taught M how and when to clean up after the dogs so that it wouldn't get so out of hand. Again, we left her with a small project to complete after we left (in addition to praying/talking with God) and told her to just keep it up until Sunday afternoon when we would be back. 
We also encouraged her to come take the sacrament specifically in order to have the strength to get going with this change.
Sunday, they didn't come to church (that's a whole other story) but we went over to follow up and once again, M had completed the project we left and then some extra. E, who has Sundays off, sat down with us in the room that used to be full of dog urine/feces and we taught him, with M's help, about changing weaknesses into strengths. We also read D&C 29:34-35 about how nothing is temporal with the Lord - everything is spiritual to Him. And we asked inspired questions about how keeping your house clean is a spiritual thing and we listened and both E and M had really good answers. I had a past companion teach me that asking questions is a way to help those we teach get personal revelation, and I really think that instead of just telling E that he needed to be cleaner and help out more around the house, because we asked questions, he was able to figure out for himself why and how he needs to change. It was really cool. We are going back tonight and we are going to do a family home evening with them and do another project and follow up on the "Daily Chores" list we left with them, taped to their fridge. This has been a very tangible experience with helping someone develop faith unto repentance, and I can't wait for them to come take the sacrament on Sunday and feel the Spirit and know that what they are doing is good and right. This will give them the strength to continue in their growth. And it's cool, because I feel like I am really able to help because I just had to go through this process with my own weaknesses so I can press forward with the knowledge that this process really does work.
I love you so much! Thank you for being the most amazing priesthood holder/leader/father/friend that I know!

-Sister Chausow

May 19, 2014 Highs and Lows!


Sometimes I wonder if I'm Amish because I have such a struggle with I actually adopted from the Amish community where you got those benches and your bedroom set? Hehe I kid...

SO! This week was a roller coaster of awesomeness! I will give you a summary of events and my feelings about them!

HIGH: Going to Houma on exchanges with Sister Wheeler - we have been serving around each other almost our whole missions and she has been an awesome mentor for me. Plus it was a huge blessing to get out of Metairie for a bit.

LOW: Two women in our ward had miscarriages in the last two weeks. So sad. What do you even say?

HIGH: R is having her kids come stay with her for a week and a half in June and she wants us to teach them every day! I just love her!

LOW: Sister Biver came down with a cold and then a few days later I got it. I kind of sound like a man, but I actually slept through the night last night so that was awesome!

HIGH: We did a LOT of service, especially with this girl named M. See Dad's email for the details, but I am so thankful we cleared out all the dog poop and pee! It was a huge triumph - all the creative problem solving skills from DI came in handy when we were trying to build an enclosure for the dogs so as to contain the destruction. Tell Abby Stewart that DI will make a huge difference as an adult hahah!

LOW: Brother Bush, that intense guy that made me cry, came into our Ward Missionary Coordination meeting.

HIGH: He left because Br. Blair, our super awesome ward mission leader didn't really give him a chance to talk! Lol. I am stinkin going to be friends forever with the Blairs. Br Blair always has my back and Sister Blair is so supportive and helpful with teaching our investigators or less actives. And their son Sawyer is the cutest baby ever! Wish so bad I could hold him/kidnap him!!!!!!!

HIGH: They were filming a movie down the street from Mahala's house. That's the 3 film set I've seen since I've been down here in NOLA. 

HIGH: Saturday we might do a free lemonade stand as a way to give out copies of the Book of Mormon and contact people!

HIGH: I loved hearing about Grandpa Chuck and Cheyners and John and diarrhea's since easters lol. You are the bomb dot com! And way to go Idaho on killing it in your writing class. 

Oh, so I hear you got new window treatments for Mother's Day...? Kath Teufel is super excited about it. I want to see pictures!

Can you believe it's the last week before transfers? Craziness. Three left after this one. I kind of started writing my friends off because I just want to focus. I've decided that these last 3 transfers are not mine, they are the Lord's and I'm going to do everything I can to devote my whole self to Him. I've been so blessed, and I can't NOT try to go out and share what I've been given. 

I love you forever and ever! Sending so many hugs and smaeshes!
Love you more than all the chocolate in the world!

-Sister Chausow

May 12, 2014

Hey, I know I just talked to yall yesterday but I just wanted to say that I love yall so much and thank you for spending time with me yesterday. 

