July 29, 2015

We Met Beyonce'

I wish we met Beyonce', but we will prepare to tract her house shortly. Below is a picture in front of her house.  :)

This week was good. 2 cool things happened on Monday:

We went to find a media referral in this apartmentt building and the name on their number was wrong so I thought to press 312 instead of 321. Sister Gardner was ready to leave. We rang it and this boy comes out and tells us we have the wrong door. We introduced ourselves and talked to him for a while. We found out that his mom passed away and he doesn't have a religion he has followed. We shared a powerful message  that he would see his mom again and afterwards thought what a miracle that was. Next, that night we had a thought go visit this older woman that is ill, so ill she doesn't get up off her couch, but she didn't answer her door.  We decided to ring the door next to her and quickly found out she was a deaf woman. (Proud companion moment) Sister Gardner started signing to her with the little ASL she knows and I felt the spirit SO strong.  Sister Gardner started to cry and then there was a BIG smile on this girl's face. There is a way for missionaries to Skype and reach her so we hope that will happen. Lately, I have tried to recognize the people I meet and those right in front of me as people Heavenly Father has placed along my path. When I see everyone like that, I talk to everyone like I am sent for them. I just saw from this week that when we had plans to see people and they weren't there or just didn't answer that there was someone else right in front of us or the next door over instead that is perfect & is who we really needed to talk to. The Holy Ghost will give you little promptings for a reason so follow them and open your eyes to see who he leads you to. After thinking and praying about finding some families, which is always what this ward needs, we found 3 moms this week that all have 2 kids. Each of them were so sweet and we were so happy to have found them. 

I had another split this week with Sister Terry in my area and it was a really great day. She is so awesome. We had some really great things happen and worked hard. We got a few members to come with us and one lesson we about died of laughter because this older woman Elsie goes off topic a lot and things got interesting for a second..   Sister Gardner and I just talked about how much we missed each other the whole ride back from New Rochelle. She makes me laugh!

I got bit/attacked by a cat this week. I shouldn't have held it and I regret it (what was I thinking!!! I JUST wanted a picture), but I thought it would like meee!! I then had horrible allergies afterward. Something with cats this cycle. They are everywhere and turns out they are not my friend. We talked to this way cool girl that is practically a professional singer that has six of them. She told us to stay away from the stray ones because they carry diseases. Haha, well shoot! 

Thursday we went to go visit Joan. Joan only talks about politics and Glen Beck. She thinks Glen Beck is a prophet. She is always asking us about him. I still don't know who Glen Beck is?? Friday's we love going to Tuckahoe and serving the elderly. They are too cute. I serve coffee and tea... It's interesting. I just do what i'm told.  This one man each weeks says to me, "will you put your finger in it to sweeten it up for me?" then I blush. When I go over to their tables to collect their trays they make me feel so good about myself. Also, we see Madonna there every week who tells us the latest on One Direction and Gossip Girl. She thinks it's strange how we don't get weekends off. 

I gave a talk in sacrament this week on "opening our hearts to the Spirit" and D&C 8:2. They asked me Friday. I better get used to agreeing with a willing heart. I had many people say really sweet things so I feel like it went well. A quote I love by Elder Gerald N. Lund says--"God allows us to be the guardians, or the gatekeepers of our own hearts. We must, of our own free will, open our hearts to the Spirit, for He will not force Himself upon us." The conditions of our hearts has a lot to do with how we receive the Holy Ghost. A pure and humble heart is key. So I talked a lot on the heart and how it is a sensitive and tender thing that we should only allow in what we choose and that is the gift of free agency. Pride desensitizes our hearts to things of the spirit. You should all read "The Supernal Gift of Prayer" it is wonderful. PRAYER IS SO COOL guys!! 

We get to have casual and meaningful conversations with our Father in Heaven who loves us more than our own dad does. We can tell him personal things. We can make it short and sweet or go on and on and practically vent and he won't cut us off or stop us. HE DOES ANSWER PRAYERS. I know he does.

