Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Years!

Hi!!

Hope Christmas was good for everyone. We had a really great Christmas. We got to eat tamales and Guatemalan punche (which was reeeeeally good).

This week has been really good. We've been working on finding alot this week and have made some really great contacts.
We some really great experiences this week. A few weeks ago, we contacted the neighbor of a less active we'd been trying to find and gave him a Restoration pamphlet. We went back to follow up and met his wife and got to know her. She has several family members who are members and so is familiar with the church. We ended up speaking to her for quite a while about the church, and were getting to know her. I feel that one of the reasons we have kept coming back to this less active is so that we could meet them. 

Another great experience we had this week was that we were able to meet with a 60 year old less active who has been less active for several years. He says that he wants to come back to church. Unfortunately, we did not see him at church on Sunday though. He is a funny man. He was telling us a million and then some stories. I guess he used to be a performer in CA and supposedly performed with Elvis. He's super spiritual... despite the fact that there's some key doctrines he doesn't seem to quite understand. And he says that when he was younger, he used to meet with several celebrities (Ringo Star, Paul McCartney, Elvis, Pamela Anderson...) to give them counsel. Supposedly, he told Paul McCartney off and told him that he didn't know how to play the guitar! He was super interesting. I guess, when he was active, he was in charge of monthly performances that the church would do here. He says that he went less active because he got burned out, but he wants to go back. Well, that's why we came. We invited him to come back to the church. 


Anyways, this week was really great. I've focused alot on paying attention to the guidance of the Spirit and it's been really good. As long as I feel like I'm listening to Him and doing His will, then I'm ok with the work that's going on. 

Happy New Years!! The ward is putting on a New Years party tonight and we get to go for the first little bit. I'm excited. We're hoping to have some potential investigators there. Also, we get to go to the Rose Parade tomorrow!!!!! I'm soooooooo excited!! It'll be a good opportunity to do some street contacting too.

Love you all.

-Hermana LaPierre

Monday, December 24, 2012

feliz navidad


Hola familia!

Well, I figured I keep this e-mail short, otherwise, I won't have anything to talk about tomorrow!

This week has been really really good. I love working with Hna. Connelly. She's alot of fun to work with, is excited about the work, and is willing to work hard. The beginning of the week was especially really good. We were able to pick up a couple new investigators! On Monday night, literally ALL of our plans fell through, so we went to contact a less active, and she wasn't there, but we talked to her daughter, who's not a member. we talked to her for a while about the book of mormon, and set up an appointment to talk to come back. a former investigator supposedly lived in the same apartment complex, so we went to try to contact him. Well, he doesn't live there anymore apparently, but we talked to the woman who does live there. it was kind of an awkward door contact, but she let us in when we offered to share a christmas thought. We didn't end up really talking about Christmas much, but we started talking about the restoration. she was a stand offish at first, but we could tell that by the end, she had definately felt something. 

On wednesday, we went to contact the daughter of the less active, she didn't want to meet with us, but we ended up talking to her dad for a while, who is also not a member. he was a talker, so we were there for a while. It was good, he has a lot of questions, some spiritual and relevant, some not so much. I want to try to have a noche do hogar with the whole family this week because their kids are really nice and pretty receptive whenever we talk to them. I think getting them all in one room when we teach could be really powerful, and have a bigger impact. 

The bishop's daughter came back from a mission in Arizona this week, and so we've brought her to a few lessons. she's actually a friend of mine from school, she was in my ward my sophmore year. It's been really fun to bring her, I have learned alot from watching her teach. 

At the beginning of the transfer, we made a goal to have 3 baptisms this transfer and I still feel like it's a goal we can get. This week is super important though because in order for an investigator to be baptized in our mission, they have to come to church 3 times, so they'd have to be there this sunday, and every one following until the 13th- which means that we have to find 3 people that are really prepared this week and invite them to come on Sunday. I feel that we've been doing pretty good to make that happen and I'm excited for this week. We had a good week this past week and we can expand on what we did to make things start to happen here. I feel like I've grown alot this past week, especially where it's just been Hna. Connelly and I, because we've had to learn to rely on the Spirit more than experience, since we're both pretty new. I can definately notice the difference, I feel more purposeful than I have. 

Anyways, I said this letter would be short, I guess I lied. Talk to you tomorrow. I'll probably be skyping sometime around 2 or 2:30 our time, so like 5 or 5:30 your time. So keep the computer on!

Love you, 

Hermana LaPierre

Monday, December 17, 2012

hola

hola familia, 

we just got back from Arcadia from dropping off Hna. Anderson (our 3rd companion). She is going home tomorrow. It was kind of like a flashback of 2 weeks when my trainer was getting ready to leave. So now it'll just be me and Hna. Connelly serving together. It's been really great to serve with Hna. Anderson for the past 2 weeks. She's been really helpful for me and made the work really fun. I think she was what I needed those 2 weeks.  I'm sad that she's leaving, but also really excited to keep working with Hna. Connelly. I love the people in Tujunga. They are really amazing and there is really alot of work that can be done here. I'm really excited to get to work and watch more miracles happen.  

This was a good week. On Friday we had a mission Christmas party. The whole mission went to Arcadia and we had a spiritual program first, then lunch, and then a funny talent show. it was good. They'd been holding packages for a few weeks and so we got our packages for Christmas (thank-you mom!). It was really fun. 

We had alot of less active lessons this week that were really good. We also visited a former investigator who said that she wants to learn more. I had taught her with Hna. Mulitalo my first transfer here and she just had a baby, so I'm excited to teach her. We haven't gotten in contact with many of the investigators that we usually see, but we're on it and we'll be visiting them this week. 

Yesterday, we did a musical number in church. Remember the song Starbright (Estrella de luz)? We sang it in Spanish (Hna. Anderson y yo). While we were practicing with the bishop's wife (she played the piano), she made Hna. Connelly get maracas and play to it. It was so funny to watch the members faces when the maracas started. They were totally mesmerized! It was alot of fun.

Also, we get to skype on Christmas!! When works for you? We should be able to skype sometime in the afternoon or evening. We have a dinner at 5, but so far, that's all that we have going on. Supposedly, I can have Hna. Connelly call you and confirm a time to as long as the call is like 1 minute long.

CONGRATULATIONS LISA!!!! I'm so excited for you! Do you know what gender it is yet?

Also, my guess for your mission call is: Peru Cuzco (I don't remember if anyone else guessed that. but if you do get called there, please watch emperor's new groove for me). 

Sorry, this e-mail is kinds of all over the place. The work is going well though. I am very excited for the next 4 weeks. This transfer is going to be really great. 

Love you, can't wait to hear from you in a week! 

Love, 

Hna. LaPierre

Monday, December 10, 2012

:)

Querida Familia,

HOLA!!!

Thank-you Lynnfield RS and family for my package!! My tree is up and decorated and it's BIG! It's awesome! It feels like Christmas now, at least in our room. I also loved the stockings. And the shower cap. And everything else. but the shower caps especially. I laughed when I saw those. 

This week has been good- a little crazy as we've been back and forth to/from Arcadia all week. On Monday, I dropped off Hna Mulitalo to the office on her way home and then pick up Hna Anderson who's our comp for another week until she leaves for home. Tuesday afternoon we picked up my trainee! Hna. Connelly is from Tennessee. She's cool, she's a really good missionary and is really excited to be put to work, which I love so we're working hard. It's kinds of interesting to be training already since I still don't feel like I've got it all down, so I don't always feel like I can really show her how it's done yet, but we're both learning and it's been good. It's been super humbling for me as well and I think I just need to trust that Heavenly Father will help us out to do what He needs in Tujunga right now. 

