Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Merry Christmas!

Tis the season!!
So... Last week, I didn't write. SORRY!! Things got switched around and time got crunched... Anywho! We are so excited for Christmas!!! I haven't seen my family for 9 months now, and I was just starting to forget what they all looked like!! We have everything set up with a member in our ward, except for the time... My companion has a sister on a mission as well, and we are still trying to get everything worked out so that he will be able to Skype with her as well. The Christmas season has been strong in our little Hmong apartment this year, as we have our little 3 ft Christmas tree decked, lights put up, and Christmas cards tacked up along our hallway. There has been music playing almost constantly, snow falling heavily, and we even splurged and bought ourselves a nice little half gallon carton of eggnog! We were part of the ward Choir concert yesterday, and we had so much fun with it! Everyone in that choir had a good time, good voice, and good spirit, making it a very memorable Christmas Sabbath.
Along with the Christmas theme, last night we went caroling to all of the Hmong people that we could think of! We ended up staying out for over 4 hours singing the same 5 little carols that had been translated into Hmong. We came home and just CRASHED! But again, what a great memory of my first Christmas in the Missionfield! We went to somewhere near 15 people, and even stopped at a few investigators houses. We were thanked with hugs, and many many thank yous. We were more than happy to do it, and would be more than happy to do it again. I just want to share my testimony during this special time of year. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. He came to this earth as a part of an Eternal Plan of Happiness, and by following that plan, I know that I will again live with my family and my Father in heaven. This is the greatest gift that I have ever been given, and it is a gift that I can never repay. I've heard it said that we don't spend Christmas, we keep it, and that the gifts Christ gave us were his life and his sacrifice. That is the best that we can give him as well, our lives, and our sacrifice.

Elder Larsen

Monday, December 9, 2013


All I can say is -20 isn't very pleasant. I know I've started off the last couple of e-mails complaining about the cold... but come on now!! Other than that... Great week for us!! We had some very exciting things happen! Wednesday we met with some referrals that we got on sunday night. The referral was for someone named Choua (Chew-uh). When we went over to talk, it turns out that there was more than one coincidence (or should I say MIRACLE!! <a favorite word in every missionary's vocabulary>) We started teaching him, and his wife came in to sit in on the lesson, and immediately started offering feedback, and questions. We asked her if she wanted to learn as well, and she said absolutely! After introductions, we found out that she has relatives who are already members, and she had no idea! Elder Burgoyne had served in Sheboygan, where they lived, and somehow, we found out she is related to members there. After some more discussion, their brother, Kong, came and started listening... THEN after a little MORE discussion, their GRANDMA came and sat in on the lesson. We ended up teaching for about 2 whole hours, and we were invited back this next week... We are very hopeful for all of them, and as it turns out Kong and 2 OTHER siblings that weren't there had previously studied from the missionaries, and were even committed to baptism, until their father disallowed it... That means from 1 referral, we have 6 new investigators... And a partridge in a pear tree. We are blown away, and very thankful for this blessing! On friday, we went to the house of a way less active named Jessica. We REALLY enjoy our talks with her because she is not afraid to ask questions. We just know that they are personal questions that she wouldn't ask anyone else, and they are very deep, very spiritual questions. We are able to answer each one with scriptures, and we leave her house each week feeling very accomplished. This past week, she told us how much she enjoys the time we spend together. She doesn't know it yet, and hasn't been to church or in contact with anyone from the church for at least 10 years, but she will make a great relief society president when she returns to activity. Finally, last night we saw the Christmas devotional, and what a blessing that was! I encourage you to watch it if you weren't able to last night... That's about all I have time for this week, but I love you so much, and thank you all for your support!!!
Elder Larsen!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

To All Y'All

Wooooow... Where to start with this week?? We'll start on Thursday (thanksgiving) We had two dinners with Hmong families --and when I say families, I mean FAMILIES!!! It was so crowded and so busy! The star of the first dinner was the deep fried turkey bits... Yes, nothing says "I'm thankful" like clogged arteries. We were so incredibly full after the first dinner, that we forgot that we had another dinner 3 hours later... woopsie... BUT we enjoyed the second one just as much. The star of that dinner would have to be the 2 turkeys that just gleamed. We were extremely thankful for the hospitality of these people, and made sure that they knew it! The talk turned to the gospel very quickly, and I heard many good testimonies born of how thankful they were. It was a pretty special experience for us... And as a side-note, we had 3 different types of rice along with our turkeys... Next, Saturday! Our radio broadcast went off without a hitch! We were so proud of how it turned out, and we are excited to get more and more confident every week. After all the hours of preparation, and worrying and planning, we were very proud of what we did. There is no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father helped us through everything. We felt so comfortable, and so fluent during the broadcast, and that couldn't have come from anybody else. We were stressed out the entire week, and were still able to perform. Thank you to all those who listened, I'll translate it for you all when I get back! And finally... A miraculous Sunday! First thing to note, 4 weeks ago we invited an investigator. named Lilly, and her family to church. Why did we invite them so long ago? Her schedule is absolutely INSANE, and as a single mom, she has a lot of obligations. She wasn't willing to come at first because she doesn't have a car, and didn't want to accept a ride from anyone, but we insisted that she come and try it once. We set everything up and her and her four kids came and stayed for all three hours!! She made friends and said she might even come next week! Miracle!! THEN, we had another investigator, Anthony, there. He hasn't come in months, and came all by himself AND stayed through all 3 hours AAAAAND a baptism that was happening afterward! Whew! Miracle!!!! THEN, we had a less active, Cheeta, who also hasn't been to church in months come for all 3 hours... After, he told us how much he misses church... MIRACLE!!! We are feeling extremely blessed, and again, I thank my Heavenly Father for everything. Also, I am very aware of the many prayers coming from family and friends at home, and for that I offer my sincere, deepest gratitude. I have to go and do other p-day things, so that's it for today... But I love you all!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Over the Airwaves and a Very Hmong Thanksgivi​ng

Salutations! Nyob zoo! We have had a very very interesting week. I'll start with some of the stuff that doesn't really matter... First and foremost, our thermometer has been gloomily low this past week. It hit as low as 2 degrees, and for those of you who would LIKE to know... With the windchill that is a bone-chilling -10 degrees. And its only November. Honestly, I'm pretty excited for this winter though. I KNOW that it will be a cold like nothing that I've ever experienced, but that's part of the excitement I think. I feel fairly adequately prepared, but to make sure, I'm going to walmart today for a few last second preparations (some sort of facemask, and gloves that are rated for this kind of cold). For Thanksgiving this year, we get to go to a member's house, Gilbert and Lilly Yang. All the Hmong members in the ward are invited, and while we were planning this yesterday (Sunday) almost everyone there chipped in saying that they would bring some sort of food. To be honest, I'm not sure if we'll be having turkey, or white rice, but I honestly don't care all that much. (here comes the cheese) Thanksgiving is really the best time of year to remember what you are thankful for. What a unique opportunity for me to share this special day with the people that I am here to serve, and more importantly, the people that I love so much. While I won't be at home, I certainly will be with family 1200 miles away from Utah. My dad told me this last week in his letter that he spent his thanksgiving with a hotdog and a coke in Caceras Spain in 1990... While mine might not be THAT different, I feel like this will be a very unique, very Hmong Thanksgiving.
And finally... The most exciting news of the week! About 4 weeks ago, my companion and his companion at the time were told that the local Hmong radio station was interested in anybody who wanted to come in and have a show. They went in and applied, but didn't hear back. Fast forward to this week. We decided to go in and re-apply if needed. We went in and were rushed around their office and to keep a long story short... We will be on the radio every Saturday from 11-12 talking about "What Mormons Believe"... Wait... What?! What an opportunity this is for us and for the Lord. This radio station is broadcasted to all of the major Hmong populations across the USA, and every Saturdy eleven to noon we will be able to explain the beliefs of our church and we will be bearing testimony over the airwaves. The main portion of our broadcast will be discussions about the Articles of Faith, 1 every week. All I can say is that we have been so blessed with this chance, and I would ask for your special prayers for myself and my companion. I'm still not quite sure if you will be able to listen online or not. But if I remember correctly (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) the station is 93.3 FM WNRB-LP wausau... Love you all, Happy Holidays, and tune in next time!! ;)
Elder Larsen

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hey Everyone!!

Good morning! A cold, windy, and yes, SNOWY morning! Elder Burgoyne and I woke up this morning to the sound of wind rocking our apartment, and that can only mean one thing.... Winter is coming! It's practically here!! Funny enough though, that means good news for us Hmong elders. One of the biggest struggles for us is catching people at home. Most of the time they are either at work or farming... Now that it's gotten cold enough, and the season really is over, we have been catching people at the right time and have seen much more success trying to contact people without having appointments already set up.

