We just might be the luckiest people alive!

Hey y’all! This week had sooo many ups and downs, but definitely more ups, as always.

Our area book and phone are both a huge mess, so we’ve slowly but surely been tackling both of them. We’ve just been going through the millions of contacts on our phone that we have no idea who they are and calling all of them and trying to set up appointments. Last week we called a man named Daniel and he said he would be happy to meet with us. MIRACLE. Or so we thought. Monday night we took a laurel in the ward, Maggie, with us to his house. He and his wife and 2 year old son and ADORABLE and have the cutestttttt house. I was SO excited when we first met them. We sat down and the first thing Daniel did was ask each of us to bear our testimonies. Um ok gladly! The first 20 minutes were AWESOME. And then he proceeded to bible bash. For 2 hours straight. It was brutal. It was really unexpected because usually bashers are older men. Serving in the bible belt, bashes are nothing new. But this one was so so bad. And to be honest it shook me a little bit. Apparently a few weeks ago they invited the elders to dinner and bashed them while they were eating… we heard about this from the elders afterwards but had no idea this is the same family we were going to. Daniel is very well educated in theology and has even read the Book of Mormon. He got SO hung up on temporal things like horses and Nephite currency. (literally everyone gets caught up in the horses thing.) In the middle of it all Sister Saatkamp bore very powerful testimony of Christ and how the Book of Mormon has brought her closer to Him. The spirit was SO strong it was nearly tangible. Sis. Saatkamp started crying because the spirit was so strong and Daniel replied with, "let me tell you, you are going to regret being a member of your church and saying all those things." It literally took all the strength I had to not get up and start yelling at him right there. He and his wife said they do this because they love us and are worried about the welfare of our souls. They would not let us leave but after we got out of there we took Maggie and got ice cream because we felt soooo bad for taking her in there with us. Sister Saatkamp and I were very discouraged afterwards. Lately it had been seeming like all anyone wanted to do was bible bash with us. I LOVE being in the bible belt, but there are times when these people are the most frustrating in the world. We talked about it for a long time afterwards. We decided that 2 Nephi 9:28 pretty much sums it up:

"…When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish."

Daniel seems very wise and well read. But just because he’s read the Book of Mormon doesn’t mean he read with an open heart or any real intent. His ‘wisdom’ profits no one.

Tuesday we parked in front of some random person’s house to start tracting. As we’re getting out of the car a man comes out of the house and starts talking to us and invites us inside. He and his mom are members and were very active up until May. The only reason they stopped coming is because people stopped giving them rides to church. They still make sure they keep the sabbath day holy and had been praying hard that they would be able to find a ride to church. Miracles upon miracles that we just parked in front of their house. We had no idea who they were, because they were marked as active on the ward roster and nobody had ever mentioned them before. We found them a ride and they came to church yesterday! This week we have been able to visit and help lots and lots of less actives and it has been the most amazing thing.

There is an assisted living center really close to our apartment that we volunteer at sometimes. On Thursday they had "Manicures with Missionaries" and we went and painted all the adorable old ladies nails. It was the best.

This transfer has absolutely FLOWN by. Transfers are next week and we’ll get transfer calls on Saturday… crazyyyyyyy huh?

Remember how much you are loved and that your God will never abandon you! Everything will be worth it! Remember the classic words of this hymn-

"Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
‘Tis not so; all is right. Why should we think to earn a great reward If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell– All is well! All is well!"

All my love,
Sister Oscarson

p.s. sorry we took basically no pictures this week

My favorite fruit is peach cobbler

That is an actual quote I heard from someone this week. His name is Coy and he has 3 goals:1. Shoot a deer
2. Attend church
3. Stop smoking
In that order. I love Alabama.

Man this week has been crazy! Zone conference, exchanges, watermelon festival, and district/zone activities.

Tuesday night we drove to Tupelo to have a sleepover with all the sisters in the 2 zones before zone conference on Wednesday. There are only 4 sets of sisters in the Tupelo North and South zones. So we partied of course and it was a blast. Wednesday was zone conference and it was the best! Such a huge motivator and so refreshing. I LOVE getting to be around other missionaries. It’s such a blessing. One of the things President Sainsbury trained on that I loved is getting rid of the "buddy mentality." Sometimes we meet people who aren’t interested in hearing our message, but we still visit them and are their friends. Yes, it’s good that we are befriending people, but we can’t be satisfied with that. We need to constantly be preaching the gospel, it’s what we were called to do. I love President and Sister Sainsbury SO much! What a blessing to have them.

