Monday, February 29, 2016

WE'RE ALIVE barely‏

So this happened this week. 
We had an exciting day on Tuesday. To say the least :)

So here's the story. 
Monday we get a text from the Mission Office email telling us that its going to bad weather so just be wise and careful. 
Okay fair enough we can deal.
(ps refer to googledrive for more pictures of everyone who cares about us that gave us weather updates)

Monday night we get a text from Emily saying that storms were coming in and to be really careful if we are driving tomorrow. 
Not usual. Fair enough. We'll be careful.

Laate Monday night we get another text from Emily to be prepared and to be extremely safe because there are SEVERE storms coming in (i.e. thunderstorms, hail storms, tornado watches) and that school was cancelled for the next day. 
Whoa. That just got real. So low key concerned. But not to worry, we didn't have to leave the apartment until 11 because of all of our studies. 

Wake up Tuesday nothing exciting on the phone.
Get to studies and holy smokes!!! Everyone is texting us, telling us that the weather is going to be nuts and to be careful. I've never felt so out of the loop or wanted to check the weather so bad in my life!
We get a text from the office email that tells us that we have lockdown starting at 10. Hour later: Oh wait psych not til 1 because thats when the tornado comes. 
Mmkay. Its chill.
Calmly go about our day, out to district meeting. Biked because we are running low on miles and had faith. Get there and back safely, meet our lockdown curfew at 1. 

Starts raining and pouring at 1:15pm
Doesn't stop until 7pm

But I think I aged about 5 years and Sister Stevenson aged about 20 years in those couple hours. 

You would think, "Sweet! A couple of relaxing hours that we can catch up on journals, take a nap, write letters, play games, aka have a nice relaxing day."
I don't know too much about this storm that attacked Southern Louisiana but I know that it was bad. Really bad. 

 About 2 pm we had scare #1. We got a text from Emily and the office email that a tornado has been spotted and to get in an interior room on the ground floor with no windows. 
Yea thats a problem Houston. 
We only have one room like that. If you can call it a room. 
We have a small Harry Potter half bath under our stairs that is so small if you shut the door you better not have claustrophobia because its so small.
We are like ummmmm.. We cannot fit in there. So we get in the center of the house and stay away from windows watching the rain flood our front yard. 
The danger wasn't bad and it passed on but the rain and the texts are still flooding in. 

We have a little safe spell where it was all good, little fitful nap and then just talking and eating.
But then we had scare #2 around 4pm
A text from the office email says that all lockdowns ended for all the missionaries..... except Mandeville. 
Oh no. 
Emily tells us we have a giant glob of storm coming our way on the radar. 
Oh no. 
We get a call from President Hansen telling us that we have a large tornado that is coming in the direct path of where we are in about 15-20 minutes. Starting at Lake Pontchartrain and going up Mandeville and into Abita/Covington. So in about 10 minutes get in a ground floor, interior room with no windows and stay there for about a half and hour. 
aka. Our Harry Potter Bathroom. for 30 minutes. 
Oh no. 

Our itty bitty HP bathroom
So now being the SCARED, safe, obedient missionaries we bring in a chair from our kitchen, and Sister Stevenson sits on the toilet and I'm on the chair. We chill in there [and by chill I mean helping Sister Stevenson not to panic;) her first southern storm and man its a doozy], but we're actually having a good time while the storm is literally raging outside our little apartment, joking around, and taking pictures. Also praying. lots of praying.

but when the time gets closer, the sky gets darker and darker and the rain and storm gets heavier and scarier. Our ward friends and especially Emily keep us updated. Emily lives in Abita and the tornado storm glob was headed right for her. It was a terrifying, nerve-racking experience. Emily was telling us that the sky turns an eerie green when the tornado is about to come and that it sounds like a freight train. The rain already sounded like a freight train sooo..........ah. 
both of us in the bathroom
Saying goodbyes

We were just watching and waiting on the edges of our seats. Watching the sky and making sure it stays the right color and we were on edge for over an hour. 

