Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Missionary work is the best thing in the world!

Hello Family and Friends,

Hermana Israelsen is enjoying the mission in Chicago very much and has been blessed with  excellent companions.   She loved general conference and is thrilled about the work they are doing.    

She says, " Missionary work is the best thing in the world! I'm so grateful that I have the gospel and opportunity to be a missionary." 

 We are switching our method of sharing her missionary news....For more info on Emily's mission. Please write to me and request to have me forward a copy of her letters.  I will add you to the list.

Michelle Israelsen


Monday, September 9, 2013

More than a Coincidence

Hola Familia!!!
I love the Birthday cake! And wow, Kimmy you look so old, I actually stared at the pictures for a couple of seconds because you look so much older! Wow, that's awesome! Kimmy, I hope that you like Young Womens so far. How was your first week? I'm proud that you said the first article of faith. It is a really important article of faith because there are a lot of people in the world who are confused about God. We were talking to the Young Women's president the other day and thanking her for all the work she does. As we were talking, I thought about how YW's was the time when I learned the most about who I am, and my self worth to God. Many people have different views on God, but I love that we know that he is actually our Father. 

Also, Did Sammy get a haricut? He also looks older!

Also, Nathan way to be for ring-leading the table moving party! That's crazy! I bet you all gained some muscles from that. That's so fun though!

I love the theme that you have for this month. Good Works-that is so important! (I also love the section about Good Works in Personal Progress...Kimmy you should check it out... :) I think that inviting a family to FHE would be a great idea! I support 110% percent! that sounds awesome! That is good that you are all having the fast to know how to hasten the work.  I know that the Lord blesses us when we fast. One example that I remember is right before I got offered that job at Terrace Grove, the day before it was offered, I decided to fast for the girls that I visit teach. The very next day, they called and offered me the job. It was such a blessing, and it wasn't quite in the way I was expecting but I know that the Lord blesses us for putting forth effort. That is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. We just have to put forth out effort and work our hardest. For example, with the language, I've realized that I have to put forth the effort first. I can't just go expecting to wake up one day knowing Spanish. It will come little by little, minute by minute, hour by hour. But I do feel like my Spanish is getting better, which is such a blessing. I usually can understand the main idea of the conversations going on around me. It's amazing though, because if they dissected the words out, I wouldn't have a clue what they specifically mean, but I feel like that is where the spirit comes in. The spirit can tell me the idea of the conversation and the feelings of others. Which is such a blessing!

This week has been filled with many blessings! The Lord is so good to me. This morning I read Alma 26. It is now officially my new favorite chapter in the whole Book of Mormon. It takes on a whole new meaning now that I'm a missionary! I love the scriptures because with every new calling different things poke out at you. Sometimes I feel like the General Conference talks and scriptures were written specifically for me here in Chicago. But I guess that amazing thing is, they were!! I love the spirit, because with it you can find and feel things you never would have felt or seen before and you know that the scriptures were written for you. The Lord is so good!

I wanted to share some of the miracles we have seen from the Lord. One interesting thing that I've realized is that miracles are there every day, you just need to look for them. The mission has lots of ups and downs, but I know that if I focus on the positive I will start to see even more blessings and miracles in my life. Ok, so here we go.....

Sep. 4th- We were driving down the road to go visit ________, a potential investigator that we had been trying to visit for a while. We saw a man working on the side-walk with the leaf blower, blowing off grass from the sidewalk. I was driving and Hermana Davies said "pull-over, Let's talk to him." We pulled over and hurriedly started walking after him, but he was walking fast and couldn't hear us (or if he could he didn't acknowledge us.) We "chased" him down the side walk, but he turned into a yard and went to the back yard. We decided we probably shouldn't follow him the whole way so we decided to walk to the end of the block and then turn around. So that it wasn't quite so awkward.

When we were at the end of the block we were about to cross the street, again so it wouldn't be so awkward walking right past them again--but I felt we should stay on the same side. as we were walking back, the man with the leaf blower came out again! We asked him what his name was  and started talking to him about the church. 

He started talking about Joseph Smith and what a beautiful story it was! He then continued to say that he had met missionaries in South Carolina about 4 months earlier and had been taking lessons and going to church. He then said "What a coincidence that I met you here as well!"

But I know that this is more than a coincidence, the Lord needs _________ in his Gospel and wants him to come back.

We then proceeded to get his contact information, but in our rush to get out of the car we didn't bring a pencil! So we put our number in his phone and then had him call our number so that we'd have his number on our phone.

But when we got back to the car we looked at the phone, and we didn't have the number. So we hurried and got in the car and drove to were we last saw______and parked the car right in front of their drive way. (Really bad place to park, but I just wasn't thinking...and the windows were open and the GPS was sitting right in the open) But anyway, we were determined to get his number (as creepy as that sounds...) So we hurried and got out the car and ran to the backyard where_______ was. He was with all his coworkers, so it was super awkward, but we explained what had happened with the phone. This time we brought a pencil and wrote it down.

So it was super awkward situation and we rushed back to the car but I kept thinking, "I can do awkward tings for a persons salvation...." haha...the funniest part is once we got back to the car when we looked at the phone we saw that the call really hard gone through! Woops...oh well...