We're trying to work on finding more investigators this week. For alot of reasons. One reason being that we just want to increase our teaching pool so that we have more people to work with. Another being that as part of training, Hna. Connelly should be inviting someone to baptism this week, another because I have a TON of referrals/ people to visit from Hna. Mulitalo (people she'd taught/ met while she was in the area, she was here for 9 months, who she thought we should see after she left) and other referrals that we have to check up on. Also, I think we have a couple investigators that aren't really progressing, so we may have to stop teaching them soon, before they become eternal investigators. It's good to keep the work moving and changing because otherwise our effectiveness goes down really fast. 

And, I'll end with a funny story. We were contacting the neighbor of a less active and talked to him for a few minutes. mostly it was me and Hna. Anderson talking as it was in Spanish, but Hna. Connelly said a couple words. Anyways, we gave him a pass along card with our number so we could set up a return visit. When we were in the car afterwards, we talked about how we thought it went pretty well and someone noted that he really seemed to want to talk to us. He didn't want to shut the door on us. We thought he must have been touched by what we had said. Later on, while we were studying, we got a text from him and again, thought that he must really want to hear about the Gospel. Well, after a reply text, he asked "ustedes estan casadas?" (are you married?!). AWKWARD! we explained that we weren't and that we dedicate our time to the Lord. Well, he apparently thought that Hna Connelly was really pretty and wanted to go out with her. We politely shut him down and told him that if that was all he wanted, we had nothing else to say to us. i still can't believe that happened. It gave us a good laugh. 

Hope you're all doing really well. I love you and thank-you again for the package mom! I'll send a thank-you for the RS today. I loved the Christmas tree too! I'm going to try to attach a couple pictures of it. Thank-you all of you. I love you so much. 

Love, 

Hna. Laree LaPierre


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Snail Mail address

2645 Altura Ave. La Crescenta, CA 91214. 
I was waiting until after transfer calls to send it just to make sure I'd still be here. I think we'll be moving out after Christmas. I hope you're all doing well today. I love you.
 
-Hermana LaPierre

training?

Hello Family!
 
How is everyone doing?
 
The past week went well.

One of the most exciting moments of the week was our lesson with Dago, an investigator who's family is strong members of the church. We had been thinking of dropping him, but this lesson was really great with him. We discussed the doctrine of Christ and how those 5 principles are things that really do help us change, help us progress towards our Heavenly Father and guide us in this life. We wanted him to understand that he needs the Gospel to change, it is what we need to apply before Heavenly Father can allow us to live with our families forever. The lesson was powerful and the Spirit testified strongly to him. I know that he was touched by the Spirit and he left with a lot of things to think about. I'm excited for our next lesson with him.

We had another lesson with Imelda, an investigator of ours. She is progressing. We went to her house and she hadn't read the chapter we had given her, so we read with her. It was good. It is sometimes hard to determine where she is at spritually, but I think she is still progressing and has a desire to change and accept the Gospel.

Similarly, we had a lesson with Isis this week. She is also progessing, but slowly. She said for sure she'd be coming to church on Sunday, but then didn't end up showing up. I know she has some interest, but she hasn't seemed to quite grasp what we are teaching/ offering her. She is always very receptive to our message and doesn't ever seem to have any concerns about what we are teaching her, but doesn't seem like she's really taking it seriously either sometimes. We'll see what happens with her but I think she'll get there. I think it could also be that she grew up in a strong Christian background and so she says that alot of what we teach isn't really anything super new to her and it's all logical to her. So we keep working with her. She's coming.

Now, the moment I am sure you were all waiting for, right?! TRANSFER CALLS!
 
This week was the end of transfers, so I am officially done being trained! Hermana Mulitalo left this morning, aka she'll be at the office until she leaves tomorrow morning for home. I'm so grateful for her. I learned alot from and with her. I know she is who I needed to be with to learn what Heavenly Father wanted me to learn, so I could be prepared for the future...aka now.
 
I'm going to be staying in Tujunga, but will be training a new missionary. She comes in tomorrow so I'll get to meet her then. We'll be in a Trio for 2 weeks with another sister who leaves for home on the 18th. I'm excited. I know it'll be hard, but I know I have what I need to do it how He wants it done. It'll be a good opportunity to depend on the Lord more and to learn to recognize His direction more. I'll let you know how week one goes next week. I was a little sad to have to still have 4 hours of studying in the morning, but it'll be good.
Bring it on!
 
I love you all,
 
-Hna. LaPierre

Monday, November 26, 2012

hello family




Hello family,

Well, this week was a good week, much better than last week. We had another investigator at church this week!!!! Remember the first or second week I was here and I talked about that investigator who we taught and committed to be baptized and she said yes and I was so excited and freaking out for her baptism 3 weeks later?! yup, well 11 weeks later she finally came to church for the first time!! woo! She brought her little girl too. She was so cute. Isis (the mom) was really nervous about her daughter acting up at church, but I think she was better behaved than most 2 year olds I've seen at church. it's amazing what a little thing of stickers, paper and a pencil can do to keep a child entertained. All of the meetings were really really good for Isis. The lessons were perfect and in my opinion, things that were good for her to hear. 

It's amazing how difficult it is to get investigators to church. if they don't come at least 3 times, they can't get baptized. usually it's not because they need a ride or anything, just because other things come up. it's interesting to see how something so simple (just coming to church) becomes so difficult for people. I think it's because it plays such a huge part in their conversion and progression, and so everything seems to make it hard for them to get there. 

Another exciting day was Thanksgiving! We had an interesting day. We tried to visit with some people, but soon realized that it was difficult to since.. go figure...everyone is with family and/or not home/ "too busy". We had 2 meals with people... right after each other, so that kept our afternoon pretty busy. I was super nervous to do the meals. I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but since I've been on my mission, I really have not been able to eat much at all. Not necessarily because I get full really fast, but eating just makes me sick alot of the time, sometimes, just after a couple bites. So- I said many a prayers to be able to handle the food that day. It wasn't too bad. The first one we went to was a Cuban lunch. She's a neighbor of some members in our ward. We had rice and beans, and a few other little sides. It was good. She didn't give me a ton of food since she knew I couldn't eat a ton, but it still added up and after the pie, I was pretty done and feeling a little sick. So after that we headed off to another dinner. The food was good, but there was aaaaaalot of it. I couldn't finish it but luckily, it was pretty casual and no one really seemed to notice that I didn't finish. whew. I made it alive and very full through my first Thanksgiving in the field!!

We were able to teach a 20 yr old less active and her 15 yr old brother the other day. They have been LA for years and so getting to have lessons with them is a big deal. It was really really good. They've begun to be alot more open to us since we've started coming. she's the one that did a kneeling prayer with us after a lesson we had with her the week before. (I think i told you that story). It's a small miracle that we keep meeting with them. 

We were able to go to Chinatown this past week on pday! I sent mom a picture of me contacting Winnie the Pooh. He seemed to be really considering the Book of Mormon. One of the members of the ward took us and we had alot of fun with her. We went and looked in all the shops and I bartered for the first time! Truthfully, I think I could have done better at bartering, I gave in too fast, but I got a couple dollars off a necklace that I wanted, so that was good. 

