This week was a little slow to be honest. But it was a good week. It was slow because the holidays seem to have a lot of people out of town, or busy with family so they don't really have time for us. It was good because the people we did get to meet with were awesome.
Christmas Eve we had a Mission Devotional/White Elephant gift exchange and breakfast. All 250 some-odd of us missionaries in one building. But the building was huge. Like made to hold eight wards huge. This was thing was a castle it was so big. I wish I had had my camera. But oh well. I got to see my Mission Papa's. (let me explain for those who don't know what that means; missionaries have their own terms for things. Your trainer is you dad/papa. Other lingo's are like me. I am a red headed step child. Which means this since I am a visa waiter I am a "red head" and since I was sent away from my trainer before I completed training I am a "step child". This lingo is as far as I know specific to the California San Jose Mission so if you ask other missionaries and they look at you like you're nuts that is why. :) Any way it was great to see the members from my last zone and the talks were great.
Christmas day was even better. Our zone had a breakfast of pancakes, bacon and steak. There were a lot of card games played and we had a great time. Then me and my companions went over to the Michael's house ( a member family in our ward) and they fed us breakfast and we opened our presents and then we had the piece de resistance. We got to call home. And for 45-55 fantastic minuets I got to speak with my family. I am not afraid to admit that I cried with each progressing family member to speak to me culminating with bawling at my Daddy and my Momma. Please don't think this has caused me to lose sight on my sacred calling. It has not. In fact it gave me a new sense of strength and purpose and comfort that my family is being taken care of by Heavenly Father while I am away. We were blessed with the opportunity to visit a less active member named Pete who we shared a movie with namely Mr. Kruger's Christmas and we gave him a blessing a few days before (actually it might have been a day before.) We got to eat dinner with a less active family and the day was all together wonderful. I received several letters from people; Sister Lewis, Sister Cox, Nikki Bradshaw, Bryce Barager, Auntie Jessie, Kristen (once) Kimball and Harry Steffens.
The rest of the week was great too but I am being told that we are over our time limit.
Love you all.
Happy New Year. This picture is for you Momma. It is your gifts to me. Thanks Momma. It may be hard to see.
Hey Momma just fyi, Elder Stimpson from my zone in the MTC got his Visa approved. Which means for me: I have no idea! My Visa could come soon or later. But I am so excited for him. This week has been good. The weather has heated up at least during the day it has. That is nice, although my comp Elder Sant still wears a jacket everywhere we go. He is like you Momma. :)
I love the people out here. We have a great investigator named Paul who is skeptical in a good way. He wants to know for himself wither what we tell him is true, so he plans on reading the Book of Mormon for himself. That is so exciting. He is a great guy and we have already taught him two lessons.
This week may be a little slow. I don't really know how many people will be home for us to talk to on the week of Christmas. But we wont be letting that stop us. We will keep up the good work.
We get to see the extremes of personalities out here. When we go street contacting we find people who are nice and thank us and even encourage us to continue our work, but decline the invitation to learn more. We get people who wont even look at us as they walk past. We get the great ones where they listen and ask questions and say they will go to mormon.org and do some research of their own, or even take a Book of Mormon. Then we get the ones who are not so good. But those are few and far between. So things are good.
The work is good and we have learned to work really well together as companions. I am so happy to be out here.
"Are you wearing any jewelry? Are you allergic to shellfish... Okay lets make it happen captain!"
Hey for those of you who missed the message I was transferred this week. That means that me and Elders Rollins and Arnell and I had to go to Mission office and have a meeting with everyone who was being transferred. Then at the end of the meeting we were told who we were companions with and where we were going. I am serving with Elder Mercer and Elder Sant. We are serving in Cambrian Park in South San Jose. Our address is 1977 Heimgartner Ln #17 San Jose CA 95124 in case anyone wants to know. So I said my goodbyes to my old zone and my hellos to my new Comps. Whats really funny is Sister Voyles of my old zone totally predicted that I would be sent here for my next area. How weird is that?
So the area is great and so are my Companions, though one of my companions and I have a few different opinions on how things ought to be done. Oh well, we are working through it and I am sure we will be all the better for solving our differences.
It is cool seeing how the work doesn't change even when the area does. But it is weird because I have had to change my usual habits what with new people., But that is okay to. All part of the work.
We got the opportunity to help some women who own or run a art studio for kids. They were trying to move a large thing made for cooking glass and they were struggling with it. So I went and volunteered our assistance and they gladly took it. Acording to Elder Mercer, who has been in this area for a transfer those ladies used to give the Elders weird looks when they would walk past. Now they smile and wave at us like old friends. I think that is great.
That is about it.
"I see you have a sword. I have one too, they are very manly and... tough."
