Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Transcription: 29 May 2012

Hello Everybody! Today is Sunday the 27th.

This week was amazing. We had a lot of good things happen. We got invited to a birthday party by some of our potential members. We went and it was really cool. (haha) Like we walk in and -- our potential members really like us; there's two of them, one of them is in her late 20's and the other is like 20. They are pretty open and comfortable with us talking about the gospel. They family is still a little closed off because they go to another church. But anyway -- we walk into the party (haha) and everybody like just stares at us! (haha) Like in shock, (haha) because we are missionaries from another church. But we walk in and just start talking to people. We actually found a guy who is a member, who hopefully we can follow up here soon. He was a member up in Samoa and moved to Hawaii and then he moved up here. Since his parents were of a different Church, when he went to Hawaii, when they brought him to their Church, he kind of just went along with it. Anyway as we were talking with everybody, we look over in the band that was playing some music there (haha) for their birthday party, and we see in the band this guy named [name withheld].

We saw him playing in the band and he saw us too. We had gone to visit him before. He is a member, and was actually brought into the Church by his girlfriend. His dad is a minister in another Church, he's a faifeo. We are faifeotalai (haha). He's just a faifeo, because we are preaching missionaries or ministers on foot. He was always friendly to us and everything because he had softened up a lot after he went to his son's baptism and saw how members acted. But he was super against it before. I looked over at Church (haha) in the middle of Sacrament meeting and I'm like, "that's [name withheld]'s dad!!!" I never would have expected him to come, but he was there and ooh it was such a good Sacrament meeting! We had a returned missionary speak and bear his testimony about how serving each other just helps, and how we need to step up and do our duties in the Church so we can help other people and help it grow. That totally brought the Spirit. And then the [name withheld]s, oh, a super solid family. I love them. But they get up and just start bearing their testimony about eternal families and about the temple. (I love the temple! There isn't a place I'd rather be than the temple. When I get back, I'm going to spend as much time as I can in the temple. It's an amazing place. I can't even begin to describe how much I love the temple. I felt it especially after not being able to go as often as I did before. It's a place of such peace and love. You know the Church is true when you go there. There is nothing that can change that. It's such a wonderful experience.) Anyway, they just started bearing their testimonies about families.

We went over to [name withheld]'s house for dinner and she asked us what one thing that we noticed that families; really faithful members with strong families, strong unity; do to keep their families together. We said well they pray together, they read their scriptures together, they spend time together; and then she asked us what have you noticed that is different about families who aren't, that don't come and have a lot of discord in the family and a lot of struggles. We've noticed, and we said, they don't do those things. I mean it's as simple as that, they don't pray together, they don't spend time together, and the family suffers the effects. Those are just things that bind us together and help us grow; especially prayer, especially praying together, but she (haha) actually used that in her talk.

I was just like crying the whole time. I felt the Spirit so strong. Even from the beginning, I knew it was going to be a special day as soon as I walked inside the chapel. I don't know how anybody who was in that Sacrament meeting could not have felt the Spirit. The bishop was talking about [name withheld]'s dad, when he looked over at him, he could start to see a change in his face. He totally felt the Spirit. He actually announced in the Elder's quorum that we were welcome to come over whenever we wanted. We were welcome to come to his house (haha). I was just like, "oh man! this is amazing!" Because if he comes, his family will come, and chances are a lot of members of his congregation will come too. I'm just so happy to have served in the Samoan ward. We have really been able to gain the trust of the members. They are really starting to get excited, and active in missionary work, and just helping each other out and spreading the gospel. It's spreading like wild fire. (haha) It's just so exciting to see, and we don't always see the difference we make. Thankfully, I've been able to see some of the difference that I've been able to make, particularly with my companions. Elder Wright -- an awesome guy! Elder Thorne -- awesome guy! It's been with their help we have been able to move the work forward. I love the people here.

There is a family we really like that is getting excited about the temple. We have a lot of people who we have been teaching that are taking the temple prep class now, and are getting ready to go. It's just so much fun to (haha) help people, and spend all your time doing it, and be anxiously engaged in a good cause. I love spending ALL my time doing that, being very driven. Yea, and people are starting to go and share the gospel with their friends, and they are getting ready to have us go over to those people. As we go out and do stuff, we are able to find people who we didn't know were there before, who we need to help and who need our help. And so, we help them. It's very fun to be a missionary. It's hard at first, but (haha) then it gets easier because then you start to lose yourself after you get the hang of things. You are able to work and able to help people, and you get so wrapped up in things it's hard to think about much of anything else. That's when it's fun. If you are not doing anything, if you are being lazy, if you are not being obedient to the mission rules, if you are not being obedient to the commandments, then it's no fun; but when you are, miracles start to happen and it's amazing. I have totally seen that so far.

