Sunday, September 6, 2015


Pueblo. The "puebs", pebbles, pee-eb-lo. The first time out of the Springs and last month of my mission brought bittersweet, unexpected endings as well as new beginnings. Beginnings of eternal friendships and a new life.

I couldn't have asked for a better companion to support me in my last few weeks than Sister Faa. My "silly Brett", Faa Ma, was from New Zealand. Sister Faa's sense of humor and love really helped strengthen me. I learned a lot, but we'll start with her NZ-isms. 

1. Pumpkin carving doesn't exist, and halloween is not a popular holiday. For the first time EVER, Faa carved a pumpkin, lit the candle, the whole deal! Our house mom told her "you'll never guess what the best tool for carving pumpkins is." Thinking in the "you'll never guess" category, Sister Faa eagerly shouted "a wooden spoon!" .... Not so much, but nice try!

2. The letter "R" is often a silent letter when used in New Zealand. So cah=car. Sister Faa goes by Larvina, but it's pronounced "La-vina". It made for some really interesting conversations for sure! She also called the trunk of the car "the boot" I was really confused for the first few days. You want me to pop the what? The trunk. Haha

3. Avocado. In almost every other word where we would "apple" A sound (Bandana bananas) for example, she would say "banona" Except for avocado. She said used that apple sounding A where we would say "aw-vo-caw-do" haha

(reading this out loud, I realize how badly I need to restudy my long and short a sounds. It would be much easier to describe!)

We may have been from two very different continents, but the beautiful gospel brought us together, and thank goodness for that. We have no decent pictures together (i.e. the above "good 6:30 morning" photo) but I still love her so much. Larvina is the most kind, loving, compassionate, service-oriented, thoughtful, friendliest New Zealander I know. (granted, I only know one, but she's still the best). Even if she eats catsup (or should I say "tomato sauce") with chips and pickles on peanut butter sandwiches. She still would jam out to God's Not Dead with me, rest with me, taught like an angel, and made me laugh in every single way. Thank goodness for people like Sister Faamausili.

We had the blessing of living with the beautiful Montgomery family. They were like my parents away from home. The little sister I never had. I love this family so much.

 Elly and I shared clothes, hair products, and shoes. Mom would make me feel-good food and kept my momma updated. And Dad (Bishop) introduced me to the best pickles I've literally ever had. More than that, this family reminded me how important love is. They never give up, and they have extreme faith. I hope they know how great their impact really was for me.
Also Elly should marry my brother. The end.

I didn't expect to come home early, but I know now that God has a plan for me. He guided my entire mission and he will continue to guide my entire life. The experiences I had in Colorado will forever be in my heart. Thank you, everyone, for changing my life.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

what does the FOX say?

Normally training is two transfers, but the Lord needed Sister Cox closer to Denver, so I began working with Sister Fox. Sister Fox and I came out together. We knew each other a bit, but nothing like we did after a transfer together!

Sister Fox was definitely a "go with the flow" Sister. She loved easily and wanted to be the very best that she could. She LOVED to laugh. She was so little and tiny and cute. I'm short. But put us next to each other, she is definitely the shorter of the two!

Half way through our missions, we are blessed to go to the temple. We take the whole day to spend time up at the Denver temple, get food, have a testimony meeting, and just enjoy the day. It was a neat experience for Sister Fox and I because we got to go together as companions. We also get to see all of our old MTC friends. It was a special experience for us for sure.

Fun fact, today (July 2, 2015) is when all of these lovely ladies headed home. Obviously I came home early, and Sister Fox actually broke her ankle the transfer after we were together, so she went home and came back to the mission. So 4 of the 6 headed home today! haha
I miss them, but I also love them lots. I am proud of them.

The sweet (and intimidating) US Wrestler, Amy Hou, took us on a tour of the Olympic Training Center. I think my two favorite parts of the tour were 1) the Olympic Rings and getting to stand in the gold medal spot and 2) they have this timer that counts down to the next olympics for both the summer and winter. Because the winter olympics had happened earlier that year, there were about 3 years, 3 months and however many seconds were left that moment!

Sister Fox was always so creative and silly. From her, I learned to just have fun. I saw just how powerful simplicity could be. I know I was with her for a reason, and I hope she just keeps doing great things!

Love you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

training, again?

Before my transfer with Sister Robinson, both of my companions trained after they served with me. Of course I was excited for them; it was like they had such a rough time with me, training was going to be a breeze;) After 5 transfers, the Lord somehow felt that I had enough knowledge to pass it on to a younger missionary. IT FREAKED ME OUT!! I WAS NERVOUS OUT OF MY MIND!

The way transfers worked at the time, you found out about a week ahead of time if you were training. (I think). You got the chance to study the 12 week program, ask missionaries for all the advice you could remember, and freak out. This didn't exactly go well when there was one Sister freaking out about going home and the other freaking out about welcoming a new missionary. The day of transfers, all of the babies sit in the front, the trainers sit facing them, then the rest of the missionaries. We heard this all in my first training post. Then you anxiously wait to hear who your training. You run up and give them a hug (practice makes perfect) sit down next to them, head home, and get to work!

