Monday, April 29, 2013

"Did you say Jesus Christ?... Come in!"

Friends and Family!
Shout out to all of those who wrote me this week, i loved getting your letters! Thank you!
It seems like i was just e-mailing, haha i guess because i kind of was! our p-day got changed to monday this week, because transfers are on friday! I can't believe that i have already been here for a transfer. time FLIES on the mission. it seems like one big blur of time. crazy. can't wait to find out what will happen/if there will be any changes. i will let you know next week!
This week was really great. i love being a missionary. even on the days that are "unsuccessful", i still love it. Serving the Lord is the best! I found this quote this week by Ezra Taft Benson and wanted to share it with you all:
"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature."
I know that only through Jesus Christ can we be changed, and that the savior has that power to literally change us. This week i saw so many people change because of their reliance on the atonement, and it has changed me. It has been incredible.
On Wednesday we planned out our whole day, and seriously we did not have one minute that was not planned out to be visiting people. It was the craziest-planned day that i have had yet while being in Nebraska, so i was so excited to start the day. We had 6 lessons planned with some less actives along with our investigators. Anyway, long story short, 4 out of the 6 lessons we planned cancelled on us. boo. that has never happened and so i guess the Lord was telling me it was time to experience what "real" mission life is like! but, it was incredible how even though so many of our lessons were cancelled, the Lord truly led us to where we needed to be. I really learned that this is not our work at ALL. it is solely the Lord's work. Even though we had planned out this "awesome" day, haha that is not what the Lord had in store for our day. Even though we did not do what we planned, and at the time it was super discouraging, it was amazing because at the end of the day, we had found 2 new investigators. The Lord, and only He, knew that we didnt need to teach our other investigators. He needed us to find these people.
Thursday we had a training for all the trainers/trainees in the mission. We got to go to Lincoln, which is such a cool city. I hope i get to serve there. President Weston gave the training, and the spirit was so strong the entire time. I have such a desire to be a better missionary and to devote every thought and action to the Lord. When the meeting was finishing up and the AP's were concluding the meeting, they said "and now we would like to have sister peterson come bear her testimony, and then we will close". So, i got to bear my testimony in front of 50 or so of the missionaries, and man was it humbling. But, the Lord knew that i needed to have that opportunity. and i love bearing my testimony of Christ, so no complaints :)
After the training, sister whittaker and i headed back to our area. I had this really strong prompting that we should visit a referral that we had received from church head quarters. Two girls named Sara and Angela had requested a Joy to the World DVD, so we were supposed to go drop it off at their house. We drove over there, and i knocked on the door. A man answered, and i said that are missionaries from the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, and we were looking for angela and sara. the man told us that angela wasnt there but that sara was. He goes and gets sara, and then comes back and starts telling us how he was about to leave to go to the gym and so what did we need. haha i love how rude people are to missionaries. anyway, haha i said, well, we are representatives of Jesus Christ. he instantly cut me off and said, "did you say Jesus Christ? Come on in!" He let us right into his house and started telling us that he has been looking for a church to go to for 30 years. He asked us where and when church was, and when we could come teach him. haha!! that NEVER happens! i think sister whittaker and i were both speechless and stunned, because i dont even remember what we talked to him about, but we are teaching him this week! The Lord is SO good to us. His name is Brian, and is incredible. i cant wait to see what happens with him!
On Friday, we taught Troy's friend Amanda. She is INCREDIBLE. she really opened up to us and told us how her mother passed away and how she has been bitter and angry at God ever since. We taught her about the plan of salvation, and taught her about how Heavenly Father loves each of us. We were all in tears, it was amazing. We asked her to pray, and she said that she would. The prayer that she said (which was the first prayer she has said in years) was hands down the most amazing experience/prayer i have ever heard. This is what she said "God, thank you so much for having the sisters come teach me about you today. i miss you. Amen". She said it with such sincerity that i couldnt help but weep after we left the lesson. the Lord loves each of us so much, and all we have to do is ask him and talk to him in order to feel His love. It makes me cry even just thinking about it. It's these types of moments on the mission that make every moment worth it.
I had a really neat experience happen this week with Sister Whittaker that i wanted to tell you all about. So, i dont know if you remember, but when i was in the MTC i was really struggling one day and prayed to feel of God's love. Instantly as i said Amen, the words "Fear not i am with thee, oh be not dismayed. for i am thy God and will still give thee aid.." came into my head. it was a huge answer to prayer and an incredible experience that i will never forget. This week, Sister Whittaker found out some news about her younger brother that was really hard for her. She told me that the night after she found out, she was praying and really couldnt say anything but just cry. Instantly, right after she prayed for peace and comfort from Heavenly Father, the words "Fear not i am with thee, oh be not dismayed. for i am thy God and will still give thee aid" came immediately into her head. I hadnt told her about my experience in the MTC when she shared this with me.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord knows us, and loves us all individually, and EXACTLY the same. There is no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father answers the prayers of His children. Hearing sister whittakers experience was seriously life changing for me, because I know now that God lives. I know that He does. There is NO coincidence that she had the exact same experience as me, and it is because there IS a God.
I am so thankful that i am here, and that i get to be a part of the Lord's work. It is so humbling and most days, actually all days, i feel inadequate to be here. But i am so grateful that the Lord has blessed me and sent me to Nebraska, and am trying every single day to become better.
Thank you for your prayers. Prayer is real. If you havent prayed in a while, get on your knees and pray right now. Heavenly Father will answer your prayers. Trust me.
i love you all.
Sister Lauren