Three lessons I learned:
1. Never forget a pencil
2. The Lord places people in your path you can teach and who need the gospel, but it might take work to find them
3. Never doubt the promptings of the spirit, even if it's "awkward"   

Sept. 5th: One of the miracles we saw this week was that on Thursday we had lots of solid appointments and we had planned each lesson carefully and prepared to teach every person. I was very excited to talk to all of those people, but to our surprise almost every one of the appointments called and canceled because of various reasons. So we were left wondering what to do. Our back up plans also didn't go through, and at that point it was easy to feel discouraged. But we knew that Heavenly Father always has a plan for us, and so we decided to get in the car and say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father what we should do. After the prayer we remembered that the Elders had sent us a text a couple days earlier about some apartments that were just out of their area, and in ours. We decided to go check them out and go knocking. At the third door we found a lady who is a member of the church (but not in the records). She had recently moved from Brazil and has a new born baby. She hadn't been back to church for a while though because of the baby and her husband wanted to go to a Spanish ward, but they didn't know where it was. Her husband isn't a member but was interested in coming to the Spanish ward. It was such a miracle that we found them, and I know that the Lord blessed us to be there and knock on their door.

Anyway, sorry that this letter is becoming a huge novel. There are lots of other little tender mercies that we have seen from the Lord this week! But I just don't have the time to tell them all! I wish I could, but I know that if you all look for the miracles in your life you will see them their as well! The Lord blesses all who are obedient to him!

Mom and Dad, I love Preach my Gospel Lesson two about the Plan of Salvation. It's true, the plan is so great! Are we really living without now regrets and putting what is most important first! Thanks for the reminder!

I love you all! I Love the Lord, and I know that he loves every single one of his children. Thanks for all you good examples to me!

Hermana Israelsen

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What a Unique time this is in my Life!

Hola Familia!!!!
First of all, HAPPY BIRTTHDAY Kimberly this week!! Wow I can't believe that you are 12! You will love young womens. It is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!! My advice to you is to always be kind to everyone in the young women group no matter what (and I'm sure that you already are). Also, participate in the lessons, because you'll learn more that way! So what are you going to do for you birthday? Are you going to have a cake? If so, what kind did you have? How has school been going? Way to be for earning your Faith in God award. That will be such a blessing in your life! So, now you can go to the temple? Are you going to go with the family? That would be so neat? Kimberly, the temple is amazing, and I think you will love it! You might feel a little nervous at first, but when you go just remember that you are in Heavenly Father's house. I'm sure that Mom, Katie,...etc would love to go with you as well. Also Todd, Trevor, Nate and everyone else! That is so exciting! What is your favorite thing about being 12? Do you feel any older? Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you!
Twelve things I love about Kimberly: (just in random order)
1. Her smile
2. Dedication
3. Ability to have fun and help others
4. Her sheep ( haha, just the way that you love what you do and work hard at it)
5. Her testimony of the gospel ( I love how you love the story of Joseph of Egypt)
6. Helpful
7. Clean and orderly
8. Good at drawing and being creative
9. Forgiving and kind to others around you
10. Gentleness with Sammy, Addie, and I'm assuming William as well :)
11. Hard Worker
12. Good at school (math, spelling...etc.)

Ok, so Mom I love your haircut, it looks great! Todd, I also love the picture of you in uniform. Looking sharp! Do you like marching band? What's hard about it? What's good about it? What about school? Do you like 8th grade?
So, about the media focus, we learned the other day that we will be getting facebook eventually, but I'm not sure when. (Weird, because I've never hard one, and I never thought I'd have one on my mission :) I'm not exactly sure of the details are though, we have a zone conference tso I'm not sure it we'll talk about it more then or not. So with winter clothing, I'm not exactly sure. My companion hasn't been here through a winter yet, either...but I'm thinking probably the end of September or the start of October. We can call the office this week, and I'll let you know for sure more next week! Is that ok? I have some warm stuff right now, so if it did get cold fast I think I'll be ok. Also, there are a bunch of coats from the other hermanas who used to live here that I could use if I wanted to.

My companion is from Alpine Utah. She came her about the start of January, but her Spanish is really good! She was one of the new missionaries as well who turned in their papers after the age change. She learned Spanish pretty much all here in the field, which is amazing! I feel so blessed to have a companion like her because she is very very good at connecting with the people and being able to speak with them. Speaking of which, it has been interesting because the people here really love to talk! But they talk so so fast! It's crazy, so sometimes we'll be in a lesson and I'm long far gone with what they're talking about...but I've learned how to just smile and nod and lend a listening ear (or more like someone they can know and trust I guess....) It's interesting, but I've decided that if for now my duty is to just be there to let them know that the Lord cares, then that's what I'll do. I can usually catch on to words here and there, and try and put the puzzle together. It's interesting, but fun! Almost like a weird twist on connect the dots! Afterwards I'll usually ask my companion what just happened, and then it all fits together. People have some really interesting and crazy lives... but I love being there with them.
At times I think of how much the gospel would bless their lives! If they could just see how much following the commandments could bless their life, but I guess they'll see the picture little by little. Like a sunrise, surely but slowly. Then I remember that maybe that's how Heavenly Father thinks of it for me as well. Maybe right now I can't see the whole picture, but the more I learn about the gospel,Spanish..etc...the more I'll come to appreciate and treasure the gospel.

Ok, so some funny experiences this week. It was really humid and really hot, and we went to go check up on a potential investigator. She works for Mary Kay, (so maybe this is why it was one her mind) but she asked us if we were allowed to were makeup! It was funny because we were wearing makeup right then...but I guess she couldn't tell.. We also had someone ask us again, yesterday.... We really do try to look nice in the morning and everything, but I guess just throughout the day, it wears off or something...oh well. :) It was funny, it gave us some good laughs.

I've been thinking about missionary work and what a unique time this is in my life. I don't think I'll ever have another time in my life where I go to peoples house, sit in their houses, eat their food (amazing, I love it by the way!! Mexican food is the best!), talk to them about their worries, the gospel, and try and help them to see the bigger picture, without even really knowing them before! I love it! It is the best!! I feel so blessed to serve a mission and to be serving others! Better yet, to be preaching the gospel to others! In Preach my Gospel, there is a quote by Joseph Smith which says "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel."
It is so true! At times it is easy to forget why we are really here! I have seen the people who have the gospel in their lives and they have a foundation in their lives. I feel so sad for those who wander around, wondering where to go! Because Jesus Christ is there waiting for them to come unto him, but some of them just need a guide. One of the scriptures that I really love lately is Philippians 4:13. " I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me."

