Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Email Dated: 29 August 2011 - Part 2

Elder Johnson and Elder Record in Whitehorse, YT
NOTE: I asked Elder Record for more details about his first days in the mission home and his transfer to Whitehorse. His response follows:

We drove from the airport to the mission office [15 Aug 2011]. We met the people at the mission office. Very nice people. Then we left for the temple and took pictures. We met some of the elders at the church behind the person taking the picture of the temple. It was their p-day and they were going to play basketball.

Then we drove to the mission home, unpacked the luggage from the van, and got some orientation. We talked for a while too. Love President Beesley, coolest guy ever. We went out that evening for our "Greenie" tract. I went with an Elder named Elder Collins who is Samoan and was actually trained by my trainer Elder Johnson. So we're brothers. Elder Johnson even helped Elder Collins to learn English. Elder Collins knew some English, but Elder Johnson really helped him become able to speak it effectively. Anyway we went to teach a less active youth in the Samoan ward. Then I taught with another new missionary from my district back at the MTC, Elder Kearns, the first lesson at a family home evening with another Samoan family. They gave us food to take with us. It's their culture they just feed you. After that we went home and went to bed after dinner and other orientations. We were also told where we would be going. Elder Blackhurst (MTC companion) went to Fairbanks.

Alaskan glacier with the Chugach Mountain range to the right
In the morning [16 Aug 2011] I was interviewed by President Beesley and Sister Beesley, they did that to everyone. I was told who my trainer would be, "officially". Later we went to Eagle River to the chapel there to transfer. We all met our trainers got ready to go and had a short devotional/farewell meeting. After that Elder Johnson and I, since we had to leave in the morning unlike the others who left that day because we had further to travel, went tracting the rest of the day with some other elders who were the zone leaders for that area. We stayed at their house that night. I had taught the plan of salvation with Elder Ankney to a less active member.

In the morning we left at 5am [17 Aug 2011] for our 18 hour bus ride which left at 6am. We arrived in Whitehorse at midnight and got to bed at 1:30am. The other days were kind of crazy with tracting, planning, etc. We finally got settled into our new apt about 2 days later because it was being finished. We got our truck and about the 4th day out were finally independent, on our own, and more capable of doing the work. That's about it.

Love, Elder Record

Monday, August 29, 2011

Email Dated: 29 Aug 2011

Hi everyone,

Elder Johnson and Elder Record in Whitehorse, YT
Thank you all for the prayers. I really have felt their strength. I love the work here. Elder Johnson, my companion, says we are having unprecedented success here. We've been tracting a lot. It's not as nerve racking anymore as it used to be. It's becoming so easy to just talk about the gospel and how we know it can bless them because it's true. I'm working on doing my best to be completely sincere and genuine. I want to really love the people. The only problem with that is sometimes people brush you off and don't want you there like we're some kind of disease. It breaks my heart. I love them and want them to be happy, but they won't listen. They are denying themselves the peace that comes alone from Christ. It's almost as if I have to come to the door with an iron, I don't care about you, attitude, but loving them at the same time. It's sad though because I do love them. I hope they will eventually accept the gospel.

Elder Johnson and I are becoming Family History Consultants. We are going to start opening the Family History Center again, and we'll start holding classes to get some exposure. We not only want to help them with Family History, but we want to show them that we aren't that bad and scary after all =). People here love talking about family history, and apparently the branch has had some success in the past bringing people to family history classes and bringing in professionals to speak. We're hoping we will get a lot of people out to these things, and hopefully we will find the Lords elect even faster. We have noticed already that the Lord will place the elect in our paths. We just need to open our mouths and speak to them.

