Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Transcription: 27 December 2011

Hello everybody, today is December 27th, and I didn't email yesterday because of the holiday – the library was closed.

This week has been a very good week, not only with Christmas (haha), but we were able to teach a lot of people. There is this little girl who is the niece of one of the counselors in our Elder's Quorum, and she is nine and needed to take the lessons and be baptized as a convert. So we have been able to teach her all four of the missionary lessons this week. That was really fun.

We called up the bishop on Tuesday night and asked him for names of people he was thinking about, like less active people, or anybody. So, we got a list of some people and that was really exciting. We started to go visit some. A lot of work is being opened up, so we are really excited about that – we are going to start to visit more people and teach them lessons. We should be getting a lot of referrals pretty soon.

On Sunday we had a class, and one of our investigators showed up to Church – well he wasn't one of our investigators then, but he said he came because he wanted to learn more about the Church and to know where his wife was coming from because she is a member, and he came ready to learn (haha), so we had a class after Sacrament meeting. I didn't want it to be just us missionaries and him, so I asked Mark Fa'nene, one of the members, if he could get some members to come into the class – and he went and got some YSA people and brought them in. We had a good class. We almost finished the entire first lesson. We also had a really good discussion. We talked about a lot of things. Some of the less active members don't know very much about the Church so it was nice for them because they felt open and comfortable enough to start asking questions. We would answer them, and they really liked that. We are excited to see a lot of progress there.

We visited a lot of the members this week, especially on Christmas. On P-day our ward had games. They basically played volleyball and basketball almost the entire day. We went there and played with them – that was fun.

This week, we were able to do more work than I have ever done here before in a week. I really enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed being with Elder Leota because he likes to work hard. It's fun. I'm starting to get the hang of things (haha). I've been out for five months. Initially it is kind of hard, but it's nice because I'm really feeling like I'm starting to get used to how things work. I don't have to worry so much if I'm doing it right.

I really like the scriptures, and I know the Book of Mormon is true. Whenever I read it, I find comfort and guidance in the scriptures; particularly in the Book of Mormon. I am thankful for all that my Savior has done for me, and for His atoning sacrifice. I love the Gospel. I love the prophet. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet. I am thankful for families. I am thankful for the opportunity that we have in the Gospel and also the hope that it brings. A lot of people worry about what is going to happen next. I feel like in the Gospel we don't have to worry about that so much because we know as we are doing good, it will all work out in the end. No matter how hard things get, no matter how tough it is, as long as we endure, then it will all work out – however that plays out, we know that we will be okay because of our Savior. I know that is true, and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Phone Call: 25 December 2011

We got a phone call from Elder Record today. We planned on using Skype, but it would not work properly, so we enjoyed a long phone conversation with him. We clarified that he has his new companion, Elder Leota. They are working hard. He has spoken with Elder Johnson and knew about the baptism in his previous area. He mentioned that he has made Dragon Brownies for the district in Anchorage. They were a big hit. After we spoke with him on speaker phone for a while, he took turns talking individually with each of his siblings. Sheri and I were the last ones to talk with him. He is doing very well, is adjusted to the cold and rarely uses his winter jacket. He absolutely loves the Samoan people and never wants to leave the Northern Lights Ward.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baptism: 21 December 2011

Elder Record, Sister Brown, Katie Lewis, Brother Jude, Elder Johnson
taken Nov 2011.

We just found out from Elder Johnson, Elder Record's previous companion in Whitehorse, YT, that one of Elder Johnson and Elder Record's investigators was just baptized. Katie Lewis was baptized on Saturday, 17 December 2011 by Elder Brad Johnson. We are not sure if Elder Record is aware of the baptism yet, because he is in Anchorage.  We are so excited to talk with him about it on Christmas day. He will be calling us on Christmas. We are planning to use Skype for a video call. The following is a quote from Elder Johnson's blog regarding Sister Lewis' baptism.

"We've had an amazing week. Out of the blue, Katie Lewis, an investigator that Elder Record and I began teaching decided that she wanted to get baptized before I left. She determined all that she was holding out for wasn't important and that she just needed to take the step of faith. She was baptized yesterday--the service was amazing."

