JOY!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! 

Greetings from Cedar Lake, Minnesota! How is everyone??? Merry Christmas! JOY, etc! Thanks for the love. Michelle — I did receive your package! I thank you for it!!!!! (sidenote – Ma, I never got that package you spoke of… perhaps you can track it?) 

 OK so GET THIS — apparently Cedar Lake = Downtown Minneapolis!! Kid you not! We actually like in St. Louis Park, but our area covers a good chunk of Minneapolis and all of the downtown!! Super neat!! It’s a totally different game then Cottage Grove. (Hard to say goodbye to MaryKay and Bro Black And Sis Breedlove – but it’s good! I’ll be friends with them forever) There are kind of suburbs, but mostly apartments and homeless people and hipsters and such! It’s really exciting – I like it. We’ve got  LOTS of work to do. This ward is pretty small – mainly consisting of young couples doing internships and lots of less-actives. People move in and out all the time. We don’t really have any investigators currently but we’ve got some potentials and are trying to pick up some former investigators. We’ve been visiting less-actives in care facilites and hospitals quite a bit. We live in an apartment and it’s nice to have our own space! We have a tree too! 
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Oh by the way – my new comp, Sister Jenson, is awesome! She is very grounded ( that’s the best word I can think of) and sweet, she’s been in this area since July so she knows it well and such. She’s from California. The pace seems much slower and very different but good. We got some people to find! 

We’re teaching some former investigators named Joshua and Tanneh. They’re awesome! Funniest African family ever. They said they miss the elders who used to come by and we’re trying to get them to church again! Very fun! 

We met with a Jehovah’s witness who is trying to convert us. The Church is true. The end. I LOVE THE GOSPEL. 
 

Christmas! This place honestly looks like a christmas card – tree-lined streets and snow. We’re hoping to find some lonely people and make their Christmas joyful! They’re out there – we just need to find them! 

Yes! I’ll call on Christmas! Likely sometime in the afternoon – I think we’re going to the Bishops house. Today we’re making cookies or something to give to our people – lots of stop-bys. Maybe some caroling too! The objective is to spread as much cheer as we can!!! Are you going caroling? How was the Gessel Family Christmas Party?

Hey – good idea – watch the Christmas mormon messsages!! Bible videos too. They’re awesome! I love Christmas. ANd forgiveness and repentance and being better. And the gospel! It’s everything everyone is searching for. 

My favorite thing to ponder about it the experience of the shepherds – they were just chilling in their fields and an angel comes to them and gives them the best news in the world. I’ve got a lot of reading to do tonight to read the BoM by Christmas – I’m in Ether!  

Lucky you guys – you get to talk to me in like 2 days! hahah.  Excited!  Love you! ‘Happy Christmas Harry’ to all! 

Love, Sister Gessel ! 

P.S. look up silent night by Jenny oaks baker – violin, and celtic singing, and children!

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Goodbye Cottage Grove!

Hi.
 
Here’s the big news!! I AM getting transferred. I don’t know how to feel about it. I’m excited, glad that Sis Breedlove will be in CG for more time, but sad to not be here with all these beloved people for Christmas! It doesn’t really matter though. I’m heading to Cedar Lake! I don’t know where that is – but I’m pretty sure it’s still part of the cities. My companion will be Sister Jensen – I’ve never met her but SIs Breedlove has good things to say of her. Exciting, right? I must remember all these CG people. I will miss them but we’ll be friends forever so it’s fine. Sister Breedlove is training again. This time a sister from Taiwan!
 
This week was quite a week!! 2 exchanges, we moved into the Beckstead’s, Christmas training, and tlaking to you! It’s just been dramatic! Amongst some good miracles! Mission life. Yolo. Stuff like that. Dad guess what? At Christmas training we watched the movie Miracle. The hockey one. Very fitting for Minnesota and very inspiring! It was funny.
 
Some of the best moments of the week was singing Christmas songs to a 94 year old lady in a rest home. As well as being with other sisters on exchagnes. We met and taught a boy who is friends with the bishop’s son! I got to see my friend Sister Terry at a christmas choir concert last night! Soooo many missionaries were there with their investigators. THis is such an exciting time to be a missionary! The Lord is hastening His work! Also, the snow here is beautiful. the snowflakes are so big you can see the patterns in all of them! It is so pretty!
 