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An Incredible Week!

This week was incredible and i cant wait to tell you about it! thank you again as always for your prayers! Prayer is REAL! it is amazing how Heavenly Father knows us each PERSONALLY. i love Him. and i am so grateful for the miracles and blessings he seems to pour on me each day.
so have i already said that this week was amazing?! haha it was so great. SO many miracles happened this week it was INSANE. so lets start.
Tuesday: So every transfer our Trail Center leaders do mini exchanges with the sisters, where they come with us to our area from 3-9. I was put with Sister Jasper, who is an INCREDIBLE missionary. She has been on her mission for a year, and has been a Trail Center leader for almost half of it. she is amazing. I was definitely nervous going with her, haha but right as we started planning for our lessons the spirit was so strong and i knew that it would be an amazing day. We started off by going and visiting a boy named Ruben. (sorry in advance if i have already told you about these people! the days are a blur here so i forget who i have written about!) Ruben is 9. His mom is a member and his dad isnt. it is so sad because his dad said that he could get baptized once he turned 9, but now that he is 9 his dad has still not let him get baptized. Ruben is amazing. the smartest 9 year old i have ever met. We did a little visual aid/example thing for him that he LOVED. You use pepper, water, and soap. The pepper represents sins, and then when you put the water on your finger the pepper all separates. anyway. kids love it. 
So we showed him that and he and his two other brothers thought it was the coolest thing ever. it made me excited to teach elementary school when i get back. i love teaching. ah it was so fun. So after we visited with Ruben, we went to a less actives house. They are the Freemans, and they are awesome. I had never met them, so we had no idea what to expect. They talked about how they want to come back to church and how the temple is there goal! we are going to start working with them this week, ah they are awesome! It was amazing because in this lesson, sister jasper and i were completely teaching by the spirit. she would say something that i was thinking, and i would say something that she was thinking. more than ever i could really feel like the spirit was completely teaching and i was just moving my mouth! ha it was incredible.
Friday: Today we had MORE exchanges! ha talk about stressful/exciting! I was with a sister named sister Jensen. Rewind a little bit: so in exchanges they come to MY area... so i had to know where everything was/where everyone lives/who everyone was because the sister i am with has never been there before! it is crazy, but really fun as well. and miracles happen! so with sister jensen we first visited sister webb. oh my goodness. that woman is COMPLETELY different. the atonement is AMAZING. 
She talked to us all about how she really felt prompted to read her scriptures the other day, and couldnt put them down so she read for a couple of HOURS! haha i seriously almost screamed. just 3 or 4 weeks ago she hadnt even read the scriptures in years. So she has been reading her scriptures every day, prays several times a day, AND she said "you know, i really feel like i need to be serving other people more. i told my husband that i am going to start cooking meals more and cleaning the house". my jaw dropped. she has really bad depression/health issues and so even getting out of her chair is a struggle. but seriously, the atonement of Jesus Christ can CHANGE you physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. you name it. ah it was amazing to see the difference in her.
After we visited sister webb, we went over to Ty and Troy's. I know i have told you about them but i cant remember what i have said. So we basically stopped teaching them about a week and a half ago because they werent progressing (going to church, reading scriptures, or keeping any of the commitments we had left them). But, we invited them to the baptism last week that we had and they came and LOVED it! i think i already told you that... haha but it was incredible and it was the game changer. 
So on exchanges on friday we visited them, and did the pepper, water, soap analogy trying to help Ty stay focused haha. she has super bad ADD so keeping her focused for two minutes is hard. BUT, as we taught the lesson, she was totally into it, answering every question, and even just thinking about it now is making me shocked! haha. Troy, her dad, had downloaded the LDS scriptures app on his phone and was in awe of it. They have been reading their scriptures EVERY NIGHT this week and PRAYING EVERY NIGHT!!!?! i literally almost screamed. haha. troy has started to really be a good example to his daughter and it has made the world of difference. It is incredible and amazing and ahhh. i love missionary work. ha. So even crazier though, is their friend Amanda was over at the house during the lesson, and now she wants to learn more because troy invited her! it was just one more testament of when we are converted (or even starting to be converted!) to the gospel, we want to share it. So now we are teaching Amanda. haha. miracles exist.
Saturday: We invited Troy, Ty, Amanda, and a member's family to come to the Trail Center to watch the Testaments. Amanda especially felt super uncomfortable at first, im sure just because the spirit is so strong in the trail center. But we watched the Testaments, and EVERYONE, mostly Amanda, were in tears at the end. The spirit was tangible and insane. I was able to bear testimony to them of the power of the atonement, and the reality and truthfulness of the book of mormon. Amanda LOVED the video and is wanting still to learn more. ahh. Also, tonight was so incredible because it really was so perfect to have a family of members there. Members at lessons make ALL the difference. seriously. the investigators are able to see a "normal" family (not missionaries haha) who are living the gospel and who are happy. i love having members do missionary work, and truly were the reason that everything went so well tonight. It was so awesome.
Sunday: where do i even begin with sunday?!? today was one of the best days of my mission so far. it is amazing because on a mission nothing is about you. ha. it is hard to adjust to, but at the same time i have loved it. Even church isnt about what you want and about helping yourself. i am on edge every sunday: worried about what the speakers will say because we have investigators there haha, or constantly checking the door to see if our investigators/less actives will come! it is always a stressful day, but ALWAYS the best day as well. So today. drum roll.... We had EVERY single one of our investigators AND less active members at church!!!?!?! hahaha i am tearing up just writing about it. the Lord is so good to us. There is nothing better than seeing an investigator or less active come through the doors of the church. because, you know that by having them at church they will come closer to christ.. and that is the best thing that anyone could do! So we had Ruben, HIS DAD!! (his dad decided that he wanted to check out the whole "mormon" thing?!?! haha that doesnt just happen...), Troy!, TY!, Sister webb, Sister Duncan (a less active we are working with right now who is trying to get back to the temple!), the Bains, the Meadows, and the Lakes Dad named Desmond (investigating the church). it was absolutely incredible.