Elder Johnson, ?, Katie Lewis, Sister Brown, Elder Norris
 Missionary work is so exciting!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Questions: 19 December 2011

Elder Caleb Wallace and Elder Jason Record, Anchorage, AK

Lorielle: How did you not go completely INSANE waiting to leave on your mission?
Haha, don't know. Work I guess.

Lorielle: Have you heard of the "Just one more" theory? Knock on one more door. Talk to just one more person. Pray just one more time. Plan just one more day.
Now I have =)

I'm so excited for this next transfer!!! I can't wait to be with Elder Leota! FYI our area this entire transfer was just Northern Lights. Last transfer Northern Lights and Chester Valley were combined. They are 2 separate wards now and will be this next transfer.

Love, Elder Record

Transcription: 19 December 2011

Good morning everybody, this is Elder Record and today is the 19th of December.

This week we had Zone Conference. It was like a Christmas party/Zone Conference type of thing. It was pretty cool. At the beginning of Zone Conference we talked about the meaning of Christmas, why we need a Savior, and we talked about the Christmas story. We also practiced different aspects of missionary work and role playing a Christmas message we would share with people. We ate dinner there. We watched a slide show of a bunch of pictures the missionaries had taken with Christmas music along with it. The whole Zone Conference was pretty fun because you get to be with a bunch of missionaries and refocus on what we are supposed to be doing.

We also got stockings (haha), that were apparently stuffed by a lot of the parents. I don't know how they did it or how many parents got stuff for the stockings, but that was very fun. We were able to enjoy having a stocking. It has been pretty exciting, but it has been a little different. Christmas is not commercialized at all for us as missionaries because we are not listening to the radio and we are not shopping a ton. We are basically flooded with what Christmas is all about, the scriptures and things like that (haha). So, it is like an anticipation, but it is not like anything with presents or worldly things like that. It's different – it's kind of cool. You feel like you want to serve people more and really do what the Savior did when He was on the earth. So that was Zone Conference.

The next day we had a fireside with all the missionaries who were going home. It was a musical fireside, and I recorded most of it. A couple of the elders are really good. I really enjoyed it. They had some non-members there and some people who were members. It was just a really neat experience. We have a lot of talent in the missionaries out here (haha).

We just finished a transfer, so today is technically part of my fourth transfer. One of the new missionaries coming up is a concert pianist and another is a cellist. So that will be cool, because I want to learn how to play the cello (haha). I won't be learning on my mission, but it will be fun to talk with somebody who plays the cello. I got my transfer call Saturday morning, and I found out that Elder Curtin will be leaving for Petersburg, in the Southeast of Alaska. I will be staying, and I will be the senior companion. Elder Leota will be coming into the area, and he is from Samoa. This will be his third transfer and my fourth transfer, so we will both be pretty new. We'll have to work together pretty good. He's going to help me learn Samoan, and I am going to help him finish learning English (haha). That will be really nice having a Samoan missionary in the Samoan ward, because they can just connect on a deeper level than we can who don't speak the language. I mean they don't have that language barrier and can understand what's going on – and I'll understand what's going on because I'll have Elder Leota. So I'm pretty excited about having Elder Leota come in, and we are going to work hard.

On Sunday, just yesterday, we had this guy show up who said, “I'm not a member, but I want to learn more, because my wife's a member.” So, we taught him and got some members to join the lesson, and it was a very good discussion. Sundays are just awesome now, because people are just starting to get the missionary spirit. We are also starting to get really good unity with the ward members. Like, today a lot of them are going to come over to play basketball with us. The missionaries play basketball every Monday. It will be fun, and we are excited to have them come.

I really like those conference DVDs because I can re-watch conference. I really enjoyed Elder Quentin L. Cook's talk in the last session of conference. It was good because it kind of helps answer the questions of one of the members, who was in our class on Sunday. We may end up showing that to them. I loved Elaine S. Dalton's talk, “You're Never Alone.” I thought that was really good and would be worth watching again.

