Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One month Mark! :)

 This week had a ton of ups and downs, of course. Ha but I guess I am learning to expect them now, so it didn't take a huge toll on me. I just went with it. Dealt with it the best I could, and moved on. Sooo here goes.
One really good progress made this week is that it went by REALLY fast. Haha, that hasn't happened all mission yet. Finally time is flying by this week. I think that is because I was able to focus so much more this week on the work. I was able to not think about home, family, or friends in as much. I still did sometimes, that is just how life is. haha, but I was able to focus. 
Last week we did a ton of service. We climbed under the house of an older lady, the one we found while tracting, and changed her heater filter. The next day we went to an elderly couple's house, who just had surgery, and cleaned out their fridge. We found the skeleton of a dead mouse while doing it too! haha, gross. We worked at the Habitat Thrift Store again, did Bingo, of course, worked at the Flood Relief Center, and helped someone move. I LOVE being able to serve. At the flood relief center there is this awesome lady, about my age, who is working for a service group. She is so much fun and she said the other day, "I just love when you all come to work here. You all just bring such a neat energy to the room!" She has expressed interest in wanting to learn more about our church, but we aren't allowed to teach her at the service sites, so we are trying to think of the best way to be able to teach her. The Elders invited her to some activities this week so we will see if she comes. But we did get to talk to her about our missions and our decisions to serve and everything. So there are still ways to share our testimonies. 
Things have been tough this week for my companion. She is struggling with getting enough sleep. But I think there are deeper causes. She has been struggling with her desire to be out here and it is  hard to motivate her to do the work.  I am trying so hard to figure out how to help here but still be able to do the work effectively. I need to figure out the best way to help her. 
This week we got to do exchanges for 48 hours, and it was super great. First I was with Sister Christensen, that was pretty fun. But the next day I got to go to Loveland/Fort Collins area and be with Sister Cardon for a day. Oh my goodness, I loved that day! It was one of the best days on my mission so far. Her and I just click so well. We both are having some struggles with our comps and so we were able to help each other out and talk through what was going on. But the thing was, we were busy every second of that whole day! We walked everywhere because they don't have a car. But we were contacting people, teaching people, so busy all day, but we still had so much fun. As we walked, we had time to talk, I haven't talked that much in a long time. It was great. Then we would teach, and we taught really well together. We went to a member's house to meet them because they were in the area, and the man reminded me of Brian Owen sooo much! Haha. I laughed so hard! Goodness, it was such a good day. She is such an obedient missionary and very hard working. We talked about how different people have different views on what obedience is, and it is hard to adjust to that. But it was such a nice"break", but not really a break from working, since we worked all day! That is what I want missionary work to be like everyday. It should be. haha. 
Also,  I ended up going over to my 2nd cousin's house for dinner! It was so funny how we figured it out too. We were talking and I said I was from GR, and she said that she had a cousin that lived in that area whose husband taught theatre at a college. I was like, "Oh maybe I know who it is! My dad works there." She couldn't remember names though at first and so we kind of dropped it and moved on in the conversation. Then she was like, "Wait...what is your mom's name?" I was like, "Kari." She was like..."Oh my goodness!! That is my cousin!" Haha, so we figured out that we were cousins. So neat:) Out of all the days that I could have been on exchanges, and eaten anywhere, I ate at my 2nd cousins house. Such a blessing. We also had Thai food that she had picked up that night, so it was some of my favorite food!! I loved that. 
This week we taught the W family again, and we asked if he had kept his commitment to pray about Joseph Smith and to know if the church is true. He said he hadn't. So we talked to him a little more about how the Holy Ghost feels and then invited him to pray right then to know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and if this church is true. So he did, we knelt down right then and he prayed. It was such a neat experience. He said he felt tingly and then he admitted to us that he knows that this church is true. He has been fighting it for the longest time. He also said that the week before when we had been going through Joseph Smith's account of the first vision, he felt like, even though we were the ones talking, that someone else was speaking those words right to his heart. It was so neat to see how the spirit works through us and we can be mouthpieces of the Lord. We addressed a few of his concerns and talked a lot about Faith. He is getting more and more sure everytime. His wife is so happy. She talked to a member this week and just cried to her because she is so happy with how their family is growing in the gospel and becoming closer. It is AMAZING to see the effect that the gospel of Jesus Christ can have on people's lives. We invited their whole family to come to church, even their kids, and they all came yesterday!!! Our next step is to teach their children and help them get ready to be baptized. Their son, is a member of another church and is very skeptical about changing, but I know once he learns he will want to be baptized. He will feel the truth. Keep them in your prayers.
This week we had a Women's Conference in Loveland for the whole stake and we were invited to go. It was such a wonderful night, I was able to get the spiritual nourishment and boost that I needed right now. It was a testimony that the Lord knows that I am trying my best and that I will be blessed for that. 
This week we have a zone goal to get 25 lessons in every companionship, if we do this, we will see miracles and break the mission record for most lessons taught in a week. Pray for us this week as we strive to reach this goal! We have a good plan for it and I have the faith that we will be able to accomplish it!!
Well I better get going! I love you all sooooo much! Thanks for your letters and prayers and all you do.  I miss you all!! Stay strong, press forward, even when times get tough. The Savior went through so much, when days get hard, I think how much harder it was for Him. You will come closer to Him as you go through trials and tribulations, because you will feel a portion of what he went through. I always think of this scripture when tracting or when hard times happen, Mosiah 14:2-7. Keep Him as your example always. 
Love you!! Have a great Week.
Sister Karissa Young
Me on a Berthoud Tractor

Sister Cardon and me

A cool staircase at  member's house, books!

