Monday, January 27, 2014

Good morning!

Ok, so, here's the run down on my situation since transfers-
1. We are still in a trio. Sister Venable, a service missionary has been with me for about 2 weeks. She is great. She has a really sweet spirit and is really humble. My new companion, Sister Reckseik, trained Sister Venable in McComb Mississippi so she is really helping me to help Sister Venable feel comfortable.

2. Sister Reckseik is freakin awesome! We were in the MTC together and we have waaaay to much fun together now. Seriously, I haven't laughed this much and this hard for my whole mission. She is really helping whip my bum into shape - I was slacking a little bit in the obedience department but she is helping me get better at that and I know we will see miracles because of it!

3. Our first exchanges as sister training leaders is this week with the Hammon sisters. We have no miles left so I don't know how that's going to work but the Lord will provide a way! I'm really looking for to traveling around the zone and getting to know the sisters better - we have some awesome sisters down here and I'm so freakin excited to get to love, serve, and teach with each one of them! I am determined to have a better attitude this time around. My first time being STL was good but I had kind of a bad attitude about the whole thing. I really didn't want to be a leader and I complained a lot. This time I want to accept my calling and magnify it and trust that the Lord will help me fulfill my responsibilities. It helps that I've had more time in the mission too, because I feel a little more capable of helping sisters with personal/missionary problems.

4. Weather = crazy. They canceled school down here on Friday, haha because it was in the teens all day and it was sleeting/icing/snowing all day. We had to scrape thick ice off our windshield twice and people kept telling us "Don't go out if you don't have to!" and me and Sister Reckseik just laughed because we deal with this all the time. The roads were wet but not icy, so we just went about our business as normal, except one family canceled their appointment because they thought it was too dangerous. :) They did shut down the freeways because the bridges over all the rivers and overpasses did get really icy so getting in or out of Baton Rouge was a nightmare - it is pretty much surrounded by rivers.

5. Peeps we are working with - We have an investigator that wants to get baptized on February 15th. Hooray! It was really weird though. During sacrament meeting she kept telling me that little demons were crawling on her, and she said that during the last few weeks demons had been crawling on her and in her house. We took her to Bishop because I didn't know if she's just crazy or she is really seeing spirits or what. But he has the gift of discernment and he gave her a priesthood blessing and she felt better after that. He also sent the Elders and the ward mission leader to her apartment with us to cast out any bad spirits that were there and to give her a blessing of healing. Interesting. It was really weird but it helped her feel better and we keep trying to stress that faith precedes the miracle. A lot of our trials don't go away in a poof (which is what she wants) but sometimes we have to work at it and then the miracle comes. So we encouraged her to keep reading the bible and book of mormon and singing and praying if the demons come, and don't give up. She seems pretty determined. We are going to start helping her quit smoking on Wednesday. Again, she wants the desire to smoke to just go away in an instant (since that is how it happened when she quit doing drugs) but we need to help her see that she's got to DO some stuff and then God will change her heart. Pray for us!
H and R are kind of progressing. We gave them a challenge yesterday to read from the real Book of Mormon with their mom every day and pray daily as well. They seem discouraged because their mom is always too busy with either work or their ADHD little brother to help them read the scriptures. I don't know what to do to help them. We asked them to think about getting baptized on March 1, but if D doesn't help them they aren't going to make it. Sometimes I feel like I'm playing guess what's in my head with Heavenly Father. I'm like, God, what do you want us to do with this family? What is the plan for them? And I don't get an answer, other than: just keep doing what you're doing. Semi-frustrating but I'm trying to have faith and patience.

6. Me/My Health/My Feelings - Good. No worries. Just trying to improve every day. I think the thing I battle the most is no longer panic attacks (hooray!) it's just general frustration. I wonder sometimes if I'm doing something wrong because we haven't had any baptisms in Denham Springs since I've been here. I also battle fear - there is a big push in the mission right now to find new investigators, and that means talking to strangers about the gospel and lots of tracting. Which is a huge bummer because I hate tracting honestly, and it requires that I get out of my comfort zone. And as a Sister Training Leader, I have to be an example of a good finding missionary, so that puts more pressure on. So please pray that I won't be so paralyzed by my fear. Like John said at Christmas over Skype, I need to be more ok with rejection because I will get rejected, and it's ok, it's not going to kill me, I just think it's going to kill me. I feel like you play lots of mind games on a mission. Blech.
My health - I am in a bet with President Tolbert, 1st councilor in the stake presidency, to try to lose 10 lbs by March 31st.  I gained weight this week but so did he so that's encouraging. Cutting sweets is so hard - people keep giving us cake and Sister Reckseik showed up with a whole box of junk food/candy/snacks so I'm having a rough go. I loved the "Healthy Rules" you sent and I'm trying to abide by them the best I can. Every day is a battle, but I'm determined to do better and better each week, knowing that I will mess up but it's ok.

7. Thanks so much for the package! I loved loved loved it! And I can't wait to put up all the valentine decs today! You are truly the bomb diggity :)

8. Could you maybe send me a few talks. I know I haven't asked for this in a while and sorry to make you send something else, but I'm low on time and coins so I haven't been able to read/print some of the talks that I've been wanting to read.
-Pres Uchtdorf's message for the month - The Best Time to Plant a Tree
-"Our Missionary Purpose" -Elder Christofferson
-"The Love of God" -President Ucthdorf
-"Desire" - Elder Oaks
-Elder Callister's CES devotional from January
-Any talks you find about communicating with kindness and love. It's something I'm studying right now. I got inspired by Ephesians 4:29 :)

Hope you have so much fun with the Elders tonight! You should ask them for some simple ideas for how you can do missionary work! That's what would make me the most happy - if ya'll invited someone to be taught the lessons and invited them to church/to read the Book of Mormon. I think as a family maybe we can all work on being a little less afraid of opening our mouths together. It's tough but I know the Lord will help us! :)

I love you more than all the King Cake in Loosiana! (It's a mardi gras tradition and it's delicious, you should look it up)
-Sister JoBiz

PS: I know, this whole thirty minutes to use the computer thing is lame. But I've found that if I write the mission president and the stake president first, I NEVER get kicked off. How awesome is that! Hence the super long email today :)

PPS: Please tell Sinos that I got her letter and freakin loved it and I loved the poems she sent. So awesome! I wrote her a letter last week but just put it in the mail today. Oops. I will also get a birthday card in the mail to Grandma Lovely today.

