Monday, August 31, 2015

I'm still considered shy…

     Happenings this week…So Tuesday this week was interesting… We went to a less active members home and her daughter answered the door and she was just in a towel… I don't get peoples logic out here, like, if you're going to get in the shower, you don't have to answer the door!  I was also super worried because the Byram Elders were coming down to stay the night because we were going on exchanges the next day, and they came before lunch.  Luckily we just double worked the area,   I thought for sure would just be sitting around all day but we didn't so that was good!!  We got fed by Sister Knight and she fed us roast and some salmon and had a huge thing of vegetables…..Luckily the vegetables weren't that bad haha!  After that, we went on about a 45 min. car ride to a members home to teach his wife and his daughter!  They had cockroaches everywhere in the house and the floor was just plywood, it was really interesting.  I didn't sit down and I didn't put my bag down on the ground either.  But, we committed both of them to a baptismal date so that was cool!
     Wednesday we went on exchanges and I went up to Byram-  we didn't have anything exciting happen but one of the Elders is from Tonga and is massive!!  He works out like twice a day!!  gosh.  I worked out with him and my arms are still sore--haha it was so bad.
     Thursday we went back to Brookhaven and then got ready for zone conference.  We had to clean the car and the apartment good.  I hate cleaning!  I went and got my haircut from Walmart again and I don't like it-- it is so scary!  The lady just starts chopping at your hair and is really careless haha,  I was so nervous but it looks fine!
     Friday was zone conference and all the trainers had to introduce their new missionaries and Ah Ching introduced me,  he started talking and said a bunch of stuff about me and how I liked to go boating and skiing with my family and was planning on going to Snow to play football, and then at the end was like, "and he is really a pretty shy kid so everyone make sure you introduce yourselves to hi," haha.  Both of the older sisters who talked, Sister Hardgrave and Sister Olsen the mission presidents wife-- called me out, and used me in their talks too!  What the heck?!?!  They were nice and just using me as an example.  When we got home it was pretty late sand we went over to the football game.  Brookhaven lost but it was still pretty fun.  It's always fun to see the competition outside of Utah!  Watching them just made me that much more motivated to stay somewhat in shape so that I can come home and play right away!
     Saturday, the Hazlehurst elders had a baptism and like 5 minutes before it was supposed to start, the kids mom called and told them that she didn't want him to be baptized anymore, so that was sad.  One of the people up in Hazlehurst had President Bubert as their mission president!!  We then went and visited some potentials on a street and were able to talk to a few and thence both just kinda started walking to to this door that wasn't on our list, and knocked on it and she told us to come back on sunday.  That was a pretty cool way to find someone!  Then we got fed by the Maxwells and you'll never believe what happened hahahaha!!!  Sister Maxwell went to high school with you guys and graduated with you mom hahaha!  It's a very small world!  He name is Crystal Apgood.
     Sunday we went to church and Sister Dalton is a recent convert of a year who just went through the temple for the first time last week, and it was really cool hearing her bear her testimony!  We had to give her a blessing last saturday night because she was like sick, worrying about it, and she said that it helped her out a ton!  After church we went to a linger longer at the other ward and took Donovan (Brother and Sister Webb son) with us to go find less active people.  We took him to see the lady we found on saturday(Christina).  She sat down with us and was pretty interesting.  She started going about all her past drug problems and stuff but said she was looking for where she needed to be, and looking for a church to help her find her way so that was perfect!  After that we went to a less actives house and the weirdest thing happened… they had about 8 dogs inside and 1 outside who all started freaking out and when we got there and we knocked on the door and they started freaking out even more.  Then like 30 seconds later the dog that was outside jumped under the house and the dogs inside were quiet like instantly.  It was really weird, even after I knocked again, they didn't do anything.   Very interesting!!
     Things have been good with my companion!  The weather has been nice this week, and the humidity is only like 50% instead of 1000%!  haha but no rain!  I got the package, thanks so much!!  We are headed to the store, what else canI buy that is healthy to eat?  We have quite a few appointment set up this next week so hopefully they are all home!  Anyway, hope you all had a great week!
Love, Elder Larsen
I forgot to take good pictures this week!  Here's one of me!