I wear the coat a lot. It is so cold and dry here, that it is rediclous. The only real problem is that my knee gets cold and starts to freeze up, and that makes it hard to peddle my bike. But I am surviving, and thriving.
We got to see half of the Christmas Devotional with the Taylor family last night since they had us over for dinner. It was pretty good the parts we got to hear, so you should try to find it.
When I wrote that letter to Daddy I was really missing him. I talk about him a lot while I am meeting with people. So I wanted him to know how much I miss him and love him.
My talk went great, I might send it to you. I talked on Christmas and two talks, one by President Hinckley and one by Elder Holland. They were really good talks and people told me I did really good.
I am being Transferred tomorrow, and so I will have to get my Comps to send me that package. We were invited out to Presidents house for dinner last night. It was really fun, and it was great to see them. I hear dad called President. Sister Watkins said it was cute.
Bishop Chambers gave us a tree for Christmas and a less active member gave us lights. I met a Sister out here named Sister Bodily, who we are related to. She asked for Grandma's number so she could see exactly how.
I don't know yet where I am being sent to, I wont know till tomorrow. Dovie'and Se Tiva'sagain and all that good stuff.
You are my rock and my light Momma. I feel your love and look for the moon nightly, finding it on the other hand is another matter.
I love you so much. "Have yourself, a Merry little Christmas. Let your heart be Light."
Here are a couple of photos from Elder Melot. The top one is of his roommates, Stimpson and Wright, the "skinny" ones. I do not know which is which. The other elder is Elder Butterfield his MTC companion.
Not much to report this week. We are continuing the work and I love the area. Which is probably why I am getting transfered tomorrow. Thats right you heard it here first,(unless you got a different letter from me) I am getting a new area and a new companion tomorrow. Please don't ask where or who, I wont know till tomorow. So on Sunday I said my goodbye's and I will pack today. All part of the adventure. Miss you all.
I looked into the money thing. It gets sent to my Senior Companion since I am a visa waiter, but once I get into Zimbabwe it will be put on a card for me. The money was transferred to it, we just didn't know it was.
I would be lying if I said I wasn't affected by not being with you for Thanksgiving. I was hit with a very real pang of pain and sorry, and it stuck with me for most of the night, once we had stopped and gotten home. I missed you dearly and even though the Bishop and his family had us over and treated us with their usual warmth and love, it wasn't the same. But I am okay, don't worry about me.
I think I am going to send Kenji a letter. I just got the feeling that I should make contact with him. Tell him the funnier things about what is down here. I don't really think he will respond, but I want him to know I think of him and love him.
I hope you and Mikayla will get better and that all will be well with Nicolas.
I am glad you were able to see the family (intimate and distant) and that your Turkey day was good. I really don't know what I could use for Christmas, (except for people to respond to my letters.
I think that it is very cool that Uncle Norm and Roger served down here in this area. But to be honest I don't really remember who uncle Roger is. Is he the one with the hat, or is that Uncle Blaine?
I think it would be cool if daddy came down here, but I don't know if I would be allowed to have lunch with him. Tell him I miss him to.
We don't yet have any baptisms on the horizon, but we are working on a few. The contacts are going well, I think I am getting better at them. I love my companions and we get along great. No word on the visa and I don't know if I will be transferred. They keep you with your trainer for two transfers, but they aren't really training me, not in the full capacity. They leave that for your actual area. We listen to music a lot, and my comps actually have some of the same CD's and my Comp. Elder Arnell asked me yesterday how I can sing all day everyday and not have my voice give out.
This song came into my head when I was a little homesick on Thanksgiving and it fits what I ask of you. "Think of me, Think of me fondly when we've said goodbye. Remember me every so often, Promise me you'll try. Think of me what ever else you choose to do for there will never be a day when I won't think of you." Phantom of the Opera.
Mom: I was hoping to have this email for you to read today when you prepare to send us one.... does this work or should I send paper letters instead?
Me: I get the emails and letters just fine. The letters are nice because it is fun to get mail in the middle of the week, and the emails are nice because I can reply instantly (on Mondays).
Mom: Did you get the letter/package that we sent to you? Am I ever going to get a picture of you with your badge on???
Me: I got the package and the letters. Thanks mom, the letter brought tears to my eyes. I can't send pictures without something to hook my memory card up to the computer with. Sorry.
Mom: Quickly, I wonder if you have heard about the typhoon in the Philippines? I am sure that you have. I want to assure you that Cousin Geoffrey is fine. We have heard from him since the disaster and other than the fact that he will be without electricity for 3 months or so he is ok. The island he is on was not hit as badly as some of the others so he will be alright. Pray for him and his companion as they help with the clean up and recovery efforts. What a mess.