I know that our Heavenly Father knows us. I know that He knows McKell. I have felt it over and over again. I look back at the time before my mission and I see so clear now how much Satan was working on me and how much fear and doubt he wanted to put in my head. So silly. He is tricky. The Lord calls the weak and simple. Love is what qualifies you. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for us personally and that we can place our burdens on him. I am so grateful for the chance I have everyday to know Christ more through the hard & good things I am feeling and experiencing as a missionary. He is there. Just turn to him!! Love ya!

The struggles with TIWI are REAL! 

Friend of the Hansen family, small world! 

July 22, 2015


Me and beautiful Ava

Hello wonderful people, 

Last night I couldn't fall asleep I just kept thinking about how much I love Scarsdale. I love nights like those. I think it was because we had such a great night that and will tell you a little about it later on. It's so cool how the example of some people can have such an impact on you. Also, I love driving around here. It's my favorite to drive Bronx River Parkway to get from town to town because of all the trees, it's just so green here!! There are really charming parts with cute little shops and restaurants. I could absolutely live here! Who knows??! A couple of people in this ward served here and made their way back.

Our ward is about dead in numbers. Everyone is in Utah!! What's so cool about Utah!?? 
They say in August there are even fewer people..sad! I loved something that was taught in RS this week. It was about love in the family and in life. To be "ANCHORED IN LOVE". Love is truly the essence of the gospel. As we learn more about Jesus Christ by serving Him we will know the way we need to love people. Have you ever loved something SO much It has just filled you? I have with many, many things. Heavenly Father's love at times in my life has completely filled me. With that love we need to share it. We went and talked to a few people this week that have experienced that love and it has changed the way one lady treats everyone. God's loves really does change the heart. 

So last night, we finally got to have dinner with the Mortensen family who play roles in the church videos. They are a beautiful family, but as we had dinner with Sister Mortensen, Lucy, Sara, and Meg, I just wanted whatever they had in their house. They are each just so pure and kind. They kept saying, "Meg... Your cute and sweet... Sara, you're cute and sweet. No you're cute and sweet" They are very good at expressing their love. We actually talked about John 14:21 which is about keeping commandments because we love Him. Well, they are definately inspiring! 

There is a quote about missionary work. it might be the truest quote I've read and I think it is my favorite right now.... "I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work-- there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work." 

Saturday we tracked in Valhala. It was hot and we were melting even through it was pouring that morning. NY's weather is odd. It was earlier in the day and we knocked on many many doors. I was so motivated and just wanted to keep going. I felt so much more confident and bold as we talked to people. I just loved the feeling I had and I was excited to share a message with each door, not caring what other's thought. I didn't say that every door approach was perfect, but that doesn't matter. I think the Lord looks at your heart and sees your desire. We actually turned out to have a lot more success than the time we came to this area before and no one was home. It was just a feeling I want to have my whole mission. A man even went and got us some water he probably thought poor girls.. Haha ew. I just know when we work hard we have a very different experience than when we just go through the motions. We forget others and lose ourselves. I have been studying more on Jesus Christ in the mornings and that makes a difference because just putting him the center of the work makes you want to do it for different reasons.
I just think working hard while you're out here is the most important to not get home sick and sometimes, truthfully, it's hard to actually get started because Satan works hard hard on the good Ol Saints! 

The Lanier's are still doing great! We heart attacked their door this week and continue to show them we love them because we really really do. When investigators ask me about my family I whip out my pictures because my family is just so great. I always tell Sister Gardner they are all wayy cooler than I am. Also, we found a referral this week. We got a call from Taiwan about a girl that was moving to New York so we met her this week!! Vicky Chen!! She is Asian and so cute. She actually is going to other missionaries though. We are still trying to find more people to teach! Other things we did. We finished the project buildings. There is a brand new, nice building being built right now, so hopefully it will open up soon. It will smell so much better, yay! 

