Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas skype date = success‏

We start with Tuesday! Normally we have a Correlation Meeting with our Ward Mission Leader every Tuesday night and he brings us dinner. But this week he was so so kind and took us all out to each with his cute family! SO KIND. We love the Croppers! cutest kids on the planet

Sister Hunter and I and the two elders in front of us, Elder Decker and Elder Barney, got the 4 different pizzas they had and shared. It was the best idea ever! 
top left: Elder Decker's Alligator Sausage pizza (third place)
top right: Elder Barney's Spinach and Oyster pizza (fourth place)
bottom left: Sister Hunter's Shrimp and Sausage pizza (second place)
bottom right: Sister Belnap's Crawfish Voodoo pizza (We all agreeed it was the best! 1st place!)
They were all delicious and we were so full
New Orleans Food and Spirits gets 5 stars!

Oh yea. and BLUEBELL IS BAAAAACK. This is such a big deal. I had it 4 different times this week in 4 different houses because everyone is so so happy its back in Louisiana. 
We signed up for a new volunteering opportunity and it is the best thing in the entire planet. It is for St Francis Animal Sanctuary and they are a no kill shelter. Guess what our job is. Playing with cats for 3 hours! AWWW YEAAAAH. BEST SERVICE HOURS EVER. We just get to hold and play with 26 cats to make them more friendly and cute so they will get adopted. they just jump up on your lap and cuddle with youuu! I love it! Heavenly Father loves meeeeee!
I didn't get a cute picture cuddling with cats this week but I will next week. They are toooo cute. 
But while we were there we found out that the Animal Sanctuary had some adorable puppies at Petsmart so we had to go see.
They were right. They were fluffy and adorable. 

I forgot to lock my heart against the heartmelting eyes of dogs. Especially this one!
This is Christmas eve! 
Christmas eve we had District Meeting and it was so fun! We had our meeting and spiritual thoughts then we had lots of fun. 
At the beginning of December we drew Secret Santa names and we all thoughtfully got a present for our person to give to them on Christmas eve. I drew Sister Hunter. SERIOUSLY. HOW AM I GOING TO DO THAT. But I did it! I got her some really cute socks that she helped me pick our "for my sister" hehehehe she had zero idea and was so so surprised. Its was so funny. 
Then we just played games, we all brought pictures of our families and we ate and talked. 
Flipping through and back through you can see all of our personalities revealed so well through them. hehehe love it


The Christmas load + my corner of the room 

Christmas breakfast! My first time making hashbrowns and scrambled eggs. It actually turned out quite well :)

Then Christmas day! Skyping and kind members homes. We went to 3 homes after skyping on Christma

Then back to real life! This was Saturday. We are out of allotted car miles so we are biking. dang it  But this is what the back roads of Covington looks like! Its very beautiful! We were riding on an especially beautiful back road and decided to stop and take some pictures on the really cool fence.
Country rooooads taaake mee hoooome to the plaaace I beeelooooongggg!!! Louisianaaaaa dun dun dun duuuun.. I dont remember 
Looking both ways....Cool fence

Just having fun together!

Oh yea and Sister Hunter is a dancer. She's awesome.

I found out yesterday the trick to solving all your raccoon woes! 
Having trouble with a raccoon infestation?
tired of raccoons getting into your trash?
Or destroying your yard?
Just feed them cheap dog food and become friends! 

They are friendly and full and don't get into anything. They just become your friends and they are no longer afraid of you or you of them. They are quite cute!

One last picture of my festive room before it comes down featuring my lovely collection of Christmas cards and stockings

Oh and PS. This is where all of our presents were under our tree but I forgot to
take a picture before we ripped them open... #cheesin

*sigh of happiness

That explains my week. 
But really. Skype was over the moon over the sun happiness and Christmas day was all I could dream of and more! It was so incredible to talk to yall and to see all the blessings that Heavenly Father has blessed my with this season! I still can't believe my Christmas package to yall got to you in 2 days so it would be there for our Christmas skype date. I mean wow! How much does Heavenly Father love me? TOO MUCH TO EXPLAIN.
Just an incredible day. 
Well since we just talked I have a nice picture letter set up for yall! It was an extremely chill week because of the holiday craziness as well as the extreme rainstorms we've been getting! It just pours and dumps and winds and whips. So it has been just a chill but happy week. 
We got a tornado warning this morning at 4am. We had quite the opposite experience than Audrey's first one. I didn't even wake up and Sister Hunter just shut it off. haha
Anyways, it was so so good to see your happy faces and to talk to yall! You make me smile brighter than the sun and feel so gooooood! My bucket is definitely full. Ready to get back to work and work til Mothers Day!
Enjoy these pictures with my face in them
i lava youuuu
Sister Sades

We were on the front page on the social media part!!!! Yea baby!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Man is it Christmas yet?‏

Guys I'm so excited!!
But what's also really exciting is that the days and the weeks are going by alot faster. So that’s great! P-days come faster and faster!
Yall this week was so goooood. So much Christmas goodness and fun.