Ok family, I want to offer you a challenge.. :) Pray about someone you could give their name to the missionaries. I know that if we pray about it, Heavenly Father will help peoples faces, names, families come to our mind. They don't have to be your best friend, just someone you know. Can I tell you how much we love referrals, I think I would faint if a family came to me and gave us referrals, it would be heaven on earth. They're the best!!! Even better is when the member comes with you! I think it makes such a difference. (Sorry, I'm not trying to get on everyone's case, I hope it doesn't feel that way...I just know how much a blessing it would be to the missionaries)  

Last night we got an interesting text from a less active member, she asked why is it that when they are trying to do the best good, or come back to church, is when she has the most temptations and trials. We are going to go over to her house tonight and talk to her about it. It reminds me of the first vision though, because right before Joseph prayed, satan tried to stop him because what Joseph was going to do was going to change the world for the better. (JSH 1:14-17) It also made me think off all the prophets in the scriptures, they all had trials, and their lives and I'm sure that they were tempted or couldn't see the results right in front of them (Abinidi), but if they just preserver then they are blessed so much. Also they bless others lives! It made me also think about putting on the whole armour of God (D and C 27: 15-18). I've been thinking about how important reading the scriptures and praying are. It's what keeps us going through those hard times. Heavenly Father will always support you, but satan never ever will. (Alma 34:39) I know that when we pray and read our scriptures we are holding on to the iron rod (1 Nefi 15:24). Especiallly reading and praying when we don't feel like it, because that's when we need to the most.
I know that when we read and pray we receive many blessings. Remember to read the Book of Mormon daily!!!! ( I know that I say this probably every week, but it is something I need to work on, and I know that when I do I feel the blessings so much in my life)

I love you all!!!!!! I hope all is going well! How is baby William? How did the race go, Katie and Michael? 
Keep the faith all!!! I love you all so much, thanks for all your support and love. It would be hard to do it without you, thanks for all you do!

Love, Hermana Israelsen 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chicago is Amazing!

  President and Sister Fenn and missionaries
  Hermana Israelsen (Front Row Yellow Sweater) Hermana Davies (Front Row Pink Skirt, Black Sweater)

Hola Familia!!!!
Chicago is amazing!!! I love it, the weather right now is perfect and it is such an adventure! My companion's name is Hermana Davies. She is super, super good at Spanish, which is such a blessing! She also has the ability to connect with people very well, and knows how to be normal around them (meaning she can help them feel comfortable and not awkward) She also has a very strong testimony of the gospel and she is very obedient! Pretty much she is the perfect trainer for me! I hope I can be a missionary like her some day!
So we live in a pretty nice apartment, and there is even a gym right next to us that we go to in the morning. We live right across from the store and have a car as well. I feel kind of spoiled because it's all very nice. I am in the area of Bloomingdale. There are three sets of Spanish missionaries for our branch. The members here are amazing and are always so willing to help out. They also keep really yummy meals and are very kind to us. There are some cultural things that I'm still getting used to, such as just waiting for them to serve you, or having them give you the kiss on the cheek, and they always send you home with something. Which is so amazing! The Spanish people are so nice and willing to give you anything, even if they don't have much at all. It is interesting doing missionary work here because we are looking for specific people. We are looking for people who speak Spanish, and who are ready to hear the gospel, and in our area. At times it is hard, because we're not quite sure if they speak Spanish or not, but I think I'm getting used to looking for clues. It is fun though, because the people who do speak Spanish are from all over the world. Ecuador, Paraguay, Mexico,....etc. It is fun to ask them where they are from! 
Right now we are teaching an investigator  M_____. He had the missionaries over a couple years ago, but then it kind of died off. We had him set for a baptismal date this week, but he's not quite ready so we have to push back the date. It is hard because what we are asking people to do, is no small sacrifice. We're pretty much asking them to change their whole lives around, which isn't always the easiest thing.
It's crazy all the problems people have. There are some pretty crazy things, even with members, but you can tell those who rely on Christ to get through them have such a strong foundation! It's one thing to teach people in the MTC, but out here they have real problems. At times it's easy to think that I don't even know how to help them, but then I just need to remember that I'm not supposed to. The Savior is. We're just here to invite others to come unto Christ. We'll be the guide to show them the way, but Jesus Christ is the only one who really can understand. It is such a miracle and blessing. 
Yesterday, we talked to a lady in a wheelchair, who couldn't move at all! She looked pretty young though, and she said we could come back and teach her and her family. I really hope that we can because I want to tell her more about living with her family forever. I can't imagine not having that knowledge. It brings lots of comfort to me. 

I think it is amazing to see all the miracles that Heavenly Father sends his missionaries. Just little things, like maybe an appointment falls through, but we are able to contact someone on the street who needed help or was ready to hear the gospel.

We had a really fun experience teaching a family yesterday. The mom is a member (but not very active) but her son (who is nine years old) and her daughter  (who is eight years old) are very rambunctious at times. Before going into the lesson we were a little bit nervous because they have a hard time sitting down and listening to the lessons. We decided that we needed to do something a bit more interactive and so we had a little object lesson. We set out a bunch of ingredients to make cookies (like flour, oil,...etc) and talked about how they wouldn't taste good without all the ingredients or just having one or two together. We than related it to the apostasy and how they need the all the ingredients to have the full gospel (cookie.) Afterwards we than gave them a cookie. It was a really fun lesson to teach, but you could still feel the spirit. It was a good reminder of how simple the lessons can be, but how powerful they can be at the same time. The best part is the Mom helped teach her kids as well, and she was into it as well. I love missionary work, it is so hard but worth it!