We have been working long and hard to get enough people together for a Hmong party, and finally our hard work has payed off. After cancelling it for what we thought was for good on Friday, we were able to align everyone's schedules for tonight! We are cooking for them, and we decided on carne asada tacos. We thought about making them American food, but decided that we should cook something that is similar to their style of cooking and also something that was easy for them to remember should they ever want to make it again. I can't wait to give you all an update on how it all goes. I can't express how big this will be for our ward. This will bring everyone together and give them the opportunity to express their testimonies with their friends in a totally relaxed environment.

Now, updates on teaching successes and heartaches... First, John and Elizabeth, our most promising investigators dropped us early this week. We don't even know why,and it kind of threw us into a little bit of a whirlwind spiral-y funk. We were able to overcome it just by recognizing that the only way we could have more people to teach was if we got out and got to work. This little remedy cured us of our sadness, and we truly lost ourselves in the work. We were even able to find a new investigator who has a LOT of potential! That brings us to the greatest success of the week. Elder Burgoyne and Elder Cook (his last companion) tracted into Anna and set up a return appointment. She said she wanted to know more, and was searching for a church to join to strengthen her faith. But when they went back, she had been called into work and they weren't able to see her until Elder Burgoyne and I went back. We taught her about everything that we could in our short meeting, and this time she gave us her number to call her before our next visit to check to see if she is there. She (along with everyone in the world!) would benefit from the gospel in her life. Her father passed away, and he was a BIG figure in her life. She always quoted her dad, and seemed excited to know more about the plan of salvation.

So, missionary work is hard, and it always has been. BUT, with a concerted effort to move forward, and with faith in our Heavenly Father, we can overcome the trials that we face. That is the biggest lesson I've learned this week.

LOVE you all! Stay warm....

Monday, November 11, 2013


Good afternoon everyone!! Greetings from Wausau Wisconsin!! In this issue of Elder Albert, I'm going to basically be giving a big juicy overview of how everything is in Wausau! First of all, I love it already. Honestly, I might already like it better than Appleton, which I thought was IMPOSSIBLE! The hills and "Mountain" (really just a mound of dirt they call Rib Mountain) make it feel just like home here. Wausau is kind of in a little valley and is surrounded by pretty dense woodland. Its also (for lack of a better word) kind of quaint. In Appleton we lived in downtown, a 2 minute walk from everything, but here, where everything is more spread out, we are on the very fringe of the town itself. Funny enough we live right accross the street from the Kraft Mac'n Cheese factory, so with any luck I might get to have some farm fresh pasta... The apartment is smaller than Appleton's, but I like it a lot. It feels more like home than the one in Appleton did. The ward so far has been great. There are just about as many Hmong people as in Appleton, and there are some really strong Priesthood holders. As for everyone else, they are great so far. They have only one ward in Wausau, so we have the whole building to ourselves. Everyone was so nice in introducing themselves, and I really look forward to working with everyone. My companion has already identified the ward "missionary Mom" for me. She's already offered haircuts, and has already had us over for spaghetti... MMM!! Just like home! As far as the work, it is definitely started to pick up here. Within the last 5 or 6 weeks the district has gone from only 14 "reportable key indicators" (basically lessons and baptism dates) to yesterday up to 24. That is more than any week that my new companion Elder Burgoyne has seen in his two transfers here. I'm very glad to be part of this hastening of the work. I came in and on my first day met our 2 most promising investigators. They are recently married, and her mom converted only a couple months ago. They have a tentative date set for November 30th, and we are so excited for them. Elder Burgoyne met them only a month ago, and he feels that they have grown a lot in that time. I can't wait to give more of an update next week, but alas, duty calls. I will leave you all with a thought. Our heavenly Father created everything. We know that everything that has existed, exists now, and will exist in the future is numbered to him. Considering all of this, he knows you. He loves you. He will give you as many opportunities as you need until you come back to him. That is truly a loving Father, and I want to let you all know of my knowledge of Him and His infinite love. My love to you all! My new address is 1220 Townline Road #2 in Wausau WI, 54403.

LOVE your Elder,

Monday, November 4, 2013


So sorry, it feels like all of my letters to the family are so short! But at least for good reason this week.... TRANSFERS!! And the big news.... I'm going to WAUSAU!!! I'm so excited! I've only heard good things about this area, and both of my companions came to appleton from wausau, so I have some good insights on the area from missionary points of view. I'm so sad that I have to leave the "promised land" of Appleton, but I am truly blessed and know that I'm going to Wausau because that is where the Lord needs me. As soon as I can I will let everyone know about my new address, and as for anything that has been sent to my apartment here, I will be getting it up to a week or two late. I haven't forgotten to write back, the mail just has to be forwarded :)

Very cool, very quick experience last night. We have an investigator who is going through the repentance process and is trying his best to quit smoking. Yesterday was day #2 without a cigarrette. We are so proud of him for how well he is doing. Last night, however, he texted us that he was having a very strong craving. We made our way over as fast as we could with a talk that was given to us by our Mission President. The talk talks about our agency and how we have control over our thoughts, not Satan. We went over and talked to him and by the end he told us that his craving was almost completely gone. His entire countenance changed over the course of our short 10 minute lesson. He has been my favorite investigator so far BY far, and as we got up to leave, he stopped us and grabbed one of his many hats (he's a sort of collector) and gave it to me. I was COMPLETELY taken off guard, but COMPLETELY honored. Something so small to him meant the world to me. If nothing else, I will remember Mathinoe for his humility, kindness, and his true love for the gospel.

I'm surviving the first bits of winter, but it is getting colder... My winter gear has held out well so far, but I can't wait for my first -20 degree day... (NOT!!) Pray for me, and I pray for you too!! LOVE YOU!!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


This week has been a tale of two... weeks? The first half of the week Elder Thompson and I re-focused on our finding. Not that we haven't been succesful before, but this week we knew that it had to be a focus. We set a goal of 3 new investigators every week at the beginning of the transfer, and to be honest... We have fallen short. Not for lack of trying, more for an abundance of other things to do! With a huge focus on less actives last week, we felt that this (the last week of the transfer) was our opportunity to reach our goal... We reached it on tuesday, we exceeded it on wednesday... Wait... What?? One of the difficulties of Hmong work is that nobody ever seems to be home, but for whatever reason, this week we were recieved at every door that we go to. Truly a blessing.
Next: while looking for investigators, we recognized an address as the address of our area's zone leaders. Feeling prompted, we buzzed into their apartment, then walked accross the hall to the potential investigator. We knocked on his door and he greeted us by motioning to the door of our zone leaders. We responded in Hmong that we didn't live there and that we were Hmong missionaries. He was ELATED that we spoke Hmong and invited us in. We set up an appointment for the next day and had an amazing lesson with him. His wife and children weren't there with him, but he told us that he is excited for us to meet with them as well. Very miraculous.
Finally, and this is a sad story... A less active family in our ward was excited to meet with us this Sunday, but we got a text early that morning saying that they wouldn't be able to come because their daughters were both sick. They also asked us to come over that night to give them both a blessing. We planned on it, but just as church ended we got another text asking us to come to the emergency room immediately. Their daughter, serena, had had 2 seizures and was taken to the hospital in the ambulance. We got there as soon as we could to find the two year old hooked up to monitors, asleep. She was breathing heavily and looked so fragile. Her mom asked us to give her a blessing. We took the Elders quorum president, their hometeacher, and he gave the blessing. As we finished, he began to cry, and told the mother "it's so hard to see this happen to the little ones." How true that is. I've experienced two of my little brothers in a somewhat similar situation. My heart aches for this family, and I would ask that you all would keep them in your prayers.

I love you and miss you all.

Elder Larsen

Monday, October 21, 2013


Holy cow, what a whirlwind week... Our focus coming into this week was on LARCs (for those not hip to my missionary lingo, that's Less Active, Recent Converts). During conference weekend, and in the many days since, we have been hard at work and in close contact with the Elders, High Priests, and the Relief Society collecting a list of these LARCs. At one point our list was up to 20 families... WHAT?! Suffice it to say, at one point a few years ago there was a Hmong branch in Appleton and after a series of bad decisions by some in the congregation, many fell away from the church leaving now only 3 families coming weekly. So sad! This week we visited every single person on the list and reported back to the leaders. Now (as home teaching and visiting teachers are set up) we will be working for our ward as translators. I'll tell you what, I don't mind a BIT! I absolutely LOVE being with these sweet Hmong members, and I want so badly for them to come back to church. To be honest, some of the things that have been going on have gotten me a little down. Some of our most promising investigators have stopped contact with us. In talking with President Cutler, we know that this is what the Lord wants for Appleton. We need to build up the church however we can. We know through the world wide training, that just as important as conversion is retention and reactivation. I recognize the Lord's hand in everything, and I will be sure to give a full update on each of our LARCs and any investigators we find next week! LOVE YOU, and as my dad always says Carpe Converts

Love Elder Larsen

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Dear… uh… Everyone!!
I’m going to get right down to it this week. My dad sent me a very inspiring e-mail, and I’m going to share it with all of you with a few notes of my own.