I know the Church is true. I know it's not easy, but as we stick with it and endure to the end, the Lord will be with us. The important thing is to pray for help, because we can't do it alone. A lot of times when we don't want to do stuff or we are scared to do it, or whatever; we can pray for help and for the Lord to change our hearts, and I know that He will, and He does. He has done that with me on multiple occasions. It is not easy being a missionary. It's fun … and in a way it's easy, but it's not. It's interesting. You have to be on a mission to understand how easy – hard it is (haha). There are times when I have felt like not doing something, or been scared to do it; and I will have to pray and rely on the Lord, and He gets me through it. You can't serve a mission alone, you have to rely on the Lord. So it's important that you study the scriptures a lot and do your best to remain close to the Lord and avoid all forms of worldly entertainment like the white handbook says. If you are not letting virtue garnish your thoughts unceasingly, then you get distracted very easily. You suddenly realize you don't have the Spirit and you don't know what to do, so you have to pray and resolve to do better; that is what's wonderful about the Atonement. I know that Jesus Christ died for us and that through Him we can become better, and we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again. I know that we can rely on the Lord's strength, and He will get us through it.

I am thankful for the Gospel, and I am thankful for all of you who have taught me so much; especially Chris. I am so thankful for you Chris because I have learned so much from you. I am so thankful that I have had all my family to help teach me how to love people. Like I have said before, I love my family more than I ever have before. I am thankful for the Gospel. I know it's true. I know that we are never alone, that the Savior is always there with us, and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Questions: 12 December 2011

Chris: I am sending you an imaginary hug, please send one back in your next audio.
You got it buddy.

I was listening to a song earlier, I think even before I said anything, that talked about a boy who received a letter from his brother on a mission that made all the difference for him. I now know why I felt the spirit so strong as I listened to that song. I love you with all my heart, and my love for you and confidence in you grows stronger every day. I love you now more than I ever have before. There are times when I think about you and the potential you have and I feel so much love for you that the feeling seems to swell too big for me and I am moved to tears. I love you Chris. You are the man. You've got so much charisma and Lord needs you. The CD I listened to that song on was called The Work, and it says something like Nashville tribute on it or something like that. That CD is another one on my list of CD's to get.

Annelise: Have you seen the Northern Lights yet?

Dad: Do you know when you will be calling for Christmas? We would like to all be here and be prepared. When you call, please call my cell phone. It has a speaker phone so everyone can hear.
Anytime that day, I was thinking after you and I open presents. K

Dad: Can you arrange to use Skype for your Christmas call?
I will see what I can do. I'll be going to the mission home today for p-day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Transcription: 12 December 2011

Helloo. Today is the 12th of December. I got kind of lazy and I didn't do this on Sunday. I waited until the last second until this morning on Monday to finish it. But that's okay, because it really doesn't matter (haha). Last Monday was kind of fun. It was a good P-day. We played basketball at one point. Some of the members wanted to come, so we let them (haha). There was this one guy, his name is Mark. He is a returned missionary from Santiago, Chile. He's pretty cool. He was there at basketball, and so was the Young Men's president and his son. That was fun.

Later in the week, I went to the family history center. They have these books with Samoan genealogy. You go back far enough and they only kept oral records. So, basically a leading genealogy expert went through and got all the interviews, compiled all the information together, and wrote down all the lines of basically all Samoan family history that is done or that people know about. They have those three books there. I was able to arrange to get a copy of the first book, so I have a complete copy of the book. It is like 175 pages, but surprisingly it didn't cost that much – it was like $5.00 (haha).

We were able to teach an investigator who has an easier time speaking Samoan. We were able to show him “How Rare a Possession,” that everyone sent me, in Samoan. That was pretty cool – that is one of the few movies that is actually in Samoan.

On Wednesday, I think, we had dinner with our Ward Mission Leader, and I was able to get my testimony on Samoan. I have it written down. I am still working on being able to say everything. Oh, I also found out what Eric's name is, in Samoan. It's Elika. Elika Fa'amaumauga. When our Ward Mission Leader was doing my testimony, he also did the beginning part that is customary in Samoan culture. They like to give little proverbs, or whatever, at the beginning. He made sure it was a very respectful language, so it's pretty cool. It will be good. So I will work on that.

