Monday, December 30, 2013

Best Christmas Ever!!!

Merry Christmas!
Wow! This Christmas was the best because not only did I get to Skype my family but so many people's hearts in Houston were softened! The work really was progressing around this time and people were so open to having us share messages about Christ and his birth. Sister King and I watched the Joy to the World DVD Christmas Eve morning and started crying and laughing because we were so happy! This gospel has truly blessed my life and I am so grateful that I get 2 Christmas' on my mission. I was so blessed to study more on Christ's birth.

I was reading in Jesus the Christ about the wisemen and the shepherds. When the angels appeared to the shepherds in the field telling them of Christ's birth they knew that he was the Son of God and immediately left to seek him. These poor and humble shepherds had such faith and such a strong testimony of Heavenly Father and his plan. But because Heavenly Father knew that some people would not believe the shepherds, he sent wise men to also testify of Christ's birth. Which left me to wonder, Would I have been faithful and humble enough to believe the shepherds? Or would I have needed the second witnesses of the wise men?

YouTube your Religion
Sister King and I were driving when we saw some YSA's working on some bikes in their garage. So trying not to be too creepy we parked the car up the road. We got out and walked to their house and started a conversation with them. One of them started talking to us about anti-mormon things he had seen on the Internet. We calmly dismissed all the facts that he was throwing at us and testified of Christ and that we knew our church was true. After he realized that we would not give up on him he states, "You should really look up your religion on Youtube." That's the point when we told them to have a good day and left. We couldn't help but chuckle... because YouTube is such a trusted resource (sarcastic)! 

"YES! You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this."
Yesterday we got a referral from Elders to teach a YSA. Her name is Ashley and she has been going to church for about 8 months in Japan with her boyfriend's family who are members. She went away to school in Arkansas and felt like something was missing in her life. She just recently moved to Texas and decided that it was the church that was missing and wanted to go to church again.

We taught her the Restoration yesterday and had two members present. At the end we asked each of them to share when they gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. The spirit was so strong and my heart was beating out of my chest. Ashley loved their testimonies and started sharing her own testimony! It was so powerful and she started to cry and said she was so happy and she knew this is where she was supposed to be. That this was the right thing for her and she missed feeling the spirit in her life. 

Sister King and I had prayed before the lesson about extending a baptismal commitment and we felt that she was ready to be baptized on January 11th. At the end Sister King asked her if she wanted to be baptized on January 11th and her mouth dropped open! She was so excited and exclaimed, "YES!!! You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this." She was soooo excited and couldn't stop smiling from ear to ear! Oh I was so happy for her! She is going to be a great member of our church! :)

Blessed Week
This has been a great week! Sister King and I gave talks in sacrament meeting on missionary work and we sang I Feel My Savior's Love with the Elders. There was a great spirit in the meeting. 

Since a lot of people were away for Christmas break we were unable to meet with a lot of our Investigators. But Max came to church yesterday and loved it! Frank is continuing to pray about whether he should be baptized or not and we are working with Ashley to prepare her for baptism.

Love ya'll!

Sister Loo

With Jennifer who we recently re-activated and her adopted son.
Members of our YSA ward.
Footsie pajama fun with Alissha!
Alissha, one of our wonderful ward missionaries.
P-day white elephant gift...we took it for a spin!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 24, 2013...Merry Christmas Eve!

Feliz Natal!

Merry Christmas to all.

This week Sister Loo will be able to call home and talk to her family on Christmas so as a result, no blog...sorry!  Instead are some pictures from the week to share and a very excited family who gets to Skype with her on Christmas day.

Can there be any better Christmas?  We say NO!!!

Feliz Natal

Zombie tag with the Elders on P-day. 
Janeiro's baptism.  The Spirit was so strong.
After his baptism he bore his testimony and couldn't stop smiling.

Kristin.  She is an inspiration to us.  We lover her!
Mission conference. Reunited with Sister Hansen and Elder Spragg
from the MTC.  I love Sister Hansen!
Sister King and I at mission conference.
Merry Christmas from Texas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Feast or Famine...(part 2)

Wow... Feast or Famine I guess is the theme of some of my weeks! This week was awesome but I have to say I was more than exhausted by the end.

Prayers in the Canned Food Aisle
So Monday night Sister King and I went to the grocery store to contact. As we were in the store I said, "Dang it! We forgot to pray before we came in!" So I grabbed Sister King by the arm and pulled her into the canned vegetable isle. We both felt a little awkward but we prayed. I started to say a prayer when halfway through I heard someone's footsteps coming down the isle. I hurriedly finished the prayer and opened my eyes to see Sister King looking at the nearest canned vegetable. She couldn't handle the awkwardness and had to open her eyes with arms half folded. We quickly left as the guy gave us a crazy look and we busted up laughing from how awkward it was. Only on a mission!