So that day, I was place with the lovely Sister Cox. Fresh from the MTC and Queen Creek, Arizona, she set off to a new adventure, the greatest adventure, where she got to share the BEST NEWS IN THE WHOLE WORLD!

We had lots of crazy adventures. We got to stay in the Pikes Peak Singles Ward with all of our favorites. (It's quite a lengthy list;)

 Megan. My heart. An amazing teacher of teachers, friend for eternity, funny, down to earth, awkward (it's why we got along) and fabulous in every way. I hope whomever she marries knows how special she is and makes her feel as good as she makes everyone else feel! I love you!

MILLIE!! Aw man I love Millie. Funny story, one day she's going to have a baby, who will ACTUALLY go by Melanie. And scripture study is more important than sleep. And her mom is a fire dancer. No big deal. Millie was such a supporter of missionary work. I love you so much.
 Jeralynn. Tuesday dinners, always. (I think it was Tuesdays.. We had them every week, I know!) She was so great! She has like a million siblings who went on a mission, and so did she, so she always had people over for dinner. She just rocks! 

 I DONT KNOW HOW PEOPLE GO THROUGH LIFE WITHOUT PEOPLE LIKE MYRANDA! I know life isn't easy, for anyone, but when you have the gospel on your side, it works out. She makes life great. Keep on moving forward girl. Stay confident! Laugh lots. Be happy. I LOVE YOU!!

It's not like INSANELY intimidating, (but like mostly) I'M STANDING NEXT TO A SOON TO BE OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WRESTLER. I mean, no big deal.. Amy is so cool. She is a convert, with a super strong testimony. And arms. And legs. And I'd probably get knocked out in like 5 seconds or less. I bet Sister Cox would have lasted longer, but we never really gave it a try;) I hope you know how special you are, and as you keep going, you will touch many lives, just like you did mine.

 Heidi received her mission call while we were there (I'm pretty sure it was with Sister Cox!) She was called to serve in Spain and was supposed to leave last December. I haven't been in contact with her, so I still assume she left and is doing wonderful things. Even if she didn't, she was so great for us! Heidi would teach with us, and had such a powerful testimony. Missionaries need people like that!

Micah!! Oh my goodness, he's perfect. (Okay, lets just assume everyone in the singles ward is perfect, but on like a dude level, Micah is the best!)
I don't know how many times I wanted to give Micah a hug because
1) He's the president of the missionary fan club
2) He's everyone's best friend
3) He's hilarious
4) He's perfect
5) I finally did give him a hug, and the "Micah gives the best hugs" was TRUE!

He's the best, and whomever he is going to marry is going to be the luckiest woman in the whole worlds and she'll laugh every day and obviously they'll have beautiful children.

Love your face Micah.
Oh the Anderson's. I'm not even sure how the singles ward sisters found such a wonderful couple, but I am certainly grateful for it! These two were so supportive of us. They knew that my brother had cancer, and Sister Anderson had suffered from breast cancer, so sometimes we would make posters together and send pictures to my family. They would keep in contact with my parents to make sure everything was alright during his treatment. We were so grateful for this wonderful family. I will never forget their kindness!

And of course, the Sherwood's. They were such a wonderful family to live with! They gave us strength and a place to find peace when you had no idea it was possible! They were fun to be around and the sweetest people you would ever meet. I love and miss them dearly, and am grateful their dog was well behaved even if their daughter-in-law's dog was less so;)
(I don't know that I told that story! It'll have to be a guest post or something!)

Obviously, Sister Cox and I were surrounded by the best. I sure miss those crazy days of pizza making (which I promise Elder Moala did not do, he's just wearing my apron) and laughing at my inability to say words. (I'm grateful I'm amazing, I mean.. Sister Cox is amazing.. oh gosh)

From Day One, you were an amazing, beautiful woman. I know the migraines sucked and missionary work was hard, but I am proud of you for doing your best. Your ability to love others is contagious. I wish you the best in all of your life. Never forget how amazing you are! Love you!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

the beginning and the end

Transfer five and six months in brought one of the best transfers the YSA has ever seen. Although it was literally my biggest fear going in, I couldn't have asked for anything better. I started my service with the wonderful Sister Sophie Robinson. She is the epitome of perfection. She trained 2.5 times, was a Sister Training Leader for EVER, and she became one of my greatest friends. (I promise, ALL of my companions were wonderful, I was just scared out of my mind going to teach people my age/older. Sister Robinson helped a lot!)