The Terrific Trio

Hey Daddy!
Just a quick note to tell you that I love you! And thanks for inspiring me to keep going! Who knew that missions could be so hard? But they are also super fulfilling. :)

We are settling in after transfers, I love my companions (still in a trio) and we continue to work hard in the Denham Springs. We kind of left 2nd ward out in the cold a bit - the work just isn't progressing there as much, and working in 1st ward brings more immediate results, so of course I go for more of the instant gratification... We will be repenting this week, don't worry.

I'm copying and pasting my President's letter. Hope that's ok.

I love you so much and I'm so thankful that you're my dad. I don't know what I did in the pre-mortal life to deserve being born to a family where I have a super solid Mom and Dad AND the restored gospel. Such a blessing.
You rock my socks!

Aloha President!

Well, this week's been another one for the books. I can't believe the Lord let me and Sister Reckseik serve together. We have waaaay too much fun together, while at the same time she has been whipping me into shape obedience-wise (turns out I've been slacking and I didn't/kind of did realize it. She is awesome!) and I've been trying to help build her confidence (she thinks she ruined Chalmette and McComb - what the heck? So weird. Even my confidence isn't that bad) and help her see how awesome she is. And Sister Venable is just great as always. So basically, I'm really excited for this transfer - still serving the people I love with companions that I love and am so excited to work with with!

So I've been wondering if maybe we haven't been blessed with much progress with some of our investigators and less actives because we haven't been being as obedient as we should've. I've been rationalizing a LOT and I'm not repenting because of it. It was hard at first/I was kind of annoyed by Sister Reckseik following all the rules, but that's the natural man in me. My spirit is super excited to be obedient again, because I really believe that obedience is how we show God that we love Him. And I'm so excited to be more dedicated at showing my love. I truly believe that we are going to be more blessed than we have been in the past as we are more obedient than we have been in the past. 

We are excited also to start exchanges with the Sisters this week. We will be exchanging with the Hammond Sisters and I'm really excited to get to know the sisters better. I feel a little isolated in Denham just because we don't see other missionaries much, but that's a good thing I think. Anyways, I'm excited to be able to learn from my fellow sister missionaries in the zone and help them in any way I can. This assignment has also motivated me to be on my best behavior - basically more incentive to be more exactly obedient, which just feels good.

This week's tender mercies:
-R is back on track to be baptized on February 15th. 
-We have been trying to do at least one finding activity each day. As we've contacted potential investigators and try more to talk to everyone I feel the spirit of urgency starting to take hold and I have a growing desire to share this gospel with everyone!
-We have a warm trailer home
to protect us from the cold and ice!
-We are working better with the members! We are really trying to get involved and its going awesome. We are going to have at least 3 legit member present lessons this week and I'm so excited! 
-We had a really fun P-Day last week and it felt so good to just laugh with my really good friends.

K, President, thanks for all you do! You are awesome!
-Sister Chausow

PS to the Family: Here's a picture of me playing with a big fat puppy (also named Jack) after doing some service. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Picture of Johanna on set of the Crane and Howard Morning Show.  She is in the back in the white tee shirt.  She said this was the funniest p-day she has had.  So great!!

John likes asparagus?


Oh man, once again, thanks for the great update! And also, thank you for the pictures and the package! So so awesome and much needed! You rock my socks :)

So yeah, not getting transferred, but I will be getting a new companion as Sister Lucherini is leaving. And we are actually in a trio right now - Sister Venable joined us last week thursday after zone conference. She is really sweet. Also, Howard of Crane and Howard is getting transferred to New Orleans. We filmed the first episode of the morning show today during pday and it was hysterical. Elder Crane is going to edit it now, and I can't wait for you to see it. I ended up being director/producer/scriptwriter/wardrobe consultant/concept artist( came up with the ideas for the segments), it was probably the most fun pday I've had my whole mission. I came up with a segment called "Homeless with Howard" where we follow Howard around as he tries living like a hobo for a few days. It's probably the funniest thing I've ever seen. Also, we have several outtakes where Crane and Howard get a little messed up on their lines. My favorite faux pas was when Howard said "Good evening and welcome to the.....crap." lol. It was pretty hilarious. We all decided that we would film more episodes when we get home from our missions, so don't worry, Jill the Jolly Juggler will have her day in the spotlight!!!

I've been asked to be a Sister Trainer Leader again so I'm gearing up for that. The Spirit is helping me to not freak out and stress out. I'm just going to trust that the Lord will help me do whatever I need to do. It'll be a good experience, I just know it.

So did I tell you that Brooke Wilson/Emery wrote to me and told me that she and Amanda are pregnant? Katie had her baby a few months ago, and Lauren Brown is also pregnant. I feel like I should write a book - "All My Friends Are Pregnant" lol. It'll be a best seller.

Well Mama, sorry that this is a short one again. I do love you and miss you lots, but this work is great. You get to feel some of the greatest of joys and also some of the worst of sorrows. It seems like everyone we thought would get baptized pretty quickly has either stopped progressing or fallen off the wagon entirely, but I know that as long as I keep working hard and being obedient, it's all good. Dad told me that Joseph Fielding Smith didn't baptize anyone on his mission, but his mission prepared him for his later service in the church. That gave me a LOT of hope. I've been starting to question what I'm doing wrong - why no one is getting baptized. But I've learned so much since I've been in Denham Springs, so even though we haven't baptized anyone since we've been here, it's ok. I'm growing, and I'm so thankful for that.

Love you more than all the asparagus in the world! (Yeah, seriously, since when did Joh start liking asparagus...? Not that I'm complaining haha)


Not getting transferred!

No worries about last week. It's allll good in the 'hood. :)
Glad to hear your trip went well! Glad that John could get some positive stuff in his life. He is so awesome, I know the Lord will help him. 

So transfers are tomorrow and I am staying Denham Springs! Sister Lucherini is getting transferred though, and it's kind of a shame because about a week and a half ago we finally clicked. We figured each other out, how to best work together, and it has been going awesome. We've had a lot of fun together. Last wednesday, we got a third companion - Sister Venable. She is a service missionary from Hammond (another city in our stake/zone) and even with the whole trio thing, things still went great! I think it's a tender mercy from the Lord :) But yeah, Sister Lucherini is out, and I've been asked to be a Sister Training Leader again. You can read about that in my president's letter that I'll copy and paste below. It'll be interesting to see how that goes, but I have faith that the Lord knows what He's doing.