Monday, August 24, 2015

I gave my First Blessing!

     Hello Everyone!  This week was pretty good!  On Tuesday we went on splits with the zone leaders, and didn't have a lot of success.  We had a dinner appointment that night and ditched the zone leaders at our apartment and went and ate without them! I felt kinda rude haha but they knew we had an appointment!
     Wednesday we had a DDM (district meeting) and had to give the car to the Hazlehurst elders to use, so that was sad.  We will get the car back on wednesday.  We did some tracting and again didn't have much success, but we had a lesson with Leshea.  She was an investigator that Elder Ah Ching had taught before I got here and we taught her the restoration again and recommitted her to a new baptism date so that was good!!  We went to the young men's activity that night and taught a lesson on missionary work, trying to get them motivated to go on a mission.  I don't know how well that went though because they just wanted to leave and were on their phones the whole time!  We played basketball with them too and it was awful basketball!!  They were like tackling each other and traveling,  it was very interesting!
     Thursday we met with Brother Cox again.  I think he loves our company.  I think he is a pretty lonely guy for the most part which I feel bad for him.  It's good that we go talk to him every week!  We also went to give this old man a blessing.  He had fallen down and was in the ER.  It was the first time I'd given a blessing so I was super super nervous and like stuttering and stuff, but the old man came to church on sunday!!  It was awesome!  The power of the priesthood is real!!!  We ate at the Cracker Barrel and that brought back some memories of going there in Philadelphia!  It was kinda funny!!:)
     Friday we went and talked with 2 ladies we tracted into, one of them was Louella, she had a lot of questions and seemed pretty interested. The other was a less active member who moved to Florida and back, and had joined a Pentecostal church.  We could have started some pretty interesting conversation with her because of her new beliefs but we decided that we better not start bible bashing with her so we told her we would come back!  While we were tracting it started pouring rain!!  We were soaking wet by the time we got back to our apartment!  It was nice for it to be a little bit cooler tho haha!  We had dinner with the Webb family.  They are awesome!  It's a lot easier to relate to them because they are one of the few younger families that come to church.
     Saturday we didn't have much going on.  We met this guy who talked to us for like an hour just about sports and what we were out doing,  he was really nice and he told us we could come back and meet with his family!!  We went back to our apartment because it started to rain hard and we didn't want to end up like we did the day before!
     Sunday we went to church and were expecting two of our investigators to be there but they didn't come which was disappointing and sad.  After church, we went and had dinner with the Weeks.  Their house was freaking huge and they had a huge dining table and dining room, it was almost uncomfortable because it was so nice!  I felt bad for Sister Weeks because she has three kids who are grown up and inactive, and one kid who lives with them, who she says would be inactive if he wasn't living with them.  They did family home evening, family prayer, scripture study, and everything while they were growing up and none of them are active in the church.  It was kinda sad.  We went to the Stake priesthood meeting with Brother Weeks and his son Braxton and the talks that were given were talking straight to them- it was kinda crazy listening to them and how it could apply to their lives. Hopefully the son was listening.  He rode the whole way to and from the meeting with his headphones in his ears.  That whole meeting was about fathers and their relationships with their sons.  It made me so grateful for the dad I have!   That I don't have to ride with my headphones in my ears while we are in the car.  Those were some of the moments I looked forward to most, just being with dad, whether we were in the car late at night driving with the boat to come meet everyone else in Bear Lake, or whether we were sitting on a ski lift trying to figure out which run to take, those are some of my favorite memories.  We always had such a good time and I am so grateful for that!
     We get fed by the members almost everyday!  I have been eating chicken, pasta, smoothies, toaster strudel, pork, and I have had some vegetables.  Spinach, tomatoes and lettuce!  I am adjusting to things, they are getting easier and seem to be coming more natural to me!  I have been doing push-ups and sit-ups every morning and I started jump roping recently!  Hopefully it helps me not to gain 3000 pounds! I got an invitation to Emma Grace baptism but I'm not going to be able to go! :(  haha.  It was sure cute tho!  We are just heading back to our apartment and we have a dinner later today!  I hope you all had a good week!  Love you so much!!  Thanks for everything!:)
Having fun with the Webb family!