For our district meeting, our district lunch we went to IHOP, and it was really good (haha). I had French toast! – like I always do (haha). Oh, and then I got Grandpa's fudge in the mail. It was sooo good. I've shared it with a few people (haha). Oh man! It's good. I've been eating a lot of it, but I'm still staying healthy because actually on Monday I bought a bunch of vegetables, so I'm eating vegetables and fruit. I take my vitamins and exercise a lot. In fact, we will play basketball in the mornings. We'll wake up a little early and play basketball. On the days I don't play basketball, I will do strength training and work out. So I'm staying in pretty good shape. The caramels are pretty good, too – that Grandpa sent (haha).

A family in the ward, the Fiame's, Brother Fiame is actually in the bishopric; we went to dinner with them. We found out that they used to live in California, then they moved to Oklahoma and were there for like six years. They met a bunch of missionaries out there. They lived closer to Oklahoma City than Tulsa. I think they had to go through Oklahoma City to get to Tulsa. Anyway, they used to live there, I thought that was pretty cool, and I thought of Lorielle (haha).

On Sunday it was awesome! Normally it's been pretty disorganized. The Elders will just meet with the High Priests and just kind of do whatever. Sunday School was also a bit disorganized. But yesterday for Elder's quorum, they actually had an Elder's quorum. A lot of the Elder's quorum presidency work, so they are not able to be there, but one of the counselors was able to be there. So he is now getting everything organized and set up. In Elder's quorum we talked about how we want to build the brotherhood or the unity of the quorum and basically establish Zion. You know, build each other up, strengthen the feeble knees, lift up the hands that hang down, like the scriptures say. They are really getting the missionary spirit (haha), and they are going to be good examples for the youth, and getting them excited about the Gospel and serving missions. One of the high counselors was there too. It was pretty awesome. Basically, what he went through was, what are some of the things that keep us from working together in unity. Then we figured out what are some of the things we can do to take care of that and build the unity. One of the things I mentioned was service projects. Back home, you know, the Elder's quorum are some of the first people on the scene when someone is moving in. They help them move in, and do stuff like that. They thought that was really cool. So anyway, things are going to be looking pretty good. So we'll see how we can help.

That same guy in the Elder's quorum presidency has a niece that is nine, but she hasn't been baptized. So we are going to be teaching her the missionary lessons so she can be baptized. It is like a convert baptism because she is older than 8 (haha). So we will teach her real quick and then baptize her.

I have been reading the Book of Mormon a lot – it's kind of hard to put down. I just got to Jacob this morning. I have been thinking a lot about work and the Book of Mormon. I know it's true. I know that missionary work is fun – it can be hard, but it's fun. You learn and grow a lot from it. I know the Church is true. I am thankful to be out here serving the people in Alaska. I am excited to have a fun P-day. We'll see you all later (haha).

Love, Elder Record

Monday, December 5, 2011

Questions: 5 December 2011

Chris: Will you please measure yourself, so I can see if I am taller? I am currently 5 foot 7.5 inches tall.
Don't have to I'm taller hahahahaha. I'm 5'9" unless I shrunk...

Dad: I noticed two bicycle helmets in your apartment. Do you ride bikes or drive a vehicle or both?
Nope, those are old, haha. They just never got taken.

Dad: Does Elder Curtin have a blog his family maintains?
Not as far as he knows

Dad: I have transcribed the letters you took pictures of, and the pictures worked out perfectly for the transcription.
Awesome, I'll keep doing it.

Dad: We got your SD card, it should be in the mail on it way back to you.
Awesome again. =)

Transcription: 5 December 2011

Hello everyone! =) I AM SO HAPPY!!!! haha. I don't know why. I just can't stop laughing inside. I love being on a mission. I love my mission president. I love the gospel. Oh and by the way, Sister Gates is in the conference ensign on page 116 in the relief society meeting. I'm guessing the lady next to her is her mother.
Here is an excerpt from my letter to President Beesley.

