Monday, January 21, 2013

Temperature is dropping

From: Kristen Owens
Date: Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Subject: Temperature is dropping
To: carolyn owens

Hello My dear family,

Well Sister Taufer and I woke up and found out it is -4 degrees outside :) so it's getting pretty chilly here and should be cold the next few weeks--so no, it is no longer balmy and beautiful haha it's freezing. But, we still love it! So I thought I would start by answering your questions because I feel like I never do. So, the senior couple in Crystal and Medicine Lake wards do a lot. They work with all the West Africans and are helping them continue to progress to the temple and preparing them to receive endowments and helping them with any other needs. They are great. They work with less actives and recent converts and are doing a lot with understanding the visa requirements for them. They are a great couple and do so much for us! We love them. They are really amazing people. Second, transfers are next week so in exactly one week we will find out if we are staying or leaving. I dunno what'll happen. There is only one sister coming out this transfer and then next transfer there will be 17! I think I already told you that. Anyway, I will be happy to stay here :) But, wherever He needs me to be is where I will be the most happy. 

So last week was awesome! We had our 12 year old investigator come to church with his less active mom and nonmember brother! That was pretty neat. :) And we had two other people we are teaching come to church as well. Brother Banquandoe bore his testimony in church and Sister Banquandoe did a few weeks ago. Odelle is adorable. I love them and can't wait for them to be sealed! And, we had an incredible miracle last night. We were planning on going to the fireside, but our investigator backed out last minute and we ended up leaving. We had planned on doing some knocking in some apartment buildings that we had been meaning to go to for a while and hadn't ever been able to get there. So we got there and we prayed. Then we chose an apartment building and we prayed again. Then we got to the door and it was locked so we prayed again and right as Sister Taufer finished praying a person walked out and we walked in :) Then we chose a few numbers that felt good and we prayed again. We knocked on the first one and taught a brief restoration to a YSA who seemed not too interested. Then we knocked on the next one and talked with a sweet woman from Liberia. She let us in and we ended up sharing a lesson on the Restoration and invited her to be baptized and to pray and read and she said she would. We also invited her sister to join us in the lesson and they both sat down with us so both of them are going to read and pray about it and we are going back! From this experience, I was amazed as we exercised our faith and acted upon it how the Lord led us to sincere seekers of truth. We had been praying to be able to reach our goal of 3 new investigators and we only had one until last night. It felt so good to talk with the Lord in prayer and let Him know our desires and goals and then to say to Him "Thy will be done", but at least making ourselves available as dedicated diligent servants in His hands. I truly have felt this past transfer has been a trial of my faith. Yesterday was an answer to many prayers. I truly saw the hand of God in our lives--it's every day. He knows what is best for us.

We had the opportunity to go on exchanges with the Shingle Creek Sisters this week aka Sister Mansfield and Sister Tani--I was with Sister Tani. She is a convert (only one in her family) and she is amazing. I learned so much from her! I was reading in Alma chapter 15-17 today and realized how much Amulek had to give up--fortune, friends, family. Sometimes that is how our investigators are. They have to make so many changes in their lives to live the gospel. And how much it helped Amulek to have a friend like Alma by his side. Everyone needs a friend in the church. It makes a major difference! 

This transfer has taught me A LOT! I have had so many things to learn! First, patience...Second, faith....Third, power of obedience. and Fourth, repentance and forgiveness. The Lord is so merciful. I am recommitted to work hard, love, be obedient, and exercise my faith! Holy cow! Being a missionary is training for life! I hope I am becoming who He wants me to become. I have been reflecting recently on the past 9 months and am going to set some goals for the next 9 months. Sometimes I don't feel a change, but other times I look back and recognize how I have changed. It's crazy the refining process of a mission. Anyway, enough about me. 

