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