Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Questions: 26 March 2012

Dad: What was the funniest thing that happened this week?
I don't remember, we laugh a lot in the car. I keep slipping on the ice because my mind preoccupied with other things. That's pretty funny.

Dad: What were some of your top spiritual experiences this week?
[name withheld1] is one of our less active members who’s husband is probably a non-member, haha. I’m not sure yet. He says he was baptized, but nobody is his family thinks so. He was raised by his grandmother who was a seventh day Adventist. He loves to have fun and goof off, but he’s got almost the entire bible memorized. I’m really good friends with him. I told you that he agreed to take the lessons when the baby came. A week ago [name withheld1] went in for an appointment and was sent to the hospital to get an emergency c section. She and the baby almost died. She gave me a call and told me that they were doing fine now, but it was kind of scary. We then planned to come by later in the day if we had time, but definitely come the next day. I felt like we should go the same day we got her call, so a little before 7 we left for the hospital because we didn’t have any set appointments for the rest of the evening. As we walked in she said, “Elders I’m glad you came I was about to call you. The baby had something go wrong with her lungs.” They enjoy our company, and our presence really helped to comfort them because she was having a very hard time emotionally. They asked us to give, and we gave, a blessing to the baby. [name withheld2], her husband was there, and her nonmember and best friend. The baby is now doing alright as well as [name withheld1]. [name withheld2] was at church on Sunday with [name withheld1] and [name withheld3] her sister. I was so happy I just about cried, haha.

Dad: What are your companion's strengths?
He cares a lot about the people and the work. He has desires to serve his heavenly father. That is the greatest thing I could ask for in a companion. He's is clean and tidy. He's very considerate. He has a good memory and is a good teacher.

Dad: What have you learned from Elder Wright this week?
A lot about the Samoan language. More on how to focus on people and not just teaching lessons.

Mom: Is there anything you need us to send to you or that you are missing?
Did you get my email about the socks? I'm running low and few pairs of those Mr Mac gold toe socks would be awesome.

Love, Elder Record

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Transcription: 19 March 2012

Hey everybody, this is Elder Record and today is the 19th of March. This week has been insanely crazy. We have been running around busy, or at least we were at the beginning of the week, because we had the transfers. On Monday I was with Elder Thorne. We had our P-day, and he packed to get ready. (Haha) We had dinner with this one guy, the bishop's son. He is just so funny. He has stories that are just having us laugh and laugh. We had a really good time with them (haha). On Tuesday was our transfer meeting. We went and picked up Elder Butler and Elder Bentmul from the airport in the morning, and they were with us until one o'clock, which was when the transfer meeting started. We were in the transfer meeting and the departing missionaries bore their testimonies and stuff. We had some musical presentations from the missionaries and a little thought from President Beesley and the assistants – things like that. After that we dropped Elder Bentmul off at the airport, went straight back to the office and picked up Elder Pool and Elder Bell and dropped them off. We then went to teach a lesson, so by then it was like six or six thirty. It was fun and kind of crazy. Since we are one of the only elders with a truck, the next day we ended up helping move people with bed frames into apartments because some of the apartments needed an extra bed frame, or didn't have one, or something like that. That took up most of our afternoon on Wednesday.

We were able to see some of our investigators who are planning to get baptized. One of them is eighteen. He is just such a humble guy. He wants to be a missionary, and he's excited (haha). We have his baptism this coming Saturday [24 March 2012]. We are excited about the baptism and to help him.

I am training Elder Wright, and we have this twelve week training plan that is really nice and helps us out. We just kept running into situations that helped us do the training. Like he is supposed to lead out in inviting people to be baptized this week, and he's done that. We had people that are planning to be baptized and are now going to be baptized. They have a date set. We are having a good time. It's not as stressful or as hard as I thought it would be to train. The ward loves us (haha). We keep visiting people and they are like, “oh, Elders!” It feels kind of nice, like a family away from home.

We ended up giving a couple of people blessings on Sunday. One was at a lesson with a less-active. She wanted us to bless her baby girl because she was feeling sick.

Our investigator is getting baptized. He had his baptismal interview yesterday.

Then (haha) we went over to he Nafua family and shared a thought with them, and setup some stuff because they have some non-members in their house and some recent converts. So we setup some lessons we are going to teach because [name withheld] has been a member but doesn't feel like she understands what the missionaries taught. So we are going to review it with her again. After that, we found out that their sister's son has RSV, and is in the hospital. So we went over to the hospital and gave him a blessing and talked with her sister for a little bit.

We had a pretty good day yesterday. We feel really busy, which is good. We are just hoping from one place to the next, seeing how we can help. It's fun to be able to do that. Especially now, I feel like I'm starting to care more about the people we visit, instead of just visiting people.