Dead mouse we found while cleaning the fridge.

Picking up sticks after a windy day!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Adventures in Berthoud Week 2

Dear Everyone,
This week has been better. I'm sorry if I sounded down last week. It has been tougher than I expected...well...no...just tough in different ways than I expected. This week I had some of my worst days and my best! So it's been a good week all in all though. The first few days after I last wrote...were some of the worst to be honest. haha. My comp and I started getting sick, colds, and we could feel it coming on. But the first miracle of the week happened and it didn't get super bad. It stayed in a very minor stage of cold, which never happens to me! So I was blessed. But that day, we had an investigator drop us and it really hit Sister M to the core and she was pretty down. And me, being a sponge when it comes to people's emotions, I got super down. But after that day, things started going up. I think Heavenly Father knew that I had enough to bear at that time. So, the next day we had a meeting with the ward mission leader and the Elders were there. I have slowly been trying my very hardest to gain the trust of the Elders back. That night after the meeting, we talked to them and asked if they wanted to have some of our former investigators and such. They don't have ANY because they were swept in to the area recently. So they liked that and then we planned to meet the next night to make plans and figure out how to best help Berthoud.  So the meeting the next night went really well and it built up our unity and we came up with some good plans on how to best help the work progress in the area and what things we want to talk to the Ward Mission Leader about and we are planning to meet again this week. That lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and now we are working together and helping each other instead of against each other. It is great!! 

Then the next day was Valentine's Day! Charity DAY!!! Which was the best day on my mission so far, outside of the MTC. I loved the MTC....haha. I have been struggling with focusing 100% on the work all the time, I tend to miss home, family, and friends a lot, but I have been working on forgetting myself and getting to work. I truly was able to do that on Valentine's Day. And I was reminded as to why I wanted to come on a mission. You can loose sight of that on hard days. But days like this day, make it all worth it.
We focused a lot on charity that day and figured that there was no better day than Valentine's Day to share our Savior's love with all we came in contact with. We were able to visit investigators and teach and fit the lessons to their needs. We felt the guiding hand of the Lord all day. Bro. F likes to talk a lot, and missionaries in the past have never been able to "teach" him lessons because he talks so much but we were able to teach him doctrine and testify to him with love. I am learning how to best teach to him. He is very logical, but he is silently taking everything in when he comes to church, from the people he sees. I think that the spirit is already doing most of the work. But this week we are going to teach him more and try again to help him commit to baptism. 

We also had some "extra" time to fill and decided that instead of us trying to figure out how to fill it, we would ask the Lord. We prayed and then began moving forward visiting some former investigators. But after we visited a few, most were busy with holiday stuff, we looked over and saw a lady shoveling and decided to go talk to her. It turned out to be a lady who former sisters had run into several times but didn't know where she lived. We talked to her and planned another time to come and visit. We felt the Lord guiding us. Later we had a lesson with the W family on the restoration. It was a powerful experience and the spirit was there for sure. He usually has a ton of questions and concerns after we are done but after telling him about Joseph Smith and testifying, he was silent. He has committed to pray to know the truth and to know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet. We are excited to be moving forward with him. It really strengthened my testimony on the restoration and I am seeing why it is such an important message to share about a young boy searching for the truth. We are all searching for the truth! It is instilled in our nature. We are truth seekers. Many people just don't know how to find it or don't know how to recognize it. The story of Joseph Smith is so relateable to each of us, and it is so powerful to know that Jesus Christ's church, the same church that existed in Him time, is back on the earth. The fullness! It is a wonderful message. 
I have been taking the time to write the miracles down each day that I see, and as I have done that, I truly see the Lord's hand in His work. It is helping me to stay happy and focused to reflect over all that the Lord does each day. If you are having trouble staying happy, I'd like to invite you start looking for God's hand in your life each day. You will see His hand everywhere!
I went tracting for the first time yesterday! It actually wasn't too bad. Except we chose a funny day to do it. The wind was blowing sooo bad:) Just like Wyomin' wind. Which isn't the best thing for Sister missionaries in skirts...haha. But the second door we knocked on was a lady who has her son that is a member but she is not. But she respects our religion. We were able to leave her with a message and then found out she needed service done! So we are going to go back and serve her. We will see where it goes. Everyone was pretty nice to us when we knocked, as long as we did ice breakers and talked to them a bit first. Except a few who just said," I don't have time." and shut the door. Ha
For service this week, we volunteered at the flood relief center in Loveland, the Habitat for Humanity thrift store, and Bingo again. I love the opportunity to serve and the people that we get to meet while we serve. It is great. There are many people here that were affected by the floods last year and are still struggling a lot because of that. It's nice to be able to help them. 
Also, thanks for the emails! I have to print them off sometimes because I don't have time to read them and it costs me, haha, so I love hand written letters too because I get them in the mail during the week, and don't have to pay to print every week. Thanks for all your love and support!! I can feel your prayers lifting me up.  
I LOVE YOU ALL!! Keep praying for me. I pray for you all. 