Made it back in a major rainstorm!

Ben(Elder Fowers) sent this to me from one of the times I saw him at the MTC!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Rock Concert at Church!

Hello everyone!
     Last monday we went tracking and visited some potential investigators we talked to before.  We talked to one guy that was super drunk and told us he had a Book of Mormon.  Then he said he read the Bible while he was smoking marajuana so that was interesting!  Tuesday we were out tracking in the country and the first two doors we knocked on were ministers at a baptist church and a methodist church.  They were nice and still talked to us but didn't want anything to do with us.  We also saw a member while we were out tracting and he invited us to dinner that night.  They cooked us fish tacos and it was pretty good.   We also had dinner dropped off to us that night too!  Granny is taking good care of me haha!  While we were at dinner they asked for a spiritual thought and so I shared with them the talk that grandma sent me, it is called In the Strength of The Lord,  I think.  Elder Bednar talks about how the Atonement isn't just for sinners, it's for saints.  It is to make bad men good, and good men better, and how we can use the enabling power of the Atonement to strengthen us to overcome anything.  In it he says, "In the moments when we say no one knows what it's like, nobody knows how I'm feeling."  Christ does because he has had that moment in Gethsemane, and suffered everything that we would, not just our sins…something along those lines.  It's a pretty cool talk!
     Wednesday we had interviews with President Olsen and he is a really nice guy!  He was really complementary of how I wanted to work hard and said I could be a great missionary.  He also gave me some tips on how we can be more creative in things that we do and not just go tracking for 4 hours straight.   After that, we went on exchanges for a bit,  I went to a place called Byram.  I was with Elder Holdridge and Elder Ross,  he was pretty cool and gave me some good advice as well.  They taught me how to keep track of things better and how to change up what we were doing a little bit!!  Thursday when I got back to Brookhaven we went home teaching and met with this old lady and that was interesting because when we left she gave me a hug and kissed my cheek!  Definitely against the mission rules but that's ok she was just an old lady….
     Friday we went tracking most of the day and talked to literally, no one.  Saturday we did some service, and helped some people move out of their house.  We went tracting and tried to find some less active members.  In the branch down here there are almost 200 less active people!!  After lunch, we went back out and were able to talk to a few people but only one was remotely interested!
     Sunday we went to a Pentecostal church and that was like a freaking rock concert, it was really interesting haha!  Everyone was like dancing and singing while people were playing music on the stage. very weird.  We then went and tried to tract down some more less active people but no one wanted to talk.  It's definitely been frustrating just trying to find people to talk with but it'll be ok!  I just hope I'm doing everything I can right,  and working enough that we will be able to find people to teach!   I still haven't taught  a first lesson to anyone that is a first time investigator!
     I've started making the smoothies and It has helped my stomach!  It has been super hot but yesterday and today it is rainy which is good!!:)  There is a chance of rain basically all this week!!!!!:)  We drive a Chevy Cruz and I am grateful we have a car with how hot it's been.  We are going shopping and then there is a ward family home evening thing we are going to tonight as well!!  I haven't forgotten how to play the piano yet, don't worry:)  I hope you guys have fun, send pictures when you take them, I like to see what everyone is doing!  Have fun up in Bear Lake!  Love you!  Thanks for everything!  Can't wait to hear from you again!
Love, Kaden, Elder Larsen
Exchanges with Elders Ross and Holdridge
Brookhaven Elders!
Dead Armadillo.