Mission before Baptism
This week we finally got to meet with Brandon! Thank you so much for all your prayers because they definitely helped! He was just really busy with work but we finally got him to agree to a lesson. At the beginning of the lesson he told us he had a couple of questions about missions... Not sure what he would ask he says, "So since I'm 21. Have I missed out on the whole mission thing? Because I'm really interested in doing that in the future." Definitely not the question we were expecting! We haven't even asked him to get baptized yet. 

We taught him The Plan of Salvation and he really enjoyed it. Since his Mother passed away a couple of years ago, it was a great topic to talk with him about. I love teaching Brandon because you can tell that he really internalizes what we say and makes sure that it makes sense to him. He asked many questions but loved the truth of being with our Heavenly Father before we are born, the Spirit World, and the 3 degrees of glory. At the end of the lesson I felt strongly that I needed to ask him to get baptized. I did and he replied, "Well I was already planning to. I just want to make sure I understand and am doing it for the right reasons." Now all we have to do is get him to church!

"Little Brother"
So not only do Sister King and I have a big brother but we also have an annoying little brother that loves to tease us, his name is Frank! At first the meetings with Frank were really awkward but we realized after meeting this last time that he just likes to tease us and be sarcastic. He told us that he appreciates our sense of humor. It was the sweetest thing!

We taught him the Plan of Salvation as well and during the lesson we were talking about the Gift of the Holy Ghost and how after he is baptized he can have it all the time. Well Frank replies with a smart alek comment that I have to admit was pretty funny at the same time, "Well... But, I don't really think I'd like having the chills 24/7..." That's Frank for you!

Texan BBQ Fail
Kevin took us to eat at Rudy's BBQ and it was alright after we asked our millions of questions at the counter. Dad's ego is going to grow a bit here so caution... I must say that my Dad's BBQ in the Trager was 10 times better than this BBQ. The brisket was moist however the sauce was awful and the beans was another story. You have to have good beans with BBQ and this place did not live up to all the hype unfortunately.

"I love to testify of Christ"
We had been invited by Fitz to come over to his house to meet, a whole new level of trust! We weren't sure what to expect because his text messages made it seem like a party but we asked if we could share a message and he said we could. We also told him that we were bringing a friend and he responded, "Make sure that friend brings no other friends. No alcohol and no illegal substances." Does he not understand that we are Mormon? :)

Anyways, it turned out that it was a party to wind down from finals and there were 4 other friends of his there. Score! Finding through investigators! They all were musically talented and so we ended up having a little talent show for us. His friend Max played the classical guitar, Casey the trumpet, Elizabeth sang a German Opera song for us, and Fitz played a piano. Fitz is an incredible pianist. We requested he play an impromptu Christmas song and it was beautiful! As he was playing we would request to change it to different genres like blues, swing, reggae, and different key changes. And he would do it off the top of his head! He is so talented as well as all of his friends. We thought to invite them to be a part of our christmas sacrament meeting program as a way to draw them to church and they all agreed to play! They were really interested and excited to play for the ward... We still have to talk to Bishop about this. But I hope it works out.

Before we left, Fitz's dad started talking to us about leaving a legacy, building love and trust in the home, and our purpose. He kept going on and on. Sister King and I were trying to take every opportunity to testify and let him know that we believed in the same things he did. But he kept talking and talking. Finally he started asking everyone what their passions were. At first I thought I would just say golf but then I thought, Hmmm how can I turn this my way so I can share a little message and my testimony? So when it came my turn and he asked me what my passion was, although I felt really really nerdy, I said, "I love to testify of Jesus Christ." But it worked! I got to tell them about missions and the wonderful opportunity it was to help people improve their lives and come closer to Jesus Christ. That it was a privilege to wear his name on my heart for a year and a half. 

Fasting Works!
Sunday was the most exhausting day of my mission yet. Not only did Sister King and I give the opening & closing prayers, but we sang in the choir and had 3 investigators at church! You could say it was quite the day, but there was so many miracles that happened:

#1 Elizabeth who we met the day before at Fitz's party ended up coming with us to sing in the choir for sacrament meeting! 

#2 Bryce's phone was disconnected and we had no way of communicating with him and invite him to church. Sunday morning we get a call from an unknown number and guess who it is? Bryce and he was telling us that he was going to come to church!

#3 Frank attended all 3 hours of church! And he loved it!

#4 Sister King and I decided to make a goal and fast to have 4 investigators at church and we ended up having 3 - Bryce, Elizabeth, and Frank.

Quote of the Week
After teaching Raul about baptism and the Holy Ghost his brother turns to Sister King and I and quietly says, "So what do you think about Weed?" It sounded as if he was inviting us to smoke with him. After seeing our faces I think he understood that we were confused and explained further that he just wanted to know because he had to write about the pros and cons of weed for a school paper. 