i dont want you to think that i am telling you these things because it was what i did and i am proud.. because really it wasnt me AT ALL. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church on earth, and THAT is why these people came to church. The atonement of Jesus Christ makes us HAPPY. and that is why people want to change, and that is why they keep listening to sister whittaker and i teach them. This gospel is true. i cant say it enough.
Fun Facts:
1. there are thunder storms here every night! they are CRAZY (remember nauvoo?!) and i have grown to love them.
2. there are Black squirrels here. see pictures.
3. Check out the facebook page NOM-nebraska omaha mission. Our presidents wife/senior couples attach pictures and updates of the mission!
4. omaha nebraska is ranked 17th in the country for bed bugs! i didnt even know those existed, but they are a serious deal here. "dont let the bed bugs bite" is legit! yikes!

I am so grateful to be here. If i came home today i would be a completely better person than i was. i cant wait to see what the next 16 months bring. :)
i love you all so very much and miss you all. but this work is so great and i LOVE it!
Sister Lauren

 Amazing Black Squirrels that are everywhere

Having fun eating Ice Cream

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Our first baptism ... and our first pulled tooth!

Sister Brown and I colored sister Whitaker's hair last Preparation day! 

 Sister whittaker pulled out carltons tooth which was hilarious! so we took pictures :)
I'm holding the tooth we just pulled out! 

Danielle's beautiful Baptism - I will never forget the Spirit I felt. 

Thought we would just snap a picture while working at the Trail Center

Tulips in the Snow

Family and friends!

