Serving in the Las Vegas Nevada Mission

Monday, February 23, 2015

Las Vegas #5

This week has been AWESOME!! (I think I say that about every week...but it’s true!) 

This week started out really rough, I was just having a hard time, I have been feeling sick again and the stress had just started to get to me. But my favorite quote....I don’t know who said it....but they said something along the lines of "When you want to give up and you are sick and tired but you choose to push forward and do the Lords work, THATS when you will see the greatest miracles come to pass" That thought has been running though my head all week. Because it’s true! It’s in our hardest of times that we need to look to the Lord most, those are the times where we are going through the "refiners fire" (that’s an amazing Mormon message, go watch it right now!!). Sister Harrison and I were asked to give talks this Sunday in Church, and our topic was why we have adversity! So all week I have been reading talks about adversity and how we are meant to go through trials because it is Heavenly Fathers plan for us. In my talk I related it to a tree that grows up in a windy environment. When a tree has pressure from all around it, it is forces to grow its roots deeper into the soil it has been planted in, and the tree itself is forced to create cell structures that physically make the trunk of the tree stronger and the branches more flexible. So that when storms may rage it will be able to stand firm and bend in the wind without breaking. And the tree will be stronger because it faced those winds compared to a tree that grew up in a greenhouse with walls protecting it the whole time. We are the same way; we are given trials and harsh "winds" to make us need to grow our roots (our faith) deeper in the soil (the gospel) so that we can stand strong when storms come. This earth life is a time to prepare to meet God, and we can’t do it in the state we are in now, we must go through the refiner’s fire and become the greatest we can be! Our greatness is not measured by what happens to us, but by how we respond to the situations at hand. It’s our everyday choices that make the most difference! It’s the "small and simple things" Alma 37:6-7.

This week started out hard, but I was really humbled by the things I learned about trials as I prepared for my talk. So the week ended great! We had exchanges on Wednesday and I TOOK OVER THE AREA FOR THE FIRST TIME! It went really well, I was super nervous at first, but it all went smoothly! We saw some amazing miracles!  We finally got ahold of Jen Kidd, she is a young mom whose husband just died at the age of 30 and she was left with her two kids. He was a member but she is not. She has been out of town for the past moth staying with her family. But we were able to visit with her, and talk about eternal families and the meaning of the Temple. We were all in tears as she shared with us her dream when her husband came to her and told her that they would be together again, and he is sorry that he had to leave her but he knows everything will be okay! It was amazing!! She is having such a hard time, but she is so strong! 

Both David Jackson and Antionett came to church this Sunday!!!! They could only stay for the first hour but they had a great experience! And Lanee and Malu! We were soooooo happy!! 

We met with David after church, and our new ward missionaries came with us, they are a young couple! A return Missionary and a convert! So they are perfect! We had such an amazing spiritual experience! David had been praying about baptism but he says he isn’t getting an answer one way or the other, but he knows that it’s not a bad thing. Sister Roach explained that before she got baptized she felt the same way and she eventually just had to choose to start working like she was going to get baptized, and as she started to live the gospel principles, THAT’S when she got her answer. And that really touched him!! The spirit was so strong! We were all in tears!! I just love the gospel!!!

On Friday was another amazing day for Sister Harrison and I! We talked to a lot of people on the street, and as we did so we had a ton of "golden contacts" which means they are ready to hear the gospel! We were on the side walk talking to a guy who was two stories up on his balcony, and he invited us to come back and teach him! There was also a guy getting in his car that we stopped to talk to and he had never met missionaries before, so he told us "I want to keep talking to you but I have to leave so here in my information and you have to come back on Thursday and you can tell me more" .  ahhhhhh!!! amazing!! 

I have a strong testimony that when you don’t feel like working, or praying, or reading your scriptures, THATS when you need it the most. So just DO IT! Do it anyways! It will only help you!

I love you all! 

Sister Loveless

We went on a hike for morning sports, we got up at 5am to go hiking with our District, it was so fun! It was really weird though, the ground was all dirt, just rocks. We would slip and slide all around. But the view from the top was  amazing!And the other picture was our tender mercy this week. We had a crazy stressful week and we had been praying for encouragement and then on Saturday as we were walking around an apartment complex we saw this pot of flowers with sunflowers and daisies, my favorite flower and sister Harrison's.

And we saw it and instantly we both knew it was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father, to tell us that He knows us, loves us and is watching out for us! It was amazing! 

Las Vegas #4

This week has been great!!! So much has happened!