Me: It is good to that Geoffrey is okay. We had heard about it, but there were few details that we could get. I am glad he is safe and sound.
Mom: How are you?
Me: I am okay. I wrecked on my bike on Friday right outside of the house. Shocker right? My chain came off the gears and I took a chunk out of my knee. But it is healing and so will hopefully be better in a few days.
Mom: Bro. Bradshaw asked about you in Sunday School yesterday and they passed out the addresses of the missionaries from our ward. Did you realize that there are 6 of you? They mentioned that our ward has not had that many missionaries at one time in many, many years. How cool is that?
Me: I didn't realize there were six of us out here. That is very cool. What did Brother Bradshaw ask? How is the ward doing, and do you know if Nikki got my letters?
Mom: Please, do not stress our missed phone call. I have saved your message and it brings tears to my eyes but joy to my heart to hear your voice. Don't focus on it anymore, ok? I promise I am fine and each day brings us closer to our next chat...which I will not miss!!!
Me: I am okay with the missed call. I am glad that you got to hear my voice and I look at the moon every night that it is out and I think of you. Can you feel my love through the Bond?
Mom: FYI... Orting football lost their game on Saturday to White River so they are out of the playoffs. Apparently it was a hard fought game but Orting really did not stand much of a chance. We did not attend.. it was wet and cold and dark so we stayed home and I slept in the chair. Shocking, huh?
Me: It is kind of sad that the team lost their game, but they had a pretty good year so they can be happy with that.
Mom: What are you going to be doing for Turkey day? As you know we are going to Utah... are you being fed or making your own?
Me: I do believe that the Bishop and his family are planning on having us over for Turkey Day. We had a Ward Turkey Day on Saturday and I made a pie. It turned out pretty good too.
Mom: Is there anything that you need? Want?
Me: Now that I think about it I could use some more stamps. I wrote several letters today. But I could find those at the store if you want me to. I want Kenji and Bryon's email addresses if you can give them to me.
Mom: Take care of you and remember that "men are that they might have joy"... I hope you are enjoying your missionary challenges and having some success along the way.
Me: I am really enjoying my time here and I love the people I am with.
Hey, sorry now message about how the week went last week. Nothing new happened. We just went about the work.
This week was really good. And kind of not.
The only real problems are I had to get a new rim from the bike garage down here, and I popped my bike tire two days in a row. One time about a mile or so from our house. We walked home. We got caught in the rain going to a service project for the Tri City food bank and were soaked. That is all that went badly this week.
My knee injury is fully scabbed up, so it should be done healing soon.
The good were last Monday Brother Taylor (the High Priest Group Leader who lets us live in the add on of his house) took us to the driving range and taught us how to golf. It turns out he could have went professional if he had wanted to. Elder Arnell broke one of his drivers, so that wasn't so good. We got to take Ronnie on a church tour, and that went really well.
Turkey Day the Bishop and his family had us over for dinner. That went well. Bishop actually called Grandma, and wanted to know about some of our genealogy (Turns out I may be related to the Elders Quorum President.) I also got to play the Bishop in chess (I won). This week has been very good. But it was hard to get through my first Thanksgiving without my family. Once I sat down and realized that I wasn't with them and thought about it I got really sad. But I am okay, and the work moves on.
I can't believe that it is December. By the way Rabbit Rabbit! The time is going fast. I think I have been out here for almost two months now.
Transfers are next week, and we will know on Saturday if any of us have been transferred. I don't know if I will.
I have to give a talk on Sunday. That should be fun.
Hey this one will be short. Little new has happened since last week.
We got to meet with our investigator Ronnie again. Taught him the first lesson and offered him a BOM. He still wont take one, and he asked for some time to gather his thoughts. Don't really know what that means.
We had a Ward Thanksgiving dinner this last Saterday. One of those out reach to the Community things. It went pretty good. But we lost an Investigator on Saterday. She said she wasn't interested anymore.
Friday we had Zone Conference. Talks were on being obediance, taking care of our things because the things that the Mission gives us are paid for with Tithing money, encouragement and praise for the work to be done and the work already done and a few others. I got my picture taken with my Mission President, President Watkins. He is really cool.
Anyway when we got home, we went to leave to go and try to meet some people, and low and behold I wrecked my bike. I know everyone knew it was coming when they learned I was in a Biking mission, but yea it sucked. Tore up my knee, and had to stay home on saterday because it was still bleeding, and hurt really bad.
That is about all the exciting stuff that happened this week.
Hey, this letter is going out on Tuesday instead of Monday, the Libraries are closed on Holidays. That means no email.