I am just so thankful for the gospel and how much it blesses our lives, and the comfort it brings us in our times of need. A lot of times we feel like we've been forgotten, that we're alone, or just down and struggling with whatever. With the gospel, we can come out on top and have that peace and confidence in our hearts always. We don't have to go through this alone. We have the Savior with us. We have the scriptures. We have the prophets and apostles. We've got members of the Church. It's fun to teach people about families too, and see their families. In our families is where we can find the most happiness, and we see that a lot. I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon and the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Email: 12 March 2012

haha! =D I was so happy to hear the news on Arthur Rogers I almost started to cry [family history progress we have made]. I have an hour every other week to work on family history. Could you send me the information too dad? We just might try that idea [a ward missionary open house] out with our ward.

FYI Transfers are tomorrow, and I found out that Elder Thorne is leaving to go to the Spanish Branch but will still be in my district. I'm staying in the Northern Lights Samoan Ward =) and will be training Elder Matthew Wright. He was called to Alaska Samoan speaking, and he's the first white guy I've seen or heard of who was called to do so. Elder Thorne and I had an amazing transfer and were able to teach and help more people than in any other. It felt amazing. These next few transfers won't be any different =) in fact, it should be even better.

I didn't get a chance to do an audio because I was so tired and so busy this weekend that I just didn't have the time. So, I'm sending a modified version of my letter to president that has the names of people taken out.

Letter to the President

Haha, ya I know I’ll have to leave eventually. I’m just so happy that things are going so well here. I feel so blessed to be in this area with the Samoan people. They are so humble and easy to be entreated. Thank you so much for letting me be with Elder Thorne for as long as I was. He is a very hard worker and blessed my life. We worked hard and made this last week the best one of our entire transfer. We taught 22 lessons this week =)

[name withheld] is on date for the 24th of March, and [name withheld] is on date for the 7th of April. Things are progressing very well with them. We’ve found a lot of new investigators through the O’Brien family, the ones we gave the blessing to. We’ve also started taking youth out with us a lot in the evenings from like 6pm on. They love it and get so excited. We were with [name withheld], who has already made significant changes in his life, when we put [name withheld] on date. Our ward mission leader came up to us on Sunday and told us how much he enjoyed the experience. We have a lot of good future missionaries who are becoming missionaries right now. They are helping us continue to find people to teach and are excellent fellowshippers.

We are going to continue to work with the Ward and Ward Council to help the work move forward. They really like us and were sad to see Elder Thorne go. We had dinner at the bishop’s house on Sunday and he told us how much he appreciated us and noticed how well we worked together to move the work of the Lord forward.

There are a few recent converts who know very little about the gospel who we plan to teach. We hope to get their eyes set on the temple. Ward conference was really good, and I noticed how much President Fisher is focusing on Temple work for the Stake. We plan to do our best to help out. In the Samoan ward it is really easy to find when we teach and teach when we find because almost everywhere we go there are non-members with our members, so I’ve noticed that probably the best way to find those that the Lord has prepared is by visiting the members and talking frequently with everyone.

In my studies I’ve been continuing to read in 3 Nephi, and I really enjoy it. I also got one of the new For the Strength of Youth pamphlets from the office and started reading it. I loved it! As I read I felt like the Prophet or my Father in Heaven was speaking directly to me. In every page I read I felt the influence of the spirit. I know that those will help the youth find direction in the world today. I’m going to get one for [name withheld] and [name withheld]. I think they will really enjoy it. I also have been studying the importance of being active because I was invited to give the YSA lesson on Tuesday on that topic. I’m still thinking about things, but my thoughts are continually drawn to the temple and the covenants and blessings associated. And also how the temple fits in with our Father’s plan of happiness for his children. I like D&C 58:26-28 and D&C 121:45.

I’m excited for the next few transfers and hope to see things improve even more. Thanks for all your love and support.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Transcription: 5 March 2012

This week was awesome! (haha) We had a blast. Initially it started off kind of slow. We had a lot of stuff fall through, and then other things take up more time than they probably needed to, but we have been soo busy (haha). It's so much fun. We have been helping a lot of people, and a lot of people are really starting to progress, and to move forward and do better. It's so much fun to see the happiness that is coming into their lives because of the gospel.

We had a baptism on Saturday, and he was confirmed this Sunday. It went really well, and everything was really good. He is seventeen. He was so excited to be baptized. He had made a lot of changes – like he had stopped smoking, and then we taught him about the Word of Wisdom (haha), and how our Heavenly Father doesn't want us to smoke because he wants us to keep our bodies healthy and strong so we can be sensitive to the Spirit and become more like him. We had taught him that, he had actually stopped smoking before (haha), so he was right on target. He is such a good kid.

We have another person who is going to be baptized on April 7th. So we are excited for them too. The Lord has just been blessing us with people who are ready to hear the gospel. I think it's partly because of the faith of the people in the ward. It seems like it's nothing we do. It is just a testimony builder to me that this isn't my work, this isn't anything that I'm doing, this is the Lord that is preparing all these people. Since we are ready to teach them, he is bringing them to us, and we are able to help them out and introduce the gospel into their lives so they can make those covenants and ordinances that are necessary for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father.

