Heaven is cheering you on

Hey y’all! The weeks go by soooo fast and I’m always amazed that it’s pday again.

We got transfer calls and I’m staying in good ol Russellville as expected! Sister Griffith is going to Talladega for her very last transfer. Dang I am going to miss my momma sooooo much. She has been here since February though so it’s time for her to move on. The only thing people have told me about my new companion is that she’s super tall… hahaha!! I’m so excited for this next transfer! I LOVE Russellville!

There was a day this week when we found out that 3 of our investigators moved without telling us. Basically we lost all of our investigators this week. Sad, but it happens. Just more motivation to work harder to find people to teach, right?! We have had lots of doorstep/porch lessons and I love those!

On Saturday when we were tracting we met this old old old man named Marvin sitting in a hospital bed. We had to talk soooo loud for him to hear us and he was just adorable. Sister Griffith handed him a picture of Jesus and he says, "is that your mom?" It’s a good thing he can’t hear because he would have heard me literally laughing out loud.

The other day in personal study I read the story of the Brother of Jared. In Ether 2:22-25 he asks God how their barges will have light. The Lord basically says, "you tell me." This happens sometimes in our lives too. Heavenly Father expects us to be able to make our own decisions. Why would he give us brains and decision making skills if he didn’t want us to use them? Sometimes we have the choice between 2 or more good things, and any choice we make would be a good one. God trusts us enough to make our own decisions. He will never let is make the wrong decision. What I really love is that the Brother of Jared doesn’t just sit and wait for God to tell him something. He’s proactive and come up with a solution. It can be really really scary to make decisions like that! But this story is a testimony that it works! It’s what God wants us to do!

I’ve also really loved 3 Nephi 27:30 this week-
(Christ is speaking)
"And now, behold, my joy is great, even unto fulness, because of you, and also this generation; yea, and even the Father rejoiceth, and also all the holy angels, because of you and this generation; for none of them are lost."

Above all, Christ was and is a joyful person. His and the Father’s joy is full because of us! Always remember that.

Other highlights of the week:
Christmas in July party, ward potluck, huuuuuuge thunderstorms, heat index of 110, Lucille giving us fried chicken,singing my favorite hymn in sacrament meeting, adorable southern porches, Jacob coming to church, a Church of Christ pastor coming to church, last and best district meeting of the transfer, and many many miracles!

Love y’all! Have a blessed week!
All my love,
Sister Oscarson

​Maggie is a laurel in the ward who goes on team ups with us every single week!! She is absolutely golden and will make an incredible missionary!

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I cannot say the smallest part which I feel

Hello everyone!! To start here’s a scripture that I really really love and I feel like really communicates how I feel:

"Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." (Alma 26:16)

There truly aren’t words to communicate how much I love the gospel, being a missionary, and Alabama! I can try all day to put it into words but in the end it’s true that "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."

On Monday we had a surprise party for Sister Stark! She’s a member and so passionate about missionary work. She’s the sweetest lady you will ever meet in your life and devotes so much of her time to helping the missionaries. LOVE HER LOVE HER LOVER HER.

And then Tuesday/Wednesday we had exchanges with the Tupelo sisters! I was in Tupelo with Sister Beus.(I sure have been frequenting Tupelo lately haha) She is SUCH a ball of light and such a good missionary. I learned so much. I biked for the first time on my mission and it was the best! The south is just so beautiful and biking through it is so fun. We had a lesson with Dyesha and it was such a great lesson and she said the closing prayer and said, "please bless the obese childrens." HAHAHAHA oh my gosh I could just write my emails of hilarious stuff people say. I loved her.

We also visited hospital patients this week which I loved! If you know me you know I love hospitals haha! We were able to pray with a lot of them and it’s the coolest experience. We try to pray with absolutely everyone we can and let me tell you, God hears the prayers of ALL His children, no matter their denomination. It’s so so cool to see how other religions pray, and God hears them all! I’ve said so many prayers while holding hands with people it’s the best thing ever.

We ran into my first real bible basher this week… they just try so hard to twist every single word you say. I mean he was nice enough, and he even pointed out that he was impressed that we actually listened to him, apparently most people don’t. But hey it wasn’t that bad! In those situations all you can do is testify. Nobody can argue your testimony. It’s impossible. And then after we left his house the very next door we knocked on was a Church of Christ preacher. Only in the south hahaha.

Since there’s a different church every 100 feet here, I started writing down the funny things on their signs. Here are some of my favorites:

"Don’t give up, even Moses was a basket case!"

"Need a lifeguard? Ours walks on water."

"Jesus is the password to a better life."

"God wants soul custody, not weekend visitation."

Always remember that the password to a better life is Jesus!

I love all y’all and each of y’all! Have a blessed week!
All my love,
Sister Oscarson

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand

Hey y’all! Life just keeps getting better and better! I can’t even believe how blessed I am!