I think the thing that I am having the hardest time with right now is the language. I feel like it's hard to connect with the members or say what I really want to say in a lesson. I want to be sincere or participate fully in the lesson, but just don't always have the right words to do so. All lot of times we'll get out of a lesson or a contact and I'll just turn to Hermana Davies and say "What just happened? or What did they say"  But I know it will just take time, and even if I can't speak the language perfectly I know that Heavenly Father called me here to speak Espanol, and so I will do my best. If the Savior can heal people’s relationships, raise people from the dead, help heal a wounded soul, then I know he can help me speak Spanish.

My trainer Hermana Davies is amazing at Spanish. She is a really good example and helps me to be a better missionary!
At times I have a hard time sitting through all of study time because I just want to get out there and talk to people. But she has helped me to remember that it is so critical to study and to make sure that we know the doctrine. Which is good. I'm grateful that we have the time to study because the more I learn about the gospel the more I realize that there are things that I don't know. Also, I've come to realize how important the Book of Mormon is. It is such an amazing book. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without the gospel, and it would be very difficult. I realize that when I am having a hard time getting the guts to speak to someone I just need to get out there and open my mouth, because that's what I would want someone to do to me if I didn't have the gospel. 
I hope that everyone is still reading the Book of Mormon! Please do! It can change your life for the better!!

I love the work, it is such a miracle. I'm excited to get going with it, and I hope I can give the Lord everything.

I love you all!!
Hermana Israelsen

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Only Three more Days in Mexico!

Hola Familia!
First of all, Congratulations to Bobby!!!! That is so exciting!!!!! Washington sounds great, I´ve met a lot of people here who are going there as well. You´ll be a great missionary!
This morning we went to the Mexico Temple. It was great! It´s all in Spanish, but I felt really peaceful and calm there. The drive to the temple is crazy though, it reminds me that there are actually people in the world, who lead on with their regular lives. But the best part is, once you get to the temple it is so peaceful. And you can feel the Lord´s love.
So I leave for Chicago on Monday morning. I think my flight leaves around six in the morning from Mexico, so we will be up pretty early. I am so excited! The CCM is all I´ve known as a missionary, and so it´ll be humbling and a good experience to get out and talk to people.
Here is a journal entry from last night. Last night, was definatley one of the more spiritual days last week.
´Today was a good day. It started our normal--you know, teaching, Hermana Johnson and I wanting more bread from the the comedor (it´s really yummy) and other things. Elder Rowberry helped us with the language, past participle and remembering how to use command form. And later the other Elders helped us at the store (it´s all in Spansih)
Anyway, tonight (yesterday) we had TRC. (It is were you go and talk to volunteers about their lives and try to help them.) It was a very humbling experience. The lady we talked to was older, but I´m not sure if she has any kids. As we we´re talking to her, we found out that she has been a member for about 14 anos. We asked her what the greatest blessing in her life was from the gospel, and she said it was the atonement. I couldn´t understand all she was saying (she was speaking very fast-at least that´s what it seemed like), which is humbling in itself. But she has such a strong testimony of the gospel--especially La Expiacion. I think she taught us more than we could even teach her. We shared 3 Nefi 11:12, and then pretty much she taught us more about it than we could to her. It was great!
Afterwards Hermana Rasmussen (our teacher) came up and talked to us about how TRC went. I tried to explain, but it´s difficult to explain. At times I feel so inadequate to each. I tried to explain how I didn´t understand the language and other things. I think TRC is always a humbling experience for our district.
Afterwards we went to class and talked more about TRC. We talked about pride, what it is, and how sometimes it´s the sin of comparison. It was a very powerfull lesson, and I wish I could fully explain it. We read some good scriptures in Ether and Corinithians. About boasting in our God, and not ourselfes. I hope that I can give my self completely over to the Lord. I know God can help me with the task ahead. I know his grace is sufficient. I need ot remember ¨that discouragement will weaken your faith¨´ Yes, I might not be able to speak the language, Yes I might be teaching people much more educated than me, But I know in Christ I can do All things. I will not let my weakness break me, but make me stronger.
During the lesson Hermana Rasmussen went out and got another teacher, Hermana McKay. She told about her experience in a car wreck and how the Lord strengthened her throughout her mission. Even if it was just to walk another step. It was a very powerful and beautiful testimony.
After the lesson she came and gave me a hug. It feels good to get a hug, I have to say. But as she was, she whispered in my ear, [You might want to ask the Lord what he thinks of your efforts{. That was something I had never thought about doing before. For some reason it had never crossed my mind that  the Lord might actually be pleased with my efforts. (Yeah, I don{t know why that never hit me before), but it was very powerful. It was just what I needed to hear. Not that I don{t need to improve--but just to remember that God loves me. He knows my exact feelings. I know I need to be better, but I think at times I forget Heavenly Father´s love. I felt his love tonight, which was amazing and such a blessings.
Love, Hermana Israelsen
(Ok, sorry I hope that journal entry made sense) Also, I hope you don´t get the wrong idea. I am so so so exciting for Chicago, and I don´t feel discouraged, it was just a good reminder to trust in the Lord.
I liked hearing to Tina´s letter. That is so awesome, and sounds so hot! Wow! Here in Mexico it really has not been hot at all. But my claim to fame this week is that I have a watch tan line. Whoot! It sounds like things are going so well with the family. I loved the pictures. They are all so precioius. Also, is that a pictures of Addie on the marry-go-round, because if it is. She looks so old! I can´t believe it! I love the cupcakes, they look delicious. I can´t believe school is starting up so soon! That sounds crazy! Kimmy, you will do well in Spring Creek. My one piece of advice is make sure that you hang around good friends. Ones who are nice to everyone and are excited about the gospel. You´ll do fine, if you can just remember that.
It´s good to hear that the sheep sold well. Congratulations! Once again, I liked the pictures.
I love being a missionary. It is definalty the best things that has ever happened to me. If anyone is trying to decide if they should go on a mission. They DEFINATLEY should! I have heard several talks this week from Elder Holland and Elder Scott about how their mission has brought about everything good in their life.
I only have three more days here in Mexico, so the next time you hear from me I´ll be in Chicago. I´m excited!
Love, Hermana Israelsen 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

If we Listen with Love we won't need to Wonder what to Say

Hermanas Johnson and Israelsen..Soaked!

