Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Time is upon us

Kristen Owens
11:17 AM (38 minutes ago)

to me
Well hey there family,

This week was pretty good :) we found 3 more new investigators which was great! We met with a referral and his father (who we think is a preacher of another church...) it was a crazy lesson full of questions and we totally lost control...anyway, we are meeting with them again after the holidays and they still have lots of questions! Next time we will be more prepared :) it happens. We also had a little miracle. We were bummed because we none of our investigators could attend the Christmas Concert last night so we couldn't go either...we decided to knock on a few houses instead! :) yes! And the second house we knocked on we met this wonderful person named Cindy. She has been married for about a year and we started talking with her. She didn't seem too interested at first--she's catholic--but, then we just decided to keep teaching her as long as she would listen! First rule=teach as you find! We taught her about the Restoration and about receiving answers to prayers.. She accepted a Book of Mormon and we are going back on Saturday to teach her! She seems fairly open and interested. We really felt the spirit as we testified to her on the doorstep in the 20 degree weather (my face was about to fall off, I could hardly speak...). But, it was pretty amazing. We knew we had met her for a reason and we are excited to see what happens! I love all the tender mercies every day. God is aware of us and I have been learning that as we set goals with Him, He provides ways to accomplish them. Setting goals and working for them is a major skill I have been desperately trying to develop while being here. It takes a lot of faith and work and creativity, but He is willing to help us accomplish them if it is right :)

Transfers are this week and I am proud to say I get to stay in the "Promised Land" aka Medicine Lake with my awesome Companion Sister Taufer! 1/2 my mission in the same area--WHOO WHOO!!! The people here are amazing and wonderful :) I love it here. We are really hoping to see some progress with our investigators and get them to really commit to a date. I think I have been blessed with very prepared people here in our area as of late so when people don't commit right away and have this strong desire to be baptized, I don't know what to do! haha It's a learning experience. But, with faith and prayer and their faith and their prayers, I know God will give them an answer. We are shooting for some dates in January. And really trying to establish the expectations of baptizing every month. It is possible because our mission president has told us we can do it and he is inspired. It is from the Lord! He has faith in His missionaries and we have faith in the Spirit :) Thanks mom for your words about how the Holy Ghost loves us just as much as Christ and Heavenly Father. I have never really thought of it that way before. He wants to help us. He has the same goal and purpose. Cool!

I just want you (family) and you (friends) to know how grateful I am for your letters, packages, and prayers. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the Lord for blessing me with amazing people in my life. You all play such a huge part! I am so grateful for the fun packages from Becca, Wanda, the Gottfredsons, the parentals, ect. Seriously. THEY WERE SO FUN AND GREAT!!! I love getting the Christmas card letters from everyone (extended family, ward family, etc.) Thanks for all the support you give. I hope you know how much I love each one of you and how much each one of you has impacted my life.

So it sounds like we're having an epidemic of baby boys in the family! What is this! What happened to all the girls?!? Oh well, Priesthood holders in the making :) love it. It sounds like Makena and Hads are having fun together. Give them a big hug and kiss for me! I miss them so much! And I can't wait to have two nephews born in a few months! Crazy. I hope you accept them in their birthday suit mom haha Hadlee is hilarious. How does she even know that?! Tell the rest of the family not to have too much fun on Christmas without me actually being there, I may be able to skype! So if the boys or someone with some technological talents in the family has skype or knows how to do that send a little email our way :) it will be great. 45 minutes of pure joy! :) we aren't sure the details of when and such, we'll let you know :) when i say "we" i mean "I" sorry...I've had a companion for the past 7.5 months.

I love reading the letters from my friends! They seriously motivate me to be better. Britt and her little trainee! Em and her Spanish! Kim and her awesomeness! Shea and her faith! Heidi and her humor! Oh my goodness she seriously makes me laugh! And because of her we are now trying to do more creative finding through our members :) love it. She is my hero. Can't wait for her to get to Spain and get it done! :)

Okay, this letter is really long and my companion just turned to me and said, "I'm starving, I need food!" she eats a lot, except it just goes straight through her! And it sticks to my chin and hips like glue! Don't judge me when you see me next week...working out inside is much harder than outside. ha. ha. ha.