Sorry this is super short. Today was crazy. We swapped some of our pday and proselyting hours because of a service opportunity that came up, so that's why we are emailing so late. Good stuff though. We have some great members who set up a small service project with/for a nonmember that they had been talking to a little about the gospel. So great.

As far as people to pray for...
C. B.- please pray that we can get a return appointment. We are a little afraid that she is trying to drop us.
R. W. - she got really upset when we told her that the Book of Mormon was written at the same time as the Bible. Which is a really weird concern and we can't figure out why that's a stumbling block for her. She also doesn't think that there were people in the Americas before the time of Christ. It's a really bizarre situation. Please pray that it will all work out in the end.
S. D. - please pray that her and her husband will come to understand the gospel and that her husband will be able to overcome his word of wisdom problems.

There are more, but really, keep trying to be a missionary in the Lake Michigan. Cheyenne told me yall have some really awesome Sister Missionaries now in the ward, so really, the best thing you could do is go teach with them, open our house to have them teach discussions there, and find people for them to teach. Pray for help and you can't go wrong.

Love you more than all the snowflakes in wisconsin!
-Sister Chausow

Hey President-

So this was an intersting week. As usual. We got a new companion. We had a trainwreck of a lesson with one of our most promising investigators. We had a ton of fun today with our district for our last pday. I'm still trying to process, internalize, and apply what we learned at stake conference and in zone conference, both of which were awesome, especially zone conference. 

Report on Companion Unity & District Unity
Well, something really cool happened. Me and Sister Lucherini just kind of clicked all of a sudden. And then we got Sister Venable and everything was still clicking. We've actually had fun together as a companionship over the last few weeks. The unity hasn't been bad, and we've worked really hard together, but life is just a little more sunny when you are friends with your companion(s). You listen more intently to what they are saying, you take their advice more to heart, you try harder to serve them, because you've come to love them and to like them. I don't know, it just feels good and safe when you're friends with your companion. It took a little longer than normal, but we were able to form that bond and I'm so thankful for it.

Report on Miracles/Tender Mercies
When we had a trainwreck with our investigator, I was able to see the good in it. I was able to see things with a broader perspective rather than just saying "Ugh, we failed! This is awful!" And because of our area book, we know that she will be remembered by future missionaries.
When I got called and asked to be Sister Training leader I didn't cry. I felt calm and resolute and even a little bit hopeful that this will be ok. I know that that was the Spirit.
I extended some invitations that we hadn't planned for. They just came out and both times the person started to tear up and I felt all tingley full of spiritual power, as if my flesh was "being consumed by the Spirit." 
The daughter of a Catholic lady who we work with at the foodbank is a Mormon, and because of that, we were able to clear up some misconceptions she had about her daughters faith. It's a small world sometimes out here in Louisiana.
I got an email from Sister Tuft/Marie that totally buoyed me up today. She is awesome. Good friends are awesome. I'm so thankful that the Lord brings us together through our missions with people that become some of our best friends. I feel like the friendships we form on the mission are deeper than outside of the mission, because you go through such hard stuff together. You experience some of the highest highs and the lowest lows with these people and that forms a bond that is stronger and deeper than the bond that comes if you just happen to live with someone or be in the same Biology class or something. 

Are you daily reading from and applying lessons from Preach My Gospel?
So much. After Zone Conference I started rereading/studying chapter 1 in preach my gospel and thinking more deeply about my purpose. It's filtered into everything I do. Because of the SPirit that I felt from Elder Perkins, because of the revelation I received during zone conference and the inspiration that came as I read chapter 1, I've started asking myself in just about everything I do, "How will this help me accomplish my purpose?" It feels like I'm coming to be more in line with what the Lord wants me to be focusing on. My motivations, my actions, and my words are started to be more in harmony with his will. It's a really cool feeling.

Are you effectively using the Book of Mormon in your teaching?
Yes! More than ever before! The roleplays that were done in zone conference really helped me to see how much everything hangs on the Book of Mormon, and how in some cases we shouldn't move on to talk about ordinances until we make sure the person is reading, studying, understanding, and applying the teachings of the Book of Mormon. It is such a tool for good, I'm so thakful that God would see fit to give us more scripture. It's awesome.

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?
This week we brought hope by serving. We have a woman in our ward who is very overwhelmed. Her marriage is rocky, she is working really long hours, she doesn't get to be at home with her kids like she wants to, and she has health problems. Added to that is the fact that her house is a mess because she's never at home to clean it and her husband is really really lazy/has [problems with addictions. So we've been going over every few weeks and helping her clean her house. This week, though, she asked if we could come to her classroom on a Saturday and help her get caught up/ready for the week. We were a little worried about going to a school but since there would be no kids there and the Spirit told us it would be a good idea, we went. And guess what, while we were cutting out games and grading papers, she opened up to us and expressed how tired and stressed and overwhelmed she is. Becuase her husband wasn't there, she got a lot off her chest. And we were able to talk to her boldly and lovingly about how she needs to start putting God first in her life. We also told her that she needs to go whatever it takes to get to the temple and get her endowment. This was one of the invites that we weren't planning on extending, but it was the perfect thing. She told us she hadn't been to the temple since she was 13 and she feels like that's the piece that's been missing in her life. We invited her to do a 7-day trial of putting God first (prayer, scriptures, church) and trusting in Him to make time for all the rest. She cried and said she would try it. She also expressed some concerns about weird things she had heard about the temple and we were able to appropriately address those. It was such a cool discussion, and it all came because we were trying to give hope in whatever small way we could. 

Anyways, thank you for your love and support. I'm truly thankful that the Lord allowed me to learn from and be blessed my you and your wife. I will be eternally grateful for this blessing.