I know the Church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it is in the temple that we can make the rest of those covenants to return to live with our Heavenly Father. I love the temple. I am thankful for the opportunity I've had to be a member of the Church and to be a missionary. I am thankful for you guys, my family, and all the help you have given me to build my testimony. I can't wait to just move forward with life. I wouldn't have traded this experience for anything. I'm not even out a year yet! I've grown so much. It's given me such direction in my life that I'm going to work hard, and I am always going to work hard. I am never going to leave anybody behind. If there is someone who is struggling that needs my help, I'm going to help them. If there is somebody who is weak in their faith and their testimony, I'm going to help them. If there is somebody who is having a down day, I'm going to go help them.

I hope you all have a good time back in Utah (haha). Let me know as soon as you find the address for the house or as soon as you move in, so I can have that because I will have to change that card that I give to people. Talk you later, bye.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Questions: 21 May 2012

Dad: What was your door approach to non-members when talking about family history work?
We ask them about their family and that we wanted to help them find more. We told them about all the resources the church has and invited them to a family history center.

Dad: What is your door approach for less active members?
How are you... We are just always very friendly when we talk to people to show them we care because we do. And they can see it. Then again I have mostly only been with Samoans who are very social.

Dad: What did you think about the video "Jesus Teaches About Being Born Again?" I love the way Christ is portrayed in such a loving and inviting nature.
Wow, it was really good. I really like how he taught like you said. I also like how the savior goes right to the root of his concern, and resolves it. He's not going to understand these other things unless he first understands Christ's purpose and believes on him. This one is my favorite.

Love, Elder Record

Transcription: 21 May 2012

So, guess who got sick? Elder Wright (haha). He got my wind. He doesn't have it quite as bad, I don't think, but I'm not sure. He hasn't had a fever yet, so I guess it's not that bad. He's been pretty sick, but we got him to the doctor pretty quick, so he seems to be feeling better. He's been pretty sick this week, but in spite of that we were actually still able to get quite a bit done.

We were able to visit some people and help them out. We are working on trying not to stay so long and have the lesson be just a visit. So, we are trying to teach more, and we did. It was really neat what happened. The Spirit was there a lot stronger when we weren't just there for like an hour. We were there for like 45 minutes or even less. We just taught... and the Spirit was there. It felt really cool. It made a difference to people, and they felt uplifted and so did we. It still happened before, but it happened a lot more. When we were focused on teaching more that just talking with them, that was a pretty neat experience. Yesterday was awesome! We were able to do a lot.

We had some more training (haha). Elder Call and Elder Donaldson came, from the Seventy did our stake conference. We had a few meetings on Saturday and had to work with the ward council, and there's a lot of cool things that are going to happen. We are starting to work better with them, and get more work done.

We ran into these two people who we began teaching. We hope to really get them fellowshipped in. looks like things are good because we are working closer with the ward council. We are excited about that.

It's really fun to go out and help people. We were able to really feel the Spirit, especially on Sunday, but it makes you pretty tired too (haha). There is this really cool lady we know that works at the book store that says I need to get a tan (haha). But, I can't do that (haha) unless I'm, outside. And if I'm in the truck or somebody's house all day, it's kind of hard to get a tan. But, that's okay, it can wait.

I just want to bear my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it has a power to change our lives and to help us get closer to our Heavenly Father more than any other book. I know that the Church is true. I am thankful for the guidance and direction we get from the prophet and from the general authorities. I am thankful to be serving a mission because it's helping me grow a lot, especially in planning. We are becoming quite the masters of our time. It's pretty cool. It will help me a lot for when I get back.

I hope all is well. Everything is good here. I'll do my best to send letters to various people who send me letters (haha). Talk to you next week, bye.

Love, Elder Record

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Transcription: 14 May 2012

This week was a fun week. We had a lot of training meetings though. We were super busy, but surprisingly we were able to use the time that we did have really effectively and get quite a bit done. We had an excellent week, and we were able to help out a lot of people.