Early in the week we had a Specialized Zone Training. This is when President and Sister Hansen come and teach us about a specific thing. Sister Hansen spoke to us about music, using it in our lessons and having appropriate music to uplift us. It’s so cool to see all of these music references coming up in the mission so far! I feel like my whole mission is so focused on music and the power and influence it is on us as missionaries, members, and investigators. President Hansen talked about Baptismal Interviews.

We also get our car inspected and have a fun White Elephant gift exchange with the whole zone. So each person brings a present that you either find somewhere in your apartment or is under $5, serious or not serious presents. So when Sister Hunter and I were at Walmart last week trying to figure out what we wanted to bring for the White Elephant and neither of us could think of something funny and cheap.
Then I had a huge lightbulb!
Shout out to the Stiles and the Spencers! Because I remembered their White Elephant stories of stealing something from the other person so they would miss it and have to trade for it. But it had to be something they would truly miss, like they did the home phone and then once was the toilet seat.
Sooo…. Of course yall know where this was going. We tried to steal the Elders phones the day before but it didn’t work out. We brought a bag an empty box to put the goods in and right when we got to the training we stole a phone, a planner, and a couple of name tags off some elders suit jackets so they would be missing the whole time.
It totally worked.
The Sisters phone that we stole had a history of losing things and so they were really panicked that they needed to find it. The Elders had to put their suit jackets on for the meeting but they didn’t have their tag there!
We ended up stealing 2 more phones and it definitely didn’t go unnoticed. It was even announced that we needed to keep track of our phones and make sure we have our own phones and not someone else’s. Sister Hunter and I were just giggling to ourselves ;)
Then it was finally time to open the presents! Everyone picked a present and then we did the story and had to pass it left or right depending on the story. Then we all opened them and our presents were both the last and one of the last. When the elder opened the first present and pulled out a phone and a name tag it was dead silent.
And then an UPROAR! It was by far the funniest present and greatest reaction. Everyone loved it and even President and Sister Hansen told us not to tell anyone because they were going to do that trick the next day at the Alexandria training!

And we know that Christmas is getting closer and closer because we had our third and final Christmas party! This was the Ward Christmas party.
We have been preparing for this one for a while. We have six missionaries in our ward and we were allowed to make a little music program to sing a couple songs at the party for a spiritual missionary moment.
Sister Hunter and I have been practicing and practicing and killing our voices some nights with all the singing we do. The Elders in our ward are not singers so we have been meeting a lot to get them to practice and get the songs. It went really well! We didn’t get all of it on video but we got 2 of Sister Hunter and my songs and then Elder Barney’s piano solo. You can check those out on my mission GoogleDrive.
That is mainly what our week consisted of! Lots of Christmas things, caroling and practicing for the party.

last P-day we had a Tea partyyy! The elders are buddy buddy with the owner of this
English tea shop and we get food on the house! so kind!! 
Sister Hunters Almond milk herbal tea or something.. It tasted like cough syrup to me!

How the elders feel about having a tea party.... (they were making the nutcracker come to life)

We eat a a less active members house ever Wednesday, the Nolans (where we ate 1 of the 3 dinners at Thanksgiving) They are the most 'Louisiana people I've met. They are so awesome! Last week we had white beans and rice and this week was interesting! We had Cajun Boudin. It is rice, pork, beef, spices, onions, peppers etc all ground up in a meat grinder and stuffed in a cleaned pig intestine. Its really good! 
Okay can we just have a food count real quick? This is some of the stuff I've eaten. 
Turkey neck
white beans and rice (not red yet)
Boudin in pig intestine
fried, injected spiced, turkey
fried catfish
fried oysters
fried shrimp
hush puppies
sweet potato pie (like pumpkin pie)
cheeseburger casserole
let the list to be continued!!!