Another thing I learned. BE HUMBLE when you learn new things about yourself. I think we all have discovered something maybe not so great that we need to work on and I feel like it's so good to not harden our hearts but just accept it and work on it. This is what being trained is teaching me :) Again, Sister Gardner and I are put together for a reason and I am so grateful for her and the things we learn from each other. 

Today for Pday: Trader Joes. :):):) They have these chocolate cat cookies we snacked on all week and Sister Gardner was obsessed. Each week we have a new Trader Joe's fav. I love you mom for having that motherly intuition and sending the good stuff. That reminds me, Jessica, also known as "Chef Jess" is a new convert and has us over every week. She is a hoot. She gives all the missionaries spirit animals and mine is a cat... Ya, I don't know, gross! This is her reasoning... cat's are confident and don't need to be the center of attention.  I took it as a compliment. Sister Gardner was pretty jealous!;)

It was a great week. I hope you all know how much I love you. I may say it each week, but I mean it and thinking of each of you during the week reminds me that I have so much support. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Madi and Austin this week!! You two are the bomb! 

Love, Sister Vassau 

July 15, 2015

West Chester is the Best Chester

This really is the best first area ever! New York is about getting to that peak of heat and it's suuuper humid here in Scarsdale/White Plains/ Westchester, whichever one is my area. This means my skin is great and healthy & my hair is crazy all of the time. Love it. Embracing it. I'm starting to really feel more and more happiness come each day. Really, It's the wonderful people here and what we share! 

This week was full of good things. We had the new missionary training with President and Sister Smith. I needed to hear so many of the things they talked about. It was the most spiritual meeting this far on my mission and I got to see all my fun friends in the MTC! We talked a lot about our mission motto, "Loyal to the Core." As disciples of Jesus Christ we have to have courage, obedience, reverence, and effort. To be all those things to the core is making them who you are. We have to be good to the center!!! He talked alot about Peter walking on water and when he had doubt and fear he fell. When the winds of life and hard things come up, you are loyal to the core if you continue to be all these things. Jesus Christ was our greatest examplar. 

Another thing he said I loved is, "If you don't know where you're going, then you don't know where you will go." Have in your life, in everyday, goals to help you get to where you want to be! Successful people wake up and tackle the day and their goals. I know this is something I wasn't the greatest at before my mission and am still working on it. Preparing and then reporting is the Lord's way. We also talked about Joseph Smith in our Zone training. I felt the Spirit so strongly. I was asked to bear my testimony afterwards and again the Spirit was strong. 

We are seeing miracles here in Scarsdale. We have 5 people with baptismal dates. This all happened in the past week!!! First, the Lanier family, we've had some powerful lessons with them lately and after a year and a half I get to see the fruits of other's labors. There is such a great feeling in their home and they have developed such great faith. They are like parents to us when we go over there. We are praying that they will stick with what they feel because they have gotten cold feet before. This time is different! Second, when we were tracting we found a girl named Nashawn. She is fifteen and has told us about how she doesn't have many friends. Our second visit we felt so strongly we should ask her if she will prepare herself to be baptized and she said, "I can be baptized again!?" We still need to feel her out more and talk to her parents. Sita Sham... I love her!! She is the most amazing woman!! She also has been taught for a long time and mostly just likes the company because she is lonely. Now she has a desire to really know if it's true!! She was born and raised Hindu and has such a hard family. She tries to forgive them but they treat her so poorly and she is SO SWEET! I saw it a little when we went over on Monday and met her grand daughter and Zalle's other grandmother. I told her that maybe she was experiencing such hard things right now because Heavenly Father wants her to come closer to Christ. He is preparing her. She just needs to know for herself it's true. Pray for them! 

-We have talked to a lot of Haitian people here and Sister Petite had us over and insisted on feeding us. She told us all about life back home and how some days they have no food. They work so hard for everything they have. Let's just say I felt so sick afterwards.