This week has had ups and downs. We got to meet with several of the Active members of the Ward, and that is really great. It is still a little difficult to get referrals, but I think they are warming up to the idea. We do a lot of service for them, as much as they will tell us they need done and that seems to help them want to give us referrals. I love this ward, is is so small and so friendly. We have a family here in the Ward that we call our parents. They are the Padilla family, and we call them that because they do so much for us, they have us over for dinner, they bring us things to eat. They seem to really love having us over there to see them.
Our Bishop and his family are great too. They feed us about as much as the Padilla's do. When there is an opening in the Calender for feeding us, it is a safe bet that either the Padilla's or the Chambers' will feeding us. (Chambers is the Bishops last name). This ward is so friendly I am loving it here.
It was a little tough this week. There were several days when doors wouldn't open, or the part-member family/less active people who lived there would tell us they didn't really want to see us right then. It was a little depressing for me, I guess I came out here with some grandeous idea that everything would all go to plan, and it was a little hard when they didn't. But I found solace in my scriptures. In the book of James 1: 2-4 James talks about patience and faith (I'm not gonna quote the whole section, I don't have that much time, but if you feel so inclined you can find and read them yourself) and the verses really comforted me. They reminded me that things have to happen in the Lords Time, not ours, and that when things need to happen a certain way, the Lord will make them happen.
Beautiful example of just that. After a day of little success me and my companions were contacting at the Hub (it is like a mall) we ran into this young man named Ronnie. He listened to us and we set up a return appointment with him there at the Hub. We have taught him I think three times now and he really seems to like what we have been teaching him. I don't know how far it will go, but I am learning to follow the Lords time and the Lords schedule.
I am no longer sleeping on the couch. The other Elders moved out to a really cool house, built in the 1800's I do believe, that is owned by a member. They don't get the whole house, only an area on the top floor, but it is still cool, but it is slanted at about a 35 degree angle I think. That bit is weird. But is nice to no longer be like the man from Cornwall.
There was a man from Cornwall whose length exceeded his bed.
My body fits on it, but barely upon it
There's no room for my big Cornish head.
That one is for you mom. :)
Yesterday on P-day our zone met at the Stake Center. This building is I swear about the size of three of our buildings in Washington. The thing was HUGE!! Anyway we played a lot of ultimate Frisbee. It was really fun, and I am beginning to get to know my Zone better.
These past few days we have been helping a women move out of her apartment. She is a nice Indian woman (Dot not Feather) who has ran into some tough luck. She was so happy that we were able to help her out, and we should be finishing that today. She is really nice and she made us curry. But she is a cat lady. I mean she has like 18 cats. She saves them all, kind of like Kristen Kimball saves dogs.
Anyway, I think that is the most of it. Love you all. Have a great day.
Okay so big week this week. Lots has happened. Lots to say and a half hour to do it. Lets see how this words.
Elder Oleson and Elder Merritt and I woke last Wednesday around 3:45 to get dressed and ready. We had packed most of the night before. We got dressed and ready and we were still late getting to the travel office. Elder Oleson even forgot his wallet. But that was okay. When we got to the travel office at the MTC we dropped off our keys and our locks, grabbed our travel info and went to the bus. We could have sat at our room for an extra hour though. A pair of sisters was slow getting there, so we didn't leave till around 5 instead of 4:30 like originally planed. The bus ride was fun, we got to talk with the other Elders and the Sisters who were going to San Jose as well as us.
When we got to the airport Elder Oleson, Merritt and I had to print our boarding passes since this was kind of last minute. Then we paid for our bags, and headed toward the plane. We still had an hour or so before we had to board, so we tried to call home. I was sadly unsuccessful at reaching my momma, but I did get a hold of Grandma. Then we got on the plane. This thing was tiny, like two rows of two seats barely big enough for a normal person to sit in, let along a giant like me. My head was brushing the top of the plane as I walked to my seat. The flight passed without anything happening. I slept a little bit. Then we landed in San Jose.
We were met by the AP (Assistants to President) and one of the Presidents Councilers I do believe. Then we picked up our things and headed to the institute building where we would eat lunch and meet the President. We went through a little introduction stuff and then we met the Mission Presient, President Watkins and his Wife. He talked with us for a little bit then we all had a short interview. After that we were sent out to Contact. The Mission President explained to us that we don't do tracting around here. We do lots of service, we try to help reactivate less actives and we talk to everybody we meet or pass on the street about our beliefs, trying to get numbers to go to peoples houses to teach. So Elder Merritt and I went to try some contacting. We actually didn't do to bad. We had a few good talks with people, gave out some pass along cards and it was actually pretty fun. We did get a lot of people who told us they weren't interested, but that was okay.