We had a mission conference this past week! It was really good. Brad Wilcox came (his daughter is visa waiting in our mission). He talked about the scattering/ gathering of Israel and our birthright as members of the church. I learned so much. It helped me understand alot about why I am here as a missionary and why so much is required of us missionaries. He talked about how we are here to help Israel remember who they are and the promises the Lord gave them. He mentioned that there is a difference between being loved and being trusted. The Lord loves all of His children, but as members of the church and as missionaries especially, we are trusted with an "extra portion" for the birthright,and thus extra responsibility. 

The work is going well here. Hope all is well with y'all. 

Love, 

Laree
Hermana LaPierre


I thought I might amuse you with a picture of me after our 2 Thanksgiving meals and dessert with the family we live with that night. The coconut cream pie was worth the pain. for sure. Aren't you so excited to see me rolling off the plane in 14 months?

Monday, November 19, 2012

CA Week...?

Hola family,

How are you all?! I'm sure you saw but I ran into Brother Blake last Sunday at a Member MTC. Hope the video isn't too awkward, I didn't get to watch it. 

So I had a funny experience the other day. We got a phone call, so I answered it. I answered in English, but the woman was speaking a different language, so I just started going in Spanish. There was a lot of me saying "como?" and being super confused- I couldn't understand a word she was saying, but I was trying to soooo hard. Sometimes, understanding people's Spanish is really hard, especially on the phone. So I gave my comp the phone and she started talking to her and apparently the woman asked her if this was the Fillipino sisters. Well, turns out that I was speaking Spanish to her and she was speaking Tagalog to me. So I'm not as bad at Spanish as I thought, or I am since I couldn't even tell. I'm so used to not really knowing everything that's going on.

We had a Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday in our ward which was realllly good. We spent alot of our day helping to set up it was kind of intense. somehow we (me and my comp) got roped into doing a duet with one of the girls in the ward. She's so cute and played the ukelali ( i have no idea how to spell that) and wanted us to sing  I am  a child of god with her. if it were anyone else, I don't think i would have been quite as willing. it went pretty well though. 

We had a really good training meeting this week. at zone conference we had talked alot about finding and we reviewed what we had learned from the meeting. One thing he really stressed is how we are not supposed to be knocking doors/ tracting anymore. He told us that we could knock doors of neighbors of less actives, etc., but that essentially we don't knock until we have a name to talk about. so we've been learning to change how we work. it's shifted alot of how we think about missionary work and what we do with our time. 

we had a couple lessons this week with investigators and less actives that went pretty well. this week has been really challenging in alot of ways, but I'm trying really hard to work better and to make things work, and praying really hard. The work is good though, it keeps moving. 

Thanks. Love, 

Hermana LaPierre


Since I couldn't take the full hour this morning to write e-mails, I was able to get back on and let you know that I am sending a package home. I sent my ipod and a camera with the sd cards back. I have no way to get the pictures off, so I'm sending it to you. I have Renee's camera too. Also, I'm sending Jamie's hymn book too since I got one at the MTC. I'll try to send a more exciting package later.
Also, I thought you'd be excited to see the new investigator I picked up while we were in Chinatown today.
love you,
Hermana LaPierre
 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A sighting


Some "old" friends of ours saw Ssr LaPierre at a stake fireside


Let's see if  I can post the video.


video








Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Week

Hola everyone!

Today we went on a hike in Arcadia with all of the sisters in the mission and Sister Becerra. It was really pretty. I got to see Sister Southworth, I haven't seen her since we first got to CA, so that was really good. 

This week has been good. We had 2 investigators that said that they'd be coming to church and were really certain about it and then right before, one of them cancelled, which was sad because her kids were going to be in the primary program (she really wanted to come but had car problems, so I'm sure she'll be there next week). The other one just didn't show up and we have no idea why. We stopped by after church, but she wasn't there, we're hoping to go visit her tonight. Our investigators are doing pretty well though. Imelda (the woman with the kids) is progressing. When I first came we were never able to see her and when we did talk to her, she wouldn't really let us in. She's become soooo much more receptive. We went over this week to practice the Primary songs for the program. It was so funny - they looooved "Choose the Right Way", everytime we'd sing it, they'd kind of mumble the verses and then would sing the chorus really loud. That one was there favorite. It's been really cool to watch her children get so excited about all things church. (Except for sacrament meeting last week- they got a little bored then ;)  ). She's become a lot happier too I've noticed since we've started teaching her. 

We had an interesting experience as we were going to visit some potential investigators yesterday. We had met with them before and everytime we try to talk with them, they are suuuuper religious and quote a bunch of Bible references and talk to us about a whole bunch of doctrine and things that we do wrong in our church. Who doesn't have at least one person like that on their mission?! Well, we went to talk to them for a couple minutes, and as we were parking, saw the son walk out, see us, and then walk back in. When we went to knock on the door, the screen door was locked and he didn't answer. We took as a pretty obvious message and decided it was better for them to "break up" with us than for us to do it. The meetings with them weren't really going anywhere, but it was still a little disappointing. 


We've had a really good week. We went with a member on Saturday to a garage clothing sale, both to try to find a jacket for me (it was reeeeeeally cold that day), but also to contact the woman, one of the members' friends. As we were talking to the woman, we found out that all of the clothes (there were a toooon of clothes) were all owned by this one older woman, who's been widowed for 30 years and just shopped a ton. The woman selling it all had been hired by the family to sell the clothes, for super cheap. Alot of the clothes hadn't even been worn. They kept trying to get me to buy some of the clothes, but they were too big (thankfully- most of it wasn't really anything that I liked). I did end up getting some skirts though for super cheap. The woman selling the clothes was really nice, we got to have a good conversation with her, and talked to her about the Church for a while. She was really nice, but didn't seem super interested. 

Hope you're all doing well! 

Love you, 

Hermana LaPierre
 
 
(Sister LaPierre ran into an old family friend, Brett Blake, at stake conference the other day and he emailed this picture of her to us!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

CA Week 8

Hola toda!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!

Como estan? This week was good. Halloween was fun, we were not allowed to go out on the streets for Halloween night, so instead we had our district meeting and played volleyball and gatorball (random game they play here in the mission- like soccer and rugby together). It was fun. 

On Friday, we went to our investigators' house to make/ decorate cakes and then to have a lesson. She and her mother (her mom was going to show us how to decorate cakes) were not home, but we got to have a really good conversation with her sister, who we've been wanting to start teaching. She is super talkative, so it was funny, every time we tried to turn the conversation to a lesson, she'd keep going! ha, well we got an in talking to her about the Plan of Salvation and it was really good, especially since she just had a baby a couple weeks ago. She's really cute. They're family has met with missionaries before and so they remember alot about what they taught. We ended up going over on Saturday again and got to have a little cake decorating lesson while we tried to talk to our investigator about her baptismal date. 

One of the most exciting things that happened this week is that another one of our investigators came to church with us this Sunday!!! The missionaries have been teaching her since April and this was her first time! she brought 3 of her 4 kids with her and they were so cute! I sat next to one of them during Sacrament meeting and tried to explain a little about the sacrament to him. He's 6. He was so cute about it. He didn't know who Jesus Christ is, so I tried to explain who He is to him. I told him to count how many times he heard people say the name Jesucristo. The kids were getting a little bored, but they did really well in sac. meeting. Towards the end, Axel, the one I was sitting with, heard someone say Jesus Christ and he looked up at me and smiled, so excited that he had heard them say Jesus Christ's name. It was so cute! The primary was prepping for the primary program that day too so they got to be part of that. At the end of church, they went up to their mom and explained how they needed to come 10-15 minutes early next week so they could be there on time to do the program.and they were so excited to show the parts that they had to say in the program! It's been amazing to watch Imelda begin to get a real desire to listen to our message. Her kids' excitement has in alot of ways softened her heart and she is starting to really progress, after all this time. The miracles of introducing the Gospel into the family. 