Sister Karissa Young

Ha...yeah...this was after a long day, but...Happy Charity Day!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

First Week in Berthoud

Well Everyone, I am in Berthoud, CO for my very first area and I am with Sister Mathews, from Idaho. Her and I are very different from each other, but we both bring different strengths into the companionship. She is helping me learn how to more fully recognize the spirit in our decisions. Wow! It has been so long since I have emailed. Like 2 weeks! Ok well, the last few days at the MTC were great. It was so hard to say goodbye to everyone. We really became so close and I will keep in touch with them for sure. It made coming here a little tough to be honest. This mission is very...diffferent. I am still getting used to it but...I was having MTC withdrawals because of the wonderful, hard working, dilligent people I was surrounded by. I live with the E family. They are Wyoming ranchers through and through. Their whole house is decked out in Wyoming stuff. Makes me feel right at home. I get discouraged some days but Heavenly Father helps me out. On my really hard day yesterday, He gave me a tender mercy of llamas!!!! One of the members we visited had llamas as pets! It cheered me right up:)
Berthoud is about the size of Lyman, WY, maybe smaller. The people here are really wonderful. The ward is very open, friendly, inviting, and nonjudgemental. We are teaching a lot of less-actives here and we have 2 investigators we are teaching. The F family, don't know if I can put names or not..., they are a less active family, Italian, and the father is not a member. But for some reason, over the past few months, he has gained a desire to learn about the church and eventually be baptized. Sister F, has struggled with going to church over the years and so we have been meeting with her too. She has one of the strongest testimonies of our Heavenly Father and our Savior, that I have ever felt. She is incredible! We have lovingly tried to help her understand the importance of being fully-active in the church and this Sunday both her and her husband came to church and stayed almost the whole time. They are amazing and as soon as Bro. F gets baptized, I feel that the rest of the family will come back as well.
Another family that we have been teaching, less-active, is the W family. They we baptized where they were younger and didn't really grow up with the church so it is basically like teaching non-members. Bro. W has such a desire to find the truth and is finally reading the Book of Mormon. He has some interesting ideas on some concepts but we are teaching him truths and I was able to testify to him that he would be able to feel the truthfullness of this gospel and know that this is the true church he has been looking for. Our lesson last night was great. He has come so far in his life and their family would benefit so much from being fully active in the church.
It is so wonderful. The members here feed us every night! They are so kind and treat us so well. Along with teaching less-actives and investigators, we also teach the members that are willing. We strive to get 20 lessons a week here. Also, random fact, EVERYONE here has animals. Not just one, but multiple. haha, cats, dogs, birds, llamas, etc. So...good thing I have a lint roller and I am not allergic to animals right? Oh, and another thing, everyone here has Broncos football everything! Blankets, hats, coats, flags, everything. The weather has been freezing! It has been in the negatives all week until yesterday when it finally got to like 15. Good thing this is nothing new to me.
So, in this mission they have a program called, Just Serve, where we try to get 10 hours of serve all week. It is based on the story of Ammon in the Book of Mormon, when he served the king dilligently and then his heart was softened and he wanted to know about the message that Ammon had to bring. While we serve in the community, we don't proselyte at all. If someone is interested, we set a time for later. But I really LOVE the opportunities to serve here. I love serving and working and meeting new people. Every week we serve at the Assisted Living Home and help with Bingo. It is so nice to get to be with those people and help brighten their days. We also usually will serve at thrift stores and Flood relief. But we didn't this week.
Ohhh by the way, you know how much I LOVE driving....not, haha. I am the designated driver because my comp doesn't feel comfortable driving in snow. So good thing I grew up in Wyoming...:). But Sister. M has trouble remembering where everything is around here, so we get lost a lot...ha. I think I am giving in and buying a GPS today. The first night we were here, we got sooooo lost in a huge snow storm too. I was already overwhelmed with everything and then I just got stressed out driving in the snow not know where we were going. Ha. Oh well:)
We are setting goals to help the work progress in this area even more. We are striving to use our time to the best of our ability and always striving to Focus on our Savior, Jesus Christ. His atonement is incredible and can change your heart. The Lord will always be there through hard times. This church is so true! Keep praying continually. Thank you so much for all your prayers, letters, packages, and thoughts. I love you all!! Have a Happy Valentine's Day! Don't forget Christ's Charity on this day of love. I challenge you to each find someone to serve and love this week, and as you do that, you will feel the Savior's love as well.
Sister Karissa Young
My wonderful MTC zone


Weekly planning!
Our matching Minnie and Mickey PJ's

LLamas! I told you I would find some llamas in CO