Monday, May 22, 2017

happyyy over here

whooooaaaaaaaaa yall.
this week has slightly felt like an eternity. 
it was only a week ago that it was mothers day? feel like a month!
none the less its been wonderful :) much more chill than last week so that is good!
if i had a theme for this week it would be  [ h a p p y ]
a. we went to the temple this week :))) very happy bc i love to see the temple. every time i feel an abundance of God's love. 
e hall, gordon, belnap, ferre
i <3 to see the temple

been a stormy week yall! sososososoosososososo humid. cant even tell you how humid. so thick and sticky. but beautiful!
b.  zone conference. the finale. gave my go home testimony! and the hansens (my mission presidents) last zone conference. was edified by some spiritual giants.

c. these things mean seeing friends all week = very happy
the orys <3

my boo steve :)
d. cheryl is still on date for this saturday morning at 10am!! PLEASE keep praying for her though. anything can happen, there is so much against her! she needs mucho prayers. 
but she is stellar. quote from her yesterday at church is, "aw man, i just love this church!!" :)))
e. visited a man who has serious cancer and has extremely limited time left, I asked him, "mr. bo. what life advice would you give us?"
a dying mans advice "make every moment count. be happy. make other people happy. everyday make someone smile and have them do the same for someone else. but just be happy."
f. had interviews with president hansen and we talked about our rad ward here and the work here. at the very end of my interview he said, "you look happy! you look really happy, sister belnap." 

and you know what yall. I am happy. 
i am so so happy. 
i couldn't have asked for a more perfect mission for me. at a more perfect time, at a better place, or people. 
happiness is chosen and happy is what I want to be!
those questions, "what are your plans post mission?" used to unnerve me and scare me. but now with a new view on life, i have an answer.
who knows what im going to be doing in a year from now or 6 months from now or heck even 2 weeks from now..
i just know i'm going to be happy while doing it!
if there's one thing i want to be when i grow up its happy :)

and happiness comes from God!
in zone conference, sister hansen shared her instruction that when we know we are truly a child of God, we should never feel worthless. 
I know that for me being a child of God means more than having worth. it means a purpose and a responsibility. purpose to make my way back to live with God and a responsibility to help my brothers and sisters to come back as well. 
and when i keep this in mind... 
it makes me so happy!! it makes life fulfilling. 
still crazy weather so we decided to embrace it and get wet anyways with a water balloon fight :)
anyways this is a lil section of my week!
i appreciate and love yall so much!
love this life, love this earth :) 
sister sades

Monday, May 15, 2017

missionary work explosion

exchanges with MANUMAAAA my pseudo companion of my mission
volunteering at Vermillionville teaching chiren how to make ragdolls
also got to tour vermillionville! its beautiful and so is this girl manuma
finish the story: 
heavenly father wanted to test every bodies faith during fast sunday lots of nonmembers there..
so the elders picked up a former investigator that week and invited him to church and he actually came!
he got up to bear his testimony right at the first which I thought was pretty cool and brave. 
but then... once he got up.. and started talking.... is where it went very south. 
the summation of his testimony is that no one can judge him. no one can judge him except God and Jesus. and since no one can judge him its whats on the inside that counts and no one can judge him and he doesn't care what any of us are thinking about him. and no one can judge him and so thats why he is going to doo...... this. AND THEN HE STARTS UNBUTTONING HIS SHIRT. 
luckily he has a t shirt on underneath.. also luckily our bishop is the greatest and on top of things so before he got tooooo far bishop stood up and talked to him for a second... and then, embarrassed, he buttoned his shirt back up and then continued talking for another 10-15 long excruciating minutes about how no one can judge him but God and he doesn't care what anyone thinks about him at all... except for his ex-girlfriend. then proceeds to tell us too much info about their relationship, how she broke up with him, how devastated he is and would do anything to get her back. but also how no one can judge him except God. 
like what? 
ugh. esta bien but I could do anything except switching from squeezing sister ferre's arm to death and then slamming my palm to my forehead. also just praying and praying and keep praying that the nonmembers would suddenly go deaf or get extremely distracted or something. UGH.
*after sacrament meeting, tried to go talk to andrew again and get his info... he wasn't interested. :(