We had zone conference yesterday as well. It was soooo good! I loved it. Something I haven't really stopped thinking about since is how amazing it is to be involved in missionary work right now. This is one of the coolest times to be a missionary. Pres. Becerra explained how the church's family history system has started getting attention from different countries and they are starting to give the church thousands of records to be included in the system, and they are starting to lease out the church to help them with their family history. Mitt, a high priest and temple recommend holder, is running for president (just had to throw that one in there ;)...just kidding, Pres. Becerra actually did say that). The new online youth program that's been in the works for 3-4 years and is focused on PMG is about to open up in January. and now, the announcement of the missionary age change has made the work explode. they said SLC gets 1100 missionary apps now a week, usually they only get around 700. we're getting 50 new missionaries in our mission. He talked about how 12 week training will probably not happen. They may be switching transfers to just 3 weeks, they'll be putting way more missionaries in smaller areas, on bike or foot. He quoted Elder Perry, who said that right now about 1/3 of the world is already to receive the Gospel right now. makes me think of the scripture in D&C 4- the field is white already to harvest. It's really exciting to be out right now. We really are paving the way and preparing the world for the Savior. (That sounds so cheesy, but it's true.) It is amazing. 
They taught us alot about how we can find people and doing our best to find quality people who show real growth in the church- going to the bishop and asking what kind of people he needs/ wants coming into his ward, then going out and finding them. They also talked about teaching as simply and clearly as we can to help investigators understand the principles of the Gospel. One of my favorite lines from the conference was Sister Becerra saying "missionaries teach what they are, not what they know". I feel like doing that makes us more natural and normal missionaries as well.

Lots of exciting things are happening in the Church right now. It's cool to see it all effecting missionary work. 

Love you all, miss you too. Hope everything is going really well. 

Love, 

Hermana Laree LaPierre

Monday, October 29, 2012

CA Week 7



Hello Family!!

Sounds like lots of exciting things are going on this week. I didn't know Betsy and Renee and Adrik were home! So fun! Did you all get to do anything fun? How long are they going to be there for? And Uncle Bruce came/ is coming?! Tell him hi for me and give him a hug!!! I miss and love you all. I am really grateful to be a missionary. This week has been one of the best, or the best, so far for us. 

We started the week really really well by getting to set up an appointment with an investigator we haven't taught in a long time. His parents and sisters are all members of the church, and he knows that it's only a matter of time before he joins the church too. His sisters are even planning on going on missions at the end of the school year. We'll be teaching him tomorrow!

We had a really really great lesson with one of our investigators, Imelda on Tuesday. We brought a recent convert with us who is really amazing. We were teaching Imelda about faith and how if we have faith to let Heavenly Father help us, He can help us with our challenges. Having Lolita there was really powerful. She has a really firm testimony of the Gospel and it really helped Imelda alot to not just hear it from us, but from her (Lolita, our recent convert) as well. 

We met a man this week, named Alvi. He works in construction and knows a ton of members from La Canada from working on their homes. We were talking to him about religion and the Church. He was talking to us about his faith. His beliefs seem to coincide alot with ours. It was really really interesting to hear him talk. He mentioned how there is a Mayan holy book that talks about how a white holy man with scruff/ beard came to talk to teach them, and he also mentioned how unafraid he is to die because he knows that even though his body will be in the ground, his spirit will be in heaven, etc. It made me so excited to teach him, especially to talk to him about the Book of Mormon and to share an entire book about the people in the America's experience with God, and with the visit of the Savior! We have a lesson with him and his family this week and we're really excited. 

We were able to contact a lot of people this week and are really excited about teaching some of them. We had an interesting experience the other day as we were inviting a former investigator to a Halloween party. We went to drop off the invitation and she had a friend there. Her friend was very anti Halloween and told us that we were not Christian if we celebrated Halloween. It was really interesting and I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that, she was very persistent on that. Her friend (the one we went to see) defended us a little and was really sweet. We decided to leave before it got too weird so we set up a time to come back. Ironically, we ended up setting up the appointment for Halloween day... ha!
We also met a boy named Ben this week. He's about 18ish and we talked to him about the church. Originally, we had scheduled to do a church tour, but that didn't happen. However, when we went to confirm the tour the day before, we met his dad. Well, his dad is very passionate and started talking about all kinds of Bible references, etc. and talking to us about how we don't believe the right things, etc. It was really funny though because when we'd try to just explain to him who we are as missionaries, he'd be really nice and respectful. Well, the church tour had fallen through and so we stopped by and talked to Ben and invited him to read the Book of Mormon. It was a really good chat. When we came back and talked to him, he said that he had read some of it. We got to meet his sister, and she said that she had read some of it. His dad had even looked through it! It was interesting to talk to them because they seemed to be really curious and at least open to talking about it. I especially love that even though we had only talked to Ben, he had talked to his family about it and that they are talking about us after. They have all looked at least at the Book of Mormon. Hopefully that leads to open spiritual conversation, and not Bible bashing though. 
Another interesting contact was meeting with a woman whom we had actually contacted one of my first weeks here. The first time she had really turned off herself to us, but this time, she was really open and talkative to us! we talked to her for a while about her family and her kids. she has five kids, the oldest is 13! She's 23 years old (yes, the math there is a little interesting...) and is married to a former investigator. She was really nice and we're excited to talk to her today! My companion was a little weirded out that she is her age and has 5 kids though! I'm sure there must have been something miscommunicated or something ;)

We had a Halloween party with one of the wards in La Canada this past Saturday and so we were inviting everyone we could to that. Making invites gave us a really great opportunity to start talking to people and has opened alot of doors for us. Probably the most exciting thing that happened this week is that as we were driving into the parking lot for the party, we saw one of our investigators, Imelda, getting her kids out of the car!! It was so exciting!! We were so excited and were going crazy about that! Then, later on, another one of our investigators, Isis, came, with her family. Her sister and her sisters' fiancee and their baby, Isis' mom, and Isis and her daughter!! Everyone loved the activity and had so much fun! Both Isis' daughter and Imelda's daughters won cakes in the cake walk. Imelda's sons left the party telling everyone they saw "This is the best party EVER!! We HAVE to come back next year!". When they came to a RS activity last week, they said "WE LOVE CHURCH!!!". We are still working on getting her to come to church for Sunday, but poco a poco, she is warming up to the church. Getting her to meet members has really done miracles for her I think. Before Isis' family left, her mom told me that she would really like to come to church, but she doesn't really understand English (the party was mostly put on by the English ward in La Canada). After I told her there was a Spanish congregation, she said that she' d come!

This week has been incredible. We have been seeing so many opportunites come, our energy has been up and excitement to do the work, we have continued to be a little more united as we work and teach together, and we are finding people, our planning has been so much better. It's been amazing to see the difference. Reading the Book of Mormon to try to finish it by Christmas has also been amazing. I have learned so much already and have seen little miracles in my life this week through it. It's amazing the blessings that come when we strive to have more specific and inspired goals pushing us each week. 

