Portland, Oregon Temple

Portland, Oregon Temple
Portland, Oregon Temple

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Hello Sister Thurber!  Goodbye Sister Larsen!

These pictures are from our hike last Monday.

We were at President Ballard's house with our zone waiting for one of the APs to show up because it was his birthday and they were doing a little surprise somethin' somethin' for him.  They have this super old dog named Belle and he was in dogie heaven as Sister Larsen was scratching it's belly. It was pretty funny but I guess you had to be there. 
(check out the smile on the dog)

Our investigators are so sweet, i really like them.

I was in a trio while our companions were on their departing temple trip and i was able to see the this family from the reedville ward! I taught the husband when I was there. It was so good to see them! They are a family I have really grown to love! 

We had a lesson with a recent convert at a member's house 
and the 7 year old made me these claws and this pic. Pretty epic. 

With our star investigator

The gal in the middle was baptized just before I came into Gladstone.  In this is is some of the sisters  taught her before she was baptized.   She is doing so good! She is so strong in the gospel! I'm so proud of her! She also came to see sister allen and a few other sisters off that taught her. 

Some more friends from Gladstone came to surprise Sister Allen because she is going home.  One  was one of my favorite investigator and she said she will probably be baptized before I go home! 

Well hello family! 

Man oh man, it just has been a whirl-wind of activity! Transfers are always a bit nutty. So I have a new comp and she is brand brand new! She is fresh from the MTC! Sister Thurber (rhythms with the Gerber Baby) from Orem, Utah. I like her already. She is 20 and was a senior at BYU studying music. I was sitting next to her at transfers and singing the opening and closing songs I immediately noticed her beautiful voice. So I feel like I have sealed my fate and I will probably stay in the Five Oaks Ward till the end of my mission because training lasts 3 months and president rarely splits the greenie with their trainers after only a transfer but it has happened, so who knows. 

This past week has been the best week in the Five Oaks Ward.  We were able to teach about 13 lessons this week which is a record breaker for us! The star for this week has been our investigator that pretty much fell in our lap because she wants to go to BYUI but needed an ecclesiastical endorsement so she contacted our bishop and she has been investigating the church on mormon.org and was chatting with online missionaries before she even met us. Anywho, we were able to have 4 lessons with her this week! She is on fire. The most on fire, prepared person I think I have ever taught before! AND WE SET A BAPTISM DATE! FEBRUARY 21ST! She wants to get baptized so I am super proud of her. We gave her a church tour and we were able to teach her a few times at bishop's house. For one of the lessons we brought over a YSA (Young Single Adult) from the local YSA ward. She is 20 and really should be in the YSA but her work schedule conflicts with the YSA sacrament meeting times so she will probably stay in our ward till she can get her work schedule moved around. BUT she has Monday nights off and Kelsey (our YSA we brought) invited her to FHE. Yesterday at transfers we told the YSA elders about her and that she would be coming to FHE and they called us last night and said she seemed to fit right in and seemed to  had fun and stuff which is good! They played Bunco. We also texted her last night asking her how she liked it and she said she had a lot of fun and enjoyed herself which I am so grateful for! Yay for great member present.  Yay for great member missionaries! Members are ALWAYS the best missionaries!

So the active family that we are teaching the lessons to because they want to strengthen their testimony to return to the temple gave sacrament meeting talks on Sunday! They did so good! They talked on family history and temples. I'm so proud of them. The wife kept saying how much she learned in preparing for this talk and how much she loved exploring the gospel library app! The gospel library app is pretty incredible. If all yall’s that have a tablet or smart phone and you don't have the gospel library app on there, GET IT ON THERE! Man, that's pretty much the only reason why I would get a smart phone IF I were to ever get one.

We had a family move into the ward a couple of weeks ago (husband and wife and 9 year old daughter) and the wife has been in and out of activity most of her life and her husband joined the church in 2006. Anyway, they have been through a lot of hard trials lately and pretty much by a miracle with the help of the Lake Oswego ward were able to get this apartment in our ward. Anyway, they have a goal of getting sealed in the temple and having the husband receive the Melchizedek priesthood. I am super excited to work with them.