"I love the Book of Mormon. I’ve been studying 1 Nephi, I started 2 Nephi, and also the last conference. I started thinking a lot about temples and the covenants to be fulfilled in the latter days. I was in 1 Nephi 21 and verse 11 caught my eye, “And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.” Verse 9 was another good one, “That thou mayest say to the prisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in darkness: show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.” I also liked the references to Isaiah 62:10 and Ezekiel 34:14. It seems whenever the Lord gathers his people he gathers them to the temples and uses words like garners, pastures, mountains, high places. It makes sense that he would though because the temples are where we make covenants to prepare us to be literally gathered into His presence after we die, and they are symbolic of entering into His presence. I love the temple and, honestly, my favorite part of conference was when the prophet announced the new temples. I felt the spirit the strongest then. I loved Mosiah 4:11-12. It talks about how we can become a Zion people. I love the gospel, and I’m so thankful to be a part of this latter day work. I found out it is a fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant in 1 Nephi 14 that through his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. And that the members of the church would be few in numbers, spread out upon the whole earth, and armed with the power of God in great glory. Its amazing to me that I’m alive now and am a part of all this. What a privilege. What an opportunity."

This is Tell Me the Stories of Jesus - 00:00:49

That was kind of rough, but it was pretty good. That was me on the Uke. Here is Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam - 00:00:43. This is surprisingly the easiest song on the planet earth to play, if you are doing chords. It only has an F and a C7.

Easy enough (haha). I am still working on some others – like “I'm Trying to be Like Jesus.” There are a lot of chords to that one, but that one is coming along. I'm still working on God Be with You Till We Meet Again in Samoan. I have to figure out where I want to do the chords as I'm singing. Right now I really only have one way to strum. I can change the speeds of it and stuff, but I have to learn some different strumming patterns. There are a lot of missionaries that play the Uke. It's pretty easy, nothing too complex, but it's very fun (haha).

Lately, the last couple of days we have been stuck at our apartment, because the roads have been super icy because of rain. It has been warm and then it will freeze and make the roads really icy. So, we haven't been out a whole lot. While we have been stuck here, besides studying a lot, we have been watching those wonderful DVDs – thank you so much for giving me the conference ones. I have been using those a lot for my studying. Besides that, I have practiced the ukulele (haha), and we played Risk, Monopoly, and Clue (which I won every single game against Elder Curtin – and then we stopped playing after about four games).

So this week has been kind of slow, but there was a lady who had open heart surgery about a week ago. We were blessed with the opportunity to go and give her a blessing. She went in on Friday to get a pace maker. We got to give her a blessing and she was a non-member, but she had a lot of faith. We talked about our Heavenly Father's plan for us, and I didn't even know at the time that she was not a member. She told us later that she was not a member. It was a good experience, the Spirit was really there.

We got a couple of referrals, so we are excited about that, and we will meet some new people. It looks like the Young Women's president will contacting us about some family history stuff, because I mentioned in Ward Council that I had some skills in family history. So she is planning on contacting us to help them out with that. I will be thinking about what I want to share with them. Apparently they have this Samoan family history database in the family history center here. It is basically like all family history that is recorded. It's in a book and it has the names by one of the world's leading experts on Polynesian family history in general. They compile it into books and have the family trees going back as far as they can remember, because when you go so far, they only kept oral genealogy – they just kept it by memory. I have been working on that and finding out how everything is organized and compiled, so I can help people out.

We got to see the First Presidency's Christmas devotional, which was really good – I really felt the Spirit. The video they showed was really neat. Initially it kind of threw me off with the British accents (haha) and I kind of chuckled because just a little earlier we were kind of making fun of British accents. We were talking with British accents because we were bored in our apartment because we had to stay in it (haha). So, initially it kind of threw me off, but after a while I started to like it. They were quieter like President Eyring said. It seemed to me like it was made to invite you think about it a little harder and concentrate on your feelings a little more and listen to the Spirit. After a little while I was really feeling the Spirit and was moved quite a bit by the video. It was very good. I loved it. It got me totally pumped for the Christmas season. I eventually want to read that book President Monson says he reads every Christmas called The Manson by Henry Van Dyke.