So welcome to this week! its been incredible!
this week just EXPLODED. 
remember last week when we had big goals and big plans and we already started seeing miracles and it had only been a couple days?
yall. that is what happens when you completely humble yourself and put all the work and all the trust and all the sacrifice and all the obedience into God's hands. 
and then go out and doooooo something about it.
so we prayed, set goals, prayed, made plans, prayed, then called a bunch of people and made routes!
this week we went on 2 sets of splits (each of us went with a different sister in the ward so we can cover more ground), went out with 2 members, and also went on exchanges!
soooo busyyy.. but it was amazing. i loved every second of it!
master chef amber taught us how to make gumbo this week! 

but here's the real tender mercy of the week.
when we were doing our big planning session last week we were thinking about Cheryl, our most amazing and progressing investigator, and specifically praying about a baptism date for her, we had prayed and thought about two dates but more strongly about May 27th. that morning when sister ferre and I planned for our day on sunday we made a goal to have a lesson after church to meet with Cheryl and ask her about baptism and the dates.
I was talking to Cheryl before relief society started about a 10 yr old boy who is getting baptized next weekend. 
before I knew it Cheryl gets real serious and says,
"I want to get baptized. What would it take for me to be baptized before you leave?"
me: *jaw drops. wow cheryl! thats actually something we have been praying about and we thought about May 27th as a good day for you to be baptized. 
the very second I said the day "May 27th", Cheryl's eyes immediately filled up with tears and she started crying. she just kept saying, "yes. I know it. I just know it. This is it." 
the spirit was so there and it was a really special moment. :') 
i <3 cheryl
i <3 the spirit
but another tender mercy is that we set really high goals this week and we achieved and exceeded them! we officially have one investigator on date for baptism, we had 4 investigators at church on sunday and we met 5 new investigators this week. it was truly a miracle week!!
and this next week will be even busier and more exciting so stay tuned!! 
big milestone for me this week! hit 18 months on the mish
love this place of mine <3
so we had to celebrate!
i love yall mucho mucho and loved talking to yall yesterday!
can wait to see what this week holds :)
#prayersforlaffytown & cheryl
sister sades
we saw this gator on exchanges in a swamp.
 i was scared but #soworthit

Monday, May 8, 2017

bursting with stories!!

louisiana <3
let me tell you some miracles about committing to change, making goals, and adding God in the equation.
+ a few thousand stories

so last monday's adventure we went to AVERY ISLAND
 and the tabasco factory!! it was so cool.
me and manuma in 4 months in hawaii #shaka
the tabasco crew with life size tabasco!
zydeco music and cajun dancers!
this couple was my faaaaave <3
and fried food
ooooooo more lil shops

dont let the smiles deceive you... afterward we weren't smiling. #ew

do you like my shot at being artsy??

gift shop. my girl sis kez has a polaroid and we have lots o fun!

so lets just say... that we have had cool investigators just drop into our laps since I've been in lafayette. we have had tons of people to follow up with and see and teach so our days have been really full!