After zone conference we went on exchanges with the Tupelo sisters. Sister Pierson came back to Russellville with me. Basically we found out that we are the same person. We like alllll the same things. Love her. Solid exchange.

Friday and Saturday was the Russellville Watermelon Festival! So much fun. We spent all day Saturday in Russellville and went back and forth from the festival and people we don’t get to visit very often because Russellville is a little bit far from the Shoals. We were able to talk to TONS of people and see some pretty cool things. There’s nothing like these southern festivals.

Guess what?! The Lowerys came to church again!!! They bring new people every time. A couple other lass actives came too and it was the besssst! We’re having a competition with the elders to see who can get the most meal appointments this week and we’re totally going to win.

Earlier today we had a zone activity in Booneville, Mississippi. We went fishing at a member’s house who has a private pond. SO much fun.

Here’s a cool thing for y’all to read-

https://yourfriendlymormonneighbor.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/vision-of-the-south-vaughn-j-featherstone.pdf

So cool huh?! The part about the temples has already been fulfilled!

I love my mission, the gospel, my Savior, southern accents, Russellville, my companion, and you!

Have a blessed week!
All my love,
Sister Oscarson

​Proof I was at the watermelon festival

Bless it

Hey y’all!This week went by so fast I can’t even believe it. We’re now halfway through the transfer which is insane. I can’t tell you how much I adore Russellville and the Shoals. Life is just too good.

On Saturday we went to Red Bay with a member. It’s about an hour away and nearly in Mississippi. We went to help the Red Bay elders and meet with some of their investigators. Also we just really wanted to have an excuse to see Red Bay… it’s basically one of the most hick towns in the whole mission and the elders live in an infamous trailer that we got to see. It lived up to all the hype. We met with their investigator Kristen who said she doesn’t like studying the word with boys. Haha so we went and studied with her and she opened up a lot to us. She is just so sweet.

Yesterday we got invited to a evening Church of Christ service and the ice cream supper they were having afterwards. We have some good friends, Nancy and Gary, who go to this church and it is RIGHT next to where we live. It literally took us 1.5 minutes to walk there from our apartment. Basically the majority of Alabama is either Baptist or Church of Christ. It was a really cool experience, we kind of got to see how our investigators feel when they come to a new church. The people we met were SO kind and Christlike and God-loving. Going to their service was another huge confirmation to me that I belong to the true church. They love God and they serve Him, but the spirit was definitely missing. A lot of what was preached was that God is vengeful and angry and we should obey out of fear in burning in hell. It made me realize how grateful I am to know the true nature of God, that He is merciful and loving. It is such a blessing to not feel that you need to obey out of fear, but out of love for God. We met the preacher and he was a little bit standoffish of us but he was nice. Nancy and Gary told us that he really doesn’t like the fact that our church lets girls be missionaries. They don’t let women speak or pray or do anything in their church so I should have told him that I gave a talk in my congregation earlier that morning haha. (I actually did speak so it wouldn’t be a lie.) The ice cream was great afterwards of course. BLUE BELL ICE CREAM IS MY LIFE. Honestly the south knows how to everything better. Except bugs. I can’t even tell you about all the crazy bugs we see everyday. Pretty cool.

MIRACLE OF THE WEEK The Lowerys came to church!!!!!!!!!!!! They have been less active for years and years. Basically they’re eternigators but already been baptized. I have been so determined to see them at church before they day I die AND THEY CAME. They even brought someone with them literally it was the best day of my life.

We’re working really hard to come up with creative contact ideas… other than tracting and store contacting. There are more effective ways and we need some variety. We do go sing tracting sometimes which is super fun. It’s basically caroling minus the Christmas part. So if anyone has good creative finding ideas let me know!

I read 2 Nephi 2 this week about Adam and Eve and I’ve been thinking about them so much. We meet a lot of people who think their fall wasn’t planned and that having a Savior was a back up plan. I know that the fall was a part of the plan from the very beginning. It was necessary! I like how it’s put in verse 13:

"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away."

The Russellville Watermelon Festival is this weekend and we’re soooo pumped for it!! Apparently it’s the biggest event of the year and the whole district is going both days for a #mormontakeover.

Have a blessed week!
All my love,
Sister Oscarson

Red Bay district!

​Just fulfilling all my biggest life dreams and goals of becoming a cowgirl.

Come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee

Is that actually a song?!?? I’ve been thinking about it all week and I can’t decide if I made it up or if it’s an actual song hahahaha. Either way Bama is great and it’s been a great week. Don’t judge me if that’s not a real song haha.