“BYU wore the "SPIRIT, TRADITION, HONOR" jerseys this week.  And you know what, the world didn't come to an end.  The GATECH play by play guy tweeted out a list of the 40 or so player names on the pronunciation guide for BYU and asked if he was being punked.  I am sure that the call of "Spirit takes the snap, the rush comes, Tradition picks up the blitz and it's a long TD pass to Honor!" would not have been much easier than calling a blitz by Manumaleuna.  The jersey's got me thinking though.  These words are the core value of the team.  It is on the stadium, on the field, in the locker room and on t-shirts.  What would I put on my jersey if I were asked to do so?  Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Courteous....?  Lazy, Procrastinator,  We know from the Sacrament prayer that we take upon us the name of the Savior.  Would my jersey say Christian?  Disciple?  You have an opportunity that though you do not have a jersey, you do wear a name tag bearing the name of Christ.  I know that as part of "putting on the whole armor of god", I need to put on my jersey that correctly identifies what team I am on and who I am fighting for.”

And in my reply:
“It’s so true that in everything we do we are being watched, observed and most importantly labeled. There was a talk not too long back about painting the name of Christ on our heart. We also know that we are supposed to always have Christ in our countenance. I know that now, I have been labeled some pretty unsavory things as a missionary (my personal “favorite” being “Mormon scum!!”) but along with that have been titles like “Godsend” and “the answer to my prayer.” I wear the name of Christ proudly on my chest as a missionary, but that doesn’t mean that when I get home I have any more reason to take it off. I pray that when I return to live with my Heavenly Father, he rewards me with a jersey with the name reading something along the lines of “Son” or “Good and Faithful Servant” ”

I love the Gospel, I love Wisconsin, I love Hmong, I loved General Conference, I love this work, and I love you all

Elder Larsen,

P.s... for those who don't know already (Thanks mom...) I've been accepted to BYU!! Summer semester 2015 :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Conference Weekend!

What an amazing weekend! How blessed we are to be able to listen to living prophets. Naturally, Conference weekend is (of course next to Christmas and Mother’s day) every missionary’s favorite time of year. I even heard a sister in our district say that at her house Conference IS Christmas. As per request, I will give ALL the details of where, when, and how missionaries watch conference. The day starts out much the same as any day with personal, companion, and language study. Then all the missionaries flock to the church in their Sunday best. It was really nice to have my very own bench to spread out all of my notes, notebooks, my bag, coat and sweater. As it started, the room went completely silent, and silent it stayed (minus the occasional laugh or chuckle) until the session ended. From there we all went to the kitchen where a generous donor bought 4 boxes of Little Caesars (MMM!!). By the time we were all full and finished socializing, the next session was beginning and it went much the as the last. Before the Priesthood session, our ward had a brat fry. NOBODY cooks brats like a Wisconsinite. Priesthood brought back many memories of me going with my Dad, and after it ended I SO wanted to go out and get ice cream. I so missed him and sometimes I would just close my eyes and pretend for a little bit I was back home.By the time the Priesthood session ended it was already about 9:30 and time for bed. Sunday played out the same with a little member dinner in between. I just want to add my testimony to the many that were given during conference. I know that everything we heard this weekend was true, and inspired. I know that in each talk, there was specific direction for each of us. I had many of my questions answered by the Holy Ghost; He also just kept confirming to me that this church is Christ’s church. It is set up exactly the same way it was when He was here. I felt Him during this conference. Finally, a scary thought for those of you keeping count…. I only have 2 more conferences left until I’m coming home!! I love you all so much, and in the words of my Seminary teacher “The Church is true and God loves you!!”

Elder Larsen

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hello Again!

A good good good week!! Funny enough I spent nearly as much time with a different companion as I did with my own. For 3 days this week we went on exchanges. It was my first time leaving the Appleton area for the first time since I arrived here. While on exchanges we really experienced miracles. Within the 3 days we exchanged, we met 8 new investigators and we were able to speak with a family we hadn't spoken to in months. First off, we have a list of about 100 Hmong people that we along with missionaries before us have collected. When we have nothing else to do, we bring out this list and just start working through it. While on exchanges and through working on this list, 8 people were interested in the message that we had to share. Amazing! We are prayerfully approaching how best to meet the needs of these people and (even though many of them I haven't even met yet) I already love them. The other story is a very interesting one. It's one I'm probably going to use in my talk when I get home, so try to act surprised when I re-tell this. When I got to Appleton, we were taken to the house of a member family who was struggling and was becoming less active. We had a good lesson and were looking forward to coming back to speak more to them. However for 4 months we tried at least once a week, but more often two or three times, to begin teaching them again but visit after visit yeilded no answer. Often times we could see one or more of them as we walked by their house. But after knocking with no answer as we left, the curtains were closed and the lights turned off. We decided again this week to visit again and miraculously we had an answer! He ushered us inside and we taught how the gospel blesses families like the tree in Lehi's dream. Then my companion at the time, Elder Croft, asked "how has the gospel blessed you in your life". He broke down. He told us how much he missed church and how much he loved God and wanted to come back, but felt that some things that he had done were keeping him from coming. I was prompted then to give him a blessing of comfort. The feeling in that room was sacred. I will forever remember the Holy Ghost testifying to everyone in the room at that moment the truthfulness of this gospel. After the blessing, this man told us that the things he trusted us enough to know, were things that he hadn't even told his extended family. He told us "That makes you family. I love you guys." I was deeply touched and honored by this compliment. Family means everything to Hmong people, and I will always remember this well. We will now be visiting every week and hopefully there will be more updates to come, but as for now... I'm off to the dollar store to try and snag some sweet deals!! LOVE YOU ALL

Meej Mom

Monday, September 16, 2013

McFamily McEmail

Hello everyone!! Sooooo sorry that I didn't write a family E-mail last week! Not that you're all hanging on my every word or anything, but I still should have written. Anyway, there is a lot to update everyone on. First of all, this week is transfers (everyone's favorite time of the month...) and the news is in... I am... Staying in Appleton for another transfer!! WHAT?? Everyone thought that I was leaving! I thought I was leaving!! But if God needs me in appleton, Who am I to disagree? I will be staying with my companion (the district leader) and I will experience things I didn't think that I would experience in Appleton. I thought I'd be somewhere else when the snow started to fall... I didn't think that I would be here for October conference... I didn't think that I'd even have to unpack my cold-weather clothes!! But, I'm all in all relieved that I get to stay. The ward has really grown on me to the point where every dinner, I leave telling my companion, "Man, they remind me so much of my family!" I didn't think that it would happen this soon, or at all, but I don't want to leave this area!

Other than all of that boring stuff, we've seen some pretty amazing miracles in Apple-Town recently. First of all, while on exchanges with one of our zone leaders Elder Beech (He's from England and totally has the accent) we decided to go visit a family near a dinner appointment we had. We had arrived to the member's house with over 30 minutes until the appointment, so we wanted to fill that time with anything that might be affective. We went and knocked on two houses with no answer, and with 20 minutes until dinner, we seriously considered just being early. We decided one more door wouldn't hurt so we went up the stairs of a small apartment complex and knocked on the door... No answer. We turned to walk back down the stairs, when in the apartment accross the hall we heard Hmong yelling. We knew this was a great opportunity to teach and knocked. A young boy answered the door, and we began to teach. He seemed extremely interested and we were prompted to teach about the book of Mormon. He told us he actually used to have and read a copy that he lost in a move! In talking to him more, we found that he had met with missionaries before and had lost contact! We offered to give him the copy and he responded surprisedly "To keep?!" What a miracle right? Not quite yet... The next day, we set up a lesson with him and found out... HE HAD ALREADY BEEN BAPTIZED 6 YEARS AGO!!! We found a lost sheep!! We are so excited (and as soon as we find his baptism records) we will re-activate him.