the last.. probably 2 weeks things have been slowing down dramatically. 
but woooowwww the motivation to go finding has be way loooowwww. 
that doesnt mean we didn't do it!! bc we did.
it just means that our hearts were not in it and we really didn't want to. aka it was going to be useless
one day we thought we deserved some BR yessssss first time in 17+ months
this week started a new month and exactly one month til transfers. anything can happen this month. 
you just gotta make it happen. 
so we set goals and made commitments about what kind of missionaries we wanted to be for this month and how we were going to get there and how we were going to hold each other accountable and DO GOOD STUFF. 
and the greatest part is that we added God into all the mix. 
we asked ourselves why do we want to do this. 
what is our motivation? 
bc we want to be servants of God. 
we want to be His instruments in this laffy area. 
that we want to be molded and changed by Him.
and then we asked for His help! 
we set goals, committed ourselves to them, and then prayed for His help. 
and guess what. 
so far we have seen many miracles. 
one goal was that when we were planning for the day we were going to have a set aside hour for finding. no. matter. what. we weren't going to let anything get in the way (unless the spirit says otherwise of course)
but its really easy to set a time to find and then oh hey this came up or we can go see this person instead or stay with someone that takes up our finding time and just go later. 
not anymore. 
that makes it difficult for Heavenly Father to make sure the people He has prepared for us are going to be where we are!
so now we have an appointment with finding. 
we have done this twice so far, friday and sunday, and both of those times we found someone. FROM TRACTING. and they are now investigators. :')
thank you heavenly father.
investigator #1: JADE
on friday we went tracting in a members neighborhood. (this always helps so you have somewhere to park your car with an easy conscience that you wont come back with an angry elf ready to blow at you for where you parked)
annnnyyywayys. every missionary has their own knocking pattern. mine is to knock one side of the street then when you're walking back you knock the other side. 
for some random reason we decided to mess up our knocking pattern and go to a different street, and different side of the road.. it doesn't really sound like a big deal but it was out of the norm for us. #divine 
so we go to this house and I notice it and point it out because it has tibetan prayer flags which is unusual and sis ferre says that she is getting a prompting that we should knock it. so of course. we knock.
Jade answers.
she's surprised to see us and we are just as surprised to see her! she was wrapped up in nothing but a towel, because she was in the tub and thought that her son was at the door bc he was locked out. 
So we are having a conversation with her while she is wrapped up in a towel. we talk to her about what we are doing, what she does (fun fact: she's beautiful and is kinda famous? idk she met martha stewart so i think she's famous.) check her out:   <this is seriously her!
another fun fact: she's genuinely interested. she told us that right before we knocked on her door, she was in the tub she was praying to God, telling him how hard life is for her right now. she didn't go into much but she's having a rough minute right now :( so she thought that it was interesting that we knocked on her door right at that moment. #DIVINE
before we could ask her for her number, she gave us her business card with her information on it. aka a reeeeal phone #! then she asked us if we had a book or something for her to read, so we gave her the Restoration pamphlet. she told us that she was going to go and read while she was in the tub, and that we could come back another day. 
#findingmiracles #bewhereyousayyouaregoingtobe #committed
investigator #2: JOSH
sunday we committed to go finding right after church. 
and we have about 15 minutes left before we go home to go study. 
we are knocking in our knock pattern and we knock on this door and a little boy runs up to the door and looks out the window at us. we were surprised bc this is an old neighborhood.. not many families. but we met Josh and his 3 yr old son and yr old daughter. they are precious. 
we end up talking to him for 2 hours. no exaggeration. we sat on his porch and talked to him about the restoration and differences in our religion and others. he's not super interested in changing but he is intrigued by missionary work and other aspects. 
he invited us back for not next, but next sunday!
other miracles:
Saturday was a crazy busy lots of appointments and stuff to do, one of them including going to walmart to pick up some melting chocolate for a treat we made for one of our investigators. we only stopped in there for a moment and was talking to the cashier about who we were and were then headed on our way when a lady overheard our conversation and knows the elders! they volunteer for her daughter's business so they are familiar with them but hadn't met the 'ladies' yet. (hahaha people are so amazed that there are girl mormons) so we chatted with her for about 20 minutes in the middle of walmart as she told us her experience as an apostolic(pentecostal) and how she 'escaped' and her life now and everything. she's not interested in being mormon but she loves the missionaries and is intrigued!
but we finally had to part ways, and she wants to have us over for dinner, so we got her contact info and gave her a pass along card with our names and number on it. 
literally as I am typing this, SHE TEXTED US. FIRST. and wants us over for dinner! (as mentioned below we are having to double book next friday (OVER A WEEK AWAY) to make it work with our schedules. lol whaaaat.)
JUST NOW INCOMING TEXT: from ms. lynn "I visited your website ( to check out talks on faith. I may order that book, just to check it out" 
what book was that?

hanging around :) ft the gorgeous oak trees

we tried for like.... 20 minutes to get a jumping pic.... and this is the best we got. lol #fail
we met some friends! aka previous mission couple who live here The Jensens <3
swamp land
gator country