Monday, August 10, 2015

First Bible Bash!

     Hi!  Things in the area are good!  Tuesday last week we had all our appointments with people and honestly I was so excited for them all and we went and not one person was home.  So that was kind of upsetting!  We handed pout 3 BOMs though.  My memory is getting worse by the day and I can't remember anything so that's pretty much all I remember from that day.
     Wednesday we had our district meeting and then went to a mexican place to eat and it was pretty good, you would have liked it!  After that we went and wrote our talks that we had to give on sunday!!  Then we went tracking after dinner.  I have had pizza for like 6 straight dinners!  I never thought I would complain about having pizza haha! We passed out 2 BOMs in the projects, the government assisted living place.  It's kinda scary area but the people are accepting and talk to you unlike most of the white people out here.
     We met this guy on thursday that I found in our area book, he was awesome, he had a cool story and was super religious and loved learning about Christ.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and he was flipping through it and saw Mosiah,  he stopped and was like MOSIAH!  and then went on to tell us this story…  He was walking thru the park one day with his wife and had been praying and thinking about this question he had.  He saw 2 scriptures written on the ground with chalk.  One of them was 2 Corinthians and the other said Mosiah… He kept walking and looked up the 2 Corinthians one and that kinda answered his question and then before he could get back to look at the other scripture it had started raining and the chalk washed off the sidewalk.  So I asked him what his question was and I shared a scripture with him from Mosiah  and he was like yep, there's the answer to my question!  It was Mosiah 3:19.  We rescheduled with him and meet with him tomorrow!  After that we went to some apartment buildings and met with this lady who was also in the area book and we walked in and I promise It was worse than walking through a casino because of all the smoke that was in there!!
     Friday was pretty uneventful,  we went and met with Brother Cox again and then sat down to weekly plan which takes us awhile!  Then we met with Tony and I think he is not all the way there either.    He could barely read and told us this way long story about nothing and at the end we were going to teach him but he was like come and pray with me and come visit me later so he gave us a hug while we prayed, kinda interesting.   Friday night we went to this restaurant called Papa's and it was pretty good!  we went with this guy named Bother Falvey and his family.  He is unbelievably smart and was telling us stuff that was blowing my mind!  We also got into my first Bible bash before dinner.  The guy was watching us as we were tracking the street, just waiting for us to come to him.  He had this huge piece of chew in his mouth, it was so gross…  but, he said we were to young to be Elders and was going off of the qualifications for Bishop, in 2 Timothy  I think,  and he also kept saying stuff about Revelations 22:19 and how we weren't  supposed to add anything to the scriptures.  Even though it says that same thing basically in Deuteronomy and Revelations was technically written even before John wrote the gospel of John and he was only talking about the book of Revelations.  We couldn't even say anything before the guy would  just start going off about something.  It was pretty hopeless trying to argue with him!  He told us that he was worried for our salvation and that we needed to just throw the Book of Mormon away and stick only to the New Testament.  It's like you can't tell me that this book isn't true unless you have read it for yourself!  He couldn't seem to understand that though haha!   I wish I would have known how to calmly and with the spirit show him that I didn't need to burn and throw away my Book of Mormon!
     Saturday was interesting, we met with Maize and came back to eat and after we ate we were sitting there, and usually I kind of have to push and ask what's next, like, what are we going to do next, but I decided to just let my companion tell me… And he never said anything and slept the whole rest of the day while I just read and studied stuff, and the same thing happened sunday after church.  It was frustrating but I don't know what to do about it!    Saturday night we had dinner with the Britts.  The wards here are made up of two families, the Britts and the Smiths, everyone is related to each other, it's funny.  Their little girl was funny, she was named Ember and she liked talking to me so that was good! Overall i think it was a good week!
     It is supposed to be the hottest day in Mississippi history tomorrow!  Luckily, we got the car back.  Thanks so much for the pictures!  I love seeing them!  Thank you for the package!  I also got one from Betsy.  Everyone said I did good on my talk but it might have been out of pity!   I miss having a huge ward.  Speaking and attending a small church isn't as fun, you feel like you're singing a solo because no one else is singing!  I've had stomach problems and have taken some pepto,  I probably need to take more!  We are headed out to do our shopping and eating dinner at a members house tonight!  We have interviews with the President on wednesday.  Thanks for everything!  Tell everyone that I love hearing from them and getting mail so even if it's just an update on what they did that day is good!   Love you all so much!!  Talk to you next week!!:)
Our Fridge!
A Huge spider I killed!
The highway where I live.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Waterbottle Dodgeball!