Miracle #2... More of just a very special experience. We were asked to give a priesthood blessing of healing to a man (the brother of an old member of the ward). He had refused for so long, and his family had been very against the idea of a blessing, but miraculously this past week everyone consented. We didn't know what to expect as we went in. What we saw nearly broke my heart. In a wheelchair, laying his head down on the couch next to him, was the most sickly and trial-worn man I have ever seen. He found out that he has Leukemia and has been experiencing the pains and sorrow that come with the awful disease. My companion annointed him and the brother-in-law of this sick brother offered him the blessing. My understanding of Hmong is minute, but I have never before been so touched by anything said in this language. This truly was a sacred time and a sacred blessing. I don't know what will happen, but what I do know is that that day, my companion and I were able to act as representatives of Jesus Christ. I know that through faith in the priesthood and Atonement of Jesus Christ, we all can overcome the trials and sicknesses in our lives. I am immensely blessed by this power. I love you all, and can't wait to see what another week brings.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


So much happened this week, my thoughts will probably be scattered, so I'm just going to try my very best to get as much down as I possibly can.
First, the bad news... This week we had scheduled 4 dinners, but of the 4 only 1 ended up happening. Two of the three that canceled were actually going to have investigators there, so that made it even MORE sad! We also were extremely low on miles (down to about 8 miles per day) so we felt like we were being extremely extremely ineffective. But then, at church we were asked to go to a member's house for dinner and a lesson for their daughter who is almost ready to be baptized. We were so excited!!.... BUT we found out that they live in a town that's about 30 miles away, and we told them that we wouldn't be able to. They were nice enough to offer to pick us up and drop us off, this all on Labor Day mind you. They have 12 kids, 7 of which are still at home, and as soon as I walked in I could tell that it would be one of my favorite dinners yet. We had so much fun playing "the missionary game" where everyone tries to guess our names, and then we try and guess everyone else's. It took us about 40 minutes to get all of theirs right! After that we had a cinnamon roll cake (I totally knew they got it off pinterest, and I was right!) Then we had our lesson, which was really cool, because everyone in her family gave little tiny testimonies about baptism. Overall a very fun night, one that reminded me of being home with my family. Other than that, we have 7 referrals that we need to contact this week. That's more than I had all of last transfer! We are really excited to teach these people about the gospel. I'll probably have more than one interesting story to tell next week, but until then... Sib ntsib dua, thiab kuv xav neb paub tias kuv hlub neb heev thiab kuv yuav saib neb thaum kuv tsis ua tub tbxib.... kev hlub kev hlub kev hlub!!!   (Gina google translated this..."Goodbye, and I want you to know that I love you and I will see you when I do not tbxib son .... love love love")

Monday, August 26, 2013

Work on FIRE!!!!

Time is flying by! I can hardly believe that it is almost September already! We are doing very well in Appleton and we have brought back to life an area that seemed to be dead! As a district we have been extremely blessed the last couple weeks and I'm so excited to have even just a small part of it. While we are still low in the category of baptisms, we recognize that this isn't about numbers. We have some very exciting very good things happening and we realize that with continued diligence and obedience, the Lord will bless us and soften the hearts of those we are teaching. I love being the companion of the district leader. One of the best parts is that I get a full picture of what is happening within the entire district. I love being able to see what is and what isn't working for different companionships, and how it affects the work in its totality. Another awesome thing about being "district monkey" is that I get to go on exchanges with everyone in the district. Usually I am the one who goes to the new area, so it gives me another interesting view on how the work is going in everyone's respective areas. It's basically like having a slumber party as a missionary!!! I get to check up on other people's investigators, try and resolve their concerns, and finally put a face to all of the names that I hear about each week. I also love that I am able to be an aid and advisor to my companion in his work, and I feel extremely blessed to be able to do so.

Unfortunately while the work here is picking up, for some odd reason I have felt like I have just been in an odd funk for the past week or so. I don't know whether it's like a marathoner hitting the wall, or if I need to do something to try and shake up the daily routine, but I can't seem to pinpoint anything that could be wrong! I know that I am being watched over by the lord, and like I said, I have been more abundantly blessed than perhaps at any time in my lifetime, but I don't know what could be causing this fog!! I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer, and I have already experienced many instances on my mission where prayer has been a deciding factor in some decision, so I know that through prayer I will be able to overcome this strange feeling. Every day I look forward to the time when I can kneel at the foot of my bed and offer up to the Lord an accounting of my day. I love the time that I have with my Father in Heaven, and again, I believe that this is just a minor obstacle that I'm going to be able to overcome. I love you all, and until next week... TTFN, ta-ta for now!!

(which I found out ACTUALLY means "a quality of someone who has the natural apperance of superiority or leadership... I DON'T WANT TO BE AN AP!!!!)

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19th

Last week, getting my new companion set up and ready to live in appleton for at least six weeks took a little bit more time than we expected and I didn't have the time to write a family email... Thankfully I have more time today and I'm excited to give everyone an update on what is going on! First of all, for those who didn't know, this transfer I stayed in Appleton, but my companion of 12 weeks, Elder Vaj, left to train in Green Bay. My new companion's name is Elder Thompson. He has been a great help in improving my Hmong already, and boy did I need it! I'm excited to see how much he can help me grow! He's the district leader, so that means that I get to be the little helper (or the District Monkey as we call it). It hasn't been too bad yet. Anyway... The first lesson he and I taught together was very interesting and unexpected... We were walking home from a bust referral when somebody on a bike stopped us and said he had some things to say. He proceded to tell us what he thought Mormonism was all about, and what he thought was true. We were able to give our testimony multiple times in the conversation, and from starting with no desire to listen to us, by the time we finished, we had given him the number of the English Elders in the area to teach him more. While it was very weird hearing somebody talk to us about the Illuminati, different dimensions, and "the Christ Entity" it was very cool that he accepted our invitation to pray with him. I'm not sure what happened with him, but who knows?! He could be a solid investigator. Unfortunately, not all of our experiences like that have been good ones. Last week as we left the library, there was a gentleman waiting for us outside with a paper with notes he had taken about everything that he thought was wrong about Mormonism. He talked at us for about 30 minutes, and every time either I or my companion tried to say anything, we were pretty rudely interrupted. Eventually, and sadly, we stopped him and told him that we couldn't continue to listen to him talking about our faith that way, and we just left. He stayed behind, and talked to 2 more companionships in our district about the same things. The similarity between the good and bad experience is that by the end of both my faith had been strengthened. I couldn't believe it, but walking away from the second experience I felt proud that I was able to withstand somebody tearing down everything I love. I was able to see myself as a disciple of Christ, one who would be as Christ said "Hated for My sake". I know that I have been blessed immensely for teaching of Christ, and even though not every experience is a good one, I know for myself that it is true, and I am willing to stand up for these things.

Now, here is an update of some of the people that we are working with.

Cher: Cher was a referral from our district leaders. They met him in Kaukauna while tracting and gave us his number and address. We went to visit him and found out that he was interested in learning more because "if God made the earth for us, he must have a plan". We have tried to meet with him a few more times since, but he hasn't been home... We're still very excited about him!

Suzy Lucky and Christy: These kids we met while trying to contact their grandma, a less active. They live with their mom at their grandma's house, and we've met only a handful of times, but the kids seem ready for baptism. They love to ask questions (and even though we do get distracted sometimes) we love to answer all of them. The only problem has been getting them a ride to church. Their mom works Sundays, and we haven't found anybody yet. But things are looking better because now we have the relief society president and the primary president looking out to help us.

Mathinoe: (pronounced Mateeno) He is probably my favorite investigator just because how funny he is!! He loves to mess around with us, and not to mention he likes to feed us. He and his wife are about to have a little baby boy named Nathaniel, and we are so excited for them. He's been having lessons taught to him for quite a while but has been in and out of jail for various things. We are very hopeful for him as well...

These are some of the best people we've met yet, and we're excited to see who else we can talk to. I love you all so much and will talk to you in only about 18 months!! (or something like that?)

Sunday, August 11, 2013


There must be a huge spike in texts between missionaries during transfer weeks because EVERYONE wants to know if anyone has gotten any news. Thankfully, we get the news on monday mornings. It looks like I will be staying in Appleton, but I'm going to have a new companion, Elder Thompson. He will actually be the district leader, so I'll be the junior companion going on all the exchanges. This will be an exciting change, but I can't help but feel sad for elder Vaj. He's leaving just when the work was beginning to pick up, and we had just gotten a new and progressing investigator. We had a talk the other day and I was glad to find out that he doesn't feel bad about being a sower. He knows that this is the Lord's work and his hand is in everything. I too am glad to be a part of the work, and I'm very blessed to be in appleton at this time. Currently we have 6 investigators, all at different points in the process. It is so cool to be able to give them this gift, and to see the conversion taking place right in front of my eyes. Coming out on my mission I knew that it (the gospel) was true, but actually teaching it to people has only worked to strengthen my conviction. I know for a certainty that this is the only good thing that I could be doing now, and I am so glad to have had wonderful parents who raised me well, as well as family and friends as supportive and amazing as you! I know that this gospel blesses families, and I can certainly see that in mine. Be good and know that I love you!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

hastening the work of salvation!

