Thursday, June 28, 2012

First Day in the Mission Field: June 25, 2012

Sister Fisher, Elder Jack, Sister Black, President Black, Elder Chapman, Elder San Miguel Elders Benioni, Rawlings, Gidewall, Blanco, Nelson, Hart, Houghton, Gregory-Tews, Aldridge, Elders Cook, Richards, Wilcock, Parker, Empey, Murry, John, Baker, Tanner, Johnson, Hunsaker

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 13: June 18, 2012

Dear family,
So today is Monday the 18th, I think. We have in field orientation and we’re learning a lot of things that can help us start conversations. I see now how Lisa can go up to random people and have the skills to relate to them! The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve will be here this week and an elder from our zone gets to pass the sacrament to them. I met Chelsea’s cousin who reported the same day as me.
Simon Dewey’s son is in our zone! Which is pretty awesome!
Well I don’t have much time left, have to get to in field orientation. But I arrive in Las Vegas at 8:55 am Monday the 25th so look for my pic on the mission blog next week.
I love you all!
Elder John
All of my letter you can forward to whomever or put in on the blog or whatever. Here are some more letters from each day. If you could keep them organized and in a safe place that would be great!
Pres. Hendersen (our Branch Pres.)
“Work hard and sleep well”  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 12: June 17, 2012

Today was great! Sundays are amazing! I saw Brianna Downey, I think, singing at the fireside tonight! But I didn’t get to talk to her. We got to go to the temple today and walk on the temple grounds. Not much is going on except our in field orientation is tomorrow so we have to p-day. But I love you all!
Elder John

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day 11: June 16, 2012

Dear family,
Today was great! We taught a woman who was a street contact and so we had no idea what to prep for. We knocked on the door and it was very awkward at first but them we got to talking and she brought up how the trinity doesn’t make sense and it, after forty minutes, led to the first vision and it went great! We almost committed her to baptism but we didn’t have time. But she gave us a poem she wrote for her father and she gave us a copy and wrote Keith John on it. English isn’t her first language so none of it makes sense. 
But at the end of the day our teacher told us that he taught 2 other districts who were getting ready to leave and we were months ahead of them because we were “willing to pay the price to receive revelation.”
My companion also hit bottom today, as I did the other day. But he’s better now and our companionship has grown. As you are on a mission the veil is so thin that you can realize the power of the Savior and the power of the devil. We are also on such a spiritual high all the time that we don’t realize we’re feeling the spirit most of the time. And our teacher pointed out that he does into “Babylon” every day and comes into the MTC and realizes that we’re always in the spirit.
So today we went through trials and had great experience. I’m so excited for Sunday! Even though every day is Sunday L Oh! And we have “in field orientation” Mondy, so we don’t have a prep day and we leave the MTC on the 25th so we’ve only had one p-day at the MTC. Anyway... I love you all so much!
Elder John

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 10: June 15, 2012

Today was great in the morning but it did not go well at all in the afternoon. This morning we committed a sister to baptism and we’re going to be working with her and I think it will go great. But we just, before bedtime, taught Jake (?) and it didn’t go well at all. I couldn’t speak even when I tried I couldn’t think of anything intelligent today.
Well today went great but didn’t end well... And that’s all I want to say about that, in my Forrest Gump voice.
So I love you all!
Elder John

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 9: June 14, 2012

Dear family,
Yesterday and today was the most depressed I’ve felt. I’ve been thinking of myself and my inadequacies in teaching. But our teacher felt impressed to share a story. When she was about a year into her mission she had been feeling really depressed and she was just sleeping and feeling sorry for herself. She heard a voice tell her to just get over herself and go to work. She told us that we can choose to be happy. So I applied it right then!
Then in the afternoon we got to meet with Brother Taylor and he taught us how to receive revelation through prayer, and I was asked to be the investigator in the demonstration. I prepped to be the investigator and I really was expecting to just pretend and go through motions. But I had a great experience after I prayed as the investigator to feel that what the missionaries taught me was true. And after we just sat there and thought about it and I could feel the spirit so strong!
We then got to practice with each other and Elder Murry and I went into a room and he was the investigator. We went through some of his problems and I asked him to pray. We got on the floor and it took him 10 minutes to finish the prayer and it was difficult because I didn’t know what to say. But as I sat in silence I could feel the words that I should say.
After we had finished I said to Elder Murry, “I didn’t do too well.” Then he said, “Did you feel the spirit?” I said “yes.” Then he said, “I felt the spirit, and if you feel the spirit and the investigator feels the spirit, you can’t say you didn’t do a good job.”
Then Brother Taylor came in and asked how it went. I told him that it went great and we talked a little bit about it. He then said, “So next time think more, ‘did I help them come unto Christ’, and not, ‘how did I do in teaching’.”
These last few days I’ve learned a lot of how the Spirit words and how the devil works in my life. I’m very grateful to be serving a mission and I can’t wait to be in the field!
I love you all!!!
Elder John