Anyway, I love you. I hope all is well. The Toolson's will be in my prayers. They are such an amazing family, holy moly. I love them. Tell all the extended family I love them and miss them. Merry Christmas.

Before I send this I just want you all to know the Atonement is real. I have never been homesick before until about a week ago. It was really hard to focus. But, my testimony of the Atonement has increased. My burdens have been lifted, I am no longer homesick and the work is moving right along! Christ is the center of everything. His birth, ministry, and Atonement should be central to everything we do in life. I know that everything that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I was thinking about how our ancestors who crossed the plains had to sacrifice so much and all for what? They would not have done that just for a thrill, but they did it because they had Christ and His sacrifice burned in their hearts. They knew this gospel was true. They knew it, and they were not going to let anyone or anything tell them otherwise. I KNOW this gospel is true. I KNOW Christ is my Savior, Redeemer, and the Son of God. I KNOW Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, called to restore Christ's church to this earth. I KNOW the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I KNOW God has a plan for us and we can return and live with Him and our families forever one day as we keep and cleave to our covenants. I KNOW this is the Lord's Church. It's all true isn't it? Then what else matters? I know all these things, and I know God knows I know it. And I will never deny it. The Spirit has testified to me time and time again of these gospel truths. Nothing will shake my testimony of this work. I love you and merry Christmas! I will talk with you next week! WHOO WHOO!

  Sister Owens

p.s. shout out to my wonderful trainer--Sister Randall--thanks for the letter! our letters crossed paths in the answered all my questions pretty much. I love you and hope I can be as good a missionary as you were! Thanks for all you taught me!


Kristen Owens
Dec 10 (7 days ago)

to me
Hey Family,
Sorry this letter is late and will probably be pretty short. So we had a HUGE snow storm--12 inches or so! And we could not drive anywhere yesterday or today so Sister Taufer and I walked to a members home to get a recording device for a special gift for Pres and Sis Clements.. On the way back we got to help a sweet old man shovel his driveway..HE was a member of the RLDS church--what are the odds--and he let us inside and we talked with his Lutheran wife and they were so sweet. They gave us rootbeer and it was a nice service opportunity :) They really were sweet. I loved it. We walked to the grocery store and back home and now we are writing letters on the Wilson's computer. So the last hour of church was cancelled yesterday :) it was pretty exciting! Yesterday we did lots of service shoveling snow and made some phone calls and such :) we have the best ward ever by the way. I love it here! Last week we found 5 new investigators who are looking really promising! WE are so excited to teach them and we have a referral from we are teaching this week as well. super cool! And some members have some friends they want us to meet! whoo whoo. it'll be a good week! And yes I LOVED ALL THE PACKAGES I receieved from you and Becca and Wanda and all the Christmas cards from the extended family are amazing :) I get more letters from extended family than i do my immediate family (hint hint brothers and sisters).
Christmas Conference was great! WE all wore ugly sweatesr and bought Presi and Sis Clements one as well :) it was cute :) we also watched October Sky and had some great trainings on Planning and Finding :) I loved it.
Our investigators are great... we don't have any date sets as of yet but this week we are really hoping to see some great miracles and get 3 to church on SUnday  (it got moved due to the weather)
I don't need anything really other than some thick tights...that might be nice. and some wool socks...its starting to get pretty cold! But, I am SOOO grateful for the nice warm coat and hats and everything you sent me :) they are coming in handy! And Brother and Sister Wilson just got called as mission presidents to an english speaking mission! So crazy! WE will miss them so very much! They leave in July... :( but they will be fabulous! I love them. They amaze me!
I love you family so very much! i love being a missionary at this time of the year. Christmas is no better time to truly serve and love those around me. We get to share messages of Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world! He is the reason for everything! There truly is no other greater calling than a missionary at this time of year. Man. I need to keep remembering that. I'm trying to think of some funny things that happened but nothing is really coming to mind... just if you could keep praying for our area and investigators to come unto Christ. And for us.. I love you all! You are amazing examples to me! I seriously could not have asked for a better family! You make me want to be better! I miss you a lot especially now, but I feel right at home here in Minnesota with the members and people :)  I really do love it here. Thanks for all you do! Keepp it up! I pray for you daily! I hope all is well! Partay on!
  Sister Owens
The Wilsons say hello :)
Sister Taufer is awesome and we are really getting along well :) The work is going! WE got a senior couple in the ward they are fabulous :) Send pics! :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Well helloooo!