Mom, I hope I didn't hurt your feelings with the package thing. I want you to know that I just love love LOVE everything you sent and I'm so deeply grateful to have a mom that would support me so thoroughly like you do. I'll email you next transfer (June!) and let you my new address if I get transferred and a few things I need. For me, it's been hard to stay focused and not count the days or weeks or months. And it's a weird internal conflict - I'm so excited to come home and be with you all but I want to stay and just do this work for ever. I guess I can't have my cake and eat it too :)

The elders that I wanted you to send a package to are Elder Steele and Elder Watkins. They are the office elders, and those poor guys are just so awesome to do all the grunt work while we get to be out doing fun stuff like studying and teaching and finding people to share the gospel with and working with members and all of that. I know they could use some loving, especially as they will be crucial in help the mission make a transition from one mission president to the next. They need some lovin, and there's nobody better at helping people feel loved than my mama! You can send it to the same address as Elder Hansen-
12025 Justice Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Thanks for being so amazing! I hope I can continue to work hard and make y'all proud! And make the Lord proud :)

Love, Sister Chausow

PS: Here is my letter to President Wall for the week. It just has some cool stuff I learned in my studies and ideas that I'm trying to internalize.

Dear President-

I would like to redefine failure. The world defines failure as "something that falls short of what is required or expected." I would like to tweak this a little bit - I believe that failure is "something that falls short of what is required or expected RIGHT NOW but works towards the success of the Lord's work in the future." As a missionary, I realized that I need to change by paradigm. I've been studying the lives of the prophets in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and I've found some patterns that were not clear or apparent to me before. None of these men had perfect lives. They struggled, they got discouraged, they faced opposition, just like us. But what sets them apart and helped them qualify for exaltation is their exceeding faith, diligence, obedience, and endurance despite their circumstances. I think we underestimate the power of persevering with a good attitude. That is how the war against Satan is won. Sure, he may win a few battles here and there, but the war will be won in each of our lives and for the kingdom of God as a whole when we learn to just keep going, not give up, smile, and maintain our faith in God. This goes a long with one of my favorite poems:
"It's easy enough to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song, 
But the man worthwhile is 
    one whole will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong." -Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This is true success. It is not when life DOESN'T meet expectations. It is when a person maintains their faith despite the lack of met expectations. Here are some examples of prophets whose lives weren't so perfect, and yet their maintained their faith and just kept going.

1 Nephi 3-4
Nephi has to try 3 times to get the plates (he is robbed and beaten in the process) and he still maintains his testimony and keeps the Spirit with him.

1 Nephi 16:14-32
Nephi's bow breaks, and yet he doesn't murmur once. How do I respond when I run out of alotment money and "can't obtain food"? Hopefully like Nephi :)

2 Nephi 4 (specifically verses 1-5)
Nephi's prayers are not answered in the way he hopes, but he is obedient and builds up a new society as best as he knows how.

Mosiah 23 and 24
Alma and his people (all newly baptized converts) are betrayed and taken captive. Yet their faith and conversion is strengthened through this experience.

Alma 14:7-10
Alma and Amulek's converts are stoned, cast out, and burned with the scriptures and they are forced to watch. Satan was probably like "Haha you failed!" and they probably felt that a little bit themselves. But then they go to the land Sidom, heal Zeezrom, gain a new missionary companion and are able to do much good ministering to the aching hearts of their converts/rescued members. 

Alma 26:27-30
Ammon and his brother have a rough 14 year mission and yet it is so worth it.

Alma 31: 3-7, 35:10-11
Alma and his brethren are unsuccessful in their objective to reclaim the most apostate Zoramites and and fail to prevent discension/collaboration with the Lamanites. This brought war to the Nephites, but it also brought a ton of converts (Alma 62:17 and 27, 41, 45, 49). It's interesting because Helaman tried to preach the gospel before the war but people just weren't listening (Alma 45:21-24, 46:6) but after the war, we see a great outpouring of the Spirit. 

That's as far as I've gotten in my study. Today I was reading in the New Testament and found some awesome examples of "failure"/triumph in the disciples of Christ's ancient church. I am coming to truly understand the definitions of true success and true failure. Our ward council has really been pushing us for numbers and baptisms, and it's cause me to have a warped sense of success and failure. But the Lord has taught me the true eternal nature of these two concepts through the Spirit and through the scriptures, and it's changing me. I've changed the way I pray - instead of asking just to find those who are prepared to receive the gospel NOW I pray that we can be instruments in the hands of the Lord to nurture and cultivate and plant and harvest in whatever manner His children need. I am a utility player for the Lord - I can help prepare the hearts of the people to receive the gospel later - we can knock on doors and get rejected and still feel happy because we can know that no effort is wasted. We can be turned down, dropped, or accepted and it will all be good. I'm here to do whatever the Lord needs. I recognize that everyone is at a different place in their spiritual journey home to God, and I recognize that if I don't help baptize anyone else while I'm here, I am not a failure, because I will be working hard, warring a good warfare, obediently and faithfully enduring until the last day of my mission and the last day of my mortal life. This is a good and comforting knowledge/conviction to have.

-Sister Chausow