  This week has been up and down and all over the place... Just like the weather here too! Last I reported we were having some record highs, but now we've been at an average 55 degrees!! It's chilly and reminds me of fall! For the sake of time, today I'll keep it short. We have been experiencing many changes to missionary work and the way we deliver our message. We will be getting tablets, we are encouraged to text, and eventually we will be allowed on social networking sites. Throughout all of this change however, one thing has remained constant. That is the message that we preach. God is unchanging, he is infinite. The same things that I am telling investigators like Xue, Lucky, Suzie, Kristy, and Amanda are the same things that were being taught to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. I am so blessed to be a part of this revolution, but I realize that while there are new ways God has given us to share his message, the message is unchanging. I love you all and can't wait to see you! Transfers are coming up so if by chance anything does change, I'll let y'all know!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Appleton heatwave!!

It has been a SCORCHER this week! Temperatures nearing 100 degrees and humidity nearing 100% have combined for an absolutely miserable week. Lucky for us we had set up a good amount of appointments so we were able to stay out of the sun... It was literally too hot to even work. We did spend some time in the library on and trying to prepare for various lessons. It actually got SO hot that Elder Vaj and I couldn't sleep so we moved our beds into the living room where our AC is... I've never slept so soundly!! Overall, it turned out to be a sweaty-good week, but I'm getting very very tired of all the same foods that I eat week in and week out. Tuna, quesadilla, grilled cheese, oatmeal, repeat. Thankfully there are a few member dinners sprinkled in here and there so I don't lose my sanity altogether!
 There is a sister, Sister Kleiner, in our area from Germany who (on her first day in Wisconsin) 4 months ago rolled her ankle. The ankle hasn't been getting any better, so the doctor says she has to go home for surgery. We were all shocked to hear this, and we felt so bad for her. She called us later that night and asked to meet us in a quiet park next to the Fox river to give her a blessing. Me, Elder Vaj, and the English elders in our district all met together and drove down. As we approached the area where we saw the sisters sitting together, a quiet calm came over all of us. Sister Kleiner asked one of the English elders to give her the blessing, and in that quiet, secluded area of the park, the spirit of the Lord was abundant. The blessing was given and the calm continued throughout the rest of the day. The Lord gives us trials, but he gives us ways to overcome them as well. I'm so glad that the preisthood is on the earth again, and I'm glad that I have the same power to heal and give comfort as Jesus Christ. This already has been a huge blessing not just to me, but to others on my mission, and I will strive to make it a part of my life when I return home as well... I LOVE YOU ALL!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Ammon Project

Hey all!! We have had a very exciting, physically taxing week! I'll start at the very beginning... which actually was a few weeks ago. We were at a district meeting when one of the companionships in our district said that their cousin had been having trouble finding investigators, so they started what they called "The Ammon Project". Like the title says, this project is all about acting like the Book of Mormon hero, Ammon. When Ammon went to go teach the Lamanites, he was captured and made to watch a flock of sheep for the lamanite king. When a group of baddies tried to scatter the sheep, Ammon defended them. When the king called on Ammon to ask why he fought for him, the same king who made him his slave, Ammon was nowhere to be found. The other slaves told him that Ammon was preparing his chariots like he had been asked to earlier. What we take from this story is that Ammon had an immense amount of charity. He wasn't necessarily looking for an opportunity to teach the king, but that was simply a result of his devotion and dedication to doing what he could for another child of God. "The Ammon Project" is all about this. We asked EVERYONE if there was any amount of service that we could do for them. Just in the past week and a half, we were able to preform 8 individual acts of service. I was shocked to find out how much we could help people, just by asking if we could. We have established ourselves as missionaries that are willing and ready to serve. The blessings from this service, while again, not what we were searching for, have been innumerable. We feel that we have given a real boost to this ward, and in return, we have found that they are much more willing to trust us with their friends, giving us more referrals than ever. We are so glad to be here in Appleton, and we are so blessed to have so many opportunities to serve.... While my back aches from moving families, cleaning houses, ripping out carpet, among other things, I can't think of a better reason to have an achy back... LOVE YOU ALL, BE GOOOOOOD!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Baptism!.... Doesn't count...

A family in our ward has an 8 year old daughter who was baptized this past week. She was able to share her testimony, and it was a really really neat experience... As good as it ended up... There were a few funny little hiccups along the way. First of all, it was never made clear to anybody whose responsibility it was to fill up the font. My companion and I decided to go about an hour and 15 minutes before the baptism to help set up chairs, pass out hymnbooks etc... Nobody was there, and the font was empty!! The font usually takes about 3 hours to fill to a regular height so we turned it on full blast and waited... THEN as this girls father, who was to baptize her, tried on his baptismal pants, they didn't fit, so we scrambled around to find him a new pair. Once that was settled, we found out that the primary president who was supposed to be there to welcome her to primary was out of town, so again we scrambled and found her teacher who, luckilly, could be there. And finally (this was more just a sting to me personally) I was giving the opening prayer, and on the program it was spelled Lawson... HUH?! Okay, okay, the last one didn't matter that much... but c'mon. Anyway, she was able to be baptized, even though she had to be dipped lower than was normal. I, as well as everyone else theree, felt the spirit very strongly, and I can't wait to have a baptism of my own investigator!

Another cool experience happened to us just yesterday. One of our investigators, Mathinoe (pronounced Mateenoh) has been having missionaries over for years and years and years. Elder Vaj and I challenged him and his wife (a member) to read the book of mormon and pray together every day. He got up yesterday during our fast and testimony meeting and with tears in his eyes and a frog in his throat declared that he knew the Book of Mormon was true, and is the word of God. He thanked elder Vaj and I for challenging him to read it and pray about it. He continued by talking about an experience he had with the holy ghost while praying. He said he stopped in the middle of his prayer and just listened. He said he started to cry because he felt God's love.

All is well in Appleton, and I hope that everyone has a fantastic week. Until next time...

Elder Meej Mom.

p.s... Ask me anything you want to know, and I'll answer in an e-mail!!

Friday, July 5, 2013


I feel so bad, but I forgot to write the whole family today!! I was too distracted watching 2 new mormon messages... But I will give you a quick referral to them because they are probably my favorite little messages that our church has put out there... Watch and share this with family and friends please!!

I promise... it is really worth it! Everything else is going fine, except I miss you all, and sometimes have dreams about you... seriously... LOVE Y'ALL

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

P-Day once again!

Hey guyzz!!
It's just after 9 here on a beautiful (to be read: extremely hot and humid) monday morning, and I'm excited to give an update on this past week and some thoughts about whatever comes to mind as I type.
First thing, this week is transfer week, which means as of Wednesday, I will not be the youngest missionary (in time in the mission) here! As far as I know though, we won't be getting any new Hmong speaking Elders, but we will be getting a new zone and district leader. This first transfer has flown by so extremely quick, and I can't believe I'm already 4 (ish) months into my mission... I know that everyone says not to count the days and things like that, but I can't help it when time goes by so quickly!! By the way... anybody want to try and figure out how many transfers I have in my mission?... I couldn't keep any of the numbers straight when I tried to do it in my head... Anyway, fun facts! Only 1 more birthday, 3 more general conferences, 24 ish byu football games, and 3 calls home left on my mission!!! As you can see, I obviously try not to look ahead........

I got my birthday package this past monday, 1 week after my birthday. The mission president suggests that families send packages through the mission home where they will forward it to us. This is just to make sure the package isn't stolen or anything like that, but our apartment and neighborhood is plenty safe, and I completely trust packages to be sent right to our door.

Other than all of this... It was a rather slow week. We had a few lessons set up and ready to go only to be cancelled on the day of! (unfortunately 2 of them were lessons with food promised....) That kind of dampened our spirits, but we were able to find what we think is another new investigator through these cancellations, so we are still happy and I guess it happened for a reason. Then, yesterday, we had the world wide training broadcast that was all about missionary work, but not just for missionaries, for everyone!! A few times during the conference we heard the familiar phrase "every member a missionary". It was a really good conference and the "big" announcement for those who don't know, was that missionaries during less productive times during the day will be able to do internet proselyting through e-mail, blog, facebook, and other sites like that! We don't know when our mission will be allowed to do this, but we know that it will be somewhere in the next year. It really sounds like it'll be a blast!!