Date: Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM
Subject: well helloooo!
To: carolyn owens <>

Hello Familia,

How goes it? The weather is good there huh? Well it's been pretty good here too! It hasn't snowed all week. It's been chilly, but not cold enough to snow :) thank goodness! But, it is raining outside right now. I love it here. The weather is great! I can't believe it's already DECEMBER! Where in the world has time gone???? I loved getting all the letters from the friends around the world--thanks mom, you are a champ! They all sound fantastic and make me want to be a better missionary. Seriously. Their letters come at good times :) They cheer me up--not that i'm not happy or anything. They just make me even more happy and excited to serve the Lord! The work here is good! We found 3 new investigators this week which we are excited for because not many of our investigators are really progressing.. but one of the came to church on Sunday! which was great because we really had been trying to get him there and finally he came and the ward was great and accepting and everything. We are hoping to find 3 more this week and get 3 to church on Sunday! Being a missionary is mind blowing. There is so much that goes into planning and preparing people for lessons, church, baptism and confirmation, retention efforts, etc. I never realized all the skills I lacked in setting goals and planning until I came on a mission--man from now on I want to set goals for life! They are great! President is really pushing 3 new investigators this week and 3 investigators to church on Sunday. Apparently 1 in every 6 people that attend church get baptized.. hence the push :) we are all trying to baptize monthly. President Clements is amazing. He has such a great vision and confidence in us as missionaries and in increasing the work in Minnesota. There is so much to do and so little time, but we know as we are obedient to his counsel, blessings will come and people will progress. We are really seeking the spirit this week--in everything we do. We have a Christmas Conference on Wednesday and we are excited for it :)

This past week we went on exchanges and Sister Taufer and I went to Dinkytown-aka- on campus with the sisters there. IT was a lot of fun. Basically they contact all day long! That is where my trainer served for about 9 months of her mission before coming to med lake. (I don't think she liked it very much...) but, we talked with so many people and we actually taught a lesson and invited someone to be baptized right outside on campus--she was a sweet chinese girl and it was so cool! then we had a lesson that night with someone and invited him to be baptized--he said yes! It was neat! I love being a missionary at times like that when the spirit is strong and you see people's faces light up when they understand things and it all makes sense! :) ah. the wonderful opportunity we have. Sometimes I think I take things too lightly and other times I take things too seriously. It's easy to get caught up in the little stresses and not to see the bigger picture of how we can help people continue to progress and grow in faith. But, when we really understand the importance of the work and when we are truly converted, talking with everyone and seeking to work becomes so much easier! I want to wear out my life in the service of God especially at this time as a missionary. Acting on those desires is sometimes much harder than you think, but prayer is real and God is aware. (i don't know if that made any sense...)

Anyway, man, everytime I write a letter home I can't help but be so happy and laughy! Sister Taufer is staring me down right now because I am taking too long writing you :) She loves waiting for me :) She's a go getter! and she's reading everything I am saying right now :) hahahahah muahhahaha I am going to keep writing just to bug her :) just kidding. anyway, be good, do good, pray good, serve good, AND CHOOSE THE RIGHT!  This week we got to do a little activity with the mia maid class. they were suppose to invite a friend to the activity and we were going to answer any questions they had and do a short thought. many of them invited friends but there ended up only being one nonmember there :) it was still good. we talked about prayer and how we are daughters of God. I am amazed at the strength of the youth! They are incredible people! oh boy.