Oh even though I would love to take a nap right now and am beyond tired, I love being on a mission! There is nothing greater that I could think of doing! I love this church and it is so true! I'm so thankful for this Christmas season and the hearts that are being prepared for Sister King and I to teach. 

Love ya'll and hope you remember the true spirit of Christmas! Feliz Natal!

Te Amo,

Sister Loo
Fun pics with Jane (a survivor of brain cancer)
Sister King's version of "tired" companion study.
(Had to sneak a pic of this. LOL!)
Brandon got a new jacket and his Book of Mormon
fit in the front pocket.  We started calling it his
Book of Mormon pocket.  He said they should sell the jacket
at Christian bookstores and this should be the pose on the mannequin.
Sister King and I asked about 'everything' on the menu and
then proceeded to get samples of everything.  yum yum!
BBQ at "Rudy's" w/ our 'Big Brother' Kevin.
He takes us out to eat every month. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tis' the Season...

Texas Christmas Tree Finding in the Humidity

This week my companion and I decided to get a tree. Since I am from Oregon I had to have a real tree! When we went to go and get our tree it was humid and 80 degrees outside! Very different from the rain and cold in Oregon. Sister King had never been to cut her own tree so we found the only tree farm in Texas (as you can imagine it is very hard here to have real Christmas trees) and looked at the piece of paper with prices. You can only imagine my face when I looked down and a 5 foot tree was $50!!! So we took some pictures and went to Wal-mart to buy a tree (they are the only grocery store that have trees in their parking lot)... When Sister King comes to visit Oregon then she can have the experience of cutting down a tree. :) A sister in our ward let us borrow some lights and ornaments and we decorated our tree this week. I love the smell of the tree in the house! It brought the Christmas spirit into our home immediately.    

Two White Women

This week when we were tracting after visiting a less active we knocked on the door and we hear, "Who is it?" and then "Its two white women. Two white women." To our surprise the door opens and two black ladies are standing there. So I say, "Hi. We are missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Then one of the ladies walks off shaking her head "Oh dear..." haha. Okay? Got a couple of laughs from that experience.

Prayers for NO TRANSFER

Sister King and I are already praying that we don't get split up as transfers are coming up in 3 weeks. Do you think we are starting a bit early? :) I am so blessed to have her as a companion and we really mesh well together. We continually ask the same questions at the same time (which can be embarassing at times) and finish each others sentences. I am so grateful for her wonderful example and testimony.

Miracles at Church

Yesterday at church Sister King and I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off! We had 5 less actives at church and a Potential Investigator, Bryce! It was a miracle! There were so many people at church and the chapel was filled. Sister King and I had a pretty discouraging and slow week and so we were so uplifted by the amount of members we had at sacrament meeting.

Then to top it off, we gave a lesson in Relief Society on Missionary work. It was amazing! We had a lot of participation from the sisters and we made a goal to have 3 sisters baptized by February 14th as a Relief Society. At the end of the lesson I played I Know That My Redeemer Lives (my favorite song) while the sisters thought of at least 4 people they could reach out to. We then took 5 minutes and invited them to pray about the names that they had written about and listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. The spirit was overwhelming in the room. I could feel of Heavenly Father's love for each individual that each of the sisters were praying about. A few of the sisters were even in tears! I look forward to hearing about their missionary experiences and hope that the lesson motivated them to Hasten the Work! As I type, we just received a text message from a sister about a friend that she knows who is less active and wants us to reach out to him!

A few quotes we shared with the sisters on missionary work: 
Brothers and sisters, as surely as the Lord has inspired more missionaries to serve, he is also awakening the minds and opening the hearts of more good and honest people to receive His missionaries. You already know them or will know them... You too are an important part of this unfolding miracle. If you're not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart- painted, as Paul said, “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.” - Elder Neil L. Andersen

The key is that you be inspired of God, that you ask Him for direction and then go and do as the Spirit prompts you. When members view the work of salvation as their responsibility alone, it can be intimidating. When they view it as an invitation to follow the Lord in bringing souls unto Him to be taught by the full-time elders and sisters, it is inspiring, invigorating, and uplifting. We are not asking everyone to do everything. We are simply asking all members to pray, knowing that if every member, young and old, will reach out to just “one” between now and Christmas, millions will feel the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. And what a wonderful gift to the Savior.” - Elder M. Russell Ballard

Investigator Update

Juwan & Tamara - Since Tamara is 17 we thought it would be best to pass them off to the family ward elders so that they can go to church together. We are still going to be keeping in contact with Juwan to invite him to YSA activities.