This was our family. We did everything we could together, in like a cool missionary way. (Right to left: Elder Latu, Me, Sister Fauatea, Sister Robinson, Sister Toone, Elder Winborg, Elder Moala, Elder Bryan, and Elder Barron) We did service together, taught together, had district meetings together. The picture of Sister Robinson above was at the zoo. The bird actually sat on her shoulder for a bit, but we missed it, so Elder Winborg held it up one more time. We made those bird feeding sticks! I have a scar from the hot glue.. haha

 The Fourth of July was something special. First, we got to be in this amazing parade and hand out pass along cards and candy. But then we had dinner in the car.... You win some, lose some as missionaries. Win some was that we had our dinner calendar COMPLETELY FULL for the next month!! We gave up the Fourth of July for a YSA miracle. I was there for two more transfers. NEVER. HAPPENED. AGAIN. haha

Another miracle we saw was that we made what was called the "standard of excellence" every week for those six weeks. On a mission, we have goals we set for the number of lessons we teach, how many lessons have a member present, all that good stuff. We worked hard, and exceeded the mission standard EACH week! It was special:) And we had fun. One time we got free ice cream! Even though we totally made a wrong turn, and it was the sketchiest place we had ever seen, it was beautiful ice cream.

Of course, the big adventure, chopping off my hair! After finding out Kyle had his second round of cancer, I jumped on the bandwagon and donated at least 12 inches of my hair. To be honest, I never measured it. It could have been 18 inches, and I will never know! I'm sure it wasn't but obviously, my hair was REALLY long! I was blessed with wonderful missionaries who wanted to support though, so this is what we had.

#teamkyle #always

One of the best days ever was when Joh (Joe with an H) got baptized. It was good work and a beautiful service, even though he had to be dunked 5 times.  He was just so tall and the suit kept floating up! OOPS!

From the top of Graffiti Falls to the bottom of Fountain, the adventures Sophie Robinson and I had together will be unforgettable. It was her last transfer, and I was sad we had such a short 6 weeks together, but I couldn't have asked for a better example, or a better friend, than her. I love you darling! Thanks for everything.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ccsm: chapel hill(s)

Transfer three sent me away from the mountains and into northern Colorado Springs. At this point, although I wasn't super "old" in the mission, I finally felt I had my footing. I wanted to make it a good transfer, and boy was it a GREAT one!

Sister Kaylisha Dawn Harmon and I had a lot more in common than just our initials. We both enjoyed running (although she was way better), had luscious beautiful hair, wanted to work hard, and most of all, LOVED TO LAUGH!

The things that make Kaylisha great are our differences though. She's an artist. Like a legit "I'm humble enough to never say it but I'm way better than everyone else" artist. Seriously.

International LDS Church History Art Competition. No big deal.

Kaylisha is great at listening to the spirit. We had the opportunity to work with a few people in our ward who really needed the push to link themselves to the gospel again. Sister Harmon would pray and study to find out what she needed to do to help them progress.

She was also a fantastic cook. She's the youngest of 8, so she's had a lot of practice! I had to take a few hypoglycemia tests during this transfer, which made me feel really icky. She took care of me so well!! One of the great things she initiated was weekly district lunches! We would assign different foods to each companionship, and then we'd make lunch there! Toward the end of the transfer, a few extra people were added to our district. Easy peasy! Taco salad, breakfast for lunch. We had lots of fun! 

 Our adventures were far from few. Once, we decided to go for a break at Summersweet Frozen Yogurt. "Kyle the Cashier" covered our last $.50. It was the best froyo we ever had. At a later date (because obviously we went more than once!) we tipped him $.50. Whenever we had a bad day, that was where we headed!

Weekly planning. Never was better than the day we she ate half a watermelon, we slathered strawberries in nutella, and I finished us off with half a jar of peanut butter. 

Being our healthy selves, we decided one day we were going to walk to the other side of our area. WE WALKED ROUGHLY 10 MILES THAT DAY! We might have been healthy, but we were also VERY sore the next day. Despite being rained on, we still made it fun. We bought ourselves dried fruit from Sprouts. We made dandelion wishes. It was a great day.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER HARMON!! To celebrate her 21st year of life (I'm pretty sure she turned 21, but don't quote me on it!) we headed out to Garden of the Gods for a sunrise jog. It was a beautiful morning. God's creations are truly beautiful. I went to Garden of the Gods many times, and it never ceased to be breathtaking. We even bought matching bright shirts just for the occasion!

This transfer wouldn't be complete though if I didn't share some of the hilarious quotes we shared.

"If Andrew Garfield and I got married, our children would have sick hair." Harmon
  ^^this is TRUE. Look at that head of gorgeousness.

"I forgot how to spell my own last name, President!" Hendricks

"They must have great legs, even though we can't see them because they're covered by frumpy skirts!" Harmon

"I know I should go to sleep but I just really like talking to you!"

"If you two got married, you would spend half of your life putting sunblock on your children." Harmon

"I'll be totally great at seducing my husband!" (after falling off the bed)

"Is that my voice? Is that MY voice?" Harmon (on helium)

"My biggest fear is going to the single's ward." Hendricks

"You are seductively eating that strawberry. I'm pretty sure that's against mission rules." Harmon

I love you Sister Harmon!