We had several really great lessons this week and we have been doing so well at finding people to teach! Since I’ve been here we have gather about 10 new investigators and several of them are promising. Slowly getting better at teaching and bringing up the gospel!

I love yall so much and am so excited to see yalls faces!! 
Sister Sades
I have been rationing my little baby peanut butter but the I finally found a 5lb one!!!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Its almost Christmas!!‏

HELLO MY BEAUTIFUL FAMILY! Guess what! I will see your faces in 11 days :))))))))))
Man have I told yall how much I adore the Christmas season?
Dang its always been one of my favorite times of year. Christmas music, Christmas food, Christmas kindness, Christmas gifts, Christmas love, Christmas cheer its all amazing and I love it. 
But my absolute favorite thing about Christmas is the focus on Christ part. Keep Christ in Christmas right? Everyone remembers why we celebrate Christmas and what we can do to recenter our lives. Basically everyone tries to come closer to Christ! And heyo we can help over here! :) But really. It is so awesome to see everyone have a little bit more kindness, more compassion, and more Christ in their hearts to prepare for the Christmas season. Also everyone loves Christmas! 
Sister Hunter and I have switched up our finding tactics to fit in with this Christmas season. We have been CAROLING! Yay! It is so fun. I'll try to snap a picture next time we go but basically this is what we look like. 
Mission clothes - but not December clothes. Its more like June! It has been a wonderfully warm winter here. Heavenly Father is just telling me that He loves me because He knows I love it warm :) it has been about 70-80 degrees all day. usually 79 in the day and then it will go down to 72 at night. It is the most wonderful thing!
happy smiling faces :)
Sister Hunter's green Ukulele
Christmas music - we usually go with Silent Night or O Come All Ye Faithful
Can't forget our name tags! - Our name tags are most important after our voices! 
This is what happens. Its exactly like tracting but we sing instead! 
Walk up to the door, - Knock knock knock - waaaiiiit.. you see them through the windows, SMILE, and as soon as they are about to open the door we start singing! They can usually tell we are carolers because of our ukulele and music.
But when we start singing their faces really light up and they are so happy to have carolers singing to them on their porch. Caroling really spreads Christ's love and brings the Spirit of God and Christmas into homes. Its an incredible experience. While we are singing most people don't know what to do so they try to read our name tags. After we finish singing, the people clap and thank us and are just happy. 7 or 8 out of 10 will ask us what church we are from and they are the ones that start the conversation! Its amazing. We will have a really lovely pleasant conversation about the Christmas season or church. Then we will always share A Savior Is Born card with them and they are very friendly and not put off at all. Many of them say that they will watch the video. ITS MIRACULOUS AND SO UPLIFTING. It makes us so happy and its so fun. It really boosts our spirits. 
Its also super productive because after the holidays, we are planning to go back and follow up to see if they watched the video and if they have questions and interested in learning more. It is a wonderful tool. Also the videos the Church puts out are inspiring yea? Man. just amazing. 

Dang something that was so fun this week was that we got to try LANDBOARDING. 
Sister Hunter and I had just finished meeting with someone and had an appointment in about 40 minutes with someone else that was really close in the area. We were driving and saw a store that said they sold BlueBell ice cream. 
Now you have to understand. This is a big deal because this would be most unusual. BlueBell ice cream is the most coveted ice cream in the south for its glorious taste and deliciousness. 
Buuuuuuuuut Bluebell ice cream is no longer sold in the Louisiana area because of serious health safety concerns with a batch of ice cream that had rodents gotten into it and gross stuff. So its not sold here. But this store said it was there so we had to stop!! They didn't sell it. It was an old poster. Such a let down. 
Buuuuuuuut there was a park right next to it! Abita Springs Park, its beautiful. So we went into there and we saw these men longboarding but they were like pushing themselves along with a plunger on an extremely long stick. So of course we had to talk to them to know what the heck they're doing. 
So we yell at them and they stop and they tell us they are LANDBOARDING and they ask us if we want to try.
Dang so basically its paddleboarding on land. So longer than a longboard more like a surfboard then instead of pushing with your foot you push with a paddle with a rubber thing on the end! Its really fun! I loved it. I want to look it up when I get home. The guys were really cool to. We met Mark, TK, and Tad and they are in like 30's/40's. It was so cool to talk to them! They are just older chill surfer dudes from Louisiana. It was a great time. 
Land boarding with the plunger sticks

Mark's GoPro picture from Landboarding!