Mom! Thanks for being a missionary at home! That is so awesome!! I thought of something you could do possibly. Offer to make christmas cookies or something for the Elder’s investigators? I bet they would love that! I wish someone would do thta for us! We want to give them something but we don’t really have time to make things. It’s just an idea. Good one with the Medlock’s! Dad, it’s fun to hear a bit about your mission – I forgot you survived a North American midwest winter too! And You got transferred just before Christmas too! What fun!
 
Thank you all for your belief in me. I truly appreciate your love and concern. You needn’t worry, but I thank you for everything. I’m going to serve the mission that the Lord intended met to serve. Ginger Christensen emailed me! She is great.  
 
I love you all! Glad you got to go to the Motab concert! I’ll let you know of plans to call and such! HAppy Christmas!
 
Love, Sister Gessel

Current temperature: 1 degree.

Let it be known: upon my return someday I will promptly be relocating to Hawaii for the rest of forever. I’ll study marine biology – or something else involving the coast – at BYU-Hawaii, work at the PCC, and hang out with Grandma & Grandpa on the weekends. I can’t think of anything in the world that would stop me. It’s a plan.
 
I mean, what, just kidding, I love the snow. It helps you appreciate basic human rights – like warmth. Mom, I wear those intense boots e’rryday. Like, even to church. My coat is great! I’m going to go purchase some under armor or something today. President Clements and all the ward people are taking care of us, worry not. As it gets colder we’ll take breaks so our skin doesn’t freeze. And the snow is so pretty! We’ve been shoveling a bit.
 
Thanks for the emails and pictures! We’re going to the mission home on wednesday so probably pick up the package then! Thank you! I’m glad you had a good time with Grandma and Grandpa. OH MY!!! Elders SEAN INAGAKI AND CONNER CARLINI!! Heading to JAPAN!!!!!!! YAY!!! How exciting!!! They will love it! THat’s so awesome!!! My brethren in the Lord! Good!
 
Hey! Here’s some exciting news! We’re MOVING! To a different family in the ward’s house!!! We found out yesterday and we’re moving today! Woot.
 
THis week was pretty good! Went on 2 exchanges – in Edina and Eagan, fun stuff. In Edina we went to this Somalian Market and it was awesome. I’ve never felt like a minority before until then. I don’t know what it is about Minnesota that draws such culture here. It’s a good job market they say.
 
Last night we got to watch the Christmas Devotional!!!!! We went and watched it with the YSA group and some of their non-member friends. Best thing ever. Russel M. Nelson. Mormon tabernacle choir. So wonderful. I want this to be the best CHRISTmas ever! (Oh, by the way, Ma, I’ll be calling on Christmas, not the Sunday before – so wednesday, the 25th. Exciting, huh?) President Monson – what he said about giving our hearts. Want to hear the most awesome thing in the world?? Sweet Sister Clements asked me to think about drawing a picture for her training theme. (I might’ve already told your about this?)  I did a while ago – and she’s been using it!!!!!! The theme was “Is my heart prepared for a King?” I’ll send a pic of it. I think it is so nice of her to ask me to do that. I’m so glad I could. She makes us feel special and needed. Sister Clements is an inspired woman – that theme and picture goes perfect with my personal yearly theme. A cool thing about talents and spiritual gifts is that we’re given them to bless other people. We had an awesome district meeting this week – we were invited to make an inspired goal. Something the Lord would have you do or improve on. Exciting, eh? Try it for yourselves. Also, the best gift that we can really give anyone is the gospel. The joy of knowing Christ. We’ve been soooooooo blessed. Now is the time to give back.
 
Our investigators are doing well. It’s Christmas Miracle season, after all! We need some new investigators though. I’m excited for the upcoming week – more exchanges and weather-battling and so forth. We need to be more persistent with people. Lovingly persistent of course. The Cottage Grove Ward Christmas party was on Saturday! I love how they did it. They had some musical numbers and a message in the chapel and we all sang christmas hymns together. Then everyone moved to the gym to eat food. Good stuff. Even santa showed up at the end!
 