Elder Bowes and Elder Hartman
with the new Galaxy phone
Since I am the Junior companion I handle the phone and Elder Johnson drives. We got new phones that are really nice. It's a Samsung Galaxy. It's a touch screen and looks very professional. I want to get one when I get back =), although they will probably have something better by that time. Elder Johnson is from Chandler Arizona. He is very smart and has almost graduated as an English major. He is going into investment banking and wants to go clear to wall street. He is very organized and is good with spreadsheets, he loves Microsoft Excel. I told him that my Dad and him would really get along. He wants to learn a little programing too. Before coming out I knew that one thing that would help me more than most other things, whether for my mission or after I don't know, would be learning how to set good goals and plan effectively. I'm learning a lot and have determined that I will use a planner from now on for the rest of my life. =) They are so nice. Goals when not written down are just a wish list. Elder Johnson says I'll definitely be ready to train after these 12 weeks, or 2 transfers. A transfer is 6 weeks. Elder Johnson had been in Wasilla, Alaska for 10 and a half months. He was a very effective missionary, and I guess they just really needed him there. Whitehorse is only his second area he's been in. In his 10 and a half months he's trained several missionaries already. He's 24 too, so he's a little more mature than most missionaries which is nice. =) I'm sending some pictures in the mail.

Happy Birthday Mom! I didn't think about the fact that I wouldn't have a chance to say it on your birthday last Monday when I was e-mailing. I've sent you a card in the mail. I hope it is there soon. I love you.

I was just reading towards the end of Mosiah about the story of Alma and the peoples journey back to Zarahemla from the land of Nephi. It really got me thinking about how merciful the savior is. He is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness, and he will deliver us if we are faithful. Those scriptures showed me that sometimes the lord will chasten his people and test their faith. He will prove to them that he is the way. Like it says in my favorite scripture D&C 100:15-16, all our hardships and trials will work to our good if we are faithful, and to the sanctification of the church. He will raise up a pure people that will serve him in righteousness, Zion. He knows better than me, and if I am faithful, he will purify my heart because he is mighty to save. I know that the Lord can change our hearts and desires. He can bless us with comfort and encouragement. He loves us and wants us to be happy. Christ's atonement was the ultimate expression of love to me, and I will do whatever he asks me to do. What wouldn't I give for one who has done so much for me? It seems so small a price to be diligent, steadfast, obedient, patient, loving, to repent, to forgive. I would give my life for him, and that's a part of why I'm here. He has asked me to be here, and I know who the lord calls he qualifies. I feel inadequate, but I know that if I am humble, his grace is sufficient for me, and he will make my weaknesses become strengths.

Happy Birthday tomorrow Chris!!!! You're going to be a teacher soon. Awesome! I love you so much and really miss you bud. Keep studying your scriptures and doing your best and the Lord will prepare you for a mission. It's hard, but so worth it. You literally see yourself growing and look at it and laugh cause it's crazy awesome. You just gotta pray that you'll be able to forget yourself, go to work, and love the people. I'm excited for you bud. The Lord prepares who he calls and he has great things in store for you.

Love, Elder Record

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Another Guardian Angel

The little angel standing guard.

Elder Record has another guardian angel watching over his shoulder. You can see this little angel in Google street view. Here are the steps to reveal him:
  1. Click on Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada in "At A Glance" to the right.
  2. Click on Elder Record's "First Area" so the bubble pops up pointing to "First Area."
  3. Click "more" in the bubble and select Street View.
  4. This street view is from 2009, but still works. Rotate 90 degrees to the right so you are facing East. Elder Record and his companion live in the blue trailer house on the corner. The vehicles are not theirs.
  5. Now rotate 180 degrees, so you are facing due West. You should now see a blue extended cab pickup truck in front of a "Frontier" fifth wheel.
  6. Look in the lower right quadrant of the frame, just in front of the back driver side tire of the pickup truck.
  7. Behold! Elder Record's guardian angel. No one mess with Elder Record or Elder Johnson.
  8. Now click one position to the left (the left "<" sign) or due South.
  9. Turn 90 degrees to the right so you are facing North.
  10. You can see a better view of Elder Record's guardian angel, standing guard.
Protecting the missionaries. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Email Dated: 22 Aug 2011

