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! 


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!


Hermana Laree LaPierre

Friday, October 19, 2012


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.
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.
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, 


Hermana LaPierre

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