Sorry for the cheesy subject title, haha but i am looking outside of the Trail Center window and there are tulips sprouting out of the snow! it brightened my day to see the new life coming out of the cold snow! yay for spring! i am just going to jump right in and say that this week was absolutely incredible. SO much happened, and it was amazing. The theme that kind of enveloped this week was faith. I really felt like not only were my investigators faith tested, but mine was as well. Don't get me wrong, it has been an amazing week, but different than any other i have had. I am so incredibly grateful to be here and more than ever am i grateful to have the scriptures. I finished the Book of Mormon this week, and decided to take Moroni's challenge once again to ask and see if the book was true. Let me testify to you that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. there is no doubt in my mind. In order to keep the faith, we need to each be reading the book of mormon every single day. Especially in the world that we are living in, the book of mormon will be our strength! i love it.

So, this week was insane! AH SO busy but so incredible. Planning for a baptism is extremely stressful as a missionary haha. i thought it would be the best day of my mission to have a baptism, but leading up to the actual baptism was crazy. Never before have i felt the influence of satan so much in trying to thwart this baptism. On saturday morning, i woke up and just felt "off". i plugged in my hair dryer into a wall socket, and it blew the fuse and sparks went every where. my hand was burned and so the day started off just crazy. We then were driving to a lunch appointment, and we got a call from Sister Lake, crying and yelling saying that she just was so upset because Danielle was not treating her with respect, and that we needed to help her. We were able to give her a lesson over the phone and pray with her, and kind of calm her down. We also called Danielle, and she was super upset, so we taught her a lesson over the phone as well and calmed her down. haha NOT what i thought would happen the morning of her baptism! but. even though it was crazy. I will NEVER forget the baptism. Sister Whittaker and I stood at the side of the font while Danielle was in the font. The spirit that i felt looking down at her and having her smile and look up at us before she was baptized was priceless. It is moments like that that make every second of the mission worth it. It gives me chills even thinking about it. It was incredible.

I just looked at the time and i have zero time! yikes! so let me just give you a couple of highlights from the week. i apologize already for the short e-mail!

We taught danielle the law of chastity the day before her baptism, and i dont think i have laughed harder. I thought she would take it a lot easier, but she was so embarrassed! ha she sat there with her hands over her eyes and ears and wouldnt look at us the whole time we read the for strength of youth pamphlet on the law of chastity. when we asked her if she would keep the law of chastity she said "i will do ANYTHING if i dont have to hear that again!" haha.

Sister Webb- she called one night this week sobbing and needed us to come over. she suffers from depression, and she was having an extremely rough day. i love being a missionary because more than anything, we are strengthening and helping other people feel of God's love. As we sat there and talked with her, i was overcome with this enormous amount of love for her from God. it was incredible to be able to share that love with her, and truly testify to her that God loves her. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ we are blessed to be able to feel that love for others, and i LOVE it. probably my favorite part of missionary work. We left her house with her feeling happy and grateful for Heavenly Father. She came to church on sunday by herself which is HUGE. she is amazing. i love this work.

We got to go to the temple this week and do a session! it felt like home. i loved every second of it. The winter quarters temple is stunning, and i really could feel the pioneers spirits there. it was amazing.

One last story:

there is a less active family in our ward that we have been working with the past few weeks. The wife has started coming back to church, but the husband has been pretty hesitant. Sister Whittaker and I had left our meal calendar at the church, and so the wife asked her husband, Cliff, if he would be willing to drive it over to us. By no coincidence, both Sister Whittaker and I were not on tour and were able to greet him at the door. We asked if he had time to go on a tour, and he said he had a few minutes to see our favorite places in the gallery. It was incredible because throughout the tour we were able to answer some underlying questions he has had about the gospel that have been holding him back. While we were sitting in front of the big map, we started talking to him about the Book of Mormon. It was amazing to really have the spirit speaking through me, and to bear testimony of the Book of Mormon to him. He had never read the entire thing before, and this was one of the main issues he was having with coming to church. We were able to commit him to reading the Book of Mormon every day, and he was excited and ready to make that commitment. During this conversation he said to us, “I am so grateful that I came today. The Lord knew I needed to talk with you sisters, even when I didn’t realize that I needed to.”
There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord had sent him to the trail center so that we could have a lesson with him. Come to find out, he had gotten lost a few times trying to find our apartment, and that is why he decided to just come to the trail center in hopes that we would be there. The Lord truly is guiding our paths and leads those who are in need to us as missionaries. It is incredibly humbling knowing that the Lord really does trust in us to teach His children. incredible.