On Tuesday the Relief Society did a progressive dinner in the church building, it was so cool, they has it perfectly organized so that you would eat each course in a different room with different people. Sister Duane was in charge of it, so of course it was amazing!  And she gave us ALLLLL the left overs! We had enough to fee our whole district the next day at district meeting, and we still had a ton left over! Lanee and Malu came too and had a great time, we were so happy!

Tuesday was a good day all around, we had 28 street contacts (the average in this area is 10-15) and on our way to dinner we were walking down the street and from the distance we see this young woman walking what we thought was her dog....then as we got a little closer we realized it was her CAT!! Sister Harrison and I looked at each other with this "we HAVE to talk to her look" and went up to her! She actually has a few friends on missions and she has met with the missionaries before, but she lives at the university and was just visiting her family. But it made our week! It was so funny!

We meet all sorts of people when we are talking to people on the street. We met this guy walking his dogs and he told us all about how there is no God and the great power we are searching for is within our soul, there is a little being inside who we command, and that’s our real power. Then as he walked away he said "Good luck on your mission, it's weird, but take care of yourself!" super funny!! 

That same day while we were walking along the sidewalk, we saw this group of young guys walking our way, so as we got ready to talk to them they came up to us and started talking to US and asking us all sorts of questions, they said  they were just like us, teaching people about Christ. They were from the "Soul'd Our Christian Center Intl-Las Vegas" it’s located on the strip, and their moto is "Win City-Winning souls".  It was so funny, they were street contacting US! They wanted a picture with us, so we all took a picture together.

  We had Dinner with the Duane's again this week!! And then we got to talk with Mike about his question of the 2nd coming and the rapture like he has seen in movies and everything. So we found a ton of scriptures and walked him through everything set by step. And by the end of it he said "well this is different than anything I have ever heard about the topic, but it’s interesting, so I will think it over." Mike is just awesome! We love him to death! He is very opinionated when it comes to religion, and he made one really "interesting" comment, so when Sister Duane said the closing prayer she started with "Dear Heavenly Father, we are thankful the sisters could come over and talk with Mike.......Thank you for not striking him DEAD!" HAHAHA It was all I could do not to bust up laughing! Sister Duane is the best, ya can’t help but love her! She sends us home with lots of food every time we go over (so don’t worry mom I am being VERY well fed!). 

We Met with Mary again, we still don’t have anyone who speaks Swahili, but we had a great lesson, we read from the Swahili book of Mormon and then the English and then she would try and explain what she read. We talked to her about faith! It was so amazing; even though she doesn’t speak our language very well she can still feel the spirit so strongly!

For V-Day we heart attacked Lanee and Malu's door with a bunch of scriptures!! They loved it!! Then we had lunch with the Nash family! They are so nice, their daughter Amy was home for the weekend, she just got back from her mission and is going to school, so she came out with us on Saturday and Sunday! She was so good at talking to people, it was perfect! oh and they made us a special little Valentines gift bag full of all sorts of stuff, like sticky notes, chocolate, nail polish, it was so sweet of them! 

We have had a great week but we still are having such a hard time finding new investigators. We are praying to find someone who is ready to hear the gospel! Sister Harrison has been sick all week too, so that’s made it harder. But we had the coolest experience yesterday!

On Sunday we went to meet with David. He has been meeting with the missionaries for a while before we came into the area. He hasn’t been progressing, but he LOVES God and he loves anything that has to do with Jesus. So in our lesson we talked about getting answers and how we have to put in the work, Sister Harrison was bold and blunt and told him if he wanted to know he had to read the book of Mormon, and then Amy said "It is either true or its not, there is no in-between, so you have to find our or we are just going to be wasting your time" His reaction was priceless. He committed to read and pray. AND he agreed to come with us to the "why I believe" devotional that night! (its where 3 converts share their story of why they believe and missionaries perform musical numbers, its super spiritual!) He came, he felt the spirit and he really enjoyed it! Then when someone came up to him and asked if he was investigating the church, his answer was "no I’m celebrating!"

This week was great!! I love my mission so much! I can’t believe I almost didn’t serve a mission!!! It has changed my life so much already! I love the gospel! I am learning so much!!!

And this other sister is Sister Harlon. EVERYONE says that we look exactly alike! Its supper funny. she is the other trainer from the transfer when I came in so it was a 50/50 chance that I would be training with her or sister Harrison, and apparently most of the new missionaries ALWAYS look like their trainer. So everyone thought we would be together. But we beat the odds! Because sister Harrison and I needed to be together. But Sis Harlon is super funny! She is loud and bubbly and happy all the time, Sister Harrison was companions with her a few transfers ago and they are best friends. She says we are basically the same person!!!
Too funny!!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Las Vegas #3

Annalyse Makenna Van Leeuwen
First of all.....