The investigators are coming along :) slowly but surely. We aren't teaching a lot of Africans right now, but we are teaching some great individuals. The members here are fantastic and do so much for us! It's truly incredible to be a part of this work. We've had some great spiritual experiences and if I have learned anything this past transfer it is to be committed! Keep all my commitments and covenants for FOREVER. I hope in the next 9 months I can say I have learned even more and become who He needs me to become. I love being a missionary. The work is going forth. There is always so much to learn. I have loved my companions and Medicine Lake ward. I looked around last Sunday and realized how much I love these people! They truly are like family! Every single one of them! I don't want to leave! But, change might be a good thing. So many mixed feelings :) haha 

Alright, times up! I love you all and am so glad to hear things are going well! I look forward to meeting my 2 nephews soon! And btw, what are the names of these babes gonna be?!?! I need to know these things! Thanks to Shea for writing me a letter in the mail :) bonus points for you--you'll definitely get a gift from me when I return! ;) I loved it! Makena makes me laugh so hard. Give them all hugs and kisses for me. I LOVE YOU! Thanks for your great examples to me! I couldn't do this without you! 

  Sister Owens

Monday, January 14, 2013


From: Kristen Owens <>
Date: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM
Subject: Hi:)
To: carolyn owens <>

Hey family,

So, first things first, I got the packages! Thanks soooo much! I loved them :) And Second, I got Grandpa's card! Thank you grandpa, I really do appreciate it! I am keeping it safe don't worry :) Also, Aunt Marsha and Uncle Bill sent a card and I want them to know how grateful I am for that as well. I didn't have a ton of time to read through all the emails sent from the friends, but I do love reading them when I can so if you could keep sending them, that would be great! Thanks mom, you are the best.

This past week was pretty good! Holy cow, the flu is going around like crazy and so many people were sick! Lot's of cancellations, but more time to find and prepare and learn :) We started teaching a young man by the name of....Timmy...he is 12 and comes from a part member family. he wants to be baptized and wants his brother to do it. It's been fun to teach him. His family life isn't the most stable, so we are hoping to help him build good relationships with the ward so they can be his family. Mom, I really enjoyed your letter this week about love and the amazing responsibility we have to be missionaries. What an honor! And especially at this time with so much work to be done and so many missionaries coming out! I am so grateful for this opportunity. Something someone said in sacrament meeting yesterday really hit me. She talked about her mission and how hard it was and different experiences and then said, "It's not about what you can do, it's about who you are." And I will add, who you become. Sometimes I get caught up in the little daily things that we need to do (it's a lot and could drive you crazy.) and the things I struggle being able to do perfectly, but, I never take the time to recognize the progress or see who I am becoming because of these experiences. Wow, I love being a missionary. We get to devote completely 1.5 years of our lives to serve others and bless others lives. There is no greater call.

I am trying to remember what happened this past week that was cool, but I can't really remember so this letter is going to be more reflection than anything. We were driving home one day and as I looked out the window, I realized something. We live near a car dealership and it's kinda funny because on the front of the building it says, "Christ centered!" haha I pass that dealership all the time and have never really taken the time to notice it or internalize it. That is the epitome of MN. They all are believers :) So, I would totally go to a Christ centered dealership to buy a car than any other one. :) totally.

Anyway, we had zone training this week and President came and we had some interviews and such. I always have questions for him when we go in and forget all of them during and remember them after... but, it was still good to talk to him. President and Sister Clements are awesome! He informed Sister Taufer and I that we will most likely be training the rest of our missions. my first thought=ah! you sure you want that to happen? second thought=I got to step it up! third will all work out :) At zone training we talked about repentance. We are all trying to focus on our own personal conversion so we may be more powerful missionaries and we spent a lot of time on faith the past few months and now we are focusing on repentance and conversion. "Conversion is repentance, and repentance is conversion." There are so many things I need to repent of. Here is a quote from PMG that I read this week and it got me motivated again--It's by President Hunter:

“Surely taking the gospel to every kindred, tongue, and people is the single greatest responsibility we have in mortality. … We have been privileged to be born in these last days, as opposed to some earlier dispensation, to help take the gospel to all the earth” (“Walls of the Mind,” Ensign, Sept. 1990, 10).
“What does the Atonement have to do with missionary work? Any time we experience the blessings of the Atonement in our lives, we cannot help but have a concern for the welfare of others. … A great indicator of one’s personal conversion is the desire to share the gospel with others.” (“The Atonement and Missionary Work,” seminar for new mission presidents, June 1994).
I KNOW the Atonement is real. I Know we can be healed completely. I know His sacrifice covers all parts of life. I know He knows how it feels to be discouraged, sad, overwhelmed, disheartened, burdened, confused, happy, peaceful, empty, etc. I know Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. And that is why I chose to serve a mission. To help others realize it. That is the call to each one of us that have felt the Atonement influence our lives. We want to share it and help our other brothers and sisters feel peace, hope, and joy. I hope we can all share the gospel in some way this week. Pray for those opportunities, carry a Book of Mormon around with you. Help those missionaries find people to teach. Have faith in the converting power of the Spirit. Sharing the gospel is easy! Every single person you meet needs what we have---seriously people. I am reminded of Alma 5:26 "And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren (and sisters), if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" I hope we are always looking to experience the blessings of the Atonement daily. I don't know where I would be without it. Christ is my Savior, God is my Father, Joseph Smith was a prophet called to restore His church in this last dispensation before His coming again. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know the church is true. I know we are led by a living prophet today named Thomas S. Monson. "After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to PREACH MY GOSPEL." -President Joseph Smith

I love you, I love this work, I love this ward here (they do so much for us!), and I love preaching the gospel! :) hope you all have a wonderful week!

btw those pics were adorable! And Cherise has such long hair! What?! I loved that pic! give the children lots of hugs and kisses from me please :) I miss them like crazy! Also, it's funny you mention Great grandma because I was writing in my journal today and as I put the date January 14, 2013, I wrote "I feel like I missed someone's birthday..." HAPPY BIRTHDAY GREAT GRANDMA DODDS! :)

Talk to you next week :) love you all! Thanks for all the support! You have no idea how much it helps.

  Sister Owens

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's Quite Warm Here

Kristen Owens
11:51 AM (7 minutes ago)

to me
Dear Family,

In response to your "It's Freezing here!" title, I wanted you to know it's quite warm here :) I think it's 32 degrees outside and I am about ready to take my coat off. It's great. Well It's good to hear all the goings ons of the Utahns. We heard about the inversion and the cold weather--man, that is insane. President and Sister Clements came to our ward yesterday and visited which was fun. The Elders had a ton of investigators there...we had 1! haha oh man, I am still trying to figure out how to get our investigators to commit to church--it's been hard the past few months! But, praying and working are the best solutions. Ya last week we had 12 investigators come to sacrament meeting between us and the elders--it was crazy! Super cool! 

Anyway, the new year has been great! I'm not sure what happened with the whole mail issue, but it should be fixed. Thanks for caring enough to call mom :) haha And I miss Kamas so much! I loved Oakcrest! Everytime I talk with the Youth in the ward it brings me back to the good old summer of 2011 :) loved it! It's beautiful there.

This past week was pretty cool. We had 9 member present lessons which was great! I was hoping that would help get our peeps to church, but hey, there is always next week. We are focusing on praying a lot this week and I have been struggling discerning answers to those prayers and deciphering which part is mine and which part is His (does that make any sense?). I know He answers prayers and I know He will lead us and guide us, I just get stuck sometimes. Any suggestions?

Our recent convert Terrence went to visit family in Augusta MN and introduced his friend to  the Book of Mormon out there. he went to church and said it was the exact same as here! Isn't that so great!? The Church is the same anywhere you go. I love it.