Okay… funniest thing of my life happened this week and I’m so excited to tell you. We’ve been meeting with Mike, Marchelle, and Kim. Marchelle is Kim’s mom and Mike is their neighbor. They’re making good progress and keeping their commitments so far. Wednesday night we stopped by Kim and Marchelle’s apartment to set up an appointment. We ended up talking to them for a long time and they talked about the spirit they feel when they’re around us. We explained that what they’re feeling isn’t us, it’s the spirit and the gospel. They both started crying- loudly, black people have the talent of being really loud haha- and then Kim says, "I’ve had lots and lots of white friends, but y’all are by far the best. You know what? Y’all are gangstas. Y’ALL ARE GANGSTAS FOR JESUS!" Hahahahahaha oh my gosh we DIED. Literally we got into our car after and laughed for 15 minutes straight. She also told us we have black girl figures and that she’s going to invite allllll her family and friends to our lessons with them. Dang I just love them so much. I really wish I could describe to y’all what it’s like to be standing in an apartment in the hood, where they have no lights or air conditioning, with black people telling you that you’re a gangster for Jesus and that you’d fit right in them. There’s really nothing like it and for real it was basically the best night of my life. (these are the same people that replaced ye with y’all in the scriptures a couple weeks ago)

Earlier in the day on Wednesday we went to Tupelo again! This time for interviews with President Sainsbury. We’ve gone to either Birmingham or Tupelo every week since I’ve been here haha. Both are 2 hours away. It’s so fun, such a party. Interviews were great! We feel like we know both President and Sister Sainsbury a lot better now. They are hands down the sweetest people ever! Love them so so much!

The past few days have been so full of working with members and it has been the best!! They make such a difference, missionary work cannot be done without members. Missionaries come and go so quickly and so often, members are here to stay!

We met Robin this week, she just moved here from New Orleans because her daughter needed her help. She has had lots of trials lately and they have really humbled her. She has such a big heart and just wants to help everyone she can. She has a son who also loved talking to us and looking at the pictures of Jesus we have. They both had such good questions! The Lord loves questions! They’re truly how we learn. Lots of churches here teach that questions are bad. They’re actually the best!!

We carry Book of Mormons in our hands when we tract, and I’ve learned that it is so important to hold it proudly and show it off! There are SO many people who sacrificed SO much so that we could have this book. We need to be proud of it! What are the Book of Mormon prophets and Joseph Smith thinking when I’m carrying that book and just treating it like anything else? This book changes lives! It deserves nothing less! It’s truly a gift.

There are lots of patterns in the Book of Mormon. One of the main ones is that the people are wicked, they are punished, they’re righteous for a time and then the cycle starts all over again. How can we avoid this cycle and just be righteous all the time? Do the opposite of what they’re doing when they’re in their wicked stage. I especially love this in Helaman 12:4-5. I switched the words quick/slow with each other-

4 "…and how slow to do iniquity, and how quick to do good, are the children of men; yea, how slow to hearken to the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vein things of the world."
5 "Yea, how slow to be lifted up in pride, yea, how slow to boast, and to do all manner of iniquity; and how quick they are to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear to His counsels, yea how quick to walk in wisdom’s paths."

In other news there’s a massive heat wave hitting the south right now. The mission has sent out several advisories and we’re not allowed to tract from 11-4. It’s actually pretty awesome though like you can go and just stand outside for 2 minutes and you’ll be sweating. Don’t worry though we’re being smart and knowing our limits and drinking so much water. The weather here is so trippy because we’ve also had a few really intense storms this week. You just hit a wall of really really heavy rain. We were driving home from the church on Saturday and hit one of those walls and we had to stop because it was too dangerous to drive. But then we got home and all of Sheffield was 100% dry. It’s the craziest thing. SO fun.

Let me know how your lives are going! For reals it’s so much fun to hear from everyone!
I couldn’t be happier! This gospel is so so so so true!!

All my love,
Sister Oscarson

​This is Colbert Heights or "The Mountain." Hahaha I am not kidding you they think this is a mountain, it’s as good as they have. It’s beautiful but I laugh every time someone calls it a mountain because really it’s a hill.

I believe in Christ, so come what may

Hey y’al! All’s well here in the ABM- America’s Best Mission! Hahahahahahaha oh I’m so funny. SO much has happened this past week! I don’t understand how it’s possible to fit so much goodness into just one week.

To start off the week we met with Wendy! She was a referral from the elders and we just love her so much! She’s 26 and has 5 kids. They live with her mother in law who hates Mormons so she won’t let us come to her house. So we meet with Wendy at a splash pad and she lets her kids run around while she talks with us. It’s so perfect! We met with her twice this week and she is absolutely STARVING for truth. When we taught her about Joseph Smith and how he just wanted to find God’s true church she said, "wow that’s just like me!" She had some really terrible things happen to her at church as a child and it has taken her a really long time to even be able to think about religion again. She has told us that throughout the whole process she has seen God’s hand every step of the way. We are so so excited to keep learning with her!