Hey, Kristina – there’s a girl that Denise Deru told me about once, she lives over by where the Osmond’s used to live I think? And her name might be Amy? Or….Melissa. Anyway – Denise would know who I’m talking about. You should go see what up with her. I never did and now I feel bad! She needs friends. Thank you.
 
I hope all you are doing well! Enjoying Christmas and so forth. Thanks for the updates and everything – I love hearing about things. Man, I need to work harder this week. Kick it up a notch. And take personal responsibily and ownership over this area and these people. President Clements emailed us mostly about prayer and humility. Doctrine and Covenants 112:10. Good stuff!
 
Christmas! Christ was born! The Prince of Peace! I hope you all have a peaceful christmas season – not a stressful one. I love you all!
 
Love, Sister Gessel

Everything is awesome!

Dear Family,
 
I’ve not heard from you this week, but I assume all is well! Maybe you’re at Bear Lake or something crazy? Wait, no, grandma and grandpa are in town? I think of them often. (As a sidenote – HAPPY BIRTHDAY GMA GESSEL! She would’ve been 89 ? neat! ) Tell me of your thanksgiving!! Ours was real neat. We spent most of the pday/thanksgiving at the Gutweins home! They are recent converts and sooo awesome!!!!!!!!!!! Sis Breedlove taught them over the summer. I’m learning so much about families. I should probably take notes from all these people! It also makes me realize what an incredible family I have! I love you all though I wasn’t always the best at showing it.
 
This week was funny. Lot’s of good things happened, but it was pretty brutal as far as numbers go. Ah well! I learned much!
 
Ben – I was reading in Alma today (alma 47-48 i think?) when he is describing Moroni and what it means to be a “man of God.” My dearest wish (for real) is for you to become a man of God. Look at all the men of God we already know! Like Dad, or Bishop Simmons, or countless examples in the scriptures! And all the prophets, etc. How about I work on being a woman of God and you work on being a man of God as described there? It’s the neatest thing. Go read it yoself.
 
Fave things of week:
 
-Exchanges with Hermana Palmer in Redwing! More spanish speaking for the day! I’ve seen been praying in spanish and I’ve got an El Libro de Mormon, so it’s pretty fun. She is persistent. She is not merely a seed-planter but a harvester!! I hope to learn spanish, if not on my mission, at least some day. Hispanics are so nice! Same with Africans! They let you right in, even if they have no idea what we’re talking about. Kindly people.
 
-Thanksgiving. i’ll send some pics. Twas a nice day! And I am SO grateful for everything! It’s good to be here. These people.
 
-What else? I played chess with Mariah the other day. That’s funny to think of now. I lost in like 3 minutes.
 
-Visiting a less-active named Piperi. She is amazing – gone through such a hard time. Her husband left her like a week ago, looks like a drug-abuse issue. She has 3 kids, 3 different fathers. She is so strong and positive though. She loves her children and has faith. I wish peoples lives would just work out!
 
-Audrey is doing well. She’ll come to church next week. SHE is one who makes me want to study 24/7. She has such questions.
 
-Sunday was awesome! Testimony meeting. It does wonders! So does fasting. In gospel principles we talked about families being together forever. Many people in the room has such different famlies. Single, or single with children, or married with no children, or really every situation you could think of. But families are families, and forever is a thing! Heavenly Father is so smart. And this is His work. In relief society, a progressing investigator, Jo (have i told you of her? she’s amazing!) thanked everyone for being so kind and loving to her. She claims it wasn’t a “testimony” but it was the most powerful words that could have possibly been said. I love church. I love the gospel! It’s makes me sad when people don’t even want it – or they just have misconceptions of our beliefs. And then we ate dinner with them and all our favorite people at Bro Blacks house that night!
 
What have been your fave things of the week?  
 
I hope you are all diong well! Anything specific you would like to hear of? Found out htat transfers are a week before Christmas. Sad. I know I don’t have a say in this, and that’s a good thing, but I hope Sis B and I stay here together for one more. Anyway. Wherever we’re needed I suppose. Did you get my thaksgiving envelope? have you listened to that cd? Confessions of  a catholic preist? Such a good story!  
 
The pictures – the first one – our varying emotions about the SNOW that came today! And that’s what our tahnksgving looked like! aweosome famliy and some of the elders.
 
I love you all! Have a great week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Love, Kathryn

Thanksgiving and what not!

Halo!
 
Thanks for the email Dad! Fun to hear of things happening!
 
This week was so great! Lot’s of ups and downs but some real good progression. Yep, things are getting colder but whatev. 
 
I have much to be grateful for! Our p-day is getting moved to Thanksgiving but we’re allowed to email for a moment today.
 
Some sad news – our progressing investigator Joanna randomly up and moved! Without telling… anyone. So looks like her wedding and baptism are currently called off. We got a hold of her for a second, she’s in St. Paul but we’re not really sure of the situation. I have faith in her faith though, she’s got a testimony and she needs the gospel. We’ll send missionaries her way!
 
We went to a relief society activity this past weekend. I taught a group of women how to knit. Are you laughing right now? Knitting is a skill!! I have now found the reason I was called to CG, Minnesota! For that very purpose. I kid. That would be a silly reason.
 
But a good reason is because of Audrey! Did I tell you of her? She’s the sweetest grandma like lady ever. She has such faith in Christ and is willing to do what he would have her do. It’s exciting. She’s so CLOSE. We gotta step up our game and get her to church, involve her with members, etc.
 
We went to the temple again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We can go once a transfer. Sister Sandberg took us – she is a marvelous lady. A true light-chaser indeed. I did not want to leave the temple. The moring before I read a letter I got from Aunt Linda about family history work – neatest story, Really pumped me up about family history! “Blessed are the indexers…”  hahah.
 
BEST PART OF THIS WEEK: So we were at church am I right? Welcoming people and making copies of things, and we were about to go sit down when WHO should walk in ???? TODD !!!!!! That one miracle man!! And his wife! And their two children!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!! We were NOT exprecting that. Miracles indeed! They are amazing. They only stayed for one hour but we’re going over their this week! Todd called us last night to ask us for a number of someone he met as church! He’s just progressing without us! THIS is the Lord’s work everybody. We just… pray a lot and plan things. This is His work and He will accomplish it.
 
Our teaching pool is good – we just gotta make things happen!! Keep up with all these new people! We are blessed beyond deserving right now. I have learned that Heavenly Father loves His children. He wants them to return to Him!
 
Thanksgiving is great! Thank you for everything! I love you all!
 
lOVE, kathryn

Week…7?

Dear FAMILY,
 
How goes it? What up? We are doing well! I feel like things are picking up. I know people now and more of how to get places. OH! Guess what?? I can drive now!!!! I’m still being trained but I have the priviledge of driving! Best thing ever! Like, I may send a picture of it! It’s soo good! I feared that I would’ve forgotten how to drive. But worry not, apparently that’s not a thing. It’s like riding a bike.  
 
We have many things coming up. This transfer is shorter than most (they changed it so we won’t have to be transferred on Christmas day) 5 weeks. Lot’s of exchanges are about to happen. It should be fun! We learned many things this week. We need to sacrifice more. Consciously sacrificing our desires, and wills, and any streak of disobedience. Basically – all of us. Sounds exciting does it not?? It’s hard to give everything – but one step at a time I suppose.  
 
Ask me how much I love the Cottage Grove Ward: SO MUCH. I LOVE IT. THese people! Last week was the Primary Program. It was seriosuly the Primary Program of Primary Programs. Everyone was crying the whole time. There’s a little girl, like 10, who has overcome cancer this last year and she sang “A child’s prayer,” with her older sister. Breathtaking. It was ridiculous. I have never appreciated church so much before. Or anything for that matter. We had our own song experience this week: we sang “I am a Child of God” to a 92 year old man named Henry! Sweetest thing in the world! When he joins his wife in Heaven someday, that song will be playing and he’ll remember that he’s heard it before.
 
Our weeks seem to have themes. Like we had one week where all we talked about was the law of chastity. This week was our “YOu’re a child of God” week. Divine Nature. We musn’t forget who we are. Like Carol M Stephens from conference spoke of: Do we KNOW what we have? Do we KNOW who we are? We’re children of God. For real. If you have a chance read the talk “Charity never Faileth” by Pres Monson – 2010, relief society. We’ve been reading that to people. The story is great!
 
Cool lesson with Dan – we brought the parents of the girl who has overcome cancer. THey are so nice and funny. And half- ukranain and strong. They testified of the Book of Mormon! It’s HOW you read it that will change your very nature. Read it like it will change your life – and it will. Read it like it’s a history or a cool story and that’s all it will ever be. We gotta read it prayerfully, truly seeking! It’s a life-changer. I love it. I hope Dan feels the same way, you could see he was feeling the spirit and hopefully has a greater resolve to study and understand.
 
Joanna is doing alright. She has a lot of faith but doesn’t often keep commitments and is tricky to get a hold of. We need to have some bold moments with some members this week!
 
We also did some more service! With John! Sister Breedlove and I must be destined to become home-builders or something. The skills we’ve acquired! Carpet ripping, sanding, floorboards. Service softens people’s hearts. Everytime we leave we say “Thanks for letting us help, John!” And he just laughs in disbelief. We brought some of the elders too. We were able to help Sister Hollie, our less active, as well. She is awesome. She has a testimony and is a hippie and is trying to redo her whole house by herself. She just has to come to church!
 
Being a missionary is funny. At times it’s really stressful especially when we’re not using or time wisely or didn’t plan super well. But mostly – it’s awsome! These experiences would not come in any other situation. I’m grateful for this chance to be a missionary! To have Sister Breedlove, to have the scriptures, to have the big sky, everything. Minnesota is also funny. Such people.
 
How’s home? Are y’all excited for thanksgiving?? I don’t know how that day is really going to work, but we’re going over to the Gutweins for thanksgiving! They are an awesome family that Sis Breedlove taught before I was here. excited!
 
I love you !
 
Love, Sister Gessel
 

It’s…cold.

Dear Family!
 
So mnay things happened this week!! We just found out transfers! I’m staying! Yay! We got a call from the assistants last night that gave us a heart attack – but they were just wondering about a recent convert. This means I will be in Cottage Grove with SIster Breedlove until at least   Christmas! I’m glad – we have lots of work to do! Our district is shuffled around unexpectedly though – interesting changes but we are excited!
 
How are all of you?? I received a letter from Moo, I shall write back! What are y’all up to? Hey – here’s a nice fact – we ate with The Sandberg family in our ward this week and discovered that Karl Sandberg in Leo Jacob’s nephew! Small world.
 
On tuesday we had a Mission Conference!!! ELder Carlos A. Godoy of the seventy came and spoke! He is a great example of faith, love, energy, and enthusiam. And commitment. He told us of his conversion story as a 16 year old in Brazil. I tried to imagine you, Dad, as a missionary in Brazil!! How neat! I’d love to hear more of that someday. Who was your favorite person you taught Dad?
 
We learned many things from him! He is a great humble man. He told us how important our missions are prep for the rest of our lives. When his daughter got engaged he called his future son-in-law’s mission president to see what kind of missionary he was. Isn’t that funny? It’s a pretty good idea – how we are here – or how we become here, determines lot’s of things. He also made me appreciate President and SIster Clements so much more! We are called to our specific missions for many reasons – and a major one is becuase of our mission president! We need to learn from them.
 
Our investigators are doing pretty well! Joanna’s wedding had been pushed back – so her baptismal date is now december 7. Her faith is so strong though her situation is complicated. People amaze me. Such faith! No we jsut gotta teach her fiance Jarell!
 
Dan is doing awesome! We’re just waiting until he gets on unsupervised probation so he can come to church! We had a neat lesson with him and the Hales family. THey were awesome! Us missionaries can teach lessons, but it’s the members who bring in the spirit with personal examples of living the gospel! Brother Hales made him understand what the spirit feels lilke and how to follow it. It was great! We learn new things all the time.
 
Another cool thing – remember that guy Todd I spoke of once? With the gun? We were so excited about him but then he sort of dropped off the face of the earth. BUT we decided to try one more time. We knocked and he let us right in and we were able to teach his wife the restoration too!!! It was awesome! People feel the spirit and wonder what it is – and want more of it! It’s up to kids like us to give them opportunities to feel God’s love for them.
 
Have I told you about Mariah? She is an interesting one. She’s a 15-year old lesbian girl – she looks like Justin Bieber actually. Anyway – we lOVE her. Her Father is a recent convert and her mom passed away when she was little. We have a really neat pamphlet about htings of that nature called “God loveth His Children.” It is the sweetest thing. Everyone should read it. It’s about over coming yourself, self-mastery, and KNOWING with surety that Heavenly Father really loves all his children. No matter what. He loves you. Do we believe that?
 
I believe that. A lady in the ward gave me knitting needles this week! And people are so nice. We went to Culver’s this week!! Funny am I right? THe reason I bring this up is beacuse we had a conversation with someone who works there that was very impressionable. He was sooo nice! And happy! Chipper! After we left we wanted to go back and talk to him more! That’s how people need to feel about us! As President Clements says we need to let people “see our joy!” And leave them with feelings of exquisite wonder and curiousity. I love these people. President is pretty strict in many regards because he wants to push us to our limit – he knows of our potential. This is what he said in his email this week:
 
“We live or die with the Book of Mormon. It’s where we make our stand. It’s where I’m most comfortable defending the faith.”
 
 
We’re excited to work HARD this week! And strengthen our faith.
 
Love you!!! Sister Gessel

November 4 – What a week!

Dearest Family,
 
How ya doin? How ya doin? As grandpa would say I guess. Thanks for the funny Halloween pictures!! Looks like fun! Ben – you win. (“you – out”) Mr. Rogers. Good one. Sounds as if things are well!! What are y’all up to? Did you get my letter with the cd in it?
 
This week was funny. Crazy. Lots of learning involved.
 
 
I went on exchanges with Sisters from Eau Claire Wisconsin! For 48 hours I worked with Sister F. (I recently learned that I’m not supposed to use peoples full names. So.) Sister F has an interesting mission story – she came out when she was 24, went home for 6 months for knee surgery, came back to the same mission, and this is her last transfer! So has been at this for 2 years! She’s going home with the elders she came out with, funny eh? There are sisters and elders of all ages. We spent the day on foot – since I cannot drive until next transfer, and her drving priviliedges were revoked. It was fun! I was nervous about navigating Cottage Grove without Sister Breedlove, but with prayers and a map it wasn’t bad.
 
We had zone training and interviews with the president! We were recently challenged to summarize the Plan of Salvation in one page. Mine turned into a picture halfway through, but I think the point is clear. Sister Clements, mission president’s wife, told me about an upcoming theme – and you know I may draw something for it! Isn’t that fun? Oh and also, I might get to teach people how to knit at a relief society activity! How neat is this??? I knew there was a reason I know how to knit. Salvation. We will get everyone to come to that activity!!!
 
Hey! Guess what! This morning we taught seminary! Early morning seminary at the church building!! The lesson was 2 Nephi 31, the doctrine of Christ. Basically what we talk about all day. It was awesome! I now know how seminary teachers feel – our message is so amazing, so life-changing, so beautiful – and these teens fall asleep and such. We wanted to inspire them! Oh how ironic this is. If only Brother Craven could speak with me now, haha. I’m glad I discovered the impirtance of seminary in the end. We gave them some Book of Mormons to bless people with at school. The Book of Mormon – it is wondrous. We also made cookies for them in the church ovens, haah.
 
We met some neat people this week! There is such diversity and variety. An update on our investigator who is planning on marriage. Some nice ladies in the ward are giong all out in planning – thye even found someone’s daughter’s dress that fits her!! However, becasue of financial reasons and because Satan is stupid, it is getting pushed back. So her baptism is getting pushed back too. But never fear! Or waver! becasue we are going to take advantage of this time by teaching her fiance as well! Well rounded gospel believing FAMILY! YAY! We also need to spend time with recent converts. they are having hard times – but the ward is nice and supportive. Ward members make ALL the difference. for real. How’s the mission scene in Dawson Hollow? Do we have stake missionaries or something?
 
This week was all jaunty, with exchanges and such. I’m psyched for the week ahead – some serious uninterrupted work is about to happen! However!! Guess what!! Tomorrow is MISSION CONFERENCE! We’re just busy! Mission conference happens once or twice a year I think, and a man from the Seventy is coming! yay! (LAST TIME ELDER HOLLAND CAME< just sayin.) So that will be great! i’LL think up some questions to get answered.
 
Thank you for everything. I love all of you! Hope everything is well! Things here are getting colder but its ok, because Cottage Grove is about to EXPLODE with people learning of the gospel! I can see it!!!!!!!!!
 
Love, SIster Gessel ! (I included a picture of the sky right after seminary this morning!)

October 28 – JOYYY to the WOOOOORLD. (this has been stuck in my head. so much.)

Family!
 
How goes it? Mom – neat news about your job! Seagull Book! That’s so cool! And working with Nora Wendel! Cool! HEY – guess what??? Ben – I got your letter! I haven’t laughed that hard for a good while – so thank you! Last p-day we hung out with our district (Sis Breedlove and I and 10 elders) and I introduced them to donuts on a string! For our Halloween party! It was really funny. I don’t think any of us will ever do it again – but it was funny! OH MY GOODNESS – I can’t believe you actually got me a camera!!!!  I’ll have to send pictures now! I was serious about getting a disposable one, haha. Thank you – I hoped you used my personal funds for it. Thanks for the update Father, sounds like some fall fun!
 
So many things happened this week. We had new missionary training at the Mission home in Bloomington! I got to see all my MTC friends and learn from President and Sister Clements! They are so awesome!
 
I then went on exchages with Sister Shurtz in Eagan! It was fun to get out of my area for a minute, though I love it here too. Sister Shurtz is very real, straight-up, and bold. She started training halfway through her own training… yeah. We visited some families. One of the most interesting parts of being a missionary is going inside so many homes – seeing how people live and such. Anyway, really neat time! We had a birthday party for an elder in her district at district meeting. One of the zone leaders (they call themselves zone shepherds….) made balloon animals. That was a great day!
 
We also went to the ward Halloween party! THAT was funny. It was actually a Halloween dance! This ward is very supportive and involved – there were so many people there! But really hard not to dance.
 
We visit an old lady named Sister Leclaire on a weekly basis. She’s a less- active and we basically just try to cheer her up, follow up with her smoking, and try to get her to church. She is so attached to us missionaries and does not like when we get transferred. I hope Sister Breedlove stays here for a long time for reasons like that.
 
I love the stuff we get to do for people! My favorite part of this week was helping out a man named John. He is a referral from a member a few months ago and was never interested. Sister Breedlove ran into him while I was in Eagan and told him we’d come help him with a project. On saturday we went and helped him tear down an 80 year old house – long story – it’s on his property and the city is making him tear it down. We pried floorboards up and spoke about the gospel. He was surprised that we actually came to help him. It was honestly so fun! He is for real a neat man! He might not have been ready a few months ago to listen – but he is now! Says he’s lost – he wants to move to the middle of nowhere and escape society. He has lots of amish friends. Anyway – we set up another time with him. My favorite thing ever in the world is when people let us help them. It’s like Ammon – all he wanted to do was serve. Then once the people’s hearts were softened – he taught them. They were ready to hear it. We visited a less active lady named Christina, and we always ask if there’s anything we can do for them. They usually say no and just send us on. But she had us help her lay down some linoleum flooring! Just call us extreme home make over team!
 
We had FHE at the stake president’s home this week with some investigators!! Best idea ever (it was president’s Lash’s idea – he and his wife and super neat!) It’s great for our investigators to see how a gospel centered family works. Joanna and her boyfriend came! She is great. Hard to get ahold of sometimes – but great. We’re hoping to meet with her lots in teh upcomin week.
 
Hey – Ma, or someone, could you do me a favor? In my blue and purple striped bag there is likely a business card of Don Sanchez from the Banquet Kitchen. I need to email them!
 
A big lesson I learned this week was GRATITUDE! It’s good to be grateful for things, but also to express it! It makes you happier! I do not like planning, and calling, and numbers, and stuff like that – but I’m realizing that everything has a purpose and we’re lucky to have such resources and a good accountable system. Sometimes I think it gets a bit complicated, but it is inspired. I’m grateful for Sister Breedlove, for our bikes, our ward, the big sky, all of you, and all these peoples lives that I get to be in for a second. THANk YOu for. Everything. I appreaciate everything sooo much more right now. I’m sending you a neat letter!
 
Love, Kathryn Elizabeth Gessel

October 21 – I got a new sweater.

Dear Familia,
 
What up, What up! How is everyone? Just got some mail from y’all – we check it once a week at the post office. I thank ye kindly! I’m sending you some physical pics I will print from Sista Breedlove’s cam. And some other neat things!
 
This week. Was crazy. I do not know where to begin.
 
Here are the highlights: We got to go to the temple on wednesday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! St. Paul Temple – it’s about a half an hour from here. It is very cute and little, right next to the stake center. This weekend was stake conference, so we spent a lot of time over there. Anyway, the temple was great! We get to go once a transfer if we are close by! They just got a new temple president – he spoke at stake conference, as did President and Sister Clements! I LOVE THEM. I’ve got new missionary training coming up! So this week we get to go to the mission home again!
 
Sister Bredeson made us bread the other day! She makes bread every week for the sacrament – how neat is that???
 
My other favorite part of this week was ripping out Sister Clark’s garden. Yard work! It was so fun! Sis B.Love, the elders, Sister Clark, and MaryKay worked one morning this week. It was awesome. We found a toad and a mole! We’re trying to find more opportunities for service. Like raking. And soon to be shoveling.
 
We also might be planning a wedding! (If all goes well.) Joanna has decided(/we convinced her) to get married! Then baptized! She is awesome! She realized that she needs to get married before baptism. We’re just hoping her mother, and fiance for that matter, will be just as supportive. She doesn’t have money and doesn’t want a big ceremony – so we’re trying to do somehting at the church next month. Bishop Swift (he’s awesome!) wants to meet with them and can marry them and such. So that’s exciting! There are a lot of variables in the situation right now, and she’s been standing us up lately, but – things will work out!
 
We got to teach a lesson with the Hastings elders this week to their investigators the Johnson Family! Brother Black came too! That’s the best lesson I’ve ever been in. The elders are very humble and know how to teach. Inspiring. They’re trying to decide if we should teach them or if they should continue teaching them.
 
AND THEN — (suspense build – up) on Saturday, MaryKay entered the waters of baptism!!!!!!! She was baptized by her brother, Brother Black!!!! I’m certain it was the sweetest event in history. She was so excited and happy! She let all of her doubts go. The spirit was powerful, comforting, and felt like freedom to her soul. I’m also certain it had nothing to do with sister Breedlove and I! This is the Lord’s work. It was nothing we did to get her to this point. The Lord’s work is marvelous – we just get to be here. It’s because of her faith and willingness. She keeps saying how loved she feels when she goes to church – like she’s coming home. She’s got a ward family now! And they are so accepting and great – she’s made some great friends! Now she doesn’t have to think of past mistakes or struggles – she can move forward confident and clean! The Atonement is beautiful and merciful and real and true. Then Brother Black took us out for chinese food —- best day of my life.
 
To answer your question Ma, I am doing well. Adjusting and so forth. I can even sleep through the night – miraculous I would say! Some things are really hard. Plans never go as planned and can be frustrating. I know I need to be more diligent and work harder.  I’m still such a daydreamy kid. I get real nervous talking to people. I just need to remember to not rely on myself and my abilities, but TRUST in the Lord! It’s hard to get discouraged when you’re trusting in the Lord! We find good things in everyone and everything. Our job is go out and make new friends (as our stake pres would say). Sister Breedlove got sick this week so we stayed home one night. I’m alright though the weather is getting more fearsome. Fierceome. We’re hoping to visit lots of potential investigators this week and get things straightened out with Joanna. (We resorted to throwing rocks at her window last night because she wouldn’t come to the door…haha) Hey Shell – I totally know the Coutu family! Sister Coutu is super nice – she’s in the relief society presidency! I had no idea Brenden was from here! Funny! I’ll speak with her of it. Silly connections. Hey, Pa, how’s the job hunt?
 
Ok, well, love you. Thanks for all the support and good news! Sounds like you are all doing well! It’s so fun to hear of. We’re going to go carve some pumpkins or somethin! Woooo. OH MY – maybe I’ll suggest donuts on a string for out halloween festivities!!!!!!!! Gessel Fam tradtions, you know.
 
Love, Seester Gessel (yep. shell, the accent is back. In full swing. we use it oft between doorsteps)