Friday, April 4, 2014

Mardi Gras!!

Enjoying a little Mardi Gras Fun!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Phone Battle Ship, Grating Carrots and Praying for Miracles

Hey Mom and Dad!

Sorry to group email yall, hope you'll forgive me :)

So, to start with, I just wanted to tell you that I'm just in the happiest mood of all time this morning. I can feel your prayers/putting my name on the prayer roll strengthening me. This last week was really really slow - everything got canceled on us and we had no miles. But our exchange with the Sister Training Leaders was awesome, and unity-wise we've seen miracles. Sister Monk and I are at a much better place, I feel closer to my Savior (I realized that He has been carrying me the last few weeks and I am humbled/so grateful for that knowledge) and this morning as we walked out to the car, I couldn't help singing "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a wonderful day in the neighborhood" from Mister Rogers. And when Sister Monk was like "He's dead." it still didn't get me down. The Lord is totally strengthening me and helping me to be happy and have a positive attitude and have faith in good things to come. This morning, I opened up my missionary inbox (from which I write to President Wall and he sends out emails to all the missionaries) and President had filled my inbox with excerpts from other missionaries about miracles that they've had in the last few weeks. In the past, I would've had a bad attitude - I would've asked "Why aren't we having the same success" or "What am I doing wrong?" but this morning I just felt happy and excited for those missionaries and I have hope and faith that our time is coming - the Lord will bless us with rain after a long drought. Because we are making every effort to be obedient and diligent, we are trying, and the blessings WILL come eventually, I know it. :)

This is what I wrote to President Wall about how I'm feeling:

"I feel myself changing. Sometimes when I read the emails you send out, I get discouraged and think, "Man, what am I doing wrong? Why can't we have cool miracles like that?" But this morning, I just felt happy. I felt so excited for all those missionaries who had such awesome experiences during the last weeks. The Lord is hastening the work, and He is in control. I felt like this last week was one of the slowest, least successful weeks of my entire mission, and I've been trying to have a good attitude about it. I've been trying to ignore all the "Why?" questions that have come into my head, and ignore the "You must be a really bad missionary" thoughts that have come into my head, and just trust that the Lord knows what he's doing, and these thoughts and questions are not from the Spirit. The emails you sent confirmed to me what I've been thinking - I need to press on. I am enough. I have been obedient. We didn't do anything wrong this last week - we did the best we could. For some reason, the Lord didn't provide us with any really awesome miracles with regards to the work this last week. But He did help us to increase our unity - as you know, Sister Monk and I have been really struggling to work together. But we went on exchanges this last week, and things have gotten so much better. The Sister Training Leaders did a great job at helping both of us feel loved and validated, and then they helped us through a modified, mediated comp inventory that was awesome. Things have changed drastically since then. I really feel blessed know that the Lord's hand was involved in helping us heal our relationship. Sister Monk and I are becoming friends, we are becoming more open and honest with each other, and we are trying to find the common ground. We aren't the perfect companionship by any means, but life is so much better. I know longer feel alone, and I recognize that I was never alone - the Lord has been carrying me through the last few weeks, and I'm so thankful to know that it was He who was leading me through "the wilderness." And so while I rejoice that the other missionaries in our mission have had such success in finding and teaching and extending commitments, I am also rejoicing that the Lord is helping us work together, and I have faith that this is enough. The rough week that we had after the Sister Training Leaders left I think gave us a chance to bond and rely on each other. When I was discouraged, Sister Monk kept us going. When she was discouraged, I tried to help keep us going. I am learning patience, humility, and unconditional love. I am drawing nearer to the Master. I am becoming acquainted with sorrows and grief, just like He was, and my soul rejoices in it."

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for the prayers - they are definitely working!

So crazy to hear about Jack! Poor guy! That is so crazy. I wrote to President Wall about that too haha-