We are beginning to teach a member's granddaughter and another less active member's son who wants to learn more. I love youth. They are so strong and smart! And so fun to talk with. They really are wise beyond their years. yesterday I bore my testimony in Relief Society because we were talking about sacred places and I realized how strong each of these wonderful women are and how they made "Medicine Lake" a sacred place for me. I love this ward. Afterwards a member gave me a hug and said, "are you anticipating a transfer?" And then I thought--AH! NO WAY. But, according to sister clements they are going to be opening up a lot of different areas in the future. Some sisters training may have to train 2 sisters at once. It's gonna get crazy real fast. I love this work. I hope all the sisters coming out are ready to give everything they have to the Lord. A mission is one of the hardest things I have ever done--mentally challenging. But, it is the most rewarding. Satan loves attacking my thoughts. and this week it's been a bit hard to not focus on all the inadequacies. Good thing my companion is a champ and keeps me up :) We are striving to find and teach families and really get our investigators to progress. Please pray for us (cause you don't already...ha), but I hope you feel my prayers for each one of you. I love you so so so so so so much! I can't wait to see you and chat it up with you again. But, I do love it here. I love the people and the area. I love the gospel and am so grateful for the challenges He gives us to help us grow. My faith is increasing so much. Anyway, we have an appointment today cuz we are switching our pday to thursday--we are going to the temple as a district!

Bye! Love you,
  SIster Owens

p.s. my gloves are awesome. very warm! good buy! thanks for all the things you do for me!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

 It was so much fun to talk to you at Christmas! :) Oh my goodness--seeing you all there (besides Nadine and Makena :() felt so natural and normal! I thought I would be bawling the whole time, but it only happened at the end when I saw dad's face (of all people, dad made me cry..jk) Anyway, I miss you guys and love you a lot. Thanks for being so fun and happy! 40 minutes flew by!

So funny story this week, we were eating dinner with some wonderful members and their son was in town. He sneakily took a pic of Sis T and I and posted it to facebook and asked "does anyone know them?" (apparently he does this with all the missionaries he meets. Well Kade Smith knew him and he actually worked with Kade and Nate out in chicago selling alarms. ha it was a funny connection. he talked to kade on the phone a few minutes so that was fun. Thanks Kade for responding! :)

We had an amazing miracle this week!!! Oh man, it's good. So when I was a young missionary (...about 5 months ago...) serving with Sister Randall, we did a lot of tracting. Well one day we found this random street with about 3 houses on it. We had some great conversations with the few doors we knocked on and we felt really good about it. But, after that night, we couldn't ever find the street on the map again! It was so frustrating because we wanted to go back and try again. Well the whole time since I've been here, I have been searching for that street. One day Sister Taufer and I picked an area to go tracting in. When we were driving down this one road, I looked to the side and saw a "no outlet" sign and a small road--Larch Ln. BAM--found it! So we made a note to self to go back to that street. Last week we did and knocked on the one door that I remember feeling really good about. We met a man named Tim. He looked sooo burdened down and depressed. He mentioned how we were the second set of "religious" people to knock on his door (darn those Jehovah Witnesses), so it must be a sign or something. We talked to him about prayer and God's love for him and made a return appointment the following week. On Thursday we met with him and one of our members was so good to drive over and come with us even though the roads were crazy icy. The lesson was a little crazy (he had a friend over who had met with missionaries before...didn't believe the book of Mormon,etc.) but we ended up teaching about prayer again and our lovely joint teacher expressed to him that God loves him. Then at the end of the lesson we had him say the prayer. We all knelt down and for the first time in a very long time he prayed. He had been losing his faith in God due to recent events and he expressed how bad his life had been growing up without good parents, etc. But, he still prayed. It was a very sincere, heartfelt prayer. He had been use to recited, memorized prayers, but we explained how to pray and he did it! Our joint teacher was in tears, she had felt the spirit so strongly in his prayer. We invited him to church, he wasn't super solid about it. By the time we left, you could see a huge change in his character--those burdens had been lifted. We called him Saturday to see if he would make it on Sunday, he said he'd try--we offered rides, he could follow us, etc--finally he just said call him in the morning to wake him up. So we did, no answer... and we called 3 times....ha. We get to church and are patiently waiting for our investigators and Tim walks in! Our joint teacher talked to him after and he said he really enjoyed the youth talk about friends. he had to leave after sacrament meeting but he said next week he'd stay. and he was smiling so big! He loved it. He told our fellowshipper that he was going to bring his two kids next time too! :) MIRACLE. and we had 3 new investigators and 3 investigators to church! whoo! :) 3+3=1 (President Clements math :)