-Celebrated my one month mark with pizza at a restaurant with members. ONE MONTH! 

- After long hours knocking doors and being rejected we found a man that was a fire fighter in 9/11 that recognized our church's name because someone gave him a really nice bible at the time of the Twin Tower crash. He was so cool and told us about how he now has lung problems because of it. We gave him a Book of Mormon! So cool

Monday night we had family home evening at the Smith's and invited the Lanier family.  It was their idea and ended up being great. They fed us then we had a lesson on families and temples. Every time I leave the Smith's they make me feel so loved. After that we had splits so I spent the day in New Rochelle with Sister Checketts or "Crickets" like I thought it was, haha. She is great. I loved my day there yesterday. We got fed two dinners and went to a restaurant called Kelly's just for me :) Just kidding 

All is well here! We have been playing soccer in a beautiful park today and now we are just relaxing. It was lots of fun. Also, we went to the Westchester mall this morning and it is fabulous. I don't need anything else in my closet, but we got a unity shirt. Important. 

Sounds like everyone is doing well and enjoying summer. LOVE YOU ALL!  

Manhattan temple trip was a success, excited to go back!!!

July 8, 2015

Week of the Yankees

Hello hello!! It's pretty crazy that I've been out here for a month this week. What a month. What a week. Everyday I have a moment where I'm like, "I can't believe I'm here as a missionary!" It's so great being able to stop and think about my calling and how Important it really is. How everything I do is what Christ would do or say. Every person I meet I should be looking at the way God would see them. A scripture I read this week hit me hard about how God knows and loves each of us:

Alma 26: 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen

How great is it that we have so much to have joy about because we are loved beyond measure!! Just a thought about the peps here in NY. They are great and each so different with so many different backgrounds. I even met the sweetest man this week from India who is going back soon (don't get me started on India). Knowing a glimpse about his life back home just makes me instantly love him. We talked about India & service a little. I love their culture so much. 

The family we are mainly teaching right now is one that the missionaries have been teaching for a while. They are the coolest. They're a family of four and everyone in the ward knows and loves them, especially all the missionaries. Miguel got baptized before I came and the others are on that track, The dad just has some challenges, but is an amazing man. I hope I will be here for it, because it will happen!! Miguel is going to LDS BC this fall so whoever is there has to look out for him. Also, Sita Sham is a woman who is probably the first on my mission I have felt this great love for. I will have to tell you more about her because she made me about cry the other day as she talked about the pain she is going through and it just made me realize everyone is fighting their own inner battles and this woman has so much strength!! These battles can only be won with God because Satan is real and his followers are all around us. Stay strong and turn to Him! He's been there!

Go Yankees and MoTab! 
Who in the world gets to say they've been to a Yankees game on their mission with the Mormon tabernacle choir! This one does!! That game was so awesome. I just loved finally getting a taste of the City, the Bronx!! Oh I hope I serve there. The stadium is so cool, it overlooks the buildings. Baseball games have such a fun atmosphere even though I will admit I did not follow the game. Left a little early and had to ask who won. Haha Ops.... My brothers would be so ashamed.. I ran into Emily Taggart from my high school, which is crazy and Sister Nash :) I love her. As we left we got to shake Elder Rasband and Elder Smith's hands, who are of the seventy.

Emily Taggart from Cottonwood  and Kell 

So fun to see Sister Nash in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Yankee Stadium and the Choir

This weekend I was thinking a lot about the many Responsibilities we have as missionaries. I have seen the amazing opportunities that come from this service as well as the stressful times. Why are we given sometimes overwhelming responsibilities in life? That sometimes we wonder if we can even stretch that far. We can feel like so much is asked of us. I read a talk in my studies that was just what I needed/been praying about by Henry B. Eyring. "The more faithful service you give, the more the Lord asks of you. Your smile is a happy one because you know that He increases our power to carry the heavier load. The tough part of that reality, however, is that for Him to give you that increased power you must go in service and faith to your outer limits." (Exactly what this mission is--my outer limits) I do know that I have increased strength as a missionary. In testifying, in being away from home, in talking to people. I have felt it. It has been amazing. I also have felt the heavier load. So realizing the more responsibility there Is the more trust from God is comforting. Testing our limits is part of Gods plan to qualify His children to live with Him again forever. But remember!!! We can't do it all alone. At least I can't.... D & C 84:88-- And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. 