But thankfully all that happened in the Covington and Abita area is very hard rain and strong winds and dark clouds. 
Thankfully all that happened in Mandeville was water spouts on Lake Pontchartrain which flooded Mandeville. 
But a tornado did hit in Madisonville, about 15 minutes from where we live, in our ward boundaries. But everyone in our ward is safe!

Front yard flood

We had interviews with President the next day and he told me in my interview that we were in the path of the worst storms. 
So yay. 
But yay for missionary promises of safety.
Yay for members and kind people who care about our safety and check up on us. 
Yay for making the best out of scary situations. 
Good times. I love life. :)


But as for missionary work things have been moving along! Sister Stevenson and I have seen blessings and tender mercies but not in the way we were expecting.
We had a rough week for appointments. We also we in dire need of some new blood so to speak, we needed some new investigators.

Tracting in flower estates.
So this week and next week we have a huge goal to go tracting and do finding activities most of the week. Give some of our investigators a week break. And for me personally I made a very conscious effort to tract with faith instead of just going out and doing the actions. I went with a very positive attitude and ready to go out, get some people, and let Sister Stevenson get some doors! 
We road our bikes to a neighborhood I had been thinking about for a while and chose a street and got started. Out of all the houses we knocked we had zero pamphlets given out, many pass along cards in empty doors, quite a few home but refuse to come to the door, several polite rejections and a couple not so much, one prayer, and one return appointment. 
But it was probably the funnest tracting experience I've had. 
We live in Eden.
We didn't have 'success' as I thought but we grew and laughed as a companionship and did hard things. And man we have been seeing the blessings of having faith and acting. 
We have 2 HQ referrals that we have contacted that we SO nice! We had one of our recent convert youth bring a friend to church and now wants to take lessons, and we have a family from the elders that want to feed us this week! 
We are still going to be tracting alot this upcoming week but we have a better outlook and testimony of blessings from finding.

Life is good yall. 
Yall are so good to me. I love hearing about yalls lives. 
Keep me updated. 
Name your baby Kort. 
I love yall so much. 
I miss ya lots. HAPPY MARCH wat. crazy. 
Sister Sades
Service at the Windsor aka the best place ever
I just love everything about this picture. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Training is everything it cracked up to be‏


I testify that what the subject line says is true. 

No but really. Training is pretty fun. 

But first I need to keep up a tradition from dear old Sister AJ

Ten facts about Sister Claira Hunter from Gridley, CA
1. She is a dance major at BYU Idaho
2. Also danced with Sister Myers (from PMG: The District videos) little sister at college #famousonlytomissionaries
3. She is really into weddings
4. also videography. 
5. she might put them together to make a job out of it as well as a dance studio when she gets home
6. Wants to take dancing as far as she can go. as in wants to try out for So You Think You Can Dance far. wat.
7. She rocks at burping. for serious
8. She enjoys making up her own recipes and concoctions with spices and stuff thats actually pretty good.
9. Is a firm believer in six months to sexy
10. I'm going to miss her alot!

Woohoo! Now Sister Hunter is in Alexandria aka the boonies way farthest away part of the mission as a Sister Training Leader. 

Being adorbs o' course

nowwwww introducing 
She's from Deweyville, Utah and she is straight outta the MTC.
Man she has a really great attitude about being new though. That is something that definitely makes being new a lot easier.

Fun story that is one of my favorites ever about Sister Stevenson's very first day in Louisiana as a missionary:
February 17, 2016

Every Wednesday night a less active family, the Nolans, feeds the sisters at 5 and the elders at 6 since we can't eat at the same dinner appointment. 
They love the missionaries and we love them! They are so cool! Very redneck and so good to us. They're hilarious. 

So its Wednesday night and we finish tracting during the day and go to the Nolans for dinner. 
Guess whats for dinner. 
You'll never guess. 
Its the perfect first day food for Louisiana. 

Nolans Menu:
Gator Tail boiled in crab boil with potatoes and mushrooms
Fried Chicken Liver
Fried Gizzards
Fried mushrooms

falling off the vertebrae mmmmmmmmm! :)))

mmmmmmmmmm! PERF first day food right!
I thought everything was reaally really good! Not even kidding. The Nolans are pro Southern cooks. Alligator tail cooked to perfect tenderness falling off the bone... mushrooms full of flavor. mmmm :) One of the best meals I had in a while.