Hola Familia!!!

Wow! William is so cute!! I was so excited to write today because I wanted to see pictures. He looks adorable. I´m so glad that he was finally born (because if he hadn´t I think I would have a cow)....Haha, just kidding... Jade, you look like your doing great! I prayed for you and Trevor. I prayed that you will be able to feel confidence with William and be able to know how to best care for him. I´m sure that you are! William is lucky to be with such great parents!! Trevor, have you changed a diaper yet? Last I remember, you said you never had. I´m  sure that you´ll be a pro in no time, though :)
This week has been so great! Did I ever mention to you that a mission humbles you like nothing else? Because it does, but it is so great!!!!! Last night we we were talking as a district about teaching people, not lessons. Our maestro, Hermano Rasmussen is really in tune with the spirit, and he came over and talked to Hermana Johnsen and I. I realized that I have been too worried about time and fitting in all the material, that I had been jumping over the investigator. It was a humbling experience, but so good. I think that this sort of thing happens all the time to me though, I just have too much on my mind, that I forget the most important part--people! I love the quote in preach my gospel though, it says¨If we listen with love we won´t need to wonder what to say.´I had always thought of that in just a spiritual sense, but lately I realized that it applies to Espanol as well. If I listen and ask inspired questions, it doesn´t matter that my verbs might not be conjugated right, and that I don´t understand present subjunctive, and other stuff like that.
I really love the Spanish language though! I feel like I can usually understand what people are saying to me. I especially love reading the Book of Mormon is Spanish. It´s the best. I have to go slow, and so it makes me think about every word. There are also different ways that they word things, that make it sound so beautiful!! It´s such a blessing because I usually don´t feel nervous talking to people. I think Heavenly Father has blessed me a lot, because even though I know I´m probably saying it wrong, I know that the spirit can take what I can´t do. It´s amazing. I never thought I would ever have confidence in Spanish, but this is just an example of how Heavenly Father works through imperfect people.
This week we had some interesting and fun things happen.
I saw a green bird in the tree!! It was like a green parrot-looking bird for real....it was so awesome!!
Ok, next interesting thing. On Tuesday night we had a devotional at 7:30. It was about 7:00 and my district had to switch classrooms so we thought we should leave a bit earlier so we could take all of our stuff to the new classroom, which was all the way on the other side of the CCM. So we had a ton of books and things and we got to the door and it was hailing and raining really really really hard. I mean really hard. Remember how I said bathtubs of water...I felt like this was swimming pools of water on the ground. One of the elders offered us his umbrella, but we decided an umbrella was probably more of a hindrance than a help. We decided to make a run from building to building. Hermana Johnson and I started sprinting out, but I took about five steps and slipped in a huge puddle. My skirt flew up and everything I dropped my stuff. That was an adventure.. We started  laughing, and made a run for it to the next building. It was crazy, but kind of fun (rather embarrassing though) By the time everyone made it to the devotional we were soaking. All through out the devotional my skirt and shoes were dripping, but it was fun. We took a picture, so maybe I´ll try and send it.
The devotional was about temples. President Pratt (the MTC president) has done a ton for the church in South American. It´s so amazing the good you can do, just by one person and sharing your talents. I feel blessed to be in the company of so many good people.
The other day we also watched a devotional from Elder Holland (from the Provo MTC). It was similar to his talk in general conference about Peter after Christ was crucified and the apostles went back to their nets. He talked about the line ´´feed my sheep´´ It made me think about Kimmy. Kimberly did you know there are a lot of scriptures about feeding sheep. You should read about them with Mom and Dad.  See 1st Peter 1.19 and other scriptures, Ezekial 34, and Isaiah 53.3-6. They are really neat! I think you would like them! Elder Holland also talks about 3 things that missionaries don´t do very well. They don't Study well, don't prepare well, and don´t teach for commitments. It was exactly what we needed to hear, because those are things I feel like I really need to work on.
The CCM has so many people! All the other MTC´s are at full capacity and they are sending extra unplanned people here, and so  there are really a lot of missionaries. It is so fun!! I love it!!! The work is moving forward and the work is exciting. The more I´ve been teaching or being taught the more I realize how important member missionaries are. We need you!!
Mom, I think that story from Band Camp is hilarious. That is so funny! That´s not something that you ever imagine happening....I bet that was the talk to of the night.
I´m glad that Todd is loving Band Camp! That is so fun!! I can just see him being such a good marcher and hard worker. Hard work is so important. That you Mom and Dad for helping me to work hard. In preach my gospel it says that is no substitute for work. I pray almost every day that I can lose myself in the work. Sometimes it´s hard though. It´s hard to forget yourself, because most of my life I´ve just been thinking about myself. But the days that I do serve I can feel a difference.
I´m so glad that everyone is reading the Book of Mormon. Keep it up! It is truly the best book in the world. It´s the best book to solve any problem along with the Lord. The Bibilia is also truly amazing! I love scriptures! They are the best! If anyone does not feel that they have time to ready the scriptures, they need to make time. I wish that I had done that more often. Even ten minutes can do the job!!
My favorite scripture this week is D and C 64: 31-33. It is a good reminder to act.