On Wednesday we drove to Tupelo, Mississippi and spent the day there. There was a meeting with our zone and one other to meet President and Sister Sainsbury! They are so so sweet and I just love them sooooo much!! The first time I met President Sainsbury he said, "you know, my mission president’s last name was Oscarson… so I think pretty highly of you already." Hahahaha oh gosh it was so funny. They spoke for a little while and they’re just adorable! We drove to Tupelo and back on the Natchez Trace Parkway and it was beauuuuuutiful. SO green, SO many trees. We crossed the Tennessee River several times and it’s just gorgeous. I cannot believe how beautiful the south is. The sunsets are amazing every single night. Like how did I get so lucky??!? Oh and while we were in Tupelo we saw this monument to Elvis because he was born there. Pretty cool.

Church in Alabama is the most hilarious thing ever. I really wish I could write down everything that happens and tell you all of it. Basically I died laughing during testimony meeting. Southerners have no filter. Oh they keep me laughing every single day. I LOVE THEM. And there’s nothing I love more than little kids with strong southern accents. My grammar is going to be so

On Saturday we were tracting in an apartment complex and found a woman named Jasmine and her whole family was taught by the missionaries several years ago and her mom and sister had both gotten baptized. Her sister is named Sherwanda and she lives right down the street from us but we had never heard or seen her name anywhere. We went and visited her later that night and she told us how she had moved here from Hamilton and had no idea there was a ward here. She started to cry because she said her life had just been falling apart since she stopped going to church and she thought she wouldn’t ever be able to go again. The miracle is that Sister Griffith and her companion last transfer tracted her apartment complex, so we wouldn’t have tracted there again any time soon, so we never would have found Sherwanda. We were definitely led to Jasmine’s house to be able to find Sherwanda. Miracles are real y’all! I have seen an abundance since I’ve been here. The Lord is SO involved in His work.

We had pday switched to today since yesterday was a holiday and holidays are prime for finding and teaching since people are off work. It was such a good day. Members fed us both lunch and dinner and both grilled out so I ate soooo many hot dogs hahaha. (Alabama grill out= Utah bbq. Alabama bbq= real barbecue. Ribs, brisket, smoked meat, etc.) We did quite a bit of finding and were able to talk to way more people than we usually do and it was so awesome! And Sister Griffith and I both dressed obnoxiously patriotic and matching so I’m sure that helped with people wanting to talk to us haha. In the evening we went to a park were basically the whole city goes to watch fireworks. It was SUCH a perfect spot to go and talk to people. It is right on the bank of the Tennessee River and overlooks all of Florence and I have never seen anything so beautiful. They shoot the fireworks off from a boat in the middle of the river and it’s the coolest thing. There was lighting all night so that made it even cooler. Right before the fireworks started it started storming really bad. But that’s what the south does, It storms really really bad for several minutes and then it suddenly stops and is clear. Funny story- Sister Griffith’s mom sent a package with some 4th of July glow sticks in it. We were SUPER excited to wear them last night when we went to see fireworks. We put a bunch of them on and walked to the park… but apparently they aren’t a thing here. Nobody else had them so we really stuck out. But that’s nothing new hahaha. We’re used to it and it’s for our benefit.

I’ve been pondering Alma 58:10-11 a lot lately-

10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God,that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

In verse 10 they’re asking God to deliver them and take their hardships away. But they say in verse 11 that that’s not what He did.He blessed them with assurances, peace, faith, and hope. God is never going to just take our hardships away! He is going to bless us with the things we need to overcome them. How cool is that?! I LOVE verse 11. They recognized the things they had been blessed with and expressed their gratitude for it. Such an amazing example. I JUST LOVE THE SCRIPTURES SO MUCH.

It’s such a blessing to be a missionary in the Bible Belt. I’m learning SO much about other religions and how the Book of Mormon and Bible work together. A lot of people’s pastors and preachers warn them about us. I am not kidding you pastors teach classes on how to deal with the Mormon missionaries. So when people meet us they’re suuuuper surprised when we look normal and are nice to them. Because their pastor basically told them that we’re evil. A lot of people are really amazed that nobody in our church is paid. In all the churches around here the ministry is paid and there’s a lot of corruption because of it. A lot of people get super frustrated because there will be a pastor that leads a really poor congregation that has nothing and he lives in a mansion with expensive cars. You know what else I’ve learned? There is no other religion on earth that gets as torn apart as ours. You don’t hear about pastors teaching classes on how to deal with Catholics or Methodists or any other religion. And yet our church still stands as strong as ever. It’s like this quote from Elder Holland that I love-
(talking about the Book of Mormon)
"For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. Failed theories about its origins have been born and parroted and have died—from Ethan Smith to Solomon Spaulding to deranged paranoid to cunning genius. None of these frankly pathetic answers for this book has ever withstood examination because there is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this I stand with my own great-grandfather, who said simply enough, “No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so." (Safety for the Soul, October 2009)

Y’ALL THE CHURCH IS SO TRUE.
also side note haha. I’m getting real good at saying "y’all." Plus they’ll make fun of you for being a northerner if you say "you guys."

I love all y’all and each of y’all! Have a blessed week!
All my love,
Sister Oscarson