On a different topic, We have a house problem here in Scarsdale. It's like the problem I had in Europe where I thought every streets was the cutest and most charming. Every house we pass is the cutest house and then the next one is too. Sister Gardner and I just dream of living in one of them when we move back to Scarsdale. Haha **me day dreaming in the car* Seriously though, they are beautiful. This is a members home with a fifteen year old girl that came tracting with us. Her mom told us she wants to go on a mission now too! How cool 

The problem here is I guess a lot of the mom's in the ward go out of town, some to Utah for half the summer and the husbands stay and work. This means it's harder to bring people with us and church is not as full. I'm getting more familiar with the members here. We get fed lots, at least this week we did. So many hot dogs and barbecues,  it's great!

We are going into the city today and to the Manhattan temple!! I'm really looking forward to it because I just really need it. A little slice of heaven. Time for peace and perspective. So that will be great! 

Love you all, thank you for the emails and letters. Have a fantastic week!

July 1, 2015

Sister Gardner is a Cool Cat

Sister Gardner (my companion), Sister Smith, President Smith, me

Sharing the Good News! 

We LOVE clean elevators! 

I have been looking so forward to writing you all and for my first p-day out here! Sister Gardner and I have made it a good one, White Plains style. I LOVE SCARSDALE and I love Sister Gardner!!! I am just so blessed to have her as my trainer because she is so loving, happy and patient. We are both working on patience this cycle. Patience with ourselves and Heavenly Fathers plan for us in his own timing. She is so amazing at sharing the gospel and she does it with LOVE. A little bit about my trainer...Sister Gardner is from Riverton Utah. She came on her mission right out of high school and is such a COOL CAT. That's what she loves people to say about her & she has an obsession with cats and ice cream. So of course we have our stash of ice cream in the freezer for those blah days, thanks to the Elders. She is a powerful missionary and I will learn lots from her. What I love about her is she is bold and talks to everyone. We are going to work hard! We have been finding a lot lately and one day this week we taught 9 lessons! My area has very wealthy houses and also the complete other end. That's why New York is so great. Most people living in the nice houses are Jewish and we give them family history cards.

Since being here in Scarsdale I have realized a few things:

-New York is filled with the most unique individuals
-I have never seen so many different churches before in my life!! A new one on every corner 
-I am actually grateful and appreciate clean elevators. That seems like a weird thing to be thankful for, but spending a good amount of time in the Projects makes me squeal. 
(picture above) 
-I better start learning Espanol and Creole. Sister Gardner is going teach me. She just whips it out sometimes  
-Sister Gardner compared the Gospel to Cafe Rio the other day. There is a crowded Chipotle right by us and she said people flock to it because they don't known where to find the good stuff. NY needs the gospel and Cafe Rio, I guess. 
-Jesus loves everyone!!! Everyone needs Jesus!! 

This weekend we did a lot of service! We helped a girl that is moving to Brooklyn, served food at the community center with the old folks and on Saturday we helped the Morgan's clean their house for the Smiths! We were so lucky to see them in their home and in church for the last time. Also, we got the amazing Scarsdale bagels with sister Morgan's famous (cookies and cream) cream cheese. SO GOOD! Service is great! My apartment here in White Plains is so perfect, much better than the MTC beds. Right next to us is a Nordstrom Rack and Target. All we need :) There are two other Hermanas that live with us. Ah, I love them. 