That's all the time I have for now, so I'll love you and leave you. If you have questions, don't be afraid to ask!!

With much love, Elder Meej Mom

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


So sorry about the subject title... But I couldn't think of anything else to write.

SO! This week has been pretty eventful (in a good way) and I guess it all started off with a fantastic birthday!! We went to the mall here in Appleton where I got myself two new pairs of sunglasses on the cheap!! After kind of browsing around for a little longer, we went to the foodcourt and I chose Panda for myself... It was pretty d'rn tasty after so many weeks of Cheerios for breakfast lunch and dinner! Then we went to the church where we get to play all our sports. We usually start with either basketball or volleyball and after we get tired of that, we play what's called chair soccer. BASICALLY everyone has a little primary chair and you run around trying to kick the soccer ball into other people's chairs while still protecting your own. You would not BELIEVE how sweaty and hot that game makes you... It's great!! Then we went grocery shopping where I treated myslef to a bottle of Pepsi! I felt like a king! But seriously though, I wanted to thank everyone who thought about me and for the cards and e-mails that I got. I can't tell you how much it lifts a missionary's spirit when they get something like that!

But other than that, this week has been work!! While on exchanges, I found a family who wants to become active again, and have their kids baptized, so I really believe that my prayers were answered. The work is hastening!! Even as slow as it seems now! We have an appointment set up with them this coming tuesday I believe, and we can't wait to share a spiritual message with them.

We had an all mission conference last Saturday that was absolutely AMAZING!! There were 4 70's and an apostle, Elder Oaks who came to talk to us... Added bonus, one of the 70's was Gifford Nielson and he talked a little about his experience playing football for BYU. He told us that recently Lavelle Edwards had heart surgery, and as he was being wheeled into the operating room, he lifted his head and said to his wife "Call the bishop and tell him we won't be making it to tithing settlement today... But tell him that I'm a full tithe payer!!" That got a hardy laugh from the audience (about 200 missionaries). Another funny story, Elder Oaks was talking to us about our call as missionaries. He said that there are very few times in your life when you are 100% dedicated to the Lord. He said one of the only other times is if you are called as an apostle. He told us that Elder Packer was addressing the rest of the quorom of the 12 and he said "Our call is to grow old and die on the stage!" That got another good round of laughter!! Overall though it was a fantastic experience, and to be able to sit at the feet of these wonderful men and have them speak to us is something that I will have chronicled in my mind for the rest of my life. Elder Oaks said that we are a "prophetic priority" which means that in every temple prayer that the prophet or his apostles have, they pray specifically for us. What a wonderful blessing that is!! I consider myself lucky to be a representative of the Lord in these last days to proclaim this glad message!

And finally, to wrap up my week, we had a Hmong Family Home Evening. Any Hmong Family who can attend comes to one person's house were a lesson is shared, 4 or 5 songs are sung, food is served, and great conversations are had. I truly felt the spirit and a love for these people last night. I was also blessed with the ability to share my lesson and my testimony in their language with such little trouble, that thinking back now, I know the only way that I could have said all of the things that I said is through the power of the holy ghost and through the spiritual gift of tongues. And the music only intensified my feelings! There is a selection of hymns that have been translated into Hmong, and we had a great time singing some of them! Afterwards, we had pho... MMM!!! It was really deliscious and for those of you who haven't tried it, I'm sorry, I can't describe the taste. Mostly because you get to add the flavors that YOU want... For example, my companion likes his sweet and with mint, but I like mine salty and spicy!! We also played catch with a football in our white shirts and ties... A great time was had by all!!

Duty calls, but I hope you all know that I miss you, and that I'm saving up hugs for each and every one of you!!


Elder Meej Mom!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

19 going on 19 1/365

That's right... It's me!

This'll be another shorter one since my companion and I have some birthday activities (or birth-tivities as I like to call them... wait no...)

This week has really flown by... We had 2 days of training, so I didn't have a whole lot of time to be out teaching the good word of God, but we were still able to sneak in a few lessons. We were walking the 2 miles from our appartment to the house of one of the new members in our ward. While on our way we were stopped... That doesn't do it justice... A man with a long white beard chased us down yelling "STOP, STOP!!!" When he finally flagged us down he told us his name was Tinker.... yes Tinker... And invited us over for dinner. We are told to try avoiding having dinner with English families so we referred him to the English elders... DANG!! I really want to know how that one turns out though... I'll give y'all the update....

I read my e-mail from my family this week and something really stuck out to me... Age is all relative. That is so true, but I think that I have found that here on my mission, I can apply that to a lot of the (so called) difficulties that I have... I had to walk 5 miles my first day out... That is only relatively far when compared to our ancestors who walked hundreds and hundreds of miles. We are having a hard time finding people to teach. But that is only a relative difficulty when I compare it to those who served their missions in England when the church was first being established. I have a small amount of money each month, but only a relatively small amount when I compare it to the saints who sold their homes for small percentages of what they were really worth just so they could pull up stakes and move west. This week I have found myself thanking my heavenly father more fervently for the trials that I have, in stead of asking him to remove them from me. This mission may be relatively hard, but I thank my heavenly father every day that he has called me to do his work here, now, and in the Hmong language.

LOVE you all, and hope you know how much I think about'cha!! PLEASE be good!!

Love Elder Meej Mom

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello Again!!!

This week has been really hard for us Hmong elders... We are having such a hard time finding people to teach! We have a folder with names of people that could be Hmong (Lis, Vaj, Yaj etc) and we try to visit all of them, but we can never seem to find anybody that is interested, or that are even home when we knock!! We have tried so hard, and we are still looking forward to this week, but we won't be having very many lessons... We did however get referred to a family of 5 and we found somebody who might be interested, so we will see what we can do with these two... This week I had to translate testimonies in our ward testimony meeting. This was relatively easy because I know the structure of testimony and a lot of the words... BUT, right as I got up to give my testimony, a Hmong brother got up as well... I sat down to wait for him to speak (he speaks english) but he asked me if I would translate Hmong-English which is only like a million times harder!! I was able to translate his first sentence, "I am happy to share this testimony with you" but the rest I had no IDEA what was coming from him... Luckilly, my Ward mission leader came up behind me and translated the testimony and whispered what I should say into my ear... Probably the most embarrassing thing that has happened so far, but it was a very good experience!!

I'm so happy to be out serving the Lord. I want to let everyone know that everything here is going good. My dad shared with me a quote this week saying that my job may not be to harvest all of the low hanging fruit, but that I may be the one planting the seeds. I know that this is the hardest thing I could be doing right now. But I know that the people that the Lord hasn't prepared for me to teach, those are the people that I am preparing for other people. I now recognize why numbers arent the most important things, but that it is all about what good may come months, a year, or many years after any initial contact. I am extremely blessed to have family and friends as truely wonderful as all of you, and just know that just as you pray for me, I pray for you as well... LOVE YOU!!!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Pictures from Alex's SD Card

What a cool name tag!
 Alex with the Hmong speakers

 First meal in Wisconsin
 Alex and Elder Vang
Alex's desk in his apartment

 Elder-saurus Rex :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Alex's letter/testimony

We have a long list of things to do today, so I'll have to keep this one exceptionally short. Sorry!!!
I was reading in the scriptures the other day, and I came accross a scripture that my Mom used to always quote... D&C 101:16 "... Be still and know that I am God." How many times in our lives do we get so worked up, so active, so busy that we forget to "be still?" I related this quote in a lesson that we had the other day. We were teaching about how we all feel the spirit. We know that it is a "burning in your bosom" but what in the world does THAT feel like? I shared this experience. In the MTC I knew that I had the spirit. I knew that I had it all my life, and many times in my prayers I would ask God to help me have the spirit. But I didn't know how I felt it... The very day that I began to wonder how I felt the spirit, we had a devotional about the Holy Ghost. Sister Sheri Dew talked to us all about how she had the exact same question I did. I knew I had the spirit, I knew it comunicated with me, but how? She encouraged all the missionaries to go home and pray about it that night. I did, and sure enough, I felt a familiar feeling (the Holy Ghost) and I realized that I sensed it through feelings of peace. I looked back at my life at the times when I felt that I had the Spirit closest to me, and I realized that all these times were accompanied by this exact same feeling. I would encourage everyone who reads this to do the same. Don't ask to have the Holy Ghost, don't ask to have it guide you, give you comfort or peace, but in stead ask God, the one person who would REALLY know, "How does the Holy Ghost communicate with me?" I promise that it will bless your lives. I'll try to leave myself a little bit longer for letter writing next week!! In the meantime, ask my family... They'll love it ;)

Sib Ntsib Dua!! (Shee njee dooa!! See you later!!)