Current Mailing Address:

159 Rainbow Road
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 5E2

I think our zone is the Juneau Zone, our district is called the Whitepass District with my companion Elder Johnson as the District Leader. There are two other Elders with us in Whitehorse, and normally you only have one set of missionaries per branch so this is very unusual. Obviously the Lord has great things in store for Whitehorse. The Elders are Elder Bowes from Roxboro, North Carolina and Elder Hartman from Sandy, Utah. Elder Johnson is from Chandler, Arizona and is 24 and very smart. He is almost done with his schooling in investment banking. He is planning on going to wall street. He is very organized and is regarded as one of, if not the, best missionary in the area. Whitehorse is our area.

It's fun, but kind of lonely here. The area is kind of dead, and we have a little branch, so it's basically me and Elder Johnson and sometimes we visit the other elders. We are not only white washing the area, but we are also opening up the area in a way because previous missionaries were kind of sent here as a kind of punishment when they were bad. President Beesley doesn't like that though and only sends missionaries he trusts out into the boonies. He sees great potential for the area. I was feeling kind of down on Saturday, but Sunday really picked me up. I love the sacrament, and it always brings me to tears with the comfort the promised spirit brings.

I met a lot of the members and even taught a practice lesson with the McCrakens (he is in the branch presidency). I taught the atonement and used Alma 7 to tie it into baptism and invited them to be baptized. We call those active member lessons and do them mainly to gain the members trust, but also for a little practice. It went over very well, and they were very impressed. I love the area. It's very pretty. I'll be sending some pictures soon. I read the words to the hymn that goes "I know that my redeemer lives, triumphant savior, son of god." The last verse hit me pretty hard. It goes, "Oh, give me thy sweet spirit still, the strength that comes alone from thee, the choice to walk the lonely road that leads to thine eternity." It was written by Gordon B. Hinkley. In his book, Standing for Something, he says that the price of leadership is loneliness. I believe it, and I've felt it lately. I still feel the loneliness, but it just comes with the smallness of the branch and not as many friends and family around. The Lord has comforted me, and even though I will feel lonely at times, I know the Lord is with me, and I will work diligently through it all. I love you and can't wait to hug you again. I think that's the biggest thing I miss is hugs. Thank you for praying for me. I'll need it for these first couple weeks till I can really lose myself in the work.

On a lighter note, I'm back to my normal diet. ☺ I basically am living off bread, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and raisin bran. I'll be sure to eat vegetables soon though. They have the best peanut butter here I have ever tasted ☺. It's sooooo good! We are basically tracting out the area too. We are going to start working with the members more, but for the most part we are tracting out the area.

I used a family history approach for Almond and Walnut streets in the Porter Creek area of Whitehorse. We had an easier time talking to people about that. I think it was definitely inspired because at one door we talked to a guy named Harvey Kearns who was doing some family history like 10 minutes before we showed up. He was very open, and we gave him a restoration DVD. He even gave us the info for an ancestor he was stuck on. We are going to help him out. I found out that Brother Hirsch in the ward is also big into family history. I guess him and I are basically the area experts on family history. I love it here.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Email Dated: 15 Aug 2011

New missionaries arrived safely in Anchorage, Alaska
standing in front of the Anchorage Alaska Temple.
Elder Record is 4th from the left.
I'm here! I love President and Sister Beesley. Sister Beesley is the sweetest lady I have ever met. The assistants to the President are awesome. They are Elder Richmond, Elder Starkie, and Elder Calk. Elder Starkie is leaving tomorrow so Elder Calk is replacing him. The flight went great. Dinner, lunch I guess I should say, was amazing. Everyone here is so nice. I have been assigned to Whitehorse, Canada. President said most of the work is here in Anchorage, so he only sends people he trusts out into the boonies. Elder Blackhurst is going to Fairbanks. Elder Richmond said my trainer is an incredible missionary. He said he has never met a more organized missionary before. President Beesley said to us that the missionaries in Whitehorse, and the missionaries he sends to Whitehorse, are top notch missionaries. I can't wait to meet my trainer. Anyway cya later.