Poor Sister Stevenson on the other hand..... :) Dang. Rough night for her haha She did great though! Very polite and ate everything! 

Sister Stevenson's polite reaction hahaha There is a potato, small things next to it is the fried gizzards (hard and chewy), next to that is fried mushrooms, then fried chicken liver (softer than gizzards but still very firm), then gator tail! 

Can you say culture shock though?  Gotta love the Nolans :)

But I do love Sister Stevenson! She has a good attitude about being new, she's able to talk to everyone, she has jumped right in with teaching and we have a really good time with role playing different investigators and doing door approaches on each other. I've had a really good time with it. Kind of surprising her with what some people in the south say and do :) She's a great sport. 

Also a great sport about meeting our billion investigators and friends and members of the ward! She's doing really well and she'll do fab in the mission. 

I'm super blessed to be her mama. I love training. I hope I train my whole mission. 
But I couldn't have done it without yall! I really appreciate the encouragement and advice yall have sent me! and if you have more please keep it coming! 

Emily is choosing a new baptismal date for March! We have left it to her to be the judge of what she wants to do with her parental situation but she knows that she has SO much support from us and the Browns and the ward. 
She had to leave after sacrament meeting the day she bore her testimony but the last 2 hours we had so many ward members tell us how cool and inspiring that was, offering support and FHE's in their homes. It was a great out pouring of love and support. 
I love the LDS community. 

Yesterday at church we had one of our eternigators come (eternity investigator). It was another cool experience. I was teaching Gospel Principles this week so he was originally only going to stay for the first two hours. But then he decided to stay for a bit of Priesthood. He ended up talking to the Bishop for the entire hour and was so happy that he came to church!
We got to debrief with the bishop about what he thought we should do about Rob: keep teaching him or drop him
It was very cool to see his perspective and what he was prompted to talk about with Rob. 
Dang I love the Spirit.

I also love my mission. 
I love yall alot
I love Louisiana alot too. 
I guess I'm just full of love!
Sister Sades

Cheese buckets:
The sunsets on the final day together as this district. its been a good ride.

the natural habitat 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

scared but blessings from heaven‏

Hey fam. 

I don't even know what to say right now. 

My heart is very full! and this week, scratch that. These next THREE MONTHS I am really really really going to need yalls help. 
Yep. I am asking for an other strong pull of your angelic help from all of yall and anyone else out there. I'm SERIOUS!!


So this week is transfers. Obviously. P-day is on Tuesday. But we got transfer news.
Sister Hunter is leaving to be an STL for her very last transfer and I am taking over the Covington area. My first area. Taking it over. 

Also I'm training.

A new missionary. I will be the first companion of a fresh missionary. IM GOING TO HAVE A DAUGHTER. A brand new sister straight from the MTC. JUST LIKE ME. I just left the MTC last week!!

Oh my heavens. I'm very excited but am feeling very inadequate of course. But it has been quite a cool experience. I had the Spirit testify and prepare me before I got the call that I was training. 

Wow. My heart is so full right now. I don't know if I can express it well but I'll try.

So yesterday we were on lock down because of bad thunderstorms and tornado watch but man. nothing beats a Southern post-storm sky.
I am not surprised to be training. 
I hoped it wouldn't be true, yes! But I'm not surprised. 
I know Heavenly Father was looking out for me this week because the Spirit testified to me and has started preparing me to be ready for this new sister. 