Then we went and reported back and all the other people left to go to the mission home. The three of us visa waiters were given to our companionships. We all have two companions. My companions are Elder Rollins my trainer and Elder Arnell, the Junior Companion of the two. There was no down time. We got me a bike, got to the apartment, dropped my stuff off and then went to a few lessons and a Dinner appointment. The days have been like that almost consistently. Service, lots of appointments to see people, lots of doors not opening and dinner appointments with ward members. I have been fed by the Bishop, and the Relief Society President and a few others planned for this week. Lots of great people who make great food.
Our apartment is small. For the last six days it has been me, and Elder's Arnell, Rollins, Housekeeper and Mossure. There are only four beds. I have been on the couch. It isn't to bad, although the couch is not really big enough for me to sleep on. We are living in the add on part of a members house. The member is Brother Taylor, the High Priest Group Leader. He is a great guy, and we have a few really great investigators. The ward is so small. There are maybe eighty people in the ward.
My zone is great. We even have a pair of sign language Elders. I got to go on Splits with Elder Le Beau, because his companion was sick. I learned a few things while going to completely deaf appointments. Number one, I don't know as much sign as I need to to be able to contribute to lessons. I learned how to pray in sign language, and I even got to help with a blessings in sign language. That was really fun, and a great learning experience.
I love how people recognize us. My companions and I will be biking along the road and some guys will drive past and yell "Mormons" or some kid will see and yell "Hey I'm Catholic by the way" or the most funny is when people see us and then cross the street, or turn around, or wont respond to a simple hello. I just love how people know who we are before we open our mouths.
Hey before I forget my new address is
38741 Glencoe Dr
Fremont California 94536
I am already loving it here in San Jose. Can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me.
Two weeks down, not enough to go. This has been one of the best experiences that I have ever had. I am so happy to be out here preparing to serve my mission. I can't wait to get out there.
This past week has gone by very fast. The classes have focused on the Fundamentals of Teaching that we have in our MTC Experience booklet. They focus on teaching by the Spirit, teaching the people, and helping them to receive Revelation for themselves. The classes have been very fun and I feel like I learned a lot from them. We read through most of PMG (Preach My Gospel) at one point or another in the past week and half or so. I really enjoy the books that they gave us to study and to be able to come to a better understanding. We do a lot of role playing here in the MTC and I'm told, out in the mission field. It can be hard at first, but it is a great way to learn how to understand someones concerns and how to be able to teach a real person. We did something called TRC this past week, which is where we teach an Investigator, without knowing if it is a real investigator or a member who volunteered to help out.
Me and my Companion didn't do so well. We got a few lessons across, but either she wasn't willing to listen or we were really bad teachers. I would place it somewhere in the middle. Our last time talking to her, she told us to meet her at the dinning room, so we found her and started to try to talk with her. For the first few minutes she was listening and responding, then she got to the point where she wouldn't answer and wouldn't look up at us, and we said our goodbyes and left her to her meal. Neither me nor my companion could figure out what went wrong with the lessons. I still don't really know, but I am confident that I learned from it, and it is nice to know that I still need to improve on some things. We talked a lot in classes about how when you think you can do it all yourself, that is usually when God decides to let you try it so you can be humble before him and remember it is his work, not ours.
My companion and I had a few issues this week. We had a few arguments that we had to work through that could have really slowed us down. But we got through them and I think we both learned and grew from it. I learned that the slightest of contention between a companionship will drive away the Spirit and make teaching impossible. I also learned some things that I need to work on, and have started to Work on. I am working on being patient and more humble, and also in trusting the Lord's knowledge more and mine less. I think that it was a great experience for me. As for what he learned, you would have to ask him. I think that overcoming that helped us to teach better in our lessons and helped us to work better as a companionship. Not saying that I want a similar situation with every companion that I have, but this time it seemed like it was a good thing.
We all got our reassignments this week (well all but Elder Merritt who doesn't seem to exist on the MTC's records for some reason). We have people who are going to Florida, Louisiana, California and even one who is going to Canada (it is funny cause he is from Canada in the first place). I myself am going to the San Jose California mission with two other Elders from my zone, Elder Oleson and Elder Merritt (a different Elder Merritt then the one previously mentioned. We had two Elder White's and two Elder Merritt's. How fun is that?) We have in our District now only five of us left. Most of the others left in the last two days and all but the Elder Merritt without a reassignment are leaving tomorrow in the very early morning. Last night was weird, we usually all gather in the hallway outside of our rooms, and we did that last night. But it was weird how many of us were gone. It is a little sad, because we have all become very close friends over the last two weeks. It is cool thought, because we speculate that we will next meet on our way to Zimbabwe in a transfer or two. I heard that San Jose is more of a service mission, and as I've been told I am only really good at manual labor. So that is a good thing. ;)
I have run into a lot of my old friends from up in Washington and met a few from up there two. I have seen friends from Camp Helaman who I had really hoped to run into, and a few that I didn't even know where here yet. I met a friendly sister from Sumner in the line to play four square in the gym, and I ran into the Elder who left our ward shortly after I did. Now that I am trying to I won't be able to think of his name. But I am sure you know who it is. I really enjoyed that, it was nice to see some old and familiar faces among the new.
