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, Untrust...ing?  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