And, icing on the cake! This week, we went to visit a family in the ward, to get to know them a little better. We were talking about their family and she mentioned that she had served a mission. She served in Argentina, Buenos Aires North. Hmmmm....sound familiar anyone?! Well, I knew that she is about 35, 36ish, so I asked if she knew any Elder LaPierre. She said it sounded familiar. Well, we came back the next day to check up on something and guess what she found in her mission scrap book?! A Picture of Cris!!!!! Apparently they served in the same zone!! Does Sister Barillas sounds familiar?

Anyways, love and miss you all. Hope you're all doing really well! 

Love, 

Hermana LaPierre

PS- the pics are of me and Hna. Corriga (Barillas) and my district last transfer (one we have one new elder and 2 new sisters).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

CA Week 6

Hello family!

This week has been good. As of today, I am now officially on my second transfer of my mission! Woohoo!

Alot of things happened this week- we had a really good fhe with a really great family in the ward and his (the father's) nonmember mother was there as well, she's a sweet woman, 3 boys are so cute and gave really powerful, simple testimonies of the Gospel. It was amazing to watch, especially to see their grandmother sitting in and listening to them bear their testimonies of the Gospel. They are amazing little missionaries already. The Spirit was strong. 

Another great experience I had this week was in exchanges on Tuesday. I had a sister come to train me for a day. She is an incredible missionary. Her name is Hna. Zamora, she's from Mexico. It learned so much from her. She opened our area and has baptized almost 20 people since she's been out on her mission, so I've heard alot about her before. We were talking about how sometimes missionaries tend to limit themselves by their weaknesses and say things like, "well, I'm just shy, or I'm not a people person, so I can't really talk to people", how it's hard to go out of our comfort zone, and so alot of the times, we just stick to the missionary work we're comfortable with, but don't push ourselves to go much further. In Alma 26:5, it talks about the harvest and how the field is ripe, but we have to work hard, labor with all our might, and then the harvest is great! I love studying the harvest because it proves how much work there really is, if you want it enough to work for it. I was really excited to go finding with her as well. We went to an apartment complex to find a potential investigator and ended up knocking the rest of the apartments there. I realized that she would just talk to them enough to find someway she could relate a gospel principle to them and then would just start bearing testimony. It made contacting alot more spiritual and more powerful than I had done it before. I still feel a little uncomfortable when I do door contacts, so watching her made me want to knock until it wasn't awkward anymore, or until I just let go and let the Spirit take over. 

This transfer, I really want to focus on becoming an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I know part of that means forcing myself to go out of my comfort zone and letting the Lord know that I want Him to use me. I was studying in PMG the other day about the Book of Mormon and one of the things it says that stood out to me is that reading the BoM is one of the best ways you can grow closer to the Savior and recognize His Spirit in your life. I know that's true- it's what I'm out here teaching to other people, so I made a goal to try to finish the Book of Mormon by Christmas! Hermana Mulitalo is trying to finish it before she leaves after this transfer, so we're working on it together (only, I'll be going a little slower). I'm really excited. Elder Holland gave a talk in the MTC where he talks about the need to push ourselves as missionaries if we expect miracles to come. If I really want to be Heavenly Father's instrument here, I have to do what it takes to get there, and generally that means more than just being a "good missionary" that does the "missionary things" and not limiting myself to what I can do here. Anyways, that's just something I've been thinking about this week. 

We got to visit our investigator, Isis', family this week. We made several stops by to try to see her, but were not able to see her until yesterday! It was really good though because we got to talk to her sister and her sister's fiancee. We want to try to teach them as well. Her whole family is really nice to us and I think they've gotten really used to us coming around, which is great. Her sister also just had a baby and they talked about starting to go to a church again- so I think we're here just at the right time. Their mom (Isis and her sister's) is a cake decorator and she said she might be able to teach us a little bit sometime. I'm all over that!

Another exciting thing that happened this week is that we had one of our investigators at a Relief Society Activity on Wednesday. It was so awesome to see members take her under their wing. It was even better when a couple days later, one of the hermanas in the ward asked us who she was, and if she could have her phone number so she could talk to her or visit her. Another recent convert said that she wanted to come with us to visit her as well. Imelda (that's our investigator's name) has 4 kids, and 3 of them came with her to the activity and played in the gym with kids there for mutual, etc. They all loved coming to church! We were even able to do a mini-tour with her while she was there and show her the Chapel. She hasn't come to church yet, but step by step, she'll be there soon I'm sure. 

This week has definitely have it's challenges, but there are good things going on here. The work is moving forward. 

I love and miss you all so much!

Love, 

Hermana Laree LaPierre

Friday, October 19, 2012

CA

Hello everyone!
 
This past week was suuuuper cold (for CA) and rained a couple days. It was in 50s and 60s- I was not a fan, especially since I haven't gotten any coats/ jackets yet. But we're back in the 90s and sun, so I'm good for now. It was nice to actually feel like I was in a Boston fall though for a couple days (minus the colors).
 
The week, alot of our appointments fell through, including our strong investigators as well, so it was a pretty slow week. We got to teach seminary on Thursday morning. It was a good lesson- we taught about missionary work, using the story in the New Testament of Christ calling Peter and a few of His other apostles to be "fishers of men"- one of my favorite scriptures, before, but especially now after this past conference. The majority of the class was awake and we had several comments from the class, so I'd say it was a pretty successful lesson!
 
Another interesting experience I had this week was on Wednesday. We went to a member's house for cena and she fed us soooo much food. She started out  giving us a small bowl of clam chowder, and then came out with a HUGE plate of food for each of us- mashed potatoes, ribs, tempora shrimp, rice, beans, etc.... It was really good, but a TON, so I kept trying to eat it all, but couldn't without getting sick. I started feeling really sick so I went to the bathroom. Well, I didn't throw up, so I went back to the table. I got back and not only did I have the rest of my plate to eat, but she had put a giant bowl of arroz con leche by my seat. Ah! I tried finishing my food, but finally gave up. I did finish the bowl of arroz con leche though- it was really good, but I was so full I was more focused on trying to eat without getting sick again.
Then- like an hour later, we went to visit a former investigator and a potential. They were making mole in behind the house and told us to come back there and talk to them, so we did. We ended up staying until the mole was finished. She had made a ton because it looked like they were having a party (they're were like 15-20 more people that started showing up as we were talking). She ended up giving us a little bit with a plate of beans. It was pretty good, the beans were super spicy and tasted kind of pickley (I don't really know how to describe it). Well anyways, I got super sick again and this time really was about to throw up- gagging and everything. I was trying so hard not to show it and was concentrating and praying so so hard that I wouldn't throw up in front of them. AWKWARD! Luckily, my companion noticed that I was not doing so well, and asked if I could use their bathroom. I didn't think I'd make it to the bathroom for a while, but by the time I got there I was feeling a better, so I didn't end up throwing up! So that was good, although I didn't eat after that until the afternoon the next day.  I really cannot eat a lot of food, which makes dinners very interesting/ exciting. However, we went to a members' house the other day and had a steak dinner with pasta salad, broccoli and fruit,etc. I had no problem with that dinner! I don't think I'm entirely adjusted to real, authentic Latino food. It's really pathetic, but hopefully that will change in a while.
 