We were given a few parting words from our teachers last night, all of whom are return missionaries from either a month or two ago to a few years, who offered us their suggestions on what think we should try to do, or what they wish they had done while they were on their missions. Brother Dunford and Brother Craft told us nine things they would suggest.
#1 When you are discouraged you should look for people to Love and Serve
#2 Don't wait, Don't take it easy
#3 Give yourself a break. Don't expect to be perfect.
Do the best you can at doing the best you can
#4 The field is Very White
#5 We are very lucky. We have an extra portion.
#6 Be a Leader, no matter your leadership calling
#7 Keep a journal. Everyday
#8 Be bold, work hard, be obedient, have the Spirit and love.
#9 Be wary of distractions. both past and future.
#10 You have been prepared.
#11 Focus everything on your purpose. You will Baptize more people.
I guess that was eleven things. But they are things that our teachers told us would make us better missionaries and there a few they wish they had done.
We were told in a Departure Devotional to "Never, never leave your mission. Take it with you." Me and my zone get the opportunity to have two missions for the price of one. I think that will be very cool. Brother Nelson the Second Councilor of my branch Presidency told me that he thinks I will be paired up with weaker missionaries, or missionaries who are struggling. He said he thinks that because he believes I have the strength to help them and buoy them up. I think that is pretty cool. :)
My friend Elder White is so good at quoting voices from movies. I think the one he does best is Chi Foo from Mulan. "You men owe me a new pair of slippers." He would randomly say that to us in the residence hall. It was so funny and cool how good he was at that voice. I knew more lines, but he was great at mimicking.
"I see you have found the Sacred Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom. Is that what this is? I am so sorry, I thought it was a regular peach tree."
I thought you might like to hear that mom. Say mom could you send me the numbers and email addresses of Bryon and Kenji and Liz and Jon, and.... well I guess everyone you can think of that you think I don't have. Expect a call from me early in the morning mom, we are able to call from the airport on the way out. But that may be around five in the morning so you may still be at work, if you are I will leave you a message. Love you all. Bye.
Hey just FYI, my entire zone got our reassignments tonight. I have been issued a temporary mission call to San Jose California! I will be departing the MTC on the 30th of October (This Wednesday coming up) at 4:30 AM. I am flying on Delta airlines, and two of my fellow zone members Elder Olsen and Elder Merrit will be going to the same mission. I am so excited mom, and I hope you will check this email before you go to work tonight. Tell dad I'm sorry, but I wont be going to Iowa for my mission. This is soooooo cool. I can't wait for Wednesday.
It is hard to believe that I have only been in the MTC for six days. It feels like so much more then that to me and to my companion. I arrived here on Wednesday of last week. Mom cried a little. Not nearly so much as I had expected her to though. I was dropped off at the curb and two very friendly Elders who told me they were going to New Jersey to speak Korean. How cool is that?!
They took me around the MTC grounds and helped me find my name tag, the packets I would need and my Residence Hall. Honestly I had very few questions I was so excited to be there, however I did ask them to show me the Creme Soda tree, and Elder Dunn was right. It does in fact smell like Creme Soda. After that they took me to my class room and I got to meet my new companion.
My companions name is Elder Mathew Butterfield, and he is from South Jordan Utah. I like to think that we instantly connected. He knows Sign Language just like me! Then we got to meet the rest of our District and Zone. This all feels like soooo long ago to me. We got to then go and meet the Mission President of the MTC and his Presidency. The day went very well, with bonds of friendship forming between my companion and I and between our room mates Elders Write and Stimpson.
The entire week we wake at 6:30 in the morning (or earlier if you want to beat the rush to the showers) and then you get dressed and go to study. You have individual and Companion study. Then you usually go to breakfast. Most days you get 30-45 minuets for your meals (it all depends on your schedule). Then you go to class. The classes can vary form studying a certain section of Preach My Gospel, to passages of Scripture, to the Fundamentals of Missionary work. I feel like I've learned so much already. My entire class looks to me for doctrinal/scriptural knowledge. We'll be sitting in class and someone will say something along the lines of "Elder Melot, where can I find a scripture on this principle or that that topic. (I couldn't think of a specific example my mind just went blank.) It is kind of fun. And there is no down time between getting here and teaching. Day two our first day of learning we began to prepare to teach investigators. They weren't kidding when they said that from the instance you step out of your car onto the grounds you are in your service. The past several days have continued like that (with a few variables in the schedule like gym time or some such) and looks like it will continue to do so until we leave.