Hi Mom!!! How are things???
     Sounds like an eventful week!!!  Happy Anniversary in a few days!!  I'll try and take pictures with people that I get close with!!  And no, I haven't gotten bedding yet. We will go today and get it but I've been fine.  I didn't sleep very well last night or the night before idk why but I kept waking up like every hour for some reason. It's ok though.
     So Wednesday we went out and started tracking. We went to kind of the more hood part of town. the people were pretty nice and we gave out a few BOM then we went to this one guys house and it was my turn for the door approach and we asked the guy if we could say a prayer with him so we did and then he was asking some questions about our church and he asked if we believed Jesus came as a white man and I, not knowing any better, said yes.  Elder Ah Ching tried covering for me and said "ya we believe that he came as whatever he did and that we didn't know if he was white or black." But the guy wasn't having any of it so that was the end of him.  We went on up the street and gave out another Book of Mormon and set a return appointment but the lady wasn't there when we went to visit her on Friday.
     Thursday was pretty hard. No one was answering the door and if they did answer they wouldn't talk to us. I think we only gave out 1 Book of Mormon all day. We went and visited some potential investigators that had already been contacted and only a few of them were home. There are 2 really progressing investigators that we talked with. We talked with Randy, he lived in a poorer area and just got back from Philadelphia.  He drove the whole way for a family reunion. They just got home right before we went to see them so he didn't want a lesson but he has been going to church and improving according to Elder Ah Ching.  When we were leaving his house and riding up the street we passed this house for about the 3rd time today.  They were all just chilling on their porch listening to some rap haha and they always waved to us,  but this time elder Ah Ching rode by and waved to them and they threw a freaking water bottle at me haha it was eventful haha!!  It just hit my wheel and I didn't wreck!  We went back to the apartment for a little bit to rest before our meeting with Tamora and her family.  Right when we got inside it started pouring rain.  It was coming down, and lightening and thunder was super loud.  It even knocked down a power line right by our building,  luckily it didn't ruin our power only the people down the street.  So we went and met with her and taught her a lesson about church and what happens there, missionary work, and I don't remember what else but it was good and we recommitted her to a baptism date.  She just has to go to church a few times and she will be able to be baptized.  Same with Randy.  Tamora has 2 kids, a girl who listens to us and will participate in our discussions, she likes to play basketball, and then a son who is 18 and likes to work on cars.  He needs to mature a little before he will actually listen to us I think. He liked to mess around and wasn't really paying attention to us and then he started talking during our prayer before we left.  When we left it was about 6 and Elder Ah Ching was just planning on going back to the Apartment but I said we should go tract and so we did.  We parked on this one street by the train tracks and knocked on a door and no one answered and I was like, great we're going to be out here and he is going to be mad because we came back out and no one is gong to answer the door or listen to us. Then I got a strong impression that we should go to the next street over so we did and we knocked a few more doors and no one answered or they said they were too busy and I was looking around and saw this house with a flower thing on the door, like you hang up, and the lights were on so I said we should go knock on that door and they answered.  Brian is his name and I think he is a single father with 4 little girls and he took a BOM and we have a return appointment with him tomorrow.  I just had a calm good feeling that he might actually listen to us and be there when we come back to visit.  It was awesome!!  We knocked a few more doors and no one would listen still so we went home.