#FEARLESSSSS #jkwasntevenscared
there is also a jungle gardens driving tour 
and we saw some baby gators!!
well. the summer sales crowd selling vivint and ADT are still coming in like its HOT. aka so many young families!! and that means that our dinner calendar is BOOMING. we dont have an open spot for dinner until May 20th and to make it work with some people and then investigators or less actives who always have meals for us when we have lessons we are getting double and triple booked.... whaaaat. #bigmiracle #gotfed3timesyesterday
as mentioned above, summer sales families and couples and individuals are flooooding our building. it is bursting! we have to start opening the second overflow. so every sunday its really over whelming trying to figure out who are people from the ward that I'm still trying to memorize and differentiate them from summer sales people and then still try and meet the billion summer sales people and help make them feel welcome. we get there 30 minutes before the meeting starts and its still not enough time to meet/talk all the people i need to! so priorities are set. 
1. investigators/less actives
2. members 
3. summer sales people
well as I was walking around the chapel I noticed this mid-late 20's looking guy sitting by himself. He looked like a member! nice white shirt, tie, slacks, dress shoes. (not normal investigator clothes) could have been a summer sales guy. (number 3 on priorities) but I knew I had to talk to him. something was different. So I introduced myself, got talking to him. 
Meet Andrew. he has never ever been to or heard of our church before but decided to come to our church today. he just found it online and showed up! he is going to UL (university of louisiana lafayette) grew up catholic, but hasn't been christian for the last 10 years, he doesn't believe in the bible. but he came to our church today! whooooooooaaaaa

and some nice la views ft the elders car + bike rack #missionlife
and we found a buddha and tried to be cuuuuute
other stories:
another fast & testimony meeting aka OPEN MIC DAY in louisiana. 
so ya know.. being a missionary in louisiana has brought a whole new meaning to testimony meeting. you never know what is going to happen or what will be said. 
usually i just sit back and enjoy meetings and try to get something out of the rambles and rants and several good testimonies. but this particular meeting we had 2 investigators there that are very important to us. very. +++++ andrew the researching nonmember!!! and the spanish elders had 3 investigators + a less active there. 
so lafayette is an amazing ward i wasn't too worried about open mic day. 
but of course. i guess heavenly father wanted to test every bodies faith. 

well sad news we are running out of time so I will have to tell yall on mothers day!!! woot woot! 

one of our members warning us. (we had alot of homies looking out for us)
Wednesday this week we had a crazy bad storm. we weren't allowed to leave our apartment ALLL DAY LONG. which is a party until the cabin fever sets in... a;lserijf;lsdk then you go a lil stir crazy. 
but we were under severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings and everything. the sky turned green a couple of times but no hail so no tornado over here. #whew #closecall
when we were studying that morning though, it was raining more than buckets and it was lightning strike after lightning strike and a constant rumble of thunder. 
here we are reading our scriptures when everything goes white and there is a GIANT booooooom of thunder so loud and so strong it shook the entire apartment and i swear entered into my soul and shook my brain. 
lightning struck the car directly outside our window!!!!!!! IT WAS INSANE. the strike shook the whiteboard and my calendar and other things right off the walls and i think me and sister ferre went deaf for several moments after. honest to goodness, i fell out of my seat bc it scared me so bad. we started laughing bc otherwise we would have cried. i shed 2 tears out of shock maybe?? haha the car has scorch marks on it and we are blessed to be alive. 

what time do you think it is?? its definitely noon that looks like 8pm. 
ft our whiteboard that got knocked around from the booooom!
yep. its noon. ????
wooowwww well I hope yall kinda see how life is here in laffy town! its pretty spectacular.
i love god so much. he's always looking out for us :)
love yall and talk to you sooon!
happy soon to be mothers day!
sister sades