-Sister Chausow

Monday, January 13, 2014

Transfers are next week

Loved your email! Thanks for brightening my day! Your update was awesome :)

So sorry your recovery is going slowly. I'll be praying for you! Did you have a priesthood blessing?
Poor Sinos. Breaking hearts since 1997. Maybe now she won't date exclusively til she's older....?
Haha hooray for Caitlyn! The victoria secret model girl! What a blessing! Heavenly Father really does hear and answer prayers! I loved the Lisa Frank pics she sent me. I had a good laugh and then I hung them on my fridge.
Dad is the freakin' man, isn't he? Love that guy. Hope John gets a good dose of Vitamin D while he's in Arizona.:)

E, the guy that was supposed to get baptized on the 11th is no longer progressing and doesn't really want to get baptized. He's just been telling us what we want to hear. It's really sad, but the Lord sent us two new investigators when we lost that one, so really, when the Lord closes one door he opens another! Or two!
Also, D and her girls came to Stake Conference! And she talked to them about getting baptized! It's so awesome! She really enjoyed Elder Godoy (he is a member of the 70 that came. He's from Brazil and he is seriously a rock star) and hopefully his words helped motivate her to go forward. R loved getting your card in the mail! Thanks for loving those who I love so much!

K, sorry this email is so short. I will try to write a longer letter. For now though I will copy and paste my president's letter. I've been learning some super awesome stuff. I really feel like Heavenly Father is trying to shape me and help me reach my full potential and I love who I'm becoming.

Love you more than all the gators in loosiana!

PS: Transfers are not this wednesday but next wednesday, so you can send the package this week, it would get here in time. And yeah, the panic attacks are not bugging me at all. If I start to feel a little panicky, I lay down, take a quick power nap, and then get back to work, and I feel fine. It's a miracle!

PPS: Could you please ask Kath Teufel what she wants me to do with the Christmas decs she sent? Should I send them back to her? Should I give them away? I can do either, it's no problem, just want to do the right thing. :)

Dearest President Wall-

First of all, thank you for your comments in Stake Conference. They reinforced what I had been learning and thinking about service, and how missionary work is really just the Savior's work. 

In my quest to be happy, I have decided to study charity. My district has helped me to see that I need to work on being more charitable, and that sometimes my love of the work has gotten in my way of the love of the people. It really should be one and the same but my desire to serve effectively has gotten a little bit in the way of my ability to serve lovingly. I want to serve effectively because I love the people so much and I love the Lord so much, but that doesn't mean I has to be brusque and bossy and I go. So as a sub-heading to "Charity and Love," I have decided to studying "Communicating with charity," since this is what the Spirit has been telling me to work on over the course of the last few days. I love how Elder Godoy communicated with our stake - lovingly, encouragingly, but not complacently. He said "Thank you for all the wonderful service you do, your stake is amazing at fulfilling callings....but we need to share the gospel." He wasn't harsh, he wasn't bossy, he was loving and direct, and that is how the Savior encourages and teaches us too. It's a pattern for communication that I want to adopt. As I pondered in my studies this morning about how I can change the way I communicate, I came up with 6 ideas that i want to apply over the next month/transfer:
1.) Study "communication" and "speech" in the scriptures using the Topical Guide. 
2.) As you continue to read the Book of Mormon, look for ways in which the prophets communicated with their people/family. Apply what you learn throughout the week.
3.) Ask you companion for help. Agree on some sort of signal that she can give you in order to let you know when you are starting to get bossy, rude, or too blunt.
4.) Make a list of bossy/negative statements that you've said in the past and rewrite them to be more loving and Christlike. Apply your rewrite in meetings and conversations.
5.) Memorize D&C 121: 41-43 and what about it says in your patriarchal blessing about your "gift of influence" (I'm told that I have the gift of influence, and that I use this gift - "always being positive, encouraging, and uplifting, I will make a great contribution to this the Lord's church") and repeat it in your head throughout the day.
6.) Study the words of modern prophets to learn more about loving communication.

This morning I did #2, 3, and 4, and I'm so excited. This is what true repentance is all about! I started this whole thing with a simple prayer - I asked heavenly Father to forgive me for my sins/weakness in how I communicate with others. I asked Him to change my heart, and help make my weakness into a strength through the Atonement of Christ. I asked Him to purify and sanctify me (this whole communication thing came in part because of my 40 day fast and trying to really change somethings that I do that turn down the volume). And then I made my list of 6 ways to improve. And I felt the Spirit as I did. Sometimes when I feel the Spirit, it's not a burning or warm feeling and i don't cry, it's more of this excited, enthusiastic feeling like, "Yeah, I can do this! I'm so excited to be on the right track! I know I'm not alone! Hooray!" and when I was 12, I told my dad how sometimes I get this feeling, especially after doing baptisms in the temple, and he helped me to see that that is the Holy Ghost. (Side note: I'm so thankful that he pointed that out to me early, because then I've been able to recognize the Holy Ghost for what it is. What a great opportunity we have as missionaries to be guides for others - helping them to recognize the Spirit so that they can come to recognize it for themselves and in so doing see the truthfulness of the gospel.) 
So anyways, as I made this plan, I was feeling the Spirit, and then when i put it in action, I felt the Spirit even more. I started reading where i am in the Book of Mormon - the Isaiah chapters - wondering what on earth I could learn from Isaiah about communication. And I came to the one chapter in this section that I feel like I have some solid understanding of, thanks again to my dad's teaching. 2 Nephi 16/Isaiah 6 says, "Then said I: Wo is unto me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." And I was like, oh man, here we go again, the Book of Mormon relating perfectly to my real life situation. I feel like i have unclean lips too! As I read on, I felt even more connected to this ancient prophet - "Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; And he laid it upon my mouth, and said: Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also, I head the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said: Here am I; send me." My dad explained to me that the live coal and the burning it would bring is a symbol of purification and cleansing. And I realized that I am doing exactly what Isaiah did - I am recognizing my weakness, I am trying to purify myself through the Atonement and repentance/change, and in doing so, I will be able to respond when the Lord calls, full of confidence that I am worthy to serve. I have lots of good leadership qualities and lots of good ideas, but the way I coomunicate has impeded me from being the best servant I could be. As I try to refine myself through my own selfmastery and through the grace of God, I will become a better, more profitable servant. Like I said, I'm filled with the Spirit and so excited for this change! And I'm so humbled and thankful that my Savior would atone for my sins, because I recognize that without Him, change would not be possible. I am incapable of it on my own. I will gladly sing praises to his name forever because He has done for me what I could not do for myself - paid the price so that i can be clean, be cahnged, and be exalted. It doesn't get anymore exciting than that!
One more cool thing. After I had studied and learned and pondered about all these things, we then had companionship study. I have been a little discouraged about the quality of our companion studies, so i have been working on myself and trying to be more engaged, give more feedback, and give more ideas for activities that we can do from Preach My gospel/with the pamphlets/etc... And so Sister Lucherini was sharing what she learned from Alma 34:15-16, and as I tried to truly listen to her and understand what she was saying and trying to really learn, these verses came alive. I realized that the Lord was confirming that He was pleased with my plan. The verses say: ""And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. 
And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, ... therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption." i felt like the Lord was saying "Look! You had enough faith in me to try to change using my atoning power. And because you are acting and repenting, I can shield you from justice! You are encircled about by my arms - the arms of mercy and safety." 
President, I am so thankful for the Holy Ghost, through which the Lord communicated all of this with me. I am so thankful for my FAther in Heaven, who sent me to this earth to learna dn grow and go through hard times. I fill that as I'm repenting and becoming more Christlike, I am truly fulfilling the whole measure of my creation. This is why I'm here on earth - to grow. As Elder Thompson said, growth can be painful - just like having a live coal in your mouth is painful, but it is so worth it. And it you let the Lord shape and change you, you can trust that no pain you suffer will be wasted - it will all be for a purpose.