Still no word on the visa situation, but we are planned to leave this Sunday for.... somewhere. Yesterday Elder Merrit came into class and was all like "I know where we are going to be sent." We were all so excited until he said "On and Adventure." We all were a little irritated at him for that. But it is all in fun.
I've really enjoyed being here thus far and I can't wait to get into the Field.
I am glad that I have the
opportunity to stand before you today and give a talk, for the last
time for a few years. I hope that I can make this talk last for the
fifteen minuets that I've been given. The topic I received centers
on a verse and two questions that pertain to the verse and my calling
as a missionary. The verse is found in Jacob chapter 5 verse 72.
(READ THE VERSE) The questions that I was asked to talk on and that
hopefully I can answer are; how does this verse apply to missionary
work, and how do you get the Lord to labor with you in missionary
This verse is part of a
parable that Jacob quotes throughout most of Chapter 5 that is taken
from a Prophet named Zenos. The parable talks about a olive tree
that is beginning to wither and die. The Lord of the Vineyard is
grieved to lose the tree and so works to save it. He prunes it and
digs about it and nourishes it in an attempt to make it grow and
produce fruit. After this work parts of the tree begin to grow, but
the main branches continue to die. So the Lord sends his servant to
gather wild olive branches and graft them into the tree, and he has
the dead branches removed and thrown into a fire. Then he took
branches that were alive from the tree and placed them throughout his
garden where ever he desired. After this had been done the Lord of
the Vineyard had the tree pruned and dug about and nourished and then
they left it to grow on its own.
After some time had
passed the Master and his servant returned and found that the tree
was growing and the fruit from the wild branches had brought forth
good fruit. And the other parts that the Lord had taken off the
tree and planted and nourished had also brought forth good fruit, and
the Lord of the Vineyard had the fruit gathered and laid up in store.
Then after a long time had passed and the end was near, the Master
and his servant again checked the vineyard and found that all the
trees were bringing forth evil fruit. And the Master worried that
all his trees would have to be hewn down and cast into the fire.
The servant and the Master worked again to re-graft the old natural
branches into the first tree that it may bring forth good fruit, and
they called on servants to help them do that. And so they started
from the last to the first to care for the trees, that the good may
over come the bad and the bad may be cast into the fire. And so the
good over came the bad and at the end of the parable the Master
promised the servants that they would have joy with him because of
the fruit they had gathered.
In this parable the
Children of Israel were likened unto the Olive tree. The Master of
the Vineyard is Jesus Christ. The vineyard is the Earth and the
servants are missionaries. The parts of the tree that were cut off
and planted elsewhere are the scattered children of Israel who before
the end have to be gathered. And the fruit I think are the people,
the ones who need to be found and taught the gospel and of Christ.
All throughout the
scriptures the Lord calls for and instructs people to be
missionaries. In Jeremiah 16:16 the Lord says “Behold I will send
for many fishers, Saith the Lord, and they shall fish them and after
will I send for many hunters and they shall hunt them from every
mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks.”
The Savior in his Earthly ministry told his Apostles Peter, Andrew,
James and John that he would make them Fishers of Men. We also find
this in Doctrine and Covenants 4 where we are told “the field is
white, already to harvest.” and in John 21 when the Savior meets
his Apostles on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias and asks Peter three
times “Peter lovest thou me?” Each time Peter answers yes to
the question and the Lord responds “Feed my sheep.” My mission
call didn't say a thing about sheep but the statement “feed my
sheep” is simply put a call to missionary service.
My verse says that “The
servants did go and labor with their mights.” Mights is often
used in scriptures to mean talents. Talents can be abilities that a
person has or simply things they are good at. So essentially the
Servants did go and labor with all their mights or talents, means
that they served and gave all that they had to their service.
Doctrine and Covenants 4 says that if ye embark in the service of God
“See that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and
strength” or with all that you have. My aunts, and uncles and my
leaders and friends who have served on missions say that it is one of
the hardest things that you can do, and that it will take all that
you have and more, but that it is worth it.
I also like how the verse
says “Servants” as in plural. We are told in Doctrine and
Covenants 42: 6 that we shall “go forth two by two preaching the
gospel because in doctrine and covenants 6: 28 we are told that “in
the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
As I was finding scriptures and thinking about my topic my mom and
I were talking about it and she noticed that we even see this when
the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph in the Sacred Grove in JSH
1: 17 when it says “and one of them spake unto me calling me by
name and said pointing to the other This is My Beloved Son. Hear
Him.” Even when the Father and Son appeared they came together so
that one could support the other in all things.
The verse also emphasizes
the importance of Obedience. It says “and they did obey the
commandments of the Lord of the Vineyard in all things.” we're
taught that the commandments are there to help us and to keep us
safe. When you're on a mission they do more then that however.