On Thursday we had some people from the missionary department come and give us some training. Brother Lee Donaldson and Roger Web came to speak with us. That was really fun, but it was really long though (haha). It went from like nine in the morning to four. It was a really nice meeting, and helped me to focus a lot.

On Friday we had our specialized training. We have one of those every other transfer. It was nice.

On Saturday we got to do some service. We got to help out the post office with their service food drive, "Stamp Out Hunger," I think it was called. All the mail carrier trucks would go out and pick up the food from the mail boxes. They bring it back and we helped them sort everything out and unload all the cans and boxes. It was fun.

We were also able to Skype you guys. It was a nice highlight and nice Mother's Day.

We pretty much play basketball every P-day. I need to start taking pictures -- my bad (haha). I will make sure I get some pictures before I leave Anchorage. Exercise is nice.

We were able to start teaching this little nine year old girl. It's kind of fun. It's like being back in Primary. She is very nice and very quiet. She is very smart and it's fun to teach her. She is the niece to one of the members in the ward. We had a lot of people to Church on Sunday. It was really nice. Sunday was packed, because in the Samoan culture, Mother's Day apparently is a really big deal. I'm guessing that's why we had a ton of people. They also changed the bishopric a little bit. Not entirely, but a little bit. We had some people there for the first time, who had never been there before.

Studying... I've been reading the Book of Mormon. I have been going over that training because I recorded it. I've been listening to it over and over again. Oh!! I really liked D&C section 19, because that is the only first hand account of the atonement. There is a particular part in their that I like. In D&C section 19 verse 20 it says:

"Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit."

So when we feel that suffering, you know that punishment for sins or whatever, that only happens because he withdraws his spirit because the Spirit cannot be with us when we are being wicked. So he says, "in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit." I reference that to Mormon chapter 2 verse 13 where the people are crying out. Mormon gets happy for a sec because he thinks they are repenting, but they're really not. They are just miserable because of their wrong choices, because God is not going to always allow them to take happiness in sin. Since he withdrew the Spirit from the people because they were so wicked, they became really, really miserable. That's just what happens when you sin, it makes you miserable even if you don't realize it. And that's only because God withdraws his Spirit because he can't be there. It's not because he is punishing you or anything, it is just because he can't protect you anymore because you won't let him.

Brother Donaldson gave a little insight on verse 18. When the Savior, talking about the atonement, says:

"Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—"

Regarding the ending dash "—", he said, the Savior was either going to say more and didn't -- because it just ends -- or after eighteen hundred years it's still too painful to talk about. I thought that was kind of neat. The words on the page are from someone with feeling talking.

Anchorage is starting to get really pretty, so I will start to take more pictures. It's starting to get kind of green. The trees are starting to blossom.

I want to bear my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know the Church is true. I am thankful to be a missionary. It's helping me out a lot, especially with my focus (haha). Although I'm still not very focused because I'm still really tired. But it's really nice, and I enjoy it. I know that as we do our best, the Lord is there for us and will help us out. When we do sin, and he withdraws his Spirit, we can repent and do better. Mostly through not doing that thing again and going to Church and partaking of the sacrament and reading your scriptures -- that helps a lot too.

Love, Elder Record

Monday, May 7, 2012

Questions: 7 May 2012

Mom: How are you feeling?
Fine now, just a little runny nose.

Dad: Are you the truck driver since you are senior companion?

Dad: What are Elder Wright's greatest qualities?
He's very concerned about the individual people, and he has strong desire to serve and to please God.

Dad: I posted a YouTube video on your blog of Andrew Zimmerman on Bizzare Foods eating sea. Yeah it was gross! I read another description online, "Sea is truly disgusting, looks like snot according to Andrew Z and stinks like day old puke." You definitely have bragging rights.
=) yup I sure do. lol

Love, Elder Record

Transcription: 7 May 2012

I'm feeling better! (haha) I'm not sick anymore. I've got a little bit of a stuffy nose, but it's all good. Thankfully it's not a problem anymore. I had a fever on Monday, I guess, because there was no pressure to do anything because it was P-day. My body just took the time to recover I guess (haha).