I love this gospel, and I'm so thankful that i can change and grow into a better servant of my Lord and of my fellow men. Thank you for supporting me in my growth and in my service. Love serving with you!

-Sister Chausow

Monday, January 6, 2014

Service projects make for the BEST birthdays ever!

Hey Daddy!
Thanks for your words of encouragement and for helping me see the blessings in having President Wall as my mission president. I have been kind of bad at recognizing the blessings in my life recently, so thank you for helping me see some.   :)

It's gotten cold down here too but not that cold, 29 degrees this morning.

So on my birthday we had district meeting and then we just went and raked leaves for a few hours. It felt awesome to just serve people on my birthday. I think it's a new tradition I want to start. Every year on my birthday, do some sort of service project. On Saturday we went and finished raking and it was the coolest thing. We finished raking a less active woman's ward and she came out and started helping and bought us pizza. Then we did her next door neighbor and then her across the street neighbor, both homes we'd tracted into before. The one neighbor, M, has a son that just had a liver transplant a while ago, and he was so grateful and surprised to have help with something that would've taken him hours to do on his own, but with us, the elders, and some ward members we enlisted, it was done in about an hour. So awesome! Hopefully we can invite that family to church sometime. Not sure what the Lord wants us to do with them.

D, H and R are ok. M's parents go home tomorrow and they go back to school today so hopefully since they'll be back in a routine it will be easier for us to teach them and they can come to church more. Also, 1st ward now starts at 11am and D is really happy about that. We need to talk about baptism with H and R and give them a date that they can work towards. Not sure when/where that lesson will happen - we wanted to do it with the Tylers - the fighting rooster family- but they are hard to schedule with because they are so very busy, so we might need to move to plan B.

But the work marches on. Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like everything is a struggle. Nothing has come easily for me on the mission and I was beginning to wonder if I'm doing things wrong because everything is just so stinkin hard. But I realized 3 things:
1. Life is not that hard - I have so many blessings that I'm taking for granted.
2. Life is supposed to be hard - it's how we stay humble and stay close to the Lord. We need to be refined, even though it's painful, so that we can live with God again and enjoy/appreciate it.
3. Opposition is sometimes a sign that you're doing things right. The adversary works against those who are trying to accomplish righteous purposes. Look at Nephi - he was like the most righteous guy ever, and yet his life was filled with turmoil, struggle, and strife. It's okay and GOOD to struggle. I need to appreciate the fact that the Lord trusts me that I can do it, I can stick with it, and He will help me to do that. I can endure with His help.

K, sorry this is short. 

Love you lots!


Happy Birthday Johanna Dear!!

Johanna's birthday celebration in Denham Springs, Louisiana!

Happy 24th Birthday Johanna!

Late Christmas Packages finally arrived!


It was so awesome to see you all! No worries about the tears, I loved it. I was just trying not to cry myself haha. I was a little bummed because I kind of wanted to talk just to mom and dad about the panic attacks, but I knew that wouldn't really go over well with the rest of the fam so I just counted my blessings and moved on. But then mom devoted a whole email to it, which was awesome, thank you for helping me with my struggles. I really wanted your advice, so thank you for sharing with me. President Wall has also been super supportive (he used to have panic attacks too about elevators after he got trapped in one - he used to not used an elevator if he had to go to the 10th floor or less. Then he started carrying a crowbar in his briefcase so if he did get stuck he could open the doors and escape. He said that he will be my crown bar and i can call him whenever I need to. What a gem! I will think about the medicine thing too because that could be another "crowbar" haha)

So me and Sister Lucherini's packages got there on Thursday, the day after christmas, and we had a fun time opening our presents. Thank you so much for the clothes! Everything you sent is freakin' amazing - you have awesome taste! Everything fits and I feel so pretty in everything, thank you thank you thank you!!!! I'm also loving my jammies - I've been sleeping in them every night since Christmas. Thanks for the gift cards and the claritin and the letter writing stuff, it was needed and will be used! You all are seriously the best. My birthday package got here on Friday or Saturday, I can't remember which, and I opened it and I almost cried when I say the balloons in there it was so cute. I can't wait to open everything tomorrow!