The other exciting mission experience I had was giving a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday. I chose to talk about the Doctrine of Christ. I looove studying that topic so I learned alot while I was preparing for the talk. When we got to church though, the other speaker (an RM from the stake) wasn't there yet, so I was kind of freaking out. Luckily, half way through my talk she showed up! I ended up speaking for I think about 20 minutes, all in Spanish. I was so nervous and I know I definately was not speaking correctly. I told a few experiences, but I'm not sure they actually made sense. It went well though. The more I study the Doctrine of Christ, the more I understand how important it is and why it's at the center of what we do, in the church and as missionaries. It is our access to the Atonement, and how we apply the Atonement in our lives. Thus, how we come closer to Christ. Another thing I think is so interesting is how in 3 Nefi 11, after Christ spends the chapter describing His doctrine/ gospel, he closes with an invitation to go and preach it to others. It makes alot more sense now why our purpose as missionaries is the doctrine of Christ.
 
We had a mission conference this week with Elder Corbridge. It was good, a little confusing, but good. I learned alot of good things about our purpose and teaching our purpose. He talked alot about how to teach better- teaching twith a destination, route and conclusion to each lesson.
 
I love you all, hope you're all doing well.
 
Love you,
 
Hermana LaPierre
 

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Did you love conference?

Hello everyone!!
 
Did you love conference?! Ah! It was so great- I wish I could sit and listen to talks all day. The age change was crazy!! It totally surprised me and I am so jealous! I would have loooooved to go when I was 19! It would have been so nice to leave after only 1 or 2 years of school than just while I'm towards the end of school. It'll be interesting to see how it changes the social side of BYU for freshman. I'm jealous, I totally would have went when I was 19 if I could have, but it's probably a good thing I didn't because I would have had a totally different experience and wouldn't have gotten to know the people I met had I left earlier. So I make myself feel better when I think about that. Besides changing the age for missionaries, conference was really powerful. I always think it's so interesting to hear the repeated themes that seem to jump out each conference.
 
So generally our pday is on Monday, but this week it was changed because we got to go to the temple today! Since it's out of our mission, we had to have a member drive us, so Sister Ross, who we live with, drove us. I was really adament about no other temple being as awesome as Boston, which is almost true, but the LA temple AMAZING!! It is was so beautiful! It was really great to get to go to the temple, the Spirit is strong there, it was the perfect finish to General Conference weekend. We got to see the Staples Center (where the Lakers play) and Dodger Stadium, and downtown LA! We also stopped in the visitor's center there since we missed the 8:30 session. They have a room in there that is decorated to look like you're in Jerusalem, it was really cool to sit in there for a while and watch videos with parts of Christ's life. We also stopped by the distribution center and I finally got a new set of scriptures!!! I've been wanting a new set since the MTC, but they didn't have any matching sets left. I'm so excited to mark them up with everything I've learned finally! I also got the cds of last october general conference in Spanish so I can try to get more practice with understanding Spanish! (I'm getting better, but trying to speed up the process)
 
This week has been really good. Last Wednesday we started teaching English Classes. We used the program the Church has set up and did the first lesson- it was introducing yourself to others/ neighbors, etc. It was suuuuper simple. and I think some of the women were a little offended at how simple it was. Now that we know that they're all a bit more advanced, we can try to make it a little more challenging. Most of them know at least some simple English from just living in the U.S. for a while. I'm excited to teach them, it's been kind of weird to teach English, while I'm still trying to learn Spanish! But I think it also helps me to know how I can improve my Spanish, and have learned some good ways to learn/ practice a different language too, so that's been helpful. Our next class is tomorrow so I'm excited to see how that goes.
 
Last week we also went knocking into a man named Jose. One of the weird things about being a Spanish missionary in LA/ CA is that you never know when to start out in Spanish or English, so we usually just start in English and then if they say that they can't speak English, we go to Spanish. However there's a toooon of Armenians and people from all over so it's sometimes hard to know what language people speak. Well, we knocked into Jose and started talking with him about who we are, and asked him what he knew about us. He said he didn't know much English, so I asked him what language he speaks- "Spanish"! So we started talking to him in Spanish and he said "What?! Why didn't you say that first?!" We talked about the Book of Mormon and he asked if he could read it. Ha! Um...yes! We lent him a Book of Mormon and he asked when we'd be back. (Golden door approach...on his part, not mine!) We're going to visit tonight and are really excited.
 
We also had a great lesson with our investigator Isis. We had a ward member, Hna. Thompson come with us. She was great. They clicked really well. We taught the Plan of Salvation, which was a great lesson. She still has a baptismal date of Oct. 28th, so we're working towards that and are really excited to watch her progress. We also had a good lesson with another investigator, but it got cut short since she had to take care of her daughter after something had happended. We were going to drop her thinking she was just now wanting lessons (we've stopped by a bunch of times), but she seemed to really be up for us coming over. Now that we've made contact with her and have set up appointments, it's been a lot easier to meet up with her.
 
Sister Becerra (my mission president's wife) came out to teach us on Saturday night. It was kind of nerve wracking because we didnt' have any lessons planned, but we were able to meet with 2 less actives that we haven't gotten to see in a long time. She was really bold and got to the point in both situations. It was really fun to watch her, I learned alot.
 
Betsy- Happy birthday last Friday! I hope it was good. How was Wicked in August by the way?! And Bryce and Lisa- Happy Anniversary today!!!!
 
I hope everyone is doing well, love you all.
 
Love,
 
Hermana Laree LaPierre
 
 
 
I wanted to tell one more story! so sorry!
 
We went to eat at the house of a woman in our ward this week and she told us this story. Earlier that day she was at work (cleaning houses) when the daughter of her boss came up and gave her an envelope and told her not to open it there, she didn't want her parents to see it. She put it in her pocket and forgot about it. After work she went to pay her bills and only had $6 to her name. She realized she was feeding us that night and had no idea what to do since she literally had no money. She remembered the envelope, opened it and found $30 in it! She was able to buy the materials for our dinner for only $15 (and it was soooo good- chorizo tostadas, and beans). After she told us that story she was talking about how the Lord was watching out for her and how she knew it was becuase she kept the commandments, and paid her tithing. She kept saying "aqui, pasa los milagros". I believe it. She has chosen to follow the Lord and has chosen to see His hand in her life, and because of that, He has continually blessed her and helped her out. Anyone could say that that was just a coincidence, but she chose to see it as a miracle and a blessing because of her obedience. I know it was and I know that as we seek to see His hand more often in our life, we'll begin to see Him more.  It is amazing to get to know these people better. It is so humbling to hear about their stories and the lives they have come from. I was amazed and shocked by her story and how, even when having so so little shared so much of that with us (she only told us that story after we ate!) and didn't even think twice about it, she set up a feast for us and kept offering us more and more. It's amazing how when they have so little, they choose to see the Lord so much.
 
I'm way over time,so I should leave. I love you all. Have a great week.
 
Hermana LaPierre

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

California Week 3

Hola familia!!
 
It's official- I am half way through the first transfer! Apparently it's October now, but it feels like it's July. We've reached the 100s already, I'm pretty sure, and it's not even noon yet! This week has been pretty good.
 