Love, Elder Record

NOTE: Whitehorse is in the Yukon and approximately 500 miles due East of Anchorage, Alaska. It is the capitol of Yukon with a population of about 26,500 people.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Letter Dated: 13 Aug 2011

Hello everyone, glad to hear you got the pictures I sent. Today we've been having our infield orientation. I am so excited, I can't hardly keep it in. It's been an amazing experience here in the MTC, but I can't wait to really get to work. I can't wait to learn and grow from my challenges and experiences. I can't wait to set meaningful and specific goals and then plan accordingly. I know that these experiences will teach me skills that will give me a head start in the world, but more importantly the message of the restoration and gospel of Jesus Christ have blessed me with such peace and joy it's impossible to describe. I can't wait to share that joy with others, to tell them there is hope. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel which teach us how to become like our Father in Heaven. It is never too late for any of us. His arm of mercy is extended to all who will believe on his name, and when we don't, he loves us still. God intends for us to have peace and joy in this life and in the life after.

The in-field orientation was amazing. It was a full day of training giving us the vision of missionary work out in the field. This was new training, and we were some of the first missionaries to officially get it. They also told us about a new training they've started in the field. They have new missionaries stay with their trainer for 12 weeks instead of 6. At the end of this training, we will be trained enough to become trainers ourselves. I am so excited. We have been provided with the newest and best training available to become the best missionaries the Lord has ever had. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated on how it goes. I love you all with all my heart, especially Mom and Dad.

Love, Elder Record

Phone Call from Elder Record

Delta's web site let us track his flight.
We just got a phone call from Elder Record. He is at the Salt Lake City airport, and sounds great. The most important information is his new mailing address:

Elder Jason W. Record
Alaska Anchorage Mission
3250 Strawberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99502

P.S. - Elder Record made it safe to Alaska.

President Beesley, Elder Record's Mission President

Fort Worth Texas Stake Presidency Jon S. Beesley, center
Brent E. Petersen, left, and Bruce L. Willden, right.
The Alaska Anchorage Mission changed mission presidencies in July 2011. Elder Record received information about President Clark being his new mission president. Elder Record had been corresponding with the son of Sheri's best friend from college, Elder Wallace. Elder Wallace said there had been a change in mission presidents, and that President Jon Beesley would actually be the new mission president. President Beesley had been assigned as the mission president for the Russia St. Petersburg Mission originally, but the US government had red flagged him and prevented him from going to Russia because he had worked at Lockheed Martin and knew too much about US flight technology. Well I did a little research and now understand a lot better why President Beesley was reassigned to the Alaska Anchorage Mission. It was for his own safety and to protect US interests.

Read this Church News Article for more details.

Flying to Alaska

Elder Record is leaving the MTC today and flying to Anchorage, Alaska. He has had cabin fever at the MTC, aching for this day to arrive. However, he has tried hard to be patient and learn all that he needs to learn in the MTC, which has made the time go by much faster than he expected. Regardless, I imagine his excitement is truly overwhelming today.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Letter Dated: 10 Aug 2011

Hi everyone,

I've been so busy here. It's so much fun teaching people in the TRC. I'm learning a lot about how to adjust lessons and doctrine to what the person needs. I'm learning how to teach with the spirit. I'm sending, with the pictures, a picture of my district at the Provo temple.
Back: Sister Hunt, Sister Clemons, Elder Chao, Elder Cooper, Elder Record, Elder Blackhurst, Elder Allred, Elder Steeple, Sister Watson, Sister Caton;
Front: Elder Kearns, Elder Fisher

Me, Elders Blackhurst, Steeple, Fisher, Kearns, and Sister Watson are all going to Alaska. So that's 6 of the 12 Alaskan missionaries in the MTC in our district. Sisters Hunt and Clemons are going to Louisville, Kentucky. The rest are going to the New York, Utica mission, which is most of the state. I took a picture of a map of the missions, you can see it there.