I´m glad to here than Jennie is doing well!! I´m sure that she is such an amazing missionary.
Also,  Dad I hope that things are going well for you! You are such a great example to me, and I always look up to you. I know that you were called of God to be a bishop, and thank you for being such a great example to me! I hope that I can be as humble and loving as you are, and as hard working.
I love you!
I love you all! I love all the pictures of Sammy and of William... They are adorable! Jade and Trevor I´m so proud of you!!
Hermana Israelsen
Also, Todd and Kimmy I sent a letter for you! It might take a couple weeks in the mail, but keep an eye out for it. :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I Triple Dog Dare Ya

Dear Family and Friends,

Wow, I can´t believe that William is not born yet! That´s crazy! Wow and 9.5 pounds, that´s so fun and exciting! I hope that all goes well for Jade and Trevor.

 Nathan and Trevor good luck studying for the GRE, that sounds like it´s a big test! I hope all goes well.

Todd, I hope marching band is going well! It´s hard work, and you have to do a lot of push ups, but I bet you´re doing so well. I hope that Band Camp goes well. It´s so fun!!!! Are you with Colton Hines as well?

Mom and Kimmy, I´m so impressed with making jam and applesauce, This morning we had pancakes for breakfast, and I wish I had some of that jam to go with them. But actually they were amazing anyway....I think they put a lot of sugar in them....but hey, I´m not complaining. They´re way yummy!

I hope that reading the Book of Mormon is still going well, since everyone is pretty busy. This week we talked a lot about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon. There are a bajillion reasons that we should. I was trying to take notes, but there were so many blessings I couldn´t even get it all down. I think that everyone should reread President Gordon B. Hinckley’s conference address about reading the Book of Mormon. And then do it.  I triple-dog-dare you to!  Haha, anyway here are some of the blessings I wrote down about reading the Book of Mormon:

-Nearer to God

-Teaches Truth

-Testimony of Christ

-Power in Book, into our lives

-Resist temptation

-Power to avoid temptation

-Power to stay on the straight and narrow

-Will find life in greater and greater abundance

-Calm an agitated soul

-Bring peace, hope, a restoration of confidence to overcome challenges

-Unlock revelation

-Holy Ghost invites

Heal emotional challenges

-Excel physical healing

-Speaks to your heart

-Love in families

Opportunities to observe, learn and teach family (from discussion and reading)

-Know how we're doing and how to do better

Will change your life for the better

Will lift, guide, and embolden you

 This week has been really good! I can´t believe how fast it has gone! I´m actually past halfway until out in the mission field. Which is crazy! Yesterday Hermana Johnson and I decided to only speak Spanish the whole day, not a word of English. We told our district if they would,  that we would go buy them cookies. We made it about to lunch time, It´s is pretty hard. I feel that in Spanish I have to pick my words so carefully, because I don´t have very many. It´s kind of like a game though, you have to figure out ways to say stuff using other words, rather than the direct word. If that makes sense.....

We´ve been singing Himnos 88, Placenteros Nos Es Trababjar. I like to think of Grandma and Grandpa Briscoe every time we sing it. It´s a fun song!

This week all the Hermana Sisters sang, Because I have been Given Much, (in Spanish of course). But we all sang it at a devotional. It was so fun! But while we were practicing, a man came up to me and said that he was in Uncle Jeff and Aunt Daryl´s (The Thornton’s ward) and he was just saying hi from them. It was so fun! Thanks for thinking of me!

I´m trying to think what else we´ve done this week… A lot of teaching. But it is so good! Last night we also talked about why people need to go to church to really receive conversion. There are a million good reasons to go to church, but the reason we all need to go to church is to take the sacrament. It was a good reminder.

So, it´s crazy! The CCM is filling up with so many people. You won´t believe how many missionaries there are. Gym time is crazy, there are so many people. They said that the numbers are supposed to double though....I´m not quite sure how they´re going to do that!! It´ll be interesting.

My companion, Hermana Johnsen it always so thoughtful. The other day she gave a note and some Oreos to one of the lunch ladies. She is always so kind, and thinking of others. It was so nice!!

Do you think that you could get me Jennie´s address and Annalise’s address. I´m not quite sure if I should email them or write them. But I´d like to have their mission home addresses just in case. I hope that they are doing well! Jennie (Sister Moon) is already out in the field. That is so exciting!! The other day I was sitting there thinking about her out there, preaching the gospel. I´m one hundred and ten percent sure that she is one of the best missionaries in Georgia!!

I picked out a scripture for each person in the family. I just thought you´d like them!!

Dad: 2 Timothy 4:7

Mom: Isaiah 53: 4-5

Nathan, Kristie and Addie: Luke 22: 31-32

Trevor, Jade, and William: Genesis 1:27

Katie, Mike, and Samuel: (Also, I really love the way they say Samuel here, it´s awesome!)       2 Nephi 32:8-9

Todd: Alma 31:5 (My new favorite scripture of the week)

Kimberly: Alma 37: 35-37

Friends and Family: Last two paragraphs of the Introduction to the Book of Mormon

I hope that all is going well! Things here are going great! It´s hard, but totally worth it!!


Hermana Israelsen

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"...But in Spanish, that's a Whole other Story"

Mexico City CCM 

Hola Familia!!!

I forgot to tell you in my last letter, but I´m so proud of you all for reading the scriptures every night! If there´s one thing I could do and go back before my mission, I would´ve read the scriptures more. And make sure that I really memorized the scripture mastery's! I hope that you all can keep reading them! Also, it would help to have a second source to go along with reading the scriptures, like True to the Faith, or Predicad mi Evangelio.