I want each one of you to know, I KNOW this church is Christ's church. I know He lives and died for us. I know I can't make it back to God again without Him. I know Heavenly Father is in the details. I know He loves each one of us. I know the Plan of Salvation is true and real. I know we can be together forever as we strive to live the commandments and keep our covenants. I know there is no better place to be in than in the service of your fellowbeings and in the service of God. Sometimes I forget that. Christ is the only person that knows how we feel completely. He loves us fully and everything that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Anything that is unfair whether spiritually, physically, mentally, etc. We can become whole again. I know it because I need to become whole again every day. I know we all have gifts and abilities we are suppose to use to help build up others and His church and to prepare others for His coming. I love this work. I love being a missionary. There is no place I would rather be than on a mission serving the Lord. Thanks for all of your examples and love to me. I think of you often (but not enough to distract obviously;) I pray for you daily and I hope you know I am so proud of each one of you. I love you! :) Have a great week in Utah! Talk to you next week!

Thanks mom for the Christmas package and for all the packages in the past. You really know what I need :) And those bracelets you sent have now become our baptizing bracelets :) everytime we invite or baptize someone we put a bead on haha it's great! And transfers are in a few more weeks and I will most likely stay here again and finish Sister T's training unless for some reason she needs a different companion. But, half my mission in the same place=craziness! I do love it here though :) a change might be nice, however, I will go where He wants me to go. We still have work to do here I guess! :) LOVE YOU ALL! give the kiddoe's lots of love from me!

 Sister Owens


Date: Mon, Nov 26, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Subject: Gratitude
To: carolyn owens <>

Hello Family,

It sounds like it was a great thanksgiving! I'm not gonna lie, it was a little hard being with the Wilson's and their whole family :) it made me miss you (for the first time since leaving)! But, it was so nice of the Wilson's to let us barge in on their Thanksgiving meal with their family. They are so wonderful and so giving and loving. They do so much for us. This week was a bit rough as far as finding new investigators and none of them came to church! The little stinkers! However, this next week is looking up! It was fun to have Thanksgiving here and for the first time the snow actually stayed. It was super good weather in the morning and then by evening it was snowing! it's been a bit chilly ever since. Thanks for sending my big coat though mom! :) It is the best thing ever! And yes I bought some nice warm boots to go along with it. My companion hates the cold hahahahaha and she's here in Minnesota in the winter--super funny. She is so great though. She is super prepared and layers up!

The new counselor in the Mission Presidency knows the Renchers and I met him the other day. It was cool to make that connection. He is a really great guy. It's fun. The church world is so small. I always find random connections to people here. It's fun. So Makade is leaving on Wednesday! Crazy! That is going to be such a great experience for him--and he gets the warm weather too :) I am so excited for him! He will be a great missionary. I can't wait to hear his stories and experiences with the people there. He will love his mission.

I am learning so much since being on my mission. Especially this past week learning about gratitude. I have really been feeling like I've been in a bit of a slump and realized that by expressing gratitude, you are expressing faith. This week I have made it a goal to say a prayer of just gratitude each day. It really helps you see the positive blessings the Lord has given. I am so grateful for this time of year. I am so grateful for a wonderful family who is so willing to live the gospel. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a full time missionary. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It's the hardest and best thing i have ever done. I am so grateful for a loving,patient, and kind Father in Heaven who knows us so well. I am so grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Where would we be without this wonderful message of hope, peace, and joy?!?! I am so grateful for the wonderful plan of salvation and the plan of happiness. I am especially grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who makes it all possible for each one of us to overcome the effects of the fall--physically and spiritually. I could not do this alone. None of us could. How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the whole earth!

Our investigators are doing good. We are really trying to set some dates and help them understand they do not need to know everything in order to be baptized, they just need to gain a testimony and continue to develop that faith. We have a missionary senior couple in the ward now and they are wonderful! We love them! They will help the ward so much. We are so excited to work with them.

If you could just keep us in your prayers extra hard this week, that would be great. We are really seeking to find those kingdom builders who will be ready and prepared to receive us. I love you so much! You have no idea the strength that I feel when I read your letters. :) They bring me so much happiness! :) It makes me want to work even harder to find those families that are searching! I love you. Keep being awesome and sharing the light of Christ with those around you. Tell lil' Carter HAPPY BIRTHDAY! He is the cutest! :) I love you all! Thanks for your awesome examples of love and dedication to this gospel.

Love, Sister Owens