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 7: June 12, 2012

Dear family,
Today was amazing! The last four days have been really difficult. I’ve felt the most depressed I have ever felt. I’ve been praying and praying, the hardest I have ever, to be able to teach and have the spirit with me and just think of the investigator’s needs.
But! Today, Brother Beheshti came and asked if he could meet with me one on one, as he’s done with each missionary in the district. We started with a prayer and he prayed that I would be able to open up and share my true feelings. He then started off by saying that, of what he sees so far, he sees that I have a great desire to do well and I am a good worker and will be obedient. He said that he does not say these things to every missionary. He then said that of what he can see in me... I have great faith, but general faith. Faith that sooner or later things will get better. He showed me Ether 12:6 and had me read everything that pertains to faith. He then explained that Lamen and Lemuel did everything that Nephi did, until they got to the promised land. And that they lacked faith, but not comparing me to Lamen and Lemuel :). He then said that he perceives that I need to develop faith in the “now”. I have everything required of me but I had faith in the here and now, and that God will fill my mouth. He then said, “Don’t quit, and have real faith.” This is the answer to all my prayers. I felt the spirit more then than I ever have in the MTC. I am so grateful to Brother Beheshti and his relationship with the spirit.
Well tomorrow is green tie day! Everyday we coordinate ties and the sisters’ dresses, and since it’s Wednesday, it’s green tie greenie day! I can’t wait to be a week old and not be the newest one here. When I was new, everyone would say “Elder! Welcome to the MTC!” And I mean everyone. So I can’t wait to do that! Also, Elder Husaker is going to ask one of the greenies if he can practice bearing his testimony in his mission language. Then he’s just going to make up a language and freak them out by saying he’s only been here for like 3 weeks. Well I better go! Thank you so much to everyone who wrote me letter! I promise I’ll write you all back soon! Love you all!
Elder John

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 6: June 11, 2012

Day 6: June 11, 2012
Dear family!
First prep day! And I just found out that they’ll be video-taping us tomorrow for our new investigator... so I’m not feeling very good about that!
But these next pages are just what I wrote down about every day. So if you want to type them up and put them on the blog, if Christy still wants to do one... And I’ll be sending an e-mail today but we only have a few minutes when we can send e-mails so I’ll write letters mostly.
Well hope you enjoy these next few letters!
Love you all!
Elder John

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 5: June 10, 2012

Dear family,
Today was great! First Sunday in the MTC! Yesterday was difficult. I was just consumed with myself and we couldn’t feel the spirit when we taught.
Today we finally got taught and we didn’t have to teach it to an investigator after!
We got to hear from Elder Allen today! (an area authority) He showed a bunch of clips of Mormon commercials and there were a bunch of great quotes I’ll send you sometime! But it was great!
Also we got to sing in the choir which was awesome! We sang Be Still My Soul, which helped with this crappiness :)
Back to what Elder Allen said, he said that this is the hardest part of the mission. And that was great to hear because it is really hard. But it’s difficult to explain it.
The elders and sisters in our district are amazing!
                -Sister Williams – She’s from Canada going to a Canadian mission. She’s very confident in herself and she sometimes says things that could come across as mean but she’s just blunt. But she’s really a great person!
                -Sister Fishcer – She’s a very matter of fact person and very logical! She gives everyone a compliment and she’s a great listener. And she’s not afraid to tell her opinion.
                -Sister Coon (?) – She’s very shy. But she’s a great listener. And is very in touch with the spirit.
                -Sister Salfi – is from Canada- on her way to Denver South. She thinks every question she asks is stupid but she still speaks with authority and is a very caring person who is concerned about everyone.
                -Elder Tanner – from Virginia – Las Vegas West – he’s a very smart person and is a logical thinker who knows a lot about the scriptures. Whenever he walks he’s all stiff and it’s hilarious!
                -Elder Empy – from Texas – Las Vegas West – he’s the first person I met when I came into my classroom. He’s awesome! We so hope we’ll be companions someday!
                -Elder Chapman – from Farmington, New Mexico, to Las Vegas West. He has some problems catching up. And has not read the Book of Mormon. But he brings a different spirit to our lessons.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day 4: June 9, 2012