We were able to meet with our other investigator  family this week. We were afraid they dropped us but they are still willing to meet with us so we will take it! You have to take things really slow with them because there is a language and cultural barrier there, but for the most part we can understand each other. Anyway, Sister Larsen was looking through their teaching record and in turns out they haven't been taught the restoration! Oh goodness, that needed to be changed. So we taught them the restoration and it was probably the best lesson I have had with them. I feel like they were finally able to start connecting the dots of all the things we have been teaching them. The wife was brought up Christian and the husband Hindu and the wife doesn't say much during the lesson and the husband always agrees with everything until we bring up baptism. He says baptism is against his policy because that would mean there is only one true God and church. Er yeah, that's what we are saying. But this lesson was good because I felt that his questions were more sincere, like he was more sincerely asking why it would matter if we belonged to the true church. Break-through!  We also had a great member with us who already knew the wife because she works at the elementary school where her kids are at. They came to church too! Just for the last two hours. They came for just sacrament meeting at Christmas time and I think they were pretty bored and they said that 9am was pretty early for them on a weekend but they were willing to attend the classes. The younger boys were pretty nervous to go into primary (they are 3 and 6 years old) so the husband stayed in primary with them and the wife came to Gospel Principals and Relief Society with us. The lessons were pretty over her head and Sister Larsen and I did our best to whisper what the teacher was saying. Just remember folks, whenever teaching a lesson or giving a talk in sacrament meeting make sure it is simple enough that an investigator can understand. The primary teachers said that the husband loved primary! They said he was participating in all the songs and stuff and the primary lesson was on Joseph Smith which was perfect because that is what we just taught them! Honestly, both the parents should have been in primary. They would probably learn a lot more in there than in the other classes. We will see what happens next week if they come. The kids came out of primary with big smiles so that is a good sign.

We also had some great lessons with some less actives but I don't have time to write about it. But just know it was a good week! I'm excited to work with Sister Thurber. I'm a little nervous to train because this area is super bumping but it will be all good. It picked up a lot this week so it should be just fine.

K, love you all! Church is true. God answers prayers!

Sister Magnusson

Monday, January 19, 2015

Only two really good pictures....

Sorry, these are the only two pics we took for the week.  
Good thing they are some really good ones...

Hi ya family!

Man, this week has been long. Next week is transfers. I'm sad that Sister Larsen is leaving (She is finishing her mission) and I'll be getting a new comp but that's how it goes. Maybe I'll leave too and the 5 Oaks Ward will get a white wash.  But who knows. I'll find out Saturday.

We had a miracle happen the other day when a 20 year old nonmember called up Bishop and tells him she wants to go to BYUI and needs an ecclesiastical endorsement. She was introduced to the church by a friend and has already studied lds.org, chatted with online missionaries, listened to conference talks, and started reading the Book of Mormon She walked in the temple visitor center on her own because the online missionaries suggested she do that. She liked want she saw and wanted to surround herself with LDS people so decided to apply to an lds school. We started teaching her and she is golden! I have never had an investigator just fall into my lap like that! Everyone that I have taught I felt like I put in my blood, sweat, and tears to find and teach them. We committed her to baptism and she accepted but we told her to pick a date after she has talked with her parents because her parents still don't know she is investigating. The first time we met after she met with bishop was at the visitor center where bishop arranged us to all watch Meet the Mormons in the theater. At the end of the movie the sister missionaries there suggested we kneel and say a prayer and asked if she would say it. She said the prayer and it was one of the sweetest, most sincere prayers I have ever heard. She was crying and the spirit was so strong. She prayed to know truth and she said she wanted to join this people and man, it was just powerful. A few days later we taught her about the Restoration at bishop's home and it was pretty good. She told us she is up to 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon and she said she knows it is true because she feels warm and peaceful when she reads it. Wow, I'm telling ya I have never taught someone so prepared and ready to accept the gospel as she is. Maybe in other missions but in the Oregon Portland Mission it is more rare than common. We teach her again tonight the Plan of Salvation. I love the Plan of Salvation.

Speaking of the Plan of Salvation we taught the active family again last week that wants to prepare themselves to re-enter the temple. I really like teaching them because the wife really doesn't have a strong knowledge of the gospel but her desire is one of the strongest I have seen. She is keeping her commitments and she is getting answers for herself! Wow, what do you know...funny how that works, eh? Like her last question when we left their lesson a couple weeks ago was something along the lines of "What exactly is the Atonement?" Oh buddy, we will have to save that one for next time we come by. But then the next lesson she was like, "Hey, I received an answer to my question about the Atonement in something I read in a manual." Yay!

There is this recent convert that got baptized like 4 months ago. Probably mid 30s, single guy. He is doing his student teaching for teaching elementary school, used to be in the army. Anyway, he is doing awesome. We started to do a Book of Mormon study with him cuz he has always had trouble keeping his scripture reading commitments, and I don't blame him. If you aren’t really use to the language of the scriptures it can be hard to pick things out. Anyway, the members have been awesome in letting us do them at their home and we showed him how to use the institute student manual which should help.

