Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

So the cool thing about serving in Utah is that there are general
authorities around every corner. At our stake conference last week
ELDER DALLIN H. OAKS (mom, I'm sure you can sense my enthusiasm), an
apostle, spoke and shook my hand! He asked where I was from and turns
out he used to live in Joliet and was a branch president there! Crazy!
Then this past Friday at our mission devotional, ELDER JEFFREY R.
HOLLAND spoke to us! He shook each of the missionaries hands and
afterwards told us he did an individual interview when he shook our
hands and looked into our eyes.....so I have bad news. Just kidding of
course I passed! Strict obedience ladies and gentlemen. ;)
Long story short, serving in Utah is awesome! We have been being given
Christmas presents left and right. It really is such a blessing to
have so many people who want to take care of us. I am so thankful. I
am so grateful that I am going to be able to skype with my family in
THREE DAYS! I am not as thankful that they will see how fat I've
gotten! Hahaaa. If you want to give the missionaries presents for
Christmas, get them sweaters or blankets, or a watch or HAND SOAP!
Everyone uses hand soap! Hahaaa.
I am thankful also for the wonderful Christmas season! During the
CHRISTmas season people enjoy hearing of Jesus Christ. He truly is the
reason for the season. People that would usually not listen to our
message have their hearts softened during this time. I love my Savior!
Jeffrey R. Holland told us that "When God wants something done he
sends a baby". He wants us to return to live with him so he sent Jesus
Christ as a baby to the most humble circumstances. And thus begins the
Christmas story...
H***y is wonderful! He is already in Mosiah. The Book of Mormon is the
key to knowing if this church is true and he is reading it. Miracle.
C****r is so funny. For the last month when he offers the prayer he
mentions something about Santa bringing him everything that he asked
for. It is so cute that none of us have had the courage to break it to
him that just because he prays for Santa to bring him everything...it
doesn't mean that it's gonna happen! Hahaa
G***f and his family are really coming closer. G***f mentioned the
other day about how since he's been meeting with us he has seen the
blessings in his life.
Sister Talbert and I are still getting along! And she hasn't gotten
sick of me YET! HAhaaa...when I read that to her she said..."not that
you know of!"
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas. May the joy and happiness of
the Christmas season be in our hearts all year round. LOVE YOU!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holidays are so much different on a mission. I keep hearing how people
are going home for Christmas or how some people are travelling and I
hear of lots of Christmas traditions! I am excited for everyone to be
with their families for the holidays. I am glad that my beautiful
trainer Sister Unrast is now safely back at home. She was one of my
greatest gifts. I am glad that my sister Kamee will be able to go home
for the holidays and spend time with our wonderful family. I am glad
that my beautiful friend Christine Zamudio will become Hermana Zamudio
tonight. My heart is overjoyed this Christmas season. I find great joy
being a missionary and testifying every day of the life of my Savior.
I love the Christmas season. I love the lights, the smells, the
traditions, the music, the love, the family time. I love the birth and
great gift of Jesus Christ: the reason for the season!!!

This week on my mission was very difficult. I got the heartbreaking
news that my sweet Princess had to be put to sleep this week. My heart
aches thinking that I will not be able to see her when I skype home to
my family. I feel like my family is incomplete without her. When I go
home next year she will not greet me. She will not be laying on my
bed. I will not be able to take her on walks. My heart is sad but I
know I will see her again. Pets can't make mistakes so I know I will
see her in heaven. I know this seems weirdly sentimental for a dog but
I loved her very much. My Princess had the type of love that was
unconditional and perfect just like my Heavenly Father. Okay....I'm
done being a sob but I wanted everyone to know that I loved my dog and
I will miss her very much.

As if Princess wasn't hard enough, our sweet 97 year old investigator
Hazel passed away on Friday morning. She went peacefully and is now
reunited with her husband!

On a happier note, we put our investigator H***y on date to be
baptized on January 10th! Wahooo! We are so excited for him.

This week was great. We have an exciting week ahead of us! We get to
go to the Salt Lake City temple tomorrow for the 8 o clock session!
Then on Wednesday we have zone conference. Then Friday we have a
mission devotional. Busy busy busy. I love being a missionary and
seeing miracles every day!

Love you all!

