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