This past week was great. It really was. We have a few progressing investigators, but no official date sets yet. We have strong vibes it's coming though :) baptize in January! The people here are so great! Our members are so involved in missionary work. They love it and want to share with their friends. We just need to be trusting missionaries so they will see they can trust their friends with us. I have been humbled this week--sometimes I feel like I am not getting any better at becoming a missionary. I often think to myself "why are you on the same shore, doing the same thing..." blah. So we are trying new things! we talked to our ward mission leader about doing a little activity for our investigators. we are planning something on the 5th of Feb--missionary movie night. We show a short clip from a church movie, have a recent convert share a 5 minute testimony, say a prayer, have food and fellowship time ;) it will be great!

We are excited to connect better with the ward. they really are amazing. The work is hastening on! There will be so many new missionaries here next transfer and we have to be better than we were before! I am the lead sister this transfer and must conduct exchanges (ah!) I don't have any idea what I'm doing, but that's okay. He knows whats best I suppose. The sisters here in the mission are AMAZING! Seriously though. they motivate me and help me so much. I love it here. I love the people. I love the work. The gospel is true, it blesses families, prophets are real, Christ lived a perfect life, atoned for us, and died for us, His church has been restored in it's fulness, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and prayer works! The Holy Ghost is real! I know this is His church. I love you all! I hope you have a fabulous New Year's day! Go Resolutions! :) no regrets either!

  sister owens

p.s. i forgot to send a card to Brittany (I'm HORRIBLE!) But, tomorrow I'll send it off.
p.s.s. can't wait to meet those lil' ones in our family soon!

Ho Ho HOLA! :) cute.

Well hi family, How is life? MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you are all enjoying the Christmas Spirit! We sure are! We only had one investigator make it to church this sunday, but that's one more than zero! So that's good :) She is progressing and hopefully we'll get her fiance on board asap as well. There is nothing like being a missionary during the Christmas season. I feel very fortunate and am really excited to deliver some goodies to our members, investigators, and less actives tonight and serve some people! Service is something that I need to do better at. My favorite picture to look at is Christ washing the feet of his disciples. Christ truly had charity. He never thought of himself, He never did anything for himself, everything He did was for the benefit of the world. And He did it all out of His loving kindness and longsuffering for the children of men (us). His whole life was spent in the service of others. There is nothing as rewarding as service. Even the little things go a long way. 

So as far as tomorrow goes (I'm SOOOO excited!!!), we can skype for approximately 40 minutes max! And we will be calling at 1pm here so 12pm your time... we just need to figure out the details of what number we call and such so let me know asap! as in the next 20 minutes.... And it will be skype. So you can see my several chins and all! :) just kidding.

Well this week was pretty good. We taught quite a few lessons and had some good lessons with investigators. We attended seminary with the youth and the elders in our ward had a baptism for a little boy named Henry. He is the son of some of our members from Liberia. They are now a complete baptized family :) We love them! We are really working to baptize in January because that is the goal our zone has set. We are sacrificing and "fasting" for 40 days the things that poke at our spirits (junk food, my pride, etc. I won't go into all the details of what I need to give up). But, it truly is in the sacrifice that brings forth the blessings of Heaven. I don't know who and I don't know how we are going to do it, but the Lord says baptize in january so as it says in 1 Ne 3:7---The Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the thing which He hath commanded them. Miracles happen! I have seen too many of them to deny that and it all starts with our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to work and act and not be acted upon. We are really trying to do new things here in this area to find more people to teach. We are excited for what it brings and we are really going to work hard to help our investigators progress! President is really emphasizing teaching and baptizing families. I know there is a family here in our area who is waiting for this gospel. We just have to find them and I know that will be through working better with our members. 

Any suggestions on finding people to teach? Give it freely please! :) Well folks, it's time to go. I love you and can't wait to talk/see you tomorrow! 12pm! Don't be late!

  SIster Owens