So I have to tell you about one of the most joyous moment I've had so far on my mission. It was so amazing I seriously almost started bawling haha. 2ish months ago we went to the M's for dinner and, under the direction of the Spirit we did this like puzzle with them and their 13 year old ADD son about why it's important to read scriptures and we invited them to start reading the Book of Mormon as a family. We never followed up with them so I assumed they never did it, and I left feeling like Br. M didn't really have a testimony, he just came to church because his wife made him. We went back over there for dinner last night, and when it was time for the lesson, Br. Maggio said, "Are we going to do that puzzle again?" And I was so shocked that he remembered what we had done and I said, "No, we got something else this time. You remembered that?" And he said "Of course haha." So we played this game about becoming perfected in Christ by doing the little things and gave their son his own chart to check off when he does the daily little things that will help him to become perfected in Christ. And then we asked the parents if they would support their son in the challenge. And Br. M told me that they had actually started reading the Book of Mormon as a family since we came over last time. And he told us that he has never read the Book of Mormon all the way through in his whole life, how he's struggled with doubts, but things have started to click more for him over the years, and now, on the days when he reads the Book of Mormon, he can tell that he is more patient at work, that things don't get to him as easily. On the days when they don't read, he gets grumpy easier and is more irritable. As he was telling us all of this, I just had this immense joy in my joy and I felt like I was either going to explode with happiness or start crying or both. And we pointed out that what he was feeling was the Spirit - in Galatians it says that the fruits of the Spirit are joy, peace, love, patience, temperance, long suffering. He had said earlier that he's never been hit over the head by the Spirit, so when we pointed out that he was feeling the Spirit because he is reading the Book of Mormon, he got this puzzled look on his face like, "Huh, interesting, I'm actually feeling the Spirit." Man, the whole experience was so cool. I totally misjudged Br. M, but he is a rockstar, and we ended the lesson by asking if he would share his conversion experience with C, an investigator that we are working with, and if it's ok, could we teach her in their home. He said, "yes, absolutley." It was freakin' amazing. Please pray that things go well on Friday - we are going to visit C with Sister M and then Sister M is going to invite her over to have a lesson at their house. So great. I'm just humbled, blown away, so happy that the fact that I followed the Spirit led to somebody feeling the Spirit and increasing in their testimony. There seriously is no better feeling. I felt like I could hear the angels cheering in heaven. :)

Well family, keep fighting the good fight! I love you and I'm so so so thankful for you. Love you more than all the sheahorshes in the shea! :)


Panic Attacks

Hello to my Mama!

Man, you are just amazing - off rescuing everyone, braving the bad weather, and getting a college degree in the process. No worries about last week, it's all good. I'm so excited to see you on Wednesday! I think it's going to happen around 2pm. Sorry to make you wait so long but I'm trying really hard to put others first this Christmas because it just feels so dang good :)

Glad you got the package! You can open it - everything inside is wrapped. I feel bad because I didn't get Gramps and Nana anything - didn't know they would be there. I did send them a Christmas card in the mail. Hope you can smooth that over for me :/

So, I have to update you on one thing and then the rest we will just talk about on Wednesday. So I had another panic attack last week and it was the worst one I'd had in about 6 months and the third I'd had in 2 weeks. So Sister Tiller (one of the Sister Trainer Leaders in our zone) convinced me to call President Wall even though I didn't want to /didn't think it would make a difference/didn't want to bother him, etc. So I did call and this is what he told me:
"You are going to learn to deal with Panic Attacks on your mission. The one you had on tuesday will not be your last one and the next one will probably be a little worst." And I was like, oh great, thanks a lot President, that's not what I wanted to hear haha. But he gave me coping strategies to use, told me to keep working, and make sure I get the rest I need at night and on P-Day. Also, that I need to take 10-15 power naps. He also said not to spend time analyizing triggers or trying to avoid the triggers of a panic attack. Good advice!  But really, I'm so glad to have a mission president that would be honest and up front with me. Who would tell me that I CAN do hard things, and help me face the problem instead of run from it. I really like this quote from President Monson's talk in conference:

" Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.8

Sinces Tuesday, I've been studying trials and chastening, and I've realized that when you are being obedient and bad things happen, it is evidence that the Lord loves you and is taking the time out of His busy schedule to refine and purify you into who you can be.
So basically, right now, I am feeling like, "bring it on. I am in the Lord's service, He will not fail me nor forsake me, and with his Help and mercy I can overcome all things." I'm thankful that I had this attitude, because then on Sunday, another bad thing happened. This is from my letter to President this week (I meant to put it in Dad's email too but I forgot so you'll have to let him read it too) -

 "After going through a really rough time on Tuesday with the whole panic attack thing, and feeling the aftershocks, and then talking to you, I was feeling humble, apprehensive, but determined to press forward with the work here. Going home simply is not an option for me any more. I've burned that boat and I will press forward to the end, no matter how hard things get and no matter what struggles come my way. The Lord can depend on my to serve my full time in Louisiana and to give my all while I am here. That resolve was then tested on Sunday - we had a lesson with two of our investigators, twin sisters whose mom is inactive and whose stepdad isn't a member. I walked out of the lesson feeling devasted - my heart literally felt like it was breaking. The girls hadn't retained anything we'd been teaching them and they had told me that they feel bad when the missionaries come over because they never keep the commitments we give them. I left feeling with a mix of guilty, discouraged, asking why, frustrated, and distraught. I was so disappointed in the girls mom - we had kind of stepped back from teaching the girls because we realized that without their mom's support, the girls would never progress or progress extremely slowly, and so we started working with the mom, trying to help rekindle the flame she felt when she was baptized 20 years ago. And so when we started working with the girls again we found that the mom hadn't done anything and the girls had slipped backwards from where they were two weeks ago. Like I said, I was pretty devastated, and I started thinking about just calling the mom and saying, "D, please call us when you are ready to get back into the Gospel. Until then, nothing we do to help your daughters will make a difference." As I was thinking that, though, the Spirit whispered to me that that is a lie, that what we are doing IS making a difference. And so during studies this morning, I read talks and scriptures with this family in mind, knowing that we need to continue to work with them, but having no idea what else we could do. And as I studied, the Spirit again whispered to me that we need to teach D about what it means to endure to the end, an angle I had never thought about before. So we texted her a few verses that the Spirit led me to and she said she will read them. President, I feel like if I had not been becoming more converted, this experience would've shaken me and a few months ago I would've given up on this family. But I've learned that true diligence is never giving up on anyone. As long as someone will still let you into their house, you keep going over there, and if you have the Spirit with you, you can't go wrong. I feel that if as a mission we hadn't been working on being more Spirit -led, I might've missed the subtle promptings as to what to teach D or I would've accepted my negative thoughts as truth. I have come to know that the following quote is true:
"...The acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding."
-President Uchtdorf
This morning, I was honestly inquiring about what to do for this family who I love so much. And now I have the beginnings of understanding as to what to do to help them. I don't have everything - all the answers, all the lesson plans, all the words to say or commitments to extend - but I have enough to keep going. And I feel myself becoming more refined in the process. The gospel is truly a gospel of change, and as we help others to change we become new creatures ourselves. And of course, this is all through the Atonement of our Savior."