Dear family,
Today was the most difficult day mentally. This work is tough on the mind, spirit, and body. Our lessons have not been going well... My companion and I haven’t been teaching well so far. But after all it is the first 4 days. But today we learned more about how to plan so our personal and companionship study can fit what the investigator needs.
We got a new investigator today, whom we teach on Tuesday. So that’s very stressful.
I see other missionaries who have been here 10 days and envy them because they know so much. But I have to keep telling myself that I’ll get there if I have trust in the Lord and exercise faith.
Also, Brother Beheshti, a teacher in our zone, came in and told a story about two couples on Strawberry Reservoir. It was in January so the water was very cold. Their boat tipped and they decided that one couple would stay with the boat and go with the current and another couple would try to swim against the current, since it was a shorter distance. After 4 hours, the couple with the boat reached shore and realized that the man of the other couple couldn’t find his wife. So they went into town and got a search party, of which Brother Beheshti was a member. After hours of scanning the shore the fire marshal forced everyone to come in and take a rest. So they all went in and there was a seat empty... So they went out and saw the husband of the lady missing outside looking. After a while they forced him to come in. He picked up his hot chocolate and slammed it on the table and went out looking for her. Brother Beheshti said that we have an investigator that we should spend every spare second we have to try and find them.
It made me finally forget myself today and focus on the investigator again.
Love you all.
Elder John

Friday, June 8, 2012

Day 3: June 8, 2012

Dear family,
Today was the hardest day so far. Mentally, to get past yourself is very taxing. We are exposed to so much information and we have very little understanding of how to put it into action. Today I felt sorry for myself and more...inadequate than ever. I feel that my relationship with my comp. is not as good as my relationship with the other elders in the district, which causes our teaching, or at least how I perceive our teaching, to falter a bit. We had our first gym period today which was exciting! And it’s weird to see myself in clothes other than a shirt and tie.
Today we also taught lessons with some elders in our zone, who have been here for a week. We walked in and began to listen to who the “investigator” was. (The investigator is an elder, role playing). We then said a prayer and to my surprise he said “Okay, are you ready?” and I thought we’d have time to prepare what we were going to say! And it turn out we were supposed to :) But the man was a marine who had been in the marines for 6 years. His platoon was ambushed and he was the only one that survived. This elder made it impossible for us to teach him. So I guess tomorrow can only get better.
Back to how I feel about my inadequacies... I feel now that it’s not about me... but what the investigator needs.
In our classroom tonight... we all got to feel the spirit so strongly... we envisioned our first door we knock on. That they let us in and we baptize them and they receive the priesthood and can bless their own families. This allowed me to look outside myself and focus on others.
I haven’t been here a week but everyone says that the “weeks feel like days and the days feel like weeks” – and it is definitely true! Love you all!
Elder John

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 2: June 7, 2012

Dear family,
So today was our first class period! It was like 4 hours long but we all felt the spirit and had a great experience! I started to get a little nervous since we’re teaching our first investigator tomorrow morning. Also my companion is a little immature. So, at first, I didn’t think I’d get along with him spiritually. Our companionship study times weren’t really going too well. It felt like I was just reading instead of listening to the spirit. But as the day went on and we made our lesson plan for tomorrow, which is not as easy task, we began to grow together. Today I got my first mail from my parents so that was really exciting! I also saw Elder Downey! At first I was like “Dude!” But then I corrected myself and said “Elder!” and then we hugged and I said “Dude!” then “Elder!” haha Well today was a great experience to grow close to my district and my companion! It’s a blast!
Elder John

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 1: June 6, 2012

Dear family,
Well, I’ve decided to write each day and then send it on my p-day. So today is my first day. It’s been a long 3 days since I got set apart cause my mom’s been crying and everything. But today I reported to the MTC at 1:00 and just said “See ya in two years!” So we went through and got our name tag and picture, and orientation, met our district: two sisters going to Toronto, two sisters going to Denver, South, and 3 sets of elders going to Las Vegas West. So we went to our classroom and companions were showing up. But mine didn’t come. So we went to another meeting, then dinner and he still hadn’t shown up. Well finally he showed up when I was unpacking and he’s from Arizona and he’s really immature and so he gives me a chance to exercise my patience. :)

Entering the MTC

Elder John entering the MTC in Provo, Utah on June 6, 2012.