"Also, I wanted to tell you a funny story. My dad wrote me and told me that my dog has diabetes. I didn't even know that dogs can get diabetes. He doesn't really have any obvious physical symptoms, and my family was really surprised when they found out. And now he's on this strict regimen of insulin shots and restricted diet, and my family has kind of had to rearrange their schedule to meet the dogs needs. It sounds a little crazy now that I'm typing it, but we really love that dog :) 
Although he has no physical symptoms right now, if he didn't get help, it would lead to bad stuff like sight problems and circulation problems just like human diabetes. And I was just kind of struck with the spiritual parallel. My dog is not that smart - he will never seem to learn the lesson of "You don't need to bark like crazy every time the doorbell rings" along with various other lessons. Basically, he is not the perfect dog. But we love him any way, and my family has done a lot to take care of him and will continue to do whatever it takes to help him have a good life. And I think that is kind of how Heavenly Father feels about us - he loves us despite the fact that we make the same mistakes over and over. And when we have some hidden hurt, a problem that only we know about, He knows, and He will "rearrange his schedule" and do whatever it takes to help us out. Getting a shot of insulin three times a day won't be the funnest thing ever for my dog or for my mom. And I don't think God rejoices in our trials. He isn't like, "Yay, Sister Chausow and Sister Monk had a really not awesome week!" But He loves us enough to give us the trials and experiences that we need to heal and become spiritually healthy, thriving beings. And that's how I'm choosing to see this last week - not as a punishment or sign of abandonment but as a sign of God's love for me and His granting me an opportunity to learn and grow and become spiritually stronger. Hopefully that made some sort of sense. :)"

It's crazy - the longer I'm a missionary, the more everything seems to have a gospel application. I can't remember if I told you about how Elder Kopischke came and visited our stake, and as he was saying how members of the ward council need to come together and not represent selfish interests and but work together as a council, I just kept thinking about that movie "Miracle" (one of my favorites of all time...) and how Coach Brooks keeps asking his team members their name and who they play for, but the turning point in team unity comes when they are diong that awful back and forth drill over and over and finally Mike Eruzione is like "My name is Mike Eruzione....." and Brooks is like "Who do you play for?" and Eruzione says "The United States of America!..." Oh man, I love that part. Ok, sorry, random, but I loved it. I love hockey and I love the gospel and I love my family so sorry to just barf that on you :)

Ok, another thing - mom I got your easter package and of course it was awesome! Thank you for sending some Easter cheer! I started putting up the lights and window clings already. Can't wait to make the treats for the widows and maybe for the elders :) Thank you for taking such good care of me!

Also, crazy about Toews and Kaner. They managed to stay healthy for so long! Bummer that the Hawks probably won't get to the playoffs. But you never know, it could happen! Also, you will have to let me know how the Baaaadgers do in the final four. Go Wisconsin!

So guess what we did for P-Day today - we had a kind of Amish day because we were out of miles. And the LaPlace elders, Elder White and Elder Hansen (our district leader) is also out of miles, so we had a Amish p-day - we shredded a bunch of carrots (by hand!) to make carrot cake. And then we played Battleship over the phone with the Elders using grids we had each drawn out on paper haha. It was pretty fun. Especially because we beat the elders. So the winner got to eat the carrot cake but we will still bring it to district meeting tomorrow and share because we do NOT need to eat that much cake...

Hmmmm what else is new this week...? We are meeting with a potential investigator tomorrow evening who is super interested in learning from the missionaries. She has been learning about Mormonism from her friend who lives in Nebraska. She is originally from China and is so sweet and kind. She has a lot of good questions and hopefully we will be able to help her find answers and feel the spirit. Her name is R - please pray for her! 

Also, please pray for J. She is a less active with a word of wisdom problem. I can't remember if I told you about her....she has two kids that want desperately to be baptized but they don't come to church because she wont let them. She feels super guilty and horrible coming to church and even just letting her kids go to church makes her feel pretty bad, but recently she's been letting people pick up her kids and bring them to wednesday night activities and she even let them come to the baptism this weekend. Maybe we can watch General Conference with them this weekend... we have to see. I will keep you posted :)

One more thing - I sent a package home again, this time of winter clothes. Each month I want to try to send a little bit of stuff home so that my suitcases are a manageable weight by the time October rolls around... it is warming up hear, and even the chillier days are fine if I wear my tights and my cardigan. Seriously, the weather here is heavenly. Please hang on to those clothes though - I love them a lot and can't wait to wear them when I get home/when the weather gets cooler again! PS - Summer lasts till the end of September down here, so it will probably be a little cold when I get to Wisconsin but it will still be nice here. 

Ok, to close, here is a joke I heard - Why did the Lamanites have to eat their food off the table? 

Because the Nephites had all the plates! Bahahaha!
K, I love you guys more than all the stars in the sky! And more than all the puddles on a rainy day in Loosiana! Sending sooo many hugs and smaeches!