The gospel is just the greatest thing, and I feel the Atonement strengthening me and helping me keep on keeping. I truly would not be here right now if not for the strengthening power of the Atonement.

So family, that is it all the nitty gritty of my experiences this week!  Love you more than all the snow in Wisconsin!
See you Wednesday!


Christmas is coming!

Oh man, I'm so excited to talk to y'all on christmas! And I'm just excited for Christmas in general! It is a season of love, giving, light, and happiness. I just love it. This week we did service at the Catholic food bank putting together the boxes of food that they are giving away for Christmas, and it reminded me of when we used to put boxes of food together and ding dong ditch them at peoples' houses. Thank you for setting such a great example and tradition of anonymous service. :)

So the plan for Christmas Day is as follows - we are going to visit this lady named Miss R (a potential investigator) at 10am. She is poor, lives alone, and at first didn't even want to talk about Christmas with us because she was sad and bitter that she will be alone on Christmas. But then we said "We are all alone on Christmas too! Can we come over and celebrate with you? We have a few boxes of jumbalaya and some sausage that we can cook up together and we can sing Christmas songs and read the Christmas story in the scriptures!" and her face changed and she said, "Yeah, I think I would really like that." So that is first on the agenda on Christmas. Then at 1pm we are going to the Tyler's a member family  in 1st ward and they are feeding us lunch and letting us use their computer to Skype. Sister Lucherini's family doesn't have Skype, so she will call while I Skype with yall. I am thinking it will happen around 2pm. Hope that's ok. Also, this time around we only get 40 minutes (last time my Trainer was a little less than exactly obedient so she told me we could have longer than we actually get...oops) but that is way better than nothing at all!!! I am so excited!

Me and Sister Lucherini are getting along well. We are both kind of quiet around each other but slowly we talk more and more.  But it's all good, she is really level headed which helps me a lot. I tend to be a firecracker when I get passionate about something but she helps balance me out and bring me back to the ground haha. I had exchanges with Sister Tiller again this week (she is one of the Sister Training leaders in Denham and this is the third time we've gone on exchanges together) and we are going to be best friends after the mission. We are both pretty convinced that we made promises in heaven with each other to serve as missionaries together and help each other when we struggle. It's awesome. She goes home in March so I''m really going to miss her. Sister Jones and Sister Tuft, two of my favorite sisters, went home at transfers, that was a crazy cry fest. It's amazing how much stronger your friendships become when you are together in the service of the Lord. I think I'm coming to understand better how Alma felt about the sons of Mosiah.

Your weather sounds crazy! It's weird to NOT have snow - yesterday was almsot 80 degrees and today it is 45. Not a flake of snow in sight. Weird. That was so nice of you to snow blow the neighbors driveway. Way to go!

K, I love you lots! Here is an update on D and the W's from my letter to President. Please continue praying for D. I love this family and I'm hoping if you guys come down to Louisiana sometime you can meet them one day. Also, our second lesson with C was kind of a train wreck haha. The member we took, Sister S, got waaaay too deep into the PLan of Salvation (she pretty much recited the Endowment movie to her, oops) and poor C was pretty confused. We went over Sunday and C invited us to come back on Tuesday to learn how to make seafood gumbo. She is hooked on Mormon Messages, and hopefully we can get her to read more of the Book of Mormon. Our upcoming goal is to get her to come listen to Elder Perry when he comes to the stake, but she doesn't do well with crowds so maybe stake conference won't be such a great idea. We need to talk to her about it. Miracles of the week:
-We contacted two people and gave them Joy to the World Dvds, and one of the people gave us her phone number! Woot!  We are all trying to get better at talking to everyone.
-E came to church! He is like 6'5" and has lots of tatoos, so he kind of stuck out, but he came and stayed all three hours. We have set January 11 as his baptismal date. Conveniently, Elder Perry will be here that day, so maybe he will come :)

K, love your guts!

See you Wednesday!

Happy Christmas...almost!!!

Hey Mom and Dad! Glad to hear that you are back safe and sound in Wisconsin and that your trip went well.

Things are good here - Sister Klein got transferred and now I am with Sister Lucherini - she is from Logan Utah, 22 years old, and has been out for 3 months. She is awesome and we both come out of shells more and more each day. :)

First of all, so sad to hear about Gordon Meier. But happy for him that he got to go home after living such a wonderful life. He will missed, but I know he will be busy on the other side.

Don't have a ton of time today, so just some highlights-
-Started this 40 day purification thing where you fast and ask the Spirit to tell you what you need to eliminate so that you can have the Spirit as more of a constant companion. And you make a list of 10 things you are going to stop doing or start doing, and then you covenant with Heavenly Father to not do those things for 40 days. It's this cool thing that Elder Gene R. Cook talked about when he was mission president and is now spreading around our mission.
-Started teaching C. Please pray for her that she will understand the Plan of Salvation and that she will have the desire to come to church. We are teaching her the PoS tomorrow with a member. Our first lesson was kind of random and spontaneous, so hopefully the second lesson goes well. I think it's going to either make or break whether we keep teaching her.
-I'm buying a scale today. After talking with Sister Wall, I have decided to try to lose 1 pound per week for the rest of my mission. I have about 40 weeks left, so I will be able to lose everything that I gained while I was here and then some. I'm excited!
-I got our car stuck in the mud yesterday. I was trying to turn around on the grass so my companion wouldn't have to back, but it had been raining a ton and the ground was really saturated, and we got totally stuck. Mr. Albert, the nonmember husband of this less active lady in 2nd ward tied a rope to our hitch and to his van's hitch and pulled us out. It was awesome. We gave him some muffins as a thank you and promised that we are going to fix the hole we made in  his yard. Oops.
-The zone leaders are now the elders in Denham 1 and I freakin love them. They are so fun. So nice to be with elders that I don't have to struggle to like. :)
-We get to skype next week! Still not sure what time. I'm thinking maybe 11am? Is that ok? We still haven't talked with the family that agreed to let us come over - they have been out of town for 3 weekends. Yikes. I will let you know for sure what's up next week.

Other than that it was a pretty quiet week. Hope all is well at home. Know that I love you so!

You are in Florida???? Woot woot that is so exciting! Glad to hear the weather is nicer over there than it is over here - all the tights you sent are really coming in handy!