K, sorry this is a shorter email. Got lots to do today. We had to help out at a funeral so that took a big chuck of our time.  I love you all. Next week I'll write on Tuesday.


Sister Magnusson

Monday, January 12, 2015

Visit from Elder Ballard

This morning we went on a hike with the Bull Mountain sisters....Sister Allen and Kilgrow

Some random cool looking bridge

Our mission car...jk

What’s up, family!

Man, what did we even do this week?  I don't even know. Sometimes the weeks just all kind of mesh together, days mesh together too.

Well, this morning we went on a hike because Sister Allen and I wanted to get together before she goes home. She goes home with my companion this transfer. A lot of missionaries are going home this transfer. A lot of sisters too. Transfers are in 2 weeks by the way. I am definitely getting a new companion but, I don't know if President is going to white-wash us out. He's been white washing a lot, so we will see what happens.

Next Sunday I'm speaking. There is a high councilor and youth speaking on Martin's Cove and pioneers.....so the bishopric member basically told me I can speak somewhere on those lines but really, I can speak about what I want.

Saturday evenings we set up volleyball at the church and invite people. This Saturday we had one of the youth bring his non-member friend and the mom straight up asked her right in front of us if she wanted us to come over and teach her about the gospel. I was like "GO MOM!" The girl said she already has people coming to her house to teach her about God but you know what? The success is in the invite and having the faith to invite. There is another group that some members of another ward that put on to play ultimate/football at the high school on Saturdays. I always want to go to that because ultimate is way fun but, if we don't have any non-members or less actives to take we don't go because there is really no point for us to be there. No one wanted to go this week so we didn't go. I'm not good at volleyball at all but, I guess I can fake it for a couple of hours.

We had Elder Ballard from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles come. I guess when your mission president has a dad that is an apostle he can pull some strings. It was really good. Friday morning we had a mission meeting and from 9am-12pm, we had a little meeting with him. He did a question and answer session but he asked us to base the questions the difficulties finding in this mission. Because it sure is true, it is HARD to find. Especially in the area I am now. Anyway, the jest of what he was saying was that it is way more important to have people "feel" than to "know" when you are teaching. So basically it doesn't matter what you know or what they know, if they can feel the spirit, they will want to progress. And also to teach clearly, simply, and directly. Don't let people go off on tangents. There was nothing new he taught but it was just great reminders and a good way to receive revelation for your area.

Then Friday night he did a member/missionary fireside. It was really good. His talk was totally and completely geared to non members. He basically taught the whole Restoration and parts of the Plan of Salvation but he practiced what he preached. He taught clearly, simply, and directly. I was messaging an investigator I had in a previous area and she heard him too in a neighboring stake center where it was being broadcasted. She said, "I really enjoyed it. Loved that he wasn't stiff, it made it more real. He tackled a lot of things and yet didn't overwhelm you. Plus he didn't shy away from the things he didn't yet know the full answer too like the end times." (Elder Ballard made mention some things concerning the end of the world and such and he straight said, "You know what, I don't have all the answers.") It made me so happy she went and liked what she heard! Man, I love her so much and she is going to get baptized, she is just taking her time because she has been burnt out from a lot of churches before so she just wants to know for sure and read the whole Book of Mormon through. She told me she just started reading Alma! She started reading in the summer.

We are teaching this family that is active but the husband and wife have been flip-flopping between being active and less-active. But this time they said they want to make it back to the temple. So we are teaching them the lessons. They are both in their 30s and have a 2 year old son. When we taught them the Restoration this week it was like teaching investigators. The wife doesn't know much. By the end when we asked them if they had any more questions, and she said she didn't know if God loves her. We realized we probably taught her way over her head and should have stuck with the first point, God is Our Loving Heavenly Father. She said she doesn't know how to receive answers from God. She said she prays but she is just asking for things and she sometimes doesn't feel anything from him.  We told her receiving revelation is different for each person and her answers will come uniquely to her. Man, I realized I need to be better at asking questions and following the spirit rather than just spewing information. Aw well. This next lesson will be better. K, I gotta go. Thanks for being such great family. I love you all so much!


Sis. Magnusson

Monday, January 5, 2015

It's Cold Outside

so this picture is from the day that we wore our super frumpy missionary outfits.
long skirts with kind of ugly sweaters.  it was the warmest things we had!

these pictures are of us street contacting....don't be deceived.
even though the sun was out, it was very cold!

 ...like i said, even though the sun was out, it was super cold
as you can tell with the sidewalk ice.

i saw lauren and brandon today! both fellow bio majors at byuh, me and lauren worked together, went to saipan together, we all studied o-chem and molecular biology together. good times catching up! they live about 4 miles down the road where we live....different ward though.