They open you to the spirit of the Lord. I've been counseled by
missionaries who served both past and present to pay strict obedience
to the mission rules, and to look upon them as though they had come
straight from the Lord to me. In a way I suppose they have. I've
read stories in the Ensign about how when missionaries begin to have
trouble in an area that one of the first things they do is look at
how they treat each other and how well they follow the mission rules.
I've been told that not all of the mission rules will make sense to
me at the time I receive them, but that they are important and are
there for a reason.
I think that this verse
really lays out the basics of missionary service: You work hard for
and with the Lord and you obey the Lord, and you let the results come
in the Lords own time. And you remember how important the work is
to the Lord, as we are told in Doctrine and Covenants 18: 10
“Remember the worth of souls is great is in the sight of God.”
Now for that second
question; how do you get the Lord to labor with you. I think this
is the big one. In the past four years I've gone to camp Helaman
they taught us that we are only there to convert one person:
Ourselfs. We can't convert others, that isn't our job. Our job is
to find those who are ready to listen and learn and teach them. We
need the Spirit to do the job of converting people. And so while at
the camp they have all these great speakers come and talk to us about
inviting the Spirit and recognizing the Spirit and and trusting the
But you still have to get
the Spirit to be there with you. I think that the Spirit is always
there, ready and waiting to help you in any way that it can. You
just need to trust it. In 1st Nephi 3: 7 we see a great
example of just that. Nephi shows his courage and trust in the Lord
declaring “ I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the
children of men save He shall prepare a way that they may accomplish
that which he has commanded them.” For Nephi he had to “Go and
Do” with faith, trusting in the Lord before the Miracles could
happen. Faith always precedes the Miracles.
In Doctrine and Covenants
130: 20-21 we are promised that as we obey the Lord and his laws we
will receive blessings for that obedience. But first we have to be
willing to obey him. A perfect example of that is Abraham. He was
told to sacrifice his only son Jacob to the Lord. Abraham even
though it must have been difficult for him, was willing to obey this
commandment as was Jacob. Even though the Lord didn't make Abraham
sacrifice his son, because of his Faith and willingness to obey
Abraham and his descendants were blessed.
I think the first step in
having the spirit there to help you is to pray for it and to trust it
in what ever it tells you to do. This, I think, will open you to
the spirit and bring you closer to it.
I think aside from being
willing to obey the Lord the best way to have the Lord serve with you
is to simply do the work. In the first four books of the New
Testament we are told that “he that loseth his life for my sake
shall find it.” So we simply must lose ourselfs in the work,
forget about what is happening at home, what college we were going to
go to. Whither or not The University of Utah is going to beat BYU
again and forget about what ever may be worrying us. We are told
that when we go on a mission we are on the Lord's time, and we need
to use that time, cause two years can go really fast. I think a
great example of this is President Hinckly. He had been called to
serve in England, and after some time in the field he was feeling
frustrated. He felt he was having little if any success in his
mission. He wrote home to his dad and expressed his feelings of
worry and frustration. He even went so far as to tell his dad “I
feel I am waisting my time and your money.” his father wrote back
to him and told him simply “Gordon, forget yourself and go to
That was just what the
young elder needed to hear. He followed his father's advice and
went to work. When his mission concluded he had had a very
successful mission. He had forgotten himself and went to work as
his father had advised.
I think it is important
to remember the reason that we serve on missions, to be humble, and
that we have the faith to trust the Lord and his plan. I think
those are the best ways we have to get the Lord to labor with us.
This past weekend I
had a rough time. Last Saturday my family went to my cousin's
funeral. It was a somber occasion, and often I wondered what the
plan could have been, and what the reasons were behind the sudden
death of my cousin. Later that night I had a religious talk with my
brother Kenji which consisted of his telling me why my faith was
stupid and me trying not to let it turn into a shouting match in the
middle of Red Robins. Latter that evening when we had gotten home
my mom and dad talked with me about it. We talked about faith and
about how we may not have all the answers but that it's okay.
Because God has all the answers and is looking out for us. I hope
that when I get into the mission field I will be able to have faith
in the Lord and his plan and be able to find those that are ready to
be taught. I hope that I will be able to serve the Master and that
he will serve with me over the next two years of my mission.
Tomorrow between 4:00 and 6:30pm anyone who would like to is invited to stop in at my house and see me one more time. There will be cinnamon rolls, brownies and stuff. If you can't make it, I will miss you.
I am scheduled to enter the Provo MTC on October 16 by 2:30pm. My parents will be dropping me off at the door. I do not yet have my snail mail contact information but as soon as I do it will be posted. My email address for while I am gone is firstname.lastname@example.org.