I am thankful for our Heavenly Father's mercy and how the gates of heaven are open to all. While there are certain things we need to do to return to live with our Heavenly Father, the opportunity is going to provided for everyone who's ever lived or who will ever live. I don't see how it could be any other way. I love the gospel, and it has made such a difference in my life.

It makes me so happy to be out here. Initially it's kind of stressful being on a mission because you're learning everything new. When you start to get the hang of things, things start to turn out really well. And, I am with an awesome companion who just loves to work hard. So we are able to get out and do a lot of good work and help a lot of people. I am thankful for that – probably more than anything (haha). Ah! I have changed so much this last transfer, these last few weeks. I think I have become a whole lot more humble and patient and calm and just overall happy too (haha). I just love serving with all these missionaries. This is starting to become the funnest thing I've ever done (haha). I am really thankful for this opportunity I have.

Oh, I learned a new song in Samoan. It's called (something in Samoan).

Elder Record Singing a Samoan Song (Length: 00:00:31)

Yeah, it's so much fun when you sing it with like, the whole ward (haha), because they all sing really loud. They love to harmonize, so it sounds really good. We have our ward conference coming up. We are going to be singing it with the priesthood. At the baptism we sang “Brightly Beams our Father's Mercy.” Me, Elder Thorne and Brother Siana (the ward mission leader) all harmonized, and I sang the base part. That was really fun (haha).

There was a ward party on Friday. We got to go and meet a lot of people there. We ate some good dinner. Taro and fish is the BEST combination it tastes soo good (haha). It was funny. I was asking Elder Collins and this lady from the Diamond Ward what happens if you eat taro raw? Elder Collins just laughs, and he's like “you don't do that, you're mouth will get all itchy” – like he thought that was just the funniest thing ever (haha). The only place I know you can buy taro, they actually precook it. There isn't any risk of anybody doing that. I love boiled banana, it's fun to eat too. There is a lot of good food up here, and they treat us soo well.

We also had the opportunity to meet with this less active family. His wife, actually I think she's his girlfriend, we got to meet with them. She is not a member, and she wants to start learning more about the gospel. So we are excited to teach her and see how much the Lord can bless her life and the life of her family.

There is a whole lot more that is going to happen this week, and there is a lot more to talk about, but it's so much fun to go out and do and see the progress of everything that is going on – and how much I'm learning and how much more confident I'm becoming. It becomes easier and easier. It was hard, but after the first little bit of my mission, it wasn't as much of a problem anymore. Things would be hard, but it is like any other kind of hard – like to win at a soccer game. We are always so busy keeping up with the demands of everything. But now that I know kind of what's going on (haha), it's hard, but it's easy for me to do it because it's so much fun to do it because we're helping people.

I know the gospel is true. I am thankful for it and how much it's blessed my life. I am thankful for the wonderful opportunities our Heavenly Father is blessing us with to help even more people. Actually, just yesterday it was so neat, we were going to visit some people after church and it seemed like every where we were stopping and helping people out (haha). There a couple of guys who were trying to push a car off to the side of the road, because it was dug into a little ice rut. So we jumped out and pushed the car out. They were like, “oh, thank you so much” (haha). That was fun. After that we went over to the house of less active members, and they were like, “just in time!!” We said, “what?!” She said, “I just asked my daughter if she knew your number because we have a baby who is sick that we had to take to the hospital and needs a blessing.” Apparently, right as she asked her daughter about seeing if she could call the missionaries, she said, “oh, no, that's okay they are right there,” as she pointed to us out the window. So we got there when they needed us.

The other lady I was talking about who is the girlfriend of the less active member, wants to start learning more about the gospel. We had actually met with her about a month ago when I was with Elder Leota. She had been sick for about a week or two, she just had a bad fever. We were having dinner at the less active man's father's house. They asked if we could give her a blessing. We said, “absolutely.” We gave her a blessing and after we had left the dinner, she said she immediately felt better, and she was just crying and laughing. I think that really made a difference and helped her to see those witnesses our Heavenly Father gives us that he is there, and that he loves us, and that he has a plan for us.

I know that is true. I'm thankful for the gospel. I know the priesthood is real, and that we have that authority once again established on the earth like we had in Christ's time. I know it was restored through the prophet, Joseph Smith, and has been handed down to the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, today. I love the Lord, and I am thankful to serve him.

I love my family. If I ever have a rough day or a rough week, it's always wonderful and nice to hear from all of you to kind of brighten up my day and get me smiling again so I can go about my week a lot stronger. It always nice to hear from everybody to find out what's new and what's going on and things I didn't know about. It always brightens up my day. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know the gospel is true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.