I"M AN AUNT AGAIN!!!!! My little niece Annalyse was born this week, on her mothers birthday!!! I wish I could be there to hold her and love her! But I know I need to be here now, it wouldn’t be a real mission if sacrifice wasn’t involved :)


This week has been great!

I had my first experience with exchanges! I went to another area for the day with Sister Kraus (who is the sister of Ellen Neilson's Husband, so now Ellen Kraus. Small world!) She was so fun!! I learned so much from her about how to be a better missionary! Our goal was to talk to literally every person we saw...and we did it!! There was this woman who was getting out of her can in her garage and the garage door was closing so we ran up as fast as we could and sister Kraus yelled "We have a message of Jesus!" And the door stopped midway and then started going up! We looked at each other with this look on our face like "No WAY did that just work!". She actually just didn’t hear what we said, so she came out to see, and it turns out her son is a member and they are going through some family troubles, so we got to say a prayer with her (that’s called a blessing contact, best way to do it!) and then we left. But it was great! 

On Wednesday I went back to my area and things kind of started to pick up! We taught a lot of lessons this week, it was wonderful! We found a new investigator, her name is Tori, she is so fun, when we first met her she told us she just wanted to learn what we believe because her half-brother is a member and she wants to be able to understand what his religion is. She made it very clear she wasn’t going to be converted. So we met with her and she just soaked it all up, she wants to read the book of Mormon. But she is going to be gone for the next 3 weeks or so!

We Met with Mary, our investigator who speaks Swahili......but we weren’t able to find anyone who speaks Swahili to come with us. So it’s been very interesting. We have a member in our ward (who is AWESOME!) he is from Fiji and he learned English by reading the book of Mormon, his name is Opetaia, and he came with us and just helped explain the gospel in really simple terms. Then he promised her that if she read the English book of Mormon that she would be able to learn English within a year! It was super powerful!! We have another lesson with her on Friday and our plan is to get pictures to explain the restoration lesson and then have a member translate some basic gospel words from English to Swahili and we will put it with the picture and go through it that way! So we hope it works!!

Sister Duane in our ward is AMAZING!  I love her so much! She is married to a man name Mike who is just the funniest guy you will ever meet. He isn’t a member, but he loves sister missionaries! He has had the missionaries try and teach him many many times, but He hasn’t been really interested. We went over to their house on Friday to help paint the inside of the shop he built in their backyard, it was so fun! Then after wards we got to have a great gospel conversation about the second coming which stemmed into repentance which then lead into living a good life. We always leave with a spiritual thought so we didn’t think much of it, He had asked lots of questions and we kind of sparked his attention. Sister Harrison and I have talked about how we can’t try and force anything on him because other missionaries have done that and that’s what has turned him away from the gospel even more. On Sunday Sister Duane came up to us and told us that something we had said about repentance,” that it’s a change and you don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again”, really got to him. She noticed that in just the two days since we talked to him He had started acting a little differently, even if he didn’t notice it, she did. We are having dinner at their house on Thursday and she told us that Mike said to make sure we don’t have an appointment after...and if we do we need to change it, cuz he doesn’t want us to go running off. So that’s basically his way of saying he wants to talk with us but he would never come out and say that directly! He is just the best, I’m so excited!! 

Saturday night we had dinner with Sister Hettinger, she is  the sweetest  lady in the world! She is basically our grandma! And she told me I had to write home and tell y’all that I am "A great missionary, and aside from being a great missionary I am charming and sweet and wonderful! And I will do wonders here!" she said if I didn’t tell you (and she will be checking) then I would have to face her wrath!

Oh and one other fun story! We helped a lady named Candy bring in groceries and the lady living with her, Angela, is mentally ill and she talks about the devil all the time, so she asked if there was anything we could do about that....we told her we could have some men come over and give her a priesthood blessing. so we are doing that on Wednesday. 

Okay SUNDAY! Best Day EVER!!! Church was amazing! Sacrament meeting was all about service and missionary work. Brother Foot, who just came back from serving a mission with his wife, told a story about their daughter and how they were in the MTC together. The night before they left she told them she didn’t feel ready to serve and she didn’t know if she could do it, and then Sister Foot just held her and gave her the biggest hug. Then the next morning when they saw her she was welcoming new missionaries and she was happier than ever. They asked what changed and she said that once she started helping others she realized why she was there! So that was an amazing talk and it really hit me. Then after the closing prayer I looked up to see a lady walking over to me, I had to do a double take! My first thought was oh I know her, then I looked again and realized it was my GRANDMA!!! Grandma Peggy, Grandpa Glen and Uncle Mark and Page were all there!!! It was the best surprise in the world!! I ran up and gave her a hug as fast as humanly possible! She got to be the one to tell me about my new niece being born too! It was so wonderful to hear it in person from family! And I got to see a picture! It made it a little easier! What a blessing!! They also got to meet Lanee and Malu who came to church again!! I was just so happy!! It was exactly what I needed! 