Heavenly Father saying you can do it
This last week transfer predictions came up of course and I've never seen the point in them but I'll listen. I don't remember too much but several people brought up training. For some reason (aka the Spirit) I couldn't get it off my brain. 
"I love you"
Since I started my mission I have had a running list of what kind of missionary I wanted to be and what kind of companion I wanted to be. Its list of  character traits and what things to do to be the best I could, things I saw in others I want to emulate or not. This week I have added 'What kind of TRAINER do I want to be:' I don't know why (aka the Spirit) but I added more and more ideas to this list. I have ALWAYS had a strong desire to train new missionaries because I love the idea of shaping the new generations of missionaries, being able to shape the start of a new missionaries mission, and in turn making the mission even better with more consecrated missionaries that starts with training. 
One night just a couple nights ago, my own trainer was thinking and talking about how many sisters are coming in to the mission this transfer and as we were settling down to go to sleep she just straight out said "I bet you're going to train!" 
Outside of our apartment
I, of course, brush it off completely because that is not unheard of but completely absurd since I am just completing my own training. I said to myself "my DREAM is to train but definitely after I have another transfer or 2 under my belt. I need to learn from more people before I teach someone."
As I'm thinking this trying to go to sleep.... my brain won't let it go! It starts thinking of what I would do if I DID train this transfer in Covington. What we would do first, what I would do differently, what I would make sure she understands about obedience..etc. Then I finally come to myself and tell my brain to cut it out! You're not training this transfer so just let it go and go to sleep dang it!
I get a sure answer. 
A little something comes to my brain and says "You're thinking of this because I have been trying to tell and prepare you all week that you ARE training."
I stop every function I'm doing and open my eyes. It hits me. 
I'm training. 

You betcha that the next morning I was on my knees praying and praying and adding more and more to that list from the Spirit. 

I'm so grateful for the Spirit. 
I'm so grateful for this experience so I know that God has a plan for every missionary. 
I'm so grateful for this experience so I know that I have a mission president is called of God and inspired. 
I'm very humbled and grateful for this opportunity of raising a new generation of missionaries. 
This is definitely one of those situations where the Lord doesn't call the qualified. He qualifies the called.
Miss Alfreda Smith! She is a lady that we met at when we went to the baptist church and then we saw her again at the post office! She chased us down in her wheelchair and gave us her name and number and told us to call her to go out to lunch. 
It happened this week and she brought us Valentines flowers and by the end of the night we had become her adopted 'chiren'. She is a gem. 

But I would really really appreciate a surplus of letters in the upcoming of weeks with advice.
And maybe even a couple to my daughter that you can give her love and encouragement because we know how wonderfully lonely the first couple weeks of the mission are.
I'm feeling very happy that I get this blessing of a new sister but very inadequate. 
anyone and everyone that has advice PLEASE send it!

I love yall so much. I really do. 
I'm super grateful for yalls example to me. and for how yall have shaped my life. 
xoxoxoxoxox pray for me
Sister Sades

Being a top ramen connoisseur. I made top ramen then put it in three separate bowls. then Sister Hunter gets to put whatever spices in it she wants. We have Garlicy, Thai (with peanut butter in it, interestingly weird but good) and then my regular with creole seasoning
Hey. gotta make things fun
Kastleburgers at 9pm after Sat night adult sesh of Stake Conference!! :)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Mardi Gras Child Miracle‏

Wow yesterday we had an absolutely amazing experience with Emily! 
Catch-up: Emily is our 17 year old investigator with a baptismal date. She turns 18 on Tuesday. aka Mardi Gras
We had a lesson with her this week on the law of the fast. All three of us decided to fast this Sunday specifically for her parents, that their hearts may be softened, that she will be able to talk with them about religion, and that they can accept her research of our church and her baptism. It was a very sincere cause.
She came to church yesterday and we sat next to her. During the bearing of testimonies, Sister Hunter leans over and says, "Hey it would be cool if you did that."
Emily says "I don't even know what I would say!" 
Hey that is not a No!!! So we whip out a sticky note and give her a very basic outline. 

[Hello, introduce yourself.
I would like to bear my testimony....
I know....
I believe...
I'm grateful for...
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.]

Something about Emily is that is pretty shy. When you get to know her she is not shy at all! But ya know pretty shy, wouldn't think she would ever get up in front of a crowd. Ever.
But she doesn't shut us down so all three of us go up to the stand and sit down to wait to bear our testimonies. I don't know if that was a good idea or not because Emily got to have a good long look at how many people were in the congregation! Quite a bit! 
But Sister Hunter goes first and gives a great testimony about the sacrament. During her testimony I was sitting next to Emily on the stand and Emily is so nervous. She grabs my hand and she is shaking. Yall I can't tell ya how nervous she is. But Sister Hunter finishes and its Emily's turn. I let go of her hand so she can get up. 
And she doesn't. 
She looks at me panicked and says "I can't stand up. I want to go but I can't get up."
I say a little prayer in my heart and say "Hey, I'll stand up there with you."
I stand up and thankfully Emily stands up with me. She goes to the pulpit and I stand a little off to the side. 
Yall Emily gave the most beautiful testimony I've heard in a good minute.