Another cool thing, Mom you will die, last night we were suppose to have dinner with the Mortensen family, (aka your TWIN). Her and her husband are famous in the LDS world. Think the temple & who everyone says you look like...crazy!! Hopefully they have us over soon. Haha They are in my ward and just a picture perfect family with three little girls. The people you meet in New York...

We got invited after church on Sunday to go to this Inter-Faith meeting at an old Baptist church to support racial equality. I'm out of it with the news right now, but I guess there is a lot  going on. We went to get the churchs' name out and be friendly to others of other faiths. It was quite a unique experience. Afterwards, I just felt grateful for the peace the gospel brings and how we just know who we are and Heavenly Father's plan. 

Now let me just tell you how much I love President Smith and his family. They are such a great family. I am in awe of them and the love they have for each other and this new journey ahead. Their excitement and zest for life will be amazing in the NYNYN mission. It wore off on me yesterday after we met them in the chapel, I was just so happy. Each of them spoke and told a little bit about themselves. The kids have such a good attitude about being here and have so much faith. President Smith kept saying how marrying Sister Smith was the best decision he ever made and serving a mission was the second best thing. They lived by each other in high school and both went to Olympus. Later they both happened to serve their missions in Hawaii. After the meeting, I got to finally hug them all! They invited Sister Gardner and I and a few others serving in this area over for pizza. We are so BLESSED!!! Loved talking to them a little more. Of course they brought up all the people and connections we have because there were so many. They met the Reynolds last week in the MTC. I'm going to get annoying with how much I say I love them. 

So many good things said this week I want to share. We often times look back on experiences and love them. We don't remember the bad days, the hard nights. We remember the high points and who we became. So the true test is going through hard times with the end in mind and  enjoying them. Switch your minds to look at all things as the greatest opportunity. YOU have the power going forward in your own life to make those decisions and choose what you will make out of your life and who you will follow. Be followers of Jesus Christ!! We all made the commitment back when we were baptized to follow Him, now it's about being honest with ourselves. We have to stay fully committed to serve God and be faithful everyday. 

Keep serving and loving people!! I love you guys. 

Sister Vassau 

Welcome to New York, It's Been Waiting for ya...

I have arrived!! Those Taylor Swift lyrics were just ringin in my head all the way here. I'M SO HAPPY TO BE IN NEW YORK, the best mission inthe world!!! Landing here and driving around upstate just reassured me of that. I feel like I'm home!! It is so beautiful here, from what I've seen. It was so great to talk to a lot of you. Loved hearing your voices. We asked everyone in the Atlanta airport for a phone and finally a nice southern gal I asked let us use the store phone. I think she liked Mormons after that.

The Morgan's welcomed us here with open arms. They are incredible! Once we arrived we drove to the mission home in Scarsdale. The houses are dreamy!! Right next to the mission home there is a huge high school that looks like hogwarts and the church is right next to the mission house. Sister Morgan made us a delicious Thanksgiving mealthen we had a testimony meeting and each of us met with President Morgan to find out where we will be serving and our trainers!!

Guess where I will be serving first!! Right here in Scarsdale, Westchester!!! The best place to be, I've been told. Also, I will be in the Presidents ward and welcome the new missionaries. How awesome it that? In my interview President told me that the church and members here are amazing, some of the greatest people and that my companion is also incredible. Her name is Sister Gardner and she is so always happy. We went to two different transfer meetings, one in Olmstead and the otherin Yonkers. They have to do two different meetings for the people servin in the city and also upstate. It feels like two separate missions, which is way cool. Met so many new faces it was kind of overwhelming. Haha a couple things President said to me was that he was inspired when he decided our trainers. It is going to be so great! He also said something to me that I will keep reminding myself. "Don't worry about it, just work on it." Can we just all apply this to life? I know I will try to do that!!

Sorry this is short. We have been busy today. Sister Gardner and I are at the church then we're going to knock doors in the Projects. AH!! Trying to stay calm.

Love you all!

Love, Kell