Tub Txib Meej Mom the family

Nyob zizzle m'nizzles!!

Things in Appleton are going really good... Except it smells like Tanner's dirty diapers sometimes... What does the tramp look like? did you help build it? What fun stuff are you doing? did you have fun at the party!! Tell me, are you getting so excited to go to kindergarden? You better be a big kid and be nice to everyone, okay? I LOVE YOU!!!

Hey buuuuddy! Have you jumped a lot on that new tramp lately? I hope so, because when I get back, I'm going to bounce you right over the neighbor's fence! I loved when I was done with those dumb ol' CRT tests! They are so easy, and all I wanted to do was go outside and have it be summer already!! I hear that you went to mcdonalds on monday morning. How fun!! Did you like ghost? what was your favorite part? I think mine was when he was singing "I'm henry the 8th I am, henry the 8th I am I am..." over and over to that one lady... Hilarious!! Well, I love you, be safe, say your prayers, and try reading some of the scriptures every morning (it can only be for like 5 minutes if you want!) BYEE

I'm so glad that you're finally done with all of the hard parts of school... But come ON!!! Live it up, woman!! You get to watch movies, tv shows, and mind numbingly boring documentaries!! For crap sake, I LIVED for the last 2 weeks of school! Sometimes the only thing that got me up and showered in the morning is that the faster I got the 8 1/2 weeks over with, the sooner I could watch movies in school... Geez, the people of your generation.... ;) I remember we had a choice of doing that criminal minds thing or another project, and I chose the other one, but I don't remember what it was, which means I must not have done a very good job at it.... Whoopsie...I don't want to say my olympic team was stinkier than tanner's diaper... But it was way stinkier than tanner's diaper... I try to block out that memory... You've always been a sleeper in movies! They're like your sleeping pills or something! It's hard to watch a movie through closed eyelids Annie... ;)Have you not ever seen all of Ghost?! It's a classic!! It's a Larsen family quotable!! Good grief, you're just fallling apart when I'm not there arent you?... Let me know how the last couple weeks of school go! I said it to Zach but it goes for you too, Pray e'er day, and read your Book of Mormon every morning. I have an hour to do personal study and it takes me maybe 30 minutes to finish 10 pages. At this rate I'll finish the Book every 53 days! Try reading (maybe not that much...)

Don't you just love the last couple weeks of school? I just want those days sprinkled lovingly throughout the rest of the year so that it doesn't all come at the end! Uh... 40 hours is a lot (at abs) hopefully they'll get some new people for the summer so that the workload wont all fall on you! I remember how hard it was getting excited for work when I had already worked like 4 days that week! Tell Conner that I look back fondly on those times. Even when he and/or Parker put hot sauce... or vineager... or salt... or pickle juice in my drink... Fun times, fuuuuuun times... I'm really glad that everything is starting to work out for you, and that everything is going positively. I read mom's favorite scripture the other day. D&C 101:16 "... Be still and know that I am God" and I just thought how much just sitting down and giving myself some time to think and ponder has done for me. I have that personal study every single morning, and it's something that I wish I had given myself back home. Maybe try it! give yourself 30 minutes in the morning to "be still" and you will be able to work out things you are questioning. My appartment is... not dirty? I'm doing my best to keep it clean, and there should be pictures (and a video) coming this week! MAY the force be with you... (get it????) MMMMBUHBYE!!

I got your letter on Friday. Thank you so much for sending it!! I loved it, and it was my first letter here in Wisconsin! I did speak in church, and from what I heard some of the member's say, they really enjoyed it. The Hmong members couldn't believe that it was only the 9th week that I had ever spoken Hmong in my entire life!! Appleton is pretty beautiful in some parts, and just like any other city it has its... not so good parts. But on the whole it really is very leafy and almost quaint, I really love it! Transfers are every 6 weeks, but we don't know when we will be transferred... Like I could be transferred next transfer, or I could be here for 9 months worth of transfers. Just wherever they need Hmong speakers! Elder Vaj is from California and he has been out for over a year. He is a convert and only decided about a year before he left to go on a mission... He's been a good first companion, and I've had to grow in some areas, and let some things go, but we get along great. I told President about Gramps and sure enough he remembers him!! He asked a little about him, but nothing to important. No idea about sis shumway... I'm having a great time here, dont worry about me!! BYEEE!!!

I can't believe they will be the Hornets again... (like that'll actually help them be better or anything...) I think we should be like the Utah Fightin' Seagles.... bring that up to management would ya?.....
RILEY!!! Yeah, I knew my back was broken. It was so broken I could feel it moving around in there. But I wanted to play, so thanks coach. GOOD FLINGIN' FLANGIN' GRIEF!!! He really needed to take himself out of the game, but the coaches needed to be man enough to say, no, your spine is split, sit down... Gah...
This year's team shouldn't be too awful, but when I get back, they'll really start to be good, so I'm looking forward to it!
Does it have 6,549 pieces? *crunch!* uh 548!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Hey-o Famili-o!

How is everyone doing back at home? As you'll read in my other letter, everything is going spectacularly here! I'm really excited to be doing the Lord's work finally!! I loved getting to read through the e-mails that you guys sent!! And yes, you could send mail to the mission home, but it wont actually get to me for a while, so it'd be better if you just sent it to that other address that I sent... Put that on facebook yeah? ;) Anyway, I miss you guys so much!! We spent the first day in the mission home, and it really reminded me of our house a lot. Wisconsin really looks and feels a lot like Utah. To be honest, even without the mission I feel as if you guys are just down the road! Some of the more surprising things: Everything is green... EVERYTHING!! How do they keep their lawns so nice?? Also, EVERYTHING has dandelions on it, so I guess it's a trade off. Its already extremely humid, and my shirt sticks to my back... Eww!! They have parks, rivers and lakes EVERYWHERE!! Also, everything here is a ____ and bar. Restaurant and bar, grill and bar, etc... People here don't like to wear shirts or shoes. They say "cook me" if they don't know the answer to your question... ummm....... Thats about it, but its only my first week, I'll get back to you..... I'm glad that the girls are feeling better about their ap tests, because I know that they will do great! I'm also glad that Megan is feeling better, I was sad that she was sad when I got to talk to her. Zach better have been good on his campout, or when I get home I'll have to... i dunno, pants him? Taylor! Are you being a good boy? What is going on with BYU right now? Mom and Dad, I have pictures coming, so don't worry!! I'm doing so good, and you guys have been the BIGGEST support for me!! I know this letter is pretty short, but I thought we had 2 hours, not just one on these computers... I only have about 13 minutes to write my president... Ask me any questions you have in your next email so I can answer them ALL!!! I wish I had more time!!! GAAAH, I just love you all so much!
Elder Meej Mom.... Read the other letter if you don't understand that....

Greetings, from WISCONSIN

Hey family!!!