Fitz- This is an investigator that wanted to know the truth about Mormonism from The Mission Christian Group from LoneStar. He heard rumors from others in the group about us being a cult and other anti-mormon facts. But, he was sweet enough to come and talk to us and has a desire to know the truth. He told us that he did not want to convert but we will let the spirit work on him and see what happens. :)

Please specifically keep in your prayers the following individuals...

Brandon - That he will remember the excitement that he had in reading the Book of Mormon and meeting with us. Brandon has been really busy the past couple weeks and we have not been able to get in contact with him. Satan is really working hard on him because he was so prepared to hear the truth of the restored gospel.

Frank - That his heart will be softened to come to church and realize the importance of the Book of Mormon.

Julie - That she will remember the spirit she felt at church. We have not been able to get in contact with Julie for over a month now but she is still in our prayers. She was also very prepared but we have not seen any response from her since our first meeting.

Love you all forever and always!
Sister Loo
At the tree farm

Then at WalMart...trying to fit the tree in our trunk!
Our Christmas with the Christmas tree in our
footsie pajamas!

Ward Christmas party.
We showed up in our 'ugly' Christmas sweaters

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Time of Thanksgiving

Hastening the Work through Social Media - So let me just tell you... The Lord is hastening his work!

Last sunday we received a call from Elders Blake and Cluff in the Santa Rosa California Mission. Elder Cluff is from Spring and has been teaching a friend from high school over Skype! They have iPads and Facebook in their mission so they have been "friending" their friends from school and teaching them the first couple of lessons over Skype. They then call the missionaries in the area to refer and transfer their friends over. So Elder Cluff called to transfer one of his friends to us! It was crazy! They have all the paperwork such as progress records and information on their ipads on an app. The goal for their mission is to tranfer one investigator a week to missionaries. They have also been teaching people in Pakistan and Mainland China! Isn't that great? No matter the circumstances the Lord is preparing people and reaching out to others in countries that missionaries can't even go to! We are rumored to have ipads in this mission in February. Who knows I might still be here.

So on Tuesday we decided to follow up on the referral from the Santa Rosa Elders. His name is Juwan and we called to set up an appointment. When we got there his little sister who is a junior in high school, Tamara (pronounced Tuh-my-ruh), joined us as well for the lesson. This was the first time that I gave a lesson and the spirit was so strong throughout the entire lesson! Sister King felt that we needed to ask them to be baptized before we got there and my heart was beating so fast during the entire lesson. I also knew we had to ask them to be baptized. And so I did... Tamara couldn't say Yes fast enough. Juwan has already been baptized but expressed a desire to be rebaptized by someone holding the priesthood authority that Jesus had when he was on the Earth! Since Tamara is not young single adult age yet we have decided to pass them off to the Elders in their home ward. But I am excited to hear how they will progress and hopefully attend their baptisms in the future!

The Time the Lord prompted us to walk 6 miles one afternoon...

Saturday night we didn't have any appointments and so we prayed for direction in what we were supposed to do. After the prayer Sister King shared that she felt we needed to walk somewhere and she thought of a member of our wards house. I thought to myself "That's really far away to walk!" So we prayed again to know if that's what we were supposed to do. During the prayer my heart was beating out of my chest. I knew we were supposed to walk there. So we headed out on our adventure not knowing if anything would come out of it. We did meet some great people and a potential investigator that we hope will come to Family Home Evening tonight. Nothing significant happened but we followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost. After 3 1/2 hours of walking, 6 miles, and blisters on my feet I can say that it was a great experience!

My Favorite Holiday- Thanksgiving! 

Thanksgiving morning we worked with the East Texas Dream Center and volunteered feeding the homeless. It was so great and there were so many volunteers! They also had a coat drive and were giving away things left and right. What a great cause and we were so happy to be a part of it! It definitely made our Thanksgiving!

We then were invited by a member of our congregation to attend Thanksgiving with them (The Jones Family). We had the greatest conversation and message about the Atonement with them. I cannot get over how much we can continually learn more and more about our Jesus Christ and his suffering for us in Gethsemane, death, and resurrection. President Jones was talking with Elder L. Tom Perry about the Atonement and shared that when he thinks of Christ suffering for our sins he likes to think that he saw each and every one of our faces. And Elder Perry assured him that he did! It was a very personal experience for him and is for each of us. The Atonement is such a special and great gift that we should strive to utilize weekly, daily, and hourly.

I am so thankful for the Atonement and that I can be forgiven of my sins. I am also thankful so that I can make my weaknesses stronger and continually improve upon myself so that one day I can return to my Heavenly Father's presence, give him a great big hug, and hear the words, "Well done thy good and faithful servant."

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday! Love ya'll!

Sister Loo
Exhausted after last week...
I fell asleep in the car of course! 

Dream Center- Feeding the Homeless for Thanksgiving 

A gun BBQ grill in front of the Bail Bonds store...Interesting!

Thanksgiving with some of our YSA ward members