Map of Mission Boundaries
I can't believe I leave on Monday. It seems like forever and that no time passed all at once. All the previous days have melded into one day. I can't really distinguish one day from the next.

I hope everyone is having a good time. I can't wait to eat normal food again. I eat mostly salad every day because the food clogs your system. Just lettuce and croutons, water, and a little of the entree. It keeps my body working normal.

One thing I've learned is that the spirit works in us to do the Lord's work whether I know what's going on or not.

I've learned some greetings in other languages. My favorite is Tagalog. Kumusta po kayo is how are you. If you could spell it in English, I would write hello in Russian, so this is as phonetic as I can do. Ustrasviche.

Elder Blackhurst and Elder Record, MTC Companions
The gospel is true. If it wasn't, I know from seeing other Elders, that we would have ruined everything a long time ago. Thanks for all the letters. I love hearing from everyone. Thanks for keeping me posted about Courtyard Lorielle. If anyone wants to write the Elders and Sisters in my district their address is the same as mine, until we leave on the 15th. Dear elder works great. E-mail is not very good. I can't ever really use it. Letters are the best. I love you all.

The brownies were awesome. Everyone loved them. I'm famous for the brownies now. It made some cry or yell, but everyone loved them. Like always, nobody believes a brownie can be hot. I've even given the recipe to our zone leaders. Thanks dad.

Love, Elder Jason Record

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Travel Plans Finalized

Elder Record leaves the Salt Lake City airport on Monday, 15 August at 10:00am MDT, and arrives in Anchorage, Alaska at 3:02pm MDT. He will not have another preparation day before he leaves. Please make sure all letters or packages arrive at the MTC no later than this Friday, 12 August. Mail may not get delivered over the weekend. Any mail after that may not make it to him. I expect they will be forwarded, but I'm not sure.

His new mailing address after Friday, 12 August will be:

Elder Jason W. Record
Alaska Anchorage Mission
3250 Strawberry Road
Anchorage, AK 99502

Dragon Brownie for a Teacher

I got an email from Elder Record sharing an experience he had with one of his teachers. Here it is.

Brownies were awesome.  One of my teachers, brother Matt Ang tried one and was like, "These are hot.  These are really hot.  Wow, these are really hot!  Oh my goodness, these are really hot!"  His face went red.  He's from Singapore and is used to spicy food.  He said, "That wasn't spicy.  It was just hot.  I can't even describe that."
-Elder Record

So my Dragon Brownies continue to be legendary.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dragon Brownies for Elder Record

I just sent a box of Dragon Brownies to Elder Record. He is already on fire, but this will really light up his district. I did send some normal brownies too, but I just couldn't help myself.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Letter Dated: 3 Aug 2011

Sorry if my last letter sounded rushed. It was. I had to write during study time. I have P-day on Wednesdays, so this letter should be better.

These past few days seem as long as forever, but have passed in the blink of an eye. I've had the opportunity to give 2 blessings. Yesterday was so filled with the spirit. I didn't know if I could handle it all. The MTC is incredible. I love the growth I'm having, but I have to say that I do have cabin fever for Alaska. I love you all and think about you, but the spirit is too strong here to get homesick right now. ☺

I know that the Lord has selected everyone in my district to be there. There is so much love between the 12 of us, 4 sisters. The Lord is purifying us and preparing us. I see other districts and am glad that I am in mine with Elder Blackhurst as my companion. We taught a less active couple in the TRL yesterday morning. The spirit was so strong there as we encouraged them and loved them. We testified that Jesus is the Christ, and he is mighty to save. He can change our hearts. I shared an experience when the Lord changed my heart and gave me strength to overcome my weaknesses. I felt the spirit so strong. We were all in tears. The whole day we felt the Spirit. My companion couldn't stop smiling the whole day.