I love this work. Every single day is a miracle, and i am so grateful to be here. Thank you for your prayers. I love you all!

Sister Lauren :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 9th 2013 Letter - What a Week!

What a Week!


AHHH what an amazing week!!! Wasn't conference absolutely AMAZING??! Man i am SO grateful to be on a mission right now!! Seriously the work is moving forward and i love to have "caught the wave"! It is absolutely incredible. This week has flown by so fast! And it has been wonderful. Thank you for your prayers! i have needed them this week, so thank you thank you! So dad told me about the truck!??! oh my goodness that is terrible. I had to laugh though because for once it wasn't my fault... haha. keep me updated! how fun that you got to watch opal and eli... man i miss them. thanks for the pictures!!

So this week was incredible. I love being a missionary. I loved how in conference there was such a push to do missionary work! It is so important. I have such a greater desire to be a better missionary and to really be that "light" for the world! Keep being such great examples at home, and such great member missionaries! now as a missionary, i have grown to absolutely appreciate and adore the members who are constantly striving to teach their friends about the gospel and Jesus Christ.. because that is what this church is all about! It was wonderful to be able to watch all 4 sessions live. i loved thinking that all of my family and friends were doing the same thing at the exact same time! how fun. We watched the first session at the Lakes home, which was awesome. Haha i loved it because every time sister lake would let out an "amennn" i was feeling the same thing! it was amazing. Daniele is getting baptized at 2 this Saturday! I cannot wait! it feels like christmas! Sister whittaker and i are speaking, and sister lake is doing the musical number! it should be amazing haha. I will send pictures! the second session of conference we watched at sister webb's house and she is doing incredible. seriously a different person. It still is just such a shock for me to see her because truly she even looks like a different person! She has the light of Christ in her and it is VISIBLE. This church is true!

I wish i could tell you everything but there just isnt enough time! boo! but here are some highlights of the week:

Joe and Ashley- i cant remember if i have told you about them (?) but Joe is a less active and his daughter, Ashley, is 11 and we have been teaching her! she is adorable and loves it when we come over. We set her for baptism to be baptized this Saturday. This week we taught her and at the end of the lesson she sang us her talent show song Baby by Justin Beiber. haha she was so cute, and it was the first time her parents had heard her actually sing! she trusts us so much and i love it. So after a lunch appointment on thursday, sister whittaker had a really strong impression that we should go see Joe and Ashley. We drove over to their house, and sitting outside was a man. i instantly knew that THIS was the reason we needed to come, because we needed to talk to him! we went up to him and started talking about faith. long story short he has been looking for the truth and wants us to come teach him! we are going over there tomorrow. His name is Earl, and is amazing. The Lord truly leads us to those who are prepared, if we but listen to the spirit. It is incredible. So since we were over by Joe and Ashley's we still decided to go and talk to them. As we walked in their house, the grandma was there and all she says is that Joe moved to Alaska?!?!?! our minds were blown. He literally just picked up and left, and did not even tell his daughter. Ashley lives with her mom, who is Joe's ex wife, so Joe hadnt even told Ashley that he had moved. And because Ashley's mom is not a member and does not live in our area, it makes things so much more complicated. It is crazy to me because really satan is working so hard on those who are wanting truth. We have to remember to be doing the little things each day, like praying and reading our scriptures! in order to keep the faith. I loved in conference how obedience was so strongly emphasized. Because truly, obedience is what brings happiness! We are heart broken about ashley, but i know that God has a plan for her. He has a plan for each of us, so i will just be praying that he takes care of our little ashley!

We had dinner this week with a lady named Suzanne. She has been excommunicated, so we are teaching her because she is wanting to come back to the church! she is amazing. Her parents are super active in the church, and are some of my favorite people here. They are the Hatch's, and have become our family away from home! Brother Hatch has a thick cowboy accent, and always walks us out to our car after appointments. haha he is so wonderful. he told us this last week "if there is any ever funny business around your neighborhood or house, you holler at me and i will come over. i carry my 44 pistol with me like it is glued to my pants." hahaha he is so awesome. I have a super strong connection with Suzanne. i dont know what it is, but really i could just talk with her for hours. She is incredible and has such faith. she has been through SO much but has completely changed because of her willingness to rely on the Lord. She drove all the way to the Trail Center on Sunday, it being her sons birthday, to bring us dinner. She is an angel and i love teaching her.