I'm not sure I told you about this last week, but one of the highlights of last week was getting to teach a French lesson! We somehow recieved a referral from SLC for a woman and the referral note was all in French. We weren't really sure what was going to happen, so we brought a girl that we live with (we live with members, so we brought their daughter), who is taking French in high school. We went over there and this cute 18 year old French girl answered the door. It was definately a good thing that we brought Crysta because Anouk (the referral) did not speak alot of English, and we obviously, do not speak alot of French, so Crysta was translating for us. Anouk joined the church about 2 months ago in Switzerland. Her family and friends all dissapproved, some more than others, her siblings especially. She moved to CA with her parents about a month ago and doesn't really have friends here and can't really understand English, so that makes it even harder for her. She was so sweet! We got her in contact with the Elders in the YSA ward nearby to see if someone in their ward speaks French. I have no idea how we, the Spanish Sisters, got that referral, but I'm glad we did. It was a good visit, with all of the opposition she had because of getting baptized, she still seemed very adamant about becoming a part of the church here too.
 
This week, we made invitations for the Relief Society Broadcast and brought them around to investigators, less actives, and recent converts. It was so fun and a good excuse to try to stop by to visit some people. Alot weren't home (per usual), but we were able to leave the invites at the door with a note, so hopefully it was some church contact for them. We also got to teach/ help out at Achievement Days this week, teaching about God's love for each unique person, and then helping the girls make duct tape wallets (they are so cute!). It was alot of fun, and helpful for me to get to know some of the ward members a little bit better. We were hoping that some of the girls would have friends there that they had invited, but none of the friends ended up showing up.
 
We have alot of success with less actives here, so we try to limit ourselves to about one per day and then try to find the rest of the time. We have a small pool of investigators that we are hoping to increase, not just for quantity, but also for quality- to find people that are really progressing, keeping commitments, and that are prepared for the message of the Gospel. It's a slow work right now, but hopefully it'll pick up. My trainer knows the area really well, she's been here since April (almost half of her mission by the end of this transfer) and so has a hard time since she's worked here already so much and seems to have done work in pretty much every place we go. Anyways, it's been lots of fun and lots of opportunities for me to learn and change. If I'm not a different person when I come back I'll be very disappointed :) .
 
The Gospel is amazing. I love it! The more I study and learn about it, the more amazing it is. I am blessed to be a missionary, even when it's challenging. It's pushing me to a totally different level of understanding- of myself, the Lord, the Gospel, the world, everything.
 
I miss and love you all and can't seem to keep up with everything you are all doing, but am excited for you all.
 
Love,
 
Hermana Laree LaPierre
 
 

 The first picture I attached is from the MTC- my district with one of our teachers, Hermano Gardner. He was also was the teacher that was Manuel and Mario in our role plays. He was an incredible teacher and I learned so so much from him and his investigators.
 
Picture # 2- we were trying to make a service coupon for one of the members on a thank-you card we had written. It's terrible! The Spanish is pathetic and the coupon looks goofy, but oh well, we got the point across. I hope.

California Week 2

Hola Familia!

Well, our time in the La Crescenta (English) Ward, was very short. We got a call/ text on Friday letting us know that we no longer have that area, so we are now officially refocused on the Spanish work alone. It's a good thing. We had already picked up an investigator in La Cresenta, so we planned to go to his house on Sunday and have him follow us to the chapel so he could go to church and then do a pass off lesson after their church with the elders in the ward, but we got to his house and he wasn't there. Called him and no answer. So we're planning on visiting him sometime soon and setting up a pass off lesson so he can meet the elders who will be teaching him. His name is Edwin and he's really great. We stopped by last week and he gave us a couple referrals and then talked about how he needs to start getting his kids and wife to come to church with him! Amazing! He hasn't even taken any lessons yet, but he's already been to church twice!

A highlight of this week was teaching Isis for the first time. We've met with her a couple times, but didn't teach her a lesson until Friday night. We talked about the Restoration and she seemed really receptive. I invited her to be baptized on October 28th and she said yes! She is a really great woman, has a cute 2 year old daughter and really wants to be a good mom, she's in optometry school right now too (I think, or at least that's where she's heading). We talked alot about how having a family (daughter- we aren't really sure on her marital status yet) gave her purpose in her life and how the Gospel can give us more purpose and how much of a blessing is is to have the gospel when raising kids. She was all over that and loved how much strength and purpose the Gospel gives us. I'm really excited to teach her again on Friday. 

This week has been really good, and really hard. I love moments when we teach Isis or talk to Edwin because they are so receptive, at least right now, they make being a missionary very easy. However, other times, it's really hard. One thing that's been hard has been working together as a companionship to find the balance between overworking and not working hard enough. Sometimes I feel like we waste alot of time that we could use doing better things, like finding investigators or visiting with people. I want to be the best missionary I can and want to leave my mission feeling like I gave my mission everything I had. I think I have alot to learn too about internalizing my purpose too so that it's not all just about busyness either but really bringing people to Christ. 

Being trained has been good, a little frustrating and hard sometimes, but good, and very very humbling.  I'm learning what real missionary work is like, and also that it's not just helping the people in Tujunga come closer to Christ, but also bringing myself closer to Christ. 

Love you all and miss you tons, 

Love, 

Hermana LaPierre

ps- we're also going to visit the house where they filmed ET, apparently it's in Tujunga!

Monday, September 17, 2012

California Week 1

Hola familia!!

I am here!! I finally made it to California! It's hot, humid, and sunny! I love it. I'm serving in the very north west corner of the mission. We serve in the Tujunga Spanish ward, which covers pretty much all of the northwestern corner of the mission. Our area just includes 3 cities for the most part: Tujunga, La Crescenta, and La Canada, but most of the Spanish work is in Tujunga. My trainer's name is Hermana Mulitalo. She's from SLC and is really nice. She's fun to work with. 

My first day here, we landed in Ontario and Pres. and Sister Becerra picked us up and took us to the mission office in Arcadia. We had an orientation, lunch and they let us take a nap before we were paired with our trainers. Once we were paired off, we headed out for our areas to start working! (they told me as we were walking to the car that I'd be the one driving...luckily LA traffic isn't very different from Boston...at least not so far!). We taught a couple lessons that night. One in particular was to a man named Andy. I wish I could describe him, but really, you just have to know him. You can tell he's been through alot in his life, he has kind of a rough exterior, but he's pretty harmless. He talks alot. He goes off on tangents alot, which makes teaching him in any reasonable amount of time kind of difficult (on Sat. we were teaching him for an hour and a half!!) and he'll try to contradict everything that you say, which is kind of frustrating, but it's all just part of teaching him. We teach him in English, so that was nice the first night. We taught another woman who was really sweet, I think she was a less active. We read with her in Alma 32 about faith. It was a good lesson. 

Alot of what we do here is very much Spanglish. And most of the time, I don't really understand anyone when they speak Spanish so I just smile and nod alot. I can usually catch enough words to know what they'd talking about, but not the details. I know it'll come with time, but for now it's been pretty interesting to hear, real native Spanish. It is definitely not what we spoke in the MTC :)

We've been driving back and forth to and from Arcadia this week for training/ orientation and so didn't get alot of full days of missionary work. One of the things that have been the hardest have been to make every moment productive and effective. It seems like there's alot of time we could probably take more advantage of if we planned better. We spend alot of time trying to visit less actives and potential investigators and most of the time, they arent' there and so we have alot of time we didn't plan for. However sometimes it works out really well. We went and visited a potential's house the other day and placed a BOM with a teenage girl named Jocelyn. We will hopefully be teaching her this week, so we'll see what happens. We also visited with some less actives. Most of the lessons with them this week, we just read with them through the LDM. One woman we went to visit, Maria Lena is really nice. She stopped going to church after her recommend was taken away, but is still really receptive to missionaries. She fed us some really really good pineapple water (exactly what it sounds like- water with crushed pineapple in it and sugar, but soooo good) and we talked to her about faith, etc. She's a good woman. 