It's finally p-day, and I already feel like I have a lot to tell you guys, so I'll just start off with some of the obvious and unnecessary... Like first of all I DID make it to Wisconsin safely, and I'm just starting to get adjusted to REAL missionary work... My companion is elder Vang (hmong native, his real name is Shadow Vaj) and he and I are doing really awesome things together. We were both new to this appleton area, we call it being white washed or shotgunned because neither of us is at all familiar with the city. Our first day a member fed us (fettuccine!) and he offered to update his old GPS and give it to us. How nice is that?! His name is Brother Mortenson and he said that he used to be the ward mission leader in his old ward back in Idaho, so he loves to take care of missionaries. Other than that we've been running around like chickens with our heads cut off for the past few days! We got to our apartment (video upcoming) and we found out that we barely had enough food to get us through to this pday... We basically survived this week off of eggs (which we get fresh each Sunday from a member) and a cheap cheap CHEAP knockoff brand of ramen noodles. Needless to say, my mouth is already watering thinking about all the groceries that I'm going to buy at walmart today. We've been trying to contact some of the recent converts, less actives, and our investigators for the past week, but we've only actually been inside 3 houses: 1 member, 1 recent convert, and 1 family we just met tracting who had no interest in our church... It's been hard being so new, but with the help of our Bishop, Bishop Allen, the ward missionary leader, Brother Seethong (see tong) Yang, and a lot of digging through the area book on our part, we think that this next week should be more productive. Appleton is exactly where I said that I wanted to go when everyone asked me which area I wanted to go to first, so I am loving it here!! Even though its as humid as the bathroom after one of my showers, it sometimes smells like wet diapers for no reason, and I'm almost exactly 1200 miles from home, I actually feel myself loving it already! As Elder Vang and I were out tracting the other day, we got a call from a name we didn't recognize, Brother Clifford. I guess he was just put into the bishopric, and you know what that means... Yeah, I get to speak next Sunday!! I was pretty surprised that he asked me, but even more surprised when he asked me if I would try to do the majority of it in Hmong! I'm trying my best to prepare for it, and my topic, "How seminary has prepared you for a mission" is a pretty easy one to speak about. I met some of the Hmong congregation this past Sunday, and they really are a sweet group of people. They asked me to introduce myself in front of the Hmong only Sunday school group, and I did. Afterward they asked me how long I had been a missionary. When I told them that that was my fourth day in the field they were pretty shocked!! So I guess my Hmong is progressing pretty nicely. Anyway, after church ended, somebody asked me "Koj puas muaj Hmong lub npe?" Do you have a hmong name? I told him that I had one given to me in the MTC, but I didn't recieve one from a real Hmong person yet. He then wrote down on a piece of paper my NEW hmong name........ Meej Mom Yaj!! Pronounced Mang Mah Yah!! We looked it up, and to the best of our knowlege it means respected or honored. That pretty much describes me to a "T" right??... The biggest thing that has surprised me about my mission is the fact that up until 1:00 pm, you are in the house studying, exercising, eating etc... We only have really about 1-8 to go and contact people because that's when we come back to eat and to plan. I guess it makes sense that everything would take that long, I just thought that it would be a lot more teaching and tracting. I'm so sorry that I've been all over the place in this letter, I just keep thinking of things to say! But I'll leave off this week by saying how much I love everyone! Your support has really been one of the things that has kept me excited and enthusiastic for this mission! I love you all, and here is my new address...

319 E. Harris Street apt #6
Appleton Wisconsin


Elder Yeej Mom

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Alex made it to Milwaukee!!

On Monday night, Alex had a red eye flight at midnight, where he flew to Atlanta, Georgia at 6:30, and then arrived in Milwaukee at 9:30 on Tuesday morning! We were so happy to be able to talk to him on the phone on Monday night. He sounded so good and so excited! We sure miss him, but we're so glad he's doing the Lord's work and that he will be able to bring so many people to the gospel! The secretary from the mission office sent us some pictures and scanned a letter Alex had written. I'll add the scanned letter as soon as I figure out how to do it :)

Click the letter to make it bigger

Monday, May 13, 2013


Hey hey everyone!!

The time is finally here, the day has finally come!! I'm (getting) ready to leave!! I'm just sitting in the laundry room, waiting for a load of laundry that won't be done for another... wow, an hour and a half.... This'll just be a summary of the last couple of days and it may be my weekly letter for next week because I don't know if I'll get a full p-day or not. I sure hope I'll get SOME sort of pday, because I need to buy a winter and a rain coat, a new comforter, possibly a new camera, and not to mention that I'll need to buy myself some food for the next 6 weeks!!

Most of this last week has been spent in review of everything that we've ever learned in class... We basically just drilled the basics of the things that we will be saying almost every day. That means we did a lot of "If you... Then you" kind of things... We also have gone through our tones probably a million and a half times to make sure we don't make any slips that could cause us to say something stupid! We had whats called an in-field training last week. They take every departing missionary (somewhere around 300 or so) and put them in a room for a 6 hour workshop!! It covered everything from the lessons that we will teach people, to how to contact them, to even how to set goals and plan effectively. We were able to move around a little bit, but by the last few hours I was very, very done with it!

I have everything packed that isn't being washed and anything that I'm taking with me in my carry on. I decided that I would take all of my books with me on the plane so I could maybe get some study in, but also because there is no need for me to add all that extra weight in my suitcases when I can just carry it with me. Our suitcases can weigh up to 50 pounds each, but our carry on can be 40 pounds too!! So I should have absolutely no problem distributing out the weight in my bags. I can't remember if I already told y'all about my flight plans yet... But we leave the MTC tonight at 9:00. We get to the airport and check in, and all that by probably about 10:00-10:30. Our plane leaves Salt lake at 12:55 (YES am.....) and we fly to Georgia and get there at about 6:30. Our next flight leaves at 8:30 and we fly to Milwaukee by around 10:00... I have no idea what I'll be doing once I get there... But I'm sure SOMEBODY in my group of 20 will tell me...

To end, I'll just share with you the first vision... A.) so I can practice, and B.) so you can see how messed up my language is!!

Kuv pom ib lub teeb ci ntsa iab nyob saum kuv lub taub hau. Nws ci tshaj lub hnub. Nws nqi zuj zus los so kiag ib ncig kuv. Thaum lub teeb ntawd los so ib ncig kuv lawd, kuv pom ob leeg neeg uas muaj qhov ci thiab lub yeeb koob uas kuv tsis pom qab piav li. Ob leeg sawv me ntsis ntawm kuv nrog cov huab cua. Ib tug hais lus rau thiab kuv tuav kuv lub npe thiab taw tes rau tus uas sawv ntawm nws ib sab thiab hais tias "Tus no yog kuv leej tub uas kuv hlub kawg. Mloog nws."

TTFN, Ta ta for now!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Another May 1

Nyob Zoo!!

Nej nyob li cas? Kuv nyob zoo!! Kuv xav hais tias kuv xav pom nej nrog kuv lub siab! Kuv tau tu siab hnub Tuesday vim kuv tsis pom nej, thiab peb raug qhia txog peb tsev neeg nyob saum ntuj ceeb tsheeb. Da si, kuv paub tias nej xav kuv nyob no MTC. Thiab kuv paub tias kuv yuav ua tej yam hu ua vim Vajtswv xav kuv qhia leeg neeg txog nws txoj moo zoo! Nej tsis txais no vim kuv tsis xav tias tias li cas kuv hais no...


How are you? I am good!! I want to say that I want to see you with all my heart! I was sad on Tuesday because I didn't see you, and we were taught about our family living in heaven. But, I know that you want me to be at the MTC. And I know that I will do the things I do because God wants me to teach the people about his gospel!! Don't translate this because I don't think that this is how you say this.......

It feels like everything is starting to catch up with me. I'm mentally and physically exhausted all the time, and I would love nothing more than an entire day (none of this class on your p-day crap!!) just to sleep in, have a nap, and go to bed early... BUT I realize that this is normal for missionaries! What I'm experiencing now is nothing compared to how bad I COULD be having it. I feel much better than I did this past weekend, and everyone in my district is finally finally FINALLY healthy!! The ol' boil has died down, and I haven't had a problem since... Though I do kinda miss the guy... The doctor said I could call it a Ferruncle... but boil sounds less... I guess it just sounds less like ferruncle sounds... We've been allowed to go outside for gym for the first time since I have been here. The field has always been too wet up 'til now. Even though I stink, I love running around playing soccer with my district.

We've all been going a little bit stir crazy here, so that Yo Yo is a blessing!! Whenever I'm not supposed to be doing something else, I whip out that sucker and... yo... it?... I throw it at the ground and it comes back?..... Yeah, that's the mental exhaustion talking... You all should have heard me giggle when I read those quotes. Oh. My. Gosh. I don't giggle, and those had me struggling to keep it in!! I also loved all of the pictures! (How DO you spell Moriancumer anyway?!) All the Hmongs wanted me to thank you for sending those little toilets. They really loved those!! You should have seen them showing them off to everyone in our residence hall.

We have some extra time on the computer some days when we finish all of our work, and all I have to say is that y'all need to go check out these videos... they are absolutely awful!! They're all on under resources, video audio etc... then click the link that says VIDEOS near the top. The first two are under the topic Old testament video resources and are on the third page... Theyre named something like 6:00 news or something, watch both... The other one is under New testament video resources, and i think its the 5th page... It's the news one on that page too... You like bad acting? We've got that B-roll!

Your packages are the best part of the week, and I always always look forward to them!! This week I don't really have any needs... Mostly just stuff. I think I need one of those Tide to Go pens, I'm pretty messy... Also, dryer sheets arent a MUST but would be nice just to have... I would also request more of them there beef sticks!! oooooh, they were good... Other than that... pack as the spirit directs?...

MOM: We won't be able to call you on mothers day, we have a departure devotional and the phones will be packed all day anyway... Would it be okay if I just called from the airport? It'd only be 2 days after that, and then we would be able to talk for about 2 hours!! Let me know what you want to happen, and I will make it happen!!

Always remember, Never forget... What was it again? I forget....


ELDER LIS XEEEEEEEEEEEEEEB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!