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!!!