We spent some time in the family history center, because I've been trying to learn how to use those Samoan records. Things are awesome here, I love it! It is very fun. On P-days we get to go to the mission home and hang out with them. I love being around President and Sister Beesley. It's soo much fun, and they have a treadmill, so I get to run (haha). We get to play basketball too, but I actually get to exercise quite a bit. So that's good. I'm saying in shape well enough (haha). Thank you everybody for all the presents and stuff. It was wonderful. I loved the Sacred Cello CD by Steven Sharp Nelson, he's awesome – and the beef jerky (haha). Thank you for satisfying my craving (haha).

Lately, I love the scriptures. I mean … man! It's hard to read anything else but the Book of Mormon. I will start reading it and will get so zoned in on it. It's hard to read anything else. There is such good things in there, like … Dad you'll like this. In 1 Nephi 21 verse 11 it says, “and I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted.” So I looked at that and said, “wait a second! Mountains are also temples.” I then read back at verse nine and it says, “that thou mayest say to the prisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in darkness: Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.” So I was thinking about that and I love the phrase in verse eleven, “and I will make all my mountains a way.” I was just thinking about the temples and the Lord. Whenever He gathers His children, He always gathers them to the temple. Any why? He makes His temple “a way” He says “the mountains a way.” That is the way, because we make certain covenants there so we can return to our Father in Heaven, but also if you think about it, the temple is being in God's presence. So when we go to the temple, it is symbolic of us going into to God's presence. It is kind of preparing us for when we are literally gathered into His presence after this life – in the resurrection. I just really like that, and love how it talks about gathering. Abraham 2 is awesome and talks about how in the latter days, the Abrahamic covenant will be fulfilled where it says, in Abraham's seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed. We see that in missionary work and in general. The numbers in the Church are few, but God is on our side and we are spreading through the whole earth and blessing the nations with the gospel. It's pretty cool to witness. I love being around super good examples, like President and Sister Beesley, and in the scriptures – I kind of engross myself in those.

The gospel's true. I know it's true. I know the Book of Mormon's true. When you know the gospel is true, and that Jesus Christ is our Savior, other things don't seem to matter so much. You don't worry about what is going to happen … I mean obviously you prepare for things and challenges that will come up, but at the same time you don't have to worry about it. I mean “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” like it says in 2 Timothy 1:7. I just love the confidence that that brings and that comes to us through letting virtue garish our thoughts (see D&C 121:45). As we ponder up the words of life, we think of good things and put good into our minds, and our spirits, and our bodies even – I mean staying healthy, we are able to listen to the Spirit more and focus on those good things more that come from Christ and have His Spirit with us. Our lives are blessed so much more because of that, and I know that's true, and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Everybody, have a wonderful Christmas. Eric, I hope you had a wonderful birthday party. I hope, Chris, that you are taller than me by the time I get back, and I hope that I'm not too short (haha). I don't think I'm going to grow much more – except for maybe sideways (haha). No, I will probably come back just about the same. I don't think I'll look too much different, but we'll see (haha). Lorielle, I'm excited for you to go on your mission. That will be really neat. That was crazy to hear about Tyler Evens going to the same mission. That will be pretty cool. Man, I mean it's so awesome being out here, and not having to think about anything else but the gospel (haha) and sharing it with others, and learning how to become a better person and being more patient and loving. Yeah, I've memorized D&C 121 from 34 to the end. I love that section. That is kind of my motto almost. I think about that and becoming more Chirst-like. Well, you know I'll work on it because we're not perfect, but I love having that in mind as a person to be. I hope everybody has a good time, and I will talk to you next week. Tofa.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Photos: 1 December 2011

The Clarks from Whitehorse with Elder Record
On the road to Anchorage, AK - First transfer
Arriving in Anchorage, AK - First transfer

Anchorage, AK Apartment - Interior

Anchorage, AK Apartment - Exterior

Icicles on the Northern Lights Ward building

Thanksgiving Party, Samoan style

Northern Lights area maps

Elder Record and Elder Curtin, his current companion