Hey family!

Not much time to write, but a ton to say so we will see how this goes!

So today we went to the Nike Company Store. You need passes from someone who works there and a member of our bishopric works there so he got us passes. Everything Nike was 50% off. But still super expensive. The whole time I was there I kept telling Sister Larsen, man my lil' bro would seriously die if he came here. For realz, Sam. You'd be like you died and gone to heaven. I did by some shoes and a sweater. Shoes 40 bucks and sweater 40 bucks. Nice shoes, I would basically wear them for the swag not for exercising. And the sweater is an Oregon Ducks sweater. Also a pretty nice one. I bought them with my Christmas money so thanks ya’lls :)

Also saw some BYU Hawaii buddies that live a few miles down the road. It was super fun to see them. We were all bio majors and all had classes and worked together and stuff. Now they have a kid. Weird.

So there was this one morning this past week where we didn't have anything to do from 10am-12pm (those are hard hours to fill if you don't have anything scheduled) so we decided just to walk around the streets and we started talking to this guy mowing the lawn outside this doctor's office and he was asking us what we were doing and we explained to him that we were missionaries and we help people come closer to Christ. He said that he believes in God but doesn't really pray anymore because he feels guilty because he will pray, then he sins, then prays and will sin again! And that's why he doesn't go to church anymore either. We explained to him that church is like a hospital. Everyone that goes to church needs to go because they are imperfect and are spiritual sick in some way and are trying to better themselves. If everyone was perfect, well then, there would be no need for church! We just had a really good conversation with him and he seemed pretty sincere when he said he would try to make it to church with us next week. If he progresses, we will probably end up passing him to the Spanish elders but that's okay, it's all the same work! Man, sometimes I just wish I could speak Spanish.

Sister Larsen caught a bad cold and the day that it was the worst we had service lined up at this Alzheimer’s  care facility and at the Food Bank. Both places you shouldn't be with a cold but luckily we got it all figured out that Sister Larsen was able to crash at some member's houses and I went on exchanges with some Young Women in the ward and another set of sisters. I like volunteering at the Food Bank because I feel like it is the most productive form of service we give.We do great work there and I always have a Gospel discussion with someone there because it's so easy! Because here you are working at a station packing food with a random stranger and to be polite you naturally start a conversation with them and it just kind of comes up that you are Mormon Missionary and then they ask you about that. It's great! I wouldn't ever have that kind of conversation tracting but I can at the Food Bank.

We had one of the best Plan of Salvation lessons! We had dinner with an active family on Sunday and they have adult kids home from college for the holidays. One of their girls who was home from Utah State has a boyfriend going to Oregon State.  After our dinner thought, it came up that her non member boyfriend had been taught the Restoration and everybody thought it was a good idea for him to be taught the Plan of Salvation. Miracles of miracles - I think that was my first time getting a legit teaching appointment after a dinner thought. So we did a mock run though of what we would be teaching him in the Plan of Salvation after dinner then on Tuesday we taught him. It was awesome! He was so open and so receptive! And it was so great to teach him in their home with his girlfriend and member brother-in-law. They were like the best member presenters ever.  He seemed to really understand why we wouldn't be able to remember our pre-life if this life is to learn and grow. He also really seemed to understand the fall of Adam, He didn't really have a lot of questions but was willing to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. It felt so good to teach again after having such a long stint of finding.

Speaking of finding, we were sick of not having people invite us in so we made cookies to hand out our less-actives so maybe they would let us in. It was good because it kind of gave us an excuse to be there. A lot of times when we show up on less-actives door, they are just like, "what do you guys want?" Well, we want to teach you. But we can't really just come out and say that so we say, "We wanted to drop by some cookies!" You got to do whatever it takes man. You really got to streeeeeeeeeetch yourself and think outside the box.....and notice the little daily miracles. Because they happen, but they are just small.   But a miracle is a miracle, so I will take what I can get.

OK,  time for dinner! Sorry, I can't respond to your guy's emails. I looooooooooooooove getting them and want to write you a long personalized email back but, Lisa, you can vouch for me .  P-days are crazy and we can only write on Mondays. OK, well the church is true! Love ya guys!


Sis. Magnusson

These pictures are for all the animal lovers that read Sis. Magnusson's blog:

these dogs are the biggest dogs I have ever seen.  half great dane, half mastiff.  
they are from a family i saw on exchanges in the Oak Hills ward.

nutria....the nastiest things you will ever see.  
they look like a beaver, but they have a rat's tail.