The atonement is REAL. there is no doubt in my mind. If you want to change, and put your faith in Jesus Christ, He will change you. It is incredible and i get to be a witness of this every day. i love it.

I am so grateful to be a member of this church. We are so lucky to be alive at such an amazing time! "catch the wave" of missionary work! and keep being obedient to the little things. I love how in conference we were reminded that God does NOT change! It gives me such hope in such a crazy world, with a slowly corrupting government. If we follow GOD'S laws, we will be safe. Man, isn't this gospel so true? haha i love it.

Fun Facts of the Week:
1. I saw the morrisons on sunday!!! They came by the trail center and it made my day. they are so sweet, and it really felt like seeing family. i loved it.
2. i am SO grateful for my health. The sisters in my mission have a TON of health problems. i thought that i had health problems hahaha but man was i wrong. I am so grateful to be able to be happy, healthy, and excited to be here. I know the Lord has been helping me each day, and that he has sent me to this mission to help some of these sisters. I have learned so much already.
3. Everyone here is obsessed with the game MAGIC. i dont even know what it is, but i hate it haha. Focus on GOD! .. not games.

Anyway, i love you all! I am so happy and this church is true! Thank you for the emails this week! i love my Savior and know that only through Him can we be truly happy.

Lets bring the church to the streets and the streets to CHURCH!

Sister Lauren :)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bringin the Church to the streets and the streets to the Church! Letter on April 2, 2013


I love you all! thank you for your kind e-mails and letters! i love getting them, so keep them coming! This week has been AMAZING. I keep waiting for a day that is awful, haha but every day has been wonderful! It was SO fun to have some visitors last wednesday (The WALDRENS) at the Trail Center! ahhh it made my day to see familiar faces! i hope they were able to give you hugs from me. I love them. Mom - THANK YOU! thank you for your package! it seriously brightened my day so much to get some mail, especially such a fun package! i love you so much. You always know the perfect thing to send :) I am so glad that you got my post card and letter for anne :) Dad - your email and talk were amazing. You are incredible. No surprise to me that they asked you to speak on Easter, because you have such a love for the savior. You are such a great example to me. i love you so much. Spen and Mcken!! - ward missionaries?!?! AHHH that is AWESOME! i am so happy they have that calling. now as a missionary i am SO grateful for those ward missionaries. you guys will be amazing. ok. MATTHEW!!! - CORNELL??!?! i am not surprised at ALL. But seriously that is AMAZING!! You are awesome. Ah i am so happy for you and min! i will be praying for you in the move out there.. how exciting! and... you should stop on by Omaha on your way ... just sayin :) i love you guys. anne - i love you cheese ball. keep wearing my clothes - they look cute on you ;) hahah 

This week has been incredible. i dont even know where to start! The Church is true. Every single day i get a reaffirmation of that. I get to see miracles happen every single day, it is amazing and i feel so incredibly blessed. Here are a few of the experiences i had this week:

The Lakes - oh my goodness. This family is so incredible. I told you a little bit about them, but let me tell you more! So they are from Jamaica, and sister Lake is absolutely hilarious. She grew up penecostal, and went to school to study the bible so she is SO well versed in it. i love it. She has taught me a lot about the Bible which is great. So she was baptized about ten years ago, and has been less active for the past few years. She is now coming back to church, and her daughter Daniele is GETTING BAPTIZED in a week!!! SO AWESOME! K so Sis Lake makes me laugh so hard, she says "AMEN" and "Hallelujah" or "Praise Jesus" after everything that we say in a lesson. While we are praying she says amen at least 15 times haha i have to bight my tongue so i dont laugh (which for me, is impossible haha). So the Lakes came to church on easter sunday and two girls sang the song Because he lives (the same one clark and i sang together!) and it was BEAUTIFUL. the spirit was so strong. right after they sang the room was silent because of the spirit. well, of course. Sister Lake, with her loud voice does a "AAAAAAMMEEENNNNN" right after they finish! hahaha i was crying because i was laughing so hard. it was awesome. I love her.