This week we heard a DVD talk by Elder Holland, it was amazing. He said some really strong things though, such as that the members are counting on you ´¨and don´t you dare let them down¨´ But he also said a lot of spiritual things as well. We also listened to Elder Nelson talk. He said that our best friends in the ward should be 1. The bishop, 2. Ward mission leader 3. Family History Consultant. I though of Nate and Kristie then. He talked a lot about how family history work is very important to missionaries and helping those that they come in contact with, helping them learn how to find out about their family. He also talked about how we need to lose ourselves in the Lord. One of my favorite things he said is that Obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience bring miracles.

I thought that before I came on the mission I knew the gospel pretty well, but honestly there is so much to learn. You have to know a doctrine very deeply to be able to explain it simply. Lately we´ve been teaching two investigators. We only have twenty minutes to teach them lessons, which is really hard because you have to be very specific in what you want to teach them and to reach their needs. Any suggestions? I think I could do it in English, but in Spanish that´s a whole other story. We have been talking a lot about the importance of planning, and my teachers have been helping me and Hermana Johnson greatly. I think it´ll just take practice.

So each day we have breakfast at 7:15, then we have personal study for an hour, then classes till noon, then we go to a computer study called TALL. We study grammar, and then we study some more. At 3:55 we have gym! Yesterday we got to play soccer, it is so much fun! Then afterwards we do our planning, have dinner. And then we usually teach our investigator and study some more, and some more and more. I love it! It´s so nice, but hard to concentrate sometimes!

Hermanas Israelsen and Johnson
Here are some answers to your questions:

 The food is good, there is a big variety. They sometimes have American food, but today they had tomalies for breakfast. They usually have several options though, but the tomales are pretty good.

 About the CCM, . There are lots of noises during the night, explosions and stuff, but it doesn´t really bother any of us. Nothing has been too surprising, for the most part it almost feels like I could be anywhere in an MTC, except for when you look up on the mountain and you see all the houses stacked up on top of each other, or you look at the trees. I´ll try and send some pictures today.
 My favorite thing...I don´t know. I love it all. There is a ton of studying to do, but I really like my district. I really like just being able to spend my time with the gospel.
 Yes, we have laughed about many things. Usually with my district. There was once when one of the elders was praying in Spanish and accidentally messed up our teacher's name pretty bad. I could´t help it, and just started busting up in the prayer.....which probably was´t the best thing to do...but anyway...There have been other fun things as well...just like running through the rain to classes, or with our latino roomates..they are so fun. (They actually left for the mission field this past Monday) but I feel like your emotions on the mission are heightened. You get the funniest and the saddest, and it can happen in just a couple of hours.

 My district is the best. One thing I love about the CCM is that it doesn´t matter what type of person you were in high school, everyone is so nice to each other. I know that companionships are inspired. It´s interesting the types of people that get put together, because it seems that each person can help the other. My companion Hermana Johnson is amazing! She is 21, and is really nice. We are pretty similar, and she helps me to be a better person. One of the Elders in my district in Elder Hicken. He said he has grandparents who live in Providence, they live by the Elementary school. Do we have Hicken´s in our ward?

Last night we did what is called the TRC, it´s where volunteers come in, and we just go talk to them and try and help them solve their problems. It is so hard, because when your teaching an 'investigatore' you know a little bit about them. But this is just like being pushed right in there and try and help them. It's fun though! This is one of the times I wish I knew my scripture mastery better. It's also interesting because it's all in Spanish, but it´s good practice. Through small and simple things, can great things come to pass.

I finally have Joseph´s word in Spanish memorized for the first vision. It is neat, because you can feel the power of the spirit even though it´s in a different language.

Oh, by the way, sorry about the bad spelling....I´m trying to type fast, because I don´t have a super long time. And there is no spell check....

I hope that Nathan and Kristie and Addie are doing well. How was your trip to Oregon? What was the best part?

Trevor and Jade, I hope everything goes well with baby William. I´m very excited to see pictures!!!!!!!!!!!

Katie and Mike I loved the picture of Sammy. It made me laugh. How is work going? Katie, how is your online class going? Was Nauvoo all that you remembered it being?

Todd, how is marching band going? Do you like it¡? How is your sheep?

Kimmy, how is your sheep? Is he gaining weight? What else have you been up to?

Mom, I´m so grateful for all your help with packing and everything else! I love you! We talked about charity the other day. I think you are one of the best examples of charity that I know. What have you been up to? Did you guys watch any parades for Pionner day?

Dad, I´m glad that you are ok, with the dump truck. That sounds scary! How has home been? What´s the best part of your day? Dad, I also think you are a good example of charity.

I hope all is well with the family!!!! I love being out here on the mission, it´s one of the best decisions I´ve ever made. If anyone is trying to decide whether or not to go, they totally should.

Love Hermana Israelsen

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Leaving on an Airplane and All My Missionary Friends!

This is a picture of Emily and four of her close friends all leaving on missions this summer, Jenny, Emily, Alisha, Carly. 