So Transfers are actually tomorrow (we had that huge shuffle with Sister Alvine and Sistre Lyons and SIster Klein early because the temple square transfer schedule is two weeks earlier than ours is in Loosiana) so here is the transfer update- Sister Klein (from Brazil) is getting transferred tomorrow and I am staying in Denham Springs. So sad that she is leaving, I stinkin love this girl, she is so great. Not sure where she is going or who my new companion will be - I didn't get a call from President so I won't be training or in leadership, so we will just have to see what comes! Also, our district is getting pretty much destroyed - both of the North elders are getting transferred and one of the south elders is getting transferred. So me and Elder Smith will be the only ones left in our district, crazy. It's funny because of all the Elders, Elder Smith is the one that I still struggle to get along with - all the others I learned to love and get along with and see their strengths, but the one that I still have a hard time with is the one that is staying haha. I guess Heavenly Father wants us to keep working together until we learn how to get along lol. I'll keep you posted on how that goes...

So highlights of the week include:
Finding a new, pretty much golden investigator! E is the cousin of M, who is an active young woman in 2nd ward who is getting ready to go on a mission. She comes from a less active family who recently had to move in with E and his family because M's house in Baton Rouge burned down, so sad. But her and E got to talking about the gospel, and he felt the Spirit really strongly as she taught and testified, and the next day when we came over to work with Miranda on practicing teaching the Preach My Gospel lessons, he came in the room and said, "Hey can I sit in on yalls' lesson?" And we said of course, and we ended up teacing him the Restoaration and he just ate it all up. I felt impressed by the Spirit to invite him to be baptized on January 11th, and he said yes! Crazy sauce! But the Spirit was there really strong, and it was just awesome. Please pray for him and his family - he really wants to invite his mom and sister to hear what he has been learning about but is worried about how they will take it.

Lastly- we get to Skype in 14 days, woo hoo! I can hardly believe it! So exciting! You guys are just the best, I can't wait to see your faces!

Also, this last week we had our "A Night in Bethlehem" christmas party in 1st ward this last week. We were shop keepers at the craft shop, we also helped to decorate and set up the shops. It was a great event - almsot 225 people came and there were lots of nonmembers there. It was awesome. I'm attaching a picture of me and Sister Klein - we had some pretty cool costumes because Sister Wall is on it and sent us some super cool robes. Cintia Mallett took pictures of us too and said she would send them to you.

Well , I love you so much!  Love you more than all the camoflauge pants in the  Bass Pro Shop!


December Doings

Hello family! I love you and miss you all! Here is a copy of my parts of my President's letter. Just wanted you to know what's happening down here in the bayou!

"Insight into the Christmas story-
So this past week during media time, I watched the 9 minute Bible video about the Savior's birth and it shows the shepherds and the wise men and everything. And I had an interesting thought - both the shepherds and the wisemen came unto Christ, but they came in different times and in different ways. The shepherds came on the night of His birth- they came to the Savior right away to see and worship and to go and tell. I think that these are like those golden investigators- they have some experience or a life time of preparation and then when the message comes they come immediately to the gospel. But the wisemen took a bit longer. In the Bible video, it shows the wisemen coming to see the Christ child about two or three years after Christ's birth. But they still came. Their worship and gifts weren't counted any less than the shephereds' worship just because it took longer. They still came. And this really hit me - I always need reminders to be patient with the "wisemen investigators" - just because they don't come right now doesn't mean they are not coming. It is humbling to realize that each child of God will come in his own way and own time, and I need to have patience and trust in the Lord's timing. I know it's kind of a stretch but it's an analogy that really hit me. :)

Being Spirit-led-
So guess what? This week we only taught 15 lessons, but we were working so hard to be Spirit-led, and despite the numbers, I feel so good about our work. It feels like we really taught people, we loved them, and we tried to focus on their needs instead of numbers or quotas. I really feel like I am coming to truly love the people of this area. I mean, I loved them before, but this week, as we tried to listen to the Spirit as we planned for them, taught them, and prayed about them, I felt even more loved, and the Spirit was present much stronger than before, touching their hearts and ours. Sister Klein, who struggles to be brave enough to share a scripture that comes to her mind, shared a scripture in almost every lesson. And I was able to have the courage I needed to follow promptings. Some of those propmtings resulting in teaching opportunities, but I really learned that Heavenly Father doesn't care about our numbers. He cares about His children. I learned this when I followed a prompting to go try to see a less active who is barely ever home. I thought maybe we were supposed to go to her house because maybe we would find an investigator along the way, but no - when we got to her house, she was home, and awake, and in need of help - she was running late for a single adult potluck in Gonzalez, and she needed to get dressed and do her hair and everything but she had a glaze that she was making for her sweet potato casserole that needed constant stirring, and she wasn't going to have enough time to get dressed, do hair, put on make up, and stir the glaze for 25 minutes. So I stirred to glazed and made sure it didn't burn. And Sister Klein did the dishes, which she wasn't asked to do but it needed doing. And we didn't get to teach her and it didn't contribute to our numbers, but this sweet sister said, "You showed up at just the right time! I didn't know what I was going to do! Thank you!" and it was as if Heavenly Father was saying to me "Quit worrying about numbers. I don't worry about numbers - I worry about my children, and I care deeply about the details of their lives, and that's what I need you to do - care. Care about these people and their lives, and help Me to help them feel of my perfect love." It was a really humbling, amazing experience.

The Book of Mormon-
Lastly, I want to share with you my newfound desire to feast from the Book of Mormon daily. It was a really hard week emotionally for me. But I realized it was because I had been neglecting my spiritual and physical welfare. I had gotten lazy with exercise, I had gotten lazy in my studies, and I had failed to take care of my most basic physical and spiritual needs. And the effect was obvious - I struggled to maintain my focus and stability. So, I just want to say that I am back! I am back to doing the little things, and recommitting to the time-tested devotional practices. I want to get more out of my studies, I want to put more heart into my prayers, and I want to take seriously the care of my physical body. I need the Book of Mormon in my life daily, and I need all the other small and simple things we do as missionaries to help me have the strength I need to keep on keeping on. We can't rely only on the enabling power of the Atonement - we must do all we can do and THEN He makes up what we lack."

Love you all and hope your Christmas season is as wonderful as you are!

-Sister Chausow