     Friday we had some appointments we were going to and then no one would answer still all day so we came back before lunch and were just sitting there and I read John 15:16.  I woke Elder Ah Ching up from his nap and we said a prayer and still had very little success in what we were doing but we made it to one street that we had a return appointment on and no one answered.  So again I was like great.. But we knocked on about 7 more doors and handed our 4 Book of Mormons.  We should've handed out 5 but the lady was in her towel and was getting in the shower but she said a prayer with us so that was good.
     Saturday we went to do service and we were meeting at the church and no one ever came to pick us up.  We were supposed to meet to help someone move out of the house but no one came.  So I played the piano a little bit while we were there.  After that we went to an appointment and no one answered and so we went tracking and still no one would answer or listen to us.  We went to this one lady's house and she was a Penecostal.  When she came to the door the first thing she said was, "I want ya'll to come to my church." haha so we told her we would and talked to her a bit about that.  Then we asked if we could have a word of prayer with her so Elder Ah Ching started praying and she started saying her own prayer right along with him haha so that was really interesting.  After that we went back to have lunch.  We wrote down some potential people we could visit and went to visit them and no one was home.  Some of the houses were just gone, we couldn't even find the house.  On our way back to the house we saw Brother Cox in front of the Funeral home so we stopped and talked with him for about an hour.  He is handicap.  He has what Megan has.  I can't remember what its called. He is super nice though and we teach him lessons out of the gospel picture book and he really likes that.  He always gives us the guilt trip when we leave him.  He always says, "well what about me? are you just going to leave me here?" its funny.
     Sunday we went to church at Red Star and the ward there was a little odd.  People just stood up from out of the crowd to bare their testimonies, it was weird.  I had to say a closing prayer so that was scary.  Then we went to the Applewhites, he is the ward mission leader and is super nice. We had sandwiches and then we went to dinner at the Webbs and their family is awesome.  They have 5 kids and one just returned from a mission in Honduras and I think is trying to get into BYU.  The others are all under 12 and were super funny.  They fed us chicken and dumplings and some banana pudding thing that was really good.  We have been fed everyday except for Saturday by the members.
Wednesday we went with  Brother Brewer, after we went home teaching with him, to Dairy Queen.  I met a little black girl named Mariah that is exactly like Kaisley, she was super cute.  She said I had a cool tie and she asked me to help her say a prayer. That was pretty awesome!  Thursday we had pizza sent to us from Sister Walker.  Friday Brother Brady and his wife brought us some pizza as well so I have been well taken care of.
     I'll let you know how our appointments go with our PI's this week!  Pray for them that they will be ready for what we have to say! And will listen and act on what we tell them.  Cause yo can have all the faith in the work but it means nothing unless you act upon it!
     I ruined one of my ties, it has a stain on it from when I tried using a shout wipe on it so some more ties might be necessary and I can't remember what else I need besides some light grey pants.  Oh maybe when you send out my next package send me some dry lux round neck garments, they are supposedly nice in this weather.  Who all is getting baptized?  Will you send me their email addresses?  Except I have Emma Grace!  I got all my stuff I needed from the store, it was a pretty expensive trip but it was nice to have!  I got a lot of food and I needed soap and toothpaste and some other stuff like that!  I tried going to the post office because I got a package and it was there, but it was closed!!  My companion is good.  I'm learning a lot from him and he's a good teacher!  Everything is good.  We are getting along great and working hard!  I'm gonna go though so I will write again next monday!  Thanks for everything!  I hope things are good back home!!  Love you!!!  Have a great week!!
Our Brookhaven apartment
Riding bikes with Elder Ah Ching

The house that threw a water bottle at us!

My bed & the guitar I bought!