July 9, 2013

Dear Family,

Things are going so great! The airport was an adventure, and our flight to L.A. was delayed quite a bit. So, when we got to L.A. there were about 15 of us missionaries running around, trying to get to terminal 2. We made it just in time, but it was an adventure! It was probably a real sight to see us scrambling around. On the flight to Mexico everything was in Espanol, so that was interesting. But most everyone spoke Ingles as well, so we were ok. In Salt Lake we met a boy named Antonio and he was headed to Mexico as well, so he kind of stuck with us missionaries, running around in L.A.X and things like that. He's not LDS, but it was fun to talk to him, and hopefully he learned a little bit about Mormon missionaries so if he sees them maybe he´ll go talk to them. I also talked to two ladies who are half American Indian and are Catholic.  We talked to them a bit about what we were doing. They had heard of the church before, and were very nice. it was fun to talk to them.
Sorry that my typing is really bad, the computers here are different. There are 10 hermanas in my apartment complex, and we all arrived today (but not all on the same flight) <mi compenaro es Hermana Johnson, she is so sweet and I´m excited to meet her.
I´m so glad that you had a good time at Rumbi, it is yummy! Kimberly, buenos nachos as well. :)
Mexico City is so colorful and beautiful, and there are so so so many people. It¨s crazy!  I love you all! Mom thank you so much for helping me pack, I don't think that I said thank you enough. you are the best! We just arrived about an hour ago, around 10 o clock, but I just received my name tag. Everyone has a hard time saying my last name, even the English missionaries. But that¨s ok.
Im glad that you had a good time quilting at the Gunnels house.  Just for a quick visual of the mtc, there is a big gate around it, and it¨s like a mini BYU campus. It's beautiful but I'm excited to see it in the day time. When we first arrived here, some Elders came out and sang Called to serve in Spanish. It was neat!
How are things going at home, did Jade have the baby? 
Love you all,
Hermana Israelsen

Friday, July 19, 2013

CCM, Mexico City, Temple, "Hey, there's the missionaries" but then I remember I'm one too!

Hola Familia,
I am so excited to write to you. There are so many things during the week that I have been wanting to tell you but i'm pretty sure I wont get to everything I want to.The CCM is so neat! It's very different from Mexico city though. The rest of Mexico is very busy, colorful, and with lots of poeple. The CCM has big gates all around it, has beautiful campus and is like a mini college. There are new missionaries coming every week. The other day Hermana Johnson and I were walking out of the comedor and ran into a man who was trimming the bushes. He motioned over to us, and proudly showed us the bush he was trimming into a heart shape. We tried to reply in our broken Spanish. There are always workers trimming things up and keeping it really nice. The CCM used to be a school, so there is a gym, and all sorts of fun things around. But honestly there is no time to do any of that. There is so so so so much studying to do.My district is awesome, it's me an Hermana Johnson and 8 others Elders who are all going to El Salvador. We've already gotten to know them a lot and it's only been a month. I feel like I"ve learned so much in just a week. In fact, by the third day me and Hermana Johnson taught our investigator Cristofer the first lesson. We have now taught him four lessons so far, all in Spanish! It's just me and Hermana Johnson, and our Cristofer doesn't speak any English at all. ""He's actually a teacher here, but it really feels like a real investigator and they've asked us to act like he is. The amazing thing is that even though we can't quite get the right words to say I can still fill the spirit. Last night we committed him to baptism and he said yes! We pray in Spanish, bear our tesitmony in Spanish, and pretty much everything in Spansih. In fact my other two roomates are Latino Missionaras and they don't speak any English at all! We've really goteen to know them thought, they are so fun and nice. The gave us some Mexican candy to try the other day, and it tastes almost like Nutella!!Today we went to the temple in Mexico. And I have to say, Mexico city is so so different than the CCM. IN the CCM it's like we''re in a a little bubble. Outside the cuidad is so different. I feel like people are almost living on top of each other and the driving is crazy! It's interesting to see, but I really like it. So at the temple we went through, all in spanish, no english at all. It was so neat though, because I could still feel the spirit. Me and Hermana Johnson rean to the Distribution Store at the temple and bought our roomates an English Book of Mormon. We like to read together at night. THey read in ENglish and we read in Spanish. I love the people here, they are all so nice and everyone says "Buenas Dias!" On the way back from the temple we saw the missionaries from Mexico city walking on the street, we honked the bus at them and waved. They looked happy to see us. I thought of Trevor walking those steets, it's very crazy but neat to see!It rains almost every day at five o clock. Me and Hermanan Johnson made the mistake of not brining an umbrella one day and we got drenched. That day it literally poured, like bathtubs of water. I don't think I've ever seen so much water in my life. I'm pretty sure they don't need sprkinkles here at all!The sheep sounds like so much fun! You should send me a picture of them. I saw the picture of the FHE! It looks like fun. I hope all is going well. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who helped me get ready for the mission. It is amazing, I love it! There is a ton of studying and it's easy to get tired, but I know it's worth it. When else am I going to be able to just studyi the gospel, and in Spanish too! My teachers are amazing, it's Hermano Hill and Hermano Zamilpa. They pretty much only speak it Spanish to us. It's good practice! But at most only have class for about 3 hours a day, the rest is scheduled out teaching and studying on our own.Probably the best thing about the CCM is the spirit you can feel here. It's amazing! Sometimes though, I see all the missionaries walking around and in my head I think {Hey, there's the missionaries" but then I remember I'm one too.I love the gospel and love teaching. I especially love teaching in Spanish, you can feel the spirit very strongly even though I can't always say exactly what I want to. You have to find toher ways to say things and keep it very simple. 'Me and Hermana Johnson have made some mistakes in Spansih, like accidently calling Joseph Smith a girl, and I said the sacrament was called the Sacramento. BUt it's all in good, I don't feel too nervous to talk in Spanish because everyone is learning together.I hope the Kimmy and Todd are donig well! They are amazing,and  I"m glad to have such good little siblings. Same to the older siblings as well! I hope all goes well for Trevor and Jade with the baby! I"m excited to see pictures.I know that there a lot of things that I"m forgetting to say, there is just so much that has happened it's hard to remember everything. There are a lot of spritural experiences and I love being here. It's the best!Yo se que la Iglesia es verdad. Yo se que JesuCristo es el Salvador. Estoy agredecido por mi familia y por el don de lenguas. Gracias Familia!I love you all!!!!!Hermana Israelsen