We're learning a lot and practicing even more. It's hard, but it will be so worth it. There is too much going on to tell it all. Robert Swenson, director of missionary services, and Gerald N. Lund have come to speak to us. I can already see the Lord fulfilling his promises to me. Right now I feel physically and spiritually stronger than ever before. I know the Lord's hand is in this work. Our district is becoming a Zion district and we are becoming Zion missionaries, D&C 100:15-16.

I love you all and hope you are all happy.

-Elder Record

NOTE: Elder Record also expressed his gratitude for all the letters he has received.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Letter Dated: 30 Jul 2011

This week has been so packed. I didn't think it was possible to have this much to do. Even though they gave us a set schedule, I (and everyone else new) was so lost. The first day, Wednesday evening, they started us teaching investigators. All the new missionaries were in a room together with an actor/investigator. For the first two investigators missionaries who had been there a while came in and started off the lesson. It was then opened up to the new missionaries to teach what they thought the investigator needed. I tried a couple of times with the first two people, but it was hard and I messed up. The third investigator/actor was someone named Chicho from Italy. This time there were no missionaries so they asked my companion, Elder Blackhurst, and I if we would start off. We “knocked on the door” and introduced ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS and asked him a little about himself. Then it opened up to everyone. Some gave relevant answers, but others were completely off topic. Through questions that we asked, and background information that was given to us, we learned that he was Catholic. He said he felt like he had lost his soul because he didn't think his child needed to be baptized as an infant, but his baby died a few months later. He felt like it was his fault that his baby was in limbo, as the Catholic belief goes. I had the last turn to talk with him. I said, “Chicho, do you remember that book that your friend Tony gave you?”
“There is a scripture in there that answers your question.”
“What page is it on?”
“Page 525” (He flips there.) “Do you see chapter 8?”
“Will you read verse 8 for me?”
“Yes.” He then read the scripture.

I talked about the verse with him and told him that Jesus came down to heal the sick. He said he remembered that in the bible. I told him that little children are whole and need no physician. We talked a little more about it, but that's the gist of what I said. I then bore testimony of the truth of that principle and reassured him that he has not lost his soul, but that he has hope in Christ's atonement. I bore testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I challenged him to read it and pray to know if it was true. I felt the Spirit, and I promised him that he would receive an answer if he prayed with a sincere heart with real intent and having faith that he will receive an answer. The teacher stopped us there and said we were out of time. He pulled me aside as we were leaving and said it was interesting that I opened and closed with that investigator. The Spirit was there to testify of the truth that was being taught. 
We were organized into districts. My district didn't really know what to do and we were splitting off into championships to do things. I felt that something was off. Thankfully I have a companion with enthusiasm about the work and a firm testimony. We are becoming good friends. Thursday night we met with our branch presidency. That is exactly what we needed, Priesthood leadership. We found out that we were supposed to be sticking together as a district. They met with us individually to get to know us and where we are at spiritually. From there on we have grown so much in unity as a district. I was chosen to be the district leader; AKA, the mailman. Even though I mostly get the mail, I am to preside over my district, lead in discussions, conduct meetings, and interview the senior companions to find out how the companionships are doing and check up on their goals. I also get extra training :). 
Things are really picking up and coming together. I feel the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this church is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he is mighty to save. I was a little discouraged the first couple days, but the Spirit directed me to Ether 12:27 in the Book of Mormon. If I humble myself, he will comfort me, stand by me, and teach me, and he will make my weaknesses become strengths. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I challenge everyone to read it. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. I testify that our Father in Heaven is mindful of us, loves us, and wants to talk with us through prayer. I also challenge everyone who has not, to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. If it is, Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and this is Christ's church on earth today. I testify that these things are true, I have received my own witness. I also know that baptism is essential to entering God's Kingdom and coming to Christ (see John 3:5). I challenge all who haven't, to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God which authority is had in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

-Elder Record