We had a fun week. We had to get our oil changed, and that took up a little time. But, we were also able to do service at the library. We helped them move around books for this book sale they were going to have. That was fun. Me, Elder Wright and the four Samoan elders from the other Samoan wards sang a song at a baptism that the Lake Otis ward was having. It's "When I am Baptized", the primary song. We sang one verse in English and the other two in Samoan. Sunday was probably the busiest day of my mission so far. We were all over the place, visiting a ton of people. It was nice, because we were able to help out a lot of people. There was this one lady who was having a really rough time. We kind of showed up at the right time. She was smoking and feeling pretty depressed because of some things that have been going on. We kind of helped her get out of her funk and shared a little scripture with her and encouraged her and smiled. She didn't want to smoke anymore, so that was nice (haha). It was just kind of neat to see that the Lord takes us to where we need to go.

I read a really cool verse in Doctrine and Covenants 93 verse one. It lists five things that we can do in order to see and know God, so in order to see and know that He is. The first is to forsake our sins. The second is to come unto Him. The third is to call on His name. The Fourth is to obey His voice, and the fifth is to keep His commandments. So if we do those five things, then we can have the privilege of seeing God and knowing that He is. And of course, if we read in Doctrine and Covenants section 88 version 68, it says that will come in the Lord's time and in His own way. I thought that was a really neat scripture, because the other ones just say like, "blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" or you know, other promises. None of them quite say what we need to do to be pure in heart and to see God. I like that version [D&C 93:1] because it lists out those five things as something I can do to work towards that.

We have been visiting these one people who (haha) are actually going to be moving down to Utah and get married soon. I like them a lot. It's nice to see them getting excited about the temple and about the Church and everything. I will probably end up seeing them when I get back to Utah. We'll see. That would be really cool because they are really fun. They are planning on going through the Salt Lake Temple. I'm really happy for them.

Yeah, that's kind of been this week. It wasn't fun being sick, but it's fun being better (haha). It was a fun week, and we helped out a lot of people.

I just want to bear my testimony that I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that this is Christ's church on the earth. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father in any way He wants me to because I've notice that as we do that, it provides a lot of strength to the Church if we will just work at doing our duty and being ourselves. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Record

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Transcription: 30 April 2012

Good morning everybody. Today is April 30th and I am sick. So, I probably won't say too much. I'm sorry.

This week was for the most part pretty good. (Haha) and you will have to forgive my pessimism too (haha). I'm not in the best mood right now. It seems now that the week of over and that it's P-day, my body is like, "all right, rest time."

Earlier in the week we had our transfers. Me and Elder Wright are staying. We have a truck now so, we were using it to cart missionaries around Tuesday and in the morning on Wednesday. It took up a lot of time, but we were still able to get a lot done. I got sick on Friday. Even though I had to rest a lot, we still got quite a bit done in our week, which was pretty good; but now my body is ready for a break (haha).

Probably one of the most exciting things to happen to me this week was... I got to try a Samoan dish called "sea". Sea is the edible internal organs of the sea cucumber (haha). I had to try it. They offered it, so I tried a little bit of it. Let me tell you, that is the hardest to get down out of anything I've tried to eat. Yeah, it was pretty nasty. So I suggest to anybody who is offered "sea" (unless you want bragging rights), I would say, smile, laugh a little bit, and then say "lai fa'fatai" or no thank you. They will chuckle because they will know (haha). It just has a terrible stench, but it not too powerful. You can only really taste the stench. It's weird. It is not the yummiest thing I've ever tried. It made the oka and the boiled banana pretty much a piece of cake to eat now. I didn't have any problems with them in the first place, but it was quite the experience (haha), but I'm glad I did it. You might want to go online and check out what "sea" looks like (haha). It is pretty nasty looking. That was probably the funnest and funniest thing that happened this week.

Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmerman
The "sea" segment starts at minute 05:29 and ends at 07:40

We are excited to keep working with the ward and finding people. We had a really good experience where we found out this one house had Samoans living there. We were able to just park the car and walk up to the house because the people were standing outside, and we just started talking to them, laughing, joking around about stuff. We then started talking about the gospel. They invited us back. So we are going to come over to their house later today. It was fun to see, and Elder Wright was able to see how much more effective it is to just converse for a little bit first, and then relate whatever you are talking about to the gospel. They can kind of see the application and kind of be a little more comfortable with us so we are not so imposing.

A lot of the snow is melting and the weather is changing, so that is why everybody says everyone is getting sick. Apparently everybody is getting sick. Yeah, and I threw up on Friday. So that wasn't fun. So I just have a super stuffy nose and sinus irritation, but I'll get over it.

Anyway, life is good (haha). Take care, and I will talk to you more next week, and hopefully be a little more enthusiastic. Take care, bye.

Love, Elder Record