We got to go to temple square this week with the B***s! (a recent

Monday, December 8, 2014

Obviously I was a slacker last week and I didn't send pictures...silly
me! Who wants to look at a blog without pictures?! NO ONE! So I will
be better.
So....transfers are tomorrow and you know my history with being moved
around...well guess what?! (drum roll please!) I'M STAYING WITH SISTER
TALBERT IN THE COTTONWOOD STAKE! I am really excited. We added
TWO new investigators!
L**y is a sweet 15 year old girl that has grown up around the church
but has a few different feelings than the things we believe in and she
"doesn't believe in organized religion". But she is super cute and
wants to learn more :)
G***f grew up in Utah and has studied pretty much every religion ever!
So he asks very insightful questions that the spirit definitely has to
help us answer! Hahaa. His wife is less-active and they have 3 boys
and they are going to start joining G***f for our lessons!
H***y was a media referral. He is 22 and he had thyroid cancer and
just recently got it removed. He has lived in Utah for 2 years and his
brother is a member and he wants to be baptized.....GOLDEN! He came to
the Christmas devotional last night that we watched at a members
house. Afterwards we began talking and suddenly we were teaching the
Restoration and we invited him to be baptized! He said yes once he
finds out that the Book of Mormon is true! We are so excited!
C****r is our sweet little 8 year old investigator. His parents are
both less-active and his mom is very supportive of his desire to be
baptized...his dad needs the spirit to soften his heart just a little
:) But they are really wonderful and we had a great lesson this week
about repentance! (How do you teach repentance to a 9 year old you may
ask?...it was fun!)
AHH! It was just such a good week. I am so blessed to be a missionary
and to be staying in my area! And....I have been on a mission for 6
months this week!!!!!! 1/3 done. 2/3 to get done. #blessed
#HeIsTheGift #IcantbelieveImusinghashtags #lame

One of our cute less actives R***e!

So I love the Christmas season (duh!) and a family in one of our wards
(the F*******'s) take care of us! They gave us little trees to set up
in our apartment!

A poster I made for one of our ward's Christmas party!

Utah can put anything on a leaf of ice burg lettuce and call it a
salad....they called this an "appetizer salad"! Hahaahaahaa

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

HAPPY BELATED THANKSGIVING! Hahaa. Thanksgiving was fun house hopping!
We ate lots of food. We ate with one of our ward mission leaders and
there was a member of the 70 there, Elder Golden, from south Africa.
Then we ate with a less-active and his family! There was like 40
people there...it was like home! (except a lot more old people!) Then
we ate with our recent convert Jose and his family...mexicans know how
to make Thanksgiving! Hahahaaa.
So transfers are next week and I feel like I am going to stay but
we'll see! You know how much the Lord loves to move me around! Sister
Unrast (my trainer) goes home next week! Crazy! We got our first
Christmas invitation!
I wish I had funny stories to tell or exciting things to share but I
I am so blessed and I thank my Heavenly Father for those blessings. I
hope everyone prays to Him. I hope that everyone will build a
relationship with him. We taught the young men of one of our wards
yesterday and we watched this little video....everyone should watch
it! It's so good!


I LOVE YOU ALL! Have a great week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Miracles, miracles, miracles! I am so blessed to be a missionary. I
was able to see 3 beautiful baptisms that I had the opportunity to
participate in producing. Heavenly Father is so mindful of his
children; that was my lesson this week. All three of the baptisms were
of people at different points in their lives yet all made the decision
to follow their Savior Jesus Christ. There is no greater and rewarding
moment then seeing your sweet investigators, in whom you have invested
so much time and effort and prayers in their behalf, come out of the
water, clean! AHHHHHH SO COOL!
M***n was the first superstar baptism! She is the cutest little girl
and guess what?! I got to give the talk on baptism! Gosh I just love
J**e was our second baptism! He was a miracle. He NEEDED the gospel.
He came from a very difficult past but with the Atonement he is clean.
He was baptized and in typical mexican fashion, there was A TON of
food afterwards!!! Hahaaa. I love the Martinez family.
The last baptism (which was last night) was T*****a! T*****a was from
my last area in East Millcreek and she texted me this week and told me
about her baptism on Sunday (yesterday). She told me that I had a huge
part in her decision and that it would mean the world to her if I
could come...so I got permission and I was able to go! AHHHHH! Her
boyfriend came home from school and baptized her. It was incredible.
Her boyfriend came up to me afterwards and told me that she talks
about me all the time and he's pretty sure she loves me more than
him...hahhahaa! But it was incredible.
It is so rewarding to see the fruits of your efforts and to see these
sweet, choice children come unto their Father.