So basically this week the Lord has shown me time and time again that He is involved in His work and He won’t let us mess it up. These are His children and His gospel! We called a man named Patrick that was in the area book. He said he would meet with us (that itself is a miracle) and told us the apartment complex he lives in and the he was in apartment B5. Wednesday we go over there and knock on apartment B5 and we ask that man that answers it if he’s Patrick. Turns out he’s not Patrick and has no idea who Patrick is. His name is Guy and he met missionaries briefly years ago in Tuscaloosa. He invited us to come back and said he was super interested. We called Patrick and apparently we misheard him and he lives in apartment P5! So we went over there and taught Patrick. On Saturday we went back to Guy’s apartment and after we read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with him he freaked out and was like, "Why doesn’t every church read this? This is incredible! Why doesn’t everybody know about this?" So yeah we misheard the apartment number for a reason. Guy has recently been divorced because he was an alcoholic and is working hard to get his life back on track. He also gave us the most beautiful feathers from his feather collection and is a self proclaimed "Jesus freak." Me too, Guy, me too.

Also, another really amazing thing that happened on Saturday. There is a sister in the ward named Meagen (not pronounced like my name but like mee-gin) She has been less active for years and we’ve been trying to visit her for so long and have only been able to meet her once. When we met her she mentioned how much she used to love going out with the missionaries. We figured we would try that again and invited her to come on a team up with us. She agreed and was SO excited. It was exactly what she needed. She felt the spirit for the first time in a long time and her testimony helped the people we were teaching SO much. She is the absolute sweetest and CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!!! She was also so excited because she got to see her 12 year old son pass the sacrament for the first time. Literally Saturday was the greatest day ever.

We had zone training on Friday and it was fantastic! I learned a lot and it’s always so much fun to be around other missionaries. We learned a lot about the importance of baptismal invites. How are they even going to have any idea that they can be baptized if they aren’t invited?

There was a scripture shared at zone training that really struck me and I’ve been thinking about it all week. D&C 123:17-

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

Is this not the best scripture ever?!!! We can stand with absolute confidence and stillness before God! Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power.

Oh and also we got called devil worshipers this week and it was the most hilarious thing. He was like, "y’all need to educate yourselves about John Smith. Have you ever been inside a Mormon church? There’s nothing about Jesus in there." Basically being called a devil worshiper is like a missionary rite of passage so I’m a for real deal missionary now!

Have a blessed week and ROLL TIDE!!
All my love,
Sister Oscarson

Look at this shirt I bought. hahaha no doubt the best $11 I’ve ever spent. Man I love the south.

My testimony of the Book of Mormon

This morning I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time as a missionary and I want to share my testimony of this book with y’all! I’ve been feeling SO grateful for it lately.

This book is the word of God. It is evidence that He loves all His children everywhere.

It truly testifies of the Savior Jesus Christ. We can come closer to Him by studying this book than by anything else. It works together with the bible to teach us of His life and ministry.

This book changes lives. There is strength and power in it that you can get nowhere else.

These were real people and real events. There are their real testimonies of Christ. They had real struggles just like us.

I love these verses in Mormon chapter 8:

12 And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.

14 And I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord; the plates thereof are of no worth, because of the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have them to get gain; but the record thereof is of great worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless.

15 For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an eye single to his glory, or the welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord.

16 And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light; for it shall be brought out of darkness unto light, according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God.

This book is truly a light in the darkness! It can guide us if we let it! What a blessing that we have continuing revelation from God. He has never stopped talking to us and He never will!

The introduction of the Book of Mormon says this:

"We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)"

I echo my own testimony that this is true. If you pursue this book with an open heart you WILL gain a witness!
I will forever be grateful for this book and the way it has changed my life!

Ok now a little update on what happened this week!
Transfers were on Wednesday and it was crazy! So much fun to see all the other missionaries in Birmingham. President Sainsbury gave a really good training and it feels good to not be the newest missionaries anymore haha!

My new companion is Sister Saatkamp. (pronounced like sought-camp.) I absolutely adore her! She is from Ohio and legit an entire foot taller than me. It’s soooo funny. I can’t even tell you how many times we’ve been asked how tall we are. It was sad to say goodbye to Sister Griffith. I was so so blessed to have her as a trainer!

We have been doing looooots of finding these past few days. It has been hard to not have a single appointment BUT we are seeing the fruits of our labors and prayers are being answered left and right!

Yesterday both JC and Jacob passed the sacrament for the first time and I swear I have never smiled so big in my entire life!! They are both recent converts and Jacob is 12 and JC is 68. I cannot find the words to say how much I love both of them!

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

​Best part of the week= seeing my soulmate and bff Sister Madsen