This is the jist of her testimony she bore in sacrament meeting in front of 200 people.
She introduces herself, Emily Green, I've been meeting with the Sister Hunter & Sister Belnap for about 2 months. Its been really good. I know that God answers prayers. I have seen it work in my family as I have been praying. I have been thinking a lot about the decision to be baptized and as I'm thinking more about it, I think this will be one of the most important decisions of my life. I believe that the this church is the true church and its right for me. I am really appreciative of all the love and support I have already felt from this ward. I feel like I have a lot more things I want to say but I can't think of them but I really love this church. So I guess I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

That is a brief overview. It was actually much longer than that. It was several minutes.
Everything we ever hoped for and more? absolutely. 
Is Emily a miracle and so prepared to accept? undeniably. 
Is my heart so full I could barely get the words to come out during my testimony after hers? of course. 
Dang I love Emily so much.
I'm so grateful for this area. 
The Activity Day Girls invited us to their activity for a Valentines surprise! They wrote down a bunch of questions for us to answer about mission life. It was so cute. They also gave us Valentine frosted cookies and a big card that they all signed. 
Everything similar to "Happy V-Day!" 
"You're awesome!"
"Thank you for your service!"
And my favorite,
"I'm sorry your away from your family on Valentines day but for now just for a little bit can you pretend that the ward is your family....... -Activity Day Girl, Kaelyn"

Much love from Louisiana, the only place where in the closing prayer we hear a sincere prayer that everyone can have a fun and safe Mardi Gras this week. 
Me too, Sister. Me. Too. 

I lava yall!! 
Sister Sades

Pure LA <3

Monday, February 1, 2016



okay. I'm good now. I just had to get that out.

Just to make sure my brain is functioning right and I don't forget anything here is a little overview
Tuesday: Zone Conference + wedding!
Friday: baptism + Mardi Gras parade
Saturday: Mission Conference with all the missionaries in the whole mission + shaking RONALD A RASBAND hand + having a conference by him directed specifically to the missionaries of LABR mission + making mission friends + i love louisiana 
Sunday: ward conference with the best Stake president + Joseph Smith movie with Emily & Browns

So I gotta start from the beginning. 
Dawn and Terry are a couple who have been coming to church for about 2 years. The Elders have been working with them the whole time. Terry is a member and was reactivated and started coming to church with his extremely long time girlfriend Dawn. (pretty much married but just not official yet situation) Dawn fell in love with the church. She has such a strong testimony and is an amazing commentator in Sunday school and Relief Society. She really wants to be baptized!

On Tuesday Dawn became Dawn&Terry Ducote so she could be baptized and they could live righteously together! 

Happiness in a couple. look at that smile
They got married at the church and they are the happiest couple ever. They are so sweet and had a beautiful ceremony by the Bishop. 
And then on Friday Dawn was baptized! Terry baptized Dawn and it was so tender. The service was small and simple but the Spirit was there so strong. 
I love baptisms because
1. Its so genuine and raw. This person has made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ's teachings for the rest of their life! and they know it. And they have a testimony of it. And everyone can feel it. everyone
2. Its a great teaching and fear-subsiding tool! Emily+Julian and Nancy all came to the baptism and they had a great experience all individually. Nancy was able to see what a LDS baptism is like and feel the spirit. Watching Dawn's baptism made Emily get pumped for hers! and Julian get pumped if he is the one to baptize her! 
3. the symbolism. This was Terry's first time ever baptizing anyone so it took several tries to get it. But it was beautiful. When we always try and try and keep trying we are blessed. And when we get it right, it is sweet above all that is sweet!! 
Wedding time!!!
Gahhhhhh. Baptisms are just so spirit filled and joyful!