Well as a missionary, holidays are so much different. Thanksgiving
will consist of going around and visiting active member families and
eating. We have gotten so many offers to go over to peoples houses for
dinner...so don't worry, I'll have plenty of turkey! Hahaaa.
I hope everyone has a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!
I am grateful for a working body. I am grateful for a beautiful,
healthy family. I am grateful for wonderful supportive friends. I am
grateful for this beautiful earth. I am grateful for clothes! I am
grateful for chocolate. I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I
am grateful for my parents raising me in the gospel of Jesus Christ
but allowing me to choose for myself if it was right. I am grateful
for making the right decision. I am grateful for the comfort and
stability that the gospel provides me. I am grateful and so blessed to
be a missionary!
I love you! I hope you all know that. Have a happy week.


J***'S BAPTISM! "Gosh, I miss my Mexican's back home!!"

Happy baptism day! Hahahaaa

This is what Utah-ans call "the inversion"....it's what the rest of
the world calls really bad pollution.

Look what the Berthelson's sent me!!! How well does Karen know me?!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Two baptisms set for Saturday!

So this week has been crazy with J***'s baptism...so he is actually
going to be baptized this Saturday the 22nd. Don't ask why because no
one has time for that story! Hahaaa. But everything is great and J***
is wonderful! I just can't wait until their family is sealed!!!! AHHH!
M**** is the cutest thing ever. She is a little fashionista! Her dad
told us she had gotten dressed for church and was wearing leopard
print leggings, black boots, a long sparkly black shirt and a leather
jacket...she is 9!! Hahaaaa....they made her change! She is so excited
for her baptism on Saturday! I am super excited to see the outfit she
puts together!!!
We didn't get to see H**** (our 97 year old investigator) this week
because she had family visiting.
I promise we visit a lot more people but updating you on all of them
would take all day. So just know that I'm busy and being busy is the
best thing as a missionary! "Work, work, work. There is no
satisfactory substitute"!!
Yesterday we ate with a family and we were sharing a message about
having faith and the little boy said "Faith is believing in something
that you can't see" and the little girl said "like fairies"!
hahahahaaa. Never fear, I am never bored.
I should start writing down the funny things that happen  so my emails
aren't so boring!
This morning we saw a man running with his dog and he had the leash
and his coffee mug in the same hand and the dog jerked and the coffee
splashed out and all I could think of was the movie Ten Things I Hate
About You when the guy shouts "That was Costa Rican butthead!"
Obviously I am still working on having a missionary filter! Hahaaa
I am so blessed to be a missionary and to have such wonderful support.
I love you all so much!!! Have a great week.

I was so lucky this week to get even more birthday presents!
Thank you Amanda for my chocolate package all the way from England!!!!!

Thank you Nieslanik family for my card and scarf! You know how I love
scarves!!!! :)

Utah snowed last Saturday! First snow of the season!

Our first hot chocolate of the season! Hahaaa

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's been a crazy week!

So this week has been CRAZY!
J*** is an investigator that when I first came into this area was
super busy so we couldn't meet until this past week. So Thursday we
had a lesson with him. And the first thing that he said was I have
good news and bad news...(that is never something you want to hear as
a missionary...except in this case! hahaa). So he told us the bad news
and then he told us to guess the good news...well to make this story
shorter...the good news was that HE DECIDED TO BE BAPTIZED!!!!!! And
they had asked him to pray about November 29th so we asked him about November 29th
and he asked if it could be sooner....HE IS GETTING
M**** is the sweetest thing since hoho's were invented! She is so
excited about her baptism! We went with her and her family to temple
square this past Friday! It was so spiritual and amazing. So M****'s
brother G**** who is 13 and who is coming back to church said
yesterday that he wants to go on a mission!!!!
We got to visit A** this week and she is still going to her psychic.
Hahahaa. She is a nut but she is going to try to come to church soon!
H**** is our sweet 97 year old investigator! Hahaa she is crazy and
sweet and she loves when we come over and read the Book of Mormon but
every time we ask her if she wants to be baptized she says "Oh hunny
don't push this" hahaha. She is adorable. She had a stroke last Sunday
but she is quickly recovering.