Monday, May 1, 2017

festival international de louisiane

Wowwwww yall so cool things happened this week!
yall remember we are in the month of festivals??
welp we had the the big one this week!! it was HUGE!
vendors lining the streets ft the la flag in the corner!
this weeks festival was Festival International de Louisiane 
it was wednesday - sunday and this festival is SO big. 
it covers probably 8 blocks by 8 blocks of downtown lafayette
and the idea is that its an international festival.. bands from all over the world come to play at the different stages around the festival
then as you are walking around to the stages there are food vendors and shopping vendors from some local lafayette vendors but then there are so many from all over the world!! ie AFRICA. there were so many from AFRICA!
I loved going around and people watching and people talking and talking to the african vendors. it was one of the coolest things I have done in a while. 

one of the vendors from africa

the sweetest lil lady vendor from some place that starts with an S in africa
had to get a pic bc she was so nice!
these guys are also from the place in africa that starts with an S.. (is there a place called sagal? i don't remember!) but they were suuuper funny. I got a woven basket from them (don't worry i actually learned how to haggle a lil bit so the price was dec) and asked for a pic with them! 
this was the funny guy and he kept running away so i had to chase him down
 hahaha he really is smiling i promise
​more rad vendors
one of the stages. not even crammed yet!
festivities <3
but we (almost our whole district) got to sign up and volunteer for part of the festival! we got a free t shirt (holla) and we went and volunteered at the kiddos section of the festival where there was really fun games and face paint and their own kid stage for kids singers and arts and crafts. WOW it was fun! we helped kids fly kites! (bc it was so so so so windy whoa. blew us over! and blew some of the big kites into the trees) 
but anyways. it was so fun and i love volunteering and getting to talk to so many people!

at the kids section with the volunteer crew!!
helping kiddos fly kites. (i <3 this lil kiddos pure joy on his face as he flies his first kite)

la companera <3
funny story: 
so after we finished volunteering we got to go walk around to see the festival for a bit. us and the other set of sisters stopped at this vendor of jewelry and then you get a free engraving. I thought it was cool but had ZERO intentions of buying anything bc i wasn't interested ya know?? (bc fun fact i have pretty dang small wrists so I dont like metal bracelets bc they dont fit my small wrists the right way) 
so anyways. we are just ya know doing the thing that you do in front of vendors when you are like "oh wow, these are cool, yea look at this one!" and then you touch everything, maybe ask what the price is, and try to put it on, find your right size, and look at it, then set it back down even though you know you're not going to buy anything... yep. you know exactly what I mean. everyone does it. 
so us sisters are all doing this, and I try on this bracelet. and it actually fits my wrist pretty well so I was like, "hey look! this bracelet actually fits my wrist! thats cool. how much is this??" 
vendor: oh thats $20
me: "oh okay" takes it off and sets it on the table starts to turn away. (bc im not even interested remember)
vendor: "hey you know what.. that bracelet looks really good on you, how much do you want it for??"
me: *thinking in my head um yea i'm really not interested in getting this so just say a realistic low number so she wont sell it* "yea I only have like... $10 bucks soo..."
vendor: "okay I'll give it to you for $10, what do you want engraved on it??"
ughhhhhhhhhhhh bad decision yall. 
by this time the elders had caught up to us, and it was all happening so fast, and she had the engraving stick thing on and ready to engrave and I didn't know what to put on it and so everyone was giving me ideas and telling me stuff to put on it and other people were coming up and then i just bought this bracelet that i dont even want and so we decided to put LA <3 JC as the engraving so shes like allllright and puts it on there and then hands it to me and I put it on and.........
it looks like crap. 
then i keep looking at the bracelet later on and....
the gold is already peeling off.
and then a couple hours later I look at it and....
its already super scratched up. 
this bracelet is legit worth maybe $2

end of festival! (ft that lil gold overpriced bracelet....lolz)
ughhhhhhh hahahahahahahahahahaha
my pooor missionary life yall. 
i've been haggled. 
but hey my district got a real hearty chuckle at it and its all good mems now :) hahahahahahahaha

in other news....
I got my trunky papers this week! aka flight itinerary and plans and luggage tags and info.... what??

one and only BR zone pdayyyy! playing sand volleyball
anyways. such is a lil section of my life!
having good times and making good mems :) 
but heyo may 1st today so that means that in one month I'll be in the sky!!
love this louisiana place of mine right now though
love yall mucho!
sister sades