I love you all!! I love the work! And more than anything I love the gospel!!!


Sister Loveless

Sunday, February 8, 2015

 Letter #2 from Las Vegas


This week has been crazy! But I don’t think that will ever change. I’m just learning to love the craziness more and more. 
It feels like we are not having much success.  The only lesson we got to teach was to a guy who is a former Jehovah’s Witness, and I had to teach him by myself, my companion had to go to the church that morning for a funeral, so I went out with a ward member. It was a very interesting experience. I learned a lot! But needless to say we won’t be teaching him again. 

This week we spent most of our time street contacting, to try and find someone to teach,  practically every person we talked to either rejected us, ignored us, or sicked their dog on us. (that was an interesting one!) So when we got tired of people rejecting us we tried visiting the Less actives and the members! I LOVE our members, we have an amazing ward, they are so loving! I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming ward to come into. 

Lanee and Malu gave us their college caps  
Wednesday night we had just gotten back from street contacting in the rain (it rained 3 days this week!!! SO EXCITING! That’s almost unheard of here, so I was happy) and we were about to go to the mutual activity at the church building. As I was standing behind the car to signal for sister Harrison to back up I saw a lady walking along the sidewalk, so I waved to her and she started walking to us and said "What ward are you in?" I was so surprised. She walked over to our car and we just started chatting for a few minutes. Her name is Lanee, she is Samoan and she’s from California. She moved into our apartment complex the same week we did. She told us she is Mormon, she just hasn’t been to church in a very long time. So we told her we would stop by later in the week so we could meet her roommate and get to know her more. The next day we were out by our car again and she was just walking around, so I ran up to her to see how she was doing, we all got to talking and then she invited us inside. Lanee is amazing! I love her so much, she is a choice daughter of God and she knows the church is true, she just hasn’t been living the lifestyle of the gospel and she and her roommate had had bad experiences with many members from the church. It was amazing how strong the spirit could be felt during our conversation, we helped her with many of her concerns and she told us she wanted to go back to church, and try again! After we got done talking she insisted we stay and eat, it was so nice, and then she took practically everything she had in her cabinet and put it in a bag for us to take home. she insisted we take it!! We came back Saturday night and met her roommate Malu! Who I love to death as well, these two girls hold such a special place in my heart! They have gone through so much and have been so selfless and giving and they know the church is what they need in their lives. They just were having a hard time getting the courage to face members again. This whole time we have been able to see the Lords hand in putting us as missionaries exactly where they needed us at the exact time they needed us. They came to church with us yesterday for sacrament meeting. Lanee says we are the reason they went back to church, but they did it with the Lord, all we did was give them encouragement.  I love how the Lord works! 

We got to go to the temple on Friday!!!! SOOOO amazing! The temple is beautiful. And it was  like home! That day was when we met Mary, she is amazing!  She is from Africa and she speaks Swahili. We street contacted her and told her as much as we could in small words she could understand, but when we said "Jesus" she said she wants to know more! So we need to find someone who speaks Swahili to come to our lesson on Friday. We are praying the lord will provide!

Then Saturday we had Zone training and that was SO GOOD! President Snow talked to us about the mission vision for this year. Our goal is to build a new STAKE!! to get enough converts and less actives to come back that we can build a new stake!! The area 70 brought it to all the stake presidents in the mission at a huge meeting last weekend. Our goal is 2015 in 2015. 2015 baptism!!

Sunday was amazing as usual. But we had an awesome experience. As we were getting out of our car after coming home from church, our neighbor yelled "ITS THE MORMON GIRLS!" so we went over to talk to say hi, he invited us in and then started asking all these questions about the church and why we are Mormon and came out on a mission!! It was so exciting, his name is Joe and his wife is Maria, they are so funny! We thought he was joking at first because he loves to tease, but then he invited us to come back next Sunday for lunch and to talk about the church! HE invited US. that never happens! Sister Harrison was SHOCKD. i asked her if things like this happen a lot and she said it was the second time in her 14 months she’s been out. So we are pretty excited! 

Well that’s all for now! I love you all and I miss you tonz!! Stay safe and keep the faith!


Sister Loveless