The APs just called us last night and told us that we'd be taking on an English ward too, so now we'll be serving the Tujunga Spanish Ward and La Crescenta Ward. We live with an LDS family from that ward so that will be fun to serve in their ward. It's a little weird to serve in English, but I'm excited. We had just passed off a golden investigator to the english sisters because he wanted to go to the english ward, and I was really sad because I wanted to teach him really bad, and now we get to!! 

I'm excited to be here. I can't believe I am here already! I can't wait to see real citrus trees and avocado trees!! Life is good. 

Love you all!

Hermana LaPierre

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You can reach me by writing to this address


Sister Laree LaPierre
California Arcadia Mission
170 W Duarte Rd
Arcadia, CA 91007

Saturday, September 8, 2012

hola!

Hola familia!!

I'm heading out to CA in 3 days!!!! We have pday today because we spent all day yesterday in an in-field orientation where they prep us for the field. It was really really good.

Congrats Renee and Steve!! He looks like a cutie! and Happy birthday Kenzie!

Before I forget again- dad, I mentioned this to you a little, but I'll get to call this week while I'm at the airport!! I have my calling card and everything ready to go! I'll probably call around 7 utah time. should I just call the house? will anyone be home?! I can just try to make the rounds on cell phone numbers I remember too if I need. Also, I'll be able to get dear elders on monday, but that'll be the last day!

Glad to hear everyone is doing well. Orientation yesterday was really really good. We talked alot about the administrative important things, like key indicators, etc. the importance of not lowering your expectations too. We practiced contacting too and finding, working with the members, etc. I loved it all, but especially talking about how to work with members in the missionary work- getting them involved, practicing with them, etc. I'm excited to get to do that with them. One thing I've been thinking alot about this week is how I can dedicate myself more to my purpose. Yesterday, one of the men in charge of the orientation said, that it's not always about working harder, as much as working smarter. I think that's true at least to some extent, we have to know what we have available and be creative to make our purpose happen. Helping people understand how they need the gospel is so important, even for me, especially for me.

We had an awesome devotional on Tuesday- this cute German couple. One of the things he talked about was how we need to be teaching and testifying with conviction. I can only teach the things I know (experienced, seen, or felt), things I've internalized for myself. I've been studying more and writing down my thoughts, questions so so so much more this week. It's been amazing! as I study and am not afraid to ask questions and think about how these principles apply in real ways to real people- learning how to apply the principles to different people, I've gained a much deeper appreciation of what I'm out here to do. My conviction of the gospel is stronger. I've been making a list of things that I KNOW and a list of things I don't feel like I can testify/ teach with as much conviction. I've been studying and thinking what questions I have and what I'd want to know if I were an investigator. Then I study PMG and/or the scriptures to look up answers. I've been writing down every spiritual thought I have and everything I learn. as I've done so, I've noticed much more thoughts coming to mind, and answers to questions coming. That's one of my favorite things ever.

I love you all and hope you are all doing great! Next time I see/ hear from ya I'll be in CA!!! Which is great because it's starting to get a little cold in Provo. I'm glad to head out once it's getting a little colder to warmer weather! Who knows what I'm walking into this week ( I definitely feel like I'm walking into an unknown), but bring it on California!!

Love,

Hermana LaPierre

Friday, August 31, 2012

hola!

Hola todos!
 
Como estan? Este semana fue muy bueno. Recibimos nuestros planes de viaje ayer! Ay que ver! (that's what our Spaniard teacher used to always say!-Jamie, maybe you can back me up on that expression) Anyways, I can't believe next week is our last full week here! This month flew by!
 
A few people have asked me about what the MTC is like now, so I thought I'd talk a little about that today. There are really 3 time blocks here- breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner, and dinner to bed, each about 4 hours long (casi). Generally we have 2 three hour class periods each day during 2 of those blocks, with either additional study or language study. The other time block we spend at gym, studying, etc. Each class period is lead by a teacher (we have 2, so each teaches one block a day). During the class times, about an hour of that is spent teaching progressing investigators. Not everyone teaches each class period, but generally every one teaches one of the investigators every day (3 companionships teach in the morning/ afternoon and 3 teach at night- something like that). Then they spend the other part of class going over grammar principles or talking about gospel fundamentals for missionary work, and doing coaching, as a class or they pull individuals or companionships out to do coaching, where you  can get more personalized help or get answers to questions you about teaching. We have 2 progressing investigators- Mario and Ricardo (though we are not teaching Ricardo anymore, so we have a new one now) that we teach regularly, a few times each week. We also have started teaching each other as investigators while other missionaries are teaching- we teach each other. While other missionaries are teaching during class periods, or while the teacher is doing individual coaching, we have companionship study, where we can plan lessons, study language/ gospel study, etc. In the monings, at 10:30, we always have personal study (right before lunch) for an hour. Everything else changes a little depending on the day. On Tuesdays, we only have one 3 hour class period because we have devotionals that night, and on Fridays because it's our pday. Anyways, I have a feeling I probably just confused the heck out of some of you, so if that didn't make sense, then forget what I just said :) The MTC is great- very long days, but generally, the weeks go by pretty fast.
 
This week we taught at the TRC again yesterday. Our new teacher, Hno. Stoddard (he lived in boston a couple years ago! before his mission), told us to essentially not use our planned lesson and just walk in and teach without any plan or clue what we'd teach. We had a pretty good lesson planned, so it was a little sad. Anyways, we got in there and just started talking to her and getting to know her. Eventually we got on the topic of enduring to the end, so I shared 2 Ne 31:20 (one of my favs now). It was a good lesson, hopefully what she needed to hear. On her eval she said she wasn't really sure where we were going with the lesson some times, which I thought was kind of funny, because, neither did we! It's been very helpful to learn here, how to rely more heavily on the Spirit to teach lessons. I've loved learning a little bit more about how to do that.
 
I wanted to bear my testimony today before I say goodbye. I really do know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. If there is anything I have learned deeper and know more, it is that. The Book of Mormon IS the word of God. Joseph really did translate it by the power of God. I know the Restoration was necessary for us to become disciples of Christ. I know it. I know Heavenly Father loves His children more than we will ever understand. He loves us so much that he restored this Gospel back onto the earth so that we can choose to make the covenants that will lead us back to Him. I know He lives. I know he speaks to His children today. I love this Gospel more each day. It is real, It is powerful, and it changes lives everyday. I know because it changes mine everyday.
 
I love you all so much.
 
Love,
 
Hermana Laree LaPierre
 
PS- Tanner: I met a girl a couple days ago from Tri-Cities, WA. She knows some of your family! There's another hna in our zone from there too- hna. Braggs.
mom- no i never got the CD of the talks- want me to send you my ipod so you can put them on there? either way
 
 
LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stolen from Renee -Laree's Drop-Off July 11, 2012

and she's off!!!

Betsy and I got to drop Laree off at the MTC on Wednesday the 11th of July!
Her last request was to get ice cream at the BYU Creamery down the road from the MTC.
The girls got to join in the festivities! (Lucky too, because they got their ice cream before lunch!! That NEVER happens at Betsy's house!!)





clearly, she is more than ready for her mission...

Sofia took this one for us!

and then a gentleman offered to get one of us all!

she's vamoosing!


she got 2 escorts! special girl!!!

her last look at civilian life....


look very carefully! this was our last glimpse of her!!!