Post baptism but pre mardi gras!!
we're pumped

After the baptism, we got to go to MARDI GRAAAASSS BABYY
Oh man it was so fun. 

Our President allows the missionaries one family Mardi Gras parade as long as we are with members, its in our area, it is family appropriate, and we had to call in with our STL's when we started and when it ended to keep us accountable and time efficient. Then we have to take that time out of our P-day. Pretty good deal huh!!

Pre mardi gras loot

What mardi gras looks like! 
The lady float

Here is where you get the load! 
A tractor pulling a 2 decker float  with ladies in it throwing stuff out! people run up to the sides and be louder than the person next to them to get something thrown to them! Its so crazy and fun!
But we went with Julian and Emily to Julian's aunt&uncles house who are also in our ward. We stood next to them on the road while we screamed and cheered for the high school bands that marched by and we caught beads and stuffed animals and cups and crowns and literally everything!! It was so fun. 

One funny story.
Right when we first got to the parade, we had literally been there for less than 5 minutes yall. But it was the very first thing we saw in the parade! It was this hilarious 80's dance group of men probably 40 or more with the 80's getup on, nasty mustaches, choreograph dancing to some 80's song that I can't remember. Hilarious. Sister Hunter and I take out our cameras to take pictures and one of the 80's guys comes over and reaches for Sis Hunter's camera and says "Go get in there! I'll take a picture of you!" So that is how we got a picture with these 80's guys in a Mardi Gras parade. #fabulous

The crazy 80's men hahahahahhaa Dustin take notes. Expect you to be here next year

Post Mardi Gras!!!!
Obvi Sister Hunter got the great loot :)

We had an entire mission conference! All the missionaries in the LABR mission came to the Stake Center at the Baton Rouge temple to have a special mission conference with Elder Rasband, a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve! ONE OF THE BRETHREN YALL. 
Wow it was so good. So much learning and divine inspiration.
Zone Conference! Goodbye Sister Groesbeck :(
Elder Rasband wanted to shake all of the missionaries hands before the meeting so we all got to tell him our name and where we were from! Here's a cool excerpt from Pres. Hansen's letter to us this week about it:
Both Elder Rasband and Elder Zwick were so pleased with the mission. Elder Rasband told me that he gets a feeling about each missionary as he shakes their hands. He said that overall he felt like our mission was wonderful. He commented also that there was such a great spirit in the whole meeting. "This is one of the best missions I have ever seen."
It made me feel so good to know that he loved you as much as I do. Elder Zwick was just as pleased
So thats rad.

But Elder Rasband is amazing. He is inspired. This weekend was a free weekend - as in President Nelson sent him to Baton Rouge with no schedule or purpose and he is supposed to follow the Spirit! 
So guess what the first thing he did was. 
Have a conference specifically for the missionaries!!! YAY! We are so blessed and really felt the importance and spirit of our work which is the Lords.

Elder Rasband talked about the importance of a name and remembering people's names that we meet. He also talked about the divinity of our calling. He gave a talk in General Conference in 2010 about how missionaries get their mission call and it is so interesting! We are calling to our specific mission, to a specific mission president, to a specific area, to a specific companion, to a specific time and God knows it! It was so cool. 

Silly President 
Also I got to see my favoritest person ever, Sister Ostergar! She is so good. I miss her alot. Also since it was all the missionaries everywhere, I got to meet a ton of missionaries and made mission friends! Its really fun to hear about other areas and what the work is like. YAY. 

We just had ward conference and our stake president is amazing. President Stock is an inspired man who is so missionary minded and really gets the members pumped about member missionary work! Its so good. 

That night we had a lesson at the Browns home with Emily and we watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration (the hour long movie about Joseph Smith's life) 
MAN. Joseph Smith is the man. He is so inspiring and I'm a little bit jealous of Emily learning all of this for the first time! But wow. That movie is just inspiring and a roller coaster of emotions but always gives you the chills. 

Anyways. As you can tell.. #bestweekofmylife
God is so good to all of us but especially His missionaries (sorry yall ;)
I lava yall so much!
Happy Mardi Gras!
Sister Sadies

Literally what we look like.