We also had our 2/3 Christmas party. It was the Stake Christmas party. Covington is in the Denham Springs Zone but New Orleans Stake. Soo guess what.

It was super cool! We are on the 'North Shore' (above Lake Pontchartrain) and so we have to cross a 26 mile bridge across the lake. It was beautiful and really made me miss the water and ocean. The stake party was just like a giant missionary reunion with members there! All the missionaries in the stake went and it was so fun. I met lots more missionaries and got to put faces to names. I made lots more missionary friends and its crazy to think that the friends I am making are the friends I will have for the rest of my mission. It is so fun to talk to all these people! Man the stake party was so fun.

At the Stake Christmas party. they had real animals everywhere!

But man I miss yall mucho during this season but its still a good time. Thank you for all the letters and pictures! I love it so much. Also I have gotten a couple Christmas cards from the Belnap clan and it makes me so so so happy! I have them pinned above my bed on my Christmas tree so I can look at them everyday. It makes me sooooo happy to start opening the 12 days of Christmas yesterday!!! I got stickers from Audge yesterday and I'm so excited to open them :)
Merry merry merry Christmas and I get to talk to you so soon :))))) I love yall so much! and hey send me letters! 
Sister Sades

Trying Beignets for the first time at Cafe Du Monde!
(Me not Sister Hunter) Its just like mama's scones 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas cheer‏

Wowie! Overwhelming feelings of love for yall! I really appreciate all the advice about the ward! Its still an icy chill of cold shoulders from the bishop and RS pres but there are some extremely kind people. Yesterday we a lady gave all the missionaries a stocking full of goodies which was so tender. And I have met some very cool and inspirational people in the ward. ie the Browns, Ory's, and Mckaye's. They are great families and an amazing example to me. 

This week went by the fastest any week has gone so far so that is exciting! I'm glad its going by faster. We did alot of service this week (at the food bank and the re-store, a secondhand store) and that was very fun and different. 
A sister in the ward called us on Friday morning and she wanted some help setting up her Christmas tree and decorations. It was super fun being about to help her and get to decorate a tree! I didn't know how much I missed decorating a Christmas tree and doing the traditions we have. 
We went and admired the Christmas trees in the farms! Its beautiful and there is a million on every corner!
But there is a problem. Sister Hunter and I have the missionary syndrome. Wherever there is a TV on we can't take our eyes off of it! DANG. Especially with all the Christmas hallmark channels always playing tender Christmas movies. Its too funny. The sister we decorated the tree for had the Christmas movie hallmark channel on and we were so distracted sometimes!

I had my first ZTM meeting this week! It was fun to get to know the zone. We got to go out to eat and I have made a goal to never go anywhere familiar! So no Burger King, Taco Bell or Mickey D's for me. Only places I've never been! We've been to Raising Cane's (Fried chicken), Izzo's Illegal Burrito, Smoothie King (Jamba juice for the south), and today we're going to Cafe Du Monde for some BEIGNETS! yay yay yay! 

Christmas party #1 - Relief Society party

Man oh man I am really feeling the Christmas spirit. We have 3 Christmas parties this month! The missionaries are also doing a special musical thing in the middle of the Ward Christmas party so that's what we have been working on alot. Sister Hunter and I are singing several songs with piano, guitar and ukulele so we are practicing and practicing! Its fun to spread missionary work and Christmas cheer through song. Its really special and a cool experience. 
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE MAMA! That was a super fun surprise and we have loved putting up the Christmas tree. It was a loved piece of home. 
Whoops too much excitment about the package I forgot to take a cute pic before ripping it open :)))))) happpppyyyyyy

Sister Hunter already engrossed in the December Ensign ;) (also a little sneak of what our apartment looks like with our stinky couches)
How festive our room is! Christmas countdown, creepy santa magizine picture, snowflakes, garland from mama, tree with ornaments pending, a ripped festive cup, and the empty stocking from the kind lady in our ward
more festive in our desk room where we study!

Sorry this letter is short! We're going to the lake and picnicing and fishing today because of the nice weather! 
Much love to yall and a merry merry Savior and spirit filled Christmas wishes to yall. 
(Don't forget to spread the reason for the season with the Christmas video!)
I lava yall!
Sister Sades
ps about skype we just have to set up a time with members to skype on their computers/ipads so Audge let me know if you already have a plan or whats going on or if your flexible and such. I CANT WAIT TO TALK TO YALLLLLL!

Christmas at Cane's!