Sister Webb - i cant remember if i told you about Sister Webb, but she is incredible. She is a less active and hasnt been to church in atleast 15 years. But since we have been teaching her, she has decided to give up smoking and drinking, and has made some amazing progress. We had committed her to coming to church two sunday's ago, but she made up some excuse the morning of which was heartbreaking. but we had a lesson with her this last friday that was amazing. I felt prompted to share why i decided to come on a mission, and how i had received that personal revelation from God, and that she could also receive revelation. We talked about some of her concerns and why she was nervous about coming to church. She sat there for a while after, and finally said "well, i guess i have to start somewhere... id need a ride though". Sister Whittaker and i almost fell out of our seats. so, she KEPT her commitment and came to church on easter!! it was amazing. she commented in sunday school, signed up to bring something to a relief society meeting this week, and really had a great experience. i cant wait to talk to her this week about it more. The church is true. such a wonderful miracle.

We decided to go tracting one of the days this week which was so fun! hahaha i hadnt been knocking yet, so i was so excited to experience it. We had so much rejection it was kind of hilarious. I was thinking about you dad and how you would count how many doors got slammed in your face. it was fun to do the same thing :) well, one experience that was great was we met this big black guy who was walking down the street. my first instinct was to just keep walking, but of course sister whittaker is so friendly and starts talking to him. he is awesome. he is super religious, but wanted to come to the trail center to learn more. we busted up when he was talking to us because this is what he said "you know, we gotta work togetha! C'mon yo, let's bring the church to the streets and the streets to the church!" haha it was so great. That is sister whittaker's and my motto now. Hopefully he comes to the Trail center this week!

So while we were knocking doors this week, we were about to cross a street when we met a boy on a skateboard. We didnt really get to talk to him at all, just said hi and bye basically. Well, because we were short on miles, we had to eat out somewhere in our area for dinner. Sister Whittaker and i are the same person, which is great except that we cannot make decisions! haha so we drove around looking for something to eat and could not come to a conlusion as to where we should go. Finally, i decided to write down 3 places that we could go, ripped them into pieces, and had her pick out of my hands. pathetic, i know. haha so she picked this place called the garden. We walk into the restaurant and guess who is our waiter. the guy on the skateboard! no coincidence. We were able to give him a pass along card and talk to him about the gospel. This was such a small experience, but a HUGE one as well. The Lord is in the very details of our lives, and He is preparing those of His children to hear the gospel! as i told you, we picked out of a hat, totally by "chance" where we should eat. But the Lord knew that we needed to eat at this restaurant so we could meet that boy again. Absolutely amazing. The Lord is so good to us. 

I am almost out of time, but i wanted to share one more experience. So at the Trail center we have an exhibit downstairs of all the paintings of christ by Liz Lemon Swindle. They are phenomenal. It was amazing because on Easter Sunday, we had a TON of visitors who came in just wanting to see the paintings. I was able to give tours down there, and the spirit was incredible. its amazing because no one tells the visitors to whisper down in the gallery, but everyone does because of the spirit of those paintings. I gave a tour to a young couple and their daughter that i will forever remember. We were both in tears by the end, and i could really feel of God's love for this couple. Although i did not say much, the Lord was speaking with us and it was amazing. Sitting down there looking at the paintings on Easter Sunday, and being able to bear testimony of the savior to everyone who came was such a blessing and converting experience for me. I am so blessed, and so grateful i am on a mission. definitely the best decision i have ever made.

i am so incredible happy. I love the Lord. i love this church. It is the only true church on earth, for it is the same exact church the Jesus Christ set up when He was hear. I love my savior. He is the Christ. 

Thank you for your prayers - you have no idea how much it means to me to know that so many people are praying for me. Thank you. i can feel them. We had an experience the other night where the other sisters we live with forgot to close the garage door all day. We live in kind of a janky area and so we were nervous to go inside our house haha. we are such girls. But i can tell you that we were completely protected, and i know that it is because of all of your prayers and protection from the Lord.

I love you all and miss you each day. keep being missionaries. when we are truly converted to the gospel, that is when we want to share it! Thank you for being my examples in this way.

Love you all! Let's do this!

Sister Lauren :)

Fun Fact:
I am allergic to cats. hahah. (mom we are the same person) i just discovered this this week since everyone owns atleast 2 cats and i kept leaving appointments with itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. ha thank goodness for benadryl! 

Pictures from Omaha and MTC

With my district of girls and my teachers brother yeck and sister knowlton. 
They are some of my favorite people on earth.

With Sister "Vern" Rosdahl and my brother Clark

with vern!!

with sister Johns!!! love that girl.

This is a picture of me (LO) at the kanesville tabernacle! :)

with President and Sister Weston at the temple!

 My companion Sister Whittaker!

 haha these were our weapons the night that we thought someone might be in our house. 

All of the new sisters that came with me from the MTC!