This week was great...it was my birthday! Do you know how many
birthday packages and letters and phonecalls I got?! SO MANY!
Thank you to my Mom, Dad, Nathan, Boo, Kamee, Sarah, Grandma Davis,
Grandma and Papa Dodd, Aunt Karen and Uncle Brad and Justin, Aunt Pat,
Sister Unrast, Elder and Sister Wilcox, my dunkin babies, and all
those who wrote or emailed me. I had a great week full of surprises!
THANK YOU to everyone.
Also this week I walked into a members home and he looked at my
nametag and said "Nice to meet you Sister Dodo" HAHAHAAAHAA Then he
looked at it again and said "Wait...is that how you say it?" And I
corrected him and he was embarrassed...well that turned out to be
STEVE NELSON the chellist from The Piano Guys. CRAZY! He was so nice
and he apologized and his wife gave us some cds! hahaaa.
And we taught M****'s family about the Plan of Salvation a little
while ago and when we were over at their house G**** was sitting on a
basketball and commented on how it hurt his butt and his dad said
"sitting on a basketball is the seating in the telestial kingdom"
It was a great week. I love being a missionary. I am so blessed to
have such a wonderful support system of friends and family. You all
make me feel like the most important missionary of all time.
Also...this week marks me being on a mission for 5 months! 13 to go :)
All of my love, Sister Lauren Dodd

Thanks Grandma Davis! 

Sarah's birthday package to me with all of her candy puns! Haha so cute!

Classic Sister Dodd selfie! 

Thanks to Kam for my "birthday in a box!"

Thanks to my family for my 21 birthday presents!

Me in birthday shock!

Sister Talbert drowning in my birthday balloons! Hahahaa

M****'s family (the M*****'s) at temple square...super bad picture quality sorry!

Me and my cute companion Sister Talbert!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Loving my new area!

So I was transferred to the Cottonwood Stake so I am still in good ol
Salt Lake City! But I am in a different zone than before so I will be
working around different missionaries. My new companion is Sister
Kayla Talbert. She is from San Antonio Texas and she is super cute and
nice. We get along VERY well! She is quieter so I talk way more than I
should but she is a great listener and we both had hard times last
transfer so we are excited to be together!! I think we were friends in
the pre-existence just like Sister Unrast and I!!
So we are working with a lot of people here! Here are a few of the main ones:
M**** is a little 9-year old! (Insert joke about sister missionaries
baptizing the 9 year olds!) And she was on date to be baptized on the
6th of December but when I got here and met her Sister Talbert and I
both felt like she should be baptized sooner. So we prayed about it
and asked her a few days ago if she would be baptized on November 22nd
and she and her parents agreed!!! AHHH! She is so cute. Her parents
and older brother are less-active and they are all working on going to
H******* is a sweet less-active that has had a crazy past and we are
going to start teaching her the lessons and help her gain a testimony.
A** is another less-active whose husband (but now they're seperated)
is against the church is working on coming back to church as well.
J*** is a sweet investigator. His wife and him were recently married
and have 1 son together, another on the way and she has 2 from a
previous marriage. The wife and her 2 sons are all baptized and J***
is taking the lessons. But he doesn't feel a desire to be baptized.
This week for Halloween we had a mission-wide activity. We got to go
to the Salt Lake City temple and do an endowment session as a mission!
It was the coolest thing to see everyone dressed in white. It reminded
me of what heaven will look like (except obviously much bigger and my
family will be there!!) Then we got done around 7:30 and went back to
the mission office for chili dinner and a talent show...long story
short, we didn't get home until 11:00!!!!!!!!!!!!! For those of you
who don't know, this is very late for a missionary. So we are still
recouping from our late night! Hahaa but daylight savings did give us
an extra hour of sleep yesterday so hallelujah!
Life is crazy but so  worth it. Even thought I was transferred again I
know that this is where I am supposed to be. I love this area and the
people here. I love being a missionary and constantly having the
spirit work through me. This gospel has blessed my life more than
anything else. I hope everyone I love has a great week and that you
read the scriptures and pray to your Father in Heaven. He loves you
and wants to help you. I LOVE YOU ALL! Have a great week :)

Love, Sister Lauren Dodd

For those wanting to send packages or letters for this area please send them to the mission home address:

Sister Lauren Ashley Dodd 
Utah Salt Lake City East Mission 
3487 S 1300 E West Entrance 
Salt Lake City, Utah 84106

Sister Brown and I had toasts to our transfer. We would take turns
saying something we were grateful for. I had chocolate milk and she
had San Pellegrino (which reminded me of Nathan!!)

Sister Can, Sister Stout, Sister Brown and I went to birthday lunch on
Tuesday afternoon right before transfers!

We went to the F*******'s (the sweetest members) house for a Halloween
themed dinner and we had soup in pumpkin-looking bread bowls, goblin
toes (barbeque wienies), vampire teeth (apples with almond pieces),